The program in which I participated through a grant given by the Classics Department at Duke was called Summer School in Homer. This was a one-week course on all things Homer located in Chios, Greece which is rumored to be the birthplace of Homer (if he did in fact even exist). The course was designed around interpreting Homeric Greek mainly from the Odyssey, and making connections to various themes and works of art from all time periods. We had many lectures covering topics like reception of Homer in ancient philosophers like Plato, dealing with the “mortal” condition, modern receptions of Homer in novels and cinema, and even Byzantian reception of Homer. Our course even included two archaeological visits, one to Emporeio and Mastic Museum and another to Daskalopetra, which the locals have labeled as Homer’s rock.
These experiences have allowed me to gain an invaluable perspective on scholarship in the Classical world. For example, our lectures were mainly made up out of professors from various institutions, so I got to see how different people explore their own interests with Classics, and even more so I got to see how interconnected different facets of Classical scholarship is. We had a philosopher professor give a lecture on Homer reception in Philosophy, as well as a professor who specialized in Middle Age Homeric reception. It was really intriguing to see multiple perspectives all relating to the common theme of Homer. For me personally, going on this trip further push me as a scholar in seeing the depth and breadth of questions that can be asked about a topic. I learned that it is not only important to interpret a text like the Odyssey or the Iliad in the scope of the text itself, but also to draw connections to the different time periods and examine o it fits with the cultural context of the respective society itself.
Apart from this, I will also take away skills and bits of knowledge related to traveling Greece itself! I was able to learn the local history of the island of Chios and how it relates to Classical history as well as visit and experience archaeological sites from over a millennia ago.
Last but not least, I would like to extend my thanks to the Classics department at Duke for supporting me on this opportunity to gain an fascinating insight into the Ancient World.