chapter  I
THE HOMERIC AGE
Pages 8

THETwoPOEMSwhoseauthorwecallHomeraredifficulttouseasevidenceofsocialcustomandpersonalbelief becausetheyreflectinpartthepoet'sownsocietyofthe

ninthoreighthcenturyB.c.,inpartthetraditionsaboutthe worldofsomecenturiesearlier,whichheisovertlydepicting. Archaeologyhasgonesomewaytowardshelpingustodisentanglethethreads,butmanyproblemsremain.1Nonetheless thepoemsremainourearliestliterarysourceaboutGreekcivilization(fortherecentlydeciphereddocumentsoftheMycenaean agearehardlytobecalledliterary)anditisherethatourbeginningmustlie.