Homer and the Greek Ideal
Geoffroy, Berenice, UNESCO Courier
THE two great epic poems of ancient Greece, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, have been called "The Bible of the Greek world". An inexhaustible source of fable and myth, they lay bare before us the system of values of an elite warrior society. Leaving aside their literary qualities, the Homeric epics become a kind of manual of ethics or treatise on the ideal. Regarded as "classics" in the same way as, later, were the works of Dante in Italy and Shakespeare in England, they were essential reading for any cultivated Greek. Alexander the Great himself is said to have carried them with him on his compaigns.
Behind the shadowy figure of Homer the poet, there seems to loom the silhouette of the archetypal educator, the "transmitter of culture" that one comes across in many civilizations. Whether the works of "Homer" were born of the inspiration of a single man or of a number of bards (a question that does not concern us here), the epic became a "teaching art", containing elements of both technology and ethics, which was to have considerable influence on the poets and philosophers of later centuries. Did not Plato himself accord to Homer the …
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Publication information: Article title: Homer and the Greek Ideal. Contributors: Geoffroy, Berenice - Author. Magazine title: UNESCO Courier. Publication date: September 1992. Page number: 9+. © 1984 UNESCO. COPYRIGHT 1992 Gale Group.
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