Homer is credited with authoring the two great epic poems of ancient Greece: the Odyssey. Little is known of Homer beyond the fact that his was the name attached in antiquity to the epics by the Greeks themselves. In fact, differences between the two poems in style and subject matter have often led both Greeks of the classical age and modern scholars to suggest that the compositions are actually the work of two men. Some argue that Homer authored the first (the Iliad) but only inspired the second (the Odyssey). Others suggest that the Odyssey is a product of Homer's mature years, while the earlier poem reflects a youthful zeal for drama. In either case, Homer's influence has been profound and long lasting. From the internal evidence of the poems, it has generally been accepted that Homer composed them between the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.
Aside from their enduring popularity as literature, it is quite likely that the most important influence of the Iliad and the Odyssey on Western standards and ideas came about through their impact on classical Greek culture. The Greeks regarded the poems as more than just good literature; their children read and memorized verses from the texts as part of their schooling. The texts both symbolized Greek unity and served as a source of practical and ethical instruction.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.
Last modified April 10, 2014