The Iliad and the Odyssey are thought by modern scholars to have been chosen out of a mass of other ancient epic material, as the Homeric Poems, for recitation at the Panathenaea Festival, from the time of its institution by Pisistratus1 (about 560 B.C.).
In reading Homer we often feel that we are in a pre-moral world, or a society, in which the moral consciousness as we know it is undeveloped. Nevertheless the Homeric epic is full, not merely of the joy of life, but of rejoicing in the real value of life, the ideal aspect with which man as soon as he is truly man colours all the main human experiences. Thus home life, family love, friendship, shine in this radiant poetry, beside much that no poetry can deprive of its barbaric character for us. And above all, the duty and privilege of hospitality and consolation for the stranger and suppliant, dear to God, are insisted upon and expressed with a tenderness, beauty and pathos hardly excelled elsewhere. For the individual the conviction of unalterable and incalculable Fate stimulates and fires the resolve to make as glorious as possible the life which is as uncertain as the frailest thing on earth.
Greek Text: edition by Walter Leaf, Litt.D., second edition. Translation by George Chapman ( 1559-1634).
Hector, Andromache and Astyanax, ILIAD vi. 394 (Greek text).
SHE at his sight made breathless haste to meet him; she
Brought him with all so great a dower; she that of all the
Of King Aetion only lived; Aetion whose house stood
Beneath the Mountain Placius, environed with the wood of
Theban Hypoplace, being court to the Cialian land.