ODYSSEUS (/oʊˈdɪsiəs, oʊˈdɪsjuːs/ ; Greek :
Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς ), also known by the
ULYSSES (US : /juːˈlɪsiːz/ , UK : /ˈjuːlɪsiːz/ ;
Ulyssēs, Ulixēs), was a legendary Greek king of
Ithaca and the hero
Homer 's epic poem the
Odysseus also plays a key role in
Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle .
Penelope , father of
Telemachus , and son of
Odysseus is renowned for his intellectual brilliance,
guile, and versatility (polytropos), and is hence known by the epithet
Odysseus the Cunning (mētis, or "cunning intelligence "). He is most
famous for his nostos or “homecoming”, which took him ten eventful
years after the decade-long
Trojan War .
* 1 Name, etymology and epithets
* 2 Genealogy
* 3 Before the
* 4 During the
* 4.1 The
* 4.2 Other stories from the
* 4.3 The “cruel, deceitful Ulixes” of the Romans
* 5 Journey home to
* 6 Other stories
* 6.1 Classical
* 6.2 Middle Ages and Renaissance
* 6.3 Modern
* 6.4 Comparative mythology
* 7 Namesakes
* 8 See also
* 9 Notes
* 10 References
* 11 External links
NAME, ETYMOLOGY AND EPITHETS
In Greek the name was used in various versions. Vase inscriptions
have the two groups of Olyseus (Ὀλυσεύς), Olysseus
(Ὀλυσσεύς) or Ōlysseus (Ὠλυσσεύς), and Olyteus
(Ὀλυτεύς) or Olytteus (Ὀλυττεύς). Probably from an
early source from
Magna Graecia dates the form Oulixēs
(Οὐλίξης), while a later grammarian has Oulixeus
Latin the figure was known as Ulixēs or
(considered less correct) Ulyssēs. Some have supposed that "there may
originally have been two separate figures, one called something like
Odysseus, the other something like Ulixes, who were combined into one
complex personality." However, the change between d and l is common
also in some Indo-European and Greek names, and the
Latin form is
supposed to be derived from the Etruscan Uthuze (see below), which
perhaps accounts for some of the phonetic innovations.
The etymology of the name is unknown. Ancient authors linked the name
to the Greek verbs odussomai (ὀδύσσομαι) “to be wroth
against, to hate”, to oduromai (ὀδύρομαι) “to lament,
bewail”, or even to ollumi (ὄλλυμι) “to perish, to be
Homer in references and puns, relates it to various forms
of this verb. In Book 19 of the Odyssey, where Odysseus' early
childhood is recounted,
Euryclea asks the boy's grandfather Autolycus
to name him.
Euryclea seems to suggest a name like Polyaretos, "for he
has much been prayed for" (πολυάρητος). But Autolycus
"apparently in a sardonic mood" decided to give the child another name
commemorative of "his own experience in life": "Since I have been
angered (ὀδυσσάμενος odyssamenos) with many, both men and
women, let the name of the child be Odysseus".
receives the patronymic epithet Laertiades (Λαερτιάδης),
Laërtes ". In the
Odyssey there are several further
epithets used to describe Odysseus.
It has also been suggested that the name is of non-Greek origin,
possibly not even Indo-European , with an unknown etymology. Robert
S. P. Beekes has suggested a
Pre-Greek origin. In Etruscan religion
the name (and stories) of
Odysseus were adopted under the name Uthuze
(Uθuze), which has been interpreted as a parallel borrowing from a
preceding Minoan form of the name (possibly *Oduze, pronounced
/'ot͡θut͡se/); this theory is supposed to explain also the
insecurity of the phonologies (d or l), since the affricate /t͡θ/,
unknown to the Greek of that time, gave rise to different counterparts
(i. e. δ or λ in Greek, θ in Etruscan).
