Books

Was Homer a Steppe Nomad? (WHY HOMER MATTERS by Adam Nicolson)

It never occurred to me that Homer and the Greeks could have anything to do with the Steppe Nomads or the likes of Genghis Khan, until I read Adam Nicolson’s WHY HOMER MATTERS. As I read his claim near the beginning of the book, that Homer’s tales were about a thousand years older than commonly thought I shook my head. That doesn’t seem right, I remember thinking to myself. (Most experts seem to agree they were written down in around 800 BCE, and refer to a time-period of around 1250-1400 BCE.)

However, I now think Nicolson may be right, based upon his reading of the text. I am not an expert in Greek, so I have to take his word for it when he says that some of the language comes from around 1800 BCE. But what struck me was his evidence, from the text, that the Iliad reflects a people recently come from the Steppe, all those images of horses, all those comparisons of the sea with a sea of grass.

If you want an interesting new take on the Iliad (and the Odyssey), you should definitely read this book. Five stars.