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Homer: a literary heavyweight (or heavyweights?)

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Many regard Homer as the blind storyteller of epics The Iliad and The Odyssey. However, so much ambiguity surrounds his life that such a claim, that he was blind and that he wrote these tales, is itself unconfirmed.

Homer is alleged to have lived between the twelfth and eighth centuries BCE. Therefore, murkiness already surrounds his identity. Scholars often place these estimates of his birth according to his stories. The Iliad, for example, takes place during the Trojan War, so some scholars find it necessary to associate his age closer to its occurrence.

There is also suspicion that Homer may actually have been a group of oral storytellers. This is due to the stylistic shifts and inconsistencies in the Iliad, as well as the fact that reciting the poem takes multiple days. Moreover, the alleged birthplaces of Homer are in the double digits, indicating parts of a whole coming from different areas of the Eastern Hemisphere.

That he was blind and had curly brown hair remains entirely based on the fact that The Odyssey is narrated by a blind minstrel and poet named Demodokos. As that is equivalent to equating the writer of It to an African-American librarian, these assumptions remain at or below the level of hypothesis.

 

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Homer: a literary heavyweight (or heavyweights?)