March 24, 2011

Be a Part of Bringing Ancient Oral Tradition to Life at the Getty Villa in a Public Reading of Homer's Iliad




At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa
Saturday, April 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES—The words of the poet Homer were originally spoken aloud to rapt audiences who sat spellbound by tales of kings and heroes, battles and sorrow. Relive the experience of this oral tradition by taking part in a daylong marathon reading of the Iliad at the Getty Villa on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Readers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to participate in this unique opportunity to bring alive this thrilling tale of the Trojan War and to enjoy the experience of reading poetry aloud. Anyone may participate, and no special training is required. An advance reservation is required and space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is also available for non-readers who prefer to listen and take it all in.

Readers receive a pre-assigned passage from an abridged version of the Iliad translation by Stanley Lombardo, and a number designating the order in which they will read. Creative interpretation of the passage—perhaps singing or reading the selection in another language or in costume—is encouraged. At the conclusion of the reading, participants will be invited to enjoy an outdoor reception with food and beverage reminiscent of Homer’s time.

"We are bringing a community together to recreate one of the world’s greatest oral epic traditions," explains Rainer Mack, Manager of Villa Education for the Getty Museum. "By giving life to this ancient poetry, we gain some sense of what it meant to hear these poems in ancient times."

Homer’s Iliad holds a unique place in Western literature. Widely accepted as the greatest work of Greek poetry, it is also the earliest surviving piece of Greek literature. Even thousands of years after it was first written down, it remains a touchstone for any student of literature and the human condition. The poem’s themes continue to resonate with modern audiences.

Program participants are invited to explore the stories and characters of Homer’s epic during their visit to the Getty Villa, where images of the heroes and events described in the poem are on display throughout the galleries. In particular, the Stories of the Trojan War gallery (Gallery 110), features works inspired by the Iliad, the Odyssey, and other tales related to this epic conflict.

This program is presented in association with The Readers of Homer, an organization that stages public readings of Homer’s epics around the world. "Our celebrations of Homer worldwide have captured the imagination of thousands and have been honored as healing efforts against violence and brutality," said Kathryn Hohlwein, founder and president of The Readers of Homer.

Yannis Simonides, vice president and managing director of The Readers of Homer, adds, "Now, at a time of heroic upheavals in many lands, to be able to read together Homer’s impartial and magisterial Iliad at the Getty Villa is to celebrate a noble work in a noble setting."

About The Readers of Homer

The Readers of Homer is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides a method for reading Homer’s epic stories aloud in a continuous audience participation format and with people of all ages and backgrounds. Their mission is to remember and revivify the Iliad and the Odyssey; to hear, speak, and appreciate great poetry; to honor translators of any language who have given so much to perpetuate Homer; and to share, with a hitherto unassembled community, the joy, richness, and relevance of these two Greek epics.

Further information and details about The Readers of Homer can be found at

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Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but $10 after 5 p.m. for evening events. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish). The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Villa is at located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.


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