Odysseus, the Hero of Ithaca
This translation to English by Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was first published in 1900.
"Rendered into English prose for the use of those who cannot read the original"
Partly a sequel to Iliad, Odyssey is the epic mythological journey of Odysseus (his Roman name is Ulysses). "Odysseus the Cunning" is the son of Laertes and Anticlea. After sacking the city of Troy by masterfully gaining entrance to the city with a wooden Trojan Horse, his journey to return home to Ithaca after the battle of Troy takes ten years. Among his many trials during this quest, Odysseus must first escape imprisonment by Calypso on the island of Ogygia, endure a battle with the Cyclops, survive a descent to Hades, and suffer the god Neptune's bitter wrath at sea. He goes through many trials, all the while Penelope his wife faithfully waiting for him but not knowing if he is still alive. With the help of Hermes and Zeus, and his son Telemachus, Odysseus is finally home, in his rightful place at the palace, "Hero of Ithaca". Unlike Iliad, Odyssey is written in more of a conversational story-telling style. It is a tale of exile, longing, temptation, patience, and cunning. It is also a timeless tale of everyman's journey to 'home', be it a spiritual goal or a given place. Odyssey has directly influenced other such classic works of literature including Dante Alighieri's 14th century Inferno, Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605), Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1902), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum, "Sinbad the Sailor" from Arabian Nights, Ezra Pound's The Cantos (1922), and James Joyce's Ulysses (1922).
One of the greatest works of literature to be written, this is an epic poem attributed to the blind poet Homer. Written as a sequel to the Iliad, the Odyssey tells of the long journey by the Greek hero Odysseus. He has just fought in the Trojan War, and now, along with his men, is returning home. Altogether, it takes Odysseus twenty years to return. His journey begins in Troy. On his return home he faces cyclops, lotus-eaters, sea monsters, and hostile giants. After getting through all these adventures, the hero finds himself trapped by a goddess on an island. Meanwhile, in Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, suitors have thronged his palace and are each trying to win the hand of Odysseus' wife Penelope. His son Telemachos believes that his father is still alive, and so, aided by the goddess Athena, sets out on a quest to find him.--Submitted by Bethany
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second--the Iliad being the first--extant work of Western literature. It was probably composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia. The poem mainly centres on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long 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 he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage. It continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe that 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 regionless poetic dialect of Greek and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most impressive elements of the text are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by women and serfs, 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.--Submitted by Ledezma Brownpride13
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