Rather than simply endorsing values held as heroic in their cultures, Homer and Virgil offered critical examination of such values, challenging accepted attitudes toward war, conquest, and empire as they worked toward reformulations of traditional understandings of the heroic. In this course, students explore the dynamics of such critical reflection in both classical epics (Gilgamesh, the Illiad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid); they also consider how later writers, in composing their own works, emulated earlier writers while reimagining what “heroic” means.