Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the other Homeric epic; the Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia; the poem focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage; the Odyssey continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos a rhapsode, was more intended to be heard than read; the details of the ancient oral performance and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars.
The Odyssey was written in a poetic dialect of Greek—a literary amalgam of Aeolic Greek, Ionic Greek, other Ancient Greek dialects—and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most noteworthy elements of the text are its non-linear plot, the influence on events of choices made by women and slaves, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage; the Odyssey has a lost sequel, the Telegony, not written by Homer. It was attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta. In one source, the Telegony was said to have been stolen from Musaeus of Athens by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene; the Odyssey begins after the end of the ten-year Trojan War, Odysseus has still not returned home from the war because he angered the god Poseidon. Odysseus' son Telemachus is about 20 years old and is sharing his absent father's house on the island of Ithaca with his mother Penelope and a crowd of 108 boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose aim is to persuade Penelope to marry one of them, all the while reveling in Odysseus' palace and eating up his wealth.
Odysseus' protectress, the goddess Athena, requests to Zeus, king of the gods, to allow Odysseus to return home when Odysseus' enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon, is absent from Mount Olympus to accept a sacrifice in Ethiopia. Disguised as a Taphian chieftain named Mentes, she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father, he offers her hospitality. Penelope objects to Phemius' theme, the "Return from Troy", because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections, asserting his role as head of the household; that night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a crew for the true prince. The next morning, Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Telemachus is scoffed by the insolent suitors by their leaders Antinous and Leiocritus. Accompanied by Athena, he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor, most venerable of the Greek warriors at Troy, who resided in Pylos after the war.
From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's son Peisistratus, to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus and Helen, who are now reconciled. While Helen laments the fit of lust brought on by Aphrodite that sent her to Troy with Paris, Menelaus recounts how she betrayed the Greeks by attempting to imitate the voices of the soldiers' wives while they were inside the Trojan Horse. Telemachus hears from Helen, the first to recognize him, that she pities him because Odysseus was not there for him in his childhood because he went to Troy to fight for her and about his exploit of stealing the Palladium, or the Luck of Troy, where she was the only one to recognize him. Menelaus, meanwhile praises Odysseus as an irreproachable comrade and friend, lamenting the fact that they were not only unable to return together from Troy but that Odysseus is yet to return. Both Helen and Menelaus say that they returned to Sparta after a long voyage by way of Egypt. There, on the island of Pharos, Menelaus encountered the old sea-god Proteus, who told him that Odysseus was a captive of the nymph Calypso.
Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. The story shifts to the suitors, who have only just now realized that Telemachus is gone. Angry, they kill him as he sails back home. Penelope overhears their plot and worries for her son's safety; the second part recounts the story of Odysseus. In the course of his seven years in captivity of Calypso on the island of Ogygia, she has fallen in love with him though he has spurned her offer of immortality as her husband and still mourns for home, she is ordered to release him by the messenger god Hermes, sent by Zeus in response to Athena's plea. Odysseus builds a raft and is given clothing and drink by Calypso; when Poseidon learns that Odysseus has escaped, he wrecks the raft but, helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino, Odysseus swims asho
A cyclops, in Greek mythology and Roman mythology, is a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the center of his forehead. The word cyclops means "round-eyed" or "circle-eyed". Hesiod described three one-eyed cyclopes who served as builders, blacksmiths and craftsmen: Brontes and Arges, the sons of Uranus and Gaia, brothers of the Titans. Homer described another group of the sons of Poseidon. Other accounts were written by the playwright Euripides, poet Roman epic poet Virgil. In Hesiod's Theogony, Zeus releases three cyclopes from the dark pit of Tartarus, they provide Zeus' thunderbolt, Hades' "helmet of darkness", Poseidon's trident, the gods use these weapons to defeat the Titans. In an episode of Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus encounters the cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon and Thoosa, who lives with his fellow cyclopes in a distant country; the connection between the two groups has been debated by modern scholars. It is upon Homer's account that Virgil based their accounts of the mythical creatures.
The ancient Greek geographer Strabo describes another group of seven Lycian cyclopes known as "Bellyhands" because they earned from their handicraft. They had built the walls of Tiryns and the caverns and the labyrinths near Nauplia, which are called cyclopean, it is assumed that Polyphemus lives, along with the other cyclopes, on an island. That is a possibility but all, known from Homer's Odyssey is that Polyphemus resided in a "land" somewhere farther on from the Lotus-Eaters, in a place, not close or distant from an uninhabited and unexploited island, where Odysseus arrives; the map location that can be drawn from this episode and the surrounding episodes in the Odyssey is variously described and discussed divergently by scholars. Euripides in his satyr-drama, appears at times to follow the story found in Homer, at other times contributes variations. In Euripides' play there is no mention of the unexploited island, Euripides keeps the action of the play in one location – the place where the cyclopes live, where Odysseus' ship landed.
