Funeral Games in the Iliad

This lecture will contextualize the nearly 600 lines in Book 23 of the Iliad dedicated to athletic contests during Patroclus' funeral proceedings.

vase depicted death of Patroclus
Jun 07

About the Event

Presented by Basic Program instructors and open to all, these lectures also complement the texts and ideas from our curriculum and always include a Q&A session.

This First Friday Lecture is supported by the Anastaplo Lecture Series Fund in memory of Basic Program Instructor George Anastaplo.

In Book 23 of the Iliad, between the burning of Patroclus’ body and Priam’s dramatic meeting with Achilles, roughly 600 lines are devoted to athletic contests among the Greeks.  This lecture will offer some thoughts about what this scene is doing here, what it means and what it can tell us about games in general.

Noah Chafets holds a BA in philosophy from Vassar College and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought.  His dissertation concerns desire and motivation in Plato’s Gorgias and Republic.  He taught high school students in Boston and Shanghai, and taught undergraduates at the University, primarily in core sequences in the Humanities and Social Sciences, for a decade before joining the Basic Program.  His interests are well represented by the texts in the Basic Program’s curriculum, but also extend to contemporary ethics and practical philosophy, aesthetics and film.

Who's Speaking

Noah Chafets

Noah Chafets

Basic Program Instructor

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