Odysseus (/oʊˈdɪsiəs, oʊˈdɪsjuːs/; Greek: Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, Ὀdysseús [odysse͜ús]), also known by the Latin variant Ulysses (US: /juːˈlɪsiːz/, UK: /ˈjuːlɪsiːz/; Latin: Ulyssēs, Ulixēs), is a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle.
Son of Laërtes and Anticlea, husband of Penelope and father of Telemachus and Acusilaus. Odysseus is renowned for his intellectual brilliance, guile, and versatility (polytropos), and is thus known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning (Greek: μῆτις or mētis, "cunning intelligence"). He is most famous for his nostos or “homecoming”, which took him ten eventful years after the decade-long Trojan War.
In Greek the name was used in various versions. Vase inscriptions have the two groups of Olyseus (Ὀλυσεύς), Olysseus (Ὀλυσσεύς) or Ōlysseus (Ὠλυσσεύς), and Olyteus (Ὀλυτεύς) or Olytteus (Ὀλυττεύς). Probably from an early source from Magna Graecia dates the form Oulixēs (Οὐλίξης), while a later grammarian has Oulixeus (Οὐλιξεύς). In Latin the figure was known as Ulixēs or (considered less correct) Ulyssēs. Some have supposed that "there may originally have been two separate figures, one called something like Odysseus, the other something like Ulixes, who were combined into one complex personality." However, the change between d and l is common also in some Indo-European and Greek names, and the Latin form is supposed to be derived from the Etruscan Uthuze (see below), which perhaps accounts for some of the phonetic innovations.
The etymology of the name is unknown. Ancient authors linked the name to the Greek verbs odussomai (ὀδύσσομαι) “to be wroth against, to hate”, to oduromai (ὀδύρομαι) “to lament, bewail”, or even to ollumi (ὄλλυμι) “to perish, to be lost”. Homer relates it to various forms of this verb in references and puns. In Book 19 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus' early childhood is recounted, Euryclea asks the boy's grandfather Autolycus to name him. Euryclea seems to suggest a name like Polyaretos, "for he has much been prayed for" (πολυάρητος) but Autolycus "apparently in a sardonic mood" decided to give the child another name commemorative of "his own experience in life": "Since I have been angered (ὀδυσσάμενος odyssamenos) with many, both men and women, let the name of the child be Odysseus". Odysseus often receives the patronymic epithet Laertiades (Λαερτιάδης), "son of Laërtes". In the Iliad and Odyssey there are several further epithets used to describe Odysseus.
It has also been suggested that the name is of non-Greek origin, possibly not even Indo-European, with an unknown etymology. Robert S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. In Etruscan religion the name (and stories) of Odysseus were adopted under the name Uthuze (Uθuze), which has been interpreted as a parallel borrowing from a preceding Minoan form of the name (possibly *Oduze, pronounced /'ot͡θut͡se/); this theory is supposed to explain also the insecurity of the phonologies (d or l), since the affricate /t͡θ/, unknown to the Greek of that time, gave rise to different counterparts (i. e. δ or λ in Greek, θ in Etruscan).
Relatively little is given of Odysseus' background other than that according to Pseudo-Apollodorus, his paternal grandfather or step-grandfather is Arcesius, son of Cephalus and grandson of Aeolus, while his maternal grandfather is the thief Autolycus, son of Hermes and Chione. Hence, Odysseus was the great-grandson of the Olympian god Hermes.
According to the Iliad and Odyssey, his father is Laertes and his mother Anticlea, although there was a non-Homeric tradition that Sisyphus was his true father. The rumour went that Laërtes bought Odysseus from the conniving king. Odysseus is said to have a younger sister, Ctimene, who went to Same to be married and is mentioned by the swineherd Eumaeus, whom she grew up alongside, in book 15 of the Odyssey.
When Helen is abducted, Menelaus calls upon the other suitors to honour their oaths and help him to retrieve her, an attempt that leads to the Trojan War. Odysseus tries to avoid it by feigning lunacy, as an oracle had prophesied a long-delayed return home for him if he went. He hooks a donkey and an ox to his plow (as they have different stride lengths, hindering the efficiency of the plow) and (some modern sources add) starts sowing his fields with salt. Palamedes, at the behest of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, seeks to disprove Odysseus' madness and places Telemachus, Odysseus' infant son, in front of the plow. Odysseus veers the plow away from his son, thus exposing his stratagem. Odysseus holds a grudge against Palamedes during the war for dragging him away from his home.
