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Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') (born ) was a Greek poet who is credited as the author of the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; "a poem about Ilium") is one of two major ancient Greek Epic poem, epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by modern audiences. As with t ...
'' and the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major Ancient Greek literature, ancient Greek Epic poetry, epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by moder ...
'', two
epic poem An epic poem, or simply an epic, is a lengthy narrative poem typically about the extraordinary deeds of extraordinary characters who, in dealings with gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the mortal universe for their descendants. ...
s that are foundational works of
ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent ...
. Homer is considered one of the most revered and influential authors in history. Homer's ''Iliad'' centers on a quarrel between King
Agamemnon In Greek mythology, Agamemnon (; grc-gre, Ἀγαμέμνων ''Agamémnōn'') was a king of Mycenae who commanded the Greeks during the Trojan War. He was the son, or grandson, of King Atreus and Queen Aerope, the brother of Menelaus, the husba ...
and the warrior
Achilles In Greek mythology, Achilles ( ) or Achilleus ( grc-gre, wikt:Ἀχιλλεύς, Ἀχιλλεύς) was a hero of the Trojan War, the greatest of all the Greek warriors, and the central character of Homer's ''Iliad''. He was the son of the Ner ...
during the last year of the
Trojan War In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Homer), Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy took Helen of Troy, Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of th ...
. The ''Odyssey'' chronicles the ten-year journey of
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin variant Ulysses ( , ; lat, UlyssesUlixes), is a legendary Greeks, Greek king of Homeric Ithaca, Ithaca and the hero of Homer's Epic poet ...
, king of Ithaca, back to his home after the fall of Troy. The poems are in
Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'', ''Odyssey'', and Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic, with some Aeolic Greek, Aeolic forms, a few ...
, also known as Epic Greek, a
literary language A literary language is the Register (sociolinguistics), form (register) of a language used in written literature, which can be either a nonstandard dialect or a standard language, standardized variety of the language. Literary language sometimes ...
which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and
Aeolic In linguistics, Aeolic Greek (), also known as Aeolian (), Lesbian or Lesbic dialect, is the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia; in Thessaly; in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and in the Greek colonies of Aeolis in Anatolia ...
dialects from different centuries; the predominant influence is Eastern Ionic. Most researchers believe that the poems were originally transmitted orally. Homer's epic poems shaped aspects of ancient Greek culture and education, fostering ideals of heroism, glory, and honor. To
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greeks, Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thou ...
, Homer was simply the one who "has taught Greece" (τὴν Ἑλλάδα πεπαίδευκεν, ''tēn Helláda pepaídeuken''). In
Dante Alighieri Dante Alighieri (; – 14 September 1321), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to as Dante (, ), was an Italian people, Italian Italian poetry, poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Comedy'', origin ...
's ''
Divine Comedy The ''Divine Comedy'' ( it, Divina Commedia ) is an Italian narrative poetry, narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun 1308 and completed in around 1321, shortly before the author's death. It is widely considered the pre-eminent work in Ital ...
'',
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...
refers to Homer as "Poet sovereign", king of all poets; in the preface to his translation of the ''Iliad'',
Alexander Pope Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 Old Style and New Style dates, O.S. – 30 May 1744) was an English poet, translator, and satirist of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment era who is considered one of the most prominent English poets of the earl ...
acknowledges that Homer has always been considered the "greatest of poets". From antiquity to present day, Homeric epics have inspired many famous works of literature, music, art, and film. The question of by whom, when, where and under what circumstances the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' were composed continues to be debated. It is generally accepted that the two works were written by different authors. It is thought that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 5th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ...
; the most widespread account was that he was a blind
bard In Celtic cultures, a bard is a professional Storytelling, story teller, verse-maker, music composer, Oral history, oral historian and genealogy, genealogist, employed by a patron (such as a monarch or chieftain) to commemorate one or more of ...
from
Ionia Ionia () was an ancient region on the western coast of Anatolia, to the south of present-day Izmir. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greeks, Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the I ...
, a region of central coastal
Anatolia Anatolia (also Asia Minor), is a large peninsula in Western Asia and is the western-most extension of continental Asia. The land mass of Anatolia constitutes most of the territory of contemporary Turkey. Geographically, the Anatolian region i ...
in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts
legend A legend is a Folklore genre, genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions, believed or perceived, both by teller and listeners, to have taken place in human history. Narratives in this genre may demonstrate human valu ...
ary. * * *


