Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 February 2020
The Byzantine interpretative framework through which Homeric and Homerizing literature was approached in the Middle Ages survived in the Greek world until its last vestiges were cast away in the early nineteenth century with the creation of an independent Greek state and the establishment of a national educational curriculum modeled after the Bavarian one. The reception of Homer in Greece and the Balkans during the nineteenth century was shaped by the key position of epic poetry in the development of romantic nationalism. Nineteenth-century Greek poets writing about the military struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire cast prominent figures as successors to the Homeric heroes. This conception of the past generated a desire to translate Homer into Balkan languages and translations of Homer’s epics into Ottoman Turkish, Albanian, Bulgarian, and Serbian were made by non-Greek graduates of Greek schools. Although the translators of Homer in the Balkans and in the Middle East had different motivations, their works collectively indicate a desire to become directly acquainted with literary works considered foundational to Western European modernity.