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Homer is already what has been called a poet doctus

Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

since Kallimachos (ca. 300 – 245 B.C.): a poet who shines with erudition (as the Assyrian author of the “Eighth Campaign” Sargon’s had before him).

 

The epic becomes an encyclopaedia of the knowledge of the time. Homer brings – just like Vergil later – a wealth of allusions to contemporary history (see Schrott) and to the works of the still essentially Assyrian literary canon into his epic.

 

Homer brings quotations from remote educational material (hapax legomena, etc.) that is not necessarily old, but above all strange and unknown. Homer’s educated friends could also understand the structure and cross-references in the epic and spur the poet on to ever new poetic achievements.

 

The careful Assyrian education on the one hand and the liberation from the corset of learned literary conventions by the withdrawal of the colonial power on the other hand enabled Homer to base the new Greek epic on a proven literary tradition.

 

At the same time, Homer was able to take into account the tradition and cultural requirements of the new Greek-Cilician city states.

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