Odysseus and other envoys of Agamemnon travel to Scyros to recruit Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without him. By most accounts, Thetis, Achilles' mother, disguises the youth as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had predicted that Achilles would either live a long uneventful life or achieve everlasting glory while dying young. Odysseus cleverly discovers which among the women before him is Achilles when the youth is the only one of them to show interest in examining the weapons hidden among an array of adornment gifts for the daughters of their host. Odysseus arranges further for the sounding of a battle horn, which prompts Achilles to clutch a weapon and show his trained disposition. With his disguise foiled, he is exposed and joins Agamemnon's call to arms among the Hellenes.
Odysseus is one of the most influential Greek champions during the Trojan War. Along with Nestor and Idomeneus he is one of the most trusted counsellors and advisors. He always champions the Achaean cause, especially when others question Agamemnon's command, as in one instance when Thersites speaks against him. When Agamemnon, to test the morale of the Achaeans, announces his intentions to depart Troy, Odysseus restores order to the Greek camp. Later on, after many of the heroes leave the battlefield due to injuries (including Odysseus and Agamemnon), Odysseus once again persuades Agamemnon not to withdraw. Along with two other envoys, he is chosen in the failed embassy to try to persuade Achilles to return to combat.
When Hector proposes a single combat duel, Odysseus is one of the Danaans who reluctantly volunteered to battle him. Telamonian Ajax ("The Greater"), however, is the volunteer who eventually fights Hector. Odysseus aids Diomedes during the night operations to kill Rhesus, because it had been foretold that if his horses drank from the Scamander River, Troy could not be taken.
After Patroclus is slain, it is Odysseus who counsels Achilles to let the Achaean men eat and rest rather than follow his rage-driven desire to go back on the offensive—and kill Trojans—immediately. Eventually (and reluctantly), he consents. During the funeral games for Patroclus, Odysseus becomes involved in a wrestling match with Ajax "The Greater" and foot race with Ajax "The Lesser," son of Oileus and Nestor's son Antilochus. He draws the wrestling match, and with the help of the goddess Athena, he wins the race.
Odysseus has traditionally been viewed as Achilles' antithesis in the Iliad: while Achilles' anger is all-consuming and of a self-destructive nature, Odysseus is frequently viewed as a man of the mean, a voice of reason, renowned for his self-restraint and diplomatic skills. He is also in some respects antithetical to Telamonian Ajax (Shakespeare's "beef-witted" Ajax): while the latter has only brawn to recommend him, Odysseus is not only ingenious (as evidenced by his idea for the Trojan Horse), but an eloquent speaker, a skill perhaps best demonstrated in the embassy to Achilles in book 9 of the Iliad. The two are not only foils in the abstract but often opposed in practice since they have many duels and run-ins.
Since a prophecy suggested that the Trojan War would not be won without Achilles, Odysseus and several other Achaean leaders went to Skyros to find him. Odysseus discovered Achilles by offering gifts, adornments and musical instruments as well as weapons, to the king's daughters, and then having his companions imitate the noises of an enemy's attack on the island (most notably, making a blast of a trumpet heard), which prompted Achilles to reveal himself by picking a weapon to fight back, and together they departed for the Trojan War.
The story of the death of Palamedes has many versions. According to some, Odysseus never forgives Palamedes for unmasking his feigned madness and plays a part in his downfall. One tradition says Odysseus convinces a Trojan captive to write a letter pretending to be from Palamedes. A sum of gold is mentioned to have been sent as a reward for Palamedes' treachery. Odysseus then kills the prisoner and hides the gold in Palamedes' tent. He ensures that the letter is found and acquired by Agamemnon, and also gives hints directing the Argives to the gold. This is evidence enough for the Greeks, and they have Palamedes stoned to death. Other sources say that Odysseus and Diomedes goad Palamedes into descending a well with the prospect of treasure being at the bottom. When Palamedes reaches the bottom, the two proceed to bury him with stones, killing him.