Works attributed to Homer

Today, only the ''Iliad'' and ''the'' ''Odyssey'' are associated with the name 'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the ''
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'', ...
'', the ''
Contest of Homer and Hesiod The ''Contest of Homer and Hesiod'' (Greek: ''Ἀγὼν Oμήρου καὶ Ἡσιόδου'', Latin: ''Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi'' or simply ''Certamen'') is a Greek narrative that expands a remark made in Hesiod's ''Works and Days'' to construc ...
'', the ''
Little Iliad The ''Little Iliad'' (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, th ...
'', the '' Nostoi'', the ''
Thebaid The Thebaid or Thebais ( grc-gre, Θηβαΐς, ''Thēbaïs'') was a region in ancient Egypt, comprising the 13 southernmost nome (Egypt), nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos, Egypt, Abydos to Aswan. Pharaonic history The Thebaid acquired its ...
'', the ''
Cypria The ''Cypria'' (; grc-gre, Κύπρια ''Kúpria''; Latin: ''Cypria'') is a lost epic poetry, epic poem of ancient Greek literature, which has been attributed to Stasinus and was quite well known in classical antiquity and fixed in a received te ...
'', the ''
Epigoni In Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosm ...
'', the comic mini-epic '' Batrachomyomachia'' ("The Frog-Mouse War"), the '' Margites'', the '' Capture of Oechalia'', and the '' Phocais''. These claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world. As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture.


Ancient biographical traditions

Some ancient claims about Homer were established early and repeated often. They include that Homer was blind (taking as self-referential a passage describing the blind bard Demodocus), that he resided at
Chios Chios (; el, Χίος, Chíos , traditionally known as Scio in English) is the fifth largest Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, island, situated in the northern Aegean Sea. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. Chios is ...
, that he was the son of the
river Meles The river Meles ( el, Μέλης) (more appropriately described as "Meles Brook") is a stream charged with history and famous in literature, especially by virtue of being associated in a common and consistent tradition with Homer Homer (; g ...
and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works (the "Homerica"), that he died either in
Ios iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system for mobile phones, tablet computer, tablets, smartwatches, smartglasses, or other non-laptop personal computing, personal mobile computin ...
or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, and various explanations for the name "Homer" (Ὅμηρος : Hómēros). The two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the '' Life of Homer'' by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the ''
Contest of Homer and Hesiod The ''Contest of Homer and Hesiod'' (Greek: ''Ἀγὼν Oμήρου καὶ Ἡσιόδου'', Latin: ''Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi'' or simply ''Certamen'') is a Greek narrative that expands a remark made in Hesiod's ''Works and Days'' to construc ...
''. In the early fourth century BC
Alcidamas Alcidamas ( grc-gre, Ἀλκιδάμας), of Elaea, in Aeolis Aeolis (; grc, Αἰολίς, Aiolís), or Aeolia (; grc, Αἰολία, Aiolía, link=no), was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor (modern-day ...
composed a fictional account of a poetry contest at Chalcis with both Homer and
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded by western authors as 'the first written poet i ...
. Homer was expected to win, and answered all of Hesiod's questions and puzzles with ease. Then, each of the poets was invited to recite the best passage from their work. Hesiod selected the beginning of ''
Works and Days ''Works and Days'' ( grc, Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, Érga kaì Hēmérai)The ''Works and Days'' is sometimes called by the Latin translation of the title, ''Opera et Dies''. Common abbreviations are ''WD'' and ''Op''. for ''Opera''. is a ...
'': "When the
Pleiades The Pleiades (), also known as The Seven Sisters, Messier 45 and other names by different cultures, is an Asterism (astronomy), asterism and an open cluster, open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot Stellar classification#Class B, B-type st ...
born of
Atlas An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or of a region of Earth. Atlases have traditionally been bound into book form, but today many atlases are in multimedia formats. In addition to presenting geographic ...
... all in due season". Homer chose a description of Greek warriors in formation, facing the foe, taken from the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; "a poem about Ilium") is one of two major ancient Greek Epic poem, epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by modern audiences. As with t ...
''. Though the crowd acclaimed Homer victor, the judge awarded Hesiod the prize; the poet who praised
husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding, and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long hi ...
, he said, was greater than the one who told tales of battles and slaughter.


