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Homer

Homer

Overview
In the Western classical
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

 tradition Homer (ˈhoʊmər; Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: , Hómēros), is the author of the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

.

When he lived is controversial. Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 estimates that Homer lived 400 years before Herodotus' own time, which would place him at around 850 BC
850s BC
-Events and trends:*859 BC—Assurnasirpal II dies.*859 BC—Shalmaneser attacks Syria and Palestine.*858 BC—Aramu becomes king of Urartu.*858 BC—Shalmaneser III succeeds Assurnasirpal II as king of Assyria....

; while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, in the early 12th century BC.

For modern scholars "the date of Homer" refers not to an individual, but to the period when the epics were created.
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Quotations

The will of Zeus was accomplished.

I.5

Then looking at him darkly resourceful Odysseus spoke to him: "What is this word that broke through the fence of your teeth, Atreides?"

IV. 350-351

As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of men will grow while another dies.

VI. 146-150

So they spoke, and both springing down from behind their horses gripped each other's hands and exchanged the promise of friendship; but Zeus the son of Kronos stole away the wits of Glaukos who exchanged with Diomedes the son of Tydeus armour of gold for bronze, for nine oxen's worth the worth of a hundred.

VI.232-236

Victory passes back and forth between men.

VI.339

Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle, would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal, so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost, nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory. But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands, no man can turn aside or escape them, let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.

XII.322-328 (Sarpedon to Glaukos)

Among all creatures that breathe on earth and crawl on it there is not anywhere a thing more dismal than man is.

XVII.446-447 (Zeus)

I have gone through what no other mortal on earth has gone through; I put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children.

XXIV.505-506 (Priam to Achilleus)

And you, old sir, we are told you prospered once.

XXIV.543 (Achilleus to Priam)

These things surely lie on the knees of the gods.

Book I, line 267.
Encyclopedia
In the Western classical
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

 tradition Homer (ˈhoʊmər; Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: , Hómēros), is the author of the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

.

When he lived is controversial. Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 estimates that Homer lived 400 years before Herodotus' own time, which would place him at around 850 BC
850s BC
-Events and trends:*859 BC—Assurnasirpal II dies.*859 BC—Shalmaneser attacks Syria and Palestine.*858 BC—Aramu becomes king of Urartu.*858 BC—Shalmaneser III succeeds Assurnasirpal II as king of Assyria....

; while other ancient sources claim that he lived much nearer to the supposed time of the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, in the early 12th century BC.

For modern scholars "the date of Homer" refers not to an individual, but to the period when the epics were created. The consensus is that "the Iliad and the Odyssey date from around the 8th century BC, the Iliad being composed before the Odyssey, perhaps by some decades," i.e. earlier than Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, the Iliad being the oldest work of Western literature
Western literature
Western literature refers to the literature written in the languages of Europe, including the ones belonging to the Indo-European language family as well as several geographically or historically related languages such as Basque, Hungarian, and so forth...

. Over the past few decades, some scholars have argued for a 7th century BC date. Some of those who argue that the Homeric poems developed gradually over a long period of time give an even later date for the composition of the poems; according to Gregory Nagy
Gregory Nagy
Gregory Nagy , born in Budapest Hungary in 1942, is an American professor of Classics at Harvard University, specializing in Homer and archaic Greek poetry. Nagy is known for extending Milman Parry and Albert Lord's theories about the oral composition-in-performance of the Iliad and Odyssey...

 for example, they only became fixed texts in the 6th century BC.
The question of the historicity of Homer the individual is known as the "Homeric question
Homeric Question
The Homeric Question concerns the doubts and consequent debate over the identity of Homer, the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey, and historicity, especially of the Iliad...

"; there is no reliable biographical information handed down from classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

. The poems are generally seen as the culmination of many generations of oral story-telling, in a tradition with a well-developed formulaic system of poetic composition. Some scholars, such as Martin West
Martin Litchfield West
Martin Litchfield West is an internationally recognised scholar in classics, classical antiquity and philology...

, claim that "Homer" is "not the name of a historical poet, but a fictitious or constructed name."

The formative influence played by the Homeric epics in shaping Greek culture was widely recognized, and Homer was described as the teacher of Greece. Homer's works, which are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of Homer account for about half of all ancient Greek papyrus finds.

Life and legends


"Homer" is a Greek name, attested in Aeolic-speaking areas, and although nothing definite is known about him, traditions arose purporting to give details of his birthplace and background. The satirist Lucian
Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature.His ethnicity is disputed and is attributed as Assyrian according to Frye and Parpola, and Syrian according to Joseph....

, in his True History
True History
True History or True Story is a travel tale by the Greek-speaking Syrian author Lucian of Samosata, the earliest known fiction about travelling to outer space, alien life-forms and interplanetary warfare. Written in the 2nd century, the novel has been referred to as "the first known text that...

, describes him as a Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n called Tigranes, who assumed the name Homer when taken "hostage" (homeros) by the Greeks. When the Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 asked the Oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 at Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

 about Homer, the Pythia
Pythia
The Pythia , commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC...

 proclaimed that he was Ithaca
Homer's Ithaca
The location of Homer's Ithaca, i.e. Ithaca as featured in Homer's Odyssey, is a matter for debate.The central characters of the epic such as Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon and Hector are generally believed to be fictional characters. Yet there are many claims that some Homeric hero long ago had...

n, the son of Epikaste and Telemachus
Telemachus
Telemachus is a figure in Greek mythology, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, and a central character in Homer's Odyssey. The first four books in particular focus on Telemachus' journeys in search of news about his father, who has been away at war...

