Ancient Greek : Ὅμηρος , Hómēros) is the name
ascribed by the ancient Greeks to the author of the
Iliad and the
Odyssey , two epic poems which are the central works of ancient Greek
literature . The
Iliad is set during the
Trojan War , the ten-year
siege of the city of
Troy by a coalition of Greek states. It focuses
on a quarrel between King
Agamemnon and the warrior
Achilles lasting a
few weeks during the last year of the war. The
Odyssey focuses on the
journey home of
Odysseus , king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy.
Many accounts of Homer\'s life circulated in classical antiquity ,
the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from
Ionia , a
region of central coastal
Anatolia in present-day
Turkey . Current
scholarship suggests that these traditions are merely legends.
Homeric Question —by whom, when, where and under what
circumstances were the
Odyssey composed—continues to be
debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two
groups. One holds that most of the
Iliad and (according to some) the
Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius. The other considers
the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and
re-working by many contributors, and that "Homer" is best seen as a
label for an entire tradition. It is generally accepted that the
poems were composed at some point around the late 8th or early 7th
century BCE . The poems are in
Homeric Greek , also known as Epic
Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the
Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries; the predominant
influence is Eastern Ionic. Most researchers believe that the poems
were originally transmitted orally.
From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric
epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its
most famous works of literature, music, art and film. The Homeric
epics were the greatest influence on ancient Greek culture and
Homer was simply the one who "has taught Greece"
– ten Hellada pepaideuken.
* 1 Period
* 2 Textual sources
* 3 Life and legends
* 3.1 "Lives of Homer"
* 3.2 Etymological theories
* 3.3 Cultural background
* 3.4 Biographical assertions
* 4 Works attributed to
* 4.1 Epics
* 5 Identity and authorship
* 6 Homeric studies
* 7 Homeric dialect
* 8 Homeric style
* 9 Historical basis of Homeric works
* 10 Transmission and publication
* 11 See also
* 12 Notes
* 13 Selected bibliography
* 13.1 Editions
* 13.2 Interlinear translations
* 13.3 English translations
* 13.4 General works on
* 13.5 Influential readings and interpretations
* 13.6 Commentaries
* 13.7 Dating the Homeric poems
* 14 Further reading
* 15 External links
Part of an 11th-century manuscript, "the Townley Homer". The
writings on the top and right side are scholia .
The chronological period of
Homer depends on the meaning to be
assigned to the word "Homer". Was
Homer a single person, an imaginary
person representing a group of poets, or the imaginary author of a
traditional body of oral myths? If the works attributed either wholly
or partially to a blind poet named
Homer were really authored by such
a person, then he must have lived in a specific era, which can be
described as "the life and times of Homer". If on the other hand Homer
is to be considered a mythical character, the legendary founder of a
guild of rhapsodes (professional performers of epic poetry) called the
Homeridae , then "Homer" means the works attributed to the rhapsodes
of the guild, who might have composed primarily in a single century or
over a period of centuries.
Much of the geographic and material content of the
Iliad and Odyssey
appears to be consistent with the Aegean Late Bronze Age, the time
Troy flourished: before the time of the Greek alphabet. In a
third and last interpretation, the term "Homer" can be used to refer
to traditional elements of oral myth known to, but not originated by
the rhapsodes; from these they composed oral poetry, which reflected
the culture of Mycenaean Greece. This information is often called "the
world of Homer" (or of Odysseus, or the Iliad). The Homeric period
would in that case cover a number of historical periods, especially
the Mycenaean Age, prior to the first delivery of a work called the
Aside from the authorship of the works, another question is whether
there ever was a uniform text of the
Iliad or Odyssey. Considered
word-for-word, the printed texts as we know them are the product of
the scholars of the last three centuries. Each edition of the
Odyssey is a little different, as the editors rely on different
manuscripts and fragments, and make different choices as to the most
accurate text to use. The term "accuracy" implies an original uniform
text. The extant manuscripts of the whole work date to no earlier than
the 10th century CE. These are at the end of a thousand-year chain of
lost manuscripts, copied as each generation of manuscripts
disintegrated or were lost or destroyed. The numerous extant
manuscripts are so similar that a single original can be postulated.
The time gap in the chain is bridged by the scholia , or notes, on
the existing manuscripts, which indicate that the original had been
Aristarchus of Samothrace in the 2nd century BCE.
Librarian of the
Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria , he had noticed a wide
divergence in the works attributed to Homer, and was trying to restore
a more authentic copy. He had collected several manuscripts, which he
named: the Sinopic, the Massiliotic, etc. The one he selected for
correction was the koine, which Murray translates as "the Vulgate".
Aristarchus was known for his conservative selection of material. He
marked lines that he thought were spurious, not of Homer. The entire
last book of the
Odyssey was so marked.
The koine had in turn come from the first librarian at Alexandria,
Zenodotus , who flourished at the beginning of the 3rd century BCE. He
also was attempting to restore authenticity to manuscripts he found in
a state of chaos. He set a precedent by marking passages he considered
spurious, and by himself filling in material that seemed to be
Zenodotus nor Aristarchus mentioned any authentic
master copy from which to make corrections. Their method was
intuitive. The current division into 24 books each for the
Odyssey came from Zenodotus.
Murray rejects the concept that an authoritative text for the Vulgate
existed at the time of Zenodotus. He resorts to the fragments, the
Homer in other works. About 200 existed at the time
Murray wrote. Some of these match the current texts, some seem to
paraphrase them, and some are not represented at all. Murray cites the
Achilles , which also appears as the
Shield of Heracles in
Hesiod . Murray concludes that the epic poems were still in "a fluid
state". He presents 150 BCE as the date after which the text
solidifies around the Vulgate. Of the 5th century BCE, Murray said
"'Homer' meant to them ... 'the author of the
Iliad and the Odyssey',
but we cannot be sure that either ... was exactly what we mean by
The earliest mention of a work of
Homer was by
Callinus , a poet who
flourished about 650 BCE. He attributed the Thebais , an epic about
the attack on Boeotian Thebes by the epigonoi , to Homer. The Thebais
was written about the time of the appearance of the Greek alphabet,
but it could originally have been transmitted orally. The
mentioned by name in
Herodotus with regard to the early 6th century,
but there is no telling what
Iliad that is. Almost all the ancient
sources, from the very earliest, appear determined that a Homer,
author of the
Iliad and Odyssey, existed. The author of the Hymn to
Apollo identifies himself in the last verse of the poem as a blind man
Nevertheless it is possible to make a case that
Homer was only a
mythological character, the supposed founder of the Homeridae. Martin
West has asserted that "Homer" is "not the name of a historical poet,
but a fictitious or constructed name." Oliver Taplin, in the Oxford
History of the Classical World's article on Homer, states that the
elements of his life "are largely ... demonstrable fictions." Another
attack on the biographical details comes from G.S. Kirk , who said:
"Antiquity knew nothing definite about the life and personality of
Homer." Taplin prefers instead to speak of
Homer as "a historical
context for the poems." His dates for this context are 750–650 BCE,
without considering Murray's "fluid state".
