By Charlotte Brookins
A CLAS tradition returned to the T. Anne Cleary Walkway in April—Homerathon, the 12-hour reading of all 24 books of Homer’s Iliad, one of the author’s two great epics written in dactylic hexameter.
The Department of Classics, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has held this tradition year after year, but took a break during the COVID-19 pandemic. In late April, it hosted its first in-person reading after a hiatus. The event lasted from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., consisting of five-minute intervals of reading from many volunteers.
The event was held by the classics department, national undergraduate honors society for ancient studies Eta Sigma Phi, and the Classics Honors Society.
Gillian Marbury, a fifth-year student studying ancient civilizations and classical languages, is on the executive board for Eta Sigma Phi and helped organize the event.
“I was a first-year student the last time we did this event,” she says. “Though I wasn’t a classics major then.”
Homerathon encouraged passersby to join in the event and read a section of the story in order to keep a constant flow of reading over the 12-hour period. To promote the event, some professors offered extra credit for students willing to take time out of their day to read.
“My favorite part of classical mythology is how all the stories connect to each other,” Caden Haupt, a first-year student studying secondary education and math, says.
Haupt was encouraged by her classical mythology professor to read at the event.
“It’s all significant to one another—the different characters and stories all mean things in other stories,” she added.
This year’s Homerathon garnered many volunteers, allowing the UI community to properly celebrate it for the first time in several years.
To learn more about the Department of Classics, visit classics.uiowa.edu.