Department of Greek & Latin


Summer School in Homer 2019

UK - Monday 22nd July to Friday 26th July 2019

The Summer School offers five days of intensive teaching of Homeric language and literature. There will be four language classes each day as well as lectures, between 10.30 and 16.30. The course is not residential.

Teaching will be generally in groups of 15-20 people which, as far as possible, comprise students of roughly the same level of experience (beginners, intermediate or advanced). The style of teaching is friendly, but demanding: a lot of work is expected from students during the School, but they should find the whole experience both stimulating and valuable. Some classes concentrate chiefly on reading texts, while others offer a mixture of grammar and translation practice. Our tutors include some of the most experienced and talented teachers of Classics in the London area and beyond.

Programme for classes of the UK Summer School

The class will cover Iliad 18. Based on previous experience, the advanced group should be able to get through all or nearly all of the text, which is just over 600 lines. Around 120 lines a day is about right for reading, translation and discussion. 

Beginners Greek*

Frank Beetham, Beginning Greek with Homer (An elementary course based on Odyssey 5), pp. 1-50.

Intermediate Greek*

Frank Beetham, Beginning Greek with Homer (An elementary course based on Odyssey 5), pp. 41-110.

Advanced Greek 1*

The class will cover Odyssey 6, using Janet Watson’s BCP edition of Homer: Odyssey VI & VII. That is just the right sort of level for Advanced I, with only 331 lines and lots of grammar and vocab help in that edition.

Advanced Greek 2*
Homer in the Middle Ages† TBC
Greek Religion and Homer† TBC
Linear B*

Day 1

On the footsteps of Homer: The discovery of the Aegean Bronze Age

  1. Introduction to the course and course structure
  2. The father founders of Aegean Archaeology
  3. Aegean pre-history or history? When written evidence matters (?)
  4. Archaeology and text: The decipherment of LB
  5. LB tablets classification system: Museums and collections as modern 'Palaces'

Activity: Brush up on LB with flashcards!

Day 2

Writing before Homer: The LB Writing System

  1. LB from a linguistic perspective:The LB sign inventory, spelling rules, palaeographic variants and scribal hands
  2. LB tablets as material objects (pinacology): Tablet format and layout as reflective of administrative practice
  3. Reading session: What do texts tell us? How to get silent texts to speak. A jump into Mycenaean economy, society & religion

Activity: Make your own Linear B tablet!

Day 3

Digging out the Homeric world: The archaeological context of LB


  1. Wandering around the Aegean: The find-places of LB tablets
  2. Tablet deposits and their chronology
  3. What does a LB 'archive' look like?
  4. Reading se ssion: 'Across space and time'. Reading illustrative sets of tablets from geographically and chronologically different deposits

Activity: 'Mycenopoly' (board game based on LB find-places and tablet deposits; courtesy of Dr. Anna P. Judson)

Day 4

How much did Homer know? Matching LB evidence and the Homeric text

  1. Homeric references to an ancient past (Bronze and Iron Age)
  2. Burning question:Is Homer a historical source?
  3. How to make use of the Homeric data?
  4. How to incorporate the LB evidence?
  5. Beyond Greek: Homeric description of ancient Crete (& reading bits of Linear A)
  6. Reading session: Texts that relate to the Homeric background, Gods, names in Mycenaean and their classical Greek counterparts

Activity: Beyond Linear B, make your own Linear A tablet!

Day 5

What does an outsider look like? The 'Aegeans' from external sources

  1. Stepping out of the Aegean: Egyptian and Hittite Sources
  2. References to trade on LB documents?
  3. An 'Aegean' cargo: The Uluburun shipwreck
  4. Reading sessions: Tablets with references to trade and external places

Activity:Become a Mycenologist!

LB hands-on session at the British Museum and visit to the Aegean Bronze Age collection

Homer from Translation - Reception of Homer†

Themes: the gods and goddesses, women, heroism, aristeiakleos, the Homeric question, Penelope, Helen, and Achilles and Hector. There will also be classes on reception of Homer in Renaissance and in all the above themes in other modes of representation such as novelisations, cinema, modern poetry etc..