, from the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

. These stories were incorporated into the various Lives of Homer compiled from the Alexandrian period onwards. Homer is most frequently said to be born in the Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

n region of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, at Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

, or on the island of Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

, dying on the Cycladic
Cyclades
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

 island of Ios. A connection with Smyrna seems to be alluded to in a legend that his original name was Melesigenes ("born of Meles
River Meles
The river Meles is a stream charged with history and famous in literature, especially by virtue of being associated in a common and consistent tradition with Homer's birth and works, and which flowed by the ancient city of Smyrna, and a namesake of which flows through the present-day metropolitan...

", a river which flowed by that city), with his mother the nymph Kretheis. Internal evidence from the poems gives evidence of familiarity with the topography and place-names of this area of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, for example, Homer refers to meadow birds at the mouth of the Caystros
Cayster River
Küçük Menderes, "Little Maeander") or Cayster River is located south of İzmir, Turkey. The Cayster generally flows westward and arrive into the Aegean Sea at Pamucak beach near Selçuk, İzmir. The ancient city of Ephesus was once an important port on the Cayster, but over the centuries,...

 (Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

2.459ff.), a storm in the Icarian
Icarus
-Space and astronomy:* Icarus , on the Moon* Icarus , a planetary science journal* 1566 Icarus, an asteroid* IKAROS, a interplanetary unmanned spacecraft...

 sea (Iliad 2.144ff.), and mentions that women in Maeonia and Caria
Caria
Caria was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there...

 stain ivory with scarlet (Iliad 4.142).

The association with Chios dates back to at least Semonides of Amorgos
Amorgos
Amorgos is the easternmost island of the Greek Cyclades island group, and the nearest island to the neighboring Dodecanese island group. Along with several neighboring islets, the largest of which is Nikouria Island, it comprises the municipality of Amorgos, which has a land area of...

, who cited a famous line in the Iliad (6.146) as by "the man of Chios". An eponym
Eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

ous bard
Bard
In medieval Gaelic and British culture a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland...

ic guild
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

, known as the Homeridae
Homeridae
The Homeridae were a family, clan or professional lineage on the island of Chios claiming descent from the legendary Greek epic poet Homer.The origin of the name seems obvious: in classical Greek the word should mean "children of Homer". An analogous name, Asclepiadae, identified a clan or guild of...

 (sons of Homer), or Homeristae ('Homerizers') appears to have existed there, tracing descent from an ancestor of that name, or upholding their function as rhapsode
Rhapsode
A rhapsode or, in modern usage, rhapsodist, refers to a classical Greek professional performer of epic poetry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC . Rhapsodes notably performed the epics of Homer but also the wisdom and catalogue poetry of Hesiod and the satires of Archilochus and others...

s or "lay-stitchers" specialising in the recitation of Homeric poetry. Wilhelm Dörpfeld
Wilhelm Dörpfeld
Wilhelm Dörpfeld was a German architect and archaeologist, the pioneer of stratigraphic excavation and precise graphical documentation of archaeological projects...

  suggests that Homer had visited many of the places and regions which he describes in his epics, such as Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

, the palace of Odysseus at Ithaca
Ithaca
Ithaca or Ithaka is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and...

 and more. According to Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, Homer had even visited Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

The poet's name is homophonous with ὅμηρος (hómēros), "hostage" (or "surety"), which is interpreted as meaning "he who accompanies; he who is forced to follow", or, in some dialects, "blind". This led to many tales that he was a hostage or a blind man. Traditions which assert that he was blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 may have arisen from the meaning of the word in both Ionic
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

, where the verbal form ὁμηρεύω (homēreúō) has the specialized meaning of "guide the blind", and the Aeolian
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

 dialect of Cyme
Cyme (Aeolis)
Cyme was an Aeol city in Aeolis close to the kingdom of Lydia. The Aeolians regarded Cyme as the largest and most important of their twelve cities, which were located on the coastline of Asia Minor...

, where ὅμηρος (hómēros) is synonymous with the standard Greek τυφλός (tuphlós), meaning 'blind'. The characterization of Homer as a blind bard
Bard
In medieval Gaelic and British culture a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland...

 goes back to some verses in the Delian
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

 Hymn to Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

,
the third of the Homeric Hymns
Homeric Hymns
The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous Ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect...

,
verses later cited to support this notion by Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

. The Cume
Cume
In the practice of measuring the size of US commercial broadcasting and newspaper audiences, cume, short for "cumulative audience," is a measure of the total number of unique consumers over a specified period....

an historian Ephorus
Ephorus
Ephorus or Ephoros , of Cyme in Aeolia, in Asia Minor, was an ancient Greek historian. Information on his biography is limited; he was the father of Demophilus, who followed in his footsteps as a historian, and to Plutarch's claim that Ephorus declined Alexander the Great's offer to join him on his...

 held the same view, and the idea gained support in antiquity on the strength of a false etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 which derived his name from ho mḕ horṓn (ὁ μὴ ὁρῶν: "he who does not see"). Critics have long taken as self-referential a passage in the Odyssey describing a blind bard, Demodocus, in the court of the Phaeacian king, who recounts stories of Troy to the shipwrecked Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

.

Many scholars take the name of the poet to be indicative of a generic function. Gregory Nagy takes it to mean "he who fits (the Song) together". ὁμηρέω (homēréō), another related verb, besides signifying "meet", can mean "(sing) in accord/tune". Some argue that "Homer" may have meant "he who puts the voice in tune" with dancing. Marcello Durante links "Homeros" to an epithet of Zeus as "god of the assemblies" and argues that behind the name lies the echo of an archaic word for "reunion", similar to the later Panegyris
Panegyris
A panegyris , is an Ancient Greek general, national or religious assembly. Each was dedicated to the worship of a particular god.It is also associated with saint days and holy festivals.-Relation to Panegyry and Panegyric:...

, denoting a formal assembly of competing minstrels.

