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The Iliad and the Odyssey

Code: 104206 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 2 2
2504394 English and Classics Studies OB 2 2


Carlos Varias Garcia

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Marta Oller Guzman


It is highly recommended to have passed the subjects Elements of Greek Language and Greek Narrative Texts of the 1st year of the Degree in Sciences of Antiquity, as well as to have taken the subject Greek Historiography and Philosophy in the first semester of the 2nd year.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This subject belongs to the branch "Greek Philology", and is a compulsory subject of the second year.

The subject deals withs the origins and characteristics of Greek epic poetry, and its continuity, through the study of the two major Greek epic poems in Antiquity: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, which mark the beginning of Greek literature. A selection of passages from the Homeric poems, taken from the book: Antología de la Ilíada y de la Odisea, by M. S. Ruipérez and collaborators, will be translated by students.

At the end of the semester students must be able to:

  • translate and comment rightly passages from both Homeric poems,
  • identify the thematic and formal characteristics of Greek epic poetry,
  • appreciate what Homeric poems have contributed to western cultural legacy.

Furthermore, students will have to explain in detail the contents of the two compulsory readings in translation: Homer's Iliad and Hesiod's Theogony, an author who will be explain more briefly at lectures.


    Ancient Studies
  • Apply grammatical knowledge acquired in the analysis and comprehension of Latin and Greek texts.
  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Make a commentary on a literary texts applying knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
    English and Classics Studies
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics to comment on literary texts and analyse the culture and history of English-speaking countries and the ancient world.
  • Demonstrate grammatical knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages and its application to the analysis and comprehension of Greek and Latin texts.
  • Interpret written texts in Latin and Greek to learn about classical history and civilizations.
  • Produce effective written work or oral presentations adapted to the appropriate register in distinct languages.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse the morpho-syntactic components of a Greek text, identifying those that are internal to a particular literary genre or dialect.
  2. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  3. Explain the context of the literary works whose characters, topics and clichés were passed down to the following tradition.
  4. Extract information from the Greek texts on features of the Greek imaginary, ways of thinking and mentality.
  5. Identify in the Greek texts the characteristics of a particular literary genre.
  6. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.
  7. Translate fragments of the Greek works proposed.
  8. Translate fragments of the proposed Greek works.
  9. Write a metric commentary on a Greek text in verse.


A. List of topics

1. Introduction to Greek epic poetry

1.1. Origins of Greek epics. "Aoidoi" (singers) and "rhapsodes" (reciters).

1.2. The oral tradition. The formular style.

1.3. The epic language.

1.4. The historical background of Greek epic poetry.

1.5. The 'Epic Cycle' and other heroic poems.

2. The Homeric poems: IliadOdyssey

2.1. The Homeric Question: The issue of the making of the Homeric poems.

2.2. Structure and contents of Iliad.

2.3. Structure and contents of Odyssey.

2.4. The Homeric societies and their cultural values.

2.5. Other poems ascribed to Homer.

2.6. Transmission, modern editions and Homer's survival.

3. The Homeric Hymns

4. Hesiod

5. Apollonius of Rhodes and the renewal of the Epic in Hellenistic times.

B. Selection of passages to be translated

1. Il. 1.1-187: Proem; a plague; quarrel between Akhilleus and Agamemnon.

2. Il. 6.399-413 and 429-502: Hektor and Andromakhe's farewell.

3. Il. 22.289-366: Individual combat between Hektor and Akhilleus; Hektor's death.

4. Od. 1.1-27: Proem; gods and goddesses meet at Olympus.

5. Od. 6.56-70 and 110-185: Nausicaa asks her father for a wagon and mules to go to the river with her servants; meeting of Nausicaa and Odysseus at the river.

6. Od. 9.353-414: Odysseus and Cyclop Polyphemus.

7. Od. 21.404-434: Odysseus pass the bow's trial.

8. Od. 23.173-189: Penelope puts Odysseus to the test of the marriage bed.

C. Reading of Homer's Iliad and Hesiod's Theogony in translation


The subject, eminently practical, will be organized in two groups according to the levels established in the first year and in the subject Greek Historiography and Philosophy of the first semester of the 2ond year.

The methodology of this subject will consist on alternating theoretical explanations from every topic listed in the previous section, with the translation of the authors’ passages already cited, according to the level of each group.

Attended lectures will be basically practical. The professor will devote time to:

1. Reading, translating and commenting the programmed texts' selection.

2. Giving to students means to can increase gradually the quantity of translated text.

3. Correcting the texts daily translated by the students, individually or in groups.

4. Commenting the linguistic, literary and sociocultural contents of the translated texts, focusing in particular on the aspects relating to their later tradition.

5. Explaining contents which help to contextualise the text.

Students will have to be responsible for bringing every day the text to be translated and commented. 

