When Was the Iliad Written?
According to ancient Great tradition the Iliad was written by the poet Homer (8th-7th Century B.C.). He was said to have been the author of many epic or heroic poems, of which only the Iliad, the story of the siege of Troy, and the Odyssey, the story of Odysseus’ wanderings, survive.
Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.
The “Homeric question”, the attempt which has gone on ever since to find out whether Homer really existed, and if he did, whether he wrote the poetry, began towards the end of the 6th Century, B.C. The first to inquire into the matter was Theagenes of Rhegium.
Two writers in the early 7th Century B.C. mention Homer as a poet, but the first person to name his poem was the historian Herodotus in the 5th Century B.C. What little information is available about Homer suggests that he was born in Smyrna about 740 B.C., trained as a bard (a singer poet) and traveled about the Greek world until he went blind.
Then he settled on the island of Chios and gathered pupils about him. He is believed to have composed the Iliad and perhaps the Odyssey towards the end of his life and to have died about 670 B.C. while on a visit to the island of los.
The works credited to him were admired so much by later Greeks that they often referred to him simply as “the poet”. The Iliad and the Odyssey are among the greatest works of world literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the 8th century BC.
Recent statistical modelling based on language evolution gives a date of 760–710 BC. In the modern vulgate (the standard accepted version), the Iliad contains 15,693 lines; it is written in Homeric Greek, a literary amalgam of Ionic Greek and other dialects.