As you go through your reading list there are some books you have to know in order to prove that yes, you are literate and reading, and those books are not just for show.
Because some books are not books we are talking about.
They aren’t only a bestseller or a Pulitzer Prize winner.
They are phenomena.
They are our culture.
They are us.
They define aspects of who we are from the lessons and characters they give our world.
Their words still speak to us after many years, because the story is not only about the words we are reading, but about the world, we currently live in today.
Somehow, past words speak of the present more than the present itself.
One man wrote two of these books, which it should be noted that writing one of these books is hard enough in itself, but writing two is basically unheard of.
One guy somehow created two timeless works of fiction.
We think he was a guy.
He may have been a woman for all we know, or not even real.
His name is Homer and he is responsible for two of the greatest works of fiction of all time:
The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Yet, his autobiography is lacking in detail.
I’m pretty certain his characters spoke more than he did.
You have probably been in that classroom where you were introduced to Homer, in all of five seconds.
You skip over him because we don’t know much about him.
“Historians don’t know if there ever was a man named Homer.”
You’ll find a quote like that at the beginning of his books.
You and everyone else gloss over the fact you know little to nothing of the man you are reading.
Then someone says something about Homer Simpson and you begin the book.
My question isn’t what do we know of him, but how the hell could we know so little?
These aren’t just some books he wrote.
He isn’t just some author.
These are the most influential books ever.
He is one of the best authors of all time.
Yet we know nothing.
Homer’s influence on our world is so profound that his works have come to define what we know as classical literature.
You know more of things you probably won’t ever need to know, or that don’t even affect this world.
But you can’t tell me anything about the greatest classical writer ever.
Thinking of the scenario like that, it is mind-boggling he is the world’s first great writer.
My god, it is almost harder for us to not know about him than to know of him.
That’s like when I hear of the confusion behind the building of the pyramids.
Historians, Egyptologists, ancient alien theorists all agree on one thing:
No one knows how the hell they built that crap.
How could we as a species not know significant details to an aspect of our story as humans?
You or me or anyone of us are never expected to feel weird about this ignorance either.
As if it is normal to not know anything of an author that changed our world.
Was there not a guy back then telling people of his work?
“Yeah. So I’m working on this book. It has a horse in it. Everyone will love it.”
We know that Homer is the person attributed to putting all that stuff down.
But that’s like cheating right?
It’s not like he created the stories, he was just the first guy to put them down for large audiences to read.
The first great writer probably didn’t come up with any of the ideas on his own.
Homer was the guy who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey, according to the Greeks, and later the Romans, so we have to take that into consideration.
He is not a modern creation.
The Greeks and Romans said that Homer wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey and they lived that stuff.
Remember: this is a pre-Christian, pre-Shakespeare world we are talking about. There is no Jesus, no Romeo and Juliet, no Hamlet, only Homer.
Homer’s work was not literature to those people.
They were life.
They weren’t a story in a class to teach of the ancient world.
They were known by all of the ancient world.
He had to live right?
There had to have been a man named Homer who walked the Earth right?
He had to write the world’s first spinoff, The Odyssey, which means he had to have lived.
But like I said, we just don’t know.
When we bring up great works of literature, the name Homer is bound to come up.
As for much else after that about the man? You will hear crickets.
The books will take center stage.
What are we supposed to think of ourselves if we can’t even know for certain if one of our best, earliest writers even existed?
It seems that even after death Homer is still teaching readers lessons.
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About The Blogger
Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. He is a fan of Homer. His favorite book is The Odyssey. He'd like to think that Homer and Homer Simpson would be great buddies if they ever met, but that can't happen, on account one is dead and the other is fictional.
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