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Which epic has most relevance to a twenty first century reader Virgils Aeneid or Homers Odyssey The very fact that I am studying both Virgils Aeneid and Homers Odyssey at A Level immediately proves to me that both epics must have contemporary relevance else they would have been buried with the bones of their authors rather than being the subject of this essay However choosing which epic has the most contemporary relevance is not an easy task To begin with both epics were written at different times in different languages in different countries for different purposes The Odyssey was written by Homer a Greek who possibly lived in Ionia an island off central western Turkey It was probably written between 750-700 BC The epic is of the oral tradition it was designed to be sung by bards as entertainment hence the fact that numerous standard descriptions of events are repeated for ease of memory Virgil on the other hand was born in Italy in 70 BC and composed The Aeneid in the ten years before his death in 19 BC Unlike The Odyssey The Aeneid is a written epic designed to be read It was written in honour of Augustus Caesar as an account of the Emperors descent from the Gods and Romes great history Virgil used Homers Odyssey and his other oral epic The Iliad as inspiration As a result many of the themes in Homers Odyssey and Virgils Aeneid are similar I will therefore begin by examining some of the issues found in both epics that have contemporary relevance The reason why both epics have retained their popularity over the years except for their graphic detail and tales of heroism is undoubtedly because as well as being fantastic story tellers both Homer and Virgil had a profound understanding of psychology This comprehension of human behaviour sustains our interest because although cultures and technology may change the way in which men and women
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