When Achilles is slain in battle by Paris, it is Odysseus and Telamonian Ajax who retrieve the fallen warrior's body and armour in the thick of heavy fighting. During the funeral games for Achilles, Odysseus competes once again with Telamonian Ajax. Thetis says that the arms of Achilles will go to the bravest of the Greeks, but only these two warriors dare lay claim to that title. The two Argives became embroiled in a heavy dispute about one another's merits to receive the reward. The Greeks dither out of fear in deciding a winner, because they did not want to insult one and have him abandon the war effort. Nestor suggests that they allow the captive Trojans decide the winner. The accounts of the Odyssey disagree, suggesting that the Greeks themselves hold a secret vote. In any case, Odysseus is the winner. Enraged and humiliated, Ajax is driven mad by Athena. When he returns to his senses, in shame at how he has slaughtered livestock in his madness, Ajax kills himself by the sword that Hector had given him after their duel.
Together with Diomedes, Odysseus fetches Achilles' son, Pyrrhus, to come to the aid of the Achaeans, because an oracle had stated that Troy could not be taken without him. A great warrior, Pyrrhus is also called Neoptolemus (Greek for "new warrior"). Upon the success of the mission, Odysseus gives Achilles' armour to him.
It is learned that the war can not be won without the poisonous arrows of Heracles, which are owned by the abandoned Philoctetes. Odysseus and Diomedes (or, according to some accounts, Odysseus and Neoptolemus) leave to retrieve them. Upon their arrival, Philoctetes (still suffering from the wound) is seen still to be enraged at the Danaans, especially at Odysseus, for abandoning him. Although his first instinct is to shoot Odysseus, his anger is eventually diffused by Odysseus' persuasive powers and the influence of the gods. Odysseus returns to the Argive camp with Philoctetes and his arrows.
Perhaps Odysseus' most famous contribution to the Greek war effort is devising the strategem of the Trojan Horse, which allows the Greek army to sneak into Troy under cover of darkness. It is built by Epeius and filled with Greek warriors, led by Odysseus. Odysseus and Diomedes steal the Palladium that lay within Troy's walls, for the Greeks were told they could not sack the city without it. Some late Roman sources indicate that Odysseus schemed to kill his partner on the way back, but Diomedes thwarts this attempt.
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey portray Odysseus as a culture hero, but the Romans, who believed themselves the heirs of Prince Aeneas of Troy, considered him a villainous falsifier. In Virgil's Aeneid, written between 29 and 19 BC, he is constantly referred to as "cruel Odysseus" (Latin dirus Ulixes) or "deceitful Odysseus" (pellacis, fandi fictor). Turnus, in Aeneid, book 9, reproaches the Trojan Ascanius with images of rugged, forthright Latin virtues, declaring (in John Dryden's translation), "You shall not find the sons of Atreus here, nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear." While the Greeks admired his cunning and deceit, these qualities did not recommend themselves to the Romans, who possessed a rigid sense of honour. In Euripides' tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis, having convinced Agamemnon to consent to the sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis, Odysseus facilitates the immolation by telling Iphigenia's mother, Clytemnestra, that the girl is to be wed to Achilles. Odysseus' attempts to avoid his sacred oath to defend Menelaus and Helen offended Roman notions of duty, and the many stratagems and tricks that he employed to get his way offended Roman notions of honour.
Odysseus is probably best known as the eponymous hero of the Odyssey. This epic describes his travails, which lasted for 10 years, as he tries to return home after the Trojan War and reassert his place as rightful king of Ithaca.
On the way home from Troy, after a raid on Ismarus in the land of the Cicones, he and his twelve ships are driven off course by storms. They visit the lethargic Lotus-Eaters and are captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus while visiting his island. After Polyphemus eats several of his men, Polyphemus and Odysseus have a discussion and Odysseus tells Polyphemus his name is "Nobody". Odysseus takes a barrel of wine, and the Cyclops drinks it, falling asleep. Odysseus and his men take a wooden stake, ignite it with the remaining wine, and blind him. While they escape, Polyphemus cries in pain, and the other Cyclopes ask him what is wrong. Polyphemus cries, "Nobody has blinded me!" and the other Cyclopes think he has gone mad. Odysseus and his crew escape, but Odysseus rashly reveals his real name, and Polyphemus prays to Poseidon, his father, to take revenge. They stay with Aeolus, the master of the winds, who gives Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a safe return home. However, the sailors foolishly open the bag while Odysseus sleeps, thinking that it contains gold. All of the winds fly out, and the resulting storm drives the ships back the way they had come, just as Ithaca comes into sight.
