Culture and Recreation


What is known about Homer?

It is most likely that Homer was an oral poet and performer. Though little is known about Homer, it’s believed that he was an Ionian Greek who lived circa the eighth or ninth century B.C. In the 1920s scholar Milman Parry proved that Homer’s poems were “formulaic in nature, relying on generic epithets (such as ‘wine-dark sea’ and ‘rosy-fingered dawn’), repetition of stock lines, and descriptions and themes typical of oral folk poetry.” All of this suggested that Homer was most likely a bard or rhapsode—an itinerant professional reciter—who improvised pieces to be sung at Greek festivals.


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