Members of the 207-year-old Peucinian Society – a literary group and Bowdoin’s oldest student organization – recently read the complete Iliad aloud from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art steps.
In previous years, Peucinian members have read the Odyssey during their annual Homer-a-thon, but this year decided to tackle the longer Iliad. “The record for the Odyssey is six hours,” RJ Dellecese ’14 said, taking a break while fellow member Molly Stevens ’15 read a passage with fiery brio. “But the Iliad is 25 percent longer.”
The heroic Iliad readers – about 11 of them – started their performance last Friday at 10:08 a.m. and recited the final words at 1:29 a.m. Saturday morning: “Such honours Ilion to her hero paid, And peaceful slept the mighty Hector’s shade.” They read through the beautiful sunny day, through some afternoon gusts of wind, through a nearby dance practice, through dinner and dusk and into the chilly hours of night. Why, you might ask? “We do it for erudition,” Dellecese explained. “And to express our love for the classics and philosophy and to share what we consider to be a great story.”