5 Most Well Known Ancient Poems

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Updated on 14 Apr, 2018 at 5:47 pm


Completely different from the today’s world, the very mysterious and the very undiscovered. Here is a list of most well known ancient poems.

1. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

This poem was written by a monk from northwest of England during the second half of the 14th century. Its 2,530 lines describe events in King Arthur’s court and the testing of Sir Gawain, a model Knight. There are many opportunities for the character to fail, but he does not.


2. Beowulf

Beowulf is an epic poem of almost 3,200 lines written in Old English (Anglo-Saxon). This is an early form of the English language that modern readers find hard to understand. The main theme is the struggle of the hero Beowulf with the master monster Grendel. Details of the poem’s exact date and author are not known but it may have written in the 8th century by more than one person.



3. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam was a Persian writer, astronomer, and mathematician who lived in the 11th and early 12th centuries. His Rubaiyat was introduced to the rest of the world in 1859 when it was translated by Edward Fitzgerald. It consists of a series of quatrains (four-line verses) rhymed a-a-b-a. Each verse contains a complete thought.




4. The Odyssey

Written by Homer, this poem describes Odysseus journey home from the Trojan war. Odysseus features briefly in the Iliad. Again, human characters work side by side with the Gods, who are given human characteristics. Although they are so powerful, the God beer grudges, seek revenge and are very proud. The word Odyssey has now come to mean any long, hard journey. The poem has influenced other works of literature – most famously the novel Ulysses by the Irish writer James Joyce.



5. The Iliad

This Greek poem was written by Homer around 850 BC and tells the story of the final year of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. It describes the great battle and the story of how beautiful Helen left her husband Menelaus for the Trojan prince Paris. It also tells us about the interference of the Gods and their quarrels about the action on the battlefield below them.