Relatively little is given of Odysseus' background other than that
his paternal grandfather (or step-grandfather) is
Arcesius , son of
Cephalus and grandson of
Aeolus , while his maternal grandfather is
Autolycus , son of
Hermes and Chione . Hence,
the great-grandson of the Olympian god Hermes. According to the Iliad
and Odyssey, his father is
Laertes and his mother
although there was a non-Homeric tradition that
Sisyphus was his
true father. The rumour went that
Odysseus from the
Odysseus is said to have a younger sister,
who went to Same to be married and is mentioned by the swineherd
Eumaeus, whom she grew up alongside, in book 15 of the Odyssey.
BEFORE THE TROJAN WAR
The majority of sources for Odysseus' pre-war exploits—principally
the mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and
many centuries. Two stories in particular are well known:
When Helen is abducted,
Menelaus calls upon the other suitors to
honour their oaths and help him to retrieve her, an attempt that leads
Trojan War .
Odysseus tries to avoid it by feigning lunacy, as
an oracle had prophesied a long-delayed return home for him if he
went. He hooks a donkey and an ox to his plow (as they have different
stride lengths, hindering the efficiency of the plow) and (some modern
sources add) starts sowing his fields with salt . Palamedes , at the
behest of Menelaus' brother
Agamemnon , seeks to disprove Odysseus'
madness and places
Telemachus , Odysseus' infant son, in front of the
Odysseus veers the plow away from his son, thus exposing his
Odysseus holds a grudge against Palamedes during the war
for dragging him away from his home.
Odysseus and other envoys of
Agamemnon travel to
Scyros to recruit
Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without
him. By most accounts,
Thetis , Achilles' mother, disguises the youth
as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had
Achilles would either live a long uneventful life or
achieve everlasting glory while dying young.
discovers which among the women before him is
Achilles when the youth
is the only one of them to show interest in examining the weapons
hidden among an array of adornment gifts for the daughters of their
Odysseus arranges further for the sounding of a battle horn,
Achilles to clutch a weapon and show his trained
disposition. With his disguise foiled, he is exposed and joins
Agamemnon's call to arms among the
DURING THE TROJAN WAR
Menelaus and Meriones lifting
corpse on a cart while
Odysseus looks on, Etruscan alabaster urn from
Volterra , 2nd century BC
Odysseus is one of the most influential Greek champions during the
Trojan War. Along with Nestor and
Idomeneus he is one of the most
trusted counsellors and advisors. He always champions the Achaean
cause, especially when the king is in question, as in one instance
Thersites speaks against him. When Agamemnon, to test the morale
of the Achaeans, announces his intentions to depart Troy, Odysseus
restores order to the Greek camp. Later on, after many of the heroes
leave the battlefield due to injuries (including
Odysseus once again persuades
Agamemnon not to withdraw.
Along with two other envoys, he is chosen in the failed embassy to try
Achilles to return to combat.
Hector proposes a single combat duel,
Odysseus is one of the
Danaans who reluctantly volunteered to battle him. Telamonian Ajax ,
however, is the volunteer who eventually fights Hector.
Diomedes during the night operations to kill Rhesus , because it had
been foretold that if his horses drank from the Scamander River , Troy
could not be taken.
Patroclus is slain, it is
Odysseus who counsels
Achilles to let
the Achaean men eat and rest rather than follow his rage-driven desire
to go back on the offensive—and kill Trojans—immediately.
Eventually (and reluctantly), he consents. During the funeral games
Odysseus becomes involved in a wrestling match and
foot race with Ajax "The Lesser," son of Oileus. With the help of the
Athena , who favored him, and despite
Apollo 's helping
another of the competitors, he wins the race and draws the wrestling
match, to the surprise of all.
Odysseus has traditionally been viewed as Achilles' antithesis in the
Iliad: while Achilles' anger is all-consuming and of a
Odysseus is frequently viewed as a man of the
mean, a voice of reason, renowned for his self-restraint and
diplomatic skills. He is also in some respects antithetical to
Telamonian Ajax (Shakespeare's "beef-witted" Ajax): while the latter
has only brawn to recommend him,
Odysseus is not only ingenious (as
evidenced by his idea for the Trojan Horse), but an eloquent speaker,
a skill perhaps best demonstrated in the embassy to
Achilles in book 9
of the Iliad. The two are not only foils in the abstract but often
opposed in practice since they have many duels and run-ins .
