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Greek Mythology, Epic Poetry, And

The Odyssey

Mythology is the study of myths Myths are stories involving gods, goddesses, and heroes.

Greek Mythology

To entertain To explain natural phenomena To explain the relationship of god to man To teach lessons and morals

Why did myths begin?

Homers The Odyssey

The Odyssey is an epic poem based on Greek mythology

What is an Epic Poem?

A long narrative poem about a national or legendary hero.

Characteristics of an Epic Poem:

Incorporate myth, legend, folk tale, and history Have a grand tone Heroes and their adventures appear larger than life (Epic Hero) Many were drawn from oral tradition

The Ancient Gods of Greek MythologyThe Family Tree

It All Started with Chaos

The world was formed Uranus hated these from a great mass called children and sent them to Chaos. the underworld. Out from Chaos came On their second try, Gaea, the earth Uranus and Gaea Goddess. produced seven Titans: CLYMENE She gave birth to a son, HYPERION Uranus, and together CRONUS they had six children. Three 50 headed & PHALLA 100-handed giants and PHOEBE three one-eyed RHEA & Cyclopes. TETHYS

Gaea, however, was still upset that Uranus banished their other children. She told the Titans what Uranus had done and asked them to seek revenge. Cronus (their son) did seek revenge by castrating Uranus, and becoming the new ruler. But, when he saw the other children, he agreed they were too ugly to allow out of the underworld.

The Betrayals Continue . . .

Cronus married Rhea. They had five children, but since Gaea had warned him that one of his kids would overthrow him, Cronus swallowed his own children. Rhea was tired of this, so she hid the sixth child, Zeus, in Crete. When Cronus asked for the child, Rhea wrapped a rock in clothes and Cronus swallowed it.

Zeus Takes Vengeance

Zeus grows up, Rhea tells him the story about his siblings, and he plots revenge against Cronus. He poisons Cronus, and his siblings pop out of Cronuss belly (after the rock, of course). After this, Zeus tries to take over, but the other Titans wont recognize him, so they start a war. Gaea tells Zeus about her first six children, and with their help he wins against the Titans. Then he takes the whole family to Mt. Olympus (Thus the name Olympian Gods).

After overthrowing his father Cronus, Zeus drew straws with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods. He is lord of the sky, the rain god. His symbol is a thunderbolt which he hurls at those who anger him. He is married to Hera, but is famous for his many affairs with goddesses and mortals. He is also known to punish those that lie or break oaths.

Zeuss Wife, Lovers & Kids

Brother of Zeus and Hades Lord of the sea. To impress Demeter, Poseidon created the first horse. In some accounts, his first attempts were unsuccessful and he created a variety of other animals in his quest. His symbol is a trident, which can shake the earth and shatter any object. He is second only to Zeus in power among the gods. He has a difficult, quarrelsome personality, is greedy, and has many disputes with other gods.

Brother of Zeus and Poseidon. He had the worst draw and was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead. He is a greedy god who is greatly concerned with increasing his subjects and doesnt want any of them to leave. God of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. He has a helmet that makes him invisible. He rarely leaves the underworld. He has no pity and is mean. His symbol is a sceptera two pronged staff.

Daughter of Zeus, she sprang from his foreheadfull grown and in armor. The goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, justice and skill. She is fierce and brave in battle. She invented the bridle, which permitted man to tame horses, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. She represents wisdom, reason, and purity. She was Zeus's favorite child and was allowed to use his weapons, including his thunderbolt. Her symbols are the olive tree and the owl. She is a virgin goddess.



Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia. He is the god of messengers, safe travel, good fortune, trickery, and truth. While Hermes can never tell a lie, he may not always tell the whole truth. He is the fastest of the gods. He wears winged sandals, a winged hat, and carries a magic wand. He guides the dead to the underworld. He invented the lyre, the pipes, the musical scale, astronomy , weights and measures, boxing, gymnastics, and the care of olive trees.

Circe, daughter of the sun god Helios, was a sorceress best known for her ability to turn men into animals with her magic wand. She was jealous of Scylla, a beautiful young woman, and turned Scylla into a sea monster.

The Sirens
The Sirens are creatures with the head of a female and the body of a bird. They lived on three small rocky islands, and with the irresistible charm of their song, they lured sailors to their death on the rocks surrounding the island.

Circe, jealous of Scylla, poisoned the water where Scylla bathed. Scylla became a monster with twelve feet and six heads, each with three rows of teeth. Below the waist her body was made up of hideous dog-like monsters. She threatened passing ships, and in the Odyssey she ate six of Odysseuss companions.

The god of the sun. His chariot rises in the East and descends in the West (like the sun). Warm, friendly and compassionate, Helios respects truth and honesty. Helios was keeper of the sacred cattle. His symbol is the chariot.