After pleading in vain with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embark and encounter the cannibalistic Laestrygonians. Odysseus' ship is the only one to escape. He sails on and visits the witch-goddess Circe. She turns half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes warns Odysseus about Circe and gives him a drug called moly, which resists Circe's magic. Circe, being attracted to Odysseus' resistance, falls in love with him and releases his men. Odysseus and his crew remain with her on the island for one year, while they feast and drink. Finally, Odysseus' men convince him to leave for Ithaca.
Guided by Circe's instructions, Odysseus and his crew cross the ocean and reach a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrifices to the dead and summons the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias for advice. Next Odysseus meets the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he learns for the first time news of his own household, threatened by the greed of Penelope's suitors. Odysseus also talks to his fallen war comrades and the mortal shade of Heracles.
Odysseus and his men return to Circe's island, and she advises them on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirt the land of the Sirens, pass between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, where they row directly between the two. However, Scylla drags the boat towards her by grabbing the oars and eats six men.
They land on the island of Thrinacia. There, Odysseus' men ignore the warnings of Tiresias and Circe and hunt down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. Helios tells Zeus what happened and demands Odysseus' men be punished or else he will take the sun and shine it in the Underworld. Zeus fulfills Helios' demands by causing a shipwreck during a thunderstorm in which all but Odysseus drown. He washes ashore on the island of Ogygia, where Calypso compels him to remain as her lover for seven years. He finally escapes when Hermes tells Calypso to release Odysseus.
Odysseus is shipwrecked and befriended by the Phaeacians. After he tells them his story, the Phaeacians, led by King Alcinous, agree to help Odysseus get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbor on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one of his own former slaves, the swineherd Eumaeus, and also meets up with Telemachus returning from Sparta. Athena disguises Odysseus as a wandering beggar to learn how things stand in his household.
When the disguised Odysseus returns after 20 years, he is recognized only by his faithful dog, Argos. Penelope announces in her long interview with the disguised hero that whoever can string Odysseus' rigid bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe shafts may have her hand. According to Bernard Knox, "For the plot of the Odyssey, of course, her decision is the turning point, the move that makes possible the long-predicted triumph of the returning hero". Odysseus' identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia, as she is washing his feet and discovers an old scar Odysseus received during a boar hunt. Odysseus swears her to secrecy, threatening to kill her if she tells anyone.
When the contest of the bow begins, none of the suitors is able to string the bow. After all the suitors have given up, the disguised Odysseus asks to participate. Though the suitors refuse at first, Penelope intervenes and allows the "stranger" (the disguised Odysseus) to participate. Odysseus easily strings his bow and wins the contest. Having done so, he proceeds to slaughter the suitors (beginning with Antinous whom he finds drinking from Odysseus' cup) with help from Telemachus and two of Odysseus' servants, Eumaeus the swineherd and Philoetius the cowherd. Odysseus tells the serving women who slept with the suitors to clean up the mess of corpses and then has those women hanged in terror. He tells Telemachus that he will replenish his stocks by raiding nearby islands. Odysseus has now revealed himself in all his glory (with a little makeover by Athena); yet Penelope cannot believe that her husband has really returned—she fears that it is perhaps some god in disguise, as in the story of Alcmene (mother of Heracles)—and tests him by ordering her servant Euryclea to move the bed in their wedding-chamber. Odysseus protests that this cannot be done since he made the bed himself and knows that one of its legs is a living olive tree. Penelope finally accepts that he truly is her husband, a moment that highlights their homophrosýnē (“like-mindedness”).
The next day Odysseus and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laërtes. The citizens of Ithaca follow Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to make peace.
Odysseus is one of the most recurrent characters in Western culture.
According to some late sources, most of them purely genealogical, Odysseus had many other children besides Telemachus, the most famous being:
The supposed last poem in the Epic Cycle is called the Telegony and is thought to tell the story of Odysseus' last voyage, and of his death at the hands of Telegonus, his son with Circe. The poem, like the others of the cycle, is "lost" in that no authentic version has been discovered.
In 5th century BC Athens, tales of the Trojan War were popular subjects for tragedies. Odysseus figures centrally or indirectly in a number of the extant plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles (Ajax, Philoctetes) and Euripides, (Hecuba, Rhesus, Cyclops) and figured in still more that have not survived. In his Ajax, Sophocles portrays Odysseus as a modern voice of reasoning compared to the title character's rigid antiquity.
