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Classical Civilisation/Literature: Epic – What’s In A Name? How Virgil’s Aeneid Responds To Homer’s Iliad With Dr Will Rossiter From University of East Anglia

12th June 2023 @ 16:15 - 17:00

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In this Classical Civilisation/Literature session, Dr Will Rossiter, a leading academic from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at University of East Anglia, will run an interactive talk for students on Epic – What’s In A Name? How Virgil’s Aeneid Responds To Homer’s Iliad.

Are all epics the same? Is there a way of writing that we can immediately identify as epic? And are later epic poems just copying the episodes and the diction of earlier ones? If so, what gives the later poem its newness? This session attempts to offer answers to these questions by examining how Virgil’s Aeneid responds to Homer’s Iliad — by examining what changes and what stays the same when Virgil borrows from Homer. By tracing continuities and differences in style, ethos, and structure we can begin to think about what we mean when we speak of the epic tradition.

This interactive group session will be of interest to students of A-Level Classical Civilisation and A-Level English Literature. Excerpts from both Homer and Virgil are provided HERE, along with framing questions to aid our discussion. No prior knowledge is required but please consider the questions posed in advance of the session.

Sections (all book/line references are to Robert Fagles’ editions, which will be provided)

  1. Invocations 

Iliad I.1-9

Odyssey: I.1-12

Aeneid I.1-13

  1. The Gods at War (Theomachy)

Iliad VIII.1-62 & 399-560; XVI.499-548

Aeneid X.1-146

  1. The Deaths of Patroclus and Pallas

Iliad XVI.903ff.

Aeneid X.504-602


Lecturer Profile (Please Click): Dr Will Rossiter


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a possible interest in studying, Classical Civilisation/Literature and related disciplines. Student groups as well as students and teachers joining individually are very welcome.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Please look at the excerpts referred to above and available HERE, and consider the questions that Will has posed. Students can also think about questions about studying Classical Civilisation/Literature at university level. Please note that that all resources, including the sources Will refers to in his questions, are available here: Resources.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans (similar to Zoom) and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:


Register here



12th June 2023
16:15 - 17:00
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