Open House | Iliad 6 “War Crimes” with Joel Christensen

We are delighted to welcome back Professor Joel Christensen, of Brandeis University, to join members of the Kosmos Society for an Open House discussion on “Violence and War Crimes in Iliad 6.”

As Professor Christensen writes in his Substack post noted below:

The story of excessive violence in the Iliad is that of the rejection of conventions meant to make war in some way predictable and ‘acceptable’ to the combatants. The planned sexual violence of the Achaeans, the rejection of ransom-exchange, and the promotion of infanticide all come within the frame of the breakdown of political control over individual behavior. ‘Rage’ is the break from limitations enforced by social conventions; it unleashes the true hell of war and unveils the brutal, de-humanizing violence pulsating beneath the service of ‘civilization’.

To prepare for the event, you might like to read:

Iliad 6 (any translation)

“War Crimes: Iliad 6, Infanticide, and the Mykonos Vase,” Substack post online at

The event was recorded on April 26 at 1:00pm EDT. You can watch on the Kosmos Society YouTube channel or in the frame below:

For details of further videos please visit the Watch page.

Joel Christensen

Joel Christensen (he/his) is Professor of Classical and early Mediterranean Studies at Brandeis University where he also serves as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the School of Arts and Sciences. Previously Joel served as Chair of Classical Studies and Chair of the Brandeis Faculty Senate. Joel previously taught for nine years at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His research interests include early Greek poetry, myth, and literary theory. He has recently published The Many-Minded Man: the Odyssey, Psychology, and the Therapy of Epic with Cornell University Press and is looking forward to Storylife: On Epic, Language, and Living Things coming out with Yale in late 2024.