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Archaeologists hit a “Homer” with discovery of Odyssey tablet in Greece

AFP | Greek Culture Ministry

Clay artifact, discovered near birthplace of Olympic Games, contains 13 verses of the epic poem.

A very early written version of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey has been unearthed near the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

Greece’s Ministry of Culture collaborated with German researchers in a three-year archaeological study of the religious temples and buildings that make up the Sanctuary of Olympia. The ministry said that the clay tablet may be the oldest written record of The Odyssey ever found in Greece.

The tablet, discovered near the ruined temple dedicated to Zeus near the ancient city of Olympia, may be from Roman times, though further study is needed to confirm that. Scholars believe it was created before the third century A.D., according to Live Science.

It contains 13 verses from the 8th-century BC poem recounting the adventures of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy, according to the BBC. Live Science explains that the excerpt describes how Odysseus returns home to Ithaca after a 10-year journey. Disguised as a beggar, he assures his faithful servant Eumaeus, who does not recognize him, that he is still alive.

The Ministry of Culture called the find “a great archaeological, epigraphic, literary and historical exhibit.”


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