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Roman-era clay tablet with verses from Homer's Odyssey unearthed in Ancient Olympia


Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient tablet engraved with 13 verses of the Odyssey in the ancient city of Olympia, southern Greece, in what could be the earliest record of the epic poem, the Greek culture ministry said.

Roman-era clay tablet with verses from Homer's Odyssey unearthed in Ancient Olympia
Detail of clay tablet with an engraved inscription depicting 13 verses from the Odyssey’s 14th Rhapsody,
discovered in ancient Olympia, Greece [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
The clay slab is believed to date back to the 3rd century AD, during the Roman era.

“If this date is confirmed, the tablet could be the oldest written record of Homer’s work ever discovered in Greece,” the culture ministry said.

The extract, taken from book 14, describes the return of Ulysses to his home island of Ithaca.

Roman-era clay tablet with verses from Homer's Odyssey unearthed in Ancient Olympia
Clay tablet with an engraved inscription depicting 13 verses from the Odyssey’s 14th Rhapsody,
discovered in ancient Olympia, Greece [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
The tablet was discovered after three years of surface excavations by the Greek Archaeological Services in co-operation with the German Institute of Archaeology.

It was found close to the remains of the Temple of Zeus at the site of the Olympic Games in the western Peloponnese.

Composed orally during the 8th century BC, the epic poem – attributed to Homer – was transcribed during the Christian era on to parchment of which only a few fragments have been discovered in Egypt.

Source: AFP [July 10, 2018]

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