History of Homeric scholarship


Ancient

The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia. The earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral. The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' were widely used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures. They were the first literary works taught to all students. The ''Iliad'', particularly its first few books, was far more intently studied than the ''Odyssey'' during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. As a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the
Hellenistic In Classical antiquity, the Hellenistic period covers the time in History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history after Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as sig ...
and Roman periods, many interpreters, especially the
Stoics Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century Common Era, BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asser ...
, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom. Perhaps partially because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so widely praised that he began to acquire the image of almost a prototypical philosopher.
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
scholars such as
Eustathius of Thessalonica Eustathius of Thessalonica (or Eustathios of Thessalonike; el, Εὐστάθιος Θεσσαλονίκης; c. 1115 – 1195/6) was a Byzantine Greek scholar and Archbishop of Thessalonica. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the ...
and
John Tzetzes John Tzetzes ( grc-gre, Ἰωάννης Τζέτζης, Iōánnēs Tzétzēs; c. 1110, Constantinople – 1180, Constantinople) was a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine poet and Speculative grammarians, grammarian who is known to have lived at Constantino ...
produced commentaries, extensions and
scholia Scholia (singular scholium or scholion, from grc, σχόλιον, "comment, interpretation") are grammar, grammatical, critical, or explanatory comments – original or copied from prior commentaries – which are inserted in the mar ...
to Homer, especially in the twelfth century. Eustathius's commentary on the ''Iliad'' alone is massive, sprawling over nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the ''Odyssey'' an additional nearly 2,000.


Modern

In 1488, the Greek scholar
Demetrios Chalkokondyles Demetrios Chalkokondyles ( el, Δημήτριος Χαλκοκονδύλης ), Latinized as Demetrius Chalcocondyles and found variously as Demetricocondyles, Chalcocondylas or Chalcondyles (14239 January 1511) was one of the most eminent Gre ...
published the ''
editio princeps In classical scholarship, the ''editio princeps'' (plural: ''editiones principes'') of a work is the first printed edition of the work, that previously had existed only in manuscripts, which could be circulated only after being copied by hand. For ...
'' of the Homeric poems. The earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems that had been so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
,
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...
was more widely read than Homer and Homer was often seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a scathing attack on the Homeric poems, declaring that they were incoherent, immoral, tasteless, and without style, that Homer never existed, and that the poems were hastily cobbled together by incompetent editors from unrelated oral songs. Fifty years later, the English scholar
Richard Bentley Richard Bentley FRS (; 27 January 1662 – 14 July 1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian. Considered the "founder of historical philology", Bentley is widely credited with establishing the English school of Hell ...
concluded that Homer did exist, but that he was an obscure, prehistoric oral poet whose compositions bear little relation to the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' as they have been passed down. According to Bentley, Homer "wrote a Sequel of Songs and Rhapsodies, to be sung by himself for small Earnings and good Cheer at Festivals and other Days of Merriment; the ''Ilias'' he wrote for men, and the ''Odysseis'' for the other Sex. These loose songs were not collected together in the Form of an epic Poem till
Pisistratus Pisistratus or Peisistratus ( grc-gre, wikt:Πεισίστρατος, Πεισίστρατος ; 600 – 527 BC) was a politician in ancient Athens, ruling as tyrant in the late 560s, the early 550s and from 546 BC until his death. His unificat ...
' time, about 500 Years after."
Friedrich August Wolf Friedrich August Wolf (; 15 February 1759 – 8 August 1824) was a German classicist and is considered the founder of modern philology. Biography He was born in Hainrode, near Nordhausen, Thuringia, Nordhausen. His father was the village sc ...
's ''Prolegomena ad Homerum'', published in 1795, argued that much of the material later incorporated into the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' was originally composed in the tenth century BC in the form of short, separate oral songs, which passed through oral tradition for roughly four hundred years before being assembled into prototypical versions of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' in the sixth century BC by literate authors. After being written down, Wolf maintained that the two poems were extensively edited, modernized, and eventually shaped into their present state as artistic unities. Wolf and the "Analyst" school, which led the field in the nineteenth century, sought to recover the original, authentic poems which were thought to be concealed by later excrescences. Within the Analyst school were two camps: proponents of the "lay theory", which held that the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' were put together from a large number of short, independent songs, and proponents of the "nucleus theory", which held that Homer had originally composed shorter versions of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', which later poets expanded and revised. A small group of scholars opposed to the Analysts, dubbed "Unitarians", saw the later additions as superior, the work of a single inspired poet. By around 1830, the central preoccupations of Homeric scholars, dealing with whether or not "Homer" actually existed, when and how the Homeric poems originated, how they were transmitted, when and how they were finally written down, and their overall unity, had been dubbed "the Homeric Question". Following
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, the Analyst school began to fall out of favor among Homeric scholars. It did not die out entirely, but it came to be increasingly seen as a discredited dead end. Starting in around 1928, Milman Parry and Albert Lord, after their studies of folk bards in the Balkans, developed the "Oral-Formulaic Theory" that the Homeric poems were originally composed through improvised oral performances, which relied on traditional epithets and poetic formulas. This theory found very wide scholarly acceptance and explained many previously puzzling features of the Homeric poems, including their unusually archaic language, their extensive use of stock epithets, and their other "repetitive" features. Many scholars concluded that the "Homeric question" had finally been answered. Meanwhile, the 'Neoanalysts' sought to bridge the gap between the 'Analysts' and 'Unitarians'. The Neoanalysts sought to trace the relationships between the Homeric poems and other epic poems, which have now been lost, but of which modern scholars do possess some patchy knowledge. Neoanalysts hold that knowledge of earlier versions of the epics can be derived from anomalies of structure and detail in the surviving versions of the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey''. These anomalies point to earlier versions of the ''Iliad'' in which Ajax played a more prominent role, in which the Achaean embassy to Achilles comprised different characters, and in which Patroclus was actually mistaken for Achilles by the Trojans. They point to earlier versions of the ''Odyssey'' in which Telemachus went in search of news of his father not to Menelaus in Sparta but to Idomeneus in Crete, in which Telemachus met up with his father in Crete and conspired with him to return to Ithaca disguised as the soothsayer Theoclymenus, and in which Penelope recognized Odysseus much earlier in the narrative and conspired with him in the destruction of the suitors.


