.

News

Subscribe

Sign up to receive news & updates.

  • All
  • Mixtape
  • News
  • Research

Announcing: A musical version of Homer’s Iliad using Ancient Greek instruments

According to legend, Homer played a seven-string lyre and performed a show called the Iliad, which means the “Story of Troy”. That was 2,800 years ago. Today, a playwright is hoping to revive the show for modern audiences. Of course, […]

Scene 01 – Invocation

You can listen here to the original song “Invocation”, which is the opening of Scene 1 of Iliad The Musical. Lyrics You can also follow along with the libretto for lyrics and context. Context The show begins with the invocation […]

Scene 22 – Hector

You can listen here to the original song “Hector” from Scene 22 of Iliad The Musical. Lyrics You can also follow along with the libretto for lyrics and context. Context This is Hector’s last song before he dies. His mother […]

Scene 02 – Never Forget

You can listen here to the original song “Never Forget” from Scene 2 of Iliad The Musical. Lyrics You can also follow along with the libretto for lyrics and context. Context This is the big opening number (about 8 minutes […]

Scene 24 – Charge Of God

You can listen here to the original song “Charge Of God” from Scene 24 of Iliad The Musical. Lyrics You can also follow along with the lyrics in the libretto. Context Iliad The Musical ends here, in Scene 24, when […]

Judgement of Paris

The judgement of Paris led to the Trojan War. It also led to some of the finest works of art ever created. The story of the Trojan War begins at the wedding of Achilles’s parents, Thetis and Peleus. All the […]

Who is Hermes?

This 15-minute video gives an awesome overview of who Hermes is, including his identities as Pan and Mercury. Among other roles, in Book 24 of Iliad Hermes guides King Priam across the Achaean border to Achilles’s hut. This leads to […]

Where is the center of the world?

The center of the Ancient Greek world is in the town of Delphi. This stone is called the Omphalos, or “navel” of the world. Think of it as Mother Earth’s bellybutton. A long time ago, Zeus wanted to find the […]

The Ancient Greek aulos

The aulos is a double-reeded pipe, like an oboe (though it’s sometimes played with a single reed, like a clarinet) made out of bamboo and bone. This 1st century AD mosaic from the “House of the Tragic Poet” in Pompeii […]

Song Of Seikilos

2,000 years ago Seikilos wrote a song for Euterpe, and carved it into her tombstone. Today it’s the oldest surviving complete song in the world. Here’s an English translation of the song’s lyrics: While you live, shine.Have no grief at […]

Fresco of Actor & Lyre Player

This 1st century AD fresco from Pompeii shows a singer/actor with his theatrical mask on the top of his head, and a lyre player playing a 9-string lyre. Homer’s Iliad is traditionally performed by two such people. Indeed, at the […]

Vase of Sarpedon

This vase, painted around 440 BC, shows Hypnos and Thanatos carrying the body of Sarpedon off of the Trojan battlefield.

Ancient Greek poetry is musical theater

The oldest known Greek poet was Homer. His poetry was set to music and sung out loud in public theaters like this one, built in Epidaurus in the 4th century BC.

The Ancient Greek hydraulis

The hydraulis is a hand-powered organ. Just like a pipe organ in a modern church, the hydraulis makes sound by blowing air through pipes, and is played by pressing keys on a keyboard. This 2-minute video demonstrates what a Roman […]

What Ancient Greek Music looks like

This shows the first and second verses of the First Delphic Hymn to Apollo, carved in marble for the Athenian Pythaides festival in 128 BC in Delphi. The composer’s name is Athenaios Athenaiou (Athenaios, son of Athenaios). The melody is […]

The Trojan War really happened

In 1184 BC, the 30-foot-high walls of Troy were set on fire, putting an end to the Trojan War. The ashes, the arrowheads, and the fallen soldiers still exist to the present day — preserved underneath a later city built […]

The Ancient Greek kithara

The Ancient Greek kithara gives us the word “guitar”. This 5-minute video shows Professor Stefan Hagel explaining some basics of Ancient Greek music, followed by a nice performance demonstrating what the kithara sounds like in the diatonic genus.

