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Homer's The Odyssey

I have just started reading The Odyssey, and have found it very
interesting. I have started to write about it so you don’t have to read it,
but still know about it. I still insist that you read it
because it will help you learn about Greek Mythology.

The Odyssey is divided up into XXIV (24) books, all written by Homer
who I will also discuss before I sum up the book. Each book is
more or less a chapter but they’re called books.

Homer was born in the 8th century B.C. and has been the national poet
of Greece for nearly three thousand years. He also wrote another
famous work in his time, The Iliad. Both The Odyssey and The Iliad
are based on historic events that occurred about 1230 B.C.
The Odyssey was written in Asia Minor.

You probably want to get started on the book hmm? Here we go.

Reference from The Odyssey by Homer.
Also the NBC and HALLMARK ENTERTAINMENT mini series.


Synopses of Book I in The Odyssey.
The poet or narrator “invokes the Muse” asking her to start her story wherever she chooses, of our hero, Odysseus, who has travelled far and wide after the Trojan war. You see, Poseidon, who has kept Odysseus away from his land, Ithaca, is gone. The gods agree it’s time to let him come home. Athena descends to Ithaca, disguised as King Mentes, to talk with Telemachus, Odysseus’ son. The house is full of rowdy young men that are eating him out of house and home under the pretext of courting his mother, Penelope, who has not made up her mind about remarrying. Mentes or Athena predicts Odysseus’ return, prompts Telemachus to give up boyhood, act like a man, present his case to the assembly, and take strong steps to ascertain his father’s whereabouts. When Penelope comes down from her room to tell the bard Phemius to quit singing sad stories of Troy, Telemachus takes the chance to assert himself: he tells her to leave such matters to him, he is the master of the house.

Synopses of Book II in The Odyssey.
Telemachus hosts the first assembly since his father's abscence twenty years earlier. He's tired of the wasteful and annoying suitors that are eating up his estate and demands they leave. Antinous & Eurymachus (leading suitors) blame poor Penelope herself for their presence, they say if she'd pick one of them for her husband no one would waste her property. The assembly takes the side of the suitors but Telemachus asks for a ship, no action is taken and the assembly is no more. Telemachus prays to Athena (the favorite goddess of the house of Ithaca) and she comes to him in the form of Mentor, one of Odysseus' old friends. He(she) finds a ship, and a few volunteer crew members.

Synopses of Book III in The Odyssey.
The next morning the ship arrives at the mainland of Pylos; Telemachus and the disguised goddess take part in a hecatomb(?) to the ocean god Poseidon. King Nestor tells numerous stories about the battles and the return of other heroes at Troy, but knows nothing of the great Odysseus. Athena vanishes into thin air. Nestor is impressed that Prince Telemachus is being helped by the gods, and sends his own son, Peisistratus, to accompany Telemachus on a trip to Sparta to visit King Menelaus and Helen.

Synopses of Book IV in The Odyssey.
The two young men are entertained by the King Menelaus and Queen Helen, who tell of the times with Odysseus in the battles at Troy. Next morning, Menelaus tells how the god Proteus has uncovered that Calypso (daughter of Atlas) is keeping Odysseus captive on her island. But back in good old Ithaca the evil suitors learn of Telemachus' journey and plan to ambush him on his return. Penelope is horrified at these new plans but takes comfort in a dream sent to her by Athena.

Synopses of Book V in The Odyssey.
Up on Mount Olympus, home of the gods, Zeus orders Hermes to tell Calypso to release Odysseus or her island will be sunk. Calypso is furious with news because she thinks the Olympians are jealous, but still that isn't a reason to disobey and she lets him go. Odysseus has to build his own raft, after he is done Calypso stocks it with rations to get him to where he wants to go. Odysseus spends seventeen days at sea then finally spots land, unfortunately, Poseidon is returing from his journey and is mad at Odysseus. The god rouses a storm so powerful it breaks the raft to splinters. Odysseus spends and additional two days at sea when he reaches the shore of Scheria, kisses the land, crawls under the shelter of some olive trees and falls asleep.


Books VI - X

Synopses of Book VI in The Odyssey.
Athene visits Princess Nausicaa in a dream prodding her to take the responsibilities of a woman now that she's at a marrieagable age, Nausicaa asks her father, King Alcinous of Scheria, for a wagon so she can go do the laundry at the washing cisterns. When Nausicaa and her friends are done washing they play ball and by accident awaken the unknown Odysseus. In a wonderful speech he tells Nausicaa how beautiful she is, then asks for help. The girls wash and feed the dirty man then give him a tunic to wear. Nausicaa is impressed by his manliness and tells him how to get into town and appeal to her mother for hospitality.

Synopses of Book VII in The Odyssey.
Again Athene helps him by disguising herself as a Phaeacian and leading him to the palace of Alcinous where Odysseus throws himself on the mercy of Queen Arete. Arete notices that she has made the clothes that Odysseus is wearing then asks him how he got to Phaecia and then to Scheria. He starts with his last journey from Calypso's island, the storm and up to where Nausicaa helps him. The King is so impressed he offers his daughter's hand in marriage to Odysseus; Alcinous promises him help in getting home if he prefers that alternative.