Some Ancient Lives depict Homer as a wandering minstrel, like Thamyris
Thamyris
In Greek mythology, Thamyris , son of Philammon and the nymph Argiope, was a Thracian singer who was so proud of his skill that he boasted he could outsing the Muses. He competed against them and lost. As punishment for his presumption they blinded him, and took away his ability to make poetry and...

 or Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, who walked as far as Chalkis to sing at the funeral games of Amphidamas
Amphidamas
-Mythology:Amphidamas is the name of six men in Greek mythology.1. Amphidamas, son of Aleus and Cleobule. He was one of the Argonauts, along with his brother Cepheus.2. Amphidamas, father of Nausidame. Nausidame bore Helios a son, Augeas....

. We are given the image of a "blind, begging singer who hangs around with little people: shoemakers, fisherman, potters, sailors, elderly men in the gathering places of harbour towns". The poems, on the other hand, give us evidence of singers at the courts of the nobility. There is a strong aristocratic bias in the poems demonstrated by the lack of any major protagonists of non-aristocratic stock, and by episodes such as the beating down of the commoner Thersites
Thersites
In Greek mythology, Thersites was a soldier of the Greek army during the Trojan War. In the Iliad, he does not have a father's name, which may suggest that he should be viewed as a commoner rather than an aristocratic hero...

 by the king Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 for daring to criticize his superiors. In spite of this scholars are divided as to which category, if any, the court singer or the wandering minstrel, the historic "Homer" belonged.

Works attributed to Homer


The Greeks of the sixth and early fifth centuries BC understood by "Homer", generally, "the whole body of heroic tradition
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 as embodied in hexameter
Hexameter
Hexameter is a metrical line of verse consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Greek mythology, hexameter...

 verse". Thus, in addition to the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

,
there are "exceptional" epics which organize their respective themes on a "massive scale". Many other works were credited to Homer in antiquity, including the entire Epic Cycle. The genre included further poems on the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, such as the Little Iliad
Little Iliad
The Little Iliad is a lost epic of ancient Greek literature. It was one of the Epic Cycle, that is, the "Trojan" cycle, which told the entire history of the Trojan War in epic verse. The story of the Little Iliad comes chronologically after that of the Aethiopis, and is followed by that of the...

, the Nostoi
Nostoi
The Nostoi , also known as Returns or Returns of the Greeks, was a lost epic of ancient Greek literature. It was one of the Epic Cycle, that is, the "Trojan" cycle, which told the entire history of the Trojan War in epic verse...

, the Cypria, and the Epigoni
Epigoni
In Greek mythology, Epigoni are the sons of the Argive heroes who had fought and been killed in the first Theban war, the subject of the Greek Thebaid, in which Polynices and six allies attacked Thebes because Polynices' brother, Eteocles, refused to give up the throne as promised...

, as well as the Theban
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 poems about Oedipus
Oedipus
Oedipus was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. He fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family...

 and his sons. Other works, such as the corpus of Homeric Hymns
Homeric Hymns
The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous Ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect...

, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia
Batrachomyomachia
Batrachomyomachia or the Battle of Frogs and Mice is a comic epic or parody on the Iliad, definitely attributed to Homer by the Romans, but according to Plutarch the work of Pigres of Halicarnassus, the brother of Artemisia, queen of Caria and ally of Xerxes...

("The Frog-Mouse War"), and the Margites
Margites
The Margites, a comic mock-epic of Ancient Greece,is about an idiot named "Margites" who was so dense he did not know which parent had given birth to him...

were also attributed to him, but this is now believed to be unlikely. Two other poems, the Capture of Oechalia
Capture of Oechalia
The Capture of Oechalia was an epic segment of the ancient Greek Epic Cycle that has not survived; it was variously attributed in Antiquity to either Homer or Creophylus of Samos; a tradition was reported that Homer gave the tale to Creophylus, in gratitude for guest-friendship , and that he wrote...

and the Phocais
Phocais
The Phocais was an ancient Greek epic widely attributed to Homer. In the Life of Homer, a biography of Homer falsely attributed to Herodotus, it was said to have been written while Homer lived at Phocaea with a man named Thestorides; however, whether Thestorides actually existed and where he lived...

were also assigned Homeric authorship, but the question of the identities of the authors of these various texts is even more problematic than that of the authorship of the two major epics.

Problems of authorship


The idea that Homer was responsible for just the two outstanding epics, the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, did not win consensus until 350 BC. While many find it unlikely that both epics were composed by the same person, others argue that the stylistic similarities are too consistent to support the theory of multiple authorship. One view which attempts to bridge the differences holds that the Iliad was composed by "Homer" in his maturity, while the Odyssey was a work of his old age. The Batrachomyomachia
Batrachomyomachia
Batrachomyomachia or the Battle of Frogs and Mice is a comic epic or parody on the Iliad, definitely attributed to Homer by the Romans, but according to Plutarch the work of Pigres of Halicarnassus, the brother of Artemisia, queen of Caria and ally of Xerxes...

, Homeric Hymns
Homeric Hymns
The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous Ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect...

and cyclic epics are generally agreed to be later than the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Most scholars agree that the Iliad and Odyssey underwent a process of standardisation and refinement out of older material beginning in the 8th century BC. An important role in this standardisation appears to have been played by the Athenian
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

 Hipparchus
Hipparchus (son of Pisistratus)
Hipparchus or Hipparch was a member of the ruling class of Athens. He was one of the sons of Peisistratos.Although he was said among Greeks to have been the tyrant of Athens along with his brother Hippias when Peisistratos died, about 528 BC...

, who reformed the recitation of Homeric poetry at the Panathenaic festival. Many classicists hold that this reform must have involved the production of a canonical
Canon (fiction)
In the context of a work of fiction, the term canon denotes the material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction, which are not considered canonical...

 written text.

