Riddles of Homer

By: Justin Zablocki (author, Zablocki Bros. LLC) on October 22nd, 2013 12:00 AM.


Riddles of Homer


How can somebody be famous throughout the world and be known by almost everybody while still maintaining such mystery around themselves such that nobody even knows when or where they lived. We do think Homer lived in the 8th century BC, although it is possible he lived earlier. Homer, who was the greatest of all of the Greek epic poets, has achieved this level of fame and mystery. He is known for his epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Even with his work's vast popularity and the large amount of international study that has been performed in order to understand who he was, we still know virtually nothing about him because of the lack of documents from his life. Even with this very limited amount of information about him we still know that he was very interested in riddles and a lot of riddles pertaining to his life and his works still survive.

Since there wasn't a lot of documentation written about Homer during the time of his life, a lot of the stories we hear about him are just legends. One of the most told riddles pertaining to his life:

We have what we did not find; what we did find we left behind.

He is asked this riddle by several boys who just came from fishing. Their fishing trip had been unsuccessful but they did search themselves for lice, leaving behind the ones they find but keeping the ones they did not. This riddle is important because an oracle predicted this exact situation would come up earlier in his life. Her prophecy warned him that a riddle given by boys on Ios would mark his death. While pondering the riddle he tripped and died. Remember, this is only a legend.

One of Homer's great works, the Odyssey, is the story of Odysseus as he attempts to make his way home after war. One of the obstacles he faces is the Sirens. The Sirens were beautiful creatures that lured nearby sailors to their death with their lovely song:

Once he hears to his heart's content, sails on, a wiser man.
We know all the pains that the Greeks and Trojans once endured
on the spreading plain of Troy when the gods willed it so-
all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all!

The solution to the riddle is death.

For more on Homer visit his Wikipedia page.

For some more great riddles visit our hard riddles section.

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