Andrew Howard’s thesis is a run-away hit

Posted on December 24th, 2006 by

Classics senior Andrew Howard successfully defended his honors thesis on Thursday, December 14, presenting key findings of his research into the topic of The Runner in Homer’s Iliad to an appreciative audience of classicists, family and friends, including a strong showing from the Gustavus cross-country team. As his thesis advisor Bronwen Wickkiser remarked in her introductory comments, Andrew’s thesis exemplifies the strengths of a liberal arts education, combining his interests in epic poetry and running in an innovative and wide-ranging study that draws on archaeology, military history, physiological and psycho-somatic symptoms and metrical analysis to shed light on the role of running in the Iliad, and especially the characterization of its protagonist, ‘swift-footed’ Achilles. Fellow-runners enjoyed discovering examples of ‘drafting’ and ‘bonking’ in Homer’s descriptions of races, while fellow-classicists warmed to Andrew’s demonstration of how the pace of the poem quickens through increased use of dactyls during descriptions of racing. Everyone in the audience enjoyed Andrew’s witty and engaging talk, delivered against a backdrop of photos taken during his travels in Europe and capped off with a question and answer session fuelled by a seemingly endless supply of Christmas cookies.

 

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