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Course Registration

Homeric Echoes through the Ages

Spring 2020
In Session
9 AM - 12 PM
January 28, February 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 17, 24, 31, and April 7, 2020


Main Campus



Homer’s sublime epics, Iliad and Odyssey, fire the imagination. We’ll explore how these stories develop from an ancient prequel to modern sequels. Homer’s poetic tradition harkens back to the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh: the part-divine conflicted hero who wrestles with his destiny. Homer’s poems then sparked new masterpieces: Virgil’s Aeneid reweaves Homer’s tales into the story of Rome’s founding. Innovative modern re-visionings abound. We’ll consider three: H.D.’s epic poem Helen in Egypt expands Helen’s ancient myths to explore women’s identity and poetic creation. Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Zachary Mason’s The Lost Books of the Odyssey spin imaginative tales inspired by the silent spaces in Homer’s poem, voiced in intriguing female-male counterpoint. How rewarding to read these works that are still spinning out the ancient tales in a timeless poetic tradition!

Registration Opens Online: Monday, November 25, 2019 at 8AM (AZ Time)

Watch the video to learn more about this course: 

Required Reading: 

Any translation of the following is okay:

  • Epic of Gilgamesh, trans. by N.K. Sandars (Penguin 1960), ISBN 978-1-55643-728-1 
  • Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. by David Ferry (Chicago, 2017), ISBN 9780226450216
  • H.D. Helen in Egypt (New Directions, 1961)
  • Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)
  • Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

Meet Your Professor

Professor Emerita
Department of Religious Studies and Classics

BELLA VIVANTE is Professor Emerita of Classics. She has often taught ancient Greek poetry, drama, and especially Homer’s epic poems. Her scholarly works reveal antiquity’s dynamism: Women, Marriage and the Family in Ancient Greece; Daughters of Gaia: Women in the Ancient Mediterranean; and translation of Euripides’s Helen in Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides.    

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