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The _ODYSSEY_ (/ˈɒdəsi/ ; Greek : Ὀδύσσεια _Odýsseia_, pronounced in Classical Attic ) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer
Homer
. It is, in part, a sequel to the _ Iliad
Iliad
_, the other work ascribed to Homer. The _Odyssey_ is fundamental to the modern Western canon , and is the second-oldest extant work of Western literature; the _Iliad_ is the oldest. Scholars believe the _Odyssey_ was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia , the Greek coastal region of Anatolia
Anatolia
.

The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus
Odysseus
(known as Ulysses in Roman myths), king of Ithaca
Ithaca
, and his journey home after the fall of Troy
Troy
. It takes Odysseus
Odysseus
ten years to reach Ithaca
Ithaca
after the ten-year Trojan War . In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus
Odysseus
has died, and his wife Penelope
Penelope
and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the _Mnesteres_ (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci , who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.

The _Odyssey_ continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an _aoidos _ (epic poet/singer), perhaps a rhapsode (professional performer), and was more likely intended to be heard than read. The details of the ancient oral performance and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars. The _Odyssey_ was written in a poetic dialect of Greek—a literary amalgam of Aeolic Greek , Ionic Greek , and other Ancient Greek dialects —and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter . Among the most noteworthy elements of the text are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by women and slaves, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word _odyssey_ has come to refer to an epic voyage.

The _Odyssey_ has a lost sequel, the _ Telegony _, which was not written by Homer. It was usually attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta
Sparta
. In one source, the _Telegony_ was said to have been stolen from Musaeus by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene (see Cyclic poets ).

CONTENTS

* 1 Synopsis

* 1.1 Exposition * 1.2 Escape to the Phaeacians * 1.3 Odysseus\' account of his adventures * 1.4 Return to Ithaca
Ithaca
* 1.5 Slaying of the Suitors

* 2 Character of Odysseus
Odysseus
* 3 Structure * 4 Geography of the _Odyssey_ * 5 Influences on the _Odyssey_

* 6 Themes

* 6.1 Homecoming * 6.2 Wandering * 6.3 Guest-Friendship * 6.4 Testing * 6.5 Omens

* 7 Type scenes in Homer\'s _Odyssey_

* 7.1 Finding Scenes * 7.2 Omens * 7.3 Testing * 7.4 Guest-Friendship

* 8 Cultural impact * 9 English translations * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 External links

SYNOPSIS

EXPOSITION

A mosaic depicting Odysseus
Odysseus
, from the villa of La Olmeda
La Olmeda
, Pedrosa de la Vega , Spain, late 4th-5th centuries AD

The _Odyssey_ begins ten years after the end of the ten-year Trojan War (the subject of the _ Iliad
Iliad
_), and Odysseus
Odysseus
has still not returned home from the war. Odysseus' son Telemachus is about 20 years old and is sharing his absent father's house on the island of Ithaca
Ithaca
with his mother Penelope
Penelope
and a crowd of 108 boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose aim is to persuade Penelope
Penelope
to marry one of them, all the while reveling in Odysseus' palace and eating up his wealth.

Odysseus' protectress, the goddess Athena
Athena
, requests to Zeus
Zeus
, king of the gods , to finally allow Odysseus
Odysseus
to return home when Odysseus' enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon
Poseidon
, is absent from Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus
. Then, disguised as a Taphian chieftain named Mentes , she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father. He offers her hospitality; they observe the suitors dining rowdily while the bard Phemius performs a narrative poem for them. Penelope
Penelope
objects to Phemius' theme, the "Return from Troy", because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections, asserting his role as head of the household.

That night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a ship and crew for the true prince. The next morning, Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca
Ithaca
to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Accompanied by Athena
Athena
(now disguised as Mentor ), he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor , most venerable of the Greek warriors at Troy, now at home in Pylos .

From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's son Peisistratus , to Sparta
Sparta
, where he finds Menelaus and Helen , who have somewhat reconciled. While Helen laments the fit of lust brought on by Aphrodite
Aphrodite
that sent her to Troy
Troy
with Paris, Menelaus recounts how she betrayed the Greeks by attempting to imitate the voices of the soldiers' wives while they were inside the Trojan Horse . Telemachus also hears from Helen, who is the first to recognize him, that she pities him because Odysseus
Odysseus
was not there for him in his childhood because he went to Troy
Troy
to fight for her and also about his exploit of stealing the Palladium, or the Luck of Troy, where she was the only one to recognize him. Menelaus, meanwhile, also praises Odysseus
Odysseus
as an irreproachable comrade and friend, lamenting the fact that they were not only unable to return together from Troy
Troy
but that Odysseus
Odysseus
is yet to return.

