When was the Odyssey written?

Odyssey was sung by Homer in a poem called hexameter. It consists of 24 books (songs), but this is not an original division, it was introduced in the Hellenistic era by Alexandrian grammarians. The first four songs (incidentally considered a separate, weaker song, added by Homer to the original epic) are devoted to the journey of Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who in turn is devoted to further songs. When was the Odyssey written?

Odyssey issues

Odyssey is an epic presenting in 24 books (12,000 poems) the last 40 days of the long-time wandering Odysseus, who returns to his hometown of Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War. Thus, the Odyssey is a continuation of the Iliad. The name of the song comes from the name of the main character Odysseus. The text was edited at the end of the 6th century BC in Athens, during the reign of Pizystrat. The world depicted in the Odyssey is shaped by the fairy-tale adventures of Odysseus and various myths, including the one about the Trojan War. His wandering around the sea was caused by unfriendly gods, vengeful for the destruction of his favorite city. Troy was captured by trickery by introducing a Trojan horse into it, which hid Greek warriors. The adventures of Odysseus are not so tragic and we know that his fate will end successfully. During his return he met the Cyclops, spent seven years with the nymph Calypso, and even had to go down to Hades. Returning to Penelope’s wife symbolizes loyalty. He also says a lot about Odysseus himself, who showed perseverance and cunning.

When was the Odyssey written?

The issue of the creation and authorship of “Odyssey” has been a source of discussion for theoreticians and literary scholars for many centuries. Already the ancients attributed the authorship of the two greatest Greek epics: “Iliad” and “Odyssey” to Homer – a blind singer and legend reciter, most likely from Chios from ancient Ionia or from Smyrna in Asia Minor, which was to be indicated by the Ionic dialect in which both work.

Who and when wrote the Odyssey? 

For the first time, the theory of Homera as the author of “Odyssey” was negated in the Hellenistic era by two philosophers, Xenon and Hellanikos, who – basing their assumptions on the differences between epics – assigned the singer the authorship of “Iliad” only.

The eighteenth century brought another dispute over the authorship of “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” referred to as the Homeric issue. In 1715 F. Hedelin D’Aubignac put forward the thesis that Homer never existed, and both epics were created by combining minor rhapsodies, arranged by traveling singers and transmitted orally for many centuries, and then written and edited by Pizystrat in VI century BC 

It is also difficult to determine even the approximate date of the creation of “Odyssey”, which has survived to modern times in the main outline and in the form in which it was created. Researchers speculate that the text of the epic at the time when it functioned in oral transmission underwent various modifications by subsequent reciters and then copyists. It is assumed that the Odyssey is a continuation of the Iliad, as evidenced by the use of the Trojan War theme and the characters of the main characters appearing in both the Odyssey and the Iliad. This, in turn, dates the creation of the work to the eighth century BC. assuming that the “Iliad” was created in the middle of the 9th century BC It is also assumed that “Odyssey” was created before the works of Hesiod, which in many places duplicate or mimic the motifs used by Homer in the story of the wandering Odysseus.


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