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CL4420 Fame, Tradition and Narrative: Homer's lliad

SCOTCAT credits:30
Academic year(s):2017/8
SCQF Level 10
Planned timetable:2.00 pm - 4.00 pm Tue

This module will give students the opportunity to study Homer's celebrated martial epic, the Iliad, in translation and in detail. It will consider the relevant social and cultural-historical questions which are prompted by this tale of heroic savagery and suffering: why might archaic Greeks have needed an epic like this? Why is the Homeric conception of the heroic so fraught with conflict and so obsessed with honour, memory and power? The module will also analyse and interpret the epic's rich poetic texture and 'oral-derived' style (formulae, similes, type-scenes…); it will explore the character of its heroes and their relationship with divinity. For all its depictions of battle and slaughter the Iliad is a poem about language as much as action and participants will consider the complex rhetoric of heroes who fight with words as well as swords. Finally, the module will ask how and why famous artists and poets of the modern era have returned to the Iliad's ideas and imagery.

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for all Classical Studies Degrees, for Ancient History & Archaeology Single Honours, and for all Ancient History, Classics, Greek, and Latin (Single and Joint, but excluding Three subject) Degrees.

UG Pre-requisite(s):As stated in the School of Classics Undergraduate Handbook

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 x 2-hour seminar and 1 coursework consultation hour.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 22
  • Guided independent study: 278

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 50%
  • Practical examinations: 0%
  • Coursework: 50%
UG As used by St Andrews:3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%
UG Re-assessment:3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator:Dr J Hesk
Module teaching staff:Dr J Hesk