What is the course about?
The fabled city of Troy, celebrated in myth, epic poetry and art for three millennia. The story of its rediscovery in modern times is equally rich in human interest. We explore - and enjoy - the lovely art and poetry to ask if they preserve in some degree an authentic historical memory.
What will we cover?
The great poems of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and other epic traditions. The 'taking' of the beautiful Helen, Queen of Sparta, and the destruction of a city. Heroic feats or arms, interventions by manipulative gods, the anger of Achilles and its terrible consequences. The dangers and tragedies off the voyages home. We explore the contemporary world in which great empires competed for dominance in the Levant and for the control of trade in the eastern Mediterranean. We consider the possibility that archaeology and textual archives just might support this epic tradition.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- recognise and identify the principal characters and events in this epic tradition
- have an awareness of the potential and limits of poetic, artistic and archaeological evidence in 'reconstructing' the remove past
- ultimately, enjoy a studied engagement with the ancient world.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No prior skills are required but your enjoyment of the course will be enhanced if you read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in advance. Many excellent translations are available.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A series of lectures richly documented with images of archaeological sites, antiquities and works of art. These will not merely illustrate the narrative but are frequently the principal evidence on which the 'history' is based. These presentations are interactive where contributions, questions, critiques and discussions are integral and welcomed in a friendly classroom environment.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs for the course but you might have to pay for the ticket for the Troy exhibition if you are not a Friend of the British Museum.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Any other Classical Civilisations classes. Please check our website or the prospectus for details.