The Iliad and the Odyssey

Iliad and the Odyssey. These two poems are the most celebrated works in the literature of ancient Greece. By the Greeks, themselves, they were regarded as the final court of appeal on all questions pertaining to early history and religious doctrine. No man was educated who had not studied these poems. In the time of Socrates, there were Athenians who could repeat the whole of both poems. Each poem consists of twenty-four books. The Iliad has for its subject the Wrath of Achilles. Its action is confined to the tenth year of the Trojan War. The Odyssey deals with the Return of Ulysses from the Trojan War. These poems, either in parts or as complete wholes, were recited at various festivals. It is probable that the regulator of the poetical contests was finally responsible for reducing them to writing and arranging the various parts of the poem in order. Pisistratus is the one who is credited usually with this work. From the study of the poems themselves it would seem that the Iliad can scarcely have been the work of any one poet. The Odyssey is much more likely to have had a single author. The name of Homer has ever been mentioned as the author of both poems and will continue doubtless to be so used.