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Homer: Iliad

1. The Composition of the Poem

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In this module, we think about the Homeric Question, including the question of how and when the poem was composed, who composed it, and what it was like in performance.


In this course, Professor Barbara Graziosi (Durham University) explores Homer’s Iliad. In the first module, we focus on the so-called ‘Homeric Question’, focusing on how and when the poem was composed, who composed it, as well as what it was like in performance. After that, we turn our attention to the driving force of the poem—namely, the rage of Achilles. In the third module, we think about the scope of the poem—both geographical and chronological—despite the fact that the narrative itself only covers eleven days of the ten-year war. In the final two modules, we focus on the character of Hector—first his appearance in Book 6, where he meets several members of his family, and then his appearance in Book 22, where he is killed by Achilles.


Barbara Graziosi is Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. Her primary interest is ancient Greek literature, and the way in which readers make it their own - 'the balance between the classical and the familiar', as Cesare Pavese put it. In her first book, Inventing Homer (Cambridge 2002), she argued that early stories about Homer tell us something important about the way archaic and classical audiences imagined the poet and understood his poetry. Her second book, written together with Johannes Haubold, explores the relationship between Homeric epic and wider Greek views about the cosmos and its history. After Homer: The Resonance of Epic (London 2005), she wrote a commentary on Iliad 6 for the Cambridge 'Green and Yellow' series, again with Johannes Haubold: Iliad 6: A Commentary (Cambridge 2010). She has also edited two volumes: Homer in the 20th Century: Between World Literature and the Western Canon (Oxford 2007), with Emily Greenwood, explores the place of Homer in the literary landscape of the twentieth century; The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies, edited with George Boys-Stones and Phiroze Vasunia (Oxford 2009), was her attempt at getting a panoramic view of the field of Hellenic Studies.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Graziosi, B. (2018, August 15). Homer: Iliad - The Composition of the Poem [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Graziosi, B. "Homer: Iliad – The Composition of the Poem." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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