Synopses of Book VIII in The Odyssey.
Next day there is a feast and athletic competition in Odysseus's honour. Odysseus is taunted and teased by a young Phaeacian, who mistakes him for a merchant incapable of physical activity. Odysseus shows him by throwing a record breaking discus. The blind Demodocus, a bard, sings a humorus poem about how Hephaestus caught Ares and Aphrodite making love on his bed. The Phaeacians give Odysseus numerous gifts, and Nausicaa begs him to remember how he owes his safety to her. Odysseus asks Demodocus to sing of the Trojan Horse at the feast, then the lost King of Ithaca starts to weep. Seeing this King Alcinous asks Odysseus to tell him about himself.

Synopses of Book IX in The Odyssey.
Odysseus reveals himself as Odysseus and starts his story. Sailing from Troy (Ilium)with 12 ships his army landed in Thrace and sacked the Ciconian city of Ismarus. Driven by the tempests past Cape Malea, they reach Lotophagi land, the home of the lotus plant. Unfortunately some the men ate the lotus which made them forget their homeland and families, and had to be dragged back to work. They then came across the island of the Cyclopes. Odysseus took twelve men with him and waited in a cave of a Cyclops to study them and to get the presents that were due to them. Polyphemus drove his sheep inside, then ate two of Odysseus's men for supper. The next morning he had another two for breakfast, then took his flocks out and left. On Polyphemus' return Odysseus and six other survivors put into effect a perfect plan: they got him drunk and gouged out his eye with heated stake. Cunning Odysseus also tricked his Polyphemus's neighbours into thinking the blinded Cyclops was sick. The men then tied themselves under the bellies of the sheep and when Polyphemus opened the cave to let them out, the humans escaped. While on their escape, Odysseus couldn't resist telling Polyphemus his real name. Polyphemus prayed to his father Poseidon to have revenge on Odysseus for blinding him.

Synopses of Book X in The Odyssey.
The weary and somewhat smaller crew are guests for a month on the island of Aeolus, keeper of the winds. When they leave Odysseus has a special gift: all the winds are tied up in one bag, except the one they need to get home. Odysseus doesn't sleep untill he can't stay awake any longer(just as Ithaca is in sight). His greedy and jealous men wonder what's in the bulging bag that Odysseus has and they decide to open it. The winds go round and round and blow the now hopeless crew away to a strange harbour where the eleven ships drop anchor. All the men except Odysseus and his immediate crew are lunch to the Laestrygonians. These men who have been beaten to a pulp, but not done getting punished arrive at the isle of Aeaea (ee-EE-a). Half of his men go off in search of food and are bewitched by the sorceress Circe and turned into pigs. Hermes helps Odysseus and gives him the magical root moly, which only gods can uproot, to protect him from the witch's magic. Odysseus overpowers Circe and forces her to turn his men back and remains as her guest for a year. Circe tells him how to get down to Hades where he must consult the dead prophet Teiresias. When the crew is instructed to get ready Elpenor falls off the roof to his death.


Books XI - XXIV

Synopses of Book XI -
Odysseus evokes the spirits of Hades as he reaches the gloomy gates. The first ghost he sees is Elpenor who tells his former captain to go back to Aeaea and give him a proper burial. Teiresias outlines the rest of Odysseus’ life. Anticlea, his mother, tells how she has died, waiting hopelessly for his return. After recalling the ghosts of many famous women, Odysseus interrupts his story, reminds his hosts of the lateness of the hour, elicits further promises of gifts and an escort. At their urging, he goes on to tell of his interview with Agamemnon and Achilles, and of seeing other great heroes.

Synopses of Book XII -
On his return to Aeaea to bury Elpenor, Odysseus gets instructions from Circe on how to handle the problems ahead. He stops his mens ears with wax and is lashed to the mast to get passed the alluring Sirens. They then make an impossible voyage through the strait of Scylla and Charybdis. They lose six men to Scylla, who has six dog heads, in contrast to losing everyone plus the ship to Charybdis. They land on the isle of the sun god, Helios. Odysseus’ men disregard his warnings and eat the sacred cattle. As punishment for this unspeakable crime Zeus smashes their ship with a thunder bolt, killing all men excpet Odysseus, who is thrown up on the shore of Ogygia, where Calypso keeps him for seven years.

Synopses of Book XIII -
The next morning the kind Phaeacians take Odysseus and his numerous gifts to Ithaca in their fastest ship. They set the sleeping king on Ithaca and return home. As the ship, less Odysseus, comes near the harbour, Poseidon turns it into a rock for helping Odysseus. When he wakes up, he is unaware that he is in his home land. Athene brings him up to speed, tells him how to handle the suitors and disguises him as an old beggar.

