Troy was released in 2004, written by David Benioff and directed by Wolfgang Petersen. The film features an ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, and Orlando Bloom. Image courtesy: Warner Bros. Pictures

Homer was a semi-legendary Greek poet from Ionia who the Greeks ascribed with the composition of their greatest epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey. The date of these works is disputed by modern scholars, but are usually placed in the C8th or C7th BCE.

Via Wolfgang Petersons Brad Pitt blockbuster ‘Troy’ (2004), this lecture by Edith Hall describes the genesis of the Iliad between the Mycenaean Late Bronze Age and the 8th century, when it was first written down with the aid of the new, phonetic script adapted from the Phoenician civilization of the Levant. It explores the poems plot, tragic perspective on the human condition, and the despair caused by untimely death on an immense scale.