, Hómēros) is best known as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
He was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been the first and greatest of the epic poets.
Herodotus estimates that Homer lived no more than 400 years before his own time, which would place him at around 850 BCE or later.Pseudo-Herodotus estimates that he was born 622 years before Xerxes I placed a pontoon bridge over the Hellespont in 480 BCE, which would place him at 1102 BCE, 168 years after the fall of Troy in 1270 BCE.These two end points are 252 years apart, representative of the differences in dates given by the other sources.The importance of Homer to the ancient Greeks is described in Plato's Republic, where he is referred to as the protos didaskalos, "first teacher", of tragedy, the hegemon paideias, "leader of learning", and the one who ten Hellada pepaideuken, "has taught Greece".The chronological period of Homer depends on the meaning to be assigned to the word “Homer.” Was Homer a single person, an imaginary person representing a group of poets, or the imaginary author of a traditional body of oral myths?
If the works attributed either wholly or partially to a blind poet named Homer, were really authored by such a person, then he must have had biographical dates, or a century or other historical period, which can be described as "the life and times of Homer".
If on the other hand Homer is to be considered a mythical character, the legendary founder of a guild of rhapsodes (professional performers of epic poetry) called the Homeridae, then “Homer” means the works attributed to the rhapsodes of the guild, who might have composed primarily in a single century or over a period of centuries.
Much of the geographic and material content of the Iliad and Odyssey appear to be consistent with the Aegean Late Bronze Age, the time of the floruit of Troy, but not yet the time of the Greek alphabet.
In a third and last interpretation, the term “Homer” can be used to refer to traditional elements of oral myth known to, but not originated by the rhapsodes; from these they composed oral poetry, which transmitted information concerning the culture of Mycenaean Greece.
This information is often called “the world of Homer” (or of Odysseus, or the Iliad).
The Homeric period would in that case cover a number of historical periods, especially the Mycenaean Age, prior to the first delivery of a work called the Iliad.