Homer is a famous ancient Greek poet, whose work has been more than simply a model for all the ancient creators. He is considered the progenitor of European literature. His name is firmly associated with the ancient culture, and the acquaintance with the world literature usually begins with his legendary poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. Homer is the first ancient Greek poet whose artistic legacy has survived to this day, and about half of the literary content found today in Greek papyruses represents fragments of his works.
There is no reliable, historically confirmed data on the identity of Homer and his life path, and they were unknown even in antiquity. In the era of antiquity, 9 biographies of Homer were created, and all of them were based on legends. Not only the years of his life but also the century is unknown. According to Herodotus, it was IX century BC. Scientists of our time tell about the VIII or VII century BC. There is no exact information about the birthplace of the great poet. It is believed that he lived in one of the localities of Ionia. The legend says that Homer’s homeland can be one of the seven Greek cities.
According to tradition, the great poet is portrayed as a blind old man; however, scientists hold the opinion that this is merely the influence of the representations of the ancient Greeks and the peculiarities of the biographical genre. The Greeks saw the interconnection of poetic talent and prophetic gift through the example of many famous personalities who were blind and believed that Homer belonged to this glorious cohort.
An episode of the poetic competition with Hesiod on the island of Evbey is known from the life of Homer. Poets read their best works at the games organized in memory of killed Amfidem. Victory, according to the will of the judge, went to Hesiod, because he praised the peaceful life and work of farmers, but the legend says that the public was more sympathetic to Homer.
Prophetic Withdrawal from Life
The ancients believed that in the last years of his life Homer was interested in the question of his origin and went to the oracle with this unsolved mystery. The latter replied that Homer’s mother’s motherland was Chios and made a prophecy that his earthly path would end there. The oracle also warned him to be afraid of any riddles from young people. Soon after the prediction, Homer went to this island. When he was sitting in thought on the beach, he saw the fishermen boys. The conversation about the catch started. The boys answered to the old man’s questions with a riddle, saying that they threw what they caught into the sea, but what they could not catch, they carried with them. Homer could not understand what the fishermen meant. Grieved and in deep thought, he went home, stumbled and fell. After three days he died. The author of the poem “Iliad” is buried on the Greek island of Chios.
The most popular writings:
The Iliad quotes
The Odyssey poem
The Odyssey quotes
Importance of Creative Legacy
Like other facts from the Homer’s biography, it is not known for certain whether the authorship of the famous poems “Iliad” and “Odyssey” actually belongs to him. There is a so-called Homeric question among the scholars since the XVIII century. This is a controversy around the authorship and history of writing the legendary works. In any case, they brought their author glory for all times and supplemented the treasury of world literature. Both poems are based on legends and myths about the Trojan War and represent the heroic epic genre.
The ancient Greeks considered these poems sacred, solemnly performed them during state holidays, seeing in them the source of a wide variety of knowledge, lessons of wisdom, beauty, justice and other virtues, and their author was revered almost as a deity. According to Plato, Greece owes its spiritual development to Homer. The poetics of this master of words exerted a tremendous influence on the work of not only ancient authors but also on the recognized classical authors of European literature, who were living many centuries later.
There also are the so-called Homeric hymns, which in ancient times were attributed to the great blind poet. However, neither they nor many other works attributed to Homer actually belong to his creative heritage.