Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

“Impetuous! Homeric!”

So this ‘polish’ of the latest tome, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, has turned into something a little more comprehensive, as these things are wont to do, which means that normal service here is still experiencing a hiatus. Apologies, yet again.
  If you’ll allow me to go off at a tangent, though, I came across a fascinating little snippet whilst doing some on-line research. The second half of the book is set on Ios, as I’ve mentioned before, which is one of the places claimed as the final resting place of Homer (right) – one of the scenes in the book (how could I resist?) is set at Homer’s Tomb. I’d always thought, or was taught, that The Iliad and The Odyssey were composed circa 850-750 BCE, but I found this terrific history of Ios, courtesy of Mapmistress, which has this to say about Homer and his origins:
I would like to contest Homer’s age. For some reason, most place Homer’s age c. 850 B.C.E. which is far too young. Homer was translated into Greek from the earliest version of the Phoenician alphabet. That version of the Phoenician alphabet dates to c. 1000 B.C.E. But there is strong evidence that Homer was in another alphabet and that the Phoenicians translated that one into their language. Most of Homer’s terms for names of places comes from what is known as Linear B from Crete, which dates to around 1500 B.C.E. But the possibility exists that Homer may have been written in Linear A from Crete, and that the Phoenicians translated Homer from Linear A rather than Linear B. Linear A from Crete has never been fully deciphered. It originates c. 1700 B.C.E. around the time of Mycenaean invasions. Linear A (although never fully deciphered) is said to be closer to the Hittite language. And since the Hittite language is closer to the Phoenician language, it may very well be that the Phoenicians took Homer from Linear A and translated it into the first Phoenician alphabet. (1050 B.C.E.)
  Either way, Homer still had to be in Linear B or older, since all the terms for names of places which Homer uses exist in Crete’s Linear B dating to 1500 B.C.E. But if my theory is right and Phoenicians translated Homer from Linear A (closer to Hittite language), then Homer could have been written between 1700-1500 B.C.E. which would actually make sense. Homer’s heroes are Mycenaeans invading other islands and coasts which began c. 1700 B.C.E. archeologically speaking anyway.
  Any Homeric scholars out there with any thoughts on this?