Facts about Homer

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1. Homer is re-known for Epic Poems

Homer, a Greek poet born between the twelfth and eighth centuries BC is famous for epic poems, The Odyssey and The Iliad. These two poems have had a huge effect of cultures in the west.

2. Homer is an Enigma

Though Homer is credited for his lasting tales of The Odyssey and The Iliad, he remains a mystery in terms of facts about his life. Some scholars hold that Homer created these poems single handedly while others believe that the poems are iconic stories created by several people or a team. The variation of group idea comes from the fact that telling stories was an oral practice and that Homer compiled stories and recited them off memory.

 3. A Minstrel Poet

Unlike a cultivated poet who results from a keen literary moment like Shakespeare and Virgil, Homer’s style falls in the minstrel poet category. His stories feature repetitive elements that resemble refrain or chorus that suggest musical elements. However, his works are categorized as epic as opposed to lyric poetry, which originally was said with lyre at hand and was very similar to spoken word performances.

4. The Homeric Question

The speculation on who Homer really was has inevitably created what is referred to as the Homeric Question. Often, this is question is viewed as the greatest mystery in literature. Much speculation revolves around when he was born due to shortage of information. Speculations on his date of birth range from 750 BC to 1200 BC. The latter is proposed due to the inclusion of the Trojan War in The Iliad story.

 5. Born before Invention of the Calendar

Part of the challenge in knowing exactly when Homer was born is because he lived way before the chronological dating system was invented. Herodotus, a Greek historian who often is referred to as the father of history thought Homer must have been born a few centuries before him. The classical Greece Olympic Games marked an era that saw 776 BC become the starting point of measuring out 4 year periods. Before that, it was hard to identify a person’s birth date without a calendar.

 6. Homer’s Birth Place

The exact place where Homer was born is not known. However, scholars have identified Smyrna, Ionia and to some extent the Asia Minor coast or Chois Island as the likely birth places. However, 7 cities claim Homer to be their native son.

 7. Homer’s Poetic Dialect

The dialect used in The Odyssey and The Iliad suggest Asiatic Greek, particularly that of Ionic. This fact, coupled with the numerous mentions of phenomena experienced locally like strong winds from northwest direction of Thrace suggest a familiarity that implies Homer’s home place.

 8. Homer’s Biographical Aspects

Basically, each biographical element that is ascribed to Homer is entirely drawn from his poetic work. He is perceived to be a blind person based on a character featured in The Odyssey called Demodokos. The long explanation of how this character was received in a gathering reflects Homer’s hint of how his life was like. This has led to curving of numerous statues and bursts of him with curly thick beard and hair with sightless eyes.

 9. Sneak-peek into Mythology World

Homer’s two classic poems, The Odyssey and The Iliad have become the archetypal road-maps into the world of mythology. The poems tell stories that offer vital insights into ancient human society and depict in certain ways, how very little has changed over time.

 10. Homer’s Legacy

The Odyssey and The Iliad have offered not just seeds but the fertilizer for nearly all sciences and arts in the Western culture. The Greeks consider Homer the godfather for national culture and Plato once stated his believe of Homer being the educator for all Greece. Besides Odyssey and Iliad, Homer did more poetic work.

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