With or without Homer, according to Murray, there is little
likelihood that the
Odyssey of the early sources are the
ones we know. Based on the assumption that the
Iliad was recited at
Panathenaic Games , which started in 566 BCE,
Gregory Nagy selects
a date of the 6th century for the fixation of the epics, as opposed to
Murray’s 150 BCE. All of these views are only philologic .
Regardless of whether there was or was not a Homer, or whether the
texts of the Homerica were or were not close to those that exist
today, philology alone does not shed any light on the similarities
between Mycenaean culture and the geographical and material props of
the world of Homer.
Archaeology, however, continues to support the theory that much
detailed information survived in the form of formulae and stock pieces
to be combined creatively by the rhapsodes of later centuries. A
number of combined archaeological and philological works have been
written on the topic, such as
Denys Page 's "History and the Homeric
Martin P. Nilsson 's "The Mycenaean Origin of Greek
Mythology." The linguist
Calvert Watkins went so far as to seek an
Proto-Indo-European language origin for some epithets and
the epic verse form. If he is correct, the stock themes and verses of
rhapsodes may be far older than the Trojan War, which would, in that
case, have been only the latest opportunity for an epic.
LIFE AND LEGENDS
Homer and His Guide, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Mount Ida , beset by dogs and
guided by the goatherder Glaucus (as told in
"LIVES OF HOMER"
Various traditions have survived purporting to give details of
Homer's birthplace and background. The satirist
Lucian , in his True
History , describes him as a Babylonian called
Tigranes , who assumed
Homer when taken "hostage" (homeros) by the Greeks. When the
Hadrian asked the
Delphi about Homer, the Pythia
proclaimed that he was Ithacan , the son of
Odyssey . These stories were incorporated into the various
"lives of Homer", "compiled from the Alexandrian period onwards".
The "lives of Homer" refer to a set of longer fragments on the topic
of the life and works of
Homer written by authors who for the most
part remain anonymous. Some were attributed to more famous authors. In
the 20th century, all the vitae were gathered into a standard
reference work by Thomas W. Allen and included in Homeri Opera, (the
works of Homer), first published in 1912 by
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press .
This edition has been informally known as "the Oxford Homer" and the
Vitae Homeri section as "the lives of Homer" or just "the lives".
Volume V of Homeri Opera numbers each of the vitae.
Homeri Opera records vitae collected from various sources: the Vita
Herodotea , pp. 192–218, now known as Pseudo-Herodotus, because it
is probably not of Herodotus; the Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi , pp.
225–38, with fragments on 218–21; and the two Plutarchi vitae (now
Pseudo-Plutarch), pp. 238–45. Allen also records some vitae that are
identified as IV (elsewhere as Vita Scorialenses I ), pp. 245–46; V
(Vita Scorialensis II), pp. 247–50; VI (Vita Romana ), pp. 250–53;
and finally VII, which contains three extracts: Eustathius , pp.
John Tzetzes , pp. 254–55, and Suidas , pp. 256–68, now
identified as Hesychius Milesius . Nagy reorganizes the list into
eleven, Vita 1 through Vita 10, with
Plutarch being divided into 3a
and 3b. In addition Nagy adds Vita 11 from the Chrestomathia of
Proclus , pp. 99–102. The varying and contradictory biographical
information in these sources is termed by Nagy "Variations on a Theme
of Homer", after the model of the names of certain musical
compositions. For more details on this topic, see Ancient accounts of
Life of Homer (Pseudo-Herodotus) .
Herodotus estimates that
Homer lived no more than 400 years before
his own time, which would place him at around 850 BCE or later.
Pseudo-Herodotus estimates that he was born 622 years before Xerxes I
placed a pontoon bridge over the
Hellespont in 480 BCE, which would
place him at 1102 BCE, 168 years after the fall of
Troy in 1270 BCE.
Raphael 's inspired
Mount Parnassus .
Homer is a name of unknown origin, ostensibly Greek. However, many
Greek words, and especially names in the east, where the Greeks were
in contact with eastern language speakers, were loans, approximations,
or paraphrases of foreign words. For example, Darius to the Greeks was
Dārayava(h)uš,, "holding firm the good", to himself and the other
Old Persian speakers.
Cadmus , overthrown king of Thebes, reported to
have been Phoenician, was probably seen as an "easterner", from the
Semitic triliteral root q-d-m, "the east".
Priam was perhaps from
Luwian Priya-muwa-, which means "exceptionally courageous". Many names
have a derivation from a foreign language but also fit or partially
fit derivations from
Proto-Indo-European through Greek. There are but
few rules to assist the linguist in identifying which is the most
Etymologies for the name Homeros reach beyond the Greek. On the one
hand, he may have a Hellenized Phoenician name. West conjectures a
Phoenician prototype for Homer's name as a patronymic,
progeny from the line of Homer), *benê ômerîm ("sons of
speakers")—i.e. professional tale-tellers. Here the patronymic
would designate the guild. In Greek, the
Homeridae would have
to be in the singular, the implied single ancestor of a clan
practicing a hereditary trade. The hypothetical semitic ancestors are
in the plural; where ben can be used for one father, the -id-
construction can never designate a plural father.
On the other hand,
Proto-Indo-European etymologies are also
available. The poet's name is homophonous with Greek ὅμηρος
(hómēros), "hostage" (or "surety"). This word is in the Attic
dialect, and was a word in general use. In the vitae of
Pseudo-Herodotus and Plutarch, it had a relatively obscure meaning
"blind", which is interpreted as meaning "he who accompanies; he who
is forced to follow (a guide)". The geographic specificity of the
word typically is explained by a presumption that it was known mainly
Aeolis on the coast of Asia Minor, the locale where Homer
performed, and therefore is a word of the Aeolic dialect. There is no
linguistic reason other than usage for thinking so. The letter eta
brands the word as being East Greek, as opposed to the West Greek
Cretan form, which has an alpha instead. Ionic and Attic also were
East Greek. Proclus' Chrestomathia, however, explicitly says, "the
tuphloi were called homeroi by the Aeolians" Throughout
Pseudo-Herodotus, ὅμηρος (hómēros) is synonymous with the
standard Greek τυφλός (tuphlós), meaning "blind".
The characterization of
Homer as a blind bard begins in extant
literature with the last verse in the Delian Hymn to
Apollo , the
third of the
Homeric Hymns , later cited to support this notion by
Thucydides . The author of the hymn claims to be a blind bard from
Chios. This claim is quite different from the mere attribution of the
Homer by a third party from a different time. The claim cannot
be false without the supposition of a deliberate fraud, rather than a
mere mistake. Also, critics have long taken as self-referential a
passage in the
Odyssey describing a blind bard, Demodocus , in the
court of the Phaeacian king, who recounts stories of
Troy to the
Despite the insistence of the surviving sources that
Homer was blind,
there are many serious objections to the "blind" theory. A few of the
vitae imply that he was not blind. If he could not write, then he was
illiterate and incapable of composition. A large poem would have been
beyond the capacity of human memory without the assistance of written
cues. Moreover, the images in the poem are very graphic, but a blind
man would never have experienced the scenes of the images. Answers
exist to all the objections. The example of John Milton, who composed
and dictated Paradise Lost while totally blind, demonstrates that a
blind man can compose an epic. Albert B. Lord's The Singer of Tales,
on the topic of epics sung by modern rhapsodes, shows that epics of
that size have been in fact being composed spontaneously from
memorized elements in modern times. The problem of visual cues can be
Homer can be presumed not to have been blind from birth, but
to have become blind, which is the point of view of Pseudo-Herodotus.
