This sculpture was created in 1907 by Virginia native Moses Jacob Ezekiel (October 28, 1844 – March 27, 1917) from his studio in Rome. The statue was commissioned by J.W. Simpson, a New York lawyer who presented it to Amherst College as a gift. For unknown reasons, Amherst refused the sculpture. Thomas Nelson Page, an active member of the U.Va Alumni Association who had visited Ezekiel's studio, contacted U.Va President Edwin Alderman about securing the work for the university. Ezekiel visited the campus and chose the South Lawn, where the Cabell, Cocke, and Rouss Halls were just being completed, as the location for the piece.
Of the sculpture, Simpson wrote in 1906:
I am delighted with the spirit with which you accept the Homer group of Moses Ezekiel. My own college having no suitable place for it, the University of Virginia seemed to me its natural home.1
Moses Jacob Ezekiel was the first Jewish cadet to attend the Virginia Military Institute and a Civil War veteran, where he fought for the Confederate Army. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery near one of his own pieces: The Confederate Soldier's Memorial. He is also the artist responsible for the Jefferson Statue in front of the Rotunda.