Homer, who is thought to be the first poet in Europe, is one of the best poets of all time. People thought he told stories and sang at the court. Some people think he was from the island of Iona based on the way he spoke, while others say he was from the island of Chios.
Homer’s Iliad, which tells about the war between the Greeks and the Trojans, is likely what made him famous. In this war, the Greeks and Trojans fought each other. The Trojans were led by Priam, his sons Hector, Paris, and Paris’s wife Andromache (led by Achilles who is thought to be the greatest warrior in the world, Melanus king of Sparta, his brother Agamemnon, Odysseus king of Ithaca, Ajax the second great warrior and Aias the Great)
Here are some things about Homer that make him an interesting character in poetry:
1. Birth year is unknown.
Homer, the famous Greek poet, was born to Telemachus and Epikaste. His birth date is not known for sure, but it is thought to have been between 12 BC and 8 BC. People say he died on the Island of Chios, but just like his birth date, no one knows when he died.
Homer talks in his poem “The Iliad” about how chaotic things were in the city of Ilion during the Trojan War, especially during the last year of the war when the Greeks and Trojans fought each other. Paris, who was the son of Priam, took Helen, who was Menelaus’s daughter, hostage. This is what started the war. The Iliad had 15,693 lines, and it talked about and showed Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Apollo, Ares, and Aphrodite, among other gods and goddesses.
3. Homer’s Iliad
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two of Homer’s most well-known works. Both are still played, and many people still love them. In The Odyssey, Odysseus’s journey after the Trojan War is told. During their adventure, Odysseus and his men ran into Scylla, a monster with six heads and twelve tentacles, and Charybdis, a whirlpool from which they barely got away. In the end, all of his men died in a shipwreck, leaving only Odysseus. Seven years later, he was caught.
4. A poet who can’t see.
Homer was the son of Telemachus and Epikaste. He was a singer and performer, so people called him a bard. Some people think he was blind, so they call him the blind bard. It is unknown if the story about him being blind is true or if it is just about his name, which was unusual at the time and meant “hostage” or “blind.”
5. He wrote with the first alphabet.
People thought that Homer’s poems were written soon after the alphabet was made. Before that, he would have had to say his poetry instead of writing it down. The poet is said to have told the scribe what to write between 8 BC and 6 BC.
6. Hymns from Homer
Homer also wrote other poems that were similar to Odyssey and Illiad. These poems had anywhere from a few lines to hundreds of lines and were called “Homeric poems.” One of these poems, the Epic Cycle about the Trojan War, was written in the same language as Odyssey and Illiad.
7. Did Homer exist?
People disagree about a lot of things about Homer, like where he was born, when he was born, and when he died. Also, there are no biographical records of the man, so some people think he was just a character in The Iliad and The Odyssey. Some people think he was from the island of Iona, while others say he was from the island of Chios.
8. An idea for a poem
Around 3 BC, there were places in Greece where Homer was praised. It is said that his works, which were the first poems written in Europe, influenced many others, such as Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno,” Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” L. Frank Baum’s “The Great Wizard of Oz,” and James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
9. He was a very important leader.
Homer is mentioned in Plato’s The Republican as a leader who had a lot of power. Aristotle also said that Homer was the most interesting pet of his time. People say that his poems have been told from one generation to the next by word of mouth.
10. The Book of Epics
He wrote a book of poems called “The Epic Cycle.” The poems in this book show what happened during the Trojan War. He also wrote the Homeric hymns, which are a group of 33 Greek songs about different gods.
Homer is hard to figure out. His work, on the other hand, has lasted through the years and is still loved by poetry fans all over the world.
11. Homer is one of the oldest people to study and write about things.
The study of Homer is one of the oldest fields of study, going all the way back to ancient times. Still, the goals of studying Homer have changed over the years and centuries.
The first comments about Homer that have survived are about how he treated the gods, which critics like the poet Xenophanes of Colophon called immoral.
It is said that the allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium defended Homer by saying that his poems are allegories. In ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, both the Iliad and the Odyssey were often used as school books.
They were the first pieces of writing that all students were taught. During the Hellenistic and Roman times, the first few books of the Iliad, especially, were studied with much more care than the Odyssey.
Because the poems were so important in classical Greek education, people wrote a lot about them to explain parts that were hard to understand because of culture or language.