Contemporary

Most contemporary scholars, although they disagree on other questions about the genesis of the poems, agree that the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' were not produced by the same author, based on "the many differences of narrative manner, theology, ethics, vocabulary, and geographical perspective, and by the apparently imitative character of certain passages of the ''Odyssey'' in relation to the ''Iliad''." Nearly all scholars agree that the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' are unified poems, in that each poem shows a clear overall design, and that they are not merely strung together from unrelated songs. It is also generally agreed that each poem was composed mostly by a single author, who probably relied heavily on older oral traditions. Nearly all scholars agree that the ''Doloneia'' in Book X of the ''Iliad'' is not part of the original poem, but rather a later insertion by a different poet. Some ancient scholars believed Homer to have been an eyewitness to the
Trojan War In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Homer), Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy took Helen of Troy, Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of th ...
; others thought he had lived up to 500 years afterwards. Contemporary scholars continue to debate the date of the poems. A long history of oral transmission lies behind the composition of the poems, complicating the search for a precise date. At one extreme, Richard Janko has proposed a date for both poems to the eighth century BC based on linguistic analysis and statistics.
Barry B. Powell Barry Bruce Powell (born 1942) is an American classical scholar. He is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, high ...
dates the composition of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'' to sometime between 800 and 750 BC, based on the statement from
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided in ...
, who lived in the late fifth century BC, that Homer lived four hundred years before his own time "and not more" (καὶ οὐ πλέοσι), and on the fact that the poems do not mention
hoplite Hoplites ( ) ( grc, ὁπλίτης : hoplítēs) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek Polis, city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields. Hoplite soldiers used the phalanx formation to be effective in war with ...
battle tactics,
inhumation Burial, also known as interment or inhumation, is a method of Disposal of human corpses, final disposition whereby a dead body is placed into the ground, sometimes with objects. This is usually accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, plac ...
, or literacy.
Martin Litchfield West Martin Litchfield West, (23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015) was a British philologist and classical scholar. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014. West wrote on ancient Greek music, ...
has argued that the ''Iliad'' echoes the poetry of
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded by western authors as 'the first written poet i ...
, and that it must have been composed around 660–650 BC at the earliest, with the ''Odyssey'' up to a generation later. He also interprets passages in the ''Iliad'' as showing knowledge of historical events that occurred in the ancient Near East during the middle of the seventh century BC, including the destruction of
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
by
Sennacherib Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: or , meaning "Sin (mythology), Sîn has replaced the brothers") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sargon II in 705BC to his own death in 681BC. The second king of the ...
in 689 BC and the
Sack of Thebes The Sack of Thebes took place in 663 BC in the city of Thebes, Egypt, Thebes at the hands of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under king Ashurbanipal, then at war with the Kushite Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt under Tantamani, during the Assyrian conquest ...
by
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian language, Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , meaning "Ashur (god), Ashur is the creator of the heir") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 669 BCE to his death in 631. He is generally remembered as the last great king o ...
in 663/4 BC. At the other extreme, a few American scholars such as
Gregory Nagy Gregory Nagy ( hu, Nagy Gergely, ; born October 22, 1942 in Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranation ...
see "Homer" as a continually evolving tradition, which grew much more stable as the tradition progressed, but which did not fully cease to continue changing and evolving until as late as the middle of the second century BC. "'Homer" is a name of unknown etymological origin, around which many theories were erected in antiquity. One such linkage was to the Greek (''hómēros''), "hostage" (or "surety"). The explanations suggested by modern scholars tend to mirror their position on the overall Homeric question. Nagy interprets it as "he who fits (the song) together". West has advanced both possible Greek and Phoenician etymologies.


