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Researchers say they’ve found the oldest known extract from Homer’s ‘Odyssey’

POSTED July 13, 2018 1:50 a.m.
Archaeologists in Greece may have just discovered the oldest known extract of Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.”

The Greek and German research team found a passage from the epic poem on a clay plaque in Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, near the Temple of Zeus, according to Reuters.

Researchers believe the plaque includes 13 verses from Book 14 of the poem in which the main character, Odysseus, addresses his friend Eumaeus.

The researchers said the plaque comes from around the Roman era, roughly around the third century A.D.

According to Quartz, scholars believed Homer wrote the poem somewhere between 725 and 675 B.C.

The poem — which “tells the story of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, who spends 10 years trying to get home after participating in the fall of the kingdom of Troy,” according to the BBC — was first printed in 1488 in Florence, Italy.

The plaque is “a great archaeological, epigraphic, literary and historical exhibit,” the Greek culture ministry said (link in Greek).

“If this preliminary dating is confirmed,” the ministry said, “then this clay tablet will maybe hold the oldest written excerpt of Homer’s volumes that have ever come to light, and constitutes, apart from its uniqueness, one great archaeological, literary, and historical artifact.”

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