A new study uses linguistic genetic relationships to compare the vocabulary used in The Iliad with Modern Greek and an earlier (and distantly related) Hittite lexicon. The study dates the text to around 762 B.C.E.—supporting the traditional, but often debated, eighth century B.C.E. date. The epic refers to events at the end of the Late Bronze Age, several centuries before the poem was composed, and it was considered an early literary achievement by classical Greeks centuries after its composition. The Iliad likely began as a diverse group of poems passed down by oral poets over a long period before reaching its present form. Traditionally attributed to the enigmatic bard Homer, the new study decontextualizes the epic—as we know it today—from its murky origins by relying entirely on statistical analysis.
The Historic Homer in the BAS Library
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“Is Homer Historical? An Archaeology Odyssey Interview.” Archaeology Odyssey, May/Jun 2004, 26-35, 62-63.
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