Greek - King of Ithaca. Husband of Penelope. Father of Telemachus. In some versions he was the son of Sisyphus and Anticleaia, in others the son and successor to Laertes by Anticleia, nursed by Eurycleia. He won Penelope as his wife in a foot-race or as a reward for advice given to Tyndareus. He tried to avoid serving with the Greek army by pretending madness and sowing his fields with salt but this ruse did not work; Palamedes placed the infant Telemachus in front of the plough and Odysseus was sane enough to avoid the child. He eventually joined the force that had been raised to attack Troy. After the fall of Troy he wandered for ten years before finally getting back to his home . When he did get back he found that his wife Penelope had for some years been besieged by suitors who thought her husband was dead. They refused to leave her house and were virtually eating her out of house and home. With the help of his old swineherd Eumaeus, his son Telemachus and the goddess Athene he got his hands on his bow and arrows and shot the suitors in cold blood - all except Medon and the minstrel Phemus whom he spared to provide the music at the celebration of his home-coming. His son hanged all those servants who had not remained faithul to Odysseus during his long absence. In some accounts, he travelled to Thesprotia where he married the queen, Callidice, fathering Polypoetes. When the queen died, Odysseus returned to Penelope, leaving his son as king of Thesprotia. Another story says that the relatives of the dead suitors brought Odysseus to trial for murder and Pyrrhus, acting as judge, sent him into exile in Anatolia where he married the daughter of the king, Thoas, and she bore him a son named Leontophonus. He once stayed with the king of Epirus and raped his daughter, Euippe, on whom he fathered a son, Euryalus. When the boy grew up, Euippe sent him to kill his father but, warned of his coming, Odysseus slew the youth, not knowing he was killing his own son. Another version says that Odysseus sent the boy to live with Penelope who later accused the boy of rape, so Odysseus killed him. At the end of his life he assembled a fleet and sailed off to the west, never to be seen again. Another story says that he was accidentally killed by Telegonus, his own son by Circe who had sent him to look for his father, and who was unaware that the man he fought and killed was his own father. In this story, Telegonus took the body back to Aeaea to be buried by Circe. Also known as Odysseus, Delphinosemos, Delphinosemos, Polymetis, Polymetis, Sysyphides, Sysyphides, Roman Ulixes, Roman Ulixes, Ulysses, Ulysses, Odyssey or Odyssey.

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