Marble terminal bust of Homer. Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic original of the 2nd c. BC.
Homer and His Guide (1874) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Part of an eleventh-century manuscript, "the Townley Homer". The writings on the top and right side are scholia.
Homer as depicted in the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle
Greece according to the Iliad
Detail of The Parnassus (painted 1509–1510) by Raphael, depicting Homer wearing a crown of laurels atop Mount Parnassus, with Dante Alighieri on his right and Virgil on his left
A Reading from Homer (1885) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Legendary author to whom the authorship of the Iliad and the Odyssey (the two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature) is attributed.

- Homer

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Classical antiquity

Period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world.

The Parthenon is one of the most recognizable symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture.
Map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies (in red) around 8th to 6th century BC
Etruscan civilization in north of Italy, 800 BC.
Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), right before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC
The extent of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in 218 BC (dark red), 133 BC (light red), 44 BC (orange), 14 AD (yellow), after 14 AD (green), and maximum extension under Trajan 117 (light green)
The extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan, AD 117
The Western and Eastern Roman Empires by 476
The Byzantine Empire in 650 after the Arabs conquered the provinces of Syria and Egypt. At the same time early Slavs settled in the Balkans.
Plato and Aristotle walking and disputing. Detail from Raphael's The School of Athens (1509–1511)

Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th-century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity (1st century AD) and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th-century AD).


Inscription of lines 468-473, Book I. 400–500 AD, from Egypt. On display at the British Museum
The first verses of the Iliad
Iliad, Book VIII, lines 245–53, Greek manuscript, late 5th, early 6th centuries AD.
Hypnos and Thanatos carrying the body of Sarpedon from the battlefield of Troy; detail from an Attic white-ground lekythos, c. 440 BC.
The Wrath of Achilles (1819), by Michel Martin Drolling.
Achilles Slays Hector, by Peter Paul Rubens (1630–35).
Wenceslas Hollar's engraved title page of a 1660 edition of the Iliad, translated by John Ogilby.
Sampling of translations and editions of Iliad in English

The Iliad (, ; sometimes referred to as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium) is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer.


15th-century manuscript of Book I written by scribe John Rhosos (British Museum)
A mosaic depicting Odysseus, from the villa of La Olmeda, Pedrosa de la Vega, Spain, late 4th–5th centuries AD
Charles Gleyre, Odysseus and Nausicaä
Odysseus Overcome by Demodocus' Song, by Francesco Hayez, 1813–15
Odysseus and the Sirens, eponymous vase of the Siren Painter, c. 480–470 BCE (British Museum)
Athena Revealing Ithaca to Ulysses by Giuseppe Bottani (18th century)
Odysseus discovers Penelope has devised tricks to delay the suitors whilst he has been away: Penelope and the Suitors by John William Waterhouse
Ulysses and Telemachus kill Penelope's Suitors by Thomas Degeorge (1812)
Terracotta plaque of the Mesopotamian ogre Humbaba, believed to be a possible inspiration for the figure of Polyphemus
Odissea (1794)
Penelope questions Odysseus to prove his identity.
Odysseus and Eurycleia by Christian Gottlob Heyne
Portrait by the Italian painter Domenico Ghirlandaio of the Greek Renaissance scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles, who produced the first printed edition of the Odyssey in 1488
Front cover of James Joyce's Ulysses

The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer.

Homeric Hymns

The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods.

While the modern scholarly consensus is that they were not written during the lifetime of Homer himself, they were uncritically attributed to him in antiquity—from the earliest written reference to them, Thucydides (iii.104)—and the label has stuck.

Homeric Greek

Idealised portrayal of the author Homer

Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey and in the Homeric Hymns.


Hesiod and the Muse (1891), by Gustave Moreau. The poet is presented with a lyre, in contradiction to the account given by Hesiod himself in which the gift was a laurel staff.
The Dance of the Muses at Mount Helicon by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1807). Hesiod cites inspiration from the Muses while on Mount Helicon.
Modern Mount Helicon. Hesiod once described his nearby hometown, Ascra, as "cruel in winter, hard in summer, never pleasant."
Vignette for Hesiodi Ascraei quaecumque exstant (1701)
Opening lines of Works and Days in a 16th-century manuscript
Ancient bronze bust, the so-called Pseudo-Seneca, now conjectured to be an imaginative portrait of Hesiod.
Monnus mosaic from the end of the 3rd century AD. The figure is identified by the name ESIO-DVS (Hesiod).
Title to an edition of Hesiod's Carmina (1823)

Hesiod ( Hēsíodos, 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer.

Ancient Greek literature

Literature written in the Ancient Greek language from the earliest texts until the time of the Byzantine Empire.

