Martin to deliver Biggs Lecture for Assembly Series

Richard Martin, Ph.D., the 2009 John and Penelope Biggs Resident in the Classics, will deliver the Assembly Series’ annual Biggs Lecture at 4 p.m. April 9 in Steinberg Auditorium.

His talk will center on his approach to Homeric poetry and how it is so much more than an abstract study of language. Folklore, social anthropology, the study of performance and linguistics, Martin said, all contribute to his study of Homer and how Homer’s epics “existed as a performance art in Ancient Greece, as opposed to the way that we conceptualize it as written text.”

Martin will present an overview of current Homeric research, then discuss his own field work in Crete, interviewing people who still memorize the traditional oral epics and recording them singing these poems. Martin compares ancient Greek poetry with modern rap.

Martin is the Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor in Classics at Stanford University. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 2000, he taught classics for 18 years at Princeton University.

Born and raised in Boston, Martin studied medieval and modern Irish language and literature at Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in classics and Celtic literature and master’s and doctoral degrees in classical philology.

Martin is a senior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., and a member of the American Philological Association.

Among his numerous publications are “Myths of the Early Greeks” (2003), “The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad” (1989), “Healing, Sacrifice, and Battle: Amechania” (1983) and “Related Concepts in Early Greek Poetry” (1983). He also edited “Bulfinch’s Mythology” (1991).

Martin also will deliver a colloquium titled “Apollo the Player” at 4:15 p.m. Monday, April 6, in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call 935-5123 or visit