Monday, 4 May 2015


In Greek mythology, Odysseus was described as the king of Ithaca, son of son of Laertes and Anticleia (daughter of Autolycus1). In some version, Odysseus was described as the son of  Sisyphus and Anticleia.
   When Helen was to be married, many suitors came from the whole of Greek, wishing to win her hand, and among them came Odysseus. King Tyndareus of Sparta, Helen's stepfather, feared then that the preference of one suitor might provoke the enmity of the others, and so Odysseus promised him that, if Tyndareus would help him to win the hand of  Helen's sister Penelope, he would suggest a way by which there would be no dispute among the suitors. 
Odysseus and Penelope
When Tyndareus agreed, promising to help him, Odysseus told him to exact an oath from all the suitors of Helen that they would defend the favored bridegroom against any wrong that might be done him in respect of his marriage. So when Menelaus won the hand of Helen, all accepted it in virtue of the oath, and thus Odysseus married Penelope, who was the prize of such a wise advice. But later the seducer Paris abducted Helen, and so the kings of Greek, being bound by the oath of Tyndareus, were forced, after being summoned by Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon, to join the alliance that sailed to Troy with the purpose of obtaining, either peacefully or by force, the restoration of Helen and the property.

                                       It had been prophesied that Odysseus would not return to his island for a long time if he joined the Greek army against Troy, so he pretended to be crazy when Palamedes came to Ithaca to enroll him. He put on torn clothes, and tried to sow the land with salt, while ploughing the fields with a goat and an ox. Palamedes then put the Odysseus's infant son, Telemachus, in front of the plough which made Odysseus stop, revealing his sanity. After this, Odysseus hated Palamedes, and in some version, later Odysseus got his revenge through forging a letter from the Tojan king to Palamedes and burying gold under his tent. When the letter and the gold were discovered Palamedes was accused of treason and sentenced to death.
Achilles disguised as woman and Odysseus

 Odysseus and other envoys of Agamemnon then traveled to Scyros to recruit Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without him. Thetis, Achilles's mother, disguised the youth as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had predicted that Achilles would either live a long, uneventful life or achieve everlasting glory while dying young. When Odysseus found that one of the girls at court was not a girl, he came up with a plan to reveal the truth. Raising an alarm that they were under attack Odysseus knew that the young Achilles would instinctively run for his weapons and armor, thereby revealing himself. Seeing that she could no longer prevent her son from realizing his destiny, Thetis then had Hephaestus make a shield and armor.
Odysseus with Diomedes in Trojan war

                  During the Trojan war Odysseus played an important part. Together with Diomedes he stole king Rhesus' horses, but the very next day he was wounded in battle. When Achilles was killed he held the Trojans back while Ajax carried the dead hero back to the camp. After the burial it was decided that Odysseus and not Ajax should get Achilles armor. Odysseus was also the one to convince 50 of the Greek heroes to hide inside the Trojan horse.

                                     When the Trojan War ended, Odysseus set sail for his homeland of Ithaca with a number of companions in several ships. They first stopped in the land of the Cicones. After sacking the city there, they were driven off and suffered significant losses. Next they arrived at the land of the lotus-eaters, so named because the people there ate the honey-sweet fruit from the lotus plant. This fruit acted like a drug, and when some of the Greeks ate it, they lost all desire to return home. Odysseus had to drag them to the ships and tie them down before he could set sail again.
Odysseus blinding Polyphemus

