Click on image to view at AmazonIn the spirit of 'I'm just going to throw this out there for you to judge yourself', Adam Nicolson, an author and historian who has studied Hómēros, believes the epic poems of The Iliad and The Odysseia have their origins around 2,000 BC - 1,000 years earlier than the man who wrote them is said to have lived. According to Nicolson, was not a single person but actually an entire culture of storytelling, thus reports the Archaeology News Network.

Speaking in an interview with National Geographic, Nicolson said that the idea of Hómēros as a single author has emerged due to an 'author obsession'. He thinks it's a mistake to think of Hómēros as a person; Hómēros is an 'it' - a tradition.

There is very little known about exactly who or what Hómēros was, but is believed by the ancient Hellenes to have been the first great epic poet. A guild of singing story tellers, or rhapsodes, later emerged known as the Homeridae and has led some to argue that Hómēros was actually a mythical figure whose name was derived from the guild.

Nicolson first became interested in Homer around ten years ago when he began reading The Odysseia while waiting for his yacht to be repaired after it was damaged in a storm while sailing up the west coast of Britain. As his evidence, Nicolson said that notes in the margins of the oldest complete Iliad manuscript found in the doge's library in Venice and which is thought to date back to 900 AD, provide some clues to what the origin of the Iliad may have been.

"One of the exciting things that emerge from that is that in the early days it seems there was no such thing as a single Iliad, no one fixed text, but this wild and variable tradition of the stories, with many different versions in different parts of the Mediterranean, endlessly interacting with itself, like a braided stream in the mountains."
According to Nicolson, large elements of the stories from The Iliad are shared with stories found in India, Germany and Iceland. Because the Iliad paints the ancient Hellenes as lawless violent warriors rather than the civilised society they later became, he believes many of the poems attributed to Hómēros have their beginnings around 2,000 BC.

"That picture of the Greeks doesn't make sense any later than about 1,800 to 1,700 BC. After that, the Greeks had arrived in the Mediterranean and started to create a civil society. Before that, they were essentially tribes from the steppes between the Black Sea and the Caspian - nomadic, male-dominated, violent."