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Homer's Hippiad: From the First Deaths to the Last Word

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October 3, 2023

Speaker & Affiliation

A.E. Stallings


4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
A71 Louis A. Simpson Building
(and on Zoom)


Support for this project is provided in part by Princeton's Departments of Classics and Comparative Literature, Humanities Council, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University Public Lectures Committee, Program in Humanistic Studies, and the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


Mules are the first deaths in the timeline of the Iliad; the last word of the poem is ἱπποδάμοιο, “breaker of horses.” In between, horses (and mules) share with men the experiences of battle, hard labor, and athletic excellence, and with women, being judged by their beauty, seized as spoils, and offered as prizes. They have names and pedigrees. They may be free or enslaved. They may be mortal, like most humans, or immortal, like gods and certain heroes. They may even have a share in that most human of behaviors, speech. What can we learn about the human actors in the poem by observing their equine counterparts? 

Known for her rhyming translations of Lucretius and Hesiod and for her five books of formalist verse, poet, translator, and classicist A.E. Stallings has received numerous prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, and the Runciman Award. Stallings’ enthusiasm for classics and ancient literature is reflected in the titles of her award-winning poetry collections, including Archaic Smile (Richard Wilbur Award), Hapax (Poets’ Prize), Olives (National Books Critics Circle Award finalist), and Like, a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Earlier this year, she was elected to the prestigious post of Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford.

(The Fagles Lecture will also be available for view on Zoom: