After Michael Lippman, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln classics and religious studies professor, received international recognition in 2012 for his Homerathon at the University of Arizona, UNL decided to replicate the event.
The Homerathon is a 24-hour reading of the infamous “Iliad,” with plenty of activities intertwined to keep guests interacting. Some include books signing by the translator, teacher-presented entertainment and a dramatics professors talk about Commedia Dell'arte.
Brooke Mott and Rebekkah Watkins, both classics and religious studies majors, were heavily involved in the committees that created the event.
“The kind of power should be through an audience, and not just in a classroom, so we’re bringing it to life,” Watkins said.
Created as Mott’s UCARE project, an opportunity provided by the university, the project gives students the chance to create a research or creative-based project with assistance from the UNL Classics Department. The Homerathon starts at 7 a.m. on April 19 in the Meier Commons, right in front of the Union.
Although the event is hosted by campus faculty and students, the Homerathon is open to everyone. According to Mott, they’re planning on recruiting participants from all over Lincoln, hoping to teach people about the Classics Department and what it has to offer.
“We wanted to incorporate the community because the university’s really big on working with communities,” Watkins said. “So we felt we can't just do the university; we have to do what the university’s trying to do and bring in the community together.”
With “The Iliad” divided into 24 books, one for each hour, they have planned a variety of activities throughout the day and will serve free refreshments provided by The Mill. The event organizers also sought different readers for the event, including Amy Struthers, the Interim Dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Clayton Naff, the Director of Lincoln Literacy.
Mott said she believes Homer’s work plays a major role in classics studies, especially in how it still resonates today. Mott said you get to see both sides and it translates into how we discuss politics today. Watkins remembers Homer as a stepping stone into this world of mythology and Ancient Rome and said she hopes the event will spark others’ interests in the major.
“It’s kind of the basis on where I found my love in classics,” Watkins said.
More information can be found on the Classics and Religious Studies page.