Both Helen and Menelaus also say that they returned to Sparta
Sparta
after a long voyage by way of Egypt
Egypt
. There, on the island of Pharos , Menelaus encountered the old sea-god Proteus
Proteus
, who told him that Odysseus
Odysseus
was a captive of the nymph Calypso . Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon
Agamemnon
, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home by his wife Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
and her lover Aegisthus . The story briefly shifts to the suitors, who have only just now realized that Telemachus is gone; angry, they formulate a plan to ambush his ship and kill him as he sails back home. Penelope
Penelope
overhears their plot and worries for her son's safety. _ Charles Gleyre
Charles Gleyre
, Odysseus
Odysseus
and Nausicaä _

ESCAPE TO THE PHAEACIANS

The second part recounts the story of Odysseus. After he has spent seven years in captivity on Ogygia , the island of Calypso , she falls deeply in love with him, even though he has consistently spurned her advances. She is persuaded to release him by Odysseus' great-grandfather, the messenger god Hermes
Hermes
, who has been sent by Zeus
Zeus
in response to Athena's plea. Odysseus
Odysseus
builds a raft and is given clothing, food, and drink by Calypso. When Poseidon
Poseidon
learns that Odysseus
Odysseus
has escaped, he wrecks the raft, but, helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino , Odysseus
Odysseus
swims ashore on Scherie , the island of the Phaeacians. Naked and exhausted, he hides in a pile of leaves and falls asleep. The next morning, awakened by the laughter of girls, he sees the young Nausicaa , who has gone to the seashore with her maids to wash clothes after Athena
Athena
told her in a dream to do so. He appeals to her for help. She encourages him to seek the hospitality of her parents, Arete and Alcinous (or Alkinous). Odysseus
Odysseus
is welcomed and is not at first asked for his name. He remains for several days, takes part in a pentathlon , and hears the blind singer Demodocus perform two narrative poems. The first is an otherwise obscure incident of the Trojan War, the "Quarrel of Odysseus
Odysseus
and Achilles
Achilles
"; the second is the amusing tale of a love affair between two Olympian gods, Ares
Ares
and Aphrodite
Aphrodite
. Finally, Odysseus
Odysseus
asks Demodocus to return to the Trojan War theme and tell of the Trojan Horse , a stratagem in which Odysseus
Odysseus
had played a leading role. Unable to hide his emotion as he relives this episode, Odysseus
Odysseus
at last reveals his identity. He then begins to tell the story of his return from Troy. _ Odysseus Overcome by Demodocus ' Song_, by Francesco Hayez , 1813–15

ODYSSEUS\' ACCOUNT OF HIS ADVENTURES

After a failed piratical raid on Ismaros in the land of the Cicones , Odysseus
Odysseus
and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms. Odysseus
Odysseus
visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters who gave his men their fruit that would have caused them to forget their homecoming had Odysseus
Odysseus
not dragged them back to the ship by force. Then, they entered the cave of the Cyclops
Cyclops
Polyphemus on the underbellies of sheep, escaping by blinding him with a wooden stake. While they were escaping, however, Odysseus
Odysseus
foolishly told Polyphemus his identity, and Polyphemus told his father, Poseidon, that Odysseus
Odysseus
had blinded him. Poseidon
Poseidon
then cursed Odysseus
Odysseus
to wander the sea for ten years, during which he would lose all his crew and return home through the aid of others. After the escape, Odysseus
Odysseus
and his crew stayed with Aeolus , a king endowed by the gods with the winds. He gave Odysseus
Odysseus
a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a safe return home. Just as Ithaca
Ithaca
came into sight, the greedy sailors naively opened the bag while Odysseus
Odysseus
slept, thinking it contained gold. All of the winds flew out and the resulting storm drove the ships back the way they had come.

After unsuccessfully pleading with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embarked and encountered the cannibalistic Laestrygonians . All of Odysseus' ships except his own entered the harbor of the Laestrygonians' Island and were immediately destroyed. He sailed on and visited the witch-goddess Circe . She turned half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes
Hermes
warned Odysseus
Odysseus
about Circe and gave Odysseus
Odysseus
a drug called _moly _ which gave him resistance to Circe's magic. Odysseus
Odysseus
forced the now-powerless Circe to change his men back to their human form. They remained with her on the island for one year, while they feasted and drank. Finally, guided by Circe's instructions, Odysseus
Odysseus
and his crew crossed the ocean and reached a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrificed to the dead. He first encountered the spirit of Elpenor, a crewman who had gotten drunk and fallen from a roof to his death, which had gone unnoticed by others, before Odysseus
Odysseus
and the rest of his crew had left Circe. Elpenor's ghost told Odysseus
Odysseus
to bury his body, which Odysseus
Odysseus
promised to do. Odysseus
Odysseus
then summoned the spirit of the prophet Tiresias for advice on how to appease Poseidon
Poseidon
upon his return home. Next Odysseus
Odysseus
met the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he got his first news of his own household, threatened by the greed of the Suitors. Finally, he met the spirits of famous men and women. Notably, he encountered the spirit of Agamemnon, of whose murder he now learned, and Achilles, who told him about the woes of the land of the dead (for Odysseus' encounter with the dead, see also _ Nekuia _). Odysseus
Odysseus
and the Sirens, eponymous vase of the Siren Painter , ca. 480-470 BC, (British Museum )

