The bards told stories in the form of long poems called epics. People would often pay to hear the bards describe stories of the distant past.
See Article History Homer, flourished 9th or 8th century bce? Although these two great epic poems of ancient Greece have always been attributed to the shadowy figure of Homer, little is known of him beyond the fact that his was the name attached in antiquity by the Greeks themselves to the poems.
That there was an epic poet called Homer and that he played the primary part in shaping the Iliad and the Odyssey—so much may be said to be probable.
He is also one of the most influential authors in the widest sense, for the two epics provided the basis of Greek education and culture throughout the Classical age and formed the backbone of humane education down to the time of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity. Since then the proliferation of translations has helped to make them the most important poems of the Classical European tradition.
It was probably through their impact on Classical Greek culture itself that the Iliad and the Odyssey most subtly affected Western standards and ideas.
The Greeks regarded the great epics as something more than works of literature; they knew much of them by heart, and they valued them not only as a symbol of Hellenic unity and heroism but also as an ancient source of moral and even practical instruction. Early references Implicit references to Homer and quotations from the poems date to the middle of the 7th century bce.
ArchilochusAlcmanTyrtaeusand Callinus in the 7th century and Sappho and others in the early 6th adapted Homeric phraseology and metre to their own purposes and rhythms.
At the same time scenes from the epics became popular in works of art. Indeed, it was not long before a kind of Homeric scholarship began: Theagenes of Rhegium in southern Italy toward the end of the same century wrote the first of many allegorizing interpretations.
The historian Herodotus assigned the formulation of Greek theology to Homer and Hesiod and claimed that they could have lived no more than years before his own time, the 5th century bce. This should be contrasted with the superficial assumption, popular in many circles throughout antiquity, that Homer must have lived not much later than the Trojan War about which he sang.
The general belief that Homer was a native of Ionia the central part of the western seaboard of Asia Minor seems a reasonable conjecture for the poems themselves are in predominantly Ionic dialect. Although Smyrna and Chios early began competing for the honour the poet Pindarearly in the 5th century bce, associated Homer with bothand others joined in, no authenticated local memory survived anywhere of someone who, oral poet or not, must have been remarkable in his time.
The absence of hard facts puzzled but did not deter the Greeks; the fictions that had begun even before the 5th century bce were developed in the Alexandrian era in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bce when false scholarship as well as true abounded into fantastic pseudobiographies, and these were further refined by derivative scholars under the Roman Empire.
The longest to have survived purports to be by Herodotus himself; but it is quite devoid of objective truth. The most concrete piece of ancient evidence is that his descendants, the Homeridaelived on the Ionic island of Chios.
Yet an east Aegean environment is suggested for the main author of the Iliad by certain local references in the poem; that is, to the peak of Samothrace just appearing over the intervening mass of Imbros when seen from the plain of Troyto the birds at the mouth of the Cayster near Ephesus, to storms off Icaria and northwest winds from Thrace.
Admittedly, there is some doubt over whether the Iliad and the Odyssey were even composed by the same main author. Such doubts began in antiquity itself and depended mainly on the difference of genre the Iliad being martial and heroic, the Odyssey picaresque and often fantasticbut they may be reinforced by subtle differences of vocabulary even apart from those imposed by different subjects.
In any case the similarities of the two poems are partly due to the coherence of the heroic poetical tradition that lay behind both.
The internal evidence of the poems is of some use in determining when Homer lived. Certain elements of the poetic language, which was an artificial amalgam never exactly reproduced in speech, indicate that the epics were not only post-Mycenaean in composition but also substantially later than the foundation of the first Ionian settlements in Asia Minor of about bce.
The running together of adjacent short vowels and the disappearance of the semivowel digamma a letter formerly existing in the Greek alphabet are the most significant indications of this.
At the other end of the time scale the development in the poems of a true definite article, for instance, represents an earlier phase than is exemplified in the poetry of the middle and late 7th century. Both stylistically and metrically, the Homeric poems appear to be earlier than the Hesiodic poems, which many scholars place not long after bce.
A different and perhaps more precise criterion is provided by datable objects and practices mentioned in the poems.
Nothing, except for one or two probably Athenian additions, seems from this standpoint to be later than about ; on the other hand, the role assigned in the Odyssey to the Phoenicians as traders, together with one or two other phenomena, suggests a date of composition—for the relevant contexts at least—of sometime after A few passages in the Iliad may imply a new form of fighting in close formation, dependent on the development of special armour for foot soldiers hoplites after aboutand references to the Gorgon mask as a decorative motif point in the same direction.
It is true that the poems contain many traditional and archaic elements, and their language and material background are a compound of different constituents originating at different dates. It seems, nonetheless, plausible to conclude that the period of composition of the large-scale epics as distinct from their much shorter predecessors was the 9th or 8th century, with several features pointing more clearly to the 8th.
The Odyssey may belong near the end of this century, the Iliad closer to its middle. It may be no coincidence that cults of Homeric heroes tended to spring up toward the end of the 8th century, and that scenes from the epic begin to appear on pots at just about the same time.
Homer as an oral poet But even if his name is known and his date and region can be inferred, Homer remains primarily a projection of the great poems themselves.Homer (/ ˈ h oʊ m ər /; Greek: Ὅμηρος Greek pronunciation: [hómɛːros], Hómēros) is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature.
The Iliad is an epic poem ascribed to the ancient Greek storyteller Homer, which tells the story of the Trojan War and the Greek siege of the city of Troy. The Iliad is believed to have been written in the 8th century BCE; it is a classic piece of literature which is still commonly read today.
The Iliad and the Odyssey were first analyzed by the Alexandrians, some of whom theorized that the two epics were written by different poets but who did not pull apart the individual epics. Starting in the eighteenth century there came analytic theorists who thought there were many poems which had been combined into one.
The Iliad: Literary Analysis Throughout The Iliad, an epic poem written by Homer, there were numerous warriors and other characters that could be looked upon as heroes; some of these heroes included Achilles, Ajax, Diomedes, Hector, and Glaucus.
Homer's two epic poems have become archetypal road maps in world mythology.
The stories provide an important insight into early human society, and illustrate, in some aspects, how little has changed. Even if The Iliad itself seems unfamiliar, the story of the siege of Troy, the Trojan War and Paris’ kidnapping of Helen, the world’s most .
The Iliad and the Odyssey are two epic poems written by Homer around the 9th century BC. They are two of the oldest recorded written works in history. The Iliad deals with a ten-year war between the Greeks and Trojans, called the Siege of Troy/5(62).