To say that Homer was a blind Greek poet of the eighth century would be a potential misstep on grounds that frequently shift beneath the legend of this literary great who has been acknowledged as the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Little, that is to say, nothing can be avowed as completely accurate in regards to this Grecian bard who has been studied and debated since antiquity through the present. Homer’s birthplace is often considered to be on the coast of Asia Minor within one of the Greek colonies. Most scholars accept that both epic works stem from one person, but there are countless theories concerning Homer’s existence.

The Iliad and The Odyssey, according to scholars, are works that were constructed through a centuries-old system of formulaic storytelling. The works that are ascribed to Homer are the culmination of that ancient oral tradition of storytelling. While scholars believe that Homer may have been blind (based on a meaning of his name in antiquity), it is equally possible that he could have transcribed the works as an alphabet was introduced at the beginning of the eighth century. Other scholars have argued that Homer dictated the poem to a scribe. In any case, the works are generally considered to be from the eighth century and The Iliad is considered the oldest epic in Western Literature.

Scholars believe that Homer’s language was most likely an archaic form of Ionic Greek which is why the language with its dactylic hexameter is regarded as the language of epic poetry. Homer’s style is additionally credited as beginning rapid, yet clearly expressed so that its meanings are plain. Unlike later epic writers, Homer appeared to be chiefly concerned with the drama of human emotion whereas later writers dwelt on race or a political event. The Iliad is an epic of the Trojan War. The Odyssey is an epic that dwells on one of The Iliad’s heroes, Odysseus, and depicts his wanderings after the Trojan War as he struggles to get home.

Many writers and historians from antiquity have written about Homer such as Herodotus who claimed that Homer lived four hundred years before him which would place Homer within the middle of the eighth century. However, other ancient texts reveal that Homer lived at the time of the Trojan War which is typically dated at 1194 B.C. Whatever the exact date of his life may be, Homer stands at the origin of Western literature and his epics continue to be read today many centuries after their conception.