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  • Cited by 5
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    SCANLON, THOMAS F. 2018. CLASS TENSIONS IN THE GAMES OF HOMER: EPEIUS, EURYALUS, ODYSSEUS, AND IROS. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Vol. 61, Issue. 1, p. 5.

    Middleton, Guy D. 2017. I Will Follow You into the Dark: Death and Emotion in a Mycenaean Royal Funeral. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 36, Issue. 4, p. 395.

    Jørgensen, Jon Ploug 2014. The taming of the aristoi – an ancient Greek civilizing process?. History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 27, Issue. 3, p. 38.

    2013. A Companion to Ancient Greek Government. p. 525.

    Botha, Pieter J. J. 2009. The Greco-Roman Book: Contextualising Early Christian Documents. Acta Patristica et Byzantina, Vol. 20, Issue. 1, p. 2.

  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: May 2006

13 - Homer’s society

from Part 4 - Text and context



What sort of a world did Homer live in? What sort of a world does Homer create? If we allow that 'Homer' in these questions stands not for the text in the form we have it but for the whole tradition that created that text, the difficulty of answering these questions becomes plain. This chapter endeavours to explain what we know about the societies in which the epic tradition was shaped, to describe the social and political arrangements implied or alluded to in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and to examine the relationship between the worlds in which 'Homer' lived and the worlds which 'Homer' created.

Greek society in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age

The epic tradition which lies behind the Iliad and Odyssey was already flourishing in the late Bronze Age. Some of the evidence for that proposition is linguistic, some of it archaeological: words and objects (e.g. a boar’s tusk helmet, 10.261–5) appear in the poem whose presence cannot easily be explained by their survival or people remembering them into the time that the Iliad and Odyssey as we have them were put together. Any reading of the Iliad or Odyssey needs to be informed by an appreciation that the epic tradition had been formed and shaped through successive very different social arrangements and material cultures.

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The Cambridge Companion to Homer
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