Huskers to immerse campus in Homer's 'Iliad'

Huskers to immerse campus in Homer's 'Iliad'

Iliad
Shutterstock
Menelaus was king of Mycenaean Sparta, husband of Helen of Troy, and son of Atreus and Aerope. According to the ‘Iliad,’ Menelaus was a central figure in the Trojan War, leading the Spartan contingent of the Greek army, under his elder brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln community will be immersed in the words of Homer’s “Iliad” for nearly 24 hours, as the Homerathon brings the famous Ancient Greek epic to life.

The university’s first-ever Homerathon — a marathon reading of “Iliad” — will begin 7 a.m. April 19 on the Meier Commons green space north of the Nebraska Union. It is expected to wrap at 4 a.m. April 20.

Throughout the day, students, faculty, staff and campus visitors are invited to listen and participate in the marathon reading.

The “Iliad” tells the story of Achilles and his quarrel with King Agamemnon during a short time period of the Trojan War. It delves into the themes of fate, heroism, violence and justice. It is one of the most well known of the Ancient Greek epics.

“(‘Iliad’) obviously has themes that have resonated throughout time,” Brooke Mott, a classics and religious studies major, said during an interview with NET’s Friday Live program April 13. “It’s a relevant story that we’ve all enjoyed and we’re bringing it to life in a very interactive experience.”

Homerathon will feature readings of “Iliad” by special guests, including Stanley Lombardo, an American Classicist and former University of Kansas professor whose translations of the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" are well known. Additional guests include Pat Leach, director of Lincoln Libraries; Carl Eskridge, Lincoln City Council member; Leirion Baird, Lincoln City Council member; and many deans, program directors and vice chancellors from across the university.

Additional entertainment will be offered, including poetry readings, short presentations by faculty members, dancing demonstrations and comedy. Food from Ichiban Sichuan and the Parthenon will be available, along with free coffee from The Mill.

The event is being organized by Mott as part of her UCARE project in Classics and Religious Studies. Mott recruited several other students who worked in teams to implement the event, and will be on hand to discuss the poem and answer questions for participants and listeners.

“Nebraska has never done anything like this before, so we’re trying to make it as big and fun as we possibly can,” Mott said.