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Overview

Homer

Greek epic poet


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(8th century bc),

Greek epic poet. He is traditionally held to be the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, though modern scholarship has revealed the place of the Homeric poems in a pre-literate oral tradition. In later antiquity Homer was regarded as the greatest poet, and his poems were constantly used as a model and source by others. (Homeric can be used of Bronze Age Greece as described in these poems.)

Homer sometimes nods even the greatest expert may make a mistake (nods here means ‘becomes drowsy’, implying a momentary lack of attention). The saying is recorded in English from the late 14th century, but derives ultimately from the Roman poet Horace commenting on the Greek epic poet Homer, ‘I'm aggrieved when sometimes even excellent Homer nods.’

Subjects: classical studies.


Reference entries

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Works by Homer