Other scholars still support the idea that Homer was a real person. Since nothing is known about the life of this Homer, the common joke—also recycled with regard to Shakespeare—has it that the poems "were not written by Homer, but by another man of the same name." Samuel Butler argues, based on literary observations, that a young Sicilian woman wrote the Odyssey (but not the Iliad), an idea further pursued by Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

 in his novel Homer's Daughter and Andrew Dalby
Andrew Dalby
Andrew Dalby is an English linguist, translator and historian who has written articles and several books on a wide range of topics including food history, language, Classical texts, and Wikipedia.-Education and early career:...

 in Rediscovering Homer
Rediscovering Homer
Rediscovering Homer is a 2006 book by Andrew Dalby. It sets out the problems of origin, dating and authorship of the two ancient Greek epics, Iliad and Odyssey, usually attributed to Homer....

.

Independent of the question of single authorship is the near-universal agreement, after the work of Milman Parry
Milman Parry
Milman Parry was a scholar of epic poetry and the founder of the discipline of oral tradition.-Biography:He was born in 1902 and studied at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Sorbonne . A student of the linguist Antoine Meillet at the Sorbonne, Parry revolutionized Homeric studies...

, that the Homeric poems are dependent on an oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, a generations-old technique that was the collective inheritance of many singer-poets (aoidoi
Aoidos
The Greek word aoidos or aōidos referred to a classical Greek singer. In modern Homeric scholarship aoidos is used by some as the technical term for a skilled oral epic poet in the tradition to which the Iliad and Odyssey are believed to belong .- Song and poetry in the Iliad and Odyssey :In...

). An analysis of the structure and vocabulary of the Iliad and Odyssey shows that the poems contain many formulaic phrases typical of extempore epic traditions; even entire verses are at times repeated. Parry and his student Albert Lord
Albert Lord
Albert Bates Lord was a professor of Slavic and comparative literature at Harvard University who, after the death of Milman Parry, carried on that scholar's research into epic literature.-Personal life:...

 pointed out that such elaborate oral tradition, foreign to today's literate cultures, is typical of epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 in a predominantly oral cultural milieu, the key words being "oral" and "traditional". Parry started with "traditional": the repetitive chunks of language, he said, were inherited by the singer-poet from his predecessors, and were useful to him in composition. Parry called these repetitive chunks "formulas".

Exactly when these poems would have taken on a fixed written form is subject to debate. The traditional solution is the "transcription hypothesis", wherein a non-literate "Homer" dictates his poem to a literate scribe between the 8th and 6th centuries BC. The Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 was introduced in the early 8th century BC, so it is possible that Homer himself was of the first generation of authors who were also literate. The classicist Barry B. Powell
Barry B. Powell
Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of the widely used textbook Classical Myth and many other books. He is a specialist in Homer and in the history of writing...

 suggests that the Greek alphabet was invented ca. 800 BC by one man, probably Homer, in order to write down oral epic poetry. More radical Homerists like Gregory Nagy contend that a canonical text of the Homeric poems as "scripture" did not exist until the Hellenistic period (3rd to 1st century BC).

Homeric studies


The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. The aims and achievements of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia. In the last few centuries, they have revolved around the process by which the Homeric poems came into existence and were transmitted over time to us, first orally and later in writing.

Some of the main trends in modern Homeric scholarship have been, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Analysis and Unitarianism (see Homeric Question
Homeric Question
The Homeric Question concerns the doubts and consequent debate over the identity of Homer, the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey, and historicity, especially of the Iliad...

), schools of thought which emphasized on the one hand the inconsistencies in, and on the other the artistic unity of, Homer; and in the 20th century and later Oral Theory, the study of the mechanisms and effects of oral transmission, and Neoanalysis, the study of the relationship between Homer and other early epic material.

Homeric dialect


The language used by Homer is an archaic version of Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

, with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

. It later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

, typically in dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter
Dactylic hexameter is a form of meter in poetry or a rhythmic scheme. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin, and was consequently considered to be the Grand Style of classical poetry...

.

Homeric style


Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 remarks in his Poetics that Homer was unique among the poets of his time, focusing on a single unified theme or action in the epic cycle.

The cardinal qualities of the style of Homer are well articulated by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator...

:
[T]he translator of Homer should above all be penetrated by a sense of four qualities of his author:—that he is eminently rapid; that he is eminently plain and direct, both in the evolution of his thought and in the expression of it, that is, both in his syntax and in his words; that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought, that is, in his matter and ideas; and finally, that he is eminently noble.


The peculiar rapidity of Homer is due in great measure to his use of hexameter
Hexameter
Hexameter is a metrical line of verse consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Greek mythology, hexameter...

 verse. It is characteristic of early literature that the evolution of the thought, or the grammatical form of the sentence, is guided by the structure of the verse; and the correspondence which consequently obtains between the rhythm and the syntax—the thought being given out in lengths, as it were, and these again divided by tolerably uniform pauses—produces a swift flowing movement such as is rarely found when periods are constructed without direct reference to the metre. That Homer possesses this rapidity without falling into the corresponding faults, that is, without becoming either fluctuant or monotonous, is perhaps the best proof of his unequalled poetic skill. The plainness and directness of both thought and expression which characterise him were doubtless qualities of his age, but the author of the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

(similar to Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, to whom Arnold happily compares him) must have possessed this gift in a surpassing degree. The Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

is in this respect perceptibly below the level of the Iliad.