Euripides makes a significant variation from Homer to the setting: he imagines the location to be Mount Etna "where the one-eyed sons of the sea god, the man-slaying Cyclopes, live in their desolate caves". Another source for the story of Polyphemus is Idyll XI; the Cyclops by Theocritus, in which the cyclopes' home is, following Euripides, near Mount Etna in Sicily. Since Euripides and Theocritus, the Sicilian location has become attached to the cyclops story, it is estimated that Homer's Odyssey was composed sometime in the 50-year period from 725 to 675 BC, it is thought that it shows the influence of earlier oral poetic traditions of different peoples. In the Odyssey the episodes that are placed on the Black Sea, which would include the cyclops story, appear to incorporate parts of the Gilgamesh tradition, as well as the Caucasian myths of a one-eyed monster. There are striking parallels between Homer's story and the Caucasian stories of Urzmaeg, where the hero outwits a one-eyed giant, blinds him with a torch.
It is thought that the Caucasian myths came to the Greeks through the epic Anatolian song tradition. Homer does not state that Polyphemus has only one eye; some scholars suggest this is implied in the passage that describes Odysseus asking his men to cast lots to select a group that will join with him "to lift the stake and grind it into his eye when sweet sleep should come upon him". However others suggest, it is pointed out that in the Odyssey when the actual blinding occurs there is a reference to plural brows and lids. Homer describes in some detail the entire race of cyclopes, critiquing their agricultural techniques, in what may be literature's first anthropological study, never mentions their monocularity, it is noted that the first artistic or graphic depiction of the blinding episode appears on an amphora, created by the Polyphemos Painter c. 680–650 B. C, the artist shows the blinding stake has two prongs, as though two eyes are being targeted. In the Theogony by Hesiod, the cyclopes – Brontes and Arges – were the primordial sons of Uranus and Gaia and brothers of the Hekatonkheires and the Titans.
As such, they were blood-related to the Olympian gods and goddesses. They were giants with a single eye in the middle of a foul disposition. According to Hesiod, they were stubborn. Collectively they became synonyms for brute strength and power, their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry or blacksmithery, they were pictured at their forge. Uranus, fearing their strength, locked them in Tartarus. Cronus, another son of Uranus and Gaia freed the cyclopes, along with the Hecatoncheires, after he had overthrown Uranus. Cronus placed them back in Tartarus, where they remained, guarded by the female monster Campe, until freed by Zeus, they fashioned thunderbolts for Zeus to use as weapons, helped him overthrow Cronus and the other Titans. The lightning bolts, which became Zeus' main weapons, were forged by all three cyclopes, in that Arges added brightness, Brontes added thunder, Steropes added lightning; these cyclopes created Poseidon's trident, Artemis' bow and arrows of moonlight, Apollo's bow and arrows of sun rays, Hades' helm of darkness, given to Perseus on his quest to kill Medusa.
Odysseus known by the Latin variant Ulysses, is a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle. Son of Laërtes and Anticlea, husband of Penelope and father of Telemachus and Acusilaus. Odysseus is renowned for his intellectual brilliance and versatility, is thus known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning, he is most famous for his nostos or “homecoming”, which took him ten eventful years after the decade-long Trojan War. In Greek the name was used in various versions. Vase inscriptions have the two groups of Olyseus, Olysseus or Ōlysseus, Olyteus or Olytteus. From an early source from Magna Graecia dates the form Oulixēs, while a grammarian has Oulixeus. In Latin the figure was known as Ulyssēs; some have supposed that "there may have been two separate figures, one called something like Odysseus, the other something like Ulixes, who were combined into one complex personality." However, the change between d and l is common in some Indo-European and Greek names, the Latin form is supposed to be derived from the Etruscan Uthuze, which accounts for some of the phonetic innovations.
