Who is Homer?
From a grammar school child's paper found on the Web...
Homer was a Greek poet and lived around 700 BC, in
the Archaic period in Greece, but we don't know where in Greece
he lived exactly. People said he was blind, but poets were often
said to have been blind because people think that being blind helps
the poets to "see" things other people can't, like to know what
the gods are doing.
To the classical Greeks, Homer's epics played very much the same role that the Bible plays for a lot of people today. People memorized big chunks of Homer's writings in school, and they repeated bits of it in order to convince other people to do something or think something.
When Homer was born, the Greeks had just recently
learned how to use the alphabet from the Phoenicians. Homer used
the alphabet to write down two long epic poems called the Iliad and the Odyssey. Probably Homer didn't make up these stories, or
even the words, himself. Poets or bards had been going around Greece
telling these stories for hundreds of years already. But Homer wrote
them down, and gave them their final form. Probably he also did
a lot of work on them, to make them as good as they are.
The Odyssey is the story of King Odysseus' return from the Trojan
War to his kingdom of Ithaca, a small island on the far side of
Greece from Troy.
Odysseus (oh-DISS-ee-us) had a lot of trouble getting home, because
the gods were angry at him and he did not respect their power. First
he sailed from Troy with many ships and a lot of gold and slaves
and stuff he had taken from Troy, and many men from Ithaca who had
followed him to war.
But he ran into trouble with the first island he stopped at on
the way home, and continued to have trouble, especially with the
god Poseidon, the rest of the way. Finally the goddess Athena helped
him to get home.
Why was Homer important on our trip?
Because Kevin was reading about the Peloponnesian
war, he purchased a small bust of Homer at a shop in Mourtos.
The little Homer became our ship's mascot. Homer could be found
taped to the navigation station overseeing our trip, he joined us
for dinners at local tavernas, and he was always on our land excursions.
One night, after much Mythos, we somehow drew the analogy to "Where's
Waldo" and the trip became the "Where's Homer Tour".
Mythos can be very inspirational.
However, because of Homer's ties to the Ionian Islands, and our planned
travel from the Ionian Sea through the Corinth Canal into the Saronic
Gulf of the Aegean, Kevin undertook a search for Pericles, the leader
of Athens. Little Homer was soon joined by busts of Poseidon,
"The Boys" were given a prominent spot in Didimos'