Ogilby’s Iliad

People often overlook John Ogilby’s English translation of Homer’s Iliad. The frontispiece of this 1660 edition was engraved by Wenceslas Hollar. It was published just after George Chapman’s famous translation, which he wrote in long-lined non-rhyming verse, in installments starting […]

Marble statue of Athena

This sculpture of Athena was carved out of marble in the 1st century AD/BC in Rome. It was a copy of an earlier Greek sculpture from the 4th century BC. Of all Athena’s iconography, her helmet might be the most […]

How did the world begin?

This 7-minute video outlines one Ancient Greek story of the creation of the universe: the beautifully-worded Theogony of Hesiod.

What Ancient Greek music sounds like

This 16-minute video is an interesting attempt to recreate authentic Ancient Greek music. They cover some fundamental instruments like the kithara and the aulos. They play a jazzy version of Homer. It finishes with a really cool semi-authentic performance of […]

The death of Aeschylus

In his life, Aeschylus wrote many musicals, won many awards, and broke many records. He pioneered many innovations that are now standard in modern theater. This 15th century illustration shows his death in 456 BC. Legend has it he died […]

Fresco of lyre player

This fresco from the Bronze Age palace of Nestor (who fought in the Trojan war) in Ancient Greece shows a lyre player performing a song. The song is represented by a bird. Homer’s noble characters often speak with “winged words”.

Mosaic of Achilles, Athena & Agamemnon

This 1st century AD mosaic, recovered from the ruins of Pompeii in the “house of Apollo”, depicts Book I of the Iliad. Achilles draws his sword, ready to attack Agamemnon, but Athena grabs Achilles’s hair and restrains him. She advises […]

Who is Aphrodite?

This 16-minute video gives a good overview of who Aphrodite is, and how she came to be. In the Iliad, she represents the “mind” and Ares represents the “body”.

The Greater Perfect System

For some 500 years in Ancient Greece, the standard music system was called the “Greater Perfect System”. This diagram here shows all of the notes in the diatonic genus of the Hypolydian tonos (or tropos). The full system includes 21 […]

Leda and the Swan

This painting showing the birth of Helen of Troy is a copy of a now-lost Leonardo Da Vinci painting. It was painted by Cesar Da Sesto, one of Da Vinci’s students, in 1505-1510 AD. It shows Leda and Zeus (the […]

12-minute summary of the Iliad

This 12-minute video summarizing the Iliad is awesome and hilarious, but it skips over the ending, and so kinda misses the whole point of the Iliad. They later posted this video explaining the ending better.

Roman bust of Homer

This Roman bust of Homer was sculpted in the 2nd century AD. It is believed to be a copy of a Greek bust of Homer sculpted some 100-400 years earlier. The all-white eyes seem ghastly in these ancient marbles, but […]

Painting of Achilles & Briseis

This fresco was painted 2,000 years ago on the east wall of the “house of the tragic poet” in Pompeii. It shows Achilles angrily giving up his slave Briseis, from the first book of the Iliad. When the volcano on […]

Euripides wrote musicals, not plays

People perform the works of Euripides today as a play (without music) often unaware that they were written as musicals. If you’ve ever seen the famous Orestes by Euripides, composed in 408 BC, you probably saw a stage play with […]

Venetus A

One of the reasons we know the works of Homer better than Shakespeare is because the Iliad was so popular, and published so widely, that we have multiple complete editions of the Iliad from independent sources. The Venetus A is […]

Map of Homer’s Greece

This is a really helpful map of the Mediterranean, showing the geographic names they used during the Trojan War, and the names of the kings who fought in it. Of course there is no “Greece” or “Turkey” but the regions […]

Ancient vase of Achilles healing Patroclus

This beautiful wine cup from about 300bc shows Achilles tending to the wounded Patroclus. Ancient artwork like this red-figured Attic vase are much better sources for the Trojan War than modern artwork. For example, compare Achilles’s horsehair helmet to modern […]

Books on books

Homer’s Iliad was the first book written in the Ancient Greek alphabet. Iliad The Musical honors this tradition by being as faithful as possible to Homer’s Iliad and the warriors who fought in Troy. Authenticity is important, which is why […]

An American in Ancient Greece

I just got back from the temple of Apollo in Ancient Delphi (pictured above). Above all, Iliad The Musical must honor Apollo. I believe we can faithfully recreate Homer’s Iliad onstage, set to original songs in the Ancient Greek musical […]