The etymology of the name is unknown. Ancient authors linked the name to the Greek verbs odussomai “to be wroth against, to hate”, to oduromai “to lament, bewail”, or to ollumi “to perish, to be lost”. Homer relates it to various forms of this verb in puns. In Book 19 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus' early childhood is recounted, Euryclea asks the boy's grandfather Autolycus to name him. Euryclea seems to suggest a name like Polyaretos, "for he has much been prayed for" but Autolycus "apparently in a sardonic mood" decided to give the child another name commemorative of "his own experience in life": "Since I have been angered with many, both men and women, let the name of the child be Odysseus". Odysseus receives the patronymic epithet Laertiades, "son of Laërtes". In the Iliad and Odyssey there are several further epithets used to describe Odysseus, it has been suggested that the name is of non-Greek origin not Indo-European, with an unknown etymology. Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.
In Etruscan religion the name of Odysseus were adopted under the name Uthuze, interpreted as a parallel borrowing from a preceding Minoan form of the name. Little is given of Odysseus' background other than that according to Pseudo-Apollodorus, his paternal grandfather or step-grandfather is Arcesius, son of Cephalus and grandson of Aeolus, while his maternal grandfather is the thief Autolycus, son of Hermes and Chione. Hence, Odysseus was the great-grandson of the Olympian god Hermes. According to the Iliad and Odyssey, his father is Laertes and his mother Anticlea, although there was a non-Homeric tradition that Sisyphus was his true father; the rumour went. Odysseus is said to have a younger sister, who went to Same to be married and is mentioned by the swineherd Eumaeus, whom she grew up alongside, in book 15 of the Odyssey; the majority of sources for Odysseus' pre-war exploits—principally the mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus—postdate Homer by many centuries. Two stories in particular are well known: When Helen is abducted, Menelaus calls upon the other suitors to honour their oaths and help him to retrieve her, an attempt that leads to the Trojan War.
Odysseus tries to avoid it by feigning lunacy, as an oracle had prophesied a long-delayed return home for him if he went. He starts sowing his fields with salt. Palamedes, at the behest of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, seeks to disprove Odysseus' madness and places Telemachus, Odysseus' infant son, in front of the plow. Odysseus veers the plow away from his son. Odysseus holds a grudge against Palamedes during the war for dragging him away from his home. Odysseus and other envoys of Agamemnon travel to Scyros to recruit Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without him. By most accounts, Achilles' mother, disguises the youth as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had predicted that Achilles would either live a long uneventful life or achieve everlasting glory while dying young. Odysseus cleverly discovers which among the women before him is Achilles when the youth is the only one of them to show interest in examining the weapons hidden among an array of adornment gifts for the daughters of their host.
Odysseus arranges further for the sounding of a battle horn, which prompts Achilles to clutch a weapon and show his trained disposition. With his disguise foiled, he joins Agamemnon's call to arms among the Hellenes. Odysseus is one of the most influential Greek champions during the Trojan War. Along with Nestor and Idomeneus he is one of advisors, he always champions the Achaean cause when others question Agamemnon's command
Polyphemus is the giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in Homer's Odyssey. His name means "abounding in songs and legends". Polyphemus first appears as a savage man-eating giant in the ninth book of the Odyssey; some Classical writers link his name with the nymph Galatea and present him in a different light. In Homer's epic, Odysseus lands on the island of the Cyclops during his journey home from the Trojan War and, together with some of his men, enters a cave filled with provisions; when the giant Polyphemus returns home with his flocks, he blocks the entrance with a great stone and, scoffing at the usual custom of hospitality, eats two of the men. Next morning, the giant leaves the cave to graze his sheep. After the giant returns in the evening and eats two more of the men, Odysseus offers Polyphemus some strong and undiluted wine given to him earlier on his journey. Drunk and unwary Odysseus his name, promising him a guest-gift if he answers. Odysseus tells him "Οὖτις", which means "nobody" and Polyphemus promises to eat this "Nobody" last of all.
With that, he falls into a drunken sleep. Odysseus had meanwhile drives it into Polyphemus' eye; when Polyphemus shouts for help from his fellow giants, saying that "Nobody" has hurt him, they think Polyphemus is being afflicted by divine power and recommend prayer as the answer. In the morning, the blind Cyclops lets the sheep out to graze, feeling their backs to ensure that the men are not escaping; however and his men have tied themselves to the undersides of the animals and so get away. As he sails off with his men, Odysseus boastfully reveals his real name, an act of hubris, to cause problems for him later. Polyphemus prays to his father, for revenge and casts huge rocks towards the ship, which Odysseus escapes; the story reappears in Classical literature. In Cyclops, the 5th century BC play by Euripides, a chorus of satyrs offers comic relief from the grisly story of how Polyphemus is punished for his impious behaviour in not respecting the rites of hospitality. In his Latin epic, Virgil describes how Aeneas observes blind Polyphemus as he leads his flocks down to the sea.