As Ulysses, he is mentioned regularly in Virgil's Aeneid written between 29 and 19 BC, and the poem's hero, Aeneas, rescues one of Ulysses' crew members who was left behind on the island of the Cyclops. He in turn offers a first-person account of some of the same events Homer relates, in which Ulysses appears directly. Virgil's Ulysses typifies his view of the Greeks: he is cunning but impious, and ultimately malicious and hedonistic.
Ovid retells parts of Ulysses' journeys, focusing on his romantic involvements with Circe and Calypso, and recasts him as, in Harold Bloom's phrase, "one of the great wandering womanizers." Ovid also gives a detailed account of the contest between Ulysses and Ajax for the armour of Achilles.
Greek legend tells of Ulysses as the founder of Lisbon, Portugal, calling it Ulisipo or Ulisseya, during his twenty-year errand on the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. Olisipo was Lisbon's name in the Roman Empire. This folk etymology is recounted by Strabo based on Asclepiades of Myrleia's words, by Pomponius Mela, by Gaius Julius Solinus (3rd century AD), and will be resumed by Camões in his epic poem Os Lusíadas (first printed in 1572).
Dante Alighieri, in the Canto XXVI of the Inferno segment of his Divine Comedy (1308–1320), encounters Odysseus ("Ulisse" in Italian) near the very bottom of Hell: with Diomedes, he walks wrapped in flame in the eighth ring (Counselors of Fraud) of the Eighth Circle (Sins of Malice), as punishment for his schemes and conspiracies that won the Trojan War. In a famous passage, Dante has Odysseus relate a different version of his voyage and death from the one told by Homer. He tells how he set out with his men from Circe's island for a journey of exploration to sail beyond the Pillars of Hercules and into the Western sea to find what adventures awaited them. Men, says Ulisse, are not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
After travelling west and south for five months, they see in the distance a great mountain rising from the sea (this is Purgatory, in Dante's cosmology) before a storm sinks them. Dante does not have access to the original Greek texts of the Homeric epics, so his knowledge of their subject-matter was based only on information from later sources, chiefly Virgil's Aeneid but also Ovid; hence the discrepancy between Dante and Homer.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" (published in 1842) presents an aging king who has seen too much of the world to be happy sitting on a throne idling his days away. Leaving the task of civilizing his people to his son, he gathers together a band of old comrades "to sail beyond the sunset".
Frederick Rolfe's The Weird of the Wanderer (1912) has the hero Nicholas Crabbe (based on the author) travelling back in time, discovering that he is the reincarnation of Odysseus, marrying Helen, being deified and ending up as one of the three Magi.
James Joyce's novel Ulysses (first published 1918–1920) uses modern literary devices to narrate a single day in the life of a Dublin businessman named Leopold Bloom. Bloom's day turns out to bear many elaborate parallels to Odysseus' ten years of wandering.
Nikos Kazantzakis' The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (1938), a 33,333 line epic poem, begins with Odysseus cleansing his body of the blood of Penelope's suitors. Odysseus soon leaves Ithaca in search of new adventures. Before his death he abducts Helen, incites revolutions in Crete and Egypt, communes with God, and meets representatives of such famous historical and literary figures as Vladimir Lenin, Don Quixote and Jesus.
Return to Ithaca (1946) by Eyvind Johnson is a more realistic retelling of the events that adds a deeper psychological study of the characters of Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus. Thematically, it uses Odysseus' backstory and struggle as a metaphor for dealing with the aftermath of war (the novel being written immediately after the end of the Second World War).
In 1986, Irish poet Eilean Ni Chuilleanain published "The Second Voyage", a poem in which she makes use of the story of Odysseus.
In S. M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time (1998), first part to his Nantucket series of alternate history novels, Odikweos ("Odysseus" in Mycenaean Greek) is a 'historical' figure who is every bit as cunning as his legendary self and is one of the few Bronze Age inhabitants who discerns the time-travellers' real background. Odikweos first aids William Walker's rise to power in Achaea and later helps bring Walker down after seeing his homeland turn into a police state.
The actors who have portrayed Odysseus in feature films include Kirk Douglas in the Italian Ulysses (1955), John Drew Barrymore in The Trojan Horse (1961), Piero Lulli in The Fury of Achilles (1962), and Sean Bean in Troy (2004).