Rapidity or ease of movement, plainness of expression, and plainness of thought are not distinguishing qualities of the great epic poets Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

, Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, and Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

. On the contrary, they belong rather to the humbler epico-lyrical school for which Homer has been so often claimed. The proof that Homer does not belong to that school—and that his poetry is not in any true sense ballad poetry—is furnished by the higher artistic structure of his poems and, as regards style, by the fourth of the qualities distinguished by Arnold: the quality of nobleness. It is his noble and powerful style, sustained through every change of idea and subject, that finally separates Homer from all forms of ballad poetry and popular epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

.

Like the French epics, such as the Chanson de Roland, Homeric poetry is indigenous and, by the ease of movement and its resultant simplicity, distinguishable from the works of Dante, Milton and Virgil. It is also distinguished from the works of these artists by the comparative absence of underlying motives or sentiment. In Virgil's poetry, a sense of the greatness of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 is the leading motive of a passionate rhetoric, partly veiled by the considered delicacy of his language. Dante and Milton are still more faithful exponents of the religion and politics of their time. Even the French epics
EPICS
The Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System is a software environment used to develop and implement distributed control systems to operate devices such as particle accelerators, telescopes and other large experiments. EPICS also provides SCADA capabilities...

 display sentiments of fear and hatred of the Saracens; but, in Homer's works, the interest is purely dramatic. There is no strong antipathy of race
Race
Race is classification of humans into large and distinct populations or groups by factors such as heritable phenotypic characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status...

 or religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

; the war turns on no political events; the capture of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 lies outside the range of the Iliad; and even the protagonists are not comparable to the chief national heroes of Greece. So far as can be seen, the chief interest in Homer's works is that of human feeling and emotion, and of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

; indeed, his works are often referred to as "dramas".

History and the Iliad



The excavations of Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns...

 at Hisarlik
Hisarlik
Hisarlik , often spelled Hissarlik, is the modern name for the site of ancient Troy, also known as Ilion, and is located in what is now Turkey...

 in the late 19th century provided initial evidence to scholars that there was an historical basis for the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

. Research into oral epics in Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

 and Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

, pioneered by the aforementioned Parry and Lord, began convincing scholars that long poems could be preserved with consistency by oral cultures until they are written down. The decipherment
Decipherment
Decipherment is the analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost....

 of Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 in the 1950s by Michael Ventris
Michael Ventris
Michael George Francis Ventris, OBE was an English architect and classical scholar who, along with John Chadwick, was responsible for the decipherment of Linear B.Ventris was educated in Switzerland and at Stowe School...

 (and others) convinced many of a linguistic continuity between 13th century BC Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

an writings and the poems attributed to Homer.

It is probable, therefore, that the story of the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

 as reflected in the Homeric poems derives from a tradition of epic poetry founded on a war which actually took place. It is crucial, however, not to underestimate the creative and transforming power of subsequent tradition: for instance, Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, the most important character of the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

,
is strongly associated with southern Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, but his legendary figure is interwoven into a tale of war whose kings were from the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

. Tribal wanderings were frequent, and far-flung, ranging over much of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. The epic weaves brilliantly the (scattered remains) of these distinct tribal narratives, exchanged among clan bards, into a monumental tale in which Greeks join collectively to do battle on the distant plains of Troy.

Hero cult


In the Hellenistic period, Homer was the subject of a hero cult in several cities. A shrine, the Homereion, was devoted to him in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 by Ptolemy IV Philopator
Ptolemy IV Philopator
Ptolemy IV Philopator , son of Ptolemy III and Berenice II of Egypt was the fourth Pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt...

 in the late 3rd century BC. This shrine is described in Aelian
Claudius Aelianus
Claudius Aelianus , often seen as just Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and probably outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222...

's 3rd century AD work Varia Historia. He tells how Ptolemy "placed in a circle around the statue [of Homer] all the cities who laid claim to Homer" and mentions a painting of the poet by the artist Galaton
Galaton
Galaton was an ancient Greek painter, whose picture representing Homer vomiting, and other poets gathering up what fell from him, is mentioned by Aelian and by a scholiast to Lucian , who calls the painter Gelaton...

, which apparently depicted Homer in the aspect of Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 as the source of all poetry.

A marble relief, found in Italy but thought to have been sculpted in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, depicts the apotheosis
Apotheosis
Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

 of Homer. It shows Ptolemy and his wife or sister Arsinoe III standing beside a seated poet, flanked by figures from the Odyssey and Iliad, with the nine Muses standing above them and a procession of worshippers approaching an altar, believed to represent the Alexandrine Homereion. Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, the god of music and poetry, also appears, along with a female figure tentatively identified as Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne
Mnemosyne , source of the word mnemonic, was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. This titaness was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus:* Calliope * Clio * Erato...

, the mother of the Muses. Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, the king of the gods
Odyssean gods
The Odyssean gods are the ancient Greek gods referenced in Homer's Odyssey.The story's major gods include Athena, Poseidon, Calypso and Circe; minor gods include Ino, Hermes, Zeus, and Heracles.-Major gods:...

, presides over the proceedings. The relief demonstrates vividly that the Greeks considered Homer not merely a great poet but the divinely inspired reservoir of all literature.

Homereia also stood at Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

, Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, and Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

, which were among the city-states that claimed to be his birthplace. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (14.1.37) records an Homeric temple in Smyrna with an ancient xoanon
Xoanon
A xoanon was an Archaic wooden cult image of Ancient Greece. Classical Greeks associated such cult objects, whether aniconic or effigy, with the legendary Daedalus. Many such cult images were preserved into historical times, though none have survived to the modern day, except where their image...

or cult statue of the poet. He also mentions sacrifices carried out to Homer by the inhabitants of Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, presumably at another Homereion.

