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Homer

Biography

  Homer was a legendary rhapsode of the 8th Century BC, about four or five hundred years after Pyrrha's story takes place. Some classicists believe that Homer was not a historical person, as people once believed, but a composite of rhapsodes who evolved a Homeric tradition over a long period of time.   Rhapsodes performed rhapsodies, poetic recitations expanding some sections of a story, compressing others, and sometimes going off on tangents. These would have been performed during a festival before a large audience, and no two tellings were ever quite the same. The Homeric tradition preserved tales from an earlier time in an oral form for generations until they could be written down.   Homer's Epic Cycle includes The Iliad, in which the Greek army besieges the City of Troy, and The Odyssey, in which Odysseus returns home from the war. Lost sections of the Epic Cycle are known to us through fragments and synopses. These include the Trojan Horse episode, a battle against an army of Amazon warriors, and the involvement of a hero from Ethiopia.  

Homer and Thebes

  A number of references show that Homer was familiar with stories set in Thebes, and there is some crossover between the Epic Cycle and Theban Cycle stories. The Homeric hero Diomedes was the son of Tydeus and grandson of Astrastus, who appear in Theban stories. The Theban seer, Tiresias, appears as a character in The Odyssey. Homer's Odysseus relates a version of the Oedipus story, although it varies in some details from other known versions.   In the Book 2 of The Iliad, Homer presents a "catalog of ships" that sailed to Troy in the armada of King Agamemnon. Thebes isn't listed among an otherwise comprehensive list of Greek cities. Was this an acknowledgment by Homer that Thebes would have been in ruins at the time, according to the timeline of the Theban Cycle?   The events of the Theban Cycle take place outside of Homer's works, but the Homeric was clearly aware of these works and the stories are meant to be set in the same cinematic universe. The two sets of stories also overlap with the stories of Heracles, which may have formed their own cycle. Heracles was born in Thebes and married a Theban princess. He performed his labors and died, leaving behind a bow that shows up again as a major plot point in Homer's Trojan War epic.

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Profession
Rhapsode
Works
The Iliad, The Odyssey, numerous odes
Children

Character Portrait image: Homer (1635) by Mattia Preti

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