• Devin O'Donnell

The Iliad Begins

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Sometimes we teachers we remember that we get paid to teach Homer. And so we begin The Iliad. and there was much rejoicing—cut to cheering 10th graders. But seriously. The Iliad is the kind of work that cannot really be judged. It has already judged us before we judge it. And in case any out there have criticisms, you cannot do better than to remember the warning of Joshua Gibbs: "You cannot slap Homer without sitting in his lap."

As we begin this work, consider Pope's rendering of the opening lines. Compare it to Fagles—and no, Fagles is not the best translation. We won't talk translations here. (As the kids say, "I literally can't even right now.") But here's Pope's opening:

Achilles’ wrath, to Greece the direful spring Of woes unnumber’d, heavenly goddess, sing! That wrath which hurl’d to Pluto’s gloomy reign The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain; Whose limbs unburied on the naked shore, Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore. Since great Achilles and Atrides strove, Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove!

And so it begins as all great classical works, "in media res."

Traditio Agenda for Tuesday & the Week:

  1. Prayer

  2. Collect assignments (JTB, Sophocles Worksheet, etc.)

  3. Review introductory materials for Iliad

  4. Begin reading Homer (Book 1)

Agenda for Thursday & Friday:

  1. Prayer

  2. Recite first 8 lines of Iliad together

  3. Work on Bible:

  4. Read House for My Name (Chapter 2)

  5. Begin Dig Deep Reading for Quarter 2

  6. Read Preface of The Great Divorce

  7. Read Book II of The Iliad together

  8. Get up to line 560


  1. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Pray, that you may not stumble.

  2. Bring Iliad books (We read Homer!)

  3. Continue to work on memorizing Poetry Out Loud (POL) selections

  4. 12-line Imitation of POL due Friday (12/10)

  5. Recitation of first 8 lines of Invocation in The ILIAD (12/13)


DAVID, Jacques-Louis The Anger of Achilles, or Sacrifice of Iphigénie, 1825, Oil on canvas, Private collection

29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All