From the Daily Camera:
One of Nick Romeo’s favorite moments in Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” is when the protagonist, Odysseus, ventures into the underworld and encounters the spirit of Greek hero Achilles.
While Odysseus observes Achilles is blessed in death as he was in life, Achilles responds that he would rather be a living slave to the worst of masters than king of the dead.
“It’s a very poignant moment,” said Romeo, a graduate student in the University of Colorado’s classics department. “It’s obviously a very different picture of the after life than the Christian heaven.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Romeo got to hear the passage read aloud by classics professor Peter Hunt, who was among nearly 70 volunteers who read 10-minute portions of the epic as part of a marathon, 12-hour reading performed in the lobby of the Eaton Humanities building.
The reading, an idea of Romeo’s, was done to tell the tale the way ancient Greek bards would have performed it almost 3,000 years ago, and also to heighten the profile of CU’s classics department on the campus.
“We don’t know much about how Homer performed ‘The Odyssey,’ but we do know it was an oral epic,” Romeo said. “We thought it would be nice to do something that creates an echo of that today.”
Romeo read several times during the marathon event and was joined by classics professors, undergraduate students from various majors, area residents and even a middle school student. He called the epic “sort of the original story,” noting Odysseus longing to return to his family and homeland resonates with people to this day, while the sex and violence of the story make it “very HBO.”
Beth Dusinberre, a professor of Greek and near Eastern archaeology, helped Romeo organize the live reading and brought one of her classes to the Eaton lobby to participate. She said she thought it was fitting the event took place the same week as the Conference on World Affairs because, “In terms of world interaction in antiquity, what could be better?”
To her knowledge, Tuesday was the first time people had come together on the CU campus to read the epic in its entirety.
Dusinberre said the noise of the Eaton lobby mimicked the crowded public places bards may have performed the poem in antiquity.
Angie Wolfrum, 22, was among the people sucked into the reading by free Greek-themed snacks. The snacks, delivered by UMC Events and Catering at 3 and 6 p.m., were referred to as goat sacrifice in fliers handed out about the event.
“I think it’s really cool,” Wolfrum, a French major, said of the reading. “I didn’t really know what was happening the first five minutes, but then I read the signs and decided to sit down because it was interesting.”
Classics major Gordon Magne, 23, took part in the reading in the morning and then returned in the afternoon to listen to more of the poem.
“This is really great. I think they should make this an annual thing,” Magne said. “It’s fun to hang out and be classics nerds.”
- via: Dozens take part in 12-hour reading of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ at CU-Boulder (Daily Camera)
… well of course it is! The original article includes a short video of a bit of the ‘performance’ … That said, lest these marathon readings get repetitive, maybe we should have a Marathon reading of the Satyricon … or maybe Horace’s Satires … or Juvenal … (hint, hint)