Joel and Ethan Coen's film O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) is loosely based on the Odyssey. However, the Coens have stated that they had never read the epic. George Clooney plays Ulysses Everett McGill, leading a group of escapees from a chain gang through an adventure in search of the proceeds of an armoured truck heist. On their voyage, the gang encounter—amongst other characters—a trio of Sirens and a one-eyed bible salesman.
Odysseus is also a character in David Gemmell's Troy trilogy (2005–2007), in which he is a good friend and mentor of Helikaon. He is known as the ugly king of Ithaka. His marriage with Penelope was arranged, but they grew to love each other. He is also a famous storyteller, known to exaggerate his stories and heralded as the greatest storyteller of his age. This is used as a plot device to explain the origins of such myths as those of Circe and the Gorgons. In the series, he is fairly old and an unwilling ally of Agamemnon.
The British group Cream recorded the song "Tales of Brave Ulysses" in 1967. Suzanne Vega's song "Calypso" from 1987 album Solitude Standing shows Odysseus from Calypso's point of view, and tells the tale of him coming to the island and his leaving.
Over time, comparisons between Odysseus and other heroes of different mythologies and religions have been made.
A similar story exists in Hindu mythology with Nala and Damayanti where Nala separates from Damayanti and is reunited with her. The story of stringing a bow is similar to the description in Ramayana of Rama stringing the bow to win Sita's hand in marriage.
The Aeneid tells the story of Aeneas and his travels to what would become Rome. On his journey he also endures strife comparable to that of Odysseus. However, the motives for both of their journeys differ as Aeneas was driven by this sense of duty granted to him by the Gods that he must abide by. He also kept in mind the future of his people, fitting for the future Father of Rome.
In Homer's Odyssey, Argos (; Greek: Ἄργος) is Odysseus' faithful dog.Calypso (mythology)
Calypso (; Greek: Καλυψώ, translit. Kalypsō) was a nymph in Greek mythology, who lived on the island of Ogygia, where, according to the Odyssey, she detained Odysseus for seven years.Circe
Circe (; Greek: Κίρκη Kírkē pronounced [kírkɛː]) is a goddess of magic or sometimes a nymph, enchantress or sorceress in Greek mythology. She is a daughter of the god Helios and either the nymph Perse or the goddess Hecate. Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of these and a magic wand or staff, she would transform her enemies, or those who offended her, into wild beasts.
The best known of her legends is told in Homer's Odyssey when Odysseus visits her island of Aeaea on the way back from the Trojan War and she changes most of his crew into swine. He forces her to return them to human shape, lives with her for a year and has sons by her, including Latinus and Telegonus. Her ability to change others into animals is further highlighted by the story of Picus, an Italian king whom she turns into a woodpecker for resisting her advances. Another story makes her fall in love with the sea-god Glaucus, who prefers the nymph Scylla to her. In revenge, Circe poisoned the water where her rival bathed and turned her into a monster.
Depictions, even in Classical times, wandered away from the detail in Homer's narrative, which was later to be reinterpreted morally as a cautionary story against drunkenness. Early philosophical questions were also raised whether the change from a reasoning being to a beast was not preferable after all, and this paradox was to have a powerful impact in the Renaissance. Circe was also taken as the archetype of the predatory female. In the eyes of those from a later age, this behaviour made her notorious both as a magician and as a type of the sexually free woman. As such she has been frequently depicted in all the arts from the Renaissance down to modern times.
Western paintings established a visual iconography for the figure, but also went for inspiration to other stories concerning Circe that appear in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The episodes of Scylla and Picus added the vice of violent jealousy to her bad qualities and made her a figure of fear as well as of desire. Later male interpretations were to take the metamorphoses she inflicted not just as reflecting a temptation to bestiality but as an emasculatory threat. Among women she has been portrayed more sympathetically.Euryalus
Euryalus (; Ancient Greek: Εὐρύαλος, Eὐrúalos) refers to the Euryalus fortress, the main citadel of Ancient Syracuse, and to several different characters from Greek mythology and classical literature:
Euryalus, named on sixth and fifth century BC pottery as being one the Giants who fought the Olympian gods in the Gigantomachy.
Euryalus, a suitor of Hippodamia who, like all the suitors before Pelops, was killed by Oenomaus.
Euryalus, one of the eight sons of Melas, who plotted against their uncle Oeneus and were slain by Tydeus.
