Homer: Excellence Across Worlds
He portrays Ancient Greece as being overly structured and rigid. He shows the Golden Age he lived in as being perfectly ideal, and balanced. His view of the future predicted chaos, slackness, and confusion. Through particular characters, objects, and settings, he symbolizes accurately these viewpoints to the reader.
Homer is thought to have lived sometime between 900BC and 600BC. Most scholars feel the poems were written in 700BC. The Iliad is believed to be written earlier than The Odyssey. Evidence as to any exact dates is non-existent. In The Odyssey, the Phoenicians are referred to as traders. This would date the poem between 950BC and 700BC. After 600BC, the Phoenicians were no longer traders. The language in the epics indicates that they were written later than the first Ionian settlements in Asia Minor, which was about 1000BC. The language also indicates that they were earlier than the Hesiodic poems that were from the same region and dated after 700BC. The Homeridae began to appear in Chios near the end of the 8th century, as did cults of "Homeric Heroes." Artifacts, such as pottery, found suggest when and where Homer lived and the two epics were written. Homer’s mention of certain datable objects also helps
The theme of the Greek-Trojan War is the central one in the poem. According to the legend, the war started around 1200 BC, when Helen, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus, ran away to her lover Paris, a son of the Trojan king (“The Trojan War” n.pag.).The Iliad is based on Greek mythology. “Many of the Iliad’s themes center around war, warriors, and their characteristics such as valor and duty, but there are abundant other rich threads including humor, aging, love, and lust” (Jordan n.pag.). The poem narrates the Greek military campaign to conquer Troy. The unfaithfulness of Helen, the wife of Menelaus, becomes the casus belli and the Greek army led by Agamemnon makes their way to Troy. Achilles is the bravest and the most violent among the Greeks. The Trojan army is led by Hector, a son of the Trojan king Priam. In one of the battles, Patroclus, the best friend of Achilles, dies. Achilles convenes regiment to avenge on Trojans. He kills Hector in the battle. He ties the body of Hector to his chariot and carries it across the field several times. Priam goes to Achilles to ask him to humble his anger and to give back the body of his son for burial. In the end, Achilles thinks about his father and makes the concessions.
Homer’s real life may remain a mystery, but the very real impact of his works continues to illuminate our world today.
Jordan, Herbert. “The Major Themes in The Iliad”. Iliadtranslation.com. 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.
“The Iliad”. Commonsensemedia.org. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.
“The Troyan War”. Stanford.edu. n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.