Returning to Circe's island, they were advised by her on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirted the land of the Sirens , who sang an enchanting song that normally caused passing sailors to steer toward the rocks, only to hit them and sink. All of the sailors had their ears plugged up with beeswax, except for Odysseus, who was tied to the mast as he wanted to hear the song. He told his sailors not to untie him as it would only make him want to drown himself. They then passed between the six-headed monster Scylla
Scylla
and the whirlpool Charybdis
Charybdis
, narrowly avoiding death, even though Scylla
Scylla
snatched up six men. Next, they landed on the island of Thrinacia . Zeus
Zeus
caused a storm which prevented them leaving. While Odysseus
Odysseus
was away praying, his men ignored the warnings of Tiresias and Circe and hunted the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios
Helios
as their food had run short. The Sun God insisted that Zeus
Zeus
punish the men for this sacrilege. They suffered a shipwreck as they were driven towards Charybdis. All but Odysseus
Odysseus
were drowned; he clung to a fig tree above Charybdis. Washed ashore on the island of Ogygia , he was compelled to remain there as Calypso's lover, bored, homesick and trapped on her small island, until she was ordered by Zeus, via Hermes, to release Odysseus. Odysseus
Odysseus
did not realise how long it would take to get home to his family.

RETURN TO ITHACA

_ Athena
Athena
Revealing Ithaca
Ithaca
to Ulysses_ by Giuseppe Bottani
Giuseppe Bottani
(18th century)

Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians , who are skilled mariners, agree to help Odysseus
Odysseus
get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbour on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one of his own slaves, the swineherd Eumaeus . Athena
Athena
disguises Odysseus
Odysseus
as a wandering beggar so he can see how things stand in his household. After dinner, he tells the farm laborers a fictitious tale of himself: He was born in Crete
Crete
, had led a party of Cretans to fight alongside other Greeks in the Trojan War, and had then spent seven years at the court of the king of Egypt; finally he had been shipwrecked in Thesprotia and crossed from there to Ithaca.

Meanwhile, Telemachus sails home from Sparta, evading an ambush set by the Suitors. He disembarks on the coast of Ithaca
Ithaca
and makes for Eumaeus's hut. Father and son meet; Odysseus
Odysseus
identifies himself to Telemachus (but still not to Eumaeus), and they decide that the Suitors must be killed. Telemachus goes home first. Accompanied by Eumaeus, Odysseus
Odysseus
returns to his own house, still pretending to be a beggar. When Odysseus' dog (who was a puppy before he left) saw him, he becomes so excited that he dies. He is ridiculed by the Suitors in his own home, especially by one extremely impertinent man named Antinous . Odysseus
Odysseus
meets Penelope
Penelope
and tests her intentions by saying he once met Odysseus
Odysseus
in Crete. Closely questioned, he adds that he had recently been in Thesprotia and had learned something there of Odysseus's recent wanderings.

Odysseus's identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia
Eurycleia
, when she recognizes an old scar as she is washing his feet. Eurycleia tries to tell Penelope
Penelope
about the beggar's true identity, but Athena makes sure that Penelope
Penelope
cannot hear her. Odysseus
Odysseus
then swears Eurycleia
Eurycleia
to secrecy.

SLAYING OF THE SUITORS

_ Ulysse et Télémaque Massacrent les Prétendants de Pénélope_ by Thomas Degeorge (1812)

The next day, at Athena's prompting, Penelope
Penelope
maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus' bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus
Odysseus
takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then throws off his rags and kills Antinous with his next arrow. Then, with the help of Athena, Odysseus, Telemachus, Eumaeus, and Philoetius the cowherd kill the rest of the Suitors, first using the rest of the arrows and then by swords and spears once both sides have armed themselves. Once the battle is won, Odysseus
Odysseus
and Telemachus also hang twelve of their household maids whom Eurycleia
Eurycleia
identifies as guilty of betraying Penelope, having sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the goatherd Melanthius , who had mocked and abused Odysseus
Odysseus
and also brought weapons and armor to the suitors. Now, at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She is hesitant but recognizes him when he mentions that he made their bed from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the _Odyssey_, and the rest to be an interpolation.

The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes , who likewise accepts his identity only when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him.

The citizens of Ithaca
Ithaca
have followed Odysseus
Odysseus
on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their leader points out that Odysseus
Odysseus
has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed (albeit rightly). Athena
Athena
intervenes as a _"dea" ex machina _, as it were, and persuades both sides to give up the vendetta . After this, Ithaca
Ithaca
is at peace once more, concluding the _Odyssey_.

CHARACTER OF ODYSSEUS

Main article: Odysseus
Odysseus
A Roman mosaic depicting a maritime scene with Odysseus
Odysseus
(Latin: Ulysses) and the Sirens , from Carthage
Carthage
, 2nd century AD, now in the Bardo Museum
Bardo Museum
, Tunisia
Tunisia

Odysseus' name means "trouble" in Greek, referring to both the giving and receiving of trouble—as is often the case in his wanderings. An early example of this is the boar hunt that gave Odysseus
Odysseus
the scar by which Eurycleia
Eurycleia
recognizes him; Odysseus
Odysseus
is injured by the boar and responds by killing it. Odysseus' heroic trait is his _mētis_, or "cunning intelligence": he is often described as the "Peer of Zeus
Zeus
in Counsel". This intelligence is most often manifested by his use of disguise and deceptive speech. His disguises take forms both physical (altering his appearance) and verbal, such as telling the Cyclops Polyphemus that his name is Οὖτις , "Nobody", then escaping after blinding Polyphemus. When asked by other Cyclopes why he is screaming, Polyphemus replies that "Nobody" is hurting him, so the others assume that "If alone as you are none uses violence on you, why, there is no avoiding the sickness sent by great Zeus; so you had better pray to your father, the lord Poseidon". The most evident flaw that Odysseus
Odysseus
sports is that of his arrogance and his pride, or _hubris ._ As he sails away from the island of the Cyclopes, he shouts his name and boasts that nobody can defeat the "Great Odysseus". The Cyclops
Cyclops
then throws the top half of a mountain at him and prays to his father, Poseidon, saying that Odysseus
Odysseus
has blinded him. This enrages Poseidon, causing the god to thwart Odysseus' homecoming for a very long time.