OTHER STORIES FROM THE TROJAN WAR
Part of a
Roman mosaic depicting
Odysseus at Skyros unveiling
Achilles , from
La Olmeda ,
Pedrosa de la Vega
Pedrosa de la Vega , Spain,
around 500 AD
Since a prophecy suggested that the
Trojan War would not be won
Odysseus and several other Achaean leaders went to
Skyros to find him.
Achilles by offering gifts,
adornments and musical instruments as well as weapons, to the king's
daughters, and then having his companions imitate the noises of an
enemy's attack on the island (most notably, making a blast of a
trumpet heard), which prompted
Achilles to reveal himself by picking a
weapon to fight back, and together they departed for the Trojan War.
The story of the death of Palamedes has many versions. According to
Odysseus never forgives Palamedes for unmasking his feigned
madness and plays a part in his downfall. One tradition says Odysseus
convinces a Trojan captive to write a letter pretending to be from
Palamedes. A sum of gold is mentioned to have been sent as a reward
for Palamedes' treachery.
Odysseus then kills the prisoner and hides
the gold in Palamedes' tent. He ensures that the letter is found and
acquired by Agamemnon, and also gives hints directing the Argives to
the gold. This is evidence enough for the Greeks, and they have
Palamedes stoned to death. Other sources say that
Diomedes goad Palamedes into descending a well with the prospect of
treasure being at the bottom. When Palamedes reaches the bottom, the
two proceed to bury him with stones, killing him.
Achilles is slain in battle by Paris , it is
Telamonian Ajax who retrieve the fallen warrior's body and armour in
the thick of heavy fighting. During the funeral games for Achilles,
Odysseus competes once again with Telamonian Ajax.
Thetis says that
the arms of
Achilles will go to the bravest of the Greeks, but only
these two warriors dare lay claim to that title. The two Argives
became embroiled in a heavy dispute about one another's merits to
receive the reward. The
Greeks dither out of fear in deciding a
winner, because they did not want to insult one and have him abandon
the war effort. Nestor suggests that they allow the captive Trojans
decide the winner. Some accounts disagree, suggesting that the Greeks
themselves hold a secret vote. In any case,
Odysseus is the winner.
Enraged and humiliated, Ajax is driven mad by Athena. When he returns
to his senses, in shame at how he has slaughtered livestock in his
madness, Ajax kills himself by the sword that
Hector had given him
after their duel.
Together with Diomedes,
Odysseus fetches Achilles' son, Pyrrhus , to
come to the aid of the Achaeans, because an oracle had stated that
Troy could not be taken without him. A great warrior, Pyrrhus is also
Neoptolemus (Greek for "new warrior"). Upon the success of the
Odysseus gives Achilles' armour to him.
It is learned that the war can not be won without the poisonous
Heracles , which are owned by the abandoned
Diomedes (or, according to some accounts,
Neoptolemus ) leave to retrieve them. Upon their arrival, Philoctetes
(still suffering from the wound) is seen still to be enraged at the
Danaans , especially Odysseus, for abandoning him. Although his first
instinct is to shoot Odysseus, his anger is eventually diffused by
Odysseus' persuasive powers and the influence of the gods. Odysseus
returns to the Argive camp with
Philoctetes and his arrows.
Perhaps Odysseus' most famous contribution to the Greek war effort is
devising the strategem of the
Trojan Horse , which allows the Greek
army to sneak into Troy under cover of darkness. It is built by Epeius
and filled with Greek warriors, led by Odysseus.
Diomedes steal the Palladium that lay within Troy's walls, for the
Greeks were told they could not sack the city without it. Some late
Roman sources indicate that
Odysseus schemed to kill his partner on
the way back, but
Diomedes thwarts this attempt.
