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The Odyssey

Monday 10/10/2005 12:42 PM

The first great epic poem of the blind, Greek poet Homer was The Illiad, which told the story of the Trojan War.

Homer's second poem is the even more well known The Odyssey, which tells the story of King Odysseus's ten year journey home to Ithaca after the Trojan War.

I have little doubt you've heard at least one or two tales from The Odyssey in one from or another, even if you don't realize that's where they came from. The poem has served as the inspiration for a wide range of other tales from the literate (James Joyce's Ulysses), to the bucolic (the Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou) and to the futuristic (Stanley Kubrick's and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Though I've never read the book through and through, I have at least a passing familiarity with many of the tales in The Odyssey. Some of my favorites include:

If you're interested in reading this stuff yourself, a quick persual at Amazon seems to indicate that the Robert Fagles translation seems to be pretty popular.

The story of Odysseus is fantastic indeed and for centuries most people considered both The Illiad and The Odyssey to be 100% pure myth. But in 1830, at the age of 8, Heinrich Schliemann announced that he would one day discover the city of Troy. And 40-some-odd years later, Heinrich did just that when he began excavating Troy and, even though most people agree that his methods were atrocious and haphazard, he helped jumpstart the movement that has become today's science of archaeology.

So if there was a Troy, could the stories of The Illiad be true, or at least based on truth? And what about The Odyssey? Was there ever really an Odysseus?

Stay tuned, Dear Reader. Stay tuned.

File Under: Argus; Book; Odysseus
Music: Daniel Lanois "Belladonna"

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