Refugees and Displaced Persons in Homer's Iliad

By: Angela Pitts  

Consider the opening of a recent post authored by Shelly Kittleson (2017) and published by “Refugees Deeply,” a digital media project co-authored by journalists and technologists dedicated to covering issues concerning refugees and migration around the world: In the fourth installment of our “Bags and Belongings” series, in which we ask refugees what they packed in their bags and what they left behind, we meet Ibrahim Jawdat, a humanitarian worker from Aleppo who fled to Gaziantep in Turkey. While he waited for his wife and children to join him, it was the “Iliad,” an epic Greek poem about the brutal siege of the city of Troy – one much like the siege of his own city of Aleppo – that brought him solace. In the interview, Jawdat states, “Literary quotes now litter my small, rented home in southern Turkey, with post-it notes on walls and light switches and others that adorn my bedroom mirror.” In honor of Mr. Jawdat and others who have been displaced and/or affected by the siege of Aleppo, this paper examines representations of refugees and displaced persons in the Iliad, an epic that is replete with sympathetic images of the captured, displaced, and orphaned civilian victims of war.

Homer, Refugees, Displaced
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Angela Pitts

Professor of Classics, Classics, Philosophy, and Religion, University of Mary Washington, United States
VA, United States