Homer: The Odyssey / Edition 1

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Overview

By its evocation of a real or imaged heroic age, its contrasts of character and its variety of adventure, above all by its sheer narrative power, the Odyssey has won and preserved its place among the greatest tales in the world. It tells of Odysseus' adventurous wanderings as he returns from the long war at Troy to his home in the Greek island of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus have been waiting for him for twenty years. He meets a one-eyed giant, Polyphemus the Cyclops; he visits the underworld; he faces the terrible monsters Scylla and Charybdis; he extricates himself from the charms of Circe and Calypso. After these and numerous other legendary encounters he finally reaches home, where, disguised as a beggar, he begins to plan revenge on the suitors who have for years been besieging Penelope and feasting on his own meat and wine with insolent impunity.

A retelling of Homer's epic that describes the wanderings of Odysseus after the fall of Troy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780715629581
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 2/24/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 552,919
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Homer

Homer is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest of ancient Greek epic poets. These epics representthe beginning of the Western canon, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.

Martin Hammond was Head of Classics and Master in College at Eton College. He was also Headmster of City of London School, andTonbridge School, Kent. His acclaimed translation of the Iliad was published by Penguin Classics.

Jasper Griffin is Professor of Classical Literature at Oxford.

Biography

We know very little about the author of The Odyssey and its companion tale, The Iliad. Most scholars agree that Homer was Greek; those who try to identify his origin on the basis of dialect forms in the poems tend to choose as his homeland either Smyrna, now the Turkish city known as Izmir, or Chios, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

According to legend, Homer was blind, though scholarly evidence can neither confirm nor contradict the point.

The ongoing debate about who Homer was, when he lived, and even if he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the "Homeric question." Classicists do agree that these tales of the fall of the city of Troy (Ilium) in the Trojan War (The Iliad) and the aftermath of that ten-year battle (The Odyssey) coincide with the ending of the Mycenaean period around 1200 BCE (a date that corresponds with the end of the Bronze Age throughout the Eastern Mediterranean). The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors and traders; beginning around 1600 BCE, they became a major power in the Mediterranean. Brilliant potters and architects, they also developed a system of writing known as Linear B, based on a syllabary, writing in which each symbol stands for a syllable.

Scholars disagree on when Homer lived or when he might have written The Odyssey. Some have placed Homer in the late-Mycenaean period, which means he would have written about the Trojan War as recent history. Close study of the texts, however, reveals aspects of political, material, religious, and military life of the Bronze Age and of the so-called Dark Age, as the period of domination by the less-advanced Dorian invaders who usurped the Mycenaeans is known. But how, other scholars argue, could Homer have created works of such magnitude in the Dark Age, when there was no system of writing? Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, placed Homer sometime around the ninth century BCE, at the beginning of the Archaic period, in which the Greeks adopted a system of writing from the Phoenicians and widely colonized the Mediterranean. And modern scholarship shows that the most recent details in the poems are datable to the period between 750 and 700 BCE.

No one, however, disputes the fact that The Odyssey (and The Iliad as well) arose from oral tradition. Stock phrases, types of episodes, and repeated phrases -- such as "early, rose-fingered dawn" -- bear the mark of epic storytelling. Scholars agree, too, that this tale of the Greek hero Odysseus's journey and adventures as he returned home from Troy to Ithaca is a work of the greatest historical significance and, indeed, one of the foundations of Western literature.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Odyssey.

Good To Know

The meter (rhythmic pattern of syllables) of Homer's epic poems is dactylic hexameter.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction by Jasper Griffin
Suggestions for further reading
A note on the Greek text
The Odyssey
Book 1 The Gods, Athene and Telemachos
Book 2 Telemachos and the Suitors
Book 3 Telemachos in Pylos
Book 4 Telemachos in Sparta
Book 5 Odysseus and Kalypso
Book 6 Nausikaä
Book 7 Odysseus in Phaiacia
Book 8 Phaiacian Games and Song
Book 9 The Cyclops
Book 10 Kirke
Book 11 The Underworld
Book 12 Skylla and Charybdis
Book 13 Returban to Ithaka
Book 14 Odysseus and Eumaios
Book 15 Telemachos Returbans
Book 16 Odysseus and Telemachos
Book 17 Odysseus Comes to his House
Book 18 Odysseus as Beggar
Book 19 Eurykleia Recognises Odysseus
Book 20 Insults and Omens
Book 21 The Trial of the Bow
Book 22 The Suitors Killed
Book 23 Odysseus and Penelope
Book 24 The Underworld, Laertes, Peace
Index

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