In the latter source, Homer, after losing his sight to disease,
embarks on a career as a wandering rhapsode , or impromptu composer of
poems at public gatherings. Either at the beginning of his career or
early in it, he assumes a stage name, reputedly "the blind man", which
declares himself to be in the category of blind prophets, who see with
inspired inner vision, but not with outer, bringing a sort of divine
glamor to the performance. Not all the vitae agree on the meaning of
the name. There is nothing biological about the Greek roots. The word
is segmented Hom-eros, where Hom is from Greek homou, "together", and
the second -ar- in arariskein, "join together", the eta in -eros
being East Greek. The "blind" meaning joins together the blind man and
his guide. Other unions are certainly possible, provided they are
Gregory Nagy uses a phrase, phone homereusai, "fitting
together with the voice" found in Hesiod, a contemporary of Homer, to
interpret Homeros as "he who fits (the song) together".
Consideration of the name as a type leaves open the possibility that
any rhapsode could conform to it—that is, there was no biographic
original named Homer. West says, "The probability is that 'Homer' was
not the name of a historical Greek poet but is the imaginary ancestor
of the Homeridai; such guild-names in -idai and -adai are not normally
based on the name of an historical person." They were upholding their
function as rhapsodes or "lay-stitchers" specialising in the
recitation of Homeric poetry.
Ancient Greek coast of
William Ihne examining the sources counted as many 19 locations in
classical times that claimed
Homer as a citizen, including Athens,
Smyrna as Homer’s native city, but insisted the city
was its colony. The cause of these multiple claims was civic
competition for the honor. Ihne chose
Smyrna because some of the
Vitae identify the word
Homer as Aeolic, and
Smyrna had an Aeolic
background. These circumstances give precedence to the longest, most
detailed vita, that of Pseudo-Herodotus, which is one of the sources
Smyrna as originally Aeolian.
Aeolians were one of the three major ethnic groups of ancient
Greece, the other two being
Aeolians came mainly
from Thessaly, occupying also Boeotia at an early date, after the
Trojan War, in parallel to the occupation of
Peloponnesus by the
Dorians. They had their own dialect of East Greek.
Hesiod as a
Boeotian was a member of the group, which is substantiated by the
Aeolic phrases related to the name of
Homer found in his works. The
Aeolians colonized the northwest coast of Asia Minor, calling their
Aeolis , and Lesbos. The villages to which they immigrated
were already populated by the descendants of the Trojan War
population. They were keeping the lore alive, according to
Aeolis extended from the coast opposite Lesbos to
Smyrna on the edge of
Ionia . The Aeolian League contained 12 cities,
including Smyrna. To the south were the 12 cities, or dodecapolis, of
Ionian League . At about 688 BCE
Smyrna was taken by Colophonians
who had ostensibly come to a festival there and it passed into Ionian
The political relevance of the two leagues came to a practical end in
the latter half of the 5th century BCE when most of the cities around
the Aegean joined, or were forced to join, the
Delian League , a koine
implementing the hegemony of Athens. Each city must contribute men and
ships or money to a common defense force. The treasury was kept at
Athens. The details and conjoined events are the topic of Thucydides
History of the Peloponnesian War . Inscriptions from those times
offer a basis for the study of Aeolic. Buck distinguished three
dialects, Thessalian, Boeotian, and Lesbian.
The Ionian cities in
Asia Minor spoke a dialect of Ionic. In the
border region between
Aeolis it was modified to include
features taken from Aeolic, creating an Ionic-Aeolic mixture similar
to that of the Homeric poems. For example,
Chios had always been a
member of the Ionian League, and yet Chian “contains a few special
characteristics, which are of Aeolic origin.” The same sort of
admixture did not occur at the Ionic-Dorian border in southwestern
From the fact that Lesbian acquired more Ionic features in poetry
over the course of time Janko argues for “a northward expansion of
Ionian population and speech at the expense of the Aeolians.”
Aeolic was gradually assimilating to Ionic, but after the 5th century
BCE both began to assimilate to the now widespread sister dialect of
Ionic, Attic , and the koine that developed from it in the Hellenistic
period. Attic began to appear in the inscriptions of
Ionia in the 4th
century BCE and had displaced Ionian by about 100 BCE. In 281 BCE the
new kingdom of
Pergamon acquired the Aeolic coast of Anatolia,
separating Lesbian, which was gone from the kingdom by the 3rd century
BCE. Lesbian went on until the 1st century CE and was the last Aeolic
dialect to disappear.
G.S. Kirk, who tends to be somewhat skeptical concerning the
biographic details given in the vitae, at least extends a limited
credibility to some basic circumstances as “at all plausible.”
Homer is most frequently said to have been born in the Ionian region
Asia Minor , at
Smyrna , or on the island of Chios, dying on the
Cycladic island of Ios . These areas were either Aeolian or partially
Smyrna had not yet been taken by the Ionians.
Chios had been
settled by pre-Hellenic tribesmen from Thessaly, but the language
remains unknown. They may have been Aeolic-speaking. The association
Chios dates back to at least
Amorgos , who cited
Iliad 6.146 as by "the man of Chios". An eponymous bardic guild ,
known as the
Homeridae (sons of Homer), or Homeristae ('Homerizers')
existed there, tracing descent from an ancestor of that name. On Ios
were used some words known to be Aeolic; for example, Homêreôn was
one of the names for a month in the calendar of Ios. The Smyrna
connection is alluded to in the original name posited for him by
several vitae: Melesigenes, “born of Meles ", a river which flowed
by that city.
The poems give evidence of familiarity with the natural details and
place-names of this area of Asia Minor; for example,
Homer refers to
meadow birds at the mouth of the Caystros , a storm in the Icarian
sea, and mentions that women in
Caria stain ivory with
Homer also had a geographical knowledge of all
Mycenaean Greece that has been verified by discovery of most of the
Wilhelm Dörpfeld , the classical archaeologist, suggests that
Homer had visited many of the places and regions which he describes in
his epics, such as
Troy and more. According to Diodorus
Homer had even visited
The Roman satirist
Homer as a Babylonian named Tigran,
who accepted the name
Homer after he had been taken captive by the
Greeks claiming that his name Όμηρος means hostage. Some vitae
Homer as a wandering minstrel, like
Hesiod , who
walked as far as
Chalkis to sing at the funeral games of
We are given the image of a "blind, begging singer who hangs around
with little people: shoemakers, fisherman, potters, sailors, elderly
men in the gathering places of harbour towns". The poems, on the
other hand, give us evidence of singers at the courts of the nobility.
There is a strong aristocratic bias in the poems demonstrated by the
lack of any major protagonists of non-aristocratic stock, and by
episodes such as the beating down of the commoner
Thersites by the
Odysseus for daring to criticize his superiors. Scholars are
divided as to which category, if any, the court singer or the
wandering minstrel, the historic "Homer" belonged.
Most of the twelve vitae have little concern for historicity.