Transmission and publication


Though evincing many features characteristic of oral poetry, the Iliad and Odyssey were at some point committed to writing. The Greek script, adapted from a Phoenician
Phoenician alphabet
The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

 syllabary
Syllabary
A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent syllables, which make up words. In a syllabary, there is no systematic similarity between the symbols which represent syllables with the same consonant or vowel...

 around 800 BC, made possible the notation of the complex rhythms and vowel clusters that make up hexameter verse. Homer's poems appear to have been recorded shortly after the alphabet's invention: an inscription from Ischia
Ischia
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has...

 in the Bay of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, ca. 740 BC, appears to refer to a text of the Iliad; likewise, illustrations seemingly inspired by the Polyphemus
Polyphemus
Polyphemus is the gigantic one-eyed son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes. His name means "much spoken of" or "famous". Polyphemus plays a pivotal role in Homer's Odyssey.-In Homer's Odyssey:...

 episode in the Odyssey are found on Samos
Samoš
Samoš is a village in Serbia. It is situated in the Kovačica municipality, in the South Banat District, Vojvodina province. The village has a Serb ethnic majority and its population numbering 1,247 people .-See also:...

, Mykonos
Mykonos
Mykonos is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island spans an area of and rises to an elevation of at its highest point. There are 9,320 inhabitants most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast. The town is also...

 and in Italy, dating from the first quarter of the seventh century BC. We have little information about the early condition of the Homeric poems, but in the second century BC, Alexandrian editors stabilized this text from which all modern texts descend.

In late antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

, knowledge of Greek declined in Latin-speaking western Europe and, along with it, knowledge of Homer's poems. It was not until the fifteenth century AD that Homer's work began to be read once more in Italy. By contrast it was continually read and taught in the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire where the majority of the classics also survived. The first printed edition appeared in 1488 (edited by Demetrios Chalkokondyles and published by Bernardus Nerlius, Nerius Nerlius, and Demetrius Damilas in Florence, Italy).

Modern scholars



  • Richard Bentley
    Richard Bentley
    Richard Bentley was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge....

  • Ioannis Kakridis
    Ioannis Kakridis
    Ioannis Kakridis was a Greek classical scholar.He was born in Athens in 1901 and received his PhD at the University of Athens. He went on to become a professor at the universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Tübingen, Stockholm, Lund and Uppsala. Kakridis was a Homer scholar and one of most...

  • Adolf Kirchhoff
    Adolf Kirchhoff
    Johann Wilhelm Adolf Kirchhoff , German classical scholar and epigraphist.-Biography:He was born in Berlin. In 1865 he was appointed professor of classical philology in the university of his native city...

  • Geoffrey Kirk
    Geoffrey Kirk
    Geoffrey Stephen Kirk DSC, FBA was a British classical scholar, known for his books on Ancient Greek literature and mythology.-Life:...

  • Karl Lachmann
    Karl Lachmann
    Karl Konrad Friedrich Wilhelm Lachmann was a German philologist and critic.-Biography:He was born in Brunswick, in what is now Lower Saxony....

  • Walter Leaf
    Walter Leaf
    Walter Leaf was an English banker and scholar.Walter Leaf was born at on 26 November 1852 and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1877 he entered the family firm, becoming in 1888 chairman of Leaf & Company Ltd. Later he became chairman of the Westminster Bank...

  • Albert Lord
    Albert Lord
    Albert Bates Lord was a professor of Slavic and comparative literature at Harvard University who, after the death of Milman Parry, carried on that scholar's research into epic literature.-Personal life:...

  • David Binning Monro
    David Binning Monro
    David Binning Monro was a Scottish Homeric scholar.-Life:David Monro was born in Edinburgh, the grandson of Alexander Monro tertius, professor of anatomy at the University of Edinburgh, whose own father, Alexander Monro secondus , and grandfather, Alexander Monro primus , had both filled the same...

  • Karl Otfried Müller
    Karl Otfried Müller
    Karl Otfried Müller , was a German scholar and Philodorian, or admirer of ancient Sparta, who introduced the modern study of Greek mythology.-Biography:...

  • Gilbert Murray
    Gilbert Murray
    George Gilbert Aimé Murray, OM was an Australian born British classical scholar and public intellectual, with connections in many spheres. He was an outstanding scholar of the language and culture of Ancient Greece, perhaps the leading authority in the first half of the twentieth century...

  • Gregory Nagy
    Gregory Nagy
    Gregory Nagy , born in Budapest Hungary in 1942, is an American professor of Classics at Harvard University, specializing in Homer and archaic Greek poetry. Nagy is known for extending Milman Parry and Albert Lord's theories about the oral composition-in-performance of the Iliad and Odyssey...



  • Gregor Wilhelm Nitzsch
    Gregor Wilhelm Nitzsch
    Gregor Wilhelm Nitzsch was a German classical scholar known chiefly for his writings on Homeric epic.Brother of Karl Immanuel Nitzsch, he was born at Wittenberg. In 1827, he was appointed professor of ancient literature at Kiel but, in 1852, was dismissed by the Danish government for his German...

  • Milman Parry
    Milman Parry
    Milman Parry was a scholar of epic poetry and the founder of the discipline of oral tradition.-Biography:He was born in 1902 and studied at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Sorbonne . A student of the linguist Antoine Meillet at the Sorbonne, Parry revolutionized Homeric studies...

  • Barry B. Powell
    Barry B. Powell
    Barry B. Powell is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of the widely used textbook Classical Myth and many other books. He is a specialist in Homer and in the history of writing...

  • Heinrich Schliemann
    Heinrich Schliemann
    Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns...

  • William Bedell Stanford
    William Bedell Stanford
    William Bedell Stanford was an Irish classical scholar and senator. He was Regius Professor of Greek at Trinity College, Dublin between 1940 and 1980 and served as the twenty-second Chancellor of the University between 1982 and 1984.He was born in Belfast, the son of a Dublin-born Church of...

