The Odyssey – by Homer (circa 700 BC)

In the first chapter (Book I: House of Odysseus) Homer sets the pace for the long story that follows. It tells how events started, after the Trojan War (Iliad), and shows conversations in Ithaca mentioning the absent Lord Odysseus. Book II describes Telemachus’ struggle to stand up against the problems that are quickly engulfing his mother’s house. Book III is where Telemachus begins asking questions about his father, Odysseus. He finds out why Odysseus stayed and why Nestor came home. In Book IV, King Menelaos held a feast, and Telemachus asks more questions.

Athena becomes concerned that Odysseus remains in captivity as Calypso’s prisoner in Book V. Odysseus leaves the island on a raft, and arrives on the coast of Scheria. Book VI tells how Odysseus meets Nausicaa, and goes to her father Prince Alcinoos. In Book VII Alcinoos wants Odysseus to marry his daughter. Books VIII, IX, and X have contests in Phaiacia, and Odysseus begins his tale. Odysseus tells of the destruction of Ismaros. Next he drifted to Cythera, where he saved his men from the influence of the lotus fruit. Then they encountered the Cyclopes. The day after they blinded the Cyclopes, Odysseus and his crew went to the Island of Aiolia (Winds).

After they got the bag of winds, In Book XI they make it to the Land of the Midnight-Sun, and meet Circe the Sorceress. Odysseus visits Hades, where he encounters people of his past. In Book XII Circe warns of the Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis. The climax of the book occurs, where Odysseus is strapped to the mast of his ship, to resist the terrible charms of the singing Sirens, and his crew are decimated.

In Book XIII Athena changes Odysseus into a beggar, upon arriving in Ithaca. From Book XIV-XVIII Odysseus visits his swine-herder Eumaios. Telemachus is warned by Athena, and goes back to Ithaca; where he meets his dad. Odysseus returns home, and beats the beggar Iros. In XIX Telemachus stores the weapons, and the house nurse recognizes Odysseus. In the next 3 books, Zeus sends down Omens. Also Penelopeia (Odysseus’s wife) made the test of stringing the great bow, marksmanship between axes, and a battle between the suitors vs the House of Odysseus. In Book XXIII Odysseus proves to Penelopeia that he has returned. The last chapter Book XXIV Odysseus finds his father, a rebellion is quelled, and the strife and adventure is ended.

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