                  Odysseus next arrived at the land of the Cyclopes2, a race of one-eyed savage giants. When Odysseus and some of his men went into a large cave, the Cyclopes2 Polyphemus trapped them inside by rolling a huge stone across the entrance. Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon, proceeded to kill and eat several of Odysseus's men, and the survivors lost nearly all hope of escaping. Odysseus came up with a plan. After blinding Polyphemus with a stake, he and his men escaped the cave by clinging to the undersides of the giant's sheep as they were let out to graze. Odysseus and his companions ran to their ships and set sail. Polyphemus hurled rocks at them and called on Poseidon to take revenge against Odysseus.
                                  Odysseus landed next on the island of Aeolus, the keeper of the winds. Aeolus listened eagerly to Odysseus's tales of the Trojan War and gave the hero a bag containing all the storm winds. With these winds, Odysseus would be able to sail safely and quickly to Ithaca. After setting sail, however, his men became curious about the bag. Thinking that it might contain gold and jewels, they opened it and released the winds. The winds tossed the ships about and blew them back to the island of Aeolus. Aeolus refused to help Odysseus again and ordered the ships to leave.
                    After sailing for some time, Odysseus came to the land of the Laestrygonians, a race of cannibal giants. The giants destroyed all but one of his ships and ate many of his men. Barely escaping these dreadful creatures, Odysseus and his surviving companions traveled on to the island of Circe, a powerful enchantress. Circe cast a spell on some of Odysseus's men and turned them into pigs. Protected by a magical herb given to him by Hermes, Odysseus forced the enchantress to reverse her spell, and his men resumed their human form. Circe then invited Odysseus and his men to remain as her guests.
Odysseus and Circe

              Odysseus stayed with Circe for a year. Circe bore Odysseus three sons: Ardeas (or Agrius), Latinus; and Telegonus, who ruled over the Tyrsenoi. She told Odysseus that he must visit the underworld and consult the blind prophet Tiresias before returning to his homeland. Reluctantly and full of dread, Odysseus went to the kingdom of the dead. While there, he met his dead mother, Anticlea, and the spirits of Agamemnon, Achilles, and other Greek heroes. Tiresias told Odysseus what to expect and do during the rest of his journey and after he returned home to Ithaca.
Odysseus and Sirens

                                 After leaving the underworld, Odysseus went back to Circe's island for a short stay. Before he set sail again, the enchantress warned him about some of the dangers he still faced and advised him how to survive them. The first of these dangers was the Sirens, evil sea nymphs who lured sailors to their deaths with their beautiful singing. Odysseus ordered his men to plug their ears with wax so they would not hear the Sirens' song. Wanting to hear their songs himself, he had his men tie him to the ship's mast so that he could not be lured away.  Crazed with the Sirens' song Odysseus tried to sign to the crew to let him go, but they could not hear anything, and had promised the hero that they would not let him go no matter what.

              Odysseus and his men next faced the monsters Scylla and Charybdis, who guarded a narrow channel through which their ship had to pass. Odysseus barely escaped the monsters, and he lost some of his men to them. The survivors reached the island of the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. Both Tiresias and Circe had warned Odysseus not to harm any of these animals, but his men ignored the warning and killed some of them as a sacrifice and for food. 
Odysseus and Helios cattle

When Helios complained to the gods, Zeus sent a storm that destroyed Odysseus's ship and drowned all his remaining companions. Alone, Odysseus was washed ashore on the island of Ogygia, where Calypso compelled him to remain as her lover for many years before he finally escaped upon Hermes telling Calypso to release Odysseus.
Odysseus and Calypso

                     After almost nine years, Odysseus finally leaves Calypso and at last arrives in Ithaca, where his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, have been struggling to maintain their authority during his prolonged absence. Recognized at first only by his faithful dog and a nurse, Odysseus proves his identity, with the aid of goddess Athena by accomplishing Penelope’s test of stringing and shooting with his old bow.
Odysseus and Penelope reunion

 He then, with the help of Telemachus and two slaves, slays Penelope’s suitors. Penelope still does not believe him and gives him one further test. But at last she knows it is he and accepts him as her long-lost husband and the king of Ithaca.

                          Later, when Telegonus learned from his mother Circe that he was son of Odysseus, he sailed in search of his father. Having come to Ithaca, he drove away some of the cattle, and when Odysseus defended them, Telegonus  wounded him with the spear he had in his hands, which was barbed with the spine of a stingray, and Odysseus died of the wound. Telegonus then recognized him, and bitterly lamented what he had done.  According to other version, Odysseus died of old age.




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