STRUCTURE

The _Odyssey_ was written in dactylic hexameter . It opens _in medias res _, in the middle of the overall story, with prior events described through flashbacks or storytelling. This device is also used by later authors of literary epics, such as Virgil in the _ Aeneid _, Luís de Camões in _ Os Lusíadas _ and Alexander Pope in _The Rape of the Lock _.

The first four books of the poem trace Telemachus ' efforts to assert control of the household, and then, at Athena's advice, his efforts to search for news of his long-lost father. Then the scene shifts: Odysseus
Odysseus
has been a captive of the beautiful nymph Calypso , with whom he has spent seven of his ten lost years. Released by the intercession of his patroness Athena
Athena
, through the aid of Hermes
Hermes
, he departs, but his raft is destroyed by his divine enemy Poseidon
Poseidon
, who is angry because Odysseus
Odysseus
blinded his son, Polyphemus . When Odysseus
Odysseus
washes up on Scherie , home to the Phaeacians , he is assisted by the young Nausicaa and is treated hospitably. In return, he satisfies the Phaeacians' curiosity, telling them, and the reader, of all his adventures since departing from Troy. The shipbuilding Phaeacians then loan him a ship to return to Ithaca
Ithaca
, where he is aided by the swineherd Eumaeus , meets Telemachus, regains his household, kills the Suitors, and is reunited with his faithful wife, Penelope
Penelope
.

All ancient and nearly all modern editions and translations of the _Odyssey_ are divided into 24 books. This division is convenient, but it may not be original. Many scholars believe it was developed by Alexandrian editors of the 3rd century BC. In the Classical period , moreover, several of the books (individually and in groups) were given their own titles: the first four books, focusing on Telemachus, are commonly known as the _ Telemachy _. Odysseus' narrative, Book 9, featuring his encounter with the cyclops Polyphemus, is traditionally called the _Cyclopeia_. Book 11, the section describing his meeting with the spirits of the dead is known as the _ Nekuia _. Books 9 through 12, wherein Odysseus
Odysseus
recalls his adventures for his Phaeacian hosts, are collectively referred to as the _Apologoi_: Odysseus' "stories". Book 22, wherein Odysseus
Odysseus
kills all the Suitors, has been given the title _Mnesterophonia_: "slaughter of the Suitors". This concludes the Greek Epic Cycle , though fragments remain of the "alternative ending" of sorts known as the _ Telegony _.

This _Telegony_ aside, the last 548 lines of the _Odyssey_, corresponding to Book 24, are believed by many scholars to have been added by a slightly later poet. Several passages in earlier books seem to be setting up the events of Book 24, so if it were indeed a later addition, the offending editor would seem to have changed earlier text as well. For more about varying views on the origin, authorship and unity of the poem see Homeric scholarship .

GEOGRAPHY OF THE _ODYSSEY_

Main articles: Homer\'s Ithaca
Ithaca
and Geography of the Odyssey

The events in the main sequence of the _Odyssey_ (excluding Odysseus' embedded narrative of his wanderings) take place in the Peloponnese and in what are now called the Ionian Islands . There are difficulties in the apparently simple identification of Ithaca
Ithaca
, the homeland of Odysseus, which may or may not be the same island that is now called Ithake. The wanderings of Odysseus
Odysseus
as told to the Phaeacians, and the location of the Phaeacians' own island of Scheria , pose more fundamental problems, if geography is to be applied: scholars, both ancient and modern, are divided as to whether or not any of the places visited by Odysseus
Odysseus
(after Ismaros and before his return to Ithaca
Ithaca
) are real.

INFLUENCES ON THE _ODYSSEY_

Terracotta plaque of the Mesopotamian ogre Humbaba , believed to be a possible inspiration for the figure of Polyphemus

Scholars have seen strong influences from Near Eastern mythology and literature in the _Odyssey_. Martin West has noted substantial parallels between the _ Epic of Gilgamesh
Epic of Gilgamesh
_ and the _Odyssey_. Both Odysseus
Odysseus
and Gilgamesh are known for traveling to the ends of the earth, and on their journeys go to the land of the dead. On his voyage to the underworld, Odysseus
Odysseus
follows instructions given to him by Circe , a goddess who is the daughter of the sun-god Helios
Helios
. Her island, Aeaea , is located at the edges of the world and seems to have close associations with the sun. Like Odysseus, Gilgamesh gets directions on how to reach the land of the dead from a divine helper: in this case, the goddess Siduri , who, like Circe, dwells by the sea at the ends of the earth. Her home is also associated with the sun: Gilgamesh reaches Siduri's house by passing through a tunnel underneath Mt. Mashu , the high mountain from which the sun comes into the sky. West argues that the similarity of Odysseus' and Gilgamesh's journeys to the edges of the earth are the result of the influence of the Gilgamesh epic upon the _Odyssey_.