THE “CRUEL, DECEITFUL ULIXES” OF THE ROMANS
Odysseus as a culture hero , but
the Romans, who believed themselves the heirs of Prince
Troy, considered him a villainous falsifier. In
written between 29 and 19 BC, he is constantly referred to as "cruel
Latin dirus Ulixes) or "deceitful Odysseus" (pellacis,
fandi fictor). Turnus, in Aeneid, book 9, reproaches the Trojan
Ascanius with images of rugged, forthright
Latin virtues, declaring
John Dryden 's translation), "You shall not find the sons of
Atreus here, nor need the frauds of sly Ulysses fear." While the
Greeks admired his cunning and deceit, these qualities did not
recommend themselves to the Romans, who possessed a rigid sense of
honour. In Euripides' tragedy
Iphigenia at Aulis , having convinced
Agamemnon to consent to the sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia, to
appease the goddess
Odysseus facilitates the immolation by
telling Iphigenia's mother,
Clytemnestra , that the girl is to be wed
Achilles . Odysseus' attempts to avoid his sacred oath to defend
Menelaus and Helen offended Roman notions of duty, and the many
stratagems and tricks that he employed to get his way offended Roman
notions of honour.
JOURNEY HOME TO ITHACA
Odysseus is probably best known as the eponymous hero of the Odyssey.
This epic describes his travails, which lasted for 10 years, as he
tries to return home after the
Trojan War and reassert his place as
rightful king of Ithaca.
Polyphemus (1896) by Arnold
Odysseus and his crew escape the cyclops
On the way home from Troy, after a raid on Ismarus in the land of the
Cicones , he and his twelve ships are driven off course by storms.
They visit the lethargic Lotus-Eaters and are captured by the Cyclops
Polyphemus while visiting his island. After
Polyphemus eats several of
Odysseus have a discussion, and
Polyphemus his name is "Nobody".
Odysseus takes a barrel of wine, and
Cyclops drinks it, falling asleep.
Odysseus and his men take a
wooden stake, ignite it with the remaining wine, and blind him. While
Polyphemus cries in pain, and the other Cyclopes ask him
what the matter is.
Polyphemus cries, "Nobody has blinded me!" and the
other Cyclopes think he has gone mad.
Odysseus and his crew escape,
Odysseus rashly reveals his real name, and
Polyphemus prays to
Poseidon, his father, to take revenge. They stay with
Aeolus , the
master of the winds, who gives
Odysseus a leather bag containing all
the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a
safe return home. However, the sailors foolishly open the bag while
Odysseus sleeps, thinking that it contains gold. All of the winds fly
out, and the resulting storm drives the ships back the way they had
come, just as
Ithaca comes into sight. Odysseus' ship passing
between the six-headed monster
Scylla and the whirlpool
from a fresco by
Alessandro Allori (1535–1607)
After pleading in vain with
Aeolus to help them again, they re-embark
and encounter the cannibalistic
Laestrygonians . Odysseus' ship is the
only one to escape. He sails on and visits the witch-goddess
She turns half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and
Circe and gives him a drug called
moly , which resists Circe's magic. Circe, being attracted to
Odysseus' resistance, falls in love with him and releases his men.
Odysseus and his crew remain with her on the island for one year,
while they feast and drink. Finally, Odysseus' men convince him to
leave for Ithaca.
Odysseus and the Sirens ,
Ulixes mosaic at the
Bardo National Museum
Bardo National Museum in
Tunis , Tunisia, 2nd century AD
Guided by Circe's instructions,
Odysseus and his crew cross the ocean
and reach a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus
sacrifices to the dead and summons the spirit of the old prophet
Tiresias to advise him. Next
Odysseus meets the spirit of his own
mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he
learns for the first time news of his own household, threatened by the
Penelope 's suitors .
Odysseus also talks to his fallen war
comrades and the mortal shade of
Returning to Circe's island, she advises them on the remaining stages
of the journey. They skirt the land of the Sirens , pass between the
Scylla and the whirlpool
Charybdis , where they row
directly between the two. However,
Scylla drags the boat towards her
by grabbing the oars and eats six men.
Odysseus departs from the
Land of the
Phaeacians , painting by
Claude Lorrain (1646)
They land on the island of
Thrinacia . There, Odysseus' men ignore
the warnings of
Circe and hunt down the sacred cattle of
the sun god
Zeus what happened and demands
Odysseus' men be punished or else he will take the sun and shine it in
Zeus fulfills Helios' demands by causing a shipwreck
during a thunderstorm in which all but
Odysseus drown. He washes
ashore on the island of
Ogygia , where Calypso compels him to remain
as her lover for seven years. He finally escapes when
Calypso to release Odysseus.