Historicity of the Homeric epics and Homeric society

Scholars continue to debate questions such as whether the Trojan War actually took place – and if so when and where – and to what extent the society depicted by Homer is based on his own or one which was, even at the time of the poems' composition, known only as legends. The Homeric epics are largely set in the east and center of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, with some scattered references to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, , om, Itiyoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti, ኢትዮጵያ, Ítiyop'iya, aa, Itiyoppiya officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the ...
and other distant lands, in a warlike society that resembles that of the Greek world slightly before the hypothesized date of the poems' composition. In ancient Greek chronology, the sack of Troy was dated to 1184 BC. By the nineteenth century, there was widespread scholarly skepticism that the Trojan War had ever happened and that Troy had even existed, but in 1873
Heinrich Schliemann Johann Ludwig Heinrich Julius Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery an ...
announced to the world that he had discovered the ruins of Homer's Troy at Hissarlik in modern Turkey. Some contemporary scholars think the destruction of Troy VIIa 1220 BC was the origin of the myth of the Trojan War, others that the poem was inspired by multiple similar sieges that took place over the centuries. Most scholars now agree that the Homeric poems depict customs and elements of the material world that are derived from different periods of Greek history. For instance, the heroes in the poems use bronze weapons, characteristic of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
in which the poems are set, rather than the later
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
during which they were composed; yet the same heroes are cremated (an Iron Age practice) rather than buried (as they were in the Bronze Age). In some parts of the Homeric poems, heroes are described as carrying large shields like those used by warriors during the
Mycenaean period Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC.. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland ...
, but, in other places, they are instead described carrying the smaller shields that were commonly used during the time when the poems were written in the early Iron Age. In the ''Iliad'' 10.260–265, Odysseus is described as wearing a helmet made of boar's tusks. Such helmets were not worn in Homer's time, but were commonly worn by aristocratic warriors between 1600 and 1150 BC. The decipherment of
Linear B Linear B was a syllabary, syllabic script used for writing in Mycenaean Greek, the earliest Attested language, attested form of Greek language, Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing ...
in the 1950s by
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an England, English architect, classics, classicist and philology, philologist who decipherment, deciphered Linear B, the ancient Mycenaean Greek script. A student of ...
and continued archaeological investigation has increased modern scholars' understanding of Aegean civilisation, which in many ways resembles the ancient Near East more than the society described by Homer. Some aspects of the Homeric world are simply made up; for instance, the ''Iliad'' 22.145–56 describes there being two springs that run near the city of Troy, one that runs steaming hot and the other that runs icy cold. It is here that Hector takes his final stand against Achilles. Archaeologists, however, have uncovered no evidence that springs of this description ever actually existed.


