According to Lewis, Cather read the Iliad, Virgil, and Ovid with William Ducker, the town dreamer (and "failure") while living in Red Cloud.
In Alexander's Bridge, Alexander does not want to become "a Nestor de pontibus," a Nestor of bridges; in Homer's Iliad Nestor is too old to fight, so instead inspires soldiers through his storytelling.
In "The Professor's Commencement" the narrator describes Emerson Graves as a young man "with the strength of Ulysses and the courage of Hector . . . ."