Odysseus is shipwrecked and befriended by the
Phaeacians . After
telling them his story, the Phaeacians, led by King
Alcinous , agree
Odysseus get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast
asleep, to a hidden harbor on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of
one of his own former slaves, the swineherd
Eumaeus , and also meets
Telemachus returning from Sparta.
a wandering beggar to learn how things stand in his household.
The return of Ulysses, illustration by E. M. Synge from the 1909 Story
of the World children's book series (book 1: On the shores of Great
When the disguised
Odysseus returns after 20 years, he is recognized
only by his faithful dog, Argos .
Penelope announces in her long
interview with the disguised hero that whoever can string Odysseus'
rigid bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe shafts may have her
hand. According to
Bernard Knox , "For the plot of the Odyssey, of
course, her decision is the turning point, the move that makes
possible the long-predicted triumph of the returning hero". Odysseus'
identity is discovered by the housekeeper,
Eurycleia , as she is
washing his feet and discovers an old scar
Odysseus received during a
Odysseus swears her to secrecy, threatening to kill her if
she tells anyone.
When the contest of the bow begins, none of the suitors is able to
string the bow of
Apollo but then, after all the suitors have given
up, the disguised
Odysseus comes along, bends the bow, shoots the
arrow, and wins the contest. Having done so, he proceeds to slaughter
the suitors (beginning with Antinous whom he finds drinking from
Odysseus' cup) with help from
Telemachus and two of Odysseus'
Eumaeus the swineherd and
Philoetius the cowherd. Odysseus
tells the serving women who slept with the suitors to clean up the
mess of corpses and then has those women hanged in terror. He tells
Telemachus that he will replenish his stocks by raiding nearby
Odysseus has now revealed himself in all his glory (with a
little makeover by Athena); yet
Penelope cannot believe that her
husband has really returned—she fears that it is perhaps some god in
disguise, as in the story of
Alcmene —and tests him by ordering her
Euryclea to move the bed in their wedding-chamber. Odysseus
protests that this cannot be done since he made the bed himself and
knows that one of its legs is a living olive tree .
accepts that he truly is her husband, a moment that highlights their
The next day
Telemachus visit the country farm of his
Laërtes . The citizens of
Odysseus on the
road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. The
Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to make peace.
Odysseus is one of the most recurrent characters in
Western culture .
According to some late sources, most of them purely genealogical,
Odysseus had many other children besides
Telemachus , the most famous
Poliporthes (born after Odysseus' return from
* with Calypso :
* with Euippe : Euryalus
* with daughter of
Thoas : Leontophonus
Most such genealogies aimed to link
Odysseus with the foundation of
many Italic cities in remote antiquity .
He figures in the end of the story of King
The supposed last poem in the
Epic Cycle is called the
is thought to tell the story of Odysseus' last voyage, and of his
death at the hands of
Telegonus , his son with Circe. The poem, like
the others of the cycle, is "lost" in that no authentic version has
In 5th century BC
Athens , tales of the
Trojan War were popular
subjects for tragedies .
Odysseus figures centrally or indirectly in a
number of the extant plays by
Sophocles , (Ajax ,
Philoctetes ) and
Euripides , (
Hecuba , Rhesus ,
Cyclops ) and figured
in still more that have not survived. In his Ajax,
Odysseus as a modern voice of reasoning compared to the title
character's rigid antiquity.
Plato in his dialogue
Hippias Minor examines a literary question
Homer intended to portray as the better man,
As Ulysses, he is mentioned regularly in
between 29 and 19 BC, and the poem's hero,
Aeneas , rescues one of
Ulysses' crew members who was left behind on the island of the
Cyclops. He in turn offers a first-person account of some of the same
Homer relates, in which Ulysses appears directly. Virgil's
Ulysses typifies his view of the Greeks: he is cunning but impious,
and ultimately malicious and hedonistic.
