The Homeric epics, Iliad and Odyssey respectively are two of the most significant works in the history of ancient literature. The following analysis seeks to examine these works in light of the Trojan War and the Mycenaean People, relying on scholarly journal articles and texts for support.
The quest to examine a piece of ancient literature is daunting enough, but the process is further complicated when so little is known about its creator. This is the case with the ancient poet Homer’s works, Iliad and Odyssey. Here myriad external forces come into play. One must contemplate the history of the Trojan War, the ancient Mycenaean People, and whether or not Homer wrote from experience, personal knowledge, or whether he wrote these splendid works based on loosely constructed cultural myths about the events.
Clearly there must be an element of truth in some of what Homer wrote. At the same time it must be acknowledged that much of the story that comes to us in the Iliad is largely fictionalized. How can it not be? Homer was not present at the Trojan War. Instead, as it was suggested by Herodotus, Homer lived four hundred years before his own time which would place Homer somewhere in the Ninth-century B.C., while according to the great scholar Aristarchus of Alexandria, Homer lived approximately 140 years after the conclusion of the Trojan War which is generally dated at 1200 B.C. Certainly, based on the acceptance of either date, it is impossibly to conclude that Homer was present at the war or close enough in physical proximity to have heard first hand accounts. So where does that leave us?
Homer was an epic poet who fictionalized the story of the Trojan War, successfully drawing on elements of cultural myth and ancient Greek history to execute his splendid tale. He was an artist, one who took liberties in his work. Some have suggested that Homer was blind, even more so, that he was illiterate. But even if this were the case, it further strengthens the...
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