Episode #4 of the course “Heroes of Greek Legend”
As one of the most famous names in ancient Greece, Odysseus is the central figure in the epic poem from Homer, The Odyssey, as well as a character in other stories. King of Ithaca, Odysseus was involved in a number of adventures of great renown and met the most important gods, kings, and women of his day. He was known for his cleverness and resilience and was protected by the goddess of wisdom, Athena. Odysseus was central to the Trojan War, and he was the person who convinced the Greek soldiers to hide inside the Trojan horse.
After leaving Troy, Odysseus and his ships embarked on a decade-long journey that is retold in The Odyssey. During these adventures, Odysseus and his men are taken captive by the Cyclops and defeat him. On Circe’s island, Odysseus’ men are turned into pigs, and he tricks Circe into turning them back. Going past the famed island of the sirens, Odysseus has his men tie him to the ship’s mast so he will not jump overboard to the temptresses’ song. When he travels to the Underworld, Odysseus meets the seer Tiresias, who tells him of his destiny. In addition to other supernatural encounters, Odysseus also stays on an island with the nymph Calypso for nine years after losing all his men and ships.
Eventually, Odysseus returns to Ithaca, where he finds many suitors attempting to marry his wife and usurp his throne. He rushed in to re-establish himself as the king, proving to his wife Penelope that he was her husband by revealing that their marital bed was made from the wood of an olive tree. According to some later legends, sons that Odysseus fathered with Circe and Calypso attacked his kingdom separately. His son with Circe, Telegonos, supposedly kills Odysseus, not realizing who he is, and takes his body to Circe.
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