Calypso was a nymph, the daughter of the Titan Atlas. She lived on the island of Ogygia. Calypso fell in love with Odysseus, taking him as her lover and promising him immortality if he would stay with her. In Greek mythology, nymphs are spirits of nature. They are minor female goddesses and the protectors of springs, mountains, and rivers.

The Muses
These are the 9 daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus Each is in charge of a different art or science and inspires those who excel at these pursuits. Clio = history Urania = astronomy Melpomene = tragedy Thalia = comedy Terpsichore = dance Calliope = epic poetry Erato = love poetry Polyhymnia = songs Euterpe = lyric poetry

Author of The Iliad and

The Odyssey The Iliad tells the story of

the Trojan War. The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseuss long trip home after the war. Scholars think Homer lived between 1500 B.C and 700 B.C. Most scholars believe he was blind, but there is no evidence to verify this.

Homer Continued
Homer used the legendary material of the Trojan war as the basis for his poems adding original plot structure, realistic characters, dialogue and detail, and tales of fabulous monsters. The study of Homers epics became the basis of Greek education. Homer made his characters believable by giving them both good and bad traits.

Who Knew an Apple Would Start it All?

According to Greek mythology, all the gods were invited to a wedding, except Eris, the goddess of strife or trouble. (Who wants trouble at a wedding?) She went anyway and brought a golden apple that had "For the fairest" (the most beautiful) written on it. Hera (Zeus's wife), Aphrodite (Zeus's daughter), and Athena (Zeus's daughter) all made a claim for the apple, and they appealed to Zeus for judgment. He refused to decide a beauty contest between his wife and two of his daughters, and the task of choosing a winner fell to Paris, a male mortal.

The Judgment of Paris

The three great goddesses offered Paris bribes. Hera promised him power. Athena offered him wisdom. And Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful mortal woman in the world (Helen) as his wife. In the famous Judgment of Paris, Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite. (He wanted Helen for himself!)

Theyre Fighting Over a Girl??

Helen, a mortal daughter of Zeus, was the most beautiful girl in the world. Only there was a huge problemshe was already married to King Menelaus. Paris went to Sparta, met and fell in love with Helen, and they ran away together to Troy (Pariss home). Menelaus demanded that his wife be returned, and when Paris refused The Trojan War began.

The Trojan War

Due to a promise they had made to King Menelaus to help him defend Helens honor, all the kings of Greece went to Troy to fight to get Helen back. The Greeks fought the Trojans for 10 years. Odysseus came to the rescue with a strategy to win the war that involved a huge wooden horse.

The Trojan Horse

To gain entrance into Troy, clever Odysseus ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were hollow so that soldiers could hide within it. All the Greek ships sailed away and left the Trojan horse behind. (To make it look like they had given up.) The Spartans thought they had won the war, brought the horse into the city, and had a drunken celebration. While the Spartans slept, Odysseus and his men climbed out of the horses belly, let their comrades into the city, and slaughtered the Spartans.

The Odyssey
Its an 11,300 line epic poem divided into 24 books (chapters.)
It was passed down orally between the generations.

3 Parts to the Story

1. Odysseuss wanderings for 10 years after the Trojan War. 2. What happens in Ithaca to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus, while he is gone. 3. What happens when Odysseus returns home to reclaim his throne and family.

So, how long has Odysseus been away from home?

Themes of The Odyssey

loyalty & devotion wandering hero triumph of good over evil obedience to the laws of the gods Greek ideal of a strong body & strong mind

The son of Laertes and the ruler of the island kingdom of Ithaca. He was one of the most prominent Greek leaders in the Trojan War, and is the epic hero of The Odyssey. He was known for his cleverness and cunning, and for his eloquence as a speaker. Favored by Athena

Timeline of Odysseuss Adventures 20 Years Missing!

Land of the Lotus Eaters Fights in the Trojan War (10 years) Island of Aeolus Circes Island (1 year) Island of Helios (Stranded about 1 month-crew ate cattle)

Calypso keeps O for 7 years


Island of Cicone
Land of the Cyclopes

Land of the Laestrygonians (cannibals)

Zeus destroys ship. O fights Charybdis alone O washes ashore at Phaeacia-

Lured by Sirens, trouble at sea against Scylla and Charybdis

Penelope was the daughter of Icarius and a first cousin of Helen of Troy. She was the wife of Odysseus. She was famous for her cleverness and for her faithfulness to her husband for 20 years.

Odysseus and Penelopes son Favored by Athena She helped him gain self-confidence and assertiveness when his father was gone for so many years. (He grew up without a father.)

Of taking notes, anyway.