Homeric Epic by Jen Swalec

1. Circe and Odysseus in Ancient Art

This resource offers a series of questions that will help students engage with four ancient artifacts that represent the goddess Circes interactions or influences upon Odysseus and his companions. All these artifacts were made several centuries after the Odyssey was composed, but they should not be approached as straightforward or mere illustrations of episodes from the Odyssey. Rather, all five works of art (four artifacts and the epic poem) represent different versions of the story of how Circe interacts with Odysseus and his men. This resource assumes that students already will have read Books 9 and 10 of the Odyssey.
This handout is formatted as a guide that an instructor can use to facilitate a conversation during a class meeting. The questions are meant to be asked by the instructor while students actively look at images of each artifact, using the weblinks provided. After each question, examples of possible observations that students might offer are included in italics. The italicized answers also sometimes include extra information that the instructor can share.

Download Circe and Odysseus in Ancient Art


2. Odysseus and Nausicaa in Ancient Art

This resource offers a series of questions that will help students engage with two ancient artifacts that represent the Greek warrior Odysseus meeting the Phaeacian princess Nausicaa while trying to get back to his home on Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War. Both artifacts were made in the Greek region of Attica several centuries after the Odyssey was composed, but they should not be approached as straightforward or mere illustrations of episodes from the Odyssey. Rather, all three works of art (the two artifacts and the epic poem) represent different versions of the story of how Odysseus meets Nausicaa. This resource assumes that students already will have read Book 6 of the Odyssey.
This handout is formatted as a guide that an instructor can use to facilitate a conversation during a class meeting. The questions are meant to be asked by the instructor while students actively look at images of each artifact, using the weblinks provided. After each question, examples of possible observations that students might offer are included in italics. The italicized answers also sometimes include extra information that the instructor can share.

Download Odysseus and Nausicaa in Ancient Art


3. Odysseus’s Homecoming in Ancient Art

This resource offers a series of questions that will help students engage with two ancient artifacts that represent Odysseus returning home to Ithaca after fighting in the Trojan War. Both artifacts were made on the Greek island of Melos several centuries after the Odyssey was composed, but they should not be approached as straightforward or mere illustrations of episodes from the Odyssey. Rather, all three works of art (the two artifacts and the epic poem) represent different versions of the story of Odysseus’s homecoming (nostos). This resource assumes that students already will have read Books 13-24 of the Odyssey.
This handout is formatted as a guide that an instructor can use to facilitate a conversation during a class meeting. The questions are meant to be asked by the instructor while students actively look at images of each artifact, using the weblinks provided. After each question, examples of possible observations that students might offer are included in italics. The italicized answers also sometimes include extra information that the instructor can share.

Download Odysseus’s Homecoming in Ancient Art


4. Odysseus’s Trip to the Underworld in Ancient Art

This resource offers a series of questions that will help students engage with two ancient artifacts that represent Odysseus’s trip to Hades, which is also called his katabasis (from the ancient Greek words κατά, “downwards,” and βαίνω, “go”). Both artifacts were made several centuries after the Odyssey was composed, but they should not be approached as straightforward or mere illustrations of episodes from the Odyssey. Rather, all three works of art (the two artifacts and the epic poem) represent slightly different versions of Odysseus’s katabasis. This resource assumes that students already will have read Books 10 and 11 of the Odyssey.
This handout is formatted as a guide that an instructor can use to facilitate a conversation during a class meeting. The questions are meant to be asked by the instructor while students actively look at images of each artifact, using the weblinks provided. After each question, examples of possible observations that students might offer are included in italics. The italicized answers also sometimes include extra information that the instructor can share.

Download Odysseus’s Trip to the Underworld in Ancient Art


5. Polyphemos and Scylla in Ancient Art

This resource is a spreadsheet of artworks, with museum information and links.

Download Polyphemos and Scylla in Ancient Art

 

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