A Greek manuscript of the beginning of Hesiod's Works and Days
A painting by the French Neoclassical painter Thomas Degeorge depicting the climactic final scene from Book Twenty-Two of The Odyssey in which Odysseus, Telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius slaughter the suitors of Penelope
A nineteenth-century painting by the English painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema depicting the poetess Sappho gazing on in admiration as the poet Alcaeus plays the lyre
Medea kills her son (a scene from Euripides's Medea), Campanian red-figure amphora, c. 330 BC, Louvre (K 300)
Illustration for Aristophanes's Lysistrata by Aubrey Beardsley (1896)
A second century AD Roman copy of a Greek bust of Herodotus from the first half of the fourth century BC
The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787)
Imaginative nineteenth-century engraving of the ancient Library of Alexandria
A painting by John William Waterhouse depicting a scene from The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes
Republican or Early Imperial relief depicting a seating Menander holding the masks of New Comedy (1st century BC – early 1st century AD) Princeton University Art Museum
In 1906, The Archimedes Palimpsest revealed works by Archimedes previously thought to have been lost.
The Mykonos vase, one of the earliest surviving depictions of the myth of the Trojan Horse, a myth which is described in depth in Quintus of Smyrna's Posthomerica
A bust of Plutarch, one of the most famous ancient Greek historians, from his hometown of Chaeronea
Manuscript (1485), of Pausanias's Description of Greece at the Laurentian Library
Head of Plotinus, a major philosopher from the Roman Era
A nineteenth-century painting by the Swiss-French painter Marc Gabriel Charles Gleyre depicting a scene from Daphnis and Chloe
Illustration from 1894 by William Strang depicting a battle scene from Book One of Lucian of Samosata's A True Story
Hero Mourns the Dead Leander by Gillis Backereel (1640s)
Page from an Arabic translation of Aristotle's Poetics by Abū Bishr Mattā

This period of Greek literature stretches from Homer until the fourth century BC and the rise of Alexander the Great.

Ionic Greek

Subdialect of the Attic–Ionic or Eastern dialect group of Ancient Greek.

The works of Homer (The Iliad, The Odyssey, and the Homeric Hymns) and of Hesiod were written in a literary dialect called Homeric Greek or Epic Greek, which largely comprises Old Ionic, with some borrowings from the neighboring Aeolic dialect to the north.


For the city in New York State, see Ithaca, New York.

Head of Odysseus wearing a pileus depicted on a 3rd-century BC coin from Ithaca.
Olive tree of Ithaca that is claimed to be at least 1500 years old.
Ithaca is to the upper right of the larger Kefalonia island in this picture. The small island in the top-right corner is the uninhabited Atokos island (NASA World Wind satellite picture).
Arms of the Orsini family, rulers of Ithaca in the 13th-14th centuries
Leonardo III Tocco, count of Cephalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos
Ithaca by Edward Dodwell (1821).
Flag of the Septinsular Republic
Flag of the United States of the Ionian Islands (1815 to 1864).
Odysseus at the court of Alcinous by Francesco Hayez (1813–1815).
Odysseus' statue in Vathy.
View of northern Ithaca across the isthmus of Aethos
View of Kioni bay.

The epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, shed some light on Bronze-Age Ithaca.


Fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the northern Aegean Sea.

Topographic map of Chios and Psara islands, situated in the Aegean Sea in Greece.
Detailed map of Chios
Park at Chios (town)
View of the village of Mesta
View of Pyrgi village
Buildings in Pyrgi covered with sgraffito (local name:Xistà)
Mount Pelinaio
Rock of Saint Markella, patron saint of Chios.
16th-century detailed map of Chios by Piri Reis
ISLANDS off IONIA, Chios. Circa 380-350 BC. AR Tetradrachm (15.32 g, 11h)
Reproduction of Sphinx (emblem of Chios).
Nea Moni of Chios (11th century)
Byzantine Panagia Kokorovilia Church (13th century) in Kampos
Castle of Chios
Chios map by Benedetto Bordone, 1547
Building in Kampos
The Massacre of the Giustiniani at Chios by Francesco Solimena
The Massacre at Chios by Eugène Delacroix. This, and the works of Lord Byron, did much to draw the attention of mainland Europe to the catastrophe that had taken place in Chios (1824, oil on canvas, 419 x, Musée du Louvre, Paris).
"The blowing up of the Nasuh Ali Pasha's flagship by Konstantinos Kanaris", painted by Nikiphoros Lytras (143 ×. Averoff Gallery). Kanaris blew up the flagship as a revenge for the massacre.
Anavatos abandoned village
The port of Lagada
View of Oinousses
Traditional collecting of mastic (plant resin)
Bottles of Chios mastiha alcoholic beverages: Masticha Ouzo (left) and Masticha Liqueur (right).
Adamantios Korais public library of Chios town.
Rouketopolemos (Rocket war), Vrontados
Bupalus and Athenis, sons of Archermus
Leo Allatius
Ioannis Psycharis, major promoter of Demotic Greek
Andreas Syngros

North of Chios Town lies the large suburb of Vrontados (population 4,500), which claims to be the birthplace of Homer.