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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Translated by S. Butcher and A. Lang

Homer Bilingual Anthology  Studies  Homer in Print

Rhapsodies of the Odyssey
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Summary of the Odyssey

Preface and Introduction


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Page 12

 The first two years after the fall of Troy are now accounted for. They were occupied, as we have seen, by adventures with the Cicones, the Lotus-eaters, the Cyclops, Aeolus, the Laestrygonians, by a year's residence with Circe, by the descent into Hades, the encounters with the Sirens, and Scylla, and the fatal sojourn in the isle of Thrinacia. We leave Odysseus alone, for eight years, consuming his own heart, in the island paradise of Calypso.


 In Ithaca, the hero's home, things seem to have passed smoothly till about the sixth year after the fall of Troy. Then the men of the younger generation, the island chiefs, began to woo Penelope, and to vex her son Telemachus. Laertes, the father of Odysseus, was too old to help, and Penelope only gained time by her famous device of weaving and unweaving the web. The wooers began to put compulsion on the Queen, quartering themselves upon her, devouring her substance, and insulting her by their relations with her handmaids. Thus Penelope pined at home, amidst her wasting possessions. Telemachus fretted in vain, and Odysseus was devoured by grief and home-sickness in the isle of Calypso. When he had lain there for nigh eight years, the action of the Odyssey begins, and occupies about six weeks.

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


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