The nonprofit Reading Odyssey is a partnership between scholars and readers with a mission to help more adults reignite their curiousity and lifelong learning.

See our Board of Directors and apply for a spot in our internship program.

2014 – 2015 programs

Herodotus Reading Group 

We will be reading the wonderful Herodotus starting in September 2014. Please join us for this global reading group. More information and registration:


Lucretius Reading Group

We will also be reading Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things) beginning in September 2014.  Here is the link to register:


Web presence

We are currently redesigning our web presence, digital archive and social media strategy.

See our search and tags to the right for more information on previous books from Aristotle to Darwin and Shakespeare. Thank you.

29. May 2014 by Phil Terry
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Herodotus Salon

On May 14 2014, the Reading Odyssey hosted a conversation with two of our Board members, Professors Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor at Cambridge University, and James Romm, Director of Classical Studies Program at Bard College, about the wonderful Herodotus.  They were each involved with the publications of new Herodotus translations and joined us for a great discussion.

Here’s a link to listen to our Herodotus Salon with these great classicists talking about the two new translations and the marvelous Herodotus.  Enjoy!



29. May 2014 by Kristen Kmiec
Categories: Commentary, Herodotus, Reader Call | Tags: , | Comments Off

Aeneid Books 10-12

Sarah Ruden graciously joined us for our final Aeneid reading session on Monday, May 12 2014 to discuss her beautiful translation of the Aeneid!

Sarah Ruden, an award-winning journalist and poet, was born and raised in rural Ohio and educated at the University of Michigan (B.A), Johns Hopkins (M.F.A., Creative Writing), and Harvard (Ph.D., Classical Philology). She lived and worked in Africa for 10 years, was recently a fellow at Yale Divinity School, and is now a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University.

Here’s a link to listen:




14. May 2014 by Kristen Kmiec
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Aeneid Books 7-9

Here’s an mp3 link to listen to our third Aeneid reading group on Monday April 21, 2014:





23. April 2014 by Kristen Kmiec
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Aeneid Books 4 – 6

Here’s an mp3 link to listen to our second  Aeneid reading group on Monday, March 3rd, 2014:





04. March 2014 by Kristen Kmiec
Categories: Aeneid, Reader Call, Reading Odyssey | Tags: , | Comments Off

Aeneid Books 1 – 3

We kicked off the 2014 Aeneid reading group on Monday, Feb 3, 2014.

We had a great discussion!

Here’s an mp3 link to listen:




10. February 2014 by Kristen Kmiec
Categories: Aeneid, Reader Call, Reading Odyssey | Tags: , | Comments Off

Homer’s Odyssey – 2013 Q&A with Professor Cartledge

Ancient Greek Girl

The parents of students at New York’s  Nightingale-Bamford School ran reading groups with the Reading Odyssey for the second year in a row.

These groups, which met in person in the evening at Nightingale, were run by parents and for parents. This year they read Homer’s Odyssey and in the attached podcast they have an end-of-book discussion with Reading Odyssey board member, Professor Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History and A.G. Leventis Chair of Greek Culture at Cambridge University.

After the success of these groups, Reading Odyssey has decided to further develop reading groups with parents of students at schools around the country (as well as through other organizations). We are currently working on plans for 2014 to start an annual reading of Homer’s Odyssey that would begin January 2014 and culminate in a global webinar with Professor Cartledge and other scholars.

More information on that initiative soon. Meantime, below is the podcast from May 13, 2013 with the parents of Nightingale students and Professor Cartledge.

2013 Homer Q&A with Professor Paul Cartledge


03. June 2013 by Phil Terry
Categories: Homer-Odyssey, Lecture, Reader Call | Tags: , | Comments Off

Herodotus Books 8 & 9 Audio Recording, Jan 7 2013


Here is the audio recording for the Herodotus reading group.  Listen online or download the mp3 file and listen to it as a podcast on your mp3 player.

08. January 2013 by astipanovic
Categories: Herodotus, Reader Call | Comments Off

Discussion Questions for Herodotus Books 8 & 9

Dear fellow Herodoteans,
Here are some discussion questions to help you think through Books 8 & 9.  Enjoy!

1.  In Book 8.40-65, Herodotus narrates the momentous conference of  
Greek leaders – the Salamis conference – as they debate whether to  
fight the Persians at sea near Salamis, or to defend the Peloponnese
at the Isthmus of Corinth, a natural defense.  Has Herodotus  
embellished the decision to fight at Salamis in view of the victory?   
What of the role of Themistocles and his tricks?

2. Themistocles later sends another message to Xerxes. Some of this  
writing by Herodotus may be more commentary on the Peloponnesian wars  
than on the Persian Wars. Do you see that? What does Strassler think?  
How does the conflict between Athens and Sparta influence Herodotus’  
writings of the earlier Persian Wars?

3. Regarding references to the Peloponnesian wars, the chapter ends  
with the Spartans urging the Athenians not to seek treaty with  
Xerxes. They say: “Again, it would be an intolerable thing that the  
Athenians, who in the past have been known so often as liberators,  
should now be the cause of bringing slavery to Greece.” (8.142.3; page  
661). By the time of the Peloponnesian wars, Athens was seen as a  
leading democracy that enslaved its empire – supporting freedom for  
its citizens and slavery for its possessions.
Note: further reference and irony related to this aforementioned  
quote in Herodotus comes from the fact that the Spartans later make  
an alliance with the Persians against Athens – and that Persian  
support plays a critical role in the Spartan victory against Athens.

4. In the debate that Xerxes and his councilors have about the  
impending naval battle at Salamis, Xerxes seeks the opinion of  
Artemisia – a “wise advisor” and the only woman naval commander and  
combatant that is referenced. Her advice to Xerxes is not to hurry –  
that he can win if “you keep your ships near land, or even if you advance
to the Peloponnese” (8.68.b).  She also goes on  
to observe a key leadership fact: “bad slaves tend to belong to good people,
while good slaves belong to bad people” (8.68.g) What does she mean by  
that? Do we agree? What do we think of the role of women in Herodotus  
and of this woman in particular?

5.  Given Xerxes’ stubbornness and dedication to invading Greece, why  
does he flee after the loss at Salamis? Does his earlier initial  
hesitation to invade come back to haunt him? Does he remember his  
dreams? Why does he now seem to follow the advice of his wise  
advisors Artemisia and Artabanus?

6.  In one of the most astounding reversals in military history, the  
Battle of Plataea (book 9) resulted in a resounding Greek victory.   
What is the interplay between Athens and Sparta in the events leading  
up to this battle?  How had the battle affected relations afterwards  
between Athens and Sparta?  What can Herodotus tell us about the  
Greek city-states in general at this time before his Histories  
abruptly end?
Note: Plataea, the site of Greek united victory in the Persian  
Wars, plays a tragic role in the Peloponnesian wars – remember, this  
war between Athens and Sparta had likely begun by the time Herodotus  
was finishing his book.

11. December 2012 by astipanovic
Categories: Herodotus, Study Questions | Comments Off

Herodotus Books 6 & 7 Audio Recording, Dec 10 2012

Here is the audio recording for the Herodotus reading group.  Listen online or download the mp3 file and listen to it as a podcast on your mp3 player.

11. December 2012 by astipanovic
Categories: Herodotus, Reader Call | Comments Off

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