Scorialenses I says “we only hear the report, and do not know
anything.” Most therefore report several origin stories. They are
typically at least in part mythical. Whether the latter are given
unfeigned credibility is not clear. For instance,
Homer was the son of
the river Meles and a nymph. Pseudo-
Plutarch I, relying less on
mythology, presents an alternative genealogy that makes
Hesiod cousins. The only account that presumes a historical character
and a real-life setting without resorting to mythology is the more
lengthy Pseudo-Herodotus' Life of
WORKS ATTRIBUTED TO HOMER
The Greeks of the sixth and early fifth centuries BCE understood by
the works of "Homer", generally, "the whole body of heroic tradition
as embodied in hexameter verse". The entire
Epic Cycle was included.
The genre included further poems on the
Trojan War , such as the
Iliad , the
Nostoi , the
Cypria , and the
Epigoni , as well as
the Theban poems about
Oedipus and his sons. Other works, such as the
Homeric Hymns , the comic mini-epic
Frog-Mouse War"), and the
Margites , were also attributed to him. Two
other poems, the
Capture of Oechalia and the
Phocais , were also
assigned Homeric authorship.
Achilles being adored by princesses of Skyros , a scene from the
Odysseus (Ulysses) discovers him dressed as a woman and
hiding among the princesses at the royal court of Skyros. A late Roman
La Olmeda , Spain, 4th–5th centuries CE Detail of
Achilles Detail of
Herodotus mentions both the
Iliad and the
Odyssey as works of Homer.
He quotes a few lines from them both, which are the same in today's
editions. The passage quoted from the
Iliad mentions that Paris
stopped at Sidon before bringing Helen to Troy. From the fact that the
Cypria has Paris going directly to
Troy from Sparta, Herodotus
concludes that it was not written by Homer.
Works and Days ,
Hesiod says that he crossed to
Euboea to contend
in the games held by the sons of
Chalcis . There he won
with a hymnos and took away the prize of a tripod, which he dedicated
to the Muses of
Mount Helicon , where he first began with aoide ,
"song". One of the vitae, the Certamen, picks up this theme.
Hesiod were contemporaries, it says. They both attended the funeral
games of Amphidamas, conducted by his son, Ganyctor, and both
contended in the contest of sophia, "wit". In it, one was required to
ask a question of the other, who must reply in verse.
Unable to decide, the judge had them each recite from their poems.
Hesiod quoted Works and Days; Homer, the Iliad, both citing texts as
they are now. But neither poem can then have been the modern version.
Hesiod cannot have described beforehand the very event in which he was
Iliad is supposed to have been written already, but
it is not called that, however. The victory was given to Hesiod
because his poem was about peace, while Homer's poem was about war.
After the contest,
Homer continued his wandering, composing and
reciting epic poetry. The Certamen mentions the
Thebaid , quoting the
first line, which differs but little from the first line of the Iliad
as it is now. It had 7,000 lines, as did the subsequent
Epigoni , with
a similar first line. The Certamen qualifies the attribution to Homer
with "some say …" Subsequently, he wrote the epitaph for the tomb of
Midas , for which he got a silver bowl, and then the
Odyssey in 12,000
lines (today's is 12,110). He had already written the
Iliad in 15,500
lines (today's is 15,693). Just these three epics alone are 34,500
lines, word-for-word, we are asked to believe, without reference to
the rest of the prodigious Epic Cycle. Then he went to Athens, and to
Argos , where he delivered lines 559–568 of Book 2 of the Iliad,
with the addition of two more not in the current version.
Subsequently, he went to
Delos , where he delivered the "Hymn to
Apollo", and was made a citizen of all the Ionian states. Finally he
went to Ios , where he slipped on some clay and suffered a fatal fall.
The term Epikos Kuklos ("
Epic Cycle ") refers to a series of ten epic
poems written by different authors purporting to tell an
interconnected sequence of stories covering all Greek mythology.
Themes were selected from them for
Greek drama as well. The name
appears in the Chrestomathia of
Eutychius Proclus , a synopsis of
Greek literature, known only through further abridged fragments
written by Patriarch
Photios I of Constantinople
Photios I of Constantinople . No etymology was
given. Evelyn-White hypothesizes that they were "written round" the
Odyssey and had a "clearly imitative" structure. In this
Homer need have written no more than the Iliad, or the
Odyssey, with the
Homeridae responsible for all the rest. The unity of
theme and structure came from the close association of the authors in
the guild or school.
Proclus does not subscribe to the authorships of the Certamen. He
provides the names of other authors where they were available in his
sources. These 10 epics, of which only Photius' abridgements of
Proclus' synopses survive, and scattered fragments of other authors in
other times, are as follows. First and oldest, the Titanomachia ("War
of the Titans "), eight fragments, is said to have been written by
Eumelus of Corinth , floruit 760–740 BCE, or Arctinus of
Miletus , floruit in the First
Olympiad , starting 776 BCE.
Theban Cycle consists of three epics: the Oidipodeia ("Story of
Oedipus"), 6600 lines by
Cinaethon of Sparta , floruit 764 BCE; the
Thebaid "), attributed to Homer; and Epigonoi ("
attributed to Homer. The Trojan Cycle consists of six epics and the
Iliad and Odyssey, eight in all: Kupria ("
Cypria ") in 11 books,
attributed to either Homer,
Stasinus , a younger contemporary of
Homer, or one Hegesias;
Aethiopis in five books, sequent of the
Iliad, which is sequent of Kupria, by Arctinus; Ilias Mikra ("Little
Iliad ") in four books by
Mitylene , floruit 660 BCE;
Iliou Persis ("Sack of Ilium") by Arctinus;
Nostoi ("Returns") by
Troezen , floruit 740 BCE; and Telegonia ("
Telegony "), by
Eugammn of Cyrene , floruit 567 BCE.
IDENTITY AND AUTHORSHIP
For more details on this topic, see
Homeric Question . Statue of
Homer outside the
Bavarian State Library
Bavarian State Library in
The idea that
Homer was responsible for just the two outstanding
Iliad and the
Odyssey , did not win consensus until 350
BCE. Although some scholars, such as
W. B. Stanford , argue that the
stylistic similarities are too consistent to support the theory of
multiple authorship, more recent scholars, such as
Gregory Nagy and
Martin West , find it unlikely that both epics were composed by the
same person. Martin West writes: "Most scholars nowadays consider that
Iliad and the
Odyssey are the work of different authors. This is
what is indicated by the many differences of narrative manner,
theology, ethics, vocabulary, and geographical perspective, and by the
apparently imitative character of certain passages of the
relation to the Iliad."
One view which attempts to bridge the differences holds that the
Iliad was composed by "Homer" in his maturity, while the
Odyssey was a
work of his old age. The
Homeric Hymns and cyclic
epics are generally agreed to be later than the
Iliad and the Odyssey.
Most scholars agree that the
Odyssey underwent a process of
standardisation and refinement out of older material beginning in the
8th century BCE. An important role in this standardisation appears to
have been played by the Athenian tyrant
Hipparchus , who reformed the
recitation of Homeric poetry at the Panathenaic festival . Many
classicists hold that this reform must have involved the production of
a canonical written text.
Other scholars still support the idea that
Homer was a real person.
