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About the Author
Homer is believed to have been born sometime between the twelfth and eighth centuries BC. While the works of Greek poets have been a significant influence on Western culture and literature, very little is known about the blind bard from Ionia. Some scholars allege that the epics The Iliad and The Odyssey were actually composed by a group of storytellers who worked in the oral tradition.
Regardless, the epics attributed to Homer have become the chief source for world mythology, early human society, and life in ancient Greece.
Edward Smith-Stanley, fourteenth earl of Derby (1799-1869), was the leader of the United Kingdom's Conservative Party from 1846 to 1868, and served as prime minister three times. A statesman and scholar, he won the chancellor's Latin verse prize at Oxford. In 1864, he published the translation of The Iliad in blank verse, or unrhymed iambic pentameter, which we enjoy today.