Portrait bust of presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey Homer.


(c. 800 BC - 725 BC)

Believed to have been blind and unable to write his name, Homer is credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey, books one and two of the Western canon. These two epic poems were first preserved orally, suggesting that considerable portions of the 15,693 lines in the Iliad and the 12,110 lines in the Odyssey were memorized by individual rhapsodes.

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It is not right for a ruler who has the nation in his charge, a man with so much on his mind, to sleep all night.

—Homer, c. 750 BC


Ancient Greek geographer Strabo believed the founder of the discipline of geography was not an explorer or a natural philosopher but Homer, for the epic poet had “reached the utmost limits of the earth, traversing it in his imagination.”

There is nothing worse for mortals than a wandering life.

—Homer, c. 750 BC

Few sons are equal to their fathers; most fall short, all too few surpass them. 

—Homer, c. 750 BC

Of all the creatures that breathe and creep on the surface of the earth, none is more to be pitied than man.

—Homer, c. 750 BC

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