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12 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
who is homer?
composer of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two oldest and most important works of Greek literature
when did he write?
his epics were written down around 750 B.C.E

We know nothing certain about him
is homer more than one person?
In earlier centuries, many scholars argued that Homer was not one person, but a traditional name attached to works that were really collectively composed

scholars were able to hear distinctive voices within the Homeric texts

More recently scholars have once again begun to entertain the idea that the Homeric texts were composed by a single person, based mainly on the intricacy and consistency of the plot and character construction
what was his job?
Homer likely made his living as a rhapsode, a professional singer of verses, also known as a bard
what did rhapsodes do?
Rhapsodes performed in competition at festivals and were probably also hired out to perform for the wealthy
where was he born?
Seven different places claimed in antiquity to be the birthplace of Homer

Two of the likely candidates are Smyrna and Chios, both among the many Greek settlements in Asia Minor or the west coast of modern-day Turkey
who wrote the homeric hymns?
Scholars today doubt that a single person wrote these hymns, and consider them a traditional collection to which many poets added, under Homer's name

early Greeks ascribed all of them to Homer
what is an epic
lengthy tales of the deeds of superhuman heroes of the past, who were often involved in great wars

depict great battles, solemn burials, lively feasts, rowdy assemblies, and powerful speeches

such as Gilgamesh, an Assyrian epic and the oldest example of epic in existence, Beowulf, and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
what does homer sing about?
The events Homer narrates have to do especially with the Trojan War and its aftermath, around the year 1250 B.C.E
when did the Trojan War occur?
at the end of the Bronze Age, a period named for the metal that was then chiefly in use
who sing's homer's epics?
Homer's poetry was sung by bards, often to the accompaniment of a lyre
how are they written?
It is written in dactylic hexameter, a metrical pattern in which the line is broken up into six feet, each foot consisting of a long syllable followed by two short syllables. In any foot the two short syllables may be replaced by a second long syllable. Every single line of Greek in Homer's work follows this meter

In order to meet these tight metrical constraints, line-opening or line-closing epithets that meet the metrical standards, such as "godlike Achilles" or "much-enduring Odysseus," permeate the Homeric epics. These stock phrases make memorization as well as on-the-spot composition much easier for the bard.