In 1914, paleontologist Othenio Abel surmised the origins of the cyclops to be the result of ancient Greeks finding an elephant skull. The enormous nasal passage in the middle of the forehead could have looked like the eye socket of a giant, to those who had never seen a living elephant. Classical scholars, on the other hand, have long realized that the story of the cyclops was originally a Greek folk tale , which existed independently of _The Odyssey_ and which only became embedded in it at a later date. Similar stories are found in cultures across Europe and the Middle East. According to this explanation, the cyclops was originally simply a giant or ogre, much like Humbaba in the _Epic of Gilgamesh_; the detail about it having one eye was simply invented in order to explain how the creature was so easily blinded.

THEMES

HOMECOMING

_ Odissea_ (1794)

An important factor to consider about Odysseus' homecoming is the hint at potential endings to the epic by using other characters as parallels for his journey. For instance, one example is that of Agamemnon
Agamemnon
's homecoming versus Odysseus' homecoming. Upon Agamemnon's return, his wife, Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
, and her lover, Aegisthus , kill Agamemnon. Agamemnon's son, Orestes
Orestes
, out of vengeance for his father's death, kills Aegisthus. This parallel compares the death of the suitors to the death of Aegisthus and sets Orestes
Orestes
up as an example for Telemachus . Also, because Odysseus
Odysseus
knows about Clytemnestra's betrayal, Odysseus
Odysseus
returns home in disguise in order to test the loyalty of his own wife, Penelope
Penelope
. Later, Agamemnon
Agamemnon
praises Penelope
Penelope
for not killing Odysseus. It is because of Penelope
Penelope
that Odysseus
Odysseus
has fame and a successful homecoming. This successful homecoming is unlike Achilles
Achilles
, who has fame but is dead, and Agamemnon, who had an unsuccessful homecoming resulting in his death.

WANDERING

Only two of Odysseus's adventures are described by the poet. The rest of Odysseus' adventures are recounted by Odysseus
Odysseus
himself. The two scenes that the poet describes are Odysseus
Odysseus
on Calypso 's island and Odysseus' encounter with the Phaeacians. These scenes are told by the poet to represent an important transition in Odysseus' journey: being concealed to returning home. Calypso's name means "concealer" or "one who conceals," and that is exactly what she does with Odysseus. Calypso keeps Odysseus
Odysseus
concealed from the world and unable to return home. After leaving Calypso's island, the poet describes Odysseus' encounters with the Phaeacians—those who "convoy without hurt to all men" —which represents his transition from not returning home to returning home. Also, during Odysseus' journey, he encounters many beings that are close to the gods. These encounters are useful in understanding that Odysseus
Odysseus
is in a world beyond man and that influences the fact he cannot return home. These beings that are close to the gods include the Phaeacians who lived near Cyclopes, whose king, Alcinous , is the great-grandson of the king of the giants, Eurymedon , and the grandson of Poseidon. Some of the other characters that Odysseus
Odysseus
encounters are Polyphemus who is the cyclops son of Poseidon; God of Oceans, Circe who is the sorceress daughter of the Sun that turns men into animals, Calypso who is a goddess, and the Laestrygonians who are cannibalistic giants.

GUEST-FRIENDSHIP

Throughout the course of the epic, Odysseus
Odysseus
encounters several examples of guest-friendship which provide examples of how hosts should and should not act. One example of good guest-friendship is that of the Phaeacians. The Phaeacians feed Odysseus, give him a place to sleep, and give him a safe voyage home, which are all things a good host should do. He also encounters some bad hosts. For instance, the cyclops's "gift" to Odysseus
Odysseus
was that he would eat him last. He was not a very good host. Another host that was not well versed in guest-friendship was Calypso, who did not allow Odysseus
Odysseus
to leave her island. Another important factor to guest-friendship is that kingship implies generosity. It is assumed that a king has the means to be a generous host and is more generous with his own property. This is best seen when Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, begs Antinous, one of the suitors, for food and Antinous denies his request. Odysseus essentially says that while Antinous may look like a king, he is far from a king since he is not generous.

TESTING

Penelope
Penelope
questions Odysseus
Odysseus
to prove his identity.

Another theme throughout the _Odyssey_ is testing. This occurs in two distinct ways. Odysseus
Odysseus
tests the loyalty of others and others test Odysseus' identity. An example of Odysseus
Odysseus
testing the loyalties of others is when he returns home. Instead of immediately revealing his identity, he arrives disguised as a beggar and then proceeds to determine who in his house has remained loyal to him and who has helped the suitors. After Odysseus
Odysseus
reveals his true identity, the characters test Odysseus' identity to see if he really is who he says he is. For instance, Penelope
Penelope
tests Odysseus' identity by saying that she will move the bed into the other room for him. This is a difficult task since it is made out of a living tree that would require being cut down, a fact that only the real Odysseus
Odysseus
would know, thus proving his identity. For more information on the progression of testing type scenes, read more below.

