Homer and the Homeric Question
About the Homer and the Homeric Question Lesson
This is an introductory lesson about Homer, the Iliad, and the Odyssey.
• to briefly describe what is known about Homer;
• to explain the meaning of epic poems and oral traditions;
• to briefly describe the central issues concerning debates about Homer and the authorship of the poems.
Homer was the earliest and most famous poet of Ancient Greece. We do not know exactly when he lived, where he lived, or what sort of life he lived, but there are many stories about him that are believed to be true. According to the famous historian, Herodotus, Homer lived around 850 BC. However, other people believe he lived during the times of the Trojan War, which was approximately between 1194 and 1184 BC. Some accounts say that Homer was blind. At that time, however, people often said poets were blind because it was believed that being blind helped them to see things that others could not see, such as the activities of the Greek gods.
Homer is thought to have written two major epic Greek poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Epic poems are very long narrative poems that describe heroic deeds and events that are believed to be true and significant to a specific people or culture. The Iliad describes the story of the ten year siege of the city of Troy. The Odyssey tells the story of the journey of King Odysseus on his way back home to the island of Ithaca after the war and fighting was over.