Among the greatest poems of Western civilization are The Iliad, The Aeneid, Dante's Comedy and Hebrew Scriptures. These great works were written to explore humankind's profound dilemmas and provide the principles of how to live. They were also the great histories and encyclopedias of their times. Close reading and class discussion of representative sections will guide us into these poems. We will seek to understand their fundamental ideas and how their great poetry was achieved. This exercise will sharpen our ability to read all great literature. This is not a lecture course.The instructor will use Richmond Lattimore’s translation of The Iliad and John D. Sinclair’s translation of Dante’s Inferno. However, students may use any translation of the texts they like, provided that their versions of Ecclesiastes and Job have numbered verses and the other three texts have numbered lines. This will allow class discussion to proceed smoothly. Facilitated Discussion.