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Exercises of translation and commentary 35 1.4 1, 2, 9, 6, 3, 5, 7
Explanation of the subject's theoretical contents 10 0.4 3, 5
Type: Supervised      
Consulting additional bibliography 10 0.4 2, 3, 5
Supervised translations 9 0.36 1, 9, 6, 7
Writing the review 5 0.2 2, 6, 3, 5
Type: Autonomous      
Exercises and translations 35 1.4 1, 2, 9, 6, 3, 5, 7
Reading and review of Hesiod's Theogony 20 0.8 2, 6, 3, 5
Reading of Homer's Iliad 20 0.8 2, 6, 3, 5



The evaluation of this subject is continuous and will be done according to the evaluation activities which are stated in the table below.

Given the eminently practical nature of this subject and in order to make a gradual learning of the contents, it is very important that students consider the regular attendance at lectures and the execution and assessment of exercises, translations and several questions proposed in lectures within the periods stipulated by the professor, in order to show the understanding and use of the contents explained by the professor.

It is an essential requirement to obtain a minimum grade of 4 in each of the assessment activities to make a weighted average of all the grades that make up the final grade, an average that must reach 5 to pass the course.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 30% of the assessment items.


In the event that the student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may tale place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Procedure for reviewing grades

On carrying out each avaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (Moodle) of the procedure to be followed for revieing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.

Reassessment procedure

To participate in the reassessment, students must have previously been assessed in a set of activities whose weight is equivalent to a minimum of 2/3 of the total grade. Also, to participate in the reassessment procedure, students must have obtain a minimum grade of 3'5.

Reaching a minimun mark of 4 in every evaluation activity is an essential requirement to do the final weighted average mark, which must be 5 or more to pass the subject. Only students who have failed an exam or a review with a mark below 4, or have not reach 5 in the final weighted average mark, can resit at the reevaluation. Only two translation exam's marks at the most, besides the review and the reading control, can be resitted. 

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Attendance and active participation in lectures 10% 0 0 1, 9, 5, 7, 8
Reading control of Homer's Iliad 10% 1.5 0.06 2, 6, 3, 5
Review of Hesiod's Theogony 10% 0 0 2, 6, 3, 4, 5
Written translation exam with dictionnary and metrical, literary and sociocultural commentary of the Odyssey (2nd modular exam) 25% 1.5 0.06 1, 9, 3, 5, 7, 8
Written translation with dictionnary exam and metrical, literary and sociocultural commentary of the Iliad (1st modular exam) 25% 1.5 0.06 1, 9, 3, 5, 7, 8
Written translation without dictionnary exam of in-class translated texts of the Iliad and Odyssey 20% 1.5 0.06 1, 9, 3, 7, 8



Compulsory handbook

Ruipérez, Martín S. y colaboradores, Antología de la Ilíada y de la Odisea, Madrid: Fundación Pastor de Estudios Clásicos 1990 [available at the webpage: interclassica.um.es (secció "hemeroteca") o at fundacionpastor.e.telefonica.net].

Basic bibliography

Carlier, Pierre, Homero, Madrid 2005.

Guzmán Guerra, Antonio, Manual de métrica griega, Madrid 1997.

Lesky, Albin, “La epopeya homérica” en Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid 1969, pp. 31-113.

López Eire, Antonio, “Homero” en J. A. López Férez (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid 1988, pp. 33-65.

Varias, Carlos, “La poesía épica”, Madrid: http://www.liceus.com, 2005. 21 pág. ISBN: 84-9822-192-7.

Varias, Carlos, “Los poemas homéricos: IlíadaOdisea. Los Himnos homéricos y la Batracomiomaquia”, Madrid: http://www.liceus.com, 2005. 24 pág. ISBN: 84-9822-200-1.

Varias, Carlos, “Hesíodo”, Madrid: http://www.liceus.com, 2008. 20 pág. ISBN: 978-84-9822-769-7.

Additional bibliography

Adrados, Francisco R.; Fernández-Galiano, Manuel; Gil, Luis; Lasso de la Vega, José S., Introducción a Homero, Madrid 1963.

Cabrera, Paloma; Olmos, Ricardo (coord.), Sobrela Odisea: visiones desde el mito y la arqueología, Madrid 2003.

Cairns, Douglas L. (ed.), Oxford readings in Homer’s Iliad, Oxford, 2001.

Carter, Jane B.; Morris, Sarah P. (eds.), The Ages of Homer. A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule,Austin 1995.

Chantraine, Pierre, Grammaire homérique, tome I: Phonétique et morphologie, tome II: Syntaxe. Nouvelle édition revue et corrigée par Michel Casevitz. Paris 2013-2015.

Deger-Jalkotzy, Sigrid; Lemos, Irene (eds.), Ancient Greece: From the Mycenaean Palaces to the Age of Homer, Edinburgh 2006.

