By Laignee Barron
July 11, 2018

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the oldest known inscription of Homer’s epic poem “Odyssey.”

The poem was engraved on a clay plaque found in the ancient Greek city of Olympia, a sanctuary on the Peloponnese peninsula and the original site of the Olympic Games, Reuters reports. Researchers have dated the plaque to the Roman times, likely before before the 3rd century AD, the Greek culture ministry said on Tuesday.

While the exact date of the tablet awaits determination, the ministry called the finding “a great archaeological, epigraphic, literary and historical exhibit.”

The plaque depicts 13 verses from Homer’s 12,100-line epic poem. “The Odyssey” begins after the 10-year Trojan war, and follows Odysseus — whose name means “trouble” — as he journeys home to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus.

The section on the tablet comes from the Odyssey’s 14th rhapsody, which depicts the hero Odysseus’ adventures after the fall of Troy. The epic poem is one of two attributed to Homer, the other being “The Iliad.” Academics believe both poems were composed around the 8th century BC.

Write to Laignee Barron at Laignee.Barron@timeinc.com.

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