Honors | Classical Epics (CLAS)
C311 | 26805 | Jonathan Ready


MW 4:00-5:15pm
BH 015

Our task is to read the great epics of ancient Greece in English
translation. We will thoroughly explore Homerís Iliad and Odyssey,
but in order to understand the context in which those poems arose ,
we will also read Hesiodís Theogony and Works and Days,  the four
major Homeric hymns, and an ancient prose summary of the poems of
the Epic Cycle. In particular, we will ask two questions of the
Homeric poems: 1. Why were these poems considered so important in
antiquity? What ideas did they express that they were judged of such
value? 2. What is traditional, oral epic? Why is it insufficient to
read these poems as one would read a Dickens novel? To help us with
this second question, we will look briefly at two modern oral epic
poems from two different times and places (Yugoslavia 1934 and South
Sumatra [Indonesia] 1971-73).

There will be a midterm, two papers (five pages each), and a final
exam. Each class you will hand in answers to reading questions that
were posted on Oncourse the evening after the previous class. Expect
to be called on to share your answers. If you are taking the course
for honors credit, your second paper will be ten pages.