Homer: 3 Ways This Ancient Poet Influenced Modern Society

Born8th century BC
Died8th century BC
Famous Quote“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is the man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
Known ForEpic poet who is considered the founding father of poetry, author of Iliad and Odyssey.
Region of World8th century BC, Greece

The ancient poet Homer is widely considered to be one of the most influential writers in western history. Today there are 3 major ways in which this 8th century poet has drastically influenced the development of our modern society.

Homer has influenced the development of our modern society in 3 ways. First, Homer created the foundational national epics for Hellenistic culture in his creation of the Iliad and Odyssey. Second, Homer established oration as a key facet of western society. Third, Homer’s first use of dactylic hexameter poetry forever changed our modern society.

We know very little about the man Homer himself. We have reports that he was born in the year of 744 by Artemon of Clazomenae. Further, in antiquity we have stories of how Homer himself was a blind bard that would wander around Greece collecting stories and recounting them orally. In reality all we know for certain is that this 8th century poet has forever changed our society.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways in which Homer influenced modern society.

Homer Created The Foundational National Epics For Hellenistic Culture

One of the major ways in which Homer influenced our modern society was by him creating the national epics of Hellenistic culture.

Hellenistic culture would become the dominant culture around the Mediterranean from the 8th century BC up until 141 BC when Corinth was defeated by Rome.

One would assume that at this point Roman culture and society would displace Hellenistic however the opposite happened. Rome would become infatuated with the ancient Greek culture and stories.

Scholars in Rome would travel around the Greek world to learn as much about their culture as possible. In the late Roman Republic it was customary to study the ancient Greek sources and learn how to read and recite Homer publicly.

Because of this Homer and his works became firmly situated in Roman society. As Rome grew to expand over the entire known world so did the influence of oration and dialectic poetry.

Today Homer has influenced our modern society by creating riveting stories and having the world romanticize the world of the ancient Greeks. Everyone knows about Achilles and Odysseus. Because of this other Greek authors such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates would become highly influential.

Simply put, Homer created a fascination with Hellenistic culture that remains to this day forever influencing our modern society.

Homer Established Oration As A Key Facet Of Western Society.

Another way in which Homer influenced our modern society was by establishing oration as a key practice in western society.

Across the western world you will see speeches, lectures, and storytellers giving public orations to crowds of people. This comes from the influence of Homer who would tell his stories to large crowds of people.

In Homer’s Iliad he outlines how important oration is to society by stating “To be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds” which indicated the power of action and oration in society.

Homer’s works were not initially written down, instead they were performed in person to the accompaniment of music. This made it easier for illiterate people to follow along and understand the social cues.

Today all of western society follows the example set forth by Homer in the 8th century BC. That to hold an audience’s attention one must orate their story to the audience.

Today this remains one of the main ways in which Homer influenced our modern society.

Homer’s First Use Of Dactylic Hexameter Poetry Forever Changed Our Modern Society.

One of the main ways in which Homer influenced our modern society was through the establishment of dactylic hexameter poetry.

Homer was the first western poet to have been written down as using this style of poetry. All modern western poets today use this style of poetry that was first created by Homer.

Hexameter poetry involves having five normal words with a sixth being a long drawn out word using a long syllable. If you were to read Homer’s poetry it might sound a lot like other western poets.

This is because Homer’s poetry set the stage for other poets to shape society. Two of the most influential of these poets would be William Shakespeare and Virgil. Each of these poets were highly influenced by Homer.

As a result of this nearly all modern western poetry stems from Homer and his use of dactylic hexameter. Because of this Homer has profoundly influenced western society.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article on the 3 ways in which the ancient poet Homer influenced modern society.

Homer is a fascinating figure. Many scholars spend their entire life studying his work to uncover new ways in which ancient society worked. Prospective graduate students can find a wealth of material surrounding this poet.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. Feel free to sign up for the free newsletter to remain up to date and share around the internet.

Further, you can check out some of the other articles below. 

Until next time,

Nick