Saturday, July 19, 2014

Myth-Folklore Unit: Homer's Iliad (retold by A. J. Church)

Overview. This unit is based on Homer's Iliad, an epic poem about the Trojan War which focuses on the conflict between the Greek hero Achilles and the Trojan hero Hector (so, no Trojan Horse — the fall of Troy is a story we know from sources other than Homer). The reading is taken from a prose version The Iliad by Alfred J. Church, and there is also a free LibriVox audiobook version if you would like to have the story read to you. The unit consists of approximately half of Church's book, focusing on the opposing heroes Achilles, champion of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. The story begins with the great quarrel between Achilles and the leader of the Greek armies, King Agamemnon, brother of King Menelaus, Helen's unlucky husband. The angry Achilles declares that he will no longer join in the battle, and this refusal to fight will have tragic consequences worse than anything Achilles could have imagined.

Language. This is a retelling of Homer, not a translation, so the language should not be a problem.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Homer's Iliad. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

Notes. This unit does not have notes on every page yet, so please feel free to ask questions if something is not clear — and your questions will help me write better notes, too! You can ask your question by leaving a comment, just like at any other blog. You can also rate each page with the star ratings checkbox at the bottom of each post. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated!

Connecting Units. The two Homeric epics — The Iliad and The Odyssey — begin the theme of epics that you can explore in other reading units this semester. If you are interested in epic and want to read both Iliad and Odyssey for Weeks 2 and 3, that's great; make sure you read the Iliad first if you want to read both (The Iliad comes first in terms of the order of events). If you want to look at epics in later weeks of this semester, keep an eye out for: Sindbad in Week 4 (not an epic, but it was influenced by The Odyssey), The Ramayana in Week 5, The Monkey King in Week 6, Hiawatha in Week 9, Beowulf in Week 11, The Faerie Queene in Week 12, Dante's Inferno in Week 13, and The Kalevala in Week 14.

Read More. In this unit, you read only the part of Church's book which is focused on Achilles. If you want to read the whole book, you can find it online in various formats: The Iliad, retold by Alfred J. Church. For a quick glance at the table of contents, see the online book presented at Baldwin Project.

Additional Resources. Wikipedia has good background information about the Homeric epics in general, The Iliad in particular, and also on the larger story of the Trojan War (The Iliad covers only a very small part of the whole story of the war). For learning more about the Greek gods and goddess, is an excellent resource.

  1. Of How the War with Troy Began
  2. The Quarrel
  3. The Quarrel (cont.)
  4. What Thetis Did for Her Son
  5. Hector and Andromache
  6. Hector and Andromache (cont.)
  7. The Embassy to Achilles
  8. The Embassy to Achilles (cont.)
  9. The Deeds and Death of Patroclus
  10. The Deeds and Death of Patroclus (cont.)
  11. The Deeds and Death of Patroclus (end)
  1. The Rousing of Achilles
  2. The Rousing of Achilles (cont.)
  3. The Slaying of Hector
  4. The Slaying of Hector (cont.)
  5. The Slaying of Hector (end)
  6. The Ransoming of Hector
  7. The Ransoming of Hector (cont.)

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