Eliot Circular

Pantheon Puts Pants on

Photo by Kevin Myers

By Chris Lydgate ’90

Droves of freshlings on their way to their first Hum 110 lecture encountered a spectacle wondrous to behold—a fully clad pantheon of Olympian gods and goddesses greeting them on the steps of Vollum. “Welcome!” cried the immortals. “You’re a Reedie now!”

The Pantheon is a light-hearted student tradition celebrating Reed’s signature multidisciplinary course, which starts with the Epic of Gilgamesh and wends its way through the Code of Hammurabi, Genesis, the Oresteia, the Iliad, Sappho, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Euripides (and that’s just the first semester!).

The tradition drew fire last year, however, after some of the performers removed their garments and aggressively demanded libations, triggering a Title IX complaint. After much discussion and soul-searching, student leaders agreed to make sure future Pantheons operated with a spirit of welcoming camaraderie.

The vibe at this year’s performance was cheerful, friendly—and clothed. The seven Olympians, clad in togas from chest to knee, hailed the mortals, beseeching them to pour libations in a reenactment of a Homeric custom and applauding when the students spilled a few drops of water, coffee, or even orange juice on the concrete.

“The freshmen seem eager to participate,” said anthro major Mikaela Lieb ’17, who wore a white toga over a black leotard. “It’s nice to see the Pantheon so cheery and welcoming.”

Once the last stragglers had scurried up the steps, the Pantheon rolled up their heavenly garments, stuffed them in their backpacks, straightened up their street clothes, and set off for their own classes.