Ancient Philosophy and Homer†

Monday 22 July: Early Greek Philosophy

Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Early allegorical interpretations of Homer, The Sophists

Tuesday 23 July: Plato

Ion, Hippias Minor

Wednesday 24 July: Plato

Republic II-III

Thursday 25 July: Plato

Republic X

Friday 26 July: Aristotle

Homeric Problems, Poetics

Latin Palaeography†

This course will introduce the history of Latin scripts from ancient Rome down to the invention of printing.  There will be presentations on the scripts themselves, and on the manuscript books that ensured the transmission of classical texts from Antiquity to the Renaissance.  These will be supplemented by a display of actual writing materials, encouraging discussions on the materiality of the books and their writing materials, and the impact that this had both on the handwriting and on the preservation of the books.  Much of the time will be spent on practical transcription exercises, learning to decipher a variety of scripts ranging from the capital letters used in the age of Augustus to the more challenging cursive handwriting of some medieval periods.  Wherever possible, the texts transcribed will have a Homeric theme, e.g. Virgil's Aeneid.  Participants should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Latin in order to participate fully in the transcription exercises.  Non-Latinists can be admitted at the discretion of the course tutor

Homeric Meditations and Yoga
Short, thematic readings from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey will inspire the focus of our practice as we explore the known and envisage the unknown terrain of ourselves. We will use Homer’s texts to catalyse compassionate conversations with the body in movement and at rest, in archetypal postures of warriors and corpses, dancers and sages, as a means of understanding our relationship to ourselves from the perspective of a kindly observer. Throughout this we will explore the potential for understanding the value of Homer’s text through embodied experience, by observing and participating in the movements of mind, body, and breath.


Some prospective themes:

• Who, or what is Helen? Chasing the evasive beloved

• Aristeia: Tracing action and reaction in Achilles and in ourselves

• Katabasis: Finding the inner mentors through slow, contemplative practice

• Singers of tales: Which ones can we trust in Homer? In ourselves?

• Xenia: Meeting ourselves as guest, host, stranger, friend


All levels of experience with yoga, meditation, and movement practices are welcome. Modifications and alternative postures will be offered throughout, in what is designed primarily to be a supportive and safe space for accessible self-exploration and self-inquiry

inspired by the Homeric material.

NOTE: please make sure that you bring your own yoga mats to these sessions

* language course / † literature course / ⁂ practical course

Programme, Cost and Application form

  • The provisional programme for the Summer School in Homer is now available. Please note: this programme is still subject to change.
  • The cost of the Summer School is £130. This includes all tuition, but not accommodation or travel expenses.

The Summer School in Homer caters for school and university students, and for anyone else who wishes to learn Homeric Greek, or to revive their knowledge of it. Potential participants will include: students with no prior knowledge of the language; pre-GCSE/GCSE and A-Level students; university students; mature applicants who wish to expand their knowledge of the Homeric epics. Our principal concern is to provide a thorough programme of language learning in a lively university environment.

Enquiries: please email the Summer School. All completed application forms should be returned, to be received no later than Monday 15th July 2019, to:


The Director, Dr Antony Makrinos
The Summer School in Homer
c/o Department of Greek and Latin
University College London
Gower Street


  • Available bursaries will be posted here when available.

Bursary application form (TBC)
Travel grant application form (TBC)

Useful information

  • How to find us

University College London's Bloomsbury campus is located close to Euston station. A map of the campus and information on individual venues is also available.

  • We are well served by public transport, particularly bus and tube services.
  • Accommodation

The Summer School is non-residential. However, students who require somewhere to stay can (subject to availability) arrange accommodation in a University of London Hall of Residence. Details of prices, availability and information on how to book can be found at the website. Additionally, places may be available in a UCL Hall of Residence. Further information about UCL Residences can be found here.