Ovid retells parts of Ulysses' journeys, focusing on his romantic
Circe and Calypso, and recasts him as, in Harold
Bloom 's phrase, "one of the great wandering womanizers."
gives a detailed account of the contest between Ulysses and Ajax for
the armour of Achilles.
Greek legend tells of Ulysses as the founder of
calling it Ulisipo or Ulisseya, during his twenty-year errand on the
Mediterranean and Atlantic seas.
Olisipo was Lisbon's name in the
Roman Empire. This folk etymology is recounted by
Strabo based on
Asclepiades of Myrleia's words, by
Pomponius Mela , by Gaius Julius
Solinus (3rd century AD), and will be resumed by
Camões in his epic
Os Lusíadas (first printed in 1572).
MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE
Dante , in canto 26 of the “Inferno” of his Divine Comedy
Odysseus ("Ulisse" in the original Italian)
near the very bottom of Hell: with
Diomedes , he walks wrapped in
flame in the eighth ring (Counselors of Fraud) of the Eighth Circle
(Sins of Malice), as punishment for his schemes and conspiracies that
won the Trojan War. In a famous passage,
Odysseus relate a
different version of his voyage and death from the one told by Homer.
He tells how he set out with his men from Circe's island for a journey
of exploration to sail beyond the
Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules and into the
Western sea to find what adventures awaited them. Men, says Ulisse,
are not made to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
After travelling west and south for five months, they see in the
distance a great mountain rising from the sea (this is
Purgatory , in
Dante's cosmology) before a storm sinks them.
Dante does not have
access to the original Greek texts of the Homeric epics, so his
knowledge of their subject-matter was based only on information from
later sources, chiefly
Aeneid but also
Ovid ; hence the
Dante and Homer.
He appears in
Troilus and Cressida (1602), set during
the Trojan War.
The bay of
Corfu as seen from Bella vista of
Corfu is considered to be the mythical island of the
Phaeacians . The bay of
Palaiokastritsa is considered to be the place
Odysseus disembarked and met
Nausicaa for the first time. The
rock in the sea visible near the horizon at the top centre-left of the
picture is considered by the locals to be the mythical petrified ship
of Odysseus. The side of the rock toward the mainland is curved in
such a way as to resemble the extended sail of a trireme .
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 's poem "Ulysses " (published in 1842) presents
an aging king who has seen too much of the world to be happy sitting
on a throne idling his days away. Leaving the task of civilizing his
people to his son, he gathers together a band of old comrades "to sail
beyond the sunset".
Frederick Rolfe 's The Weird of the Wanderer (1912) has the hero
Nicholas Crabbe (based on the author) travelling back in time,
discovering that he is the reincarnation of Odysseus, marrying Helen,
being deified and ending up as one of the three Magi .
James Joyce 's
novel Ulysses (first published 1918–1920) uses modern literary
devices to narrate a single day in the life of a Dublin businessman
Leopold Bloom . Bloom's day turns out to bear many elaborate
parallels to Odysseus' twenty years of wandering. In Virginia Woolf's
Mrs Dalloway (1925) the comparable character is
Clarisse Dalloway, who also appears in
The Voyage Out (1915) and
several short stories.
Nikos Kazantzakis ' The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel (1938), a 33,333
line epic poem, begins with
Odysseus cleansing his body of the blood
Penelope 's suitors.
Odysseus soon leaves
Ithaca in search of new
adventures. Before his death he abducts Helen, incites revolutions in
Egypt , communes with God, and meets representatives of such
famous historical and literary figures as
Vladimir Lenin , Don Quixote
Ithaca (1946) by
Eyvind Johnson is a more realistic
retelling of the events that adds a deeper psychological study of the
characters of Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus. Thematically, it
uses Odysseus' backstory and struggle as a metaphor for dealing with
the aftermath of war (the novel being written immediately after the
Second World War).
Odysseus is the hero of The Luck of Troy (1961) by Roger Lancelyn
Green , whose title refers to the theft of the Palladium .