  • Jean-Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de Villoison
    Jean-Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de Villoison
    Jean-Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de Villoison was a classical scholar born at Corbeil-sur-Seine, France....

  • Alan Wace
    Alan Wace
    Alan John Bayard Wace was an English archaeologist.Wace was educated at Shrewsbury School and Pembroke College, Cambridge...

  • Martin Litchfield West
    Martin Litchfield West
    Martin Litchfield West is an internationally recognised scholar in classics, classical antiquity and philology...

  • Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
    Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
    Enno Friedrich Wichard Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff was a German Classical Philologist. Wilamowitz, as he is known in scholarly circles, was a renowned authority on Ancient Greece and its literature.- Youth :...

  • Friedrich August Wolf
    Friedrich August Wolf
    Friedrich August Wolf was a German philologist and critic.He was born at Hainrode, a village not far from Nordhausen, Germany. His father was the village schoolmaster and organist...





Editions


(texts in Homeric Greek)
  • Demetrius Chalcondyles
    Demetrius Chalcondyles
    Demetrios Chalkokondyles, latinized as Demetrius Chalcocondyles and found variously as Demetricocondyles, Chalcocondylas or Chalcondyles , was a Greek humanist, scholar and Professor who taught the Greek language in Italy for over forty years; at Padua, Perugia, Milan and Florence...

     editio princeps, Florence, 1488
  • the Aldine editions (1504 and 1517)
  • Th. Ridel, Strasbourg, ca. 1572, 1588 and 1592.
  • Wolf (Halle, 1794–1795; Leipzig, 1804 1807)
  • Spitzner (Gotha, 1832–1836)
  • Bekker (Berlin, 1843; Bonn, 1858)
  • La Roche (Odyssey, 1867–1868; Iliad, 1873–1876, both at Leipzig)
  • Ludwich (Odyssey, Leipzig, 1889–1891; Iliad, 2 vols., 1901 and 1907)
  • W. Leaf (Iliad, London, 1886–1888; 2nd ed. 1900-1902)
  • W. Walter Merry and James Riddell (Odyssey i.-xii., 2nd ed., Oxford, 1886)
  • Monro (Odyssey xiii.-xxiv. with appendices, Oxford, 1901)
  • Monro and Allen (Iliad), and Allen (Odyssey, 1908, Oxford).
  • D.B. Monro and T.W. Allen 1917-1920, Homeri Opera (5 volumes: Iliad = 3rd edition, Odyssey = 2nd edition), Oxford. ISBN 0-19-814528-4, ISBN 0-19-814529-2, ISBN 0-19-814531-4, ISBN 0-19-814532-2, ISBN 0-19-814534-9
  • H. van Thiel 1991, Homeri Odyssea, Hildesheim. ISBN 3-487-09458-4, 1996, Homeri Ilias, Hildesheim. ISBN 3-487-09459-2
  • M.L. West 1998-2000, Homeri Ilias (2 volumes), Munich/Leipzig. ISBN 3-598-71431-9, ISBN 3-598-71435-1
  • P. von der Mühll 1993, Homeri Odyssea, Munich/Leipzig. ISBN 3-598-71432-7
  • Ilias in Wikisource

Interlinear translations

  • The Iliad of Homer a Parsed Interlinear, Handheldclassics.com (2008) Text ISBN 978-1607252986

English translations



This is a partial list of translations into English of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.
  • Augustus Taber Murray (1866–1940)
    • Homer: Iliad, 2 vols., revised by William F. Wyatt, Loeb Classical Library
      Loeb Classical Library
      The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

      , Harvard University Press (1999).
    • Homer: Odyssey, 2 vols., revised by George E. Dimock, Loeb Classical Library
      Loeb Classical Library
      The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

      , Harvard University Press (1995).
  • Robert Fitzgerald
    Robert Fitzgerald
    Robert Stuart Fitzgerald was a poet, critic and translator whose renderings of the Greek classics "became standard works for a generation of scholars and students." He was best known as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin...

     (1910–1985)
    • The Iliad, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2004) ISBN 0-374-52905-1
    • The Odyssey, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1998) ISBN 0-374-52574-9
  • Robert Fagles
    Robert Fagles
    Robert Fagles was an American professor, poet, and academic, best known for his many translations of ancient Greek classics, especially his acclaimed translations of the epic poems of Homer...

     (1933–2008)
    • The Iliad, Penguin Classics (1998) ISBN 0-14-027536-3
    • The Odyssey, Penguin Classics (1999) ISBN 0-14-026886-3
  • Stanley Lombardo
    Stanley Lombardo
    Stanley F. Lombardo is an American professor of Classics at the University of Kansas. He is best known for his translations of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid...

     (b. 1943)
    • Iliad, Hackett Publishing Company
      Hackett Publishing Company
      Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. is an academic publishing house based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since beginning operations in 1972, Hackett has concentrated mainly on humanities, especially classical and philosophical texts. Many Hackett titles are used as textbooks, making the company very...

       (1997) ISBN 0-87220-352-2
    • Odyssey, Hackett Publishing Company
      Hackett Publishing Company
      Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. is an academic publishing house based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since beginning operations in 1972, Hackett has concentrated mainly on humanities, especially classical and philosophical texts. Many Hackett titles are used as textbooks, making the company very...

       (2000) ISBN 0-87220-484-7
    • Iliad, (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-08-3
    • Odyssey, (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-06-7
    • The Essential Homer, (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-12-1
    • The Essential Iliad, (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-10-5
  • Samuel Butler (novelist)
    Samuel Butler (novelist)
    Samuel Butler was an iconoclastic Victorian author who published a variety of works. Two of his most famous pieces are the Utopian satire Erewhon and a semi-autobiographical novel published posthumously, The Way of All Flesh...

