WHO WAS HOMER?• Not much is known about Homer• He was a blind man who may have been from the island of Chios, which was the home to a guild of poets.• However, several wealthy towns claimed that Homer had lived in their cities as a beggar.• His verses were first put into writing around 700 BC.• The verses were probably significantly older than this, because prior to this time, traveling bards were paid to sing Homer’s songs.
Mythos and LogosMythos: The complex ofbeliefs, values, attitudes, etc., characteristicof a specific group or societyLogos: Logos is the Greek root word fromwhich the English logic is derived. So, it isn’tsurprising that, in speaking, logos is oftenequated with “logical reasoning” or “anargument based on reasoning”.
Myths are?Colorful stories that tell aboutthe origins of humans and thecosmos. Attitudes towardsmyth vary greatly. Some regardit as a source of spiritualgrowth, while others see onlyfalsehood. Some see in myththe distinct character ofparticular cultures, while otherssee universal patterns. Someregard myth as "contemporary"and "alive", while others thinkof it as "ancient" and/or "dead."
Athena, the Goddess In Greek literature, the gods play an immenserole in the lives and fates of the mortal dwellersof the earth. Mortals recognized Athenas activerole as an influence and intercessor with others.This is what made Athena so "popular" with theGreek people. In the Odyssey by Homer, Athenahas an incredible relationship with Odysseus.Athena demonstrates throughout the Odysseythat she is a goddess of action just as Odysseusis a man of action.
WHAT IS AN EPIC?An "epic" is a long narrative poem aboutthe deeds of a mythical hero, often inelevated language and originally in oralforms before being set down in writing.
THE HERO• The ancient Greek concept of a hero was different from our own cultures. the ancient Greek hero was a religious figure, a dead person who received cult honors and was expected in return to bring prosperity, especially in the form of fertility of plants (crops) and animals, to the community. The hero is also a literary figure & the key part to the narrative of the heros life is that he/she undergoes some sort of learning trial.
SETTING: From Troy in Asia Minor across the islandsof the Mediterranean Sea (near Italy) and back toIthaca, Greece, sometime in the Bronze Age.
SETTING: Much of the action in the Odyssey takes placeon the sea, where Odysseus must battle against thestorms of the sea god, Poseidon, but the last third of thestory is set in the town and countryside of Ithaca. Mount Olympus - A mountain in Greece, which is home to many of the gods and goddesses. Ogygia: Calypso’s island, where Odysseus is held for seven years. The Underworld: The land of the dead. Odysseus travels here to speak with Teiresias, the dead, blind prophet. While there, he converses with many other "shades," including his war buddies and his mother. Aeaea - The island home of the enchantress Circe. Aeolia - A floating island home of Aeolus, king of the winds. Ithaca - The island kingdom of Odysseus. Off the west coast of mainland Greece. Troy - A kingdom that was destroyed by the Greeks in the Trojan War. It is located on the western coast of Asia Minor. Thrinacia - Island home to the cattle of the sun god, Helios. Sparta - The kingdom of Menelaus, located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Capri - Island home of the Sirens.
After the Greeks tricked the enemy intobringing a colossal wooden horse withinthe walls of Troy, Troy was destroyed.Now it was time for Odysseus and theother Greeks to return to their kingdomsacross the sea. Here begins the tale ofthe Odyssey, as sung by the blindminstrel Homer and the Muses.
The supreme gods on Mount Olympus.urged on by Athena, the goddess ofwar, decide that Odysseus has beenmarooned too long on the island of thenymph Calypso.
Meanwhile, assuming Odysseus isdead, suitors pursue his wife Penelope.His son Telemachus calls an assembly toask for help, and Zeus sends an omen ofthe suitors doom. Afterwards Telemachussets sail for the mainland to seek news ofhis father.
Telemachus consults King Nestor, who tells himwhat he knows of the Greeks return from Troy:"It started out badly because of Athenas anger.Half the army, your father included, stayedbehind at Troy to try to appease her. The rest ofus made it home safely -- all exceptMenelaus, who was blown off course toEgypt, where he remained for seven years. Seekadvice from Menelaus."
