Talk:Odysseus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

New Greek discovery: confirmed?[edit]

I just read an article claiming that the tomb of Odysseus has been found. See [[1]]

How can someone prova that it's Odysseus tomb and not someone other's one?

See new discovery, below.

Odysseus reaches Ithaca[edit]

Back in Ithaca, Penelope was having difficulties, her husband having been gone for twenty years. She did not know whether he was alive or dead, and was beset with numerous men who thought that a fairly young widow and queen of a small but tidy kingdom was a great prize: they pestered her to declare Odysseus dead and choose a new husband. They loitered about the palace, eating her food, drinking her wine and consorting with her maidservants. Penelope was despondent about her husband's absence, especially the mystery of his fate. He could come home at any time—or never. Temporising, she fended the suitors off for years, using stalling tactics that eventually began to wear thin. Meanwhile, Odysseus's mother, Anticlea, died of grief, and his father, Laërtes, was not far off the same end.

Odysseus arrived on Ithaca alone. Upon landing, he was disguised by Athena as an old man or beggar, and welcomed by his old swineherd, Eumaeus, who did not recognize him but nevertheless treated him well. His son, Telemachus, after returning from a year of searching for information about his father, was the first to know his father returned after Athena revealed Odysseus for who he was in front of him. Odysseus's faithful dog, Argos, was the second to recognize him. Aged and decrepit, the animal did its best to wag its tail, but Odysseus did not want to be found out and had to maintain his cover, so the weary dog died in peace. The second human to recognize him was his old wet nurse, Euryclea, who knew him well enough to see through his rags, recognising an old scar on his leg, received while hunting boar with Autolycus's sons.

Odysseus learned that Penelope had remained faithful to him, pretending to weave a burial shroud for his father, and claiming that she would only choose a suitor when she was finished. Every day she wove a length of shroud, and every night undid her work, until one day a maid betrayed her. The suitors demanded that she finally choose a new husband.

When Odysseus arrived at his house, disguised as a beggar, he sat in the hall, where he observed the suitors and was repeatedly humiliated by them. Presently, he went to Penelope and told her that he had met Odysseus, spinning a haughty tale about his bravery in battle. Penelope, still ignorant of the beggar's identity, began to cry. She went to the suitors and told them that whoever could string Odysseus's bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe-handles would marry her. This was to Odysseus's advantage, as only he could string his bow. It is believed that his bow was a composite, requiring great skill and leverage to string, rather than brute strength. Penelope then announced what he, as the beggar, had told her.

The suitors each tried to string the bow, but their attempts were in vain. Odysseus then took it, strung it, lined up twelve axe-handles and shot an arrow through all twelve. Athena then took off his disguise, and, with the help of his son, Philoteus and Eumaeus, he slaughtered all the suitors. Antinous was the first to be slain, taking an arrow fired by Odysseus in the throat while drinking in the great hall. Odysseus used arrows first, but, when he eventually ran short, he killed the remaining suitors with spears. Caught by surprise and deprived of arms by Telemachus, the suitors at a distinct disadvantage, and were only able to arm themeselves after it was too late. When all the suitors were dead, justice was meted out to the goatherd Melanthius and the female servants, who had been helping the suitors.

Penelope, still not certain that the beggar was indeed her husband, tested him. She ordered her maid to make up Odysseus's bed and move it from their bedchamber into the hall outside his room. Odysseus was furious when he heard this because one of the bed posts was made from a living olive tree. He himself had designed it this way; it could not be moved unless by a god. He told her this, and, since only he and she knew of it, she accepted that he was indeed her husband. She came running to him, hoping that he would forgive her. He did, firstly because he could understand why she had tested him and secondly because he had passed the test.

To avenge the death of his son Antinous, Eupeithes tried to kill Odysseus. Laërtes killed him, and Athena thereafter required the suitors' families and Odysseus to make peace. Thus ends the story of the Odyssey.

Odysseus had been told (by the shade of Tiresias) that he had one more journey to make after he had re-established his rule in Ithaca.

Based on several astronomical events described in the Odyssey, some scientists have recently calculated that Odysseus returned home exactly on April 16, 1178 BC.[1]

  1. ^ Odysseus' return from Trojan War dated.