In 1986, Irish poet
Eilean Ni Chuilleanain published "The Second
Voyage", a poem in which she makes use of the story of Odysseus. In S.
M. Stirling 's
Island in the Sea of Time (1998), first part to his
Nantucket series of alternate history novels, Odikweos (Mycenean
spelling of the name) is a 'historical' figure who is every bit as
cunning as his legendary self and is one of the few Bronze Age
inhabitants who discerns the time-travellers' real background.
Odikweos first aids William Walker's rise to power in
Achaea and later
helps bring Walker down after seeing his homeland turn into a police
The Penelopiad (2005) by
Margaret Atwood retells his story from the
point of view of his wife
Odysseus is also a character in
David Gemmell 's Troy trilogy (2005–2007), in which he is a good
friend and mentor of
Helikaon . He is known as the ugly king of
Ithaka. His marriage with
Penelope was arranged, but they grew to love
each other. He is also a famous storyteller, known to exaggerate his
stories and heralded as the greatest storyteller of his age. This is
used as a plot device to explain the origins of such myths as those of
Circe and the
Gorgons . In the series, he is fairly old and an
unwilling ally of Agamemnon.
The actors who have portrayed
Odysseus in feature films include Kirk
Douglas in the Italian Ulysses (1955),
John Drew Barrymore in The
Trojan Horse (1961),
Piero Lulli in The Fury of
Achilles (1962), and
Sean Bean in Troy (2004). In TV miniseries he has been played by Bekim
Fehmiu , L\'Odissea (1968), and by
Armand Assante , The Odyssey
Ulysses 31 is a French-Japanese animated television series
(1981) that updates the
Greek mythology of
Odysseus to the 31st
Joel and Ethan Coen
Joel and Ethan Coen 's film
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) is
loosely based on the Odyssey. However, the Coens have stated that they
had never read the epic.
George Clooney plays Ulysses Everett McGill,
leading a group of escapees from a chain gang through an adventure in
search of the proceeds of an armoured truck heist. On their voyage,
the gang encounter—amongst other characters—a trio of Sirens and a
one-eyed bible salesman.
The British group Cream recorded the song "
Tales of Brave Ulysses "
Suzanne Vega 's song "Calypso" from 1987 album Solitude
Odysseus from Calypso 's point of view, and tells the
tale of him coming to the island and his leaving.
The literary theorist
Núria Perpinyà conceived twenty different
interpretations of the
Odyssey in a 2008 study.
Over time, comparisons between
Odysseus and other heroes of different
mythologies and religions.
A similar story exists in
Hindu mythology with
Nala and Damayanti
Nala separates from
Damayanti and is reunited with her. The
story of stringing a bow is similar to the description in
Rama stringing the bow to win
Sita 's hand in marriage.
Aeneid tells the story
Aeneas and his travels to what would
become Rome. On his journey he also endures strife comparable to that
of Odysseus. However, the motives for both of their journeys differ as
Aeneas was driven by this sense of duty granted to him by the Gods
that he must abide by. He also kept in mind the future of his people,
fitting for the future Father of Rome. Odysseus' journey was made with
self-centered intent as he consistently engages in conflict in the
pursuit of glory, take him telling the cyclops
Polyphemus his real
name which in turn cost him the lives of many of his crew members.
* Prince Odysseas-Kimon of
Greece and Denmark (born 2004), is the
grandson of the deposed Greek king, Constantine II .
* ^ Entry “Ὀδυσσεύς” at Henry George Liddell and
A Greek–English Lexicon , 1940.
* ^ Stanford, William Bedell (1968). The Ulysses theme. A Study in
the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero. New York: Spring Publications.
* ^ See the entry “Ἀχιλλεύς” in Wiktionary; cfr. Greek
δάκρυ, dákru, vs.
Latin lacrima “tear”.
* ^ Entry “ὀδύσσομαι” in Liddell and Scott, A
* ^ Entry “ὀδύρομαι” in Liddell and Scott, A
* ^ Helmut van Thiel, ed. (2009). Homers Odysseen. Berlin: Lit. p.
