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Head of Homer

Roman copy of a Hellenistic portrait.

Homer is usually regarded as the first poet to write down the epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, two groups of stories that must have belonged to an older oral tradition. Whether or not Homer was a real historical figure or a symbolic construction, the Iliad is the first written work in history to use literary devices such as simile and metaphor.

The ancient Greeks certainly believed he was a single historical poet who lived in the eighth century BCE. Tradition has it that Homer was blind, as is suggested in this idealised portrait, of which there are a number of Roman copies

Location of Original: 

Naples, National Museum 1130


Purchased in 1884 from Naples Museum


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 385 (n.1); cf. pl. 133.3 (Louvre replica)
Ruesch: Guide to the National Museum, Naples, 268, no.1130
Bernoulli: Griechische Ikonographie (1901), 9
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 113, no.592
Reporter: 19 June 1885, 895, no.526

Roman. Original: early C2 BCE

Farnese Collection

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Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

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