You are here

GREEK 307 A: Homer

Meeting Time: 
MTWF 1:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 248
Olga Levaniouk photo
Olga Levaniouk

Syllabus Description:

GREEK 307: HOMER         Selections from the Iliad                  Spring 2022

 MTWF 1:30-2:20pm            

MGH 248

 Professor:      Olga Levaniouk                     

                        Denny M262B                                   (206) 543-2266

 Office hours: TF 11-12pm and by appointment



This is a course for those who are coming to Homer in Greek for the first time, and also for those who have started with the Odyssey and now would like to read some of the Iliad.  We’ll start slow (especially since the beginning of the Iliad is so rich thematically, poetically and in terms of language) and then gradually pick up speed. After getting through 200 or so lines of Book 1, we will together choose what to read next—one or two episodes from the rest of the poem. Students will learn how to read Homeric hexameters and start learning about Homeric traditional phrases, poetic techniques, and above all the so-called “Homeric dialect,” the peculiar language of Greek epic which has its own long and intricate history. Students will be expected to acquire a fair amount of Homeric vocabulary and to become familiar with Homeric grammar as the need arises. Most students will find that Homer is easy to read (syntax in particular is more user-friendly than that of the Attic prose), but there is an initial period of getting used to the dialect.


Recommended Books:

Benner, A. Selections from Homer's Iliad. Foreword by M. Edwards. Norman 2001

(First Edition 1903).


Cunliffe, R. 1977 A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect. Norman.


Commentaries and other books you might find useful: 

Bierl, A. and Latacz, J., eds . 2015. Homer’s Iliad: The Basel Commentary. (English edition translated by Benjamin W. Millis and Sara Strack and edited by S. Douglas Olson; first edition 2000).  Berlin: De Gruyter.

Chantraine, P. 1958. Grammaire Homérique. Paris.

Kirk, G. (vols I-II), B. Hainsworth (vol. III), R. Janko (vol. IV), M. Edwards (vol. V), and N. Richardson (vol. VI), eds.1985-1993. The Iliad: A Commentary. Cambridge. 

Lord. A. 1960/2000.The Singer of Tales. Cambridge, Mass.

Nagy, G. 1979. The Best of the Achaeans: Concept of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry.


            . 1996. Homeric Questions. Austin.

Snell et al., eds. 1995-2010. Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos. Göttingen.




Class participation                                                                         30%

Final writing assignment:                                                              20%

Three quizzes (weeks 3, 6, 9)                                                       50%


Final writing assignment will consist of a  "commentary"  (very broadly understood) on a selected passage.

NB: Reading for the week will be assigned each Friday; exact lines for each class may be known only a day in advance.


Some useful resources:

“The Chicago Homer” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

A very rudimentary bibliography: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

A dated, but conveniently organized bibliography:

Classical Inquiries (including the Homer Commentary in progress): (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Listen to Homer recited Link

or sung Link

Leonard Muellner on Homeric hexameter LinkLink

Jenny Clay, Homer’s Trojan Theater/Homer Visualized Link

R. Wachter, Homeric Grammar Link

R. Nünlist, Homeric meter Link


Some good reads and listens online (in no particular order)

B. Fortson on Indo-European Language and Culture Link

C. Watkins, Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans Link

G. Nagy and L. Muellner, “Intro to Homeric Greek: Poetry of Grammar, Iliad 1-9.” Link

L. Muellner on the anger of Achilles


G. Nagy on Achilles in the Iliad and the Odyssey


G. Nagy, L. Muellner and D. Frame on the dialects in Homeric epic


M. Wood, In Search of Trojan War Link

T. Palaima at National Hellenic Museum


E. Cook on Contemporary Relevance of the Iliad


  • “The Iliad: Beauty, Brutes, and Battles” (The Forum podcast from the BBC) Link                   
  • G. Nagy, Homeric Questions. Link    
  • A. Lord, The Singer of Tales.Link           
  • L. Slatkin, The Power of Thetis, chapter 2. Link
  • C. Dué, Homeric Variations on a Lament by Briseis: Link
  • G. Nagy, “The Homeric Iliad and the Glory of the Unseasonal Hero.” Link                                        
  • G. Nagy, “Achilles as Epic Hero and the Idea of Total Recall in Song”    Link
  • CHS Open House with Casey Dué: “Homer and the Bronze Age”  Link                                     
  • J. Katz, Review of Troy and Homer: Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery by J. Latacz Link
  • E. Cline, The Trojan War, a very short introduction, parts II. 2 and III (NB: read for archaeology, not Homer) Link  Link
  • J. Burgess, J. 2001. “The Epic Cycle and Homer,” chapter 3 of The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle (available online through UW libraries).
  • Alice Oswald, Memorial: a Version of Homer’s Iliad Link
  • Alice Oswald reads from Memorial:    
  • C. Alexander, "No Hostages" (from the War that Killed Achilles) Link
  • G.Nagy, “Achilles and the Poetics of Lament” Link


Catalog Description: 
Translation of selections from the Iliad or the Odyssey; Attic prose composition, metrics. Intended as third in a sequence of three. Recommended: one year of college-level Ancient Greek or equivalent. Offered: Sp.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
December 20, 2021 - 10:23pm