Style and language

The Homeric epics are written in an artificial
literary language A literary language is the Register (sociolinguistics), form (register) of a language used in written literature, which can be either a nonstandard dialect or a standard language, standardized variety of the language. Literary language sometimes ...
or 'Kunstsprache' only used in epic
hexameter Hexameter is a metrical Line (poetry), line of verses consisting of six metrical foot, feet (a "foot" here is the pulse, or major accent, of words in an English line of poetry; in Greek and Latin a "foot" is not an accent, but describes various com ...
poetry. Homeric Greek shows features of multiple regional Greek dialects and periods, but is fundamentally based on
Ionic Greek Ionic Greek ( grc, Ἑλληνικὴ Ἰωνική, Hellēnikē Iōnikē) was a subdialect of the Attic Greek, Attic–Ionic or Eastern Ancient Greek dialects, dialect group of Ancient Greek. History The Ionic dialect appears to have originally ...
, in keeping with the tradition that Homer was from Ionia. Linguistic analysis suggests that the ''Iliad'' was composed slightly before the ''Odyssey'', and that Homeric formulae preserve older features than other parts of the poems. The poems were composed in unrhymed
dactylic hexameter Dactylic hexameter (also known as heroic hexameter and the meter of epic) is a form of meter (poetry), meter or rhythmic scheme frequently used in Ancient Greek and Latin poetry. The scheme of the hexameter is usually as follows (writing – for ...
; ancient Greek
metre The metre (British English, British spelling) or meter (American English, American spelling; American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, see spelling differences) (from the French unit , from the Greek language, Greek noun , "m ...
was quantity-based rather than stress-based. Homer frequently uses set phrases such as
epithets An epithet (, ), also byname, is a descriptive term (word or phrase) known for accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied to seemingly real or fictitious people, di ...
('crafty
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin variant Ulysses ( , ; lat, UlyssesUlixes), is a legendary Greeks, Greek king of Homeric Ithaca, Ithaca and the hero of Homer's Epic poet ...
', 'rosy-fingered
Dawn Dawn is the time that marks the beginning of twilight before sunrise. It is recognized by the diffuse sky radiation, appearance of indirect sunlight being Rayleigh scattering, scattered in Earth's atmosphere, when the centre of the Sun's disc h ...
', 'owl-eyed
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek religion, ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft who was later syncretism, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded ...
', etc.), Homeric formulae ('and then answered im/her Agamemnon, king of men', 'when the early-born rose-fingered Dawn came to light', 'thus he/she spoke'),
simile A simile () is a figure of speech that directly ''compares'' two things. Similes differ from other metaphors by highlighting the similarities between two things using comparison words such as "like", "as", "so", or "than", while other metaphors ...
, type scenes, ring composition and repetition. These habits aid the extemporizing bard, and are characteristic of oral poetry. For instance, the main words of a Homeric sentence are generally placed towards the beginning, whereas literate poets like
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...
or Milton use longer and more complicated syntactical structures. Homer then expands on these ideas in subsequent clauses; this technique is called
parataxis Parataxis (from el, παράταξις, "act of placing side by side"; from παρα, ''para'' "beside" + τάξις, ''táxis'' "arrangement") is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary ...
. The so-called ' type scenes' (''typische Szenen''), were named by Walter Arend in 1933. He noted that Homer often, when describing frequently recurring activities such as eating,
praying Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity or a deified an ...
, fighting and dressing, used blocks of set phrases in sequence that were then elaborated by the poet. The 'Analyst' school had considered these repetitions as un-Homeric, whereas Arend interpreted them philosophically. Parry and Lord noted that these conventions are found in many other cultures. 'Ring composition' or
chiastic structure Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in motif (narrative), narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A' and B', being presented a ...
(when a phrase or idea is repeated at both the beginning and end of a story, or a series of such ideas first appears in the order A, B, C ... before being reversed as ... C, B, A) has been observed in the Homeric epics. Opinion differs as to whether these occurrences are a conscious artistic device, a mnemonic aid or a spontaneous feature of human storytelling. Both of the Homeric poems begin with an invocation to the
Muse In ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology, the Muses ( grc, Μοῦσαι, Moûsai, el, Μούσες, Múses) are the Artistic inspiration, inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the sou ...
. In the ''Iliad'', the poet beseeches her to sing of "the anger of Achilles", and, in the ''Odyssey'', he asks her to tell of "the man of many ways". A similar opening was later employed by Virgil in his ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is or ) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area ...
''.


Textual transmission

The orally transmitted Homeric poems were put into written form at some point between the eighth and sixth centuries BC. Some scholars believe that they were dictated to a scribe by the poet and that our inherited versions of the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' were in origin orally-dictated texts. Albert Lord noted that the Balkan bards that he was studying revised and expanded their songs in their process of dictating. Some scholars hypothesize that a similar process of revision and expansion occurred when the Homeric poems were first written down. Other scholars hold that, after the poems were created in the eighth century, they continued to be orally transmitted with considerable revision until they were written down in the sixth century. After textualisation, the poems were each divided into 24 rhapsodes, today referred to as books, and labelled by the letters of the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late 9th or early 8th century BCE. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the earliest known alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as we ...
. Most scholars attribute the book divisions to the Hellenistic scholars of
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
, in Egypt. Some trace the divisions back further to the Classical period. Very few credit Homer himself with the divisions. In antiquity, it was widely held that the Homeric poems were collected and organised in Athens in the late sixth century BC by
Peisistratos Pisistratus or Peisistratus ( grc-gre, wikt:Πεισίστρατος, Πεισίστρατος ; 600 – 527 BC) was a politician in ancient Athens, ruling as tyrant in the late 560s, the early 550s and from 546 BC until his death. His unificat ...
(died 528/7 BC), in what subsequent scholars have dubbed the "Peisistratean recension". The idea that the Homeric poems were originally transmitted orally and first written down during the reign of Peisistratos is referenced by the first-century BC Roman orator
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and Academic skepticism, academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...
and is also referenced in a number of other surviving sources, including two ancient ''Lives of Homer''. From around 150 BC, the texts of the Homeric poems seem to have become relatively established. After the establishment of the
Library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean ...
, Homeric scholars such as
Zenodotus Zenodotus ( grc-gre, Ζηνόδοτος) was a Greek language, Greek Grammarian (Greco-Roman), grammarian, literary critic, Homeric scholarship, Homeric scholar, and the first librarian of the Library of Alexandria. A native of Ephesus and a pupi ...
of Ephesus,
Aristophanes of Byzantium __NOTOC__ Aristophanes of Byzantium ( grc-gre, Ἀριστοφάνης ὁ Βυζάντιος ; BC) was a Hellenistic period, Hellenistic Greek scholar, critic and Philologist, grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholars ...
and in particular
Aristarchus of Samothrace Aristarchus of Samothrace ( grc-gre, Ἀρίσταρχος ὁ Σαμόθραξ ''Aristarchos o Samothrax''; c. 220 – c. 143 BC) was an ancient Greek Philologist, grammarian, noted as the most influential of all scholars of Homeric poetry. ...
helped establish a canonical text. The first printed edition of Homer was produced in 1488 in
Milan Milan ( , , Lombard language, Lombard: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4  ...
, Italy. Today scholars use medieval manuscripts,
papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...
and other sources; some argue for a "multi-text" view, rather than seeking a single definitive text. The nineteenth-century edition of Arthur Ludwich mainly follows Aristarchus's work, whereas van Thiel's (1991, 1996) follows the medieval vulgate. Others, such as Martin West (1998–2000) or T.W. Allen, fall somewhere between these two extremes.


