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Columbia Student and his Computer Conclude "Iliad" Composed by One Man

Aug. 5, 1961 - A graduate student at Columbia University has enlisted the aid of a modern electronic computer to solve a problem of ancient Greek literature - was The Iliad composed by one man? He thinks the answer is "yes." James McDonough, who plans to present the study as his doctoral dissertation, said a similar study of The Odyssey might help determine whether the two epics attributed to Homer were actually his work. "I started out neutral," Mr. McDonough said. "But the more statistics that the computer turns out, the lists of identical metrical phenomena, the more convinced I am that one man wrote The Iliad." The concept of The Iliad as a collection of separate ballads stitched together was formulated by a German scholar in the 18th century and had been widely accepted until very recent years.


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