Homer’s Iliad


We will read and interpret Homer’s poem The Iliad in the translation by Emily Wilson. The course will begin with a consideration of the historic and mythic background to the poem.  There is archaeological evidence that a war against the city of Troy occurred in approximately 1200 B.C.  That war became the subject of stories recited orally by Greek bardic poets for centuries until they were somehow composed and recorded by a person we call “Homer.”  By that time, the story of the war had been completely integrated with the legends of the Olympian gods.  Our reading will take into account the oral composition of the poem and the role that the gods played in explaining and motivating the action of the poem.



Required Reading:

Homer, The Iliad, trans. Emily Wilson,  ISBN 978-1324001805

About the Instructor

David Tarbet taught English literature at the University of Buffalo for fourteen years and team-taught the Homeric poems there with a classicist.  He left the academic world to become a lawyer in Boston and retired from the law in 2006.  Last year, he renewed his connection with Homer by teaching a course on Homer’s Odyssey at MSC.




David Tarbet
Email: tarbetd@icloud.com



1:00-3:00 p.m.
6-week course begins Nov. 8



Class meets at The Highlands, 20 Governors Way, Topsham—Merrymeeting Bay Room in the Main Lodge