Homer (c. bet. 800 and 700 B.C.)

Homer lived in the 8th century B.C. in ancient Greece, probably with his personal name Melesigenes. His geographic origin is not exactly known: The region of Phokaia, Smyrna, Kolophon and Chios is considered his most probable homeland. According to ancient records of about one century later, he may have been born in Smyrna and died on the island of Ios. He may have spent parts of his life as singer and poet at the court of Troas.

Like Hesiod some decades later, Homer mentions the Pleiades and the Hyades, in his Ilias, his poetry created around 750 B.C. about the Trojan war (which had taken place about 500 years earlier, around 1250 B.C.); this is probably the first known document related to these two open star clusters in Taurus. He again mentions the Pleiades in his later Odyssey.

Homer is commemorated by astronomers by the naming of asteropid 5700 Homerus which was previously designated 1985 QA and 5166 T-3 (from Trojan Survey 3); it had been discovered on October 16, 1977 at Palomar Observatory by C.J. van Houten, I. van Houten-Groeneveld and T. Gehrels. The naming of a Moon crater Homer at 24.3S 133.6E was not approved by the IAU, but a crater on Mercury was named Homer in 1976: at 36.2W 1.2S and of diameter 314 km.


[SEDS] | [MAA] | [Home] | [History Home] | [Biographies]

Hartmut Frommert
Christine Kronberg