Since nothing is known about the life of this Homer, the common
joke—also recycled with regard to
Shakespeare —has it that the
poems "were not written by Homer, but by another man of the same
name." Samuel Butler argues, based on literary observations, that a
young Sicilian woman wrote the
Odyssey (but not the Iliad), an idea
further pursued by
Robert Graves in his novel Homer\'s Daughter and
Andrew Dalby in
Rediscovering Homer .
Independent of the question of single authorship is the
near-universal agreement, after the work of
Milman Parry , that the
Homeric poems are dependent on an oral tradition , a generations-old
technique that was the collective inheritance of many singer-poets
(aoidoi ). An analysis of the structure and vocabulary of the Iliad
Odyssey shows that the poems contain many formulaic phrases
typical of extempore epic traditions; even entire verses are at times
repeated. Parry and his student
Albert Lord pointed out that such
elaborate oral tradition, foreign to today's literate cultures, is
typical of epic poetry in a predominantly oral cultural milieu, the
key words being "oral" and "traditional". Parry started with
"traditional": the repetitive chunks of language, he said, were
inherited by the singer-poet from his predecessors, and were useful to
him in composition. Parry called these repetitive chunks "formulas".
Exactly when these poems would have taken on a fixed written form is
subject to debate. The traditional solution is the "transcription
hypothesis", wherein a non-literate "Homer" dictates his poem to a
literate scribe between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE. The Greek
alphabet was introduced in the early 8th century BCE, so it is
Homer himself was of the first generation of authors who
were also literate. The classicist
Barry B. Powell suggests that the
Greek alphabet was invented c. 800 BCE by one man, whom he calls the
"adapter," in order to write down oral epic poetry. More radical
Gregory Nagy contend that a canonical text of the
Homeric poems as "scripture" did not exist until the Hellenistic
period (3rd to 1st century BCE).
New methods also try to elucidate the question. Combining information
technologies and statistics stylometry analyzes various linguistic
units: words, parts of speech, and sounds. Based on the frequencies of
Greek letters, a first study of Dietmar Najock particularly shows the
internal cohesion of the
Iliad and the Odyssey. Taking into account
the repartition of the letters, a recent study of Stephan Vonfelt
highlights the unity of the works of
Homer compared to Hesiod. The
thesis of modern analysts being questioned, the debate remains open.
The study of
Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating
back to antiquity. The aims and achievements of Homeric studies have
changed over the course of the millennia. In the last few centuries,
they have revolved around the process by which the Homeric poems came
into existence and were transmitted over time to us, first orally and
later in writing.
Some of the main trends in modern
Homeric scholarship have been, in
the 19th and early 20th centuries, Analysis and Unitarianism (see
Homeric Question ), schools of thought which emphasized on the one
hand the inconsistencies in, and on the other the artistic unity of,
Homer; and in the 20th century and later Oral Theory, the study of the
mechanisms and effects of oral transmission, and Neoanalysis, the
study of the relationship between
Homer and other early epic material.
The language used by
Homer is an archaic version of
Ionic Greek ,
with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as
Aeolic Greek . It
later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry ,
typically in dactylic hexameter .
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Homer in the company of
Calliope , the
Muse of epic poetry
(replica of Roman Imperial mosaic, c. 240 CE, from
Aristotle remarks in his
Homer was unique among the
poets of his time, focusing on a single unified theme or action in the
The cardinal qualities of the style of
Homer are well articulated by
Matthew Arnold :
he translator of
Homer should above all be penetrated by a sense of
four qualities of his author:—that he is eminently rapid; that he is
eminently plain and direct, both in the evolution of his thought and
in the expression of it, that is, both in his syntax and in his words;
that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought,
that is, in his matter and ideas; and finally, that he is eminently
The peculiar rapidity of
Homer is due in great measure to his use of
hexameter verse. It is characteristic of early literature that the
evolution of the thought, or the grammatical form of the sentence, is
guided by the structure of the verse; and the correspondence which
consequently obtains between the rhythm and the syntax—the thought
being given out in lengths, as it were, and these again divided by
tolerably uniform pauses—produces a swift flowing movement such as
is rarely found when periods are constructed without direct reference
to the metre. That
Homer possesses this rapidity without falling into
the corresponding faults, that is, without becoming either fluctuant
or monotonous, is perhaps the best proof of his unequalled poetic
skill. The plainness and directness of both thought and expression
which characterise him were doubtless qualities of his age, but the
author of the
Iliad (similar to
Voltaire , to whom Arnold happily
compares him) must have possessed this gift in a surpassing degree.
Odyssey is in this respect perceptibly below the level of the
Rapidity or ease of movement, plainness of expression, and plainness
of thought are not distinguishing qualities of the great epic poets
Dante , and Milton . On the contrary, they belong rather to
the humbler epico-lyrical school for which
Homer has been so often
claimed. The proof that
Homer does not belong to that school—and
that his poetry is not in any true sense ballad poetry—is furnished
by the higher artistic structure of his poems and, as regards style,
by the fourth of the qualities distinguished by Arnold: the quality of
nobleness. It is his noble and powerful style, sustained through every
change of idea and subject, that finally separates
Homer from all
forms of ballad poetry and popular epic .
Like the French epics, such as the
Chanson de Roland , Homeric poetry
is indigenous and, by the ease of movement and its resultant
simplicity, distinguishable from the works of Dante, Milton and
Virgil. It is also distinguished from the works of these artists by
the comparative absence of underlying motives or sentiment. In
Virgil's poetry, a sense of the greatness of
Italy is the
leading motive of a passionate rhetoric, partly veiled by the
considered delicacy of his language.
Dante and Milton are still more
faithful exponents of the religion and politics of their time. Even
the French epics display sentiments of fear and hatred of the Saracens
; but, in Homer's works, the interest is purely dramatic. There is no
strong antipathy of race or religion; the war turns on no political
events; the capture of
Troy lies outside the range of the Iliad; and
even the protagonists are not comparable to the chief national heroes
of Greece. So far as can be seen, the chief interest in Homer's works
is that of human feeling and emotion, and of drama ; indeed, his works
are often referred to as "dramas".
HISTORICAL BASIS OF HOMERIC WORKS
Historicity of Homer Greece according to the
The excavations of
Heinrich Schliemann at
Hisarlik in the late 19th
century provided initial evidence to scholars that there was an
historical basis for the
Trojan War . Research into oral epics in
Turkic languages , pioneered by the aforementioned
Parry and Lord, began convincing scholars that long poems could be
preserved with consistency by oral cultures until they are written
down. The decipherment of
Linear B in the 1950s by Michael Ventris
(and others) convinced many of a linguistic continuity between 13th
century BCE Mycenaean writings and the poems attributed to Homer.
It is probable, therefore, that the story of the
Trojan War as
reflected in the Homeric poems derives from a tradition of epic poetry
founded on a war which actually took place. It is crucial, however,
not to underestimate the creative and transforming power of subsequent
tradition: for instance,
Achilles , the most important character of
Iliad , is strongly associated with southern
Thessaly , but his
legendary figure is interwoven into a tale of war whose kings were
Peloponnese . Tribal wanderings were frequent, and far-flung,
ranging over much of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. The epic
weaves brilliantly the disiecta membra (scattered remains) of these
distinct tribal narratives, exchanged among clan bards, into a
monumental tale in which Greeks join collectively to do battle on the
distant plains of Troy.