See also

*
Achaeans (Homer) The Achaeans (; grc, Ἀχαιοί ''Akhaioí,'' "the Achaeans" or "of Achaea") is one of the names in Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') (born ) was a Greek poet who is credited as the author of the ''Iliad'' and the ' ...
* ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is or ) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area ...
'' *
Bibliomancy Bibliomancy is the use of books in divination Divination (from Latin ''divinare'', 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to prophesy') is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or r ...
*
Catalogue of Ships The Catalogue of Ships ( grc, νεῶν κατάλογος, ''neōn katálogos'') is an epic catalogue in Book 2 of Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') (born ) was a Greek poet who is credited as the author of the ''Iliad' ...
* Creophylus of Samos * Cyclic Poets * Deception of Zeus * Epithets in Homer * Geography of the ''Odyssey'' *
Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical co ...
*
Hector In Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin an ...
* Historicity of Homer * Homeric psychology *
Homeric scholarship Homeric scholarship is the study of any Homeric topic, especially the two large surviving Epic poetry, epics, the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey''. It is currently part of the academic discipline of classical studies. The subject is one of the oldest in ...
*
Homer's Ithaca Ithaca (; Greek language, Greek: Ιθάκη, ''Ithakē'') was, in Greek mythology, the island home of the hero Odysseus. The specific location of the island, as it was described in Homer's ''Odyssey'', is a matter for debate. There have been va ...
* List of Homeric characters *
Peisistratos Pisistratus or Peisistratus ( grc-gre, wikt:Πεισίστρατος, Πεισίστρατος ; 600 – 527 BC) was a politician in ancient Athens, ruling as tyrant in the late 560s, the early 550s and from 546 BC until his death. His unificat ...
* '' Sortes Homericae'' * '' Tabula iliaca'' * '' Telemachy'' *
The Golden Bough ''The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion'' (retitled ''The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion'' in its second edition) is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir ...
* Trojan Battle Order * Trojan War in literature and the arts *
Venetus A Venetus A is the more common name for the tenth century AD manuscript codex The codex (plural codices ) was the historical ancestor of the modern book. Instead of being composed of sheets of paper, it used sheets of vellum, papyrus, or other ...
Manuscript


Notes


Selected bibliography


Editions

;Texts in Homeric Greek * Demetrius Chalcondyles ''editio princeps'', Florence, 1488 * the
Aldine editions The Aldine Press was the printing office started by Aldus Manutius in 1494 in Venice, from which were issued the celebrated Aldine editions of the classics (Latin and Greek masterpieces, plus a few more modern works). The first book that was dat ...
(1504 and 1517) * 1st ed. with comments, Micyllus and Camerarius, Basel, 1535, 1541 (improved text), 1551 (incl. the Batrachomyomachia) * Th. Ridel, Strasbourg, c. 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) *
William Walter Merry William Walter Merry (1835–1918) was an English classical scholar, clergyman, and educator. Life William Merry was born in Evesham Evesham () is a market town and Civil parishes in England, parish in the Wychavon district of Worcestershi ...
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. , , , , * H. van Thiel 1991, ''Homeri Odyssea'', Hildesheim. , 1996, ''Homeri Ilias'', Hildesheim. * M. L. West 1998–2000, ''Homeri Ilias'' (2 volumes), Munich/Leipzig. , * P. von der Mühll 1993, ''Homeri Odyssea'', Munich/Leipzig. * M. L. West 2017, ''Homerus Odyssea'', Berlin/Boston.


