Archaic Period and Homer

Greek Literature, Archaic Period, and Homer

Literary Greece begins with Homer. He probably lived and wrote sometimes in the eighth or ninth centuries BC, but no more definite date can be determined. Even his birthplace is uncertain. Some scholars claim he is from Chios on the western coast of Asia Minor; some other thinks Homer is from Smyrna/İzmir. However, it is highly probable that Homer was a native and resident of some part of Asia Minor for the dialect he used in his works is that of the Asian Greeks. Tradition has it that Homer was blind but the evidence for this idea is unreliable.

The Literature of the Archaic Period mostly centered on myth; part history and part folklore. Homer's epics of the 'Iliad and the Odyssey are significant examples of this period. Since writing had not yet arrived in Greece, much of what was created in this period was communicated orally, only to be put in written form years later. During the Archaic Period, the poet's works were spoken on the outcome of an oral tradition delivered at festivals.

A product of Greece's Dark Ages, Homer's epic the Iliad centered on the last days of the Trojan War, a war initiated by the love of a beautiful woman, Helen. It brought on an array of heroes such as Achilles, Hector, and Paris to generations of Greek youth. It was a poem of contrasts: gods and mortals, divine and human, war and peace.

Throughout the two epics, The Iliad and Odyssey no consistent autobiographical information exists and no other literature of the period survives that describes the poet. In addition to all of these, there were many others who wrote during the Archaic Period, among them were Aesop, Hesiod, and Sappho...