During the Hellenistic and Roman times, many interpreters, especially the Stoics, who thought that Homeric poems told Stoic doctrines, saw them as allegories with hidden wisdom.
Many authors thought that Homer’s original goal was to teach, perhaps in part because his poems were used so often in schools. Homer’s wisdom was praised so much that he started to be seen as a kind of archetype of a philosopher.
Scholars from the Byzantine Empire, like Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes, added to, explained, and commented on Homer, especially in the 12th century.
Eustathius’ commentaries on the Iliad and Odyssey are both very long. His commentaries on the Iliad alone take up nearly 4,000 oversized pages, and his commentaries on the Odyssey take up nearly 2,000 more.
12. The poems of Homer were attacked.
In 1664, Francois Hédelin, abbé d’Aubignac wrote a scathing attack on the Homeric poems. He said that they were incoherent, immoral, tasteless, and lacked style. He also said that Homer never existed and that the poems were put together quickly by incompetent editors from unrelated oral songs.
13. Richard Bentley proved that Homer was real.
Fifty years later, the English scholar Richard Bentley came to the conclusion that Homer did exist, but that he was an unknown, prehistoric oral poet whose works have little to do with the Iliad and the Odyssey as they have been passed down.
He wrote the Ilias for men and the Odysseus for the other sexes.
About 500 years later, in the time of Pisistratus, these separate songs were put together into an epic poem.
14. Homer after World War I
After World War I, Homeric scholars started to lose interest in the Analyst school. It didn’t go away completely, but more and more people saw it as a bad idea that led nowhere.
After studying folk bards in the Balkans, Milman Parry and Albert Lord came up with the “Oral-Formulaic Theory” around 1928. This theory says that the Homeric poems were first created through improvised oral performances that used traditional epithets and poetic formulas.
This theory was accepted by most scholars, and it explained many things about the Homeric poems that had been puzzling before, like their unusually old-fashioned language, their heavy use of stock epithets, and other “repetitive” things.
Many scholars thought that the answer to the “Homeric question” had finally been found.
15. Scholars agreed that the Iliad and Odyssey are two parts of the same poem.
Most modern scholars agree that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not written by the same person, even though they disagree on other questions about how the poems came to be. This is because of “the many differences in narrative style, theology, ethics, vocabulary, and geographical perspective,” as well as the way some parts of the Odyssey seem to copy the Iliad.
Scholars almost all agree that the Iliad and the Odyssey are unified poems, meaning that each poem has a clear overall theme and is not just a bunch of unrelated songs strung together.
Most people also agree that each poem was mostly written by one person, who probably drew a lot on older oral traditions. Almost all scholars agree that the Doloneia in Book X of the Iliad was added by a different poet after the poem was written.
Some ancient scholars thought Homer saw the Trojan War with his own eyes, while others thought he lived up to 500 years after it. Scholars today still argue about when the poems were written.
The poems have been passed down orally for a long time, which makes it hard to figure out when they were written. Based on linguistic analysis and statistics, Richard Janko has said that both poems were written in the eighth century BC.
Barry B. Powell says that the Iliad and the Odyssey were written between 800 and 750 BC. He does this because Herodotus, who lived in the late fifth century BC, said that Homer lived “and not more” than 400 years before his own time, and because the poems don’t talk about hoplite battle tactics, burials, or literacy.
Martin Litchfield West has said that the Iliad sounds like Hesiod’s poetry, so it must have been written no earlier than 660–650 BC. The Odyssey could have been written up to a decade later.
He also thinks that parts of the Iliad show that the people who wrote it knew about historical events that happened in the ancient Near East around the middle of the seventh century BC. For example, Sennacherib destroyed Babylon in 689 BC, and Ashurbanipal sacked Thebes in 663 BC.
On the other hand, some American scholars, like Gregory Nagy, see “Homer” as a tradition that is always changing. The tradition became much more stable as time went on, but it didn’t stop changing and growing until the middle of the second century BC.
“Homer” is a name with an unknown meaning that has been the subject of many theories since ancient times. One of these links was to the Greek word, which means “hostage” or “security.”
Modern scholars’ explanations tend to show where they stand on the Homeric question as a whole. Nagy says it means “he who makes the song work.” West has brought up possible origins in both Greek and Phoenician.