The Reading Room

Homer’s Iliad and the Causes of the Trojan War, Part. I

Many first-time readers of Homer’s Iliad are aghast at the fact that the “most famous” parts of the story do not even happen in the narrative of the Iliad. Achilleus never has his epic duel with Memnon, son of the Dawn. Achilleus is not struck down by Paris, the least worthy of the Trojans. The Trojan Horse is never devised nor seen. The sacking of Troy is left for a later and now lost epic. Also the first nine years of the war and even its initial causes were left as subjects to other, later, and minor epics. So, what is the background to Homer’s Iliad?


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Immanuel Kant and the “Crisis of the Enlightenment”

I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith. —Immanuel Kant

Romantic Women Writers

Biography can be an excellent introduction to writers who have fallen into obscurity, and whose work is difficult to obtain or too slight to be a collected body of work. Kudos to Lucasta Miller and Frances Wilson for reconstructing the lives and careers of two women who deserve a place within the landscape of the Romantics.

Who Will Watch the Watchmen?

Will democracy survive? Recent years have not always brought encouragement. In Lincoln’s memorable phrase the possibility of “government of the people, by the people, for the people” was not a guarantee but a “proposition” yet to be determined. Lincoln acknowledged that such a political arrangement  might yet “perish from the earth. 

Oliver Wardrop and His “The Kingdom of Georgia” (1888)

British diplomat, translator and well-known Georgianist, Sir Oliver Wardrop (1864-1948) is among those foreigners who were well acquainted not only with the political and socio-economic situation in Georgian, but also with its history and culture. In 1919, he was appointed as the first British Chief Commissioner in Transcaucasia. He was a founder of Kartvelology (Georgian studies) at Oxford University. He sympathized with the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921) and tried in every way to help it join the League of Nations.