Ancient Greek Mythology

Homer's Odyssey

8th century BC, Ancient Greek.

Athene orders a ship to be made ready for a voyage to Pylos. She appears in the shape of Telemachus and everyone thinks that it is him giving the orders.

'The goddess Athene seems to orchestrate the whole thing,' said Miranda. 'She appears more than once to Odysseus’s son Telemachus in the form of a particular family friend, a man called Mentor. She actually appears as this man. Mentor advises Telemachus to sail to Pylos and then to Sparta in order to obtain information about the whereabouts of his father Odysseus. Telemachus only suspects something when Mentor suddenly changes into a bird and flies off!'

'Then the goddess Athene changes into Telemachus himself,' she continued. 'She goes down to the harbour near Odysseus’s palace on Ithaca and orders a ship to be made ready for a voyage to Pylos – she appears in the shape of Telemachus and everyone thinks that it's him giving the orders. And again, when, as a direct result of Athene’s machinations, Odysseus is released from the island of the goddess Calypso and washes up alone on a shore in the land of the Phaeacians, Athene takes the form of one of the friends of the king’s daughter Nausicca – a specific friend whom we are told is the same age as her and a close confident – and visits Nausicaa in her bedroom, taking the form of Dynas' daughter to persuade her to go down to the shore where Odysseus is lying.'

'And when Odysseus is then taken by Nausicaa to her father’s city,' said Miranda, 'Athene changes once again, this time into one of King Alcinous’s pageboys in order to summon everyone to go to the place of assembly near the harbour to hear him speak.'

'And when Odysseus arrives at last on the shores of Ithaca,' she said, 'Athene appears before him as a young shepherd.'

'And it is then that Odysseus pretends to be a Cretan, even to his father,' said Quintin.

Story fragments 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

Athena – Wikipedia

Homer: The Odyssey – English translation, Internet Classics Archive

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