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Grant number like: FB-54111-09

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Peter J. Ahrensdorf
Davidson College (Davidson, NC 28036-9405)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2009 – 7/31/2010

The Political Thought of Homer

I seek support for a book-length study of the political thought of Homer, focusing on his teaching concerning such central themes of political philosophy as the conflict between justice and self-interest; the relation between rationalism and virtue; and the relative merits of the political life and the theoretical life. While Homer has always been regarded as a poet of the first rank, it is forgotten today that such political philosophers as Thucydides, Plato, and Machiavelli considered him to be a foundational political and moral thinker as well. The most prominent traditional scholars of Homer offer illuminating insights concerning political and moral themes in the epic poems, but nevertheless treat those insights as flashes of poetic inspiration or as inherited cultural values rather than as the cohesive political and moral teachings of a theoretical mind. The goal of my work is to restore Homer to his rightful place among the principal figures in the history of political thought.