OMENS

Omens occur frequently throughout the _Odyssey,_ as well as many other epics. Within the Odyssey, omens frequently involve birds. It is important to note who receives the omens and what these omens mean to the characters and to the epic as a whole. For instance, bird omens are shown to Telemachus, Penelope, Odysseus, and the suitors. Telemachus and Penelope
Penelope
receive their omens as well in the form of words, sneezes, and dreams. However, Odysseus
Odysseus
is the only character that receives thunder or lightning as an omen. This is important to note because the thunder came from Zeus, the king of the gods. This direct relationship between Zeus
Zeus
and Odysseus
Odysseus
represents the kingship of Odysseus.

TYPE SCENES IN HOMER\'S _ODYSSEY_

Further information: Type scene _ Odysseus
Odysseus
and Eurycleia_ by Christian Gottlob Heyne
Christian Gottlob Heyne

FINDING SCENES

Finding scenes occur in the _Odyssey_ when a character discovers another character within the epic. Finding scenes proceed as followed:

* The character encounters or finds another character. * The encountered character is identified and described. * The character approaches and then converses with the found character.

These finding scenes can be identified several times throughout the epic including when Telemachus and Pisistratus find Menelaus when Calypso finds Odysseus
Odysseus
on the beach, and when the suitor Amphimedon finds Agamemnon
Agamemnon
in Hades.

OMENS

Omens are another example of a type scene in the _Odyssey._ Two important parts of an omen type scene are the recognition of the omen and then the interpretation. In the _Odyssey_ specifically, there are several omens involving birds. All of the bird omens—with the exception of the first one in the epic—show large birds attacking smaller bird. Accompanying each omen is a wish; this wish can be either explicitly stated or implicitly implied. For example, Telemachus wishes for vengeance and for Odysseus
Odysseus
to be home, Penelope
Penelope
wishes for Odysseus' return, and the suitors wish for the death of Telemachus. The omens seen in the _Odyssey_ are also a recurring theme throughout the epic.

TESTING

While testing is a theme with the epic, it also has a very specific type scene that accompanies it as well. Throughout the epic, the testing of others follows a typical pattern. This pattern is:

* Odysseus
Odysseus
is hesitant to question the loyalties of others. * Odysseus
Odysseus
then tests the loyalties of others by questioning them. * The characters reply to Odysseus' questions. * Odysseus
Odysseus
proceeds to reveal his identity. * The characters test Odysseus' identity. * There is a rise of emotions associated with Odysseus' recognition, usually lament or joy. * Finally, the reconciled characters work together.

GUEST-FRIENDSHIP

Guest-Friendship is also a theme in the _Odyssey,_ but it too follows a very specific pattern. This pattern is:

* The arrival and the reception of the guest. * Bathing or providing fresh clothes to the guest. * Providing food and drink to the guest. * Questions may be asked of the guest and entertainment should be provided by the host. * The guest should be given a place to sleep and both the guest and host retire for the night. * The guest and host exchange gifts, the guest is granted a safe journey home and departs.

Another important factor of guest-friendship is not keeping the guest longer than they wish and also promising their safety while they are a guest within the host's home.

CULTURAL IMPACT

_ The Cyclops
Cyclops
Polyphemus_ by Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci
(between 1595 and 1605), showing a scene shared between _The Odyssey_ and Euripides
Euripides
's _ Cyclops
Cyclops
_

_The Odyssey_ is regarded as one of the most important foundational works of western literature . It is widely regarded by western literary critics as a timeless classic.

Straightforward retellings of _The Odyssey_ have flourished ever since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
. _Merugud Uilix maicc Leirtis_ ("On the Wandering of Ulysses, son of Laertes") is an eccentric Old Irish version of the material; the work exists in a 12th-century AD manuscript, which linguists believe is based on an 8th-century original. _Il ritorno d\'Ulisse in patria _, first performed in 1640, is an opera by Claudio Monteverdi based on the second half of Homer's _Odyssey_. The first canto of Ezra Pound 's _ The Cantos _ (1917) is both a translation and a retelling of Odysseus' journey to the underworld . The poem "Ulysses " by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is narrated by an aged Ulysses who is determined to continue to live life to the fullest. _ The Odyssey _ (1997), a made-for-TV movie directed by Andrei Konchalovsky , is a slightly abbreviated version of the epic.

Other authors have composed more creative reworkings of the poem, often updated to address contemporary themes and concerns. _ Cyclops
Cyclops
_ by Euripides
Euripides
, the only fully extant satyr play , retells the episode involving Polyphemus with a humorous twist. _A True Story _, written by Lucian
Lucian
of Samosata in the 2nd century AD, is a satire on the _Odyssey_ and on ancient travel tales, describing a journey sailing westward, beyond the Pillars of Hercules and to the Moon
Moon
, the first known text that could be called science fiction . _ Front cover of James Joyce 's Ulysses _

James Joyce 's modernist novel _Ulysses _ (1922) is a retelling of _The Odyssey_ set in modern-day Dublin
Dublin
. Each chapter in the book has an assigned theme, technique, and correspondences between its characters and those of Homer's _Odyssey_. _Homer\'s Daughter _ by Robert Graves is a novel imagining how the version we have might have been invented out of older tales. The Japanese-French anime _Ulysses 31 _ (1981) updates the ancient setting into a 31st-century space opera . _ Omeros _ (1991), an epic poem by Derek Walcott , is in part a retelling of the _Odyssey_, set on the Caribbean
Caribbean
island of St. Lucia . The film _Ulysses\' Gaze _ (1995) directed by Theo Angelopoulos has many of the elements of the _Odyssey_ set against the backdrop of the most recent and previous Balkan Wars.