     (1835–1902)
    • The Iliad, Red and Black Publishers (2008) ISBN 978-1-934941-04-1
    • The Odyssey, Red and Black Publishers (2008) ISBN 978-1-934941-05-8
  • Herbert Jordan (b. 1938)
    • "Iliad", University of Oklahoma Press (2008) ISBN 9780806139746 (soft cover); ISBN 9780806139425 (cloth bound)

General works on Homer

  • Pierre Carlier, Homère, Fayard 1999. ISBN 2-213-60381-2
  • Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Le monde d'Homère, Perrin 2000. ISBN 2-262-01181-8
  • Jacqueline de Romilly, Homère, Presses Universitaire de France, 5th ed. 2005. ISBN 2-13-054830-X
  • J. Latacz 2004, Troy and Homer: Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-926308-6; 5th updated and expanded edition, Leipzig 2005 (in Spanish 2003 ISBN 84-233-3487-2, modern Greek 2005 ISBN 960-16-1557-1)
  • Robert Fowler (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Homer, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004. ISBN 0-521-01246-5
  • I. Morris and B. B. Powell 1997, A New Companion to Homer, Leiden. ISBN 90-04-09989-1
  • B. B. Powell 2007, "Homer," 2nd edition. Oxford. ISBN 978-1-4051-5325-5

Influential readings and interpretations

  • E. Auerbach 1953, Mimesis, Princeton (orig. publ. in German, 1946, Bern), chapter 1. ISBN 0-691-11336-X
  • M.W. Edwards 1987, Homer, Poet of the Iliad, Baltimore. ISBN 0-8018-3329-9
  • B. Fenik 1974, Studies in the Odyssey, Wiesbaden ('Hermes' Einzelschriften 30).
  • M.I. Finley, The World of Odysseus 1954, rev. ed. 1978.
  • I.J.F. de Jong 1987, Narrators and Focalizers, Amsterdam/Bristol. ISBN 1-85399-658-0
  • G. Nagy 1980, "The Best of the Achaeans", Baltimore. ISBN 978-0801860157

Commentaries

  • Iliad:
    • P.V. Jones (ed.) 2003, Homer's Iliad. A Commentary on Three Translations, London. ISBN 1-85399-657-2
    • G. S. Kirk (gen. ed.) 1985-1993, The Iliad: A Commentary (6 volumes), Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-28171-7, ISBN 0-521-28172-5, ISBN 0-521-28173-3, ISBN 0-521-28174-1, ISBN 0-521-31208-6, ISBN 0-521-31209-4
    • J. Latacz
      Joachim Latacz
      Joachim Latacz is a German classical philologist.Latacz studied Classical Philology, Indo-Germanic languages, Ancient History and Archaeology from 1954-1956 at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg...

       (gen. ed.) 2002-, Homers Ilias. Gesamtkommentar. Auf der Grundlage der Ausgabe von Ameis-Hentze-Cauer (1868–1913) (6 volumes published so far, of an estimated 15), Munich/Leipzig. ISBN 3-598-74307-6, ISBN 3-598-74304-1
    • N. Postlethwaite (ed.) 2000, Homer's Iliad: A Commentary on the Translation of Richmond Lattimore, Exeter. ISBN 0-85989-684-6
    • M.W. Willcock (ed.) 1976, A Companion to the Iliad, Chicago. ISBN 0-226-89855-5
  • Odyssey:
    • A. Heubeck (gen. ed.) 1990-1993, A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey (3 volumes; orig. publ. 1981-1987 in Italian), Oxford. ISBN 0-19-814747-3, ISBN 0-19-872144-7, ISBN 0-19-814953-0
    • P. Jones (ed.) 1988, Homer's Odyssey: A Commentary based on the English Translation of Richmond Lattimore, Bristol. ISBN 1-85399-038-8
    • I.J.F. de Jong (ed.) 2001, A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-46844-2

Trends in Homeric scholarship


"Classical" analysis
  • A. Heubeck 1974, Die homerische Frage, Darmstadt. ISBN 3-534-03864-9
  • R. Merkelbach 1969, Untersuchungen zur Odyssee (2nd edition), Munich. ISBN 3-406-03242-7
  • D. Page 1955, The Homeric Odyssey, Oxford.
  • U. von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff 1916, Die Ilias und Homer, Berlin.
  • F.A. Wolf 1795, Prolegomena ad Homerum, Halle. Published in English translation 1988, Princeton. ISBN 0-691-10247-3


Neoanalysis
  • M.E. Clark 1986, "Neoanalysis: a bibliographical review," Classical World 79.6: 379-94.
  • J. Griffin 1977, "The epic cycle and the uniqueness of Homer," Journal of Hellenic Studies 97: 39-53.
  • J.T. Kakridis 1949, Homeric Researches, London. ISBN 0-8240-7757-1
  • W. Kullmann 1960, Die Quellen der Ilias (Troischer Sagenkreis), Wiesbaden. ISBN 3-515-00235-9


Homer and oral tradition
  • E. Bakker 1997, Poetry in Speech: Orality and Homeric Discourse, Ithaca NY. ISBN 0-8014-3295-2
  • J.M. Foley 1999, Homer's Traditional Art, University Park PA. ISBN 0-271-01870-4
  • G.S. Kirk 1976, Homer and the Oral Tradition, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-21309-6
  • A.B. Lord 1960, The Singer of Tales, Cambridge MA. ISBN 0-674-00283-0
  • M. Parry 1971, The Making of Homeric Verse, Oxford. ISBN 0-19-520560-X
  • B. B. Powell, 1991, Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet, ISBN 0-521-58907-X

Dating the Homeric poems

  • R. Janko 1982, Homer, Hesiod and the Hymns, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-23869-2

External links