Classical Civilisation: The Odyssey Revision Notes

These are the revision notes that I made for myself after several lessons of Classics. They consist of brief bullet point summaries of each of the books (5, 6, 9, 10, 12) [that I studied] as well as character lists, with summaries of the characters, and their relationship with Odysseus. 

I would suggest on learning these books thoroughly! As well as relationships between all the characters and Odysseus. 

I am sitting the exam tomorrow! So Goodluck to everyone else who is also. 

PS. I am human and I make errors, so if you find any, please do list in the comments and let me know so I can change it. I may have missed things out, also list them please so I can add to it, and feel free to edit if you guys want to add to these notes. Share if you would like, but please don't reupload, unless you have made significant changes. 

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Book Five ­ Calypso
Mortal / Immortal
Likes/Dislikes, Helps/Hinders, Impact on story
Mortality - Character List - Epithets
Odysseus ­ Can be seen as unfaithful but at that time men could sleep with many women without anyone
caring. [Wily Odysseus, The ready-witted Odysseus, Patient good Odysseus]
Athena ­ without her, the gods would never have seen fit to order Calypso to release Odysseus, she is the
spark of the Odyssey. [Pallas Athena, daughter of Zeus, tireless one]
o Likes Odysseus the most, she was the only reason that Odysseus made it off of Calypso's island.
Without her, Zeus would never have been convinced to order Calypso to release Odysseus from her
hypothetical chains
Zeus ­ The supreme commander, the only one who decides the outcome of Odysseus. [Gatherer of the
clouds, son of Kronos]
o Two-sided, he was the destroyer of the one remaining ship which caused Odysseus to find himself at
Ogygia, and was the one who ordered his departure from Calypso. He neither liked/disliked and did
what others wanted (Hyperion wanted their deaths, Athena wanted him back at home)
Calypso ­ In love with Odysseus, wanting to be his wife, making him stay on her island for 7 years. [Nymph of
the plaited tresses, the divine Calypso]
o In love with Odysseus. Mostly a hinderer as she didn't allow him to leave his island until she was
ordered to by Zeus. She swore an oath not to harm him.
Hermes ­ Just a messenger. [The giant-killer, Messenger, the strong-one]
Poseidon ­ At this point, we do not know why he dislikes Odysseus so much, but we find out in book 9. [The
earth shaker]
o Hates Odysseus as he blinded Polyphemus. Keeps trying to hinder him by putting up storms
whenever he is alone in the water ie after leaving Calypso's island. A huge part of Odysseus' difficult
journey, without him, Odysseus could have made it back much earlier.
Ino ­ A caring nymph, likes to help others who need it. Odysseus would probably have died without her help
o Was neutral towards Odysseus but helped him. Pitiful towards Odysseus. He would have died
without her enchanted veil to protect him. She saved his life. Doesn't understand the gods.
River God ­ The god of the river that calms it's streams to make it easier for Odyseus to clamber upon it's
o Likes Odysseus, otherwise wouldn't have helped him. Took pity on him.
Locational Info
Calypso lived in Ogygia, an island. Stayed here for 7 years.
Athena tries to get Zeus to order Calypso to let Odysseus return home and succeeds.
Hermes is sent to proclaim Zeus' wishes to Calypso. She takes it badly convinced that the Gods hate it when
the minor goddesses choose to sleep and marry with mortal men and end up killing them.
Calypso finds Odysseus and tells him that he is free to leave. He must build a raft, she will provide the food
and clothing. She is then forced to swear an oath not to enchant him anymore. The sun sets.
At dawn Odysseus carefully builds a raft (4 days). On the 5th day Calypso baths him and enchants a wind to
push him advising him to keep certain stars on his left side.
17 days of sailing and can then see land.
Poseidon sees this and is angered. He wishes to make Odysseus' journey harder knowing he cannot prevent
Zeus' will (see Cyclopes). He sends a storm which makes Odysseus wish that he had died at Troy.

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The Goddess Ino notices Odysseus, and gives him a veil which would protect him telling him to disrobe, leave
his raft and swim for the shore. Odysseus thinks this is a trick and refuses to leave his raft until the last
possible moment. He ends up floating for two days after his raft is destroyed.…read more

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Book 9 ­ Cyclops
Mortality - Character List ­ Epithets
Odysseus ­ [Son of Laertes]
King Alcinous
Laertes ­ Odysseus' father, King of Ithaca
Cicones ­ Faithful and loyal to come to their neighbour's side to help against the invaders.
Polyphemus ­ The Cyclops that Odysseus blinds. [The Monster]
o Hated all humans, and the gods. He hindered Odysseus and his men by several days as he slowly ate
them.…read more

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Book 10 - Circe
Mortality - Character List ­ Epithets
Elpenor ­ Died by falling of Circe's roof
Antiphates ­ The Laestragonian chief
Laestragonians ­ Hated humans, tried to eat them. Attacked all of Odysseus' ships bar one.
o They disliked Odysseus' crew very much, saw them as food. They hindered Odysseus because
without them, Odysseus would have had a much larger crew which would have had a greater effect
on his KLEOS, because they would spread stories.…read more

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They landed on Aeaea, Circe's island. Odysseus caught and killed a great antlered stag Kleos?. After he and
his men ate, he sent a group of 22 with Eurylochus in command to Circes house. She was singing and weaving.
When the men ate or (BAD XENIA), they were turned into pigs, but Eurylochus who was weary of her, stayed
outside, and eventually returned to Odysseus to warn him and to get him to escape as soon as possible.…read more

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Sirens ­ Odysseus should warm beeswax and block his men's ears with it so they cannot hear. Odysseus
should order his men to bind him to the mast securely while he listens to the sirens - If he wants. He DOES
follow Circes advice here <- good leader.
Wandering Rocks ­ No advice given. Circe just mentions Jason and the Argonauts, and Hera favouring them.
This route was impossible and was skipped.…read more


This is GREAT :D Really helpful notes

love the mnemonic at the end ;)

Elizabeth Swan

Hope you did well thank you for the notes.


this was very helpful thanks



what does the mnemonic stand for ?

Shirsendu Podder

The mnemonic is the order of the events as they occurred. 


In the bit about the cicones, Odysseus doesn't have a problem sacking their town, he tries to get his men to leave immediately after which they refuse and are thus attacked.

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