The Odyssey by Homer is the second oldest book in the Western literary canon; Homer’s The Iliad wins the prize for the oldest. The works are believed to have been written sometime about the end of the 8th century B.C. (or B.C.E., if you prefer). They describe the fall of the great city of Troy and its aftermath, which occurred about 400 years earlier. (Two scholarly camps argue about the identity of Homer; one says he is a single individual and the other says he is actually a group of individuals.)
The two works give us innumerable images and metaphors. The face that launched a thousand ships. The Trojan horse. Achilles’ heel. The judgment of Paris. The sirens’ song. The Cyclops. Circe the witch. Scylla and Charybdis.
The Odyssey (Robert Fitzgerald translation)was the source for the prompts for Tweetspeak Poetry’s most recent poetry party on Twitter, held Dec. 10, where 10 would-be Homers wrote their own epic poem.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph: A Hellenized version of what Homer may have looked like.