This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2021-2022

POLS 13181-2: The Political Philosophy of Homer's Iliad

Instructor: Sotirios Barber

Homer’s Iliad has fascinated readers for the better part of three millennia. No book except the Bible has motivated more scholarly commentary. Our aim this semester is to read this classic with the care that it deserves. As we do so we shall confront a view of the world and humankind that will involve us in many puzzles. As we wrestle with these puzzles we will discover that a great virtue of the Iliad lies in the debates it provokes. These debates, properly conducted, require clarity of thought and expression on our part, along with respect for evidence, textual and otherwise, and a willingness to suspend judgment until all sides receive their due. These virtues, like virtues generally, are improved with exercise, and our exercises will take the form of active class discussion, assigned oral reports, five short papers on problems as they arise in the readings, and a term paper of 15-20 pages on a topic selected by the student and approved by the instructor. Students considering this seminar should know that an active and critical reading of The Iliad is intellectually demanding. Students considering this seminar should know also that good writing is hard and that good writing is essential to good grades in this course. Register for this course only if you’re willing to work hard to improve your writing. Course grades will be based on class participation (discussion, oral reports), the term paper, and on-time completion of all assignments. Class attendance is mandatory; all absences must be formally excused. Term papers are due no later than the last day of class. No final exam. Course texts are: Richmond Lattimore, The Iliad of Homer Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (any edition)