12:18 AM


It has been said that of Homer's life, the ancients told much but knew little. He was probably a blind poet, wondering from city to city making a living by reciting his poetry. The uncertainly about his life is summed up in the couplet: "Seven grecian cities claimed great Homer dead, Through which the living Homer begged his bread."
It is probable that Homer was associated with the court of some ruler, like the bard phemius in Homer's Odyssey.
Epic poetry certainly arose among the Greeks on the western coast of Asia minor. Various facts point to the period between 850 to 800BC as the time when Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, his two great epics. The Iliad, the older of the two, narrates an episode of the Trojan War. Achilles, a Greek chieftain, quarrels with Agamemnon, the commander in chief, over the possession of a captured slave girl.

Achilles refuses to fight against the Trojans, and in his absence the Greeks are defeated. To avert an utter rout, Achilles allows his friend Patroclus is killed by Hector, the Trojan leader. Achilles, forgetting his quarrel in the desire for revenge, re-enters the war and slays Hector.

The Odyssey tells of the wanderings of Odysseus, one of the leaders of the Greek expedition against Troy.

For ten years he wanders in a series of marvelous adventures meeting giants, enchantresses, and devouring monsters. Having lost all his men in these escapades, he arrives safely in his native Ithaca.

Here Odysseus finds his wife Penelope, beset by many suitors, who suppose that he is dead. With the help of his son Telemachus and a few trusty servants, he kills the suitors and reestablishes himself in his kingdom.

Other poems which bear the name of Homer were executed by later poets. These are the Homeric Hymns, short narratives of the adventures of the gods, and a mock epic, The Battle of the Frogs and Mice.