It is widely believed that Homer was the author for the great epic poems
concerning The Trojan Wars, The Iliad and The Odyssey. It is believed that this Greek poet lived in the 8th Century B.C., but nothing is known about his life and there are some who doubt whether he actually wrote the epic poems or merely gathered them together from other sources.
Although nothing concrete is known about Homer, certain assumptions can be
made from the style of his work and his origin can be narrowed down to the western coast of Asia Minor, now Turkey, and the offshore islands.
In this area is the island of Chois where a family lived bearing his name that did help keep his work alive and conducted public recitations.
Another assumption is that Homer was blind, based on the portrayal of
Demodocus, the blind minstrel in the Odyssey, who performs a poem about the fall of Troy. The conjecture is that Homer is describing himself in this scene.
It is now widely agreed that there is sufficient consistency in The Iliad
and The Odyssey to safely assume that they were written by the same poet. These works represent an everlasting testament to his work and genius, the master of the epic poem.
It is evident that these poems were soon recognized as classics in the 8th Century B.C. for they were well known throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and this spread to the Western Mediterranean with the advance of the Roman Empire. This spread is attributed to the rhapsodoi (professional reciters) who traveled extensively throughout the Greek and Roman world. These recitals were a common form of entertainment, especially on public holidays and at festivals. Initially, these poems were handed down verbally from generation to generation, but in the 5th Century B.C., the poems were standardized by a committee of rhapsodists in Athens.
Homer’s work continued to influence many later writers including Virgil, a
Roman author of the 1st Century B.C.
When Christianity replaced many of the ancient religions, the poems lost
their credibility so far as being religious statements, but they were still recognized for their great poetry.
Unfortunately, throughout most of Western Europe the poems were practically
forgotten during the Middle Ages, but their power was remembered and preserved in the Byzantium Empire where ancient manuscripts were preserved in Constantinople and later in Italy.
Aptly they were revitalized during the Renaissance Period and have always
been revered by scholars since that time.