TRANSMISSION AND PUBLICATION
A Reading from
An account of the transmission of the
Iliad from oral tradition
through wax pad, papyrus, parchment, to paper (editio princeps) is
given by Nioletseas M.M Though evincing many features characteristic
of oral poetry, the
Odyssey were at some point committed to
writing. The Greek script, adapted from a Phoenician syllabary around
800 BCE, made possible the notation of the complex rhythms and vowel
clusters that make up hexameter verse. Homer's poems appear to have
been recorded shortly after the alphabet's invention: an inscription
Ischia in the Bay of
Naples , c. 740 BCE, appears to refer to a
text of the Iliad; likewise, illustrations seemingly inspired by the
Polyphemus episode in the
Odyssey are found on
Mykonos and in
Italy, dating from the first quarter of the seventh century BCE. We
have little information about the early condition of the Homeric
poems, but in the second century BCE, Alexandrian editors stabilized
this text from which all modern texts descend. Homer's works, which
are about fifty percent speeches, provided models in persuasive
speaking and writing that were emulated throughout the ancient and
medieval Greek worlds. Fragments of
Homer account for nearly half of
all identifiable Greek literary papyrus finds in Egypt.
In late antiquity , knowledge of Greek declined in Latin-speaking
western Europe and, along with it, knowledge of Homer's poems. It was
not until the fifteenth century CE that Homer's work began to be read
once more in Italy. By contrast it was continually read and taught in
the Greek-speaking Eastern
Roman Empire where the majority of the
classics also survived. The first printed edition appeared in 1488
Demetrios Chalkokondyles and published by Bernardus Nerlius
(it), Nerius Nerlius , and Demetrius Damilas (el) in Florence, Italy
One often finds books of the
Odyssey cited by the
corresponding letter of the
Greek alphabet , with upper-case letters
referring to a book number of the
Iliad and lower-case letters
referring to the Odyssey. Thus Ξ 200 would be shorthand for Iliad
book 14, line 200, while ξ 200 would be
Odyssey 14.200. The following
table presents this system of numeration:
Ancient Greece portal
* Poetry portal
* Literature portal
Catalogue of Ships
* Creophylus of
Deception of Zeus
Epithets in Homer
* Geography of the
Historicity of Homer
List of Homeric characters
* The Golden Bough
Trojan Battle Order
Trojan Battle Order
Trojan War in popular culture
Venetus A Manuscript
* ^ Wilson, Nigel. Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. Routledge. ISBN
9781136788000 . Retrieved 22 November 2016.
* ^ Romilly, Jacqueline de. A Short History of Greek Literature.
University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226143125 . Retrieved 22
* ^ A B Graziosi, Barbara. Inventing Homer: The Early Reception of
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521809665 . Retrieved 22
* ^ Croally, Neil; Hyde, Roy. Classical Literature: An
Introduction. Routledge. p. 26. ISBN 9781136736629 . Retrieved 23
* ^ Hose, Martin; Schenker, David. A Companion to Greek Literature.
John Wiley & Sons. p. 445. ISBN 9781118885956 .
* ^ Miller, D. Gary.
Ancient Greek Dialects and Early Authors:
Introduction to the Dialect Mixture in Homer, with Notes on Lyric and
Herodotus. Walter de Gruyter. p. 351. ISBN 9781614512950 . Retrieved
23 November 2016.
* ^ Ahl, Frederick; Roisman, Hanna. The
Odyssey Re-formed. Cornell
University Press. ISBN 0801483352 . Retrieved 23 November 2016.
* ^ Latacz, Joachim. Homer, His Art and His World. University of
Michigan Press. ISBN 0472083538 . Retrieved 22 November 2016.
* ^ Too, Yun Lee. The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World. OUP
Oxford. p. 86. ISBN 9780199577804 . Retrieved 22 November 2016.
* ^ MacDonald, Dennis R. Christianizing Homer: The Odyssey, Plato,
and the Acts of Andrew. Oxford University Press. p. 17. ISBN
9780195358629 . Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved
22 November 2016.
* ^ A summary of the sources and an analysis of textual uniformity
can be found in Murray 1960 , Chapter 12 The Text of
Homer From Known
* ^ Murray 1960 , pp. 297–98
* ^ West, Martin (1999). "The Invention of Homer". Classical
Quarterly. 49 (364).
* ^ Taplin, Oliver (1986). "2 Homer". In Boardman, John; Griffin,
Jasper; Murray, Oswyn. The Oxford History of the Classical World.
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 50.
* ^ Kirk, G.S. (1985). The Iliad: A Commentary. Volume I: books
Cambridge University Press. p. 1.
* ^ Nagy, Gregory (2001). "Homeric Poetry and Problems of
Multiformity: The "Panathenaic Bottleneck". Classical
Philology . 96:
109–19. doi :10.1086/449533 .
* ^ Watkins, Calvert (1995). How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of
Indo-European Poetics. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press;
* ^ Lucian, Verae Historiae 2.20, cited and tr. in Graziosi 2002 ,
* ^ Parke, Herbert W. (1967). Greek Oracles. UK: Hutchinson
Educational . pp. 136–37, citing the Certamen , 12. ISBN
* ^ Stoessl, F. (1979). "'Homeros'". Der Kleine Pauly: Lexikon der
Antike in fünf Bänden: Bd. 2. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch
Verlag. p. 1202.
* ^ A B Kirk, G.S. (1965).
Homer and the Epic: A Shortened Version
of the Songs of Homer. London:
Cambridge University Press. p. 190.
ISBN 0-521-09356-2 .
* ^ Allen, Thomas W., ed. (1912). Homeri Opera (in Latin and
Ancient Greek). Tomus V: Hymnos Cyclum Fragmenta Margiten
Batrachomyomachiam Vitas Continens. Oxonii: Typographeo Clarendoniano.
* ^ The name means any vita located on a manuscript at the Real
Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, "Royal
Library of the Monastery of Saint Lorenzo of Escorial", Royal because
it is in the king's palace,
El Escorial , near
Madrid . The palace was
once a monastery.
* ^ So called because the main manuscript is at the Biblioteca
Nazionale Centrale di Roma , formerly known as the Biblioteca
Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II.
* ^ Nagy 2010 , p. 29
* ^ Nagy 2010 , p. 133
* ^ Vita Herodotea, Chapter 38. An analysis can be found in
Graziosi 2002 , pp. 98–101 A summary of the main traditional dates
and sources can be found in Smith, William; Marindin, G.E. (1919). A
classical dictionary of Greek and Roman biography, mythology and
geography, by Sir William Smith. Revised throughout and in part
rewritten by G. E. Marindin. London: J. Murray. pp. 422–25.
* ^ "Appendix II – Semitic Roots". The American Heritage
* ^ A B West, M.L. (1997). The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic
Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 622.
* ^ Liddell & Scott 1940 , ὅμηρος
* ^ Chantraine, P. (1968). "Homer". Dictionnaire étymologique de
la langue grecque (in French). vol. 2 (3–4). Paris: Klincksieck. p.
