Homer (/ˈhmər/; Ancient Greek: Ὅμηρος [hómɛːros], Hómēros) was the reputed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential writers of all time.[2]


c. 750 BC
Ionia (Ἰωνία) or Chios (Χίος)[1]
Resting placeTomb of Homer, Ios
Known for
Notable work

The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Mycenaean Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.[3]

The Homeric Questionconcerning by whom, when, where and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composedcontinues to be debated. Some scholars consider that the two works were written by different authors.[4] It is generally accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC.[4]

The poems are in Homeric Greek, also known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries; the predominant influence is Eastern Ionic.[5][6] Most researchers believe that the poems were originally transmitted orally.[7] From antiquity until the present day, the influence of Homeric epic on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music, art and film.[8] The Homeric epics were the greatest influence on ancient Greek culture and education; to Plato, Homer was simply the one who "has taught Greece" (ten Hellada pepaideuken).[9][10]