The Odyssey of Homer (Volume 2)

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The Odyssey of Homer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781234889883
  • Publisher: General Books LLC
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 70
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Homer
Homer
Ancient Greek poet Homer established the gold standard for heroic quests and sweeping journeys with his pair of classic epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic translation

    The Odyssey is a Greek epic clocking in at roughly 12,000 lines divided into twenty-four books (1-4 The Telemachy, 5-8 Odysseus' Homecoming, 9-12 The Great Wanderings, Odysseus on Ithaka, 13-24). The Odyssey was written after The Iliad, but though it takes place in the same universe, it's not really a sequel because The Iliad can be summarized as the Crazy War Between Massive Nation-Armies while The Odyssey is the Crazy Stuff That Happened to This One Guy. The stakes are smaller, and more personal. All epics have central driving themes and while The Iliad is the epic of menos, rage, The Odyssey is the epic of nostos: homecoming. For the most part, this isn't a tale of revenge and combat--all of Odysseus' trials and adventures are only happening because he's trying to get home to his wife and son, which makes The Odyssey so very different from The Iliad that it's possibly by a different author.

    Note on the translation: Crafting Greek dactylic hexameter into beautiful, readable English isn't easy, but this translation is a pleasure to read. You can see the poetry in the lines, where it's not just telling a story but making a presentation, and every page has a notation at the top, helpfully summarizing the action.

    The opening lines of the epic are a standard Muse invocation, introducing the subject and asking for inspiration: "Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven/ far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel." This also introduces the key concept of Ingenuity in the book, which is one of Odysseus' chief virtues. Most characters in this story get epithets, descriptors that show up as often as not when the character is mentioned, and Odysseus is called "resourceful Odysseus," "Odysseus of the many designs," and "the man of many turns" because he's a brainy action hero (think Sherlock Holmes...Indiana Jones...MacGuyver), and a skilled speaker. He can plot, plan, scheme, disguise himself, and use language like a weapon. His cleverness and versatility are contrasted with other characters, but particularly with Polyphemos the cyclops. Polyphemos' one eye represents his single-mindedness, and he is defeated because he can't examine a problem from multiple perspectives, which shown in the famous scene where Odysseus has blinded him and Polyphemos is yelling to the other cyclopes that "nobody" is hurting him because Odysseus said his name is Nobody. The cyclops doesn't understand trickery or double meanings, but Odysseus can use both to his advantage. His versatility and smarts are probably the chief reason that Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is his patroness and biggest fan.

    There's also a big Hospitality theme in the Odyssey, and everyone who is good or heroic can be recognized by the way they share food, offer shelter, and provide clothing for those who need it. Food is an especially big deal, and there's a right way to eat and a wrong way to eat--the cyclopes eat their guests, which is the ultimate abuse of hospitality. Penelope's suitors show their evilness by eating up all the food and making themselves at home on property that doesn't belong to them.

    The main challenge of reading The Odyssey comes in its non-linear narrative. Much is revealed in flashbacks, either in stories told by Odysseus himself or in songs performed by court poets, but epics really aren't worried about tangents--it's part of the whole package, these lengthy side trips away fr

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    beware-this is an Alexander Pope translation!!!!

    21 feb 2011. downloaded this book this morning and lo and behold it was an Alexander Pope translation.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    A GREAT TRANSLATION

    Lattimore's translation preserves the dactylic hexameter of the original and therefore is very useful as a guide to translating from the original. There are many verse translations of The Odyssey, but this is certainly one of the best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Slash bio

    Nme- look up<br>
    age-15<br>
    God- discorda<br>
    Cohort- #3<br>
    Weapon- bow and sword<br>
    Centuron

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Cohort #5

    Cohort #5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    BIOS MUST HAVE

    Cohort # and name. Also weapons. The first two of the cohort that post a bio get centuron

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Alera bio

    Female
    cohort #2
    Godly parent
    Sancus
    Age
    15
    Weapons
    battle ax poisin spike club
    Centrum

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Ansley

    Messed up. Name..Du<_>mbass. Parent..Minerva Age..15 Weapon of choice..knives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    §єЂ'§ bio (camp leader)

    Name:<br>
    Seth<p>
    Age:<br>
    16<p>
    Cohort:<br>
    #1<p>
    Rank:<br>
    Centuron #1<p>
    Weapons:<br>
    At "athenian constituion" res 9 or 10

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Excellent and understandable translation. I wish I'd had it in h

    Excellent and understandable translation. I wish I'd had it in high school. I wouldn't have waited sixty years to reread it.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Excellent Translation - A Classics Must Have

    I find that Lattimore's translation is exemplary. He chooses a translation that is easy to follow, but doesn't stray far from the original ancient Greek. The NOOK version, however, tends to cut words completely in half at the end of various lines, unless it is in the smallest font size.

    All in all, an excellent purchase, and a must have for any Classics fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Do not download

    Bad transfer!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Do not download

    Bad transfer of book 2!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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