797. This long-standing view is the one adopted by many Greek
etymological dictionaries. See also the word history at the name Homer
in Liddell & Scott 1940 , Ὅμηρος
* ^ Silk 1987 , p. 4. Silk generalizes to "Aeolic-speaking
districts", but the only district mentioned in
Cyme (Aeolis) . Still, he did perform over the entire area, according
to the source, and many cities of the region claimed to be his native
* ^ Allen p. 99.
Homeric Hymns 3:172–73
The Peloponnesian War 3:104
* ^ Graziosi 2002 , p. 133
* ^ Odyssey, 8:64ff.
* ^ Beecroft, Alexander (2011). "Blindness and Literacy in the
Lives of Homer". Classical Quarterly. 61.1: 1–18. doi
* ^ Liddell & Scott 1940 , ὁμοῦ
* ^ Liddell & Scott 1940 , ἀραρίσκω
* ^ Nagy 1979 , pp. 296–300
* ^ Smith 1876 , Homerus
* ^ Smith 1876 , Aeolis
* ^ Smith 1876 , Smyrna
* ^ Buck 1928 , pp. 147–56
* ^ Beaumont, Lesley (2013). "Smyrna". In Wilson, Nigel.
Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. New York: Routledge.
* ^ Smith 1876 , Chios
* ^ Buck 1928 , p. 143
* ^ Janko 1982 , p. 178
* ^ Browning, Robert (1983). Medieval & Modern Greek (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: University of Cambridge. p. 51.
Semonides (1989). "Fragment 19". In West, Martin L. Iambi et
Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon
Gilbert Murray , The Rise of the Greek Epic, p. 307
* ^ Liddell & Scott 1940 , Ὁμηρεών
* ^ Scott, John Adams (1965). The Unity of Homer. New York: Biblio
& Tanner Publications. pp. 4–8.
* ^ "Troja und Ilion" and "Alt-Ithaka: Ein Beitrag zur Homer-Frage,
Studien und Ausgrabungen aus der insel Leukas-Ithaka"
* ^ The Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus, Book I, ch. 12.10.
* ^ Graziosi, Barbara (2002). Inventing Homer:The Early Reception
Cambridge University Press. p. 127.
Iliad , 2.595
Works and Days , 654–45; Nilsson, Martin P. (1972).
Homer & Mycenae. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press . pp.
* ^ Latacz, Joachim; Holoka, James P., tr. (1996). Homer: His Art
and His World. Ann Arbor :
University of Michigan Press . p. 29.
* ^ Graziosi 2002 , p. 134
* ^ Murray 1960 , p. 93
* ^ 11.116.
* ^ Lines 646-662.
* ^ A B Evelyn-White 1914 , p. xxx
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 481–82
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , p. xxix
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 484–85
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 485–87
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 486–89
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 489–507
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 506–09
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 508–19
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 520–25
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 524–29
* ^ Evelyn-White 1914 , pp. 530–32
* ^ Gilbert Murray: The Rise of the Greek Epic, 4th ed. 1934,
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press reprint 1967 p. 299
* ^ W. B. Stanford, "The Ulysses Theme", Ann Arbor Paperbacks,
1968, p. v
* ^ Gregory Nagy: "
Homer the Preclassic", passim
* ^ Green, Peter (9 September 2015). "Who wrote the
‘Odyssey’?". Times Literary Supplement. Archived from the original
on 14 January 2016.
* ^ West, M.L. (1999), "The Invention of Homer", Classical
Quarterly 49.2, p. 364.
* ^ "Classics in the History of Psychology – Baldwin (1913)
Volume I, Preface". yorku.ca. Archived from the original on
* ^ Butler, Samuel (1897) The authoress of the
Odyssey : where and
when she wrote, who she was, the use she made of the Iliad, and how
the poem grew under her hands London: Longmans, Green
* ^ "Mary Ebbott "Butler\'s Authoress of the Odyssey: gendered
readings of Homer, then and now," (Classics@: Issue 3)" (PDF).
* ^ A B Adam Parry (ed.) The Making of Homeric Verse: The Collected
Papers of Milman Parry, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1987.
* ^ "Signs of Meaning" Science 324 p. 38, 3 April 2009, reviewing
Powell's Writing and citing Powell's
Homer and the Origin of the Greek
Alphabet CUP 1991
* ^ Najock, Dietmar (1995). "XXXI, 1 à 4". Letter Distribution and
Authorship in Early Greek Epics (PDF). Revue informatique et
Statistique dans les Sciences Humaines. pp. 129–54. Archived from
the original (PDF) on 2012-09-05.
* ^ Vonfelt, Stephan (2010). "Archéologie numérique de la poésie
grecque" (PDF). Université de Toulouse. Archived from the original
(PDF) on 17 December 2013.
Poetics , 1451a 16–29. Cf.
Aristotle , "On the
Art of Poetry" in T.S. Dorsch (tr.),
Horace , Longinus :
Classical Literary Criticism, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1965 ch. 8 pp.
* ^ Matthew Arnold, 'On Translating Homer' (Oxford Lecture, 1861)
Lionel Trilling (ed.) The Portable
Matthew Arnold (1949) Viking
Press, New York 1956 pp. 204–28, p. 211
Virgil introduce Homer, with a sword in hand, as
poeta sovrano (sovereign poet), walking ahead of
Lucan . Cf. Inferno IV, 88
* ^ Gilbert Murray, The Rise of the Greek Epic, Clarendon Press,
Oxford 1907, pp. 182f., slightly expanded in the 4th. ed. (1934) 1960
* ^ Nikoletseas, M. M. (2012) The
Iliad – Twenty Centuries of
Translation. pp. 19–40. ISBN 978-1-4699-5210-9
* ^ Griffin, Jasper (2004). "The Speeches". In Fowler, Robert.
Cambridge Companion to Homer. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
* ^ Nünlist, René (2012). "
Homer as a Blueprint for
Speechwriters: Eustathius’ Commentaries and Rhetoric". Greek, Roman,
and Byzantine Studies. 52: 493–509. Archived from the original on
* ^ Finley 2002 , pp. 11–12 Finley's figures are based upon the
corpus of literary papyri published before 1963.
Demetrius Chalcondyles editio princeps, Florence, 1488
Aldine editions (1504 and 1517)
* 1st ed. with comments, Micyllus and Camerarius , Basel, 1535, 1541
(improved text), 1551 (incl. the
* 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
* Ludwich (Odyssey, Leipzig, 1889–1891; Iliad, 2 vols., 1901 and
* W. Leaf (Iliad, London, 1886–1888; 2nd ed. 1900–1902)
William Walter Merry and James Riddell (
Odyssey i–xii., 2nd ed.,
* 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. ISBN
0-19-814528-4 , ISBN 0-19-814529-2 , ISBN 0-19-814531-4 , ISBN
0-19-814532-2 , ISBN 0-19-814534-9
* H. van Thiel 1991, Homeri Odyssea, Hildesheim. ISBN 3-487-09458-4
, 1996, Homeri Ilias, Hildesheim. ISBN 3-487-09459-2
* M.L. West 1998–2000, Homeri Ilias (2 volumes), Munich/Leipzig.
ISBN 3-598-71431-9 , ISBN 3-598-71435-1
* P. von der Mühll 1993, Homeri Odyssea, Munich/Leipzig. ISBN
Homer a Parsed Interlinear, Handheldclassics.com
(2008) Text ISBN 978-1-60725-298-6
English translations of Homer
This is a partial list of translations into English of Homer's Iliad
* Augustus Taber Murray (1866–1940)
* Homer: Iliad, 2 vols., revised by William F. Wyatt, Loeb Classical
Library , Harvard University Press (1999).
