Top 10 interesting facts about Homer


Ancient accounts of Homer- image source: Wikipedia

Poetry. T.S Eliot said that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.

Meet one of the greatest poets of all time; Homer, who is credited as Europe’s first poet. He was believed to be a court singer and a storyteller. Based on his dialect, some people believe that he was from Iona, though others say he was from the island of Chios. 

The war between the Trojans and the Greeks as illustrated by Homer in Iliad is probably what made him famous. In this war, the Trojans (led by Priam, his sons Hector, Paris and Hector’s wife Andromache) fought the Greeks (led by Achilles who is thought to be the greatest warrior in the world, Melanus king of Sparta, his brother Agamemnon, Odysseus king of Ithaca, Ajax the second great warrior and Aias the Great)

Here are some of the things that make Homer an interesting character in the world of poems:

1. Unknown year of birth. 

Homer, the famous Greek poet was born to Telemachus and Epikaste, though a record of his time of birth is not recorded and is not known as is estimated to be between the 12 and the 8 BC. It is said he died on the Island of Chios, and just like his unknown date of birth, his date of death is also unknown. 

2. The Iliad

In the poem, the Iliad, Homer talks about the chaotic events that took place in the city of Ilion during the Trojan war, especially the war between the Trojans and the Greeks in the last year of the war. Paris the son of Priam, kidnapped Helen, the daughter of Menelaus; thus causing the war. The Iliad had 15, 693 lines and in it are illustrations and mentions of several gods and goddesses, including Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Apollo, Ares, and Aphrodite.

3. The Odyssey

Homer- Image source: Pixabay

The Iliad and the Odyssey are some of the famous works done by Homer. The two are performed and are loved by many to this day. The Odyssey tells a story of Odysseus and his journey after the Trojan War. Odysseus and his men encountered Scylla a monster with 6 heads and 12 tentacles and Charybdis, a whirlpool which they escaped narrowly, during their adventurous journey. All of his men died in the end in a shipwreck, leaving only Odysseus, who was captured seven years later. 

4. The blind poet.


Homer and his guide- Image source: Wikipedia

Homer, the son of Telemachus and Epikaste, was a singer and performer, therefore called a bard, some people believe that he was blind therefore referred to as the blind bard. It is not known whether the blindness story is true or is just about his name, which was unusual at the time, and which meant ‘hostage’ or ‘blind’. 

5. He used the earliest alphabet

Homer’s poems were believed to be recorded just soon after the alphabet was invented. Before that, his poetry would have otherwise had to be spoken instead of written! The first written poems were said to have been dictated by the poet between 8 and 6 BC.

6. Homeric Hymns

Homeric Hymns- Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Other similar works by Homer, poems which ranged from only a few lines to hundreds; these poems, known as Homeric poems one of them being the Epic Cycle on the Trojan War, had the same dialect as Odyssey and Illiad.   

7. Was Homer real?

Because of very many disputed facts on Homer; like his place of birth, years of birth and death and the fact that there aren’t any biographical recordings of the man, some people think that he was a fictitious character drawn from the poems The Iliad and the Odyssey. It is believed that he was from Iona while others think he lived on the Island of Chios.

8. A poetic inspiration

There were places in Greece in around 3 BC where Homer was honored. It is said that his works; the earliest form of poetry in Europe, inspired many more works such as Inferno by Dante Alighieri, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, L. Frank Baum’s The Great Wizard of Oz and Ulysses by James Joyce among others. 

9. He was an influential leader 

In Plato’s The Republican, Homer is mentioned as an influential leader. Aristotle also commented about Homer saying he was a unique pet of his time. His poems are said to have been passed from generation to generation through oral tradition. 

10. The Epic Cycle

Homer- Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

He wrote a book of poems called the Epic Cycle which was a collection of poems, that illustrates the happenings of the Trojan war. He also the Homeric hymns, which is a collection of 33 Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. 

 Homer is a mysterious person. His work, however, has transcended generations and is still enjoyed by poem enthusiasts all over the world!