Similarly, Daniel Wallace 's _Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions _ (1998) adapts the epic to the American South , while also incorporating tall tales into its first-person narrative much as Odysseus
Odysseus
does in the _Apologoi_ (Books 9-12). The Coen Brothers ' 2000 film _ O Brother, Where Art Thou? _ is loosely based on Homer's poem. Margaret Atwood 's 2005 novella _ The Penelopiad _ is an ironic rewriting of _The Odyssey_ from Penelope
Penelope
's perspective. Zachary Mason 's _ The Lost Books of the Odyssey _ (2007) is a series of short stories that rework Homer's original plot in a contemporary style reminiscent of Italo Calvino . _ The Heroes of Olympus _, by Rick Riordan , is based entirely off of Greek mythology and includes many aspects and characters from the _Odyssey_.

Ever since the ancient times, various authors have sought to imagine new endings for _The Odyssey_. In canto XXVI of the _Inferno _, Dante Alighieri meets Odysseus
Odysseus
in the eighth circle of hell , where Odysseus himself appends a new ending to _The Odyssey_ in which he never returns to Ithaca
Ithaca
and instead continues his restless adventuring. Nikos Kazantzakis aspires to continue the poem and explore more modern concerns in his epic poem _The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel _, which was first published in 1938 in modern Greek.

ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

Further information: English translations of Homer
Homer

This is a partial list of translations into English of Homer's _Odyssey_.

* George Chapman , 1616 (couplets) * Thomas Hobbes , 1675 * Alexander Pope , 1725–1726 (iambic pentameter couplets); Project Gutenberg edition; Gutenberg.org * William Cowper
William Cowper
, 1791 (blank verse) An audio CD recording abridged by Perry Keenlyside and read by Anton Lesser is available (ISBN 9626345314 ), 1995. * Samuel Henry Butcher and Andrew Lang , 1879 (prose); Project Gutenberg edition * William Cullen Bryant , 1871 (blank verse) * Mordaunt Roger Barnard , 1876 (blank verse) * William Morris
William Morris
, 1887 * Samuel Butler , 1898 (prose); Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg
edition or Perseus Project Od.1.1 * Padraic Colum , 1918 (prose), Bartleby.com * A. T. Murray (revised by George E. Dimock), 1919; Loeb Classical Library (ISBN 0-674-99561-9 ). Available online here. * George Herbert Palmer , 1921, prose. An audio CD recording read by Norman Deitz is available (ISBN 1-4025-2325-4 ), 1989. * T. E. Shaw ( T. E. Lawrence ), 1932 ISBN 1 85326 025 8 * W. H. D. Rouse , 1937, prose * E. V. Rieu , 1945, prose (later revised in 1991 by D.C.H. Rieu for increased literal accuracy) * Ennis Rees , 1960, Random House. * Robert Fitzgerald , 1963, unrhymed poetry with varied-length lines (ISBN 0-679-72813-9 ) An audio CD recording read by John Lee is available (ISBN 1-4159-3605-6 ) 2006 * Richmond Lattimore , 1965, poetry (ISBN 0-06-093195-7 ) * Albert Cook, 1967 (Norton Critical Edition), poetry, very accurate line by line version * Walter Shewring, 1980 (ISBN 0-19-283375-8 ), Oxford University Press (Oxford World's Classics), prose * Allen Mandelbaum , 1990 Verse Translation * Robert Fagles , poetry, 1996 (ISBN 0-14-026886-3 ); an unabridged audio recording by Ian McKellen is also available (ISBN 0-14-086430-X ). * Stanley Lombardo , Hackett Publishing Company , 2000 (ISBN 0-87220-484-7 ). An audio CD recording read by the translator is also available (ISBN 1-930972-06-7 ). * Martin Hammond, 2000, prose * Rodney Merrill, 2002, unrhymed dactylic hexameter, accurate line by line version, University of Michigan Press * Edward McCrorie, 2004 (ISBN 0-8018-8267-2 ), Johns Hopkins University Press . * Barry B. Powell, 2014 ISBN 978-0199360314 , Oxford University Press

SEE ALSO

* Hellenismos portal * Odyssean gods * Parallels between Virgil\'s Aeneid and Homer\'s Iliad
Iliad
and Odyssey
Odyssey

