Odyssey

Greek - Homer's epic story, in 24 volumes, of the wanderings of Odysseus after the Trojan war. At the fall of Troy, the Greeks angered Athena and Poseidon, who had helped them in the fighting, by violating Athena's temple and by failing to sacrifice to the gods and they planned to make the Greeks suffer. They caused a storm to disperse the fleet on its homeward journey during which Menelaus was blown all the way to North Africa and Ajax the Less was drowned. Odysseus was forced to wander for ten years before finally reaching home. The first landfall for Odysseus and his crew was the island of Ismarus where they sacked the city and lost some men in battle. Next came the land of the Lotus-eaters where his men were so enchanted that he had to chain them aboard. Next came the encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus, who trapped them in his cave and ate some of the crew. The others managed to escape, by hanging underneath the giant's sheep, only after Odysseus had blinded the giant with a fire-hardened wooden stake. In the country of Aeolus, god of the winds, they were given all the storm winds in a sack to ensure a calm voyage but some inquisitive sailor opened the sack and caused another storm which blew them off course to the land of the giant cannibals, the Lestrygones, who destroyed all the ships except one. They next landed at Aeaea, the island of Circe the witch who turned all the advance party into pigs. Hermes gave Odysseus a herb which protected him from Circe's magic and he forced her to return his men to human form again on pain of death. She fell in love with him and Odysseus stayed with her for a year. In some accounts, they had a son, Telegonus, who later unwittingly killed his father; in others, they had two other sons called Agrius and Latinus. Circe found out what he needed to do in order to get home safely; this required Odysseus to go down to Tartarus and find the ghost of the prophet Teiresias who warned him not to harm the oxen of Helius. Passing the island where the Sirens lived, Odysseus made his crew stop their ears with wax while he was roped to the mast. In this way they were able to resist the seductive songs of the Sirens and they also survived the passage between Scylla and Charybdis, losing six of his crew to the voracious Scylla, in some stories. At Trinacria, the island of the Sun, his men killed some of the oxen for food and Helios avenged the insult by shattering the ship with a thunderbolt. All perished except Odysseus who drifted for some days on a piece of wreckage until he landed on Calypso's island, Ogygia, where he was held virtually captive for several years by the nymph who fell in love with him. Athena finally gave up her vendetta and Zeus made Calypso release her captive. She sent him off on a raft and he drifted for seventeen days until Poseidon, who hadn't relented, blew up another storm which wrecked the raft. Again Odysseus found himself in trouble but the sea-goddess Ino came to his aid, giving him her veil to protect him from the sea, and he swam for two days before coming ashore naked and exhausted in the land of the Phaeacians. He was found by the king's daughter, Nausicaa, and her father, Alcinous, generously provided a ship which took Odysseus on the last leg of his journey home. In some lore, occasionally referred to as Odyssey, Odysseus, Odysseus, Delphinosemos, Polymetis, Sysyphides, Roman Ulixes or Ulysses.
West Indian - A play by Derek Walcott based on the Greek story. Known as Odyssey, Odysseus, Odysseus, Delphinosemos, Polymetis, Sysyphides, Roman Ulixes or Ulysses.

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