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Introduction to The Odyssey

Author - a blind minstrel or bard.

A. Wrote the two epics - _long narrative poems_

B. The ___Iliad_____: a war epic

1. The Odyssey: a long journey epic

C. Written about ___800____ B.C. told about events that happened in

_____1200___ B.C.

D. Minstrel: an entertainer who told stories and sang songs. Also called a

bard and a rhapsode________, epic singer, or song stitcher. Both historian and


1. ___minstrels________ material from legends, epics, and myths

already known.

2. Used descriptions and phrases familiar to the audience called

_epithets____________ (e.g. wingd words, rosy-fingered dawn, grey-eyed

3. Made stories as uncomplicated as possible.

4. Stories told repetetively.

a. There was no written history

b. Minstrels traveled from place to place singing of recent

events or of the stories of heroes or gods and goddesses.

5. Audiences never __tired_ of them.

E. Homer outshone other minstrels of his day

1. Because of his originality of ___ideas____

2. Because of expression and the __effect____ he had on his


The Iliad tells of war between Greece and Troy_ (located in Asia Minor or the present day

country of Turkey_). It provides the background for The ___Oddesey________ and

background on _Odysseus__________.

F. Lasted 10 long years

G. Events of the Trojan War:

1. Possibly began because Greeks tried to control trade routes.

2. According to myth: Paris, a prince of Troy, kidnapped

_____Helen___, queen of Sparta and wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta (a Greek


3. The Greek kings banded together and sent armies in

____1,000____ across the Aegean Sea to attack Troy. (Helen is known as The
face that launched a thousand ships)

4. Gods and goddesses took sides in the war.

5. For nine years there was no victory.

6. Finally, Odysseus devised a plan: the _____Trojan


7. The Greeks conquered _TROY; the Trojans were slaughtered and

the city was destroyed.

8. The Greeks set out for home in their ships.

9. Many gods and goddesses were offended when Greeks desecrated

temples and did not make offerings

The Odyssey Epic poem of the _long journey. Greek audiences would have known the war
story of the Iliad and been familiar with Odysseus as a hero from that story that came up
with the idea that ended the war.

H. The Odyssey tells of many adventures of Odysseus trying to sail

__home___ after the Trojan War.

I. It took __10__ years for him to sail home.

J. Main characters:

1. _Odysseus______________ (Ulysses): super-human hero from

Greek name Roman name

2. _______Penelope_______: Odysseus wife

3. ____Telemachus______: Odysseus son

K. Primary gods and goddesses in the epic

1. ____Athena____: goddess of wisdom

2. ______Poseidon______: god of the sea

3. ______Zeus______: king of the gods

The Epic

L. Oldest literary form or _epic_

M. Long story poem involving the following:

1. A great hero having ____supernatural_______ qualities

2. The gods and goddesses take an active part in __helping_ or

___hindering(e.g. __Poseidon_________ is Odysseus enemy and

____Athena_____ helps Odysseus).

3. The ____fate___ of an entire race of people is often At stake

4. _______Heroes_______ found their greatest glory in battle

5. Involves a struggle that ______________the culture of the hero

values _______________________

a. The hero embodies the values of their culture.

b. Greeks used The Iliad and The Odyssey to teach Greek

_____Culture___ and values.

6. Written in _____elevated______ style (formal)

7. Begins with ____invocation__ (prayer to the _muse____ of

a. muses: 9 daughters of _Zeus_ who were in charge of the


Greek and Roman mythology

N. _Polytheists__: they believed in _many_ gods

O. Gods had many human_ qualities

1. They were _conniving_____ (plot against someone)

2. They were____quarrelsome_______________ (fought)

P. Many of the gods lived on _____Mt. Olympus____

Q. __Ambrosia____: the food of the gods

R. ___Nectar____: the drink of the gods

S. Gods __interferred____ in human affairs

T. Gods were ______immortal_________: they live forever

Greek values and beliefs

U. Greeks believed it was __wrong__________ for any man to have

_hubris_________ (arrogance or excessive pride)

V. The ____character____ of a man was very important

1. One important quality to have was __courage______________

2. ____Loyalty____ to both _home_ and _family___ was the most

important quality

W. Man was not ________master_____ of his own _______destiny______

or _______fate___, he was like a pawn in a chess game

X. Man could not control his own fate, but he could ___control____ how he

___reacted___ to the gods _____interfering or meddling___ (how someone

reacted was an important character quality).

Greek life during the __Bronze Age__ (1200 B.C.)

Y. Era ruled by __tribal cheifs__________________

Z. __Violent_ life; _hard_ times

AA. Greece consisted of small city-states

1. ___Ithica________: Odysseus home was an island city-state

2. Athens (named after Athena) was a larger city-state.

The characteristics of an _epic_______ Hero:

AB. He possesses _____supernatural______________ abilities or qualities.

AC. He is charged with a ______quest_________.

AD. He is _______tested_______, often to prove the worthiness of himself

and his quest.

AE. He receives ___help________ by divine beings along the way.

AF. He encounters numerous _mythical_ beings, magical and helpful

_animals___, and human helpers and companions.

AG. His travels take him to a __supernatural_______________________

world, often one that normal human beings are barred from entering.

AH. He reaches a ___low point__where he nearly gives up his quest or appears


AI. He gains ___________restitution___________: this often takes the

form of the hero regaining his rightful place.