REFERENCES

* ^ "Odyssey". _Random House Webster\'s Unabridged Dictionary _. * ^ _A_ _B_ D.C.H. Rieu 's introduction to _The Odyssey_ (Penguin, 2003), p. _xi_. * ^ The dog Argos dies _autik' idont' Odusea eeikosto eniauto_ ("seeing Odysseus
Odysseus
again in the twentieth year"), _Odyssey_ 17.327; cf. also 2.174-6, 23.102, 23.170. * ^ Homer
Homer
(1996). _The Odyssey_. Trans. by Robert Fagles. Introduction by Bernard Knox. United States of America: Penguin Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-14-026886-7 . * ^ Fox, Robin Lane (2006). _The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer
Homer
to Hadrian_. United States of America: Basic Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-465-02496-4 . * ^ This theme once existed in the form of another epic, _ Nostoi _, of which only fragments remain. * ^ Homer. _The Odyssey_. p. Scroll 17 Line 8-8. Retrieved 16 January 2015. * ^ From the Odyssey
Odyssey
of Homer
Homer
translated by Richmond Lattimore . * ^ "The Lusiads". _ World Digital Library
World Digital Library
_. 1800–1882. Retrieved 2013-08-31. * ^ Carne-Ross, D. S. (1998). "The Poem of Odysseus". _The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald_. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. lxi. ISBN 0-374-52574-9 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ West, Martin. _The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth_. (Oxford 1997) 402-417. * ^ Abel's surmise is noted by Adrienne Mayor , _The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times_ (Princeton University Press) 2000. * ^ _A_ _B_ Anderson, Graham (2000). _Fairytale in the Ancient World_. Routledge. pp. 127–131. ISBN 978-0-415-23702-4 . Retrieved 22 June 2017. * ^ Anderson, Graham (2000). _Fairytale in the Ancient World_. Routledge. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-415-23702-4 . Retrieved 22 June 2017. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Thornton, Agathe. "The Homecomings of the Achaeans." _People and Themes in Homer's Odyssey_. Dunedin: U of Otago in Association with Methuen, London, 1970. 1-15. Print. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Thornton, Agathe. "The Wanderings of Odysseus." _People and Themes in Homer's Odyssey_. Dunedin: U of Otago in Association with Methuen, London, 1970. 16-37. Print. * ^ Calypso and Odysseus. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/calypso-odysseus-greek-myth/ * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 8.566. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Translated by Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.) * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 6.4-5. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Translated by Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Thornton, Agathe. "Guest-Friendship." _People and Themes in Homer's Odyssey_. Dunedin: U of Otago in Association with Methuen, London, 1970. 38-46. Print. * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 17.415-44. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Thornton, Agathe. "Testing." _People and Themes in Homer's Odyssey_. Dunedin: U of Otago in Association with Methuen, London, 1970. 47-51. Print. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ Thornton, Agathe. "Omens." _People and Themes in Homer's Odyssey_. Dunedin: U of Otago in Association with Methuen, London, 1970. 52-57. Print. * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 20.103-4. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 21.414. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Edwards, Mark W. " Homer
Homer
and the Oral Tradition." _Oral Tradition_ 7.2 (1992): 284-330. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 2.143-5. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 15.155-9. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 19.136. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ Homer, _Odyssey_ 20.240-243. (_ The Odyssey of Homer_. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Print.) * ^ Bahr, Arthur. "Foundation of Western Literature". _MIT Open Courseware_. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 27 June 2017. * ^ Cartwright, Mark. "Odyssey". _Ancient History Encyclopedia_. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 27 June 2017. * ^ Merugud Uilix maicc Leirtis. Kuno Meyer (ed), First edition David Nutt270 Strand, London (1886) * ^ _Merugud Uilix maicc Leirtis: the Irish Odyssey_, ed. Kuno Meyer, London: 1886. * ^ "Monteverdi\'s \'The Return of Ulysses\'". _NPR.org_. Retrieved 2017-02-24. * ^ Hesse, Eva (1969). _New Approaches to Ezra Pound_. University of California Press. p. 126. * ^ Euripides. McHugh, Heather, trans. _Cyclops; Greek Tragedy in New Translations_. Oxford Univ. Press (2001) ISBN 9780198032656 * ^ Dougherty, Carol. “The Double Vision of Euripides' _Cyclops_: An Ethnographic _Odyssey_ on the Satyr Stage”. _Comparative Drama_. Vol. 33, No. 3 (Fall 1999), pp. 313-338

* ^ Swanson, Roy Arthur:

Lucian
Lucian
of Samosata, the Greco-Syrian satirist of the second century, appears today as an exemplar of the science-fiction artist. There is little, if any, need to argue that his mythopoeic Milesian Tales and his literary fantastic voyages and utopistic hyperbole comport with the genre of science fiction; ... * ^ _A_ _B_ Grafton, Anthony; Most, Glenn W.; Settis, Salvatore (2010). _The Classical Tradition_. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 653. ISBN 978-0-674-03572-0 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ "When was Homer\'s Odyssey
Odyssey
written? - Homework Help
Help
- eNotes.com". _eNotes_. Retrieved 2015-10-01. * ^ _Inferno_, Canto XXVI, lines 98-99. * ^ Grafton, Anthony; Most, Glenn W.; Settis, Salvatore (2010). _The Classical Tradition_. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 652. ISBN 978-0-674-03572-0 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Grafton, Anthony; Most, Glenn W.; Settis, Salvatore (2010). _The Classical Tradition_. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 652–653. ISBN 978-0-674-03572-0 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ Homer's Odyssey. New York: Bantam. 1991. Trans. Mandelbaum, Allen. ISBN 978-0-553-21399-7 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Look up ODYSSEY _ in Wiktionary, the free

.