Comparing The Iliad And The Odyssey

2006 Words9 Pages
Greek historians saw themselves as a part of a long tradition that went back to Homer and Hesiod, and became fully defined by the time of Herodotus and Thucydides. To the Greeks themselves, the concept of their history came down from the epics, and this would shape the tradition from which later Greek historians would draw. Homer’s Trojan War, and the heroes that populated the narrative were considered to be true events and historical figures. The Iliad and The Odyssey, recorded long after the events supposedly occurred, also gave rise to the perception that the past was divided into two parts: a heroic age of the gods and heroes and a post-heroic age of men. Because the age of heroes was defined by the writers of epic and thus considered fixed, in the very early stages of Greek historiography, attempts were made to bridge the gap between the two ages with genealogies, linking Greek families with the heroes of the epics. In a similar fashion, the Myth of the Races in Hesiod’s Works and Days is considered by some scholars to be a proto-historical account, similar to the myth of Prometheus and Pandora, because it is an attempt to create an origin for the human race, whether or not it was believed to be true by the author.
The ancients made attempts at mapping the development of historiography as well. Dionysius of Halicarnassus treated this subject in his work On Thucydides. He claimed that Greek historical writing began with “local” historians who wrote about their
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