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.
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.
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.