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What Was the Significance of Homer for Greek Civilization

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In simple words, ‘Renaissance’ means rebirth, or a point at which complete transition occurs. Naturally, for something to undergo a change, something must have initially been there. Case in point, classical Greece. The Greek renaissance occurred in 600-800BC. Homer, arguably one of the greatest ever epic poets from Greece, was estimated to have lived sometime between these periods. Epics are lengthy poems on serious, crucial topics that center on a hero/heroine and whose deeds and decisions profoundly affect his/her people. His creations, the Homeric epics, were a significant influence in the Greek Renaissance, so much so, that Greece considered him a sensei.

His work, largely emulated by the Greek world, covered nearly half of the Greek literary genre. Homer assisted in the organization of the pantheon of the Greek gods. This served as pillars of convincing examples to live up to, since this, essentially, was the basis of their culture; and was also responsible for information on the Trojan War and its aftermath. It is plausible that Homer’s epic poems could be the sole written literature source that tells the story of this war, whose period is branded the name ‘The Dark Ages’ (1100-800 BC). This is because for centuries, passing on myths to succeeding generations was done by word of mouth.

Most importantly, he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad. These two epics were not only entertaining, but also turned out to reflect the ideal heroes that the Greek public would look up to, and emulate. This helped the warring city-states coalesce to form one large, strong empire. Evidently, his teachings were not only felt on written literature, but they also influenced the moral and ethical behaviors of his readership and people, however rare, who had only heard of his works by word of mouth. Perhaps the fact that he was blind, and had an impact so perceptibly palpable on Greece, did challenge people to be better men.

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