Iliad eText - About Homer and The Iliad

This eText contains embedded glossary terms and other notes added by our community of educators. Simply mouseover or tap on the yellow highlighted words within the text to see the annotations.
Turn Off

About Homer and The Iliad

What is known about the life of Homer is based primarily on scholarly speculation, not hard facts. His birth has been dated as far back as 1200 B.C., but based on the style evident in his two major poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, some historians think he lived much later. In fact, a few ancient Greek writers who investigated his life believe that the works attributed to him were actually written by a woman. Some modern critics and others come to a different conclusion: a group of Homer's students or followers, who adapted and lengthened popular ballads of the time, composed both epic poems.

Seven different Greek cities claim that Homer was born within their boundaries, but since scholars cannot even agree whether Homer was an actual person, there is much doubt about these claims.

In the sixth century B.C., the stories of the Trojan War and Odysseus' long journey home were gathered and arranged in the order they are in at present so they could be recited at an Athenian festival. The Odyssey and the Iliad, as we know them, both date from these oral presentations.