Biography for Anger of Achilles : Homer's Iliad


Penguin Putnam

Homer was probably born around 725BC on the Coast of Asia Minor, now the coast of Turkey, but then really a part of Greece. Homer was the first Greek writer whose work survives.

He was one of a long line of bards, or poets, who worked in the oral tradition. Homer and other bards of the time could recite, or chant, long epic poems. Both works attributed to Homer - the Iliad and the Odyssey - are over ten thousand lines long in the original. Homer must have had an amazing memory but was helped by the formulaic poetry style of the time.

In the Iliad Homer sang of death and glory, of a few days in the struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans. Mortal men played out their fate under the gaze of the gods. The Odyssey is the original collection of tall traveller's tales. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, encounters all kinds of marvels from one-eyed giants to witches and beautiful temptresses. His adventures are many and memorable before he gets back to Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope.

We can never be certain that both these stories belonged to Homer. In fact ‘Homer' may not be a real name but a kind of nickname meaning perhaps ‘the hostage' or ‘the blind one'. Whatever the truth of their origin, the two stories, developed around three thousand years ago, may well still be read in three thousand years' time.



----------------------
Random House, Inc.
The Greeks attributed both the Iliad and the Odyssey to a single poet whom they named Homer. Nothing is known of his life, though received opinion dates him c. 700 BC and places him in Ionia, the Greek-inhabited coast and islands off central western Turkey. Most modern scholars place the composition of the Iliad in the second half of the eighth century BC. Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926 he earned his living by writing, mostly historical novels which include I, Claudius and Claudius the God. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That in 1929 and it rapidly established itself as a modern classic. He translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics series, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961, and made an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, in 1971. He died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929.

----------------------