Odyssey – Homer

I’ve roamed back into the realm of classic literature to read Homer’s epic poem Odyssey.

It’s a strange, jolting read, because it was written (probably) in about 700 BC, in another language, as poem, with music probably instead to accompany it. To a modern reader it’s strange, but still interesting.

The story is of Odysseus’ 20 year long journey back home after the Trojan war. We watch as he sails the sea, encountering many mythical creatures and gods along the way which either help or hinder him on his journey.

Back in his home country of Ithaca, Odysseus’ wife Penelope is overwhelmed with sadness and longing for her husband, while their son Telemachus plans to set out and find more information about his long lost father. Their household is overrun by more than 50 suitors vying to marry Penelope while eating them out of house and home.

Some interesting parts of this book:

  • Morning is always referred to as ‘child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn’
  • Odysseus gets out of multiple scrapes not because of his amazing strength, but because of his wit and cleverness
  • And yet, at the end Odysseus wins his final victory by brutally slaughtering all of the suitors after deceiving them for several days… so there’s something to say for his strength as well
  • In Odyssey, gods interact and walk around with men willy-nilly. They even hold grudges and have ‘favourites’ – Athene helps Odysseus on his journey, while Poseidon never forgives him for blinding his cylops son (who was going to eat him and all of his crew, mind you)

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and one to add to the list. It obviously has greater significance than just as a novel, it’s an important part of literature and history.

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