Homer, Vergil, and the Ancient Epic
This course will examine in depth the three greatest works in the loftiest genre of ancient Greek and Roman poetry: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil's Aeneid. The aim will be to achieve a thorough appreciation of the poetic technique of Homer and Vergil and the literary qualities that so profoundly influenced other ancient poets and later Western literatures. Because these works stand at the head of European literature, study of them will also provide the opportunity to consider fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of literature. To help put these masterpieces into the broader context of ancient epic poetry and sense something of their influence, we will also read two versions of the story of Jason and the Argonauts, composed by the Greek poet Apollonius Rhodius and the Roman Valerius Flaccus, the latter in a new verse translation by the instructor of the course. No prerequisites. Offered occasionally.