HIS 321 Odyssey and Aeneid. A Comparsion.docx - THE ODYSSEY...

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THE ODYSSEY AND AENEID: A COMPARISON JESSE WATSON HIS-321: Professor Jason Larson
1 Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations although very different societies shared many values and characteristics. This can especially be seen in the literary works of the different time eras. The great poets for their respective societies were Homer, considered to be greatest Ancient Greek author, and Virgil, the greatest Roman author. These authors are in their own rights considered to be two of the greatest authors from any ancient civilization. They both wrote epic poems that spoke to the ideals and values of their respective societies. Homer was best known for his epics of The Iliad and The Odyssey, which detailed the siege and fall of Troy and the Greek hero Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca after the Trojan War. The Aeneid was Virgil’s best known work, this epic poem portrayed the journey of a defeated trojan hero and his destiny to found Rome. For the purpose of this paper we will look at the similarities and differences of these two authors and their epics, The Odyssey and The Aeneid. Homer was the first of the epic poets in Ancient Greek civilization. Homer is said to have been born around 750 B.C. well before Greek written language in as we know it today. He had to compose his epic poems orally because of this fact. He told these epic poems orally to crowds and audiences. 1 Homer’s life is not very well documented due to the face of no written language during his time era. We do not know of how old he was, or his birth place. One theory is that he was possibly from an area such as “Symrna, Chios, or Ios.” 2 Because the dialect that Homer composed his epic poems in were an archaic form of Ionian Greek. It is also rumored that Homer may have actually been more than one poet. “Some even doubt if one single person was behind these works, and that leads to ‘the Homeric Question’, the idea that the poems are a compilation of layers rolled into one story, which could explain inconsistencies in the narrative and the formulaic language used. According to this school of thought, the poems would most likely have 1 James Lloyd, Homer , , 2013 2 Lloyd, Homer
2 been sung episodically by rhapsodes.” 3 However, as James Lloyd a PHD candidate and former Archaeological Assistant at the Romano-British site of Ipplepen so eloquently says it, “whether Homer was a ‘she’, a ‘he’, or a ‘they’ does not diminish the greatness of the Iliad and the Odyssey…” 4 Although we may not know a lot of personal history of Homer we know that his works of the Odyssey and the Iliad has remained and will continue to influence people for generations to come. On the other hand Virgil, the greatest Roman poet of the ancient era has numerous biographical accounts of his life in Rome. Virgil’s real name was Publius Vergilius Maro, and he was born on October 15 th in 70 BC. Virgil began his life in Gaul north of the Po River in a village near Mantua. “He was described as having the appearance of a countryman being tall but bulky

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