Euryalus was the son of Mecisteus and Astyoche and one of the Argonauts. He attacked the city of Thebes as one of the Epigoni, who took the city and avenged the deaths of their fathers, who had also attempted to invade Thebes. In Homer's Iliad, he fought in the Trojan War, where he was brother-in-arms of Diomedes, and one of the Greeks to enter the Trojan Horse. He lost the boxing match to Epeius at the funeral games for Patroclus. He is mentioned by Hyginus, who gives his parents as Pallas and Diomede.
Euryalus, the name of two of Penelope's suitors, one of whom came from Zacynthus, and the other one from Dulichium.
Euryalus was the name of a son of Euippe and Odysseus, who was mistakenly slain by his father.
Euryalus (or Agrolas), brother and fellow builder of Hyperbius the Athenian.
Euryalus, son of Naubolus, one of the Phaeacians encountered by Odysseus in the Odyssey.
In the Aeneid by Virgil, Nisus and Euryalus are ideal friends and lovers, who died during a raid on the Rutulians.
Euryalus, a surname of Apollo.Halitherses
In Greek mythology, Halitherses (Ἁλιθέρσης), son of Mastor, was an Ithacan prophet who warned the suitors of Odysseus's wife Penelope after interpreting the symbols that Zeus sent to "be wise in time, and put a stop to this wickedness before he comes." The suitors do not heed Halitherses' warning. After the suitors all die, Halitherses warns the suitors' families against action against Odysseus, saying they will bring evil on their heads for this action against the gods' will. Only half of them listen. The suitors' go on to try to kill Odysseus' family, but they are thwarted by the goddess Athena. Halitherses was one of Odysseus' dear friends back in Ithaca, along with Mentor. Both Halitherses and Mentor tried to stop the suitors, but were unable to. However, Penelope remained faithful to Odysseus.Latinus
Latinus (Latin: Latinus; Ancient Greek: Λατῖνος) was a figure in both Greek and Roman mythology. He is often associated with the heroes of the Trojan War, namely Odysseus and Aeneas. Although his appearance in the Aeneid is irreconcilable with his appearance in Greek mythology, the two pictures are not so different that he cannot be seen as one character.Odysseas Elytis
Odysseus Elytis (; Greek: Οδυσσέας Ελύτης [oðiˈseas eˈlitis], pen name of Odysseus Alepoudellis, Greek: Οδυσσέας Αλεπουδέλλης; 2 November 1911 – 18 March 1996) was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.Odysseus on the Island of the Phaecians
Odysseus on the island of the Phaecians is a landscape painting by Peter Paul Rubens, dating to around 1630-1635. Its subject is Odysseus in Phaecia. It is now in the Galleria Palatina in Florence.Odyssey
The Odyssey (; Greek: Ὀδύσσεια Odýsseia, pronounced [o.dýs.sej.ja] in Classical Attic) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other Homeric epic. The Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon; it is the second-oldest extant work of Western literature, while 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.The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Roman myths), king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, and his wife 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. In one source, the Telegony was said to have been stolen from Musaeus of Athens by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene (see Cyclic poets).Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, RE (Greek: Παύλος; born 20 May 1967) is the eldest son and second child of Constantine II, the last King of Greece from 1964 to 1973 and his wife, Anne-Marie of Denmark. Pavlos was heir apparent to the throne of Greece and was its crown prince from birth, remaining so during his father's reign until the monarchy's abolition. As a male-line descendant of Christian IX of Denmark, he is also a Danish prince.Penelope
In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope ( pə-NEL-ə-pee; Greek: Πηνελόπεια, Pēnelópeia, or Greek: Πηνελόπη, Pēnelópē) is the wife of Odysseus, who is known for her fidelity to Odysseus while he was absent, despite having many suitors. Her name has therefore been traditionally associated with marital fidelity.Polites (friend of Odysseus)
In Greek mythology, Polites (Ancient Greek: Πολίτης) the friend of Odysseus was a minor character in the epics by Homer. Polites was a member of Odysseus's crew. Odysseus refers to him as his dearest friend, though he is only mentioned twice, once as part of Eurylochus's scouting group on Circe's island (he is one of the first to enter Circe's palace) and then when, after a year, he convinces Odysseus to leave Circe. He is killed either by Scylla or the lightning bolt that Zeus throws at Odysseus' ship for his crew eating the cattle of Helios.
