THE ILIAD – Triumph in London 2012
On Saturday July 21, at the Hellenic Centre in London from 10 am to 8 pm, 200 individuals of all ages and backgrounds participated in a marathon reading/singing of Homer’s Iliad, organised by
international organization The Readers of Homer and EllinikoTheatro with the support of the Hellenic Centre, the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Maria Tsakos Foundation and Ms. Marilena Inglessis.
For the first time in the history of these readings around the world, Homer was read and sung in over 20 languages including Welsh, Korean, Russian, Hungarian, Somali, and Hindi, as a large number of representatives of London’s minorities participated to the event. Representatives of leading British universities recited their passages in Homeric, Ancient and Modern Greek, while representatives of cultural institutions such as the Russian Academy and the Camoes Institute declared moved and honored to have participated in this collective cultural endeavour.
The ten hour marathon reading was enriched by on-stage projections of archaic and classical images, along with the English version of the epic, a mosaic of segments from translations by Pope, Fitzgerald and Logue. The Homeric rhapsodies were accompanied by interludes and melodies from the musical ensemble Daemonia Nymphe, on reconstructed ancient Greek instruments by Nicholas Brass.
At the closure of the Marathon Reading, participants savoured a simple yet delicious dinner inspired by the Homeric era, and enjoyed the photo exhibition on the first modern Olympics in Athens (1896) which will be on display at the Hellenic Center of London until August 12.
This is the kind of message that should be heard at the time of the Olympic Games, rather than the run-of-the-mill comments one hears in London these days: collective messages about universal values, with active citizens’ engagement. Congratulations to the organizers! We stand here impressed and moved. Lord Mayor of Westminster
This experience was beyond magical…..it was sacred…Attila P. – Lithuania
Looking for the Korean translation of my passage I discovered several translations and analysis of Homer in my mother tongue and ended up reading for about it for two days! Hyung Sok K. – Korea
I had read the Iliad while in school but never believed that I would enjoy a marathon reading so much! Edit S. – Hungary
There are three literary works that are truly universal. The Bible, Shakespeare’s works and Homer’s. The first two are well taken care of by others; we thank you for allowing us to experience the timeless value of Homer’s epics in such a participatory and moving way. Elisabeth B. – UK
We brought our 10 year old son to listen to Homer for half an hour and he stayed put for 10 full hours!! He insisted on getting on stage to read and he was so excited by the experience he can’t wait for you to come back with the Odyssey. Panagiotis Ν. – Cyprus
It was a great honor to be a part of the reading but my admiration and surprise for what you managed to stage is even greater. There are many souls and spirits that are burning with love and admiration for the Hellenic ideals but feel alone and a bit out of place and therefore either hide, ignore or deny this passion. Initiatives such as yours can become gateways for these souls to meet more people like themselves, be moved and empowered. I thank you, you made me proud. Melita P. – Greece