Menelaus tells what he learned of Odysseus. Hewas advised by a goddess to disguise himselfand three members of his crew in seal pelts andthen pounce on the Old Man of the Sea. Theyheld him down while he transformed himself intovarious animals and shapes and he gave themnews of their companions. Menelaus learnedthat Odysseus was presently being held againsthis will by the nymph Calypso.
Zeus sends his messenger Hermes toCalypsos island. Though the goddess isnthappy about it, she agrees to let Odysseusgo.
But Poseidondestroys the raft onwhich he sets sail bylashing the sea into astorm with histrident. Odysseusbarely escapes withhis life and washesashore dayslater, half-drowned.He staggers into anolive thicket and fallsasleep.
Odysseus awakens to the sound of maidenslaughing. Princess Nausicaa of the Phaeacians hascome down to the riverside to wash her weddingdress. Now she and her handmaids are frolickingafter the chore. Odysseus approaches as asuppliant, and Nausicaa is kind enough to instructhim how to get the kings help in returning to hishome. Odysseus follows her into town.
Odysseus goes right up to the queen andputs his case to her and asks for her help.King Alcinous knows better than to refusehospitality to a decent petitioner. Heinvites Odysseus to the banquet which isin progress and promises him safepassage home after he has been suitablyentertained.
The next day is declared a holiday in honor ofthe guest, whose name the king still does notknow. An athletic competition is held, with footraces, wrestling and the discus. Odysseus isinvited to join in but begs off, promptingsomeone to suggest that he lacks the skills.Angered, he takes up a discus and throws it withsuch violence that everyone drops to theground.
That night at a banquet, as the court bardentertains with songs of the Trojan War,Odysseus is heard sobbing. "Enough!"shouts King Alcinous. "Our friend finds thissong displeasing. Wont you tell us yourname, stranger, and where you hailfrom?"
My name is Odysseus of Ithaca, and here is mytale since setting out from Troy. We visited theLotus Eaters, and three of my crew tasted thisstrange plant. They lost all desire to returnhome and had to be carried off by force.
On another island we investigated a cave full of goat pens. The herdsman turned out to be as big as a barn, with a single glaring eye in his forehead. This Cyclops promptly ate two of my men for dinner.I will be eating you next Eat me and you will eat “Nobody.” all of the magic contained in my head.
We were trapped inthe cave by aboulder in thedoorway that onlythe Cyclops couldbudge, so wecouldnt kill him whilehe slept. Instead wesharpened a poleand used it to gougeout his eye.
We escaped by clinging to theundersides of his goats. the gigantic one-eyed (Cyclopes) son of Poseidon hurls boulders at Odysseus’ ship as he and his men pull away from the island.
Next we met the Keeper of theWinds, Aeolus, who sent us on our waywith a steady breeze.
Hed given me a leather bag, which my crewmistook for treasure. They opened it andreleased a hurricane that blew us back towhere wed started.
The few survivors put in at the island ofthe enchantress Circe. She entertained mymen and then, with a wave of herwand, turned them into swine.
Hermes the god gave me an herb thatprotected me. Circe told me that to gethome I must travel to the land of Death."
Odysseus did as Circeinstructed, bleeding asacrificed lamb into apit. He held all theother shades at bayuntil Tiresias, theprophet who hadaccompanied them toTroy, had drunk fromthe pit.
Tiresias, warned him about the journey home and to beware of Scylla (six headed serpent) and Charybdis (Giant Clam/Whirlpool) He also instructed Odysseus to stay away from Helios the Sun God’s sacred cattle.Tiresias, the blind prophet tells Odysseus thathe can get back to his home of Ithaca if he follows the constellation Orions brightest star
While in Hades, Odysseus encounters the ghost ofhis dead mother, Anticleia who has taken her ownlife. While Odysseus may have grappled with deathbefore, the loss of his mother, whose death he hadnot been aware, devastates him. Anticleia warnsOdysseus that the suitors are trying to steal hisworld and take his wife Penelope from him forever.He must return to his home of Ithaca with caution.
