Carlos Museum to host three-day live reading of Homer's 'The Iliad'

Emory Report | Sept. 9, 2019

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Ajax and Achilles Playing Dice at Troy. Greek, Attic. Late 6th century BC. Ceramic. Gift of Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer.

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The Michael C. Carlos Museum is marking its centennial anniversary with a variety of programs throughout the year. One of special significance will be a live, three-day reading of Homer’s “The Iliad” during the weekend of Sept. 13 through Sept. 15.

“The story of ‘The Iliad’ was shared orally before it was ever written down,” says Elizabeth Hornor, Ingram senior director of education for the Carlos Museum. Participants will read Stanley Lombardo’s translation of the text, which has been praised as pulsing “with all the power and luminosity of the Greek.”

“Lombardo captures the poetry, energy and directness of the original Greek as well as a sense of urgency that feels very contemporary and lends his translation to performance,” Hornor adds.

Similar programs have been well-received in the past.

“In 2014, in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey,’ we hosted a live reading of Lombardo’s translation of the ‘Odyssey,’” Hornor says. “Members of Atlanta’s African American community such as Rose Scott of WABE, Kwanza Hall, and Shirley Franklin joined Emory faculty and staff as readers, and the readings were standing room-only.” 

“The Iliad” reading is held in collaboration with Theater Emory and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Over the three days, 26 readers will perform all 24 books of the epic poem that recounts some of the significant events during the final weeks of the Trojan War and the Greek siege of the city of Troy. It explores themes of glory, wrath, homecoming and fate. 

Each day’s opening and closing readings will be given by Stanley Lombardo, professor emeritus of classics at the University of Kansas. Additional readers include some of Atlanta’s finest actors, local radio personality Virginia Prescott (host of “On Second Thought” on Georgia Public Broadcasting), Emory students and Emory staff and faculty. Readers from Emory’s faculty and staff include Bonna Wescoat, Sandy Blakely, Patrick Allitt, Caitlin Hargraves, Nick Fesette, Tim McDonough, Jonathan Master, Niall Slater, Garth Tissol, Lisa Paulsen, Pellom McDaniels, January Lavoy, Ron Schuchard, John Ammerman, Geraldine Higgins, Michael Evenden, Henry Bayerle, Joshua Wilder and Christa Acampora.

The full reading schedule is available here

The event is free and open to the public. All readings will be in Ackerman Hall of the Carlos Museum. Ebrik Coffee Room, located in the museum, will be open throughout the event, serving specialty drinks and Greek small plates. 

Sessions will be Friday, Sept. 13, from 7 until 11 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 14, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 15, from 2 p.m. until 8:15 p.m.