ONLINE SEMINAR
October 3 | Homer’s Iliad

European literature’s first great work is a magnificent poem that challenges us to think about what really matters: about what is worth living—and dying—for. Homer’s Iliad recounts the story of the Trojan War, covering just a few pivotal weeks near the end of the Greek army’s ten-year siege of the mighty city of Troy. The invading Greek army’s greatest warrior, Achilles, withdraws from the fighting after a dispute with their leader Agamemnon, bringing the threat of defeat and destruction upon the Greeks. His action precipitates devastating results for both sides, ultimately leading to the fall of Troy itself.

Homer portrays a world in which his characters are pulled by forces most of which seem beyond their control. On the human plane, they are driven by loyalties to comrades, fidelity to an oath, responsibility to family and city, subordination to authority, and the lure of fame. Above them, the Olympian gods exert influence both benevolent and malign. Looming over everything is the obscure force called Fate.

Though memorable for its scenes of bloody battle and the squabbling of gods on Olympus, the Iliad exudes an intense humanity, infusing a tragic longing for peace amid the seeming inevitability of war and destruction. Homer invites us to put ourselves into the world of the war: a place no one wants to be, where the gods seem unpredictable, and where there’s a genuine question of whether justice is anywhere to be found. Through the struggles of Homer’s warriors, the Iliad brings us face-to-face with fundamental questions about honor, community, justice, love, and loyalty, as the story’s characters search to make sense of their inescapable mortality.

This six-week seminar will be read-as-we-go: the reading load each week will be roughly 1/6 of the poem, about 90 pages per week.

When: Six weekly sessions on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Eastern, starting October 3, 2020 and ending November 14, 2020. There will be no meeting October 24.

Duration: 2 1/4 hours per session, with a short break mid-way.

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$250 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We will be using Zoom online meeting software; you will receive instructions on how to download Zoom free after registration. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable. Select your registration below; please use the Toronto Pursuits credit option only if you are a registered participant of Toronto Pursuits 2020 who wants to put your deposit or previous payment toward an online seminar.

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Description

LEADER

Mark Cwik is the education manager for Classical Pursuits. He is a longtime Toronto Pursuits and trip leader and has been an organizer of adult great books discussion groups for 25 years. He specializes in literature from the ancient, mythic and religious world. Mark lives in London, England, where he also leads seminars with the London Literary Salon.

READINGS

The Iliad, by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, introduction by Bernard Knox
(Penguin Classics, 1998)
ISBN-13: 978-0140275360

Please be sure to obtain the Robert Fagles translation.

“Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed,
that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls . . .”
– Homer, The Iliad (tr. Robert Fagles)

European literature’s first great work is a magnificent poem that challenges us to think about what really matters: about what is worth living—and dying—for. Homer’s Iliad recounts the story of the Trojan War, covering just a few pivotal weeks near the end of the Greek army’s ten-year siege of the mighty city of Troy. The invading Greek army’s greatest warrior, Achilles, withdraws from the fighting after a dispute with their leader Agamemnon, bringing the threat of defeat and destruction upon the Greeks. His action precipitates devastating results for both sides, ultimately leading to the fall of Troy itself.

Homer portrays a world in which his characters are pulled by forces most of which seem beyond their control. On the human plane, they are driven by loyalties to comrades, fidelity to an oath, responsibility to family and city, subordination to authority, and the lure of fame. Above them, the Olympian gods exert influence both benevolent and malign. Looming over everything is the obscure force called Fate.

Though memorable for its scenes of bloody battle and the squabbling of gods on Olympus, the Iliad exudes an intense humanity, infusing a tragic longing for peace amid the seeming inevitability of war and destruction. Homer invites us to put ourselves into the world of the war: a place no one wants to be, where the gods seem unpredictable, and where there’s a genuine question of whether justice is anywhere to be found. Through the struggles of Homer’s warriors, the Iliad brings us face-to-face with fundamental questions about honor, community, justice, love, and loyalty, as the story’s characters search to make sense of their inescapable mortality.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable.

 

Additional information

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Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit

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