(The other Polites was the son of Priam and Hecuba, and was known for his swiftness. He was killed by Neoptolemus during the sack of Troy.)Polyphemus
Polyphemus (; Greek: Πολύφημος Polyphēmos) is the giant son of Poseidon and Thoosa in Greek mythology, one of the Cyclopes described in Homer's Odyssey. His name means "abounding in songs and legends". Polyphemus first appears as a savage man-eating giant in the ninth book of the Odyssey. Some later Classical writers link his name with the nymph Galatea and present him in a different light.Scheria
Scheria (; Ancient Greek: Σχερίη or Σχερία)—also known as Scherie or Phaeacia—was a region in Greek mythology, first mentioned in Homer's Odyssey as the home of the Phaeacians and the last destination of Odysseus in his 10-year journey before returning home to Ithaca.Suitors of Penelope
In Greek mythology, the suitors of Penelope (also known as the Proci) are one of the main subjects of Homer's Odyssey.Telegony
The Telegony (Greek: Τηλεγόνεια, Tēlegoneia; Latin: Telegonia) is a lost ancient Greek epic poem about Telegonus, son of Odysseus by Circe. His name ("born far away") is indicative of his birth on Aeaea, far from Odysseus' home of Ithaca. It was part of the Epic Cycle of poems that recounted the myths of the Trojan War as well as the events that led up to and followed it. The story of the Telegony comes chronologically after that of the Odyssey and is the final episode in the Epic Cycle. The poem was sometimes attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta (8th century BC), but in one source it is said to have been stolen from Musaeus by Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene (6th century BC) (see Cyclic poets). The poem comprised two books of verse in dactylic hexameter.Telemachus
Telemachus ( tə-LEM-ə-kəs; Ancient Greek: Τηλέμαχος Tēlemakhos, literally "far-fighter") is a figure in Greek mythology, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, and a central character in Homer's Odyssey. The first four books of the Odyssey focus on Telemachus's journeys in search of news about his father, who has yet to return home from the Trojan War, and are traditionally given the title the Telemachy.The Odyssey (miniseries)
The Odyssey is a 1997 American mythology–adventure television miniseries based on the ancient Greek epic poem by Homer, the Odyssey. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, the miniseries aired in two parts beginning on May 18, 1997 on NBC. The series won the award for "Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Special". It was filmed in Malta, Turkey, parts of England, and many other places around the Mediterranean, where the story takes place. The cast includes Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi, Irene Papas, Isabella Rossellini, Bernadette Peters, Eric Roberts, Geraldine Chaplin, Christopher Lee and Vanessa Williams.Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta. The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature, most notably Homer's Iliad. The core of the Iliad (Books II – XXIII) describes a period of four days and two nights in the tenth year of the decade-long siege of Troy; the Odyssey describes the journey home of Odysseus, one of the war's heroes. Other parts of the war are described in a cycle of epic poems, which have survived through fragments. Episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid.
The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked "for the fairest". Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the "fairest", should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Paris, who took her to Troy. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Helen's husband Menelaus, led an expedition of Achaean troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris' insult. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Achaeans slaughtered the Trojans (except for some of the women and children whom they kept or sold as slaves) and desecrated the temples, thus earning the gods' wrath. Few of the Achaeans returned safely to their homes and many founded colonies in distant shores. The Romans later traced their origin to Aeneas, Aphrodite's son and one of the Trojans, who was said to have led the surviving Trojans to modern-day Italy.
The ancient Greeks believed that Troy was located near the Dardanelles and that the Trojan War was a historical event of the 13th or 12th century BC, but by the mid-19th century AD, both the war and the city were widely seen as non-historical. In 1868, however, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann met Frank Calvert, who convinced Schliemann that Troy was a real city at what is now Hissarlik in Turkey. On the basis of excavations conducted by Schliemann and others, this claim is now accepted by most scholars.Whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War remains an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, though this may simply mean that the Homeric stories are a fusion of various tales of sieges and expeditions by Mycenaean Greeks during the Bronze Age. Those who believe that the stories of the Trojan War are derived from a specific historical conflict usually date it to the 12th or 11th century BC, often preferring the dates given by Eratosthenes, 1194–1184 BC, which roughly corresponds with archaeological evidence of a catastrophic burning of Troy VII.
Characters in the Odyssey
|House of Odysseus|
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