At sea once more they had to pass theSirens, whose sweet singing lures sailors totheir doom. Odysseus stopped up the ears ofhis crew with wax, and he listened whilelashed to the mast, powerless to steer towardshipwreck.
Next came Charybdis, who swallows thesea in a whirlpool, then spits it up again.Avoiding this they skirted the cliff whereScylla exacts her toll. Each of her sixslavering maws grabbed a sailor andwolfed him down.
Finally they were becalmed on the island ofthe Sun. Odysseus’ men disregarded allwarnings and sacrificed the Helios, SunGod’s cattle, so back at sea Zeus sent athunderbolt that smashed the ship.
Odysseus alone survived, washing up on theisland of Calypso. When Odysseus finished histale, King Alcinous ordered him sped to Ithaca.In joy Odysseus kissed the ground. Athenatransformed him into an old man as a disguise.Clad in a filthy tunic, he went off to find hisfaithful swineherd, as instructed by the goddess.
Eumaeus the swineherd welcomes thebedraggled stranger. Odysseus makes up anelaborate story about his origins. That nightthe hero sleeps by the fire under theswineherds spare cloak, while Eumaeushimself sleeps outside in the rain with hisherd.
Athena summons Telemachus home and tellshim how to avoid an ambush by the suitors.Following Athenas instructions, he proceeds tothe farmstead of Eumaeus. There he makes theacquaintance of the tattered guest and sendsEumaeus to his mother to announce his safereturn.
Athena restores Odysseus normalappearance, enchancing it so thatTelemachus takes him for a god. "No godam I," Odysseus assures him, "but yourown father, returned after these twentyyears."
Later they plot the suitors doom.Concerned that the odds are fifty-to-one, Telemachus suggests that they mightneed reinforcements. "Arent Zeus andAthena reinforcement enough?" asksOdysseus.
Disguised once more as an oldbeggar, Odysseus journeys to town. AtAthenas urging Odysseus begs food fromthe suitors.
One man, Antinous, refuses to give himeven a crust. He even hurls his footstoolat Odysseus, hitting him in the back. Thismakes even the other suitors nervous, forsometimes the gods masquerade asmortals to test their righteousness.
Penelope takes kindly to the stranger and ordersher maid Eurycleia to bathe his feet.Eurycleia, notices a scar above the heros knee.Odysseus had been gored by a wild boar whenhunting on Mount Parnassus as a young man.The maid recognizes her master at once butOdysseus silences her lest she give away his plotprematurely.
Penelope now appears before the suitors. In herhand is Odysseus’ bow. "Whoever strings thisbow," she says, "and sends an arrow straightthrough the sockets of twelve ax heads lined ina row -- that man will I marry." The suitors taketurns trying to bend the bow to string it, but allof them lack the strength. Odysseus asks if hemight try.
The suitors refuse, fearing that theyll beshamed if the beggar succeeds. But Telemachusinsists. Odysseus strings the bow and sends anarrow through the ax heads. At a sign from hisfather, Telemachus arms himself and takes up astation by his side.
Antinous, ringleader of the suitors, dies whenOdysseus puts an arrow through his throat. Thegoatherd sneaks out and comes back withshields and spears for the suitors, but nowAthena appears. She sends the suitorsspearthrusts wide, as Odysseus, Telemachusand the two faithful herdsmen strike with volleyafter volley of lances. They finish off the workwith swords.
Penelope still wont accept that its truly herhusband without some secret sign. She tells aservant to make up his bed in the hall. "Whohad the craft to move my bed?" stormsOdysseus. "I carved the bedpost myself from theliving trunk of an olive tree and built thebedroom around it." Penelope rushes into hisarms.
The next morning Odysseus goes to thevineyard where his father, old KingLaertes, labors like a peasant.Meanwhile, the suitors’ kin have gatheredat the assembly ground, where Antinous’father fires them up for revenge.
Odysseus, his father and Telemachusmeet the challenge. But the fighting stopsright there. Athena tells the contendingparties to live together in peace downthrough the years to come.