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Homer's Existence Dilemma

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Homer was an ancient Greek author and epic poet. He is the reputed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time: for example, in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Virgil refers to him as ‘Poet sovereign’, king of all poets; in the preface to his translation of the Iliad, Alexander Pope acknowledges that Homer has always been considered the ‘greatest of poets’.

The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Mycenaean Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy.

The Homeric epics were a defining influence on ancient Greek culture and education; to Plato, Homer was simply the one who ‘has taught Greece’ (τὴν Ἑλλάδα πεπαίδευκεν, tēn Helláda pepaídeuken). From antiquity until the present day, the influence of Homeric epic on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music, art and film.

The question of by whom, when, where and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed continues to be debated. Some scholars consider that the two works were written by different authors. It is generally accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. Many accounts of Homer’s life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.

The poems are in Homeric Greek, also known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries; the predominant influence is Eastern Ionic. Most researchers believe that the poems were originally transmitted orally.

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To this day we do not know exactly whether the first Greek poet really lived or only existed in stories, i.e. was a so-called mythical figure. In any case, the poet Homer is said to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey. Seven Greek cities claim to have been Homer’s hometown.

The Iliadand the odyssey is a literary work written in epic form, that is, the story was written in rhyme . The author is said to have been this same Homer, a bliMany scholars have done research on Homer. It was believed, for example, that different poets and not just one wrote this epic and at different times. The stories about the Trojan War definitely existed. However, they were initially told orally, like so many stories of that time.

Wandering singers entertained people with exciting stories of heroes. It’s no different than today, except that we often see the stories on TV. Here, too, it is about good and evil, about noble heroes and brave fighters. So one can say that the Greek sagas have lost none of their topicality.nd poet who died in the 8th century BC. lived. The theme of the Iliad is the Trojan War , which ended with the Greeks defeating the Trojans and burning the city. Many exciting stories were told about this famous fighter, which are still worth reading today.

It is now believed that Homer, or the poets, lived in the mid-8th century BC. However, many events describe experiences and occurrences that took place much earlier, in the 12th century BC. or even earlier. This is how Homer describes events from his time, but also much earlier events and mixes them up. So if you want to understand the stories and read them properly, you have to be very careful when it comes to truth and historical facts.

It doesn’t really matter, you’ll say. The main thing is that the stories are exciting, and they really are. The Iliad and the Odyssey have inspired people for thousands of years. Even today we read about Paris and the beautiful Helena, the noble heroes Hector and Achilles. We follow with interest the experiences of Odysseus, who defeated the cyclops and defied the sirens. Whether they are fictitious or have a kernel of truth, that doesn’t take away from their fascination for young and old readers.

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Homer’s Existence Dilemma. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 10, 2023, from
“Homer’s Existence Dilemma.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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