* Homer: Odyssey, 2 vols., revised by George E. Dimock, Loeb
Classical Library , Harvard University Press (1995).
Robert Fitzgerald (1910–1985)
* The Iliad, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2004) ISBN 0-374-52905-1
* The Odyssey, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1998) ISBN 0-374-52574-9
Robert Fagles (1933–2008)
* The Iliad, Penguin Classics (1998) ISBN 0-14-027536-3
* The Odyssey, Penguin Classics (1999) ISBN 0-14-026886-3
Stanley Lombardo (b. 1943)
Hackett Publishing Company (1997) ISBN 0-87220-352-2
Hackett Publishing Company (2000) ISBN 0-87220-484-7
* Iliad, (Audiobook)
Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-08-3
* Odyssey, (Audiobook)
Parmenides (2006) ISBN 1-930972-06-7
* The Essential Homer, (Audiobook)
Parmenides (2006) ISBN
* The Essential Iliad, (Audiobook)
Parmenides (2006) ISBN
Barry B. Powell (b. 1942)
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press (2013) ISBN 978-0-19-932610-5
* "Odyssey", Oxford University PressI (2014) ISBN 978-0-19-936031-4
Iliad and Odyssey: The Essential Books", Oxford
University Press (2014) ISBN 978-0-19-939407-4
Samuel Butler (1835–1902)
* The Iliad, Red and Black Publishers (2008) ISBN 978-1-934941-04-1
* The Odyssey, Red and Black Publishers (2008) ISBN
* Herbert Jordan (b. 1938)
* Iliad, University of Oklahoma Press (2008) ISBN 978-0-8061-3974-6
GENERAL WORKS ON HOMER
* Carlier, Pierre (1999). Homère (in French). Paris: Les éditions
Fayard. ISBN 2-213-60381-2 .
* de Romilly, Jacqueline (2005). Homère (5th ed.). Paris: Presses
Universitaires de France . ISBN 2-13-054830-X .
* Fowler, Robert, ed. (2004). The
Cambridge Companion to Homer.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-01246-5 .
* Latacz, J. ; Windle, Kevin, Tr.; Ireland, Rosh, Tr. (2004). Troy
and Homer: Towards a Solution of an Old Mystery. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-926308-6 . In German, 5th updated and
expanded edition, Leipzig, 2005. In Spanish, 2003, ISBN 84-233-3487-2
. In modern Greek, 2005, ISBN 960-16-1557-1 .
* Monro, David Binning (1911). "Homer". Encyclopædia Britannica .
12 (11th ed.). pp. 626–39.
* Morris, Ian; Powell, Barry B., eds. (1997). A New Companion to
Homer. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 90-04-09989-1 .
* Nikoletseas, M. M. ( 2012). The
Iliad – Twenty Centuries of
Translation. ISBN 978-1-4699-5210-9
* Powell, Barry B. (2007).
Homer (2nd ed.). Malden, MA; Oxford, UK;
Carlton, Victoria: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-5325-6 .
* Vidal-Naquet, Pierre (2000). Le monde d'Homère (in French).
Paris: Perrin. ISBN 2-262-01181-8 .
* Wace, A.J.B. ; F.H. Stubbings (1962). A Companion to Homer.
London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-07113-1 .
INFLUENTIAL READINGS AND INTERPRETATIONS
* Auerbach, Erich (1953). "Chapter 1". Mimesis: The Representation
of Reality in Western Literature . Princeton: Princeton University
Press. ISBN 0-691-11336-X . (orig. publ. in German, 1946, Bern)
* de Jong, Irene J.F. (2004). Narrators and Focalizers: the
Presentation of the Story in the
Iliad (2nd ed.). London: Bristol
Classical Press. ISBN 1-85399-658-0 .
* Edwards, Mark W. (1987). Homer, Poet of the Iliad. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press . ISBN 0-8018-3329-9 .
* Fenik, Bernard (1974). Studies in the Odyssey. Hermes,
Einzelschriften 30. Wiesbaden: Steiner.
* Finley, Moses (2002). The World of Odysseus. New York: New York
Review of Books . ISBN 978-1-59017-017-5 .
* Nagy, Gregory (1979). The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the
Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry.
London : Johns Hopkins
University Press .
* Nagy, Gregory (2010). Homer: the Preclassic. Berkeley: University
of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-95024-5 .
* P.V. Jones (ed.) 2003, Homer's Iliad. A Commentary on Three
Translations, London. ISBN 1-85399-657-2
G. S. Kirk (gen. ed.) 1985–1993, The Iliad: A Commentary (6
volumes), Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-28171-7 , ISBN 0-521-28172-5 , ISBN
0-521-28173-3 , ISBN 0-521-28174-1 , ISBN 0-521-31208-6 , ISBN
* 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. ISBN
3-598-74307-6 , ISBN 3-598-74304-1
* N. Postlethwaite (ed.) 2000, Homer's Iliad: A Commentary on the
Translation of Richmond Lattimore, Exeter. ISBN 0-85989-684-6
* M. M. Nikoletseas , 2012, The
Iliad – Twenty Centuries of
Translation.. ISBN 978-1-4699-5210-9
* M.W. Willcock (ed.) 1976, A Companion to the Iliad, Chicago. ISBN
* A. Heubeck (gen. ed.) 1990–1993, A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey
(3 volumes; orig. publ. 1981–1987 in Italian), Oxford. ISBN
0-19-814747-3 , ISBN 0-19-872144-7 , ISBN 0-19-814953-0
* P. Jones (ed.) 1988, Homer's Odyssey: A Commentary based on the
English Translation of Richmond Lattimore, Bristol. ISBN 1-85399-038-8
* I.J.F. de Jong (ed.) 2001, A Narratological Commentary on the
Odyssey, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-46844-2
DATING THE HOMERIC POEMS
* Janko, Richard (1982). Homer,
Hesiod and the Hymns: Diachronic
Development in Epic Diction.
Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23869-2 .
* Buck, Carl Darling (1928). The Greek Dialects. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
* Evelyn-White, Hugh Gerard (tr.) (1914). Hesiod, the Homeric hymns
and Homerica. The Loeb Classical Library. London; New York: Heinemann;
* Ford, Andrew (1992).
Homer : the poetry of the past. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-2700-2 .
* Graziosi, Barbara (2002). Inventing Homer: The Early Perception of
Cambridge Classical Studies.
* Kirk, G.S. (1962). The Songs of Homer. Cambridge: Cambridge
* Liddell, Henry George ; Scott, Robert (1940). A Greek-English
Lexicon (Revised ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press; Perseus Digital
* Murray, Gilbert (1960). The Rise of the Greek Epic (Galaxy Books
ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
* Schein, Seth L. (1984). The mortal hero : an introduction to
Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN
* Silk, Michael (1987). Homer: The Iliad.
Cambridge : Cambridge
University Press . ISBN 0-521-83233-0 .
* Smith, William, ed. (1876). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
Biography and Mythology. Vol. I, II & III. London: John Murray.
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