Doherty, Lillian E. (ed.), Homer's Odyssey (Oxford Readings in Classical Studies), Oxford 2009.

Efstathiou, Athanasios; Karamanou, Ioanna (eds.), Homeric Receptions Across Generic and Cultural Contexts, Berlin 2016.

Finley, Moses I., El món d’Ulisses, Barcelona 19852.

Foley, John M. (ed.), A Companion to Ancient Epic, Oxford 2009.

Fowler, Robert (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Homer, Cambridge 2004.

Graziosi, Barbara, Homer, Oxford 2016.

Graziosi, Barbara; Greenwood, Emily (eds.), Homer in the Twentieth Century, Oxford 2007.

Heubeck, Alfred; West, Stephanie; Hainsworth, J. B.; Hoekstra, Arie; Russo, Joseph; Fernández-Galiano, Manuel, A Commentary on Homer’s Odissey, 3 vols., Oxford 1988-1992.

Kanavou, Nikoletta, The Names of Homeric Heroes. Problems and Interpretations, Berlin 2015.

Kirk, G. S. (ed.), The Iliad: A Commentary, 6 vols., Cambridge 1985-1993.

Latacz, Joachim, Troya y Homero. Hacia la resolución de un enigma, Barcelona 2003.

Manolea, Christina-Panagiota (ed.), Brill's Companion to the Reception of Homer from the Hellensitic Age to Late Antiquity, Leiden 2021.

Miralles, Carles, Homer, Barcelona 2005.

Morris, Ian; Powell, Barry (eds.), ANew Companion to Homer, Leiden-New York-Köln 1997.

Morris, Sarah P.; Laffineur, R. (eds.), EPOS. Reconsidering Greek Epic and Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology. Proceedings of the 11th International Aegean Conference, Los Angeles, 20-23 April 2006 (= Aegaeum 26), Liège-Austin 2007.

Mylonas Shear, Ione, Kingship in the Mycenaean World and Its Reflections in the Oral Tradition, Philadelphia 2004.

Nagy, Gregory, The Best of the Achaeans. Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry, Baltimore-London 1999.

Ondine Pache, Corinne (ed.), The Cambrige Guide to Homer, Cambridge 2020.

Parry, Adam (ed.), The Making of Homeric Verse. The Collected Papers of Milman Parry, Oxford 1971.

Pòrtulas, Jaume, Introducció a la Ilíada. Homer, entre la història i la llegenda, Barcelona 2009.

Reitz, Christiane; Finkmann, Simone (eds.), Structures of Epic Poetry. 3 vols. Berlin 2019.

Romilly, Jacqueline de, Homère, 20197

Sherratt, Susan; Bennet, John (eds.), Archaeology andHomeric Epic, Oxford 2017.

Vidal-Naquet, Pierre, El món d’Homer, Barcelona 2002.

Catalan and Spanish translations of Iliad and Theogony

Hesíode, Teogonia. Traducció de Francesc J. Cuartero Iborra. Martorell: Adesiara, 2012.

Hesíode, Teogonia. Els treballs i el dies. Introducció, traducció i notes de Joan Castellanos i Vila. Barcelona: La Magrana, 1999.

Hesíodo, Obras y fragmentos. Introducción, traducción y notas de Aurelio Pérez Jiménez y Alfonso Martínez Díez. Madrid: Gredos, 1978.

Hesíodo, Teogonía; Trabajos y Días; Escudo; Certamen. Introducción, traducción y notas de Adelaida Martín Sánchez y Mª Ángeles Martín Sánchez. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2000.

Homer, La Ilíada. Traducció, introducció i notes de Manuel Balasch. Barcelona: Edicions Proa, 1997.

Homer, La Ilíada. Introducció, traducció i notes de Joan Alberich. Barcelona: La Magrana, 19993.

Homer, Ilíada. Estudis introductoris de Jaume Pòrtulas i Francesc J. Cuartero. Traducció de Montserrat Ros. Martorell: Adesiara, 2019.

Homer, Ilíada. Pròleg d'Enric Casassas. Traducció de Pau Sabaté. Barcelona: Bernat Metge, 2019.

Homero, Ilíada. Edición y traducción de Antonio López Eire. Madrid: Cátedra, 1989.

Homero, Ilíada. Traducción, prólogo y notas de Emilio Crespo. Madrid: Gredos, 1991.

Homero, Ilíada. Traducción de Óscar Martínez García. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2010.

Homero, Ilíada. Edición bilingüe de F. Javier Pérez. Madrid: Abada, 2012.

Homero, Ilíada. Texto crítico, traducción y notas por Luis M. Macía y Jesús de la Villa. 4 vols. Madrid: C.S.I.C. (col. 'Alma Mater'), 2013 [bilingual edition].


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