* ^ Entry “ὄλλυμι” in Liddell and Scott, A
* ^ Marcy George-Kokkinaki (2008). Literary Anthroponymy: Decoding
the Characters in Homer\'s
Odyssey (PDF). 4. Antrocom. pp. 145–157.
Retrieved 4 May 2017.
* ^ Stanford, William Bedell (1968). The Ulysses theme. p. 11.
* ^ Dihle, Albrecht (1994). A History of Greek Literature. From
Homer to the Hellenistic Period. Translated by Clare Krojzl. London
and New York: Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-415-08620-2 . Retrieved 4
* ^ Robert S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill,
Leiden 2009, p. 1048.
* ^ Glen Gordon, A
Pre-Greek name for Odysseus, published at
Paleoglot. Ancient languages. Ancient civilizations. Retrieved 4 May
* ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca Library 1.9.16
Homer does not list
Laërtes as one of the
Sophocles ' Aiax 190, noted in
Karl Kerényi , The
Heroes of the Greeks, 1959:77.
* ^ “Spread by the powerful kings, // And by the child of the
infamous Sisyphid line” (κλέπτουσι μύθους οἱ
μεγάλοι βασιλῆς // ἢ τᾶς ἀσώτου
Σισυφιδᾶν γενεᾶς): Chorus in Ajax 189–190,
R. C. Trevelyan .
* ^ "A so-called 'Homeric' drinking-cup shows pretty undisguisedly
Sisyphos in the bed-chamber of his host's daughter, the arch-rogue
sitting on the bed and the girl with her spindle." The Heroes of the
* ^ “Sold by his father Sisyphus” (οὐδ᾽
οὑμπολητὸς Σισύφου Λαερτίῳ):
Philoctetes 417, translated by
Thomas Francklin .
* ^ "Women in Homer\'s Odyssey". Records.viu.ca. 16 September 1997.
Retrieved 25 September 2011.
* ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 95. Cf. Apollodorus, Epitome 3.7.
* ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 96.
* ^ D. Gary Miller (2014 ), Ancient Greek Dialects and Early
Authors, De Gruyter ISBN 978-1-61451-493-0 . pp. 120-121
* ^ Documentation on the "Villa romana de Olmeda", displaying a
photograph of the whole mosaic, entitled "Aquiles en el gineceo de
Lycomedes ' 'seraglio').
Achilleid , book 1.
* ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 3.8;
* ^ Sophocles, Ajax 662, 865.
* ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 5.8.
* ^ See, e.g.,
Odyssey 8.493; Apollodorus, Epitome 5.14–15.
Bernard Knox (1996): Introduction to
Robert Fagles '
translation of The Odyssey, p. 55.
* ^ Dante, Divine Comedy, canto 26: “fatti non-foste a viver come
bruti / ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza”.
Ulysses 31 webpage
Núria Perpinyà (2008): The Crypts of Criticism: Twenty
Readings of The
Odyssey (Spanish original: Las criptas de la crítica:
veinte lecturas de la Odisea, Madrid, Gredos).
* ^ Wendy Doniger (1999). Splitting the difference: gender and myth
Greece and India. University of Chicago Press. ISBN
978-0-226-15641-5 . pp. 157ff
* ^ Harry Fokkens; et al. (2008). "Bracers or bracelets? About the
functionality and meaning of Bell Beaker wrist-guards". Proceedings of
the Prehistoric Society. University of Leiden. 74. p. 122.
* Vasil S. Tole (2005).
Odyssey and Sirens: A Temptation towards the
Mystery of the Iso-polyphonic Regions of Epirus. A Homeric theme with
variations. Tirana, Albania. ISBN 99943-31-63-9 .
* Robert Bittlestone; James Diggle; John Underhill (2005). Odysseus
Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press . ISBN 0-521-85357-5 . (www.odysseus-unbound.org)
Ernle Bradford (1963). Ulysses Found. Hodder and Stoughton.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to ODYSSEUS .
* "Archaeological discovery in
Greece may be the tomb of Odysseus"
from the Madera Tribune
* Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Odysseus". Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Characters in the
* Ajax the Greater
Ajax the Lesser