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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Homer

LIFE 

Almost all the ancient sources from the very earliest appear determined that a Homer, author of the Iliad and Odyssey, existed.

Supposedly Homer lived on the Banks of the Meander in fact he was nicknamed the Swan of Meander.  According to the historian Herodotus, he lived on the west coast of Asia Minor,

Homer identifies himself in the last verse of Hymn to Apollo as a blind man from Chios.

Idealized portrayal of Homer dating to the Hellenistic period. Wikipedia

Homer travelled around Greece singing his epic tales. It would have taken him seven evenings to perform the Iliad.

Homer ended his days on the island of Kos attracting Greeks from everywhere listening to his recitations.

According to Plutarch, Homer died of chagrin after failing to solve a riddle. He is supposedly buried on the island of Kos.

FOOD

Obviously not a lover of seafood, Homer described fish as "A wretched food, the last resource of shipwrecked sailors."

Homer described his countrymen as "flour eaters" as they ate a lot of bread. The ancient Greeks learned the secret of leavened bread from the Egyptians. They cooked loaves made of rye, wheat or oats on a grid or a sort of oven.

Pears captured the praise of Homer, who referred to them as a "gift of the gods."

In the Iliad  Homer mentioned Achilles washing cabbages. The Greeks cultivated a headless cabbage, which had loose, narrow leaves, a thin stem, and whitish-yellow flowers. They ascribed its origin to Zeus who worked himself into a sweat trying to explain two conflicting prophecies. From this sweat sprang cabbage.

It is believed that the sheep's milk cheese that Polyphemus the Cyclops made in his caves in Homer's Odyssey was most likely an early form of feta cheese.

The Iliad  provides the most ancient literary reference to chick peas.

WORKS 

The earliest mention of a work of Homer was by Callinus, a poet who flourished about 650 BC. He attributed the Thebais, an epic about an attack on Boeotian Thebes, to Homer.

Based on the siege of Troy, the Iliad contains 501,930 letters, 16,000 verses and is divided into 24 books.It is the oldest piece of Western literature in existence.

Like the Iliad, the Odyssey is also divided into 24 books and tells of the epic travels of Prince Odysseus beginning after the fall of Troy.

Odysseus' loyal friend and tutor of his son, Mentor, later became a word to describe a wise adviser.

Both the Iliad and the Odyssey were written down a few centuries after the death of Homer as an aid to singers memories.



The oldest surviving codex of Homer is a fourth century manuscript in the Ambrosian Library, Milan.

The Iliad and The Odyssey, are only part of an eight story saga. The remaining parts have been lost to the ages.

LEGACY 

From the sixth century, Homer became the standard text for young Athenians who had to learn long passages from his works every day.

Alexander the Great always kept a copy of Homer's Iliad under his pillow at night.

The Greeks, who learned Homer's works off by heart were never in any doubt that his stories were true. They were the basis of their history.

Later scholars dismissed them as true fantasy until the 1870s when archaeologists uncovered the city of Troy exactly where Homer had placed it. It is believed now the siege of Troy has a historical basis and took place in the 12th or 13th century BC.

The Coen brothers never read the The Odyssey—they used the comic book version to write the script for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Sources Food Fot Thought by Ed Pearce, The Last Two Million Years by The Readers Digest Association 
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