Interlinear translations

* ''The Iliad of Homer a Parsed Interlinear'', Handheldclassics.com (2008) Text


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 The Loeb Classical Library (LCL; named after James Loeb; , ) is a series of books originally published by Heinemann_(publisher), Heinemann in London, but is currently published by Harvard University Press. The library contains important works ...
, Harvard University Press (1999). ** ''Homer: Odyssey'', 2 vols., revised by George E. Dimock,
Loeb Classical Library The Loeb Classical Library (LCL; named after James Loeb; , ) is a series of books originally published by Heinemann_(publisher), Heinemann in London, but is currently published by Harvard University Press. The library contains important works ...
, Harvard University Press (1995). * Robert Fitzgerald (1910–1985) ** ''The Iliad'', Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2004) ** ''The Odyssey'', Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1998) * Robert Fagles (1933–2008) ** ''The Iliad'', Penguin Classics (1998) ** ''The Odyssey'', Penguin Classics (1999) *
Stanley Lombardo Stanley F. "Stan" Lombardo (alias Hae Kwang; born June 19, 1943) is an American Classics, Classicist, and former professor of Classics at the University of Kansas. He is best known for his translations of the ''Iliad'', the ''Odyssey'', and the ...
(b. 1943) ** ''Iliad'',
Hackett Publishing Company Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. is an academic publishing house Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to ...
(1997) ** ''Odyssey'',
Hackett Publishing Company Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. is an academic publishing house Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to ...
(2000) ** ''Iliad'', (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ** ''Odyssey'', (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ** ''The Essential Homer'', (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) ** ''The Essential Iliad'', (Audiobook) Parmenides (2006) *
Barry B. Powell Barry Bruce Powell (born 1942) is an American classical scholar. He is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, high ...
(b. 1942) ** "Iliad", Oxford University Press (2013) ** "Odyssey", Oxford University PressI (2014) ** ''Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: The Essential Books'', Oxford University Press (2014) * Samuel Butler (1835–1902) ** ''The Iliad'', Red and Black Publishers (2008) ** ''The Odyssey'', Red and Black Publishers (2008) * Herbert Jordan (b. 1938) ** ''Iliad'', University of Oklahoma Press (2008) (soft cover) * Emily Wilson (b. 1971) ** ''The Odyssey'', W.W. Norton & Company (2017) * Rodney Merrill ** ''The Iliad'', University of Michigan Press (2007) ** ''The Odyssey'', University of Michigan Press (2002)


General works on Homer

* * * * In German, 5th updated and expanded edition, Leipzig, 2005. In Spanish, 2003, . In modern Greek, 2005, . * * * * *


Influential readings and interpretations

* (orig. publ. in German, 1946, Bern) * * * * * * * Reece, Steve. ''The Stranger's Welcome: Oral Theory and the Aesthetics of the Homeric Hospitality Scene.'' Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993.


Commentaries

* ''Iliad'': ** P.V. Jones (ed.) 2003, ''Homer's Iliad. A Commentary on Three Translations'', London. ** G.S. Kirk (gen. ed.) 1985–1993, ''The Iliad: A Commentary'' (6 volumes), Cambridge. , , , , , ** J. Latacz (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. , ** N. Postlethwaite (ed.) 2000, ''Homer's Iliad: A Commentary on the Translation of Richmond Lattimore'', Exeter. ** M.W. Willcock (ed.) 1976, ''A Companion to the Iliad'', Chicago. * ''Odyssey'': ** A. Heubeck (gen. ed.) 1990–1993, ''A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey'' (3 volumes; orig. publ. 1981–1987 in Italian), Oxford. , , ** P. Jones (ed.) 1988, ''Homer's Odyssey: A Commentary based on the English Translation of Richmond Lattimore'', Bristol. ** I.J.F. de Jong (ed.) 2001, ''A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey'', Cambridge.


Dating the Homeric poems

*


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * *


External links


Works by Homer at Perseus Digital Library
* * * * *
The Chicago Homer
* * * {{Authority control Oral epic poets Blind poets Mythography Ancient Greek epic poets 8th-century BC Greek people 8th-century BC poets Blind people from Greece Mycenaean Greece Greek speculative fiction writers Greek gods Ancient Chians Ancient Smyrnaeans Deified people People whose existence is disputed Storytellers