Finsbury Park

Ancient Greek Mythology

Homer's Odyssey

8th century BC, Ancient Greek.

Odysseus travels by ship to the land of the dead, where he meets with the ghosts of the men he fought alongside at Troy.

'Three of the places that Odysseus visits during his long voyage around an enchanted ocean I think are particularly revealing,' said Miranda.

'The land of the Laestrygonians, for example, is a land of giants. This is where Odysseus loses almost his entire fleet of ships. The place of his single greatest losses. And this is after he visits the island of the Cyclops.

'Then in his remaining ship he has to make a voyage to the land of the dead, where he meets with the ghosts of men he fought alongside at Troy. It is given to few people – he is told afterwards – to return from the realm of Hades and be able to speak about it.

'And then, after having braved the call of sirens and the loss of a further six of his men by a six-headed monster, sailing to an island where sheep and cattle belonging to Hyperion, the sun god, are tended by the daughters of the sun and never die, he spends many years on another island, one that belongs to the goddess Calypso, who offers to make him immortal.'

'I would include a fourth significant place,' said Quintin. 'When he returns to his home island of Ithaca at last he doesn't recognise it at first, and keeps pretending that he is someone else.'

Story recounted from: Shewring, Walter, with an introduction by Kirk, G. S., 1980, reprinted 2008. Homer: The Odyssey. Translated from ancient Greek with an introduction. Oxford University Press.

See for yourself

Homer – Wikipedia

Odysseus – Wikipedia

The Odyssey – Wikipedia

Homer: The Odyssey – English translation, Internet Classics Archive

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