The oldest known extract of Homer’s epic The Odyssey has been discovered in Ancient Olympia by a team of Greek and German Archaeologists. The extract comprises 13 verses from the 14th Rhapsody, in which Odysseus addresses his lifelong friend Eumaeus, engraved on a clay plaque.
Although the exact date of the plaque is yet to be confirmed, according to the researchers on field it dates back to the Roman era before the 3rd century AD. In its announcement, the Greek Ministry of Culture speaks of “a great archaeological, epigraphic, literary and historical exhibit”.
The discovery was made near the ruined Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games. It took three years for the team to uncover the plaque.
A seminal work of western literature, spanning some 12,000 verses, The Odyssey was presumably composed by Homer in the late 8th Century BCE, that is about 1,000 years prior to this written extract. It has been handed down in oral tradition for centuries.