Homer's two great epic poems, the Illiad and the Odyssey, were written down in the 8th Century BCE and recall a war, and its aftermath, that is supposed to have taken place in the 13th Century BCE. Between these two periods Greece went through a "dark age" but convincing historical detail in the poems makes it very likely that an oral bardic tradition bridged this chasm so that, through Homer, we hear the authentic echoes of a bronze age warrior culture with its heroics, its plunders, its treacheries and its lusts for wealth, women, power and prestige but all subject to fate and the whims of the gods.
Peter Harwood's introduction to these epics charts a balanced and convincing course through the reefs and shoals of scholarly opinion and introduces the reader both to the poems themselves, their themes, structure and characters, and also to the main issues of scholarly debate.
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