Homer: The Epic Poet10-06-2013 18:08According to tradition, Homer was the earliest and greatest Greek poet. Two epic poems were attributed to him: the Iliad and the Odyssey, which present certain events of the mythical Trojan War and the struggle of the hero Odysseus to return home. These two poems were fundamental references for ancient Greeks who looked to them for answers to moral questions and for inspiration for new literature.
Despite a few legends, nothing is known about the life of Homer. Although the Greeks believed that Homer was a real person, modern scholars arguably doubt it. If there was a historical figure named Homer, he may have lived sometime between 850 and 750 B.C. Most of the early accounts agree that Homer was blind, elderly and poor, a poet who wandered from city to city in ancient Greece. Tradition has it that seven cities claimed to be his birthplace and some thought that Homer came from Chios, while others traced his origin to Smyrna.
The doubt of scholars of Homer’s existence extends to the doubt on whether one person could have written both the Iliad and the Odyssey, the so-called Homeric Question. By the end of the 20th century, however, new evidence emerged that the two epics were the work of one genius.
More important than the poet’s identity are the values and traditions on which his poetry is based. Homer’s poems describe a bygone era as an Age of Heroes, when men of superior strength, courage, and wealth lived by a code of honor that shapes all their actions. The era described is what scholars now call the Bronze Age and the era of the Mycenaean Civilization.
The Iliad and the Odyssey were probably first written down around 750 B.C., after the invention of the Greek Alphabet. They were probably created by the oral techniques of preliterate Greek epic poetry. The very existence of Troy and the Trojan War was in doubt prior to the archaeological work of Heinrich Schliemann in the nineteenth century, whose discovery of a series of cities on what is believed to have been the site of Troy indicates some historical basis for the events recited in the Homeric poems.
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Explore the fascinating volcanic island of Santorini the way you want it yourself! Enjoy a unique accommodation experience, with huge doses of privacy and luxury by choosing to stay in Incognito Villa.
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