They have encountered Achaemenides, who re-tells the story of how Odysseus and his men escaped, leaving him behind. The giant is described as using a "lopped pine tree" as a walking staff. Once Polyphemus reaches the sea, he groans painfully. Achaemenides is taken aboard Aeneas’ vessel and they cast off with Polyphemus in chase, his great roar of frustration brings the rest of the Cyclopes down to the shore as Aeneas draws away in fear. Julien d'Huy speculates. Elements of the story of Odysseus and Polyphemus are recognizable in the folklore of many other European groups. Wilhelm Grimm collected versions in Serbian, Estonian, Finnish and German. Versions in Basque, Lithuanian, Gascon and Celtic are known; the vivid nature of the Polyphemus episode made it a favorite theme of ancient Greek painted pottery, on which the scenes most illustrated are the blinding of the Cyclops and the ruse by which Odysseus and his men escape. One such episode, on a vase featuring the hero carried beneath a sheep, was used on a 27 drachma Greek postage stamp in 1983.
The blinding was depicted in life-size sculpture, including a giant Polyphemus, in the Sperlonga sculptures made for the Emperor Tiberius. This may be an interpretation of an existing composition, was repeated in variations in Imperial palaces by Claudius, Nero and at Hadrian's Villa. Of the European painters of the subject, the Flemish Jacob Jordaens depicted Odysseus escaping from the cave of Polyphemus in 1635 and others chose the dramatic scene of the giant casting boulders at the escaping ship. In Guido Reni's painting of 1639/40, the furious giant is tugging a boulder from the cliff as Odysseus and his men row out to the ship far below. Polyphemus is portrayed, as it happens, with two empty eye sockets and his damaged eye located in the middle on his forehead; this convention goes back to Greek statuary and painting and is reproduced in Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein's 1802 head and shoulders portrait of the giant. Arnold Bocklin pictures the giant as standing on rocks onshore and swinging one of them back as the men row over a surging wave, while Polyphemus is standing at the top of a cliff in Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting of 1902.
He stands poised, having thrown one stone, which misses the ship. The reason for his rage is depicted in Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus. Here the ship sails forward; the giant himself is an indistinct shape distinguished from the woods and smoky atmosphere high above. Although there are some earlier references to the story of the love of Polyphemus for the sea-nymph Galatea and her preference for the human shepherd Acis, the best known source is a lost play by Philoxenus of Cythera, of which a few fragments and several accounts are left. Dating from about 400 BC, it links the love story to the arrival of Odysseus and, according to ancient sources, had a witty contemporary subtext. Philoxenos had had an affair with the mistress of Dionysius I of Syracuse and as a consequence was condemned to work in the stone quarries. Here he is supposed to have composed The Cyclops, with the tyrant cast in the role of the giant, while the successful lovers are the poet and his Galatea; the Hellenistic poet Theocritus painted a more sympath
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms, it focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary; the Homeric Question – concerning by whom, when and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed – continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two groups. One holds that most of the Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius; the other considers the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and reworking by many contributors, that "Homer" is best seen as a label for an entire tradition.
It is accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. The poems are in Homeric Greek known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music and film; the Homeric epics were the greatest influence on education. Today only the Iliad and Odyssey are associated with the name'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the Homeric Hymns, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the Little Iliad, the Nostoi, the Thebaid, the Cypria, the Epigoni, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia, the Margites, the Capture of Oechalia, the Phocais; these claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world.
As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture. Many traditions circulated in the ancient world concerning Homer. Modern scholarly consensus is; some claims were repeated often. They include that Homer was blind, that he was born in Chios, that he was the son of the river Meles and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works, that he died either in Ios or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, various explanations for the name "Homer"; the two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the Life of Homer by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the Contest of Homer and Hesiod. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia; the earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, they were the first literary works taught to all students. The Iliad its first few books, was far more intently studied than the Odyssey during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; as a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many interpreters the Stoics, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom; because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so praised that he began to acquire the image of a prototypical philosopher. Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries and scholia to Homer in the twelfth century.
Eustathius's commentary on the Iliad alone is massive, sprawling nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the Odyssey an additional nearly 2,000. In 1488, the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems; the earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems, so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the Renaissance. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the Renaissance, Virgil was more read than Homer and Homer was seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a s