|Who is it?||Greek author|
|Birth Place||Greece, Greek|
|Died On||701 BC|
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 in the 1950s by Michael Ventris 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.
Other scholars such as Gregory Nagy hold that, after the poems were formed in the 8th century, they were orally transmitted with little deviation until they were written down in the 6th 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. These divisions probably date from before 200 BC, and may have been made by Homer.
The so-called 'type scenes' (typischen Scenen), were named by Walter Arend in 1933. He noted that Homer often, when describing frequently recurring activities such as eating, praying, 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.
Some ancient scholars believed Homer to have been an eyewitness to the Trojan War; others thought he had lived up to 500 years afterwards. Contemporary scholars continue to debate the date of the poems; at one extreme Richard Janko has taken an 8th-century BC date, at the other scholars such as Gregory Nagy see 'Homer' as a continually evolving tradition which only ceased when the poems were written down in the 6th century BC. Martin West has argued that the Iliad echoes the poetry of Hesiod, and that it must have been composed around 660-650 BC at the earliest, with the Odyssey up to a generation later. A long history of oral transmission lies behind the composition of the poems, complicating the search for a precise date.
The Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries, extensions and scholia to Homer, especially in the 12th century. Virgil was more widely read during the Renaissance and Homer was often seen through a Virgilian lens.
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 education; to Plato, Homer was simply the one who "has taught Greece" – ten Hellada pepaideuken.
The Homeric Question—concerning by whom, when, where and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were 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.
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 legend. The Homeric epics are largely set in the east and center of the Mediterranean, with some scattered references to Egypt, Ethiopia and other distant lands, in a warlike society that resembles that of the Greek world slightly before the hypothesized date of the poems' composition.