What is the truth about Homer

Homer: The most famous Greek poet

Gods, beasts, cunning heroes: Homer's stories go round! The Greek is considered to be one of the first and to this day most important writers in Europe. What is his work about and why does Homer have so many fans? We'll explain the poet to you in a quick check

Honemr: Who is this poet anyway?

The ancient Greeks are like us: They love exciting stories! But cinema and television weren't invented back then - not even book printing. So people let the traveling poets tell stories of gods and heroes. These so-called rhapsodes do not read to their audience, they recite the stories by heart! Mature achievement: the stories are often so long that the lectures last hours.

This is where Homer (the name is pronounced “Ho-more”) comes in. The poet is said to have written down well-known legends around 700 BC: This is how the 15,693 verse long “Iliad”, a story about the Trojan War, comes into being. And the 12,110 verse long “Odyssey”, which is about the ten-year wandering of King Odysseus.

Why is everyone knocking each other out in the Iliad?

First, because this EPOS takes place in the Trojan War: the Greeks want to storm the city of Troy and get back the beautiful Helen, who was kidnapped by the Trojan son of Paris. And secondly, because the hero of the "Iliad" has been pissed off almost the whole story: Achilles, the strongest warrior of the Greeks, is pissed off at his general Agamemnon because he has stolen his favorite slave. The offended hero doesn't want to go into battle anymore because of this.

The enemies laugh up their sleeves, because without Achilles the Greeks are in a fix. They lose every battle and are mercilessly slaughtered by the Trojans. Achilles' best friend Patroclus also dies - at the sword of the Trojan prince Hector.

That's what makes Achilles really fruity. He goes back to battle with his comrades and takes on Hector. In his frenzy, he doesn't just kill him. Achilles is dragging the corpse behind his chariot and threatens to throw it to the dogs to eat.

Only when Hector's father desperately asks for his son to be surrendered does the angry man get pity: the anger of Achilles is gone. At last!

But when does the Trojan horse come into play?

Well, not at all. Homer does not tell of this in the “Iliad”, but mentions it in his second epic, the “Odyssey”. The Trojan War only appears marginally in this.

The story with the famous horse goes like this: The Greeks are frustrated because after ten years of siege they still have not managed to penetrate the city of Troy. The hero Odysseus has an idea. He has a gigantic wooden horse built and places it directly in front of the city gate for the Trojans. Meanwhile, the Greek troops pretend to give up and withdraw.

Strangely enough, the Trojans aren't the least bit suspicious. They think the horse is a great gift and they bring it in. But while they celebrate their victory, Greek warriors jump out of the belly of the wooden animal and open the city gate for the rest of their troops. A little later, Troy is just rubble and ashes.

Why doesn't Odysseus go home after the war is over?

He would like to. But he can't because he has incurred the wrath of Poseidon. The god of the sea sends poor Odysseus on an odyssey across the Mediterranean. This is what Homer's “Odyssey” tells about. The hero gets to do with the sorceress Circe, who turns people into pigs, with the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis and other monsters.

It takes him to the gates of the realm of the dead! No wonder that his team is getting smaller and smaller over time: Odysseus sets out to sea with an estimated 500 men. When he finally gets home after wandering around for ten years, he is the only survivor.

Why is Homer so important to the Greeks?

There was no state called Greece in ancient times. Just many splintered tribes and city-states, each cooking their own soup. But as different as these people are, they all love Homer!

“Iliad” and “Odyssey” are something like their national poems - stories that connect all Greeks with one another. And its author is a real folk hero. Every student in Athens has to read Homer's texts, his image is emblazoned on coins.

People have a clear idea of ​​their favorite writer. He is said to have been blind, with a thick beard and noble features. It's just strange that nobody has apparently never met him personally ...

Today some researchers believe that several unknown poets wrote the works and that Homer did not actually exist. Like his stories, he is possibly pure invention himself.

Is this very old stuff still interested in anyone today?

Clear! Even if only very hard-working bookworms browse Homer's tricky verses in book form. His heroic stories are told again and again to this day. Countless novels, paintings, operas, films and comics deal with the adventures of Achilles and Odysseus. Because they are still exciting after 2,800 years.

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