Written under sometime in between 800 and 600 BCE, the Odyssey is the the best known and also most stupendously awesome functions of old literature—make that any kind of literature. Written (maybe) by a poet named Homer (maybe), it speak the story that a guy trying to do his method home native war. However not just any kind of man, and not just any kind of war. That is hero is Odysseus, that is usually the Jon Hamm of ancient Greece: smart, strong, attractive, brave, lover by the gods, and method cooler than you are.

In a way, the Odyssey is a sequel come Homer"s Iliad, a poem around the decade-long Trojan War. Yet don"t let any kind of prejudice about sequels throw you off: the Iliad and also the Odyssey may have actually a the majority of the exact same characters, yet they"re much more like fraternal than the same twins: they complement each other.

The Iliad is all about achieving glory and fame with warlike deeds, a principle the Greeks dubbed kleos. Basically, it"s complete of pages and pages of heroes law heroic things heroically. I m sorry is great in its very own way, and it made a fun, if not really accurate, movie. But even warriors need to go residence eventually, and also the Odyssey is all around the desire to go home: to watch a familiar face, come kiss your wife, and to give your old dog a pat on the head.

The Greeks had actually a word for that, too: nostos—the source of our very own word "nostalgia." The Iliad and the Odyssey together are about the contending desires because that kleos and nostos, i m sorry we have the right to boil down to the desire to dice gloriously in battle and the desire to die quietly at home in bed, surrounding by her family. So, the Odyssey isn"t yes, really a sequel to the Iliad so much as it"s the yin to the Iliad"s yang: two equal but competing human being desires.

We"re not the only ones who gain a small giddy when we talk about the Odyssey. Generations of readers have developed their own original works influenced by Homer"s epic. Simply a rapid sampling, from the 1st century BCE to the 21st century CE: Virgil"s epic city the Aeneid; Alfred mr Tennyson"s poem "Ulysses"; James Joyce"s novel Ulysses; countless paintings (check out Henry Fuseli"s "Odysseus in prior of Scylla and also Charybdis"); Cream"s tune "Tales of Brave Ulysses"; the Cohen Brothers" movie O Brother, wherein Art Thou?—and the list goes on.

Maybe yours will be next.

(Click the map infographic to download.)

What is The Odyssey about and Why have to I Care?

We hear you. In a word whereby the "90s are retro, it"s not basic to view why you need to care about a millennia-old epic. However bear v us. Carry out you favor stories complete of adventure, danger, and suspense? How around stories set in great worlds complete of strange creatures favor Cyclopes, witches, sirens, and also gods? You"re in luck: the Odyssey is usually Western literature"s an initial action flick/ fantasy extravaganzafirst activity flick/ fantasy extravaganza.

Okay, okay, for this reason you"re not right into fantasy. Or action. You"re an ext of a rom-com sort of man (or gal): a group of young girls stumbling ~ above a giant naked man is an ext your style. Great! The Odyssey has that too.

But possibly you"re an ext interested in the deeper next of things—intense human emotions choose longing, or the desire because that home, or the love the a mommy for she child. Awesome! The Odyssey isn"t simply an exciting story about blood-drinking cannibals; it"s additionally a city stuffed with profound reflections on heroism, love, and human life.

Let"s placed it this way: there"s a reason that we"re still analysis it 3,000 year later.


The Odyssey Resources


Alex, We"ll take "Goddesses" for $500Jefferson County institutions has produced a wonderful "Jeopardy" layout trivia game for students to research the Odyssey. Categories include "Gods and also Goddesses." "Mere Mortals," "Monsters," "Travel and also Tourism," and "Misc." (Linked paper is in PowerPoint.)

Armchair TravelsGoogleLit Trips is a website dedicated to help teachers and students explore literature by utilizing Google Earth. Examine out this Google earth map the Homer"s travels

Just Don"t use Apple MapsHomer most likely took some poetic license through his geography. Still, here"s a stormy idea that where some of Odysseus" episodes may have taken place.

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If We execute Say therefore OurselvesIf we linked to our discovering guides every time we stated one of these guys, we"d acquire carpal tunnel. Here"s a connect to beer-selection.com"s Greek and also Roman mythology guide—you might notification some familiar names.

Movie or TV Productions

Adapt the AdaptationThis is in reality a 1967 adaptation the James Joyce"s Ulysses. Neat!

AnimaniacWell, Odysseus is a tiny cartoonish. This 1987 present is in full 2D

The other SideThis Odyssey (1992-1994) put its hero in a coma and makes him work-related his way home indigenous a miracle land dubbed "Downworld."

Street CredThis 1997 variation of the Odyssey was created by Coppola, stars Isabella Rossellini and Bernadette Peters, and also is pitched by IMDB as full of "bronzed muscle gleaming." to speak no more.

Right end HereIn 2000, the Coen brothers gave us O Brother, whereby Art Thou: the Odyssey collection in the deep south. V George Clooney. And convicts.

Historical Documents

Oldest cheat in the BookThis is an absolutely amazing piece of parchment indigenous the third century BCE containing lines from publication 20.

Part to the WholeHere are some an ext really, yes, really old fragments of the Odyssey—and some other old Greek works.

Teeny-TinyHere"s another wee item of publication 17. Aren"t you happy you deserve to pull a entirety copy turn off the shelf?


Put on part PantsHere"s Odysseus killing some scantily clad suitors in the 1954 adaptation with Kirk Douglass.

Wise GuyHere"s Odysseus messing through his servants in Troy, the 2004 "adaptation" of the Iliad.

Vase PlaceHere space some scholar talking about an old Greek vase painted with picture of Odysseus escaping Polyphemos" cave. Neat!


Talk TherapyIn this genius-grant-winning project, a therapist counsels returning battle veterans by talking about the Odyssey.

Because ObviouslyHere"s Cream to sing "Tales that Brave Ulysses."


I Can"t listen You… as soon as I stuff wax in her ears. Here"s a vase v Odysseus tied to the mast.

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NSFSorry, we warned you. Here"s Odysseus consulting v Teiresias.

Modern MinimalismWe walk this minimalist vase of Odysseus hiding the end under a ram.