Synopses of Book XIV -
Odysseus goes to the hut of Eumaeus, who graciously takes him in and tells him of the current situation. Odysseus, still disguised tells a long and very untruthful story, which includes a report of Odysseus impend ing return. Odysseus sleeps very comfortably in the Eumaeus’ hut, but he sleeps with his pigs.

Synopses of Book XV -
Meanwhile in Sparta, Athene appears to Telemachus in a dream, urges him home and warns him of the suitors ambush. Bearing his gifts he returns to his ship at Pylos and makes haste on his way home. While Odysseus and Eumaeus continue to visit, Telemachus slips the ambush and heads to the swineherds hut on the hunch Athene gave him.

Synopses of Book XVI -
Odysseus is still in disguise while he and Eumaeus prepare breakfast. Telemachus arrives at the hut and sends the swineherd into town to tell his mother of his return. Athene returns Odysseus back to his regular self, he then reveals himself to his son; reunited after twenty years of waiting the two plan how to rid his palace of the suitors. The suitors, meanwhile, are amazed that Telemachus has gotten passed the ambush and are yelled at by Penelope for trying to kill her son.

Synopses of Book XVII -
The next day, Telemachus runs home and tells his lonely mother what he has learned from King Menelaus. Odysseus slips back into costume and walks into the city as the company of Eumaeus. On the way they are insulted by the stupid goatherd Melanthius who also kicks the “old man”. They reach the courtyard and Odysseus is recognized by his old dog Argus, who attempts to go to him, then dies happy. Odysseus begs from the wooers, but Antinous flings a tripod at him. Penelope tells her desire to hear her husbands story.

Synopses of Book XVIII -
Irus, the tramp who has always begged at the palace of Odysseus, resents the new beggars prescence and challenges him to a fight. Odysseus, trying to avoid suspicion, takes the challenge, taps him on the jaw, but breaks it. Penelope who has been made more beautiful by Athene, scolds Telemachus for letting the new beggar be mistreated and evokes the admiration of the wooers. Odysseus gives one of the maids a good cussing for her floozy behaviour with one of the suitors. Eurymachus, who was the cause of this cussing throws a stool at him. Telemachus tells them off and makes them go home for the night.

Synopses of Book XIX -
The now father and son remove the armor from the hall. Penelope talks with the “tramp” and he tells her of his made up adventures with her husband. He includes a true description of what Odysseus once wore. The queen is very moved and tells the maid Eurycleia to wash his feet. She notices a scar on his leg and almost blows his secret but he extracts a promise of secrecy. Penelope brings up a dream she has had and they discuss it. Penelope decides she will have a shooting contest to determine who will win her hand in marriage.

Synopses of Book XX -
Odysseus just can’t sleep and tosses and turns, but in the morning he asks Zeus for a sign. He is cheered up by two good omens. He is well treated by Philoetius, the stockman, but is beaten at the banquet table. The exiled sooth-sayer, Theoclymenus, sees signs of impending disaster, leaves amid derisive laughter.

Synopses of Book XXI -
Penelope tells the suitors that whoever can string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axe handles will be the new King of Ithaca. Telemachus plants the axes firmly in the ground, and jokingly tries to string it himself, as he is about to succeed, his father gives him a signal to stop. Seeing that this may be his last hour on Earth, Odysseus reveals himself to Eumaeus and Philoetius, and promises them rewards for their help. They close in the room and send the female servants away. The suitors who are pissed off that they aren’t as good as Odysseus, are insulted that the beggar try to string the bow. Telemachus takes over, sends Penelope out of the room and lets his father shoot. He effortlessly strings the bow and shoots the arrow through the axes.

Synopses of Book XXII -
Telemachus wittingly puts on his armor as Odysseus points the next arrow at Antinous. Eurymachus puts all the blame on the dead Antinous as he catches up on the situation. He is shot next. Melanthius goes to the armor cupboard to help arm the suitors and is caught by Eumaeus. Odysseus and his small group of friends finally destroy the suitor clan, sparing only Medon the herald and Phemius the bard. Eurycleia reveals all twelve of the traitorous maidservants; they are forced to clean out the dead, while Melanthius is mutilated to death.

Synopses of Book XXIII -
Eurycleia tells Penelope that Odysseus is the one that has rid her house of the useless suitors. Cautiously, not wanting to be heartbroken by deception, she questions him. He explodes with the secret of their marriage bed and she is convinced. They hug, touch and talk for most of the night. Just before dawn, Odysseus, Telemachus and two faithful herdsman head out to the country to see Laertes, Odysseus’ father.

Synopses of Book XXIV -
Hermes takes the souls of the dead wooers down to the House of Hades, where they tell their sad tale to Agamemnon and Achilles. Meanwhile Odysseus proves himself to his father; Laertes is overjoyed that on this day son and grandson will compete for glory in arms, for the relatives of some of the suitors are on their way to get their revenge. A second bloody battle has begun before Athene, with the help of Zeus, declares a truce, during which both parties will make a covenant of peace.