There is a pair of linked questions at the heart of this book: Where does Homer come from? And why does Homer matter? These ancient poems can be daunting and difficult, but I have no doubt that their account of war and suffering can still speak to us of the role of destiny in life, of cruelty, humanity, its frailty and the pains of existence. That they do is a mystery. Why is it that something conceived in the eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age, maybe four thousand years ago, as foreign as the Dayak, as distant as Vanuatu, can still exert its grip on us? How can we be so intimate with something so far away?
- From Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson