Odysseus oh DIHS uhs
The Hero of the Battle for Troy

Best known as the long suffering traveler in The Odyssey of Homer and other stories. Grandson of Hermes, yet still a mortal, Odysseus was as brave in battle as he was wise in council.

Outspoken and sincere, fierce and proud. He was one of the soldiers hidden in the famous, yet scarcely described, Trojan Horse (The Odyssey, 4.272).

After the plunder and razing of Troy, Odysseus sailed for his home, his wife Penelope, and his son Telemachos... but the gods had other plans. Actually Odysseus was the master of his own fate. The gods loved and protected Odysseus but it was his sad fate to offend the Earth Shaker, Poseidon. Blown off course to the island of the Cyclops, Odysseus sought hospitality from Polyphemas, son of Poseidon (The Odyssey, 9.259). Polyphemas had only one use for wayward seaman; he ate them. Odysseus with great resourcefulness, blinded Polyphemas with a searing hot wooden spear.

Polyphemas was so befuddled by Odysseus’s clever talk and potent wine, that when his neighbors (other Cyclops) came in response to his screams, he was too perplexed to explain what had just happened, and they left in confusion instead of staying to help. Odysseus made his escape from the island but Poseidon was to have his vengeance before sorrowful Odysseus was to see his home on rocky Ithaka.

One very sad moment in The Odysseus was when Odysseus met Agamemnon in Hades (ibid., 11.395). Odysseus is still alive but Agamemnon is dead, killed by his vicious wife and her lover upon his return from Troy, a sad fate for a hero and leader of men, very sad.

Odysseus also met Herakles, his image that is, in Hades (ibid., 11.601), the ’real’ Herakles was, of course, with the other immortals on Olympous. Herakles and Odysseus share the distinction of going to Hades alive and then returning to the land of the living. Odysseus went to Hades domain to consult the dead oracle, Teiresias the Theban. Odysseus was told that the oracle was the only way he could find out how to appease Poseidon and return to his home and family. The oracle told Odysseus that he would, indeed, see his home and, best of all, there would be an end to Poseidon’s bitterness.

One recurring theme in The Iliad and The Odyssey is the armor of Achilleus, forged by Hephaestus and stained with the blood of countless heroes. Odysseus met Aias in Hades and Aias would not speak because he and Odysseus had fought over the armor of Achilleus after the fall of Troy (ibid., 11.555). For the full story you should, of course, read The Odyssey of Homer.

The adventures of Odysseus were the basis for the Roman hero, Ulysses, via The Aeneid of Virgil.

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