Homer- The Odyssey

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Book 5

Athene describes Odysseus's misfortunes to the assembly

  • All his people have forgotten him
  • He is being kept captive on Calypso's island
  • He has no boat or crew to get him home
  • His son has gone to search for news of him and will be killed on his way home

Epithets are used a lot in this book: 

  • The gatherer of clouds ( Zeus)
  • The giant killer ( Hermes)
  • The nymph of the plaited tresses ( Calypso) 
  • The long enduring Odysseus ( well Odysseus)
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Book 5 #2

Zeus prophesies about Odysseus's journey home:

  • Will have to make a raft by himself
  • On the 20th day traveling will reach Scherie
  • The people will take him to their hearts - treat him like a god
  • They will take him home giving him bronze, gold and woven materials
  • He will then go home and see his friends and family ( how sweet)

Hermes has 2 possessions:

  • Sandals made of gold
  • Wand

Hermes is compared to:

  • A seagull being drenched by seaspray as it dives for a fish
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Book 5 #3

Calypso's home


  • Copse of alders and fragrant cypresses
  • Grape vines


  • Calypso singing
  • Shouting and crying


  • Polished chair
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Book 5 #4


  • Burning logs of juniper and cedar
  • Fragrant cypresses


  • Red nectar
  • Ambrosia

When hermes arrives, Odysseus is sitting:

  • On the shore 'in his accustomed place' looking into the distance crying

Calypso shows good Xenia to hermes by:

  • Sitting him on a polished chair, asking him why he is there and providing food and drink
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Book 5 #5

Hermes message goes like this:

  • Zeus sent him to announce that Calypso has with her a man, more unfortunate than any of those who fought in Troy
  • These men had offended athene as they left troy for their homes
  • She sent a violent game and heavy seas against them
  • All of Odysseus's companions have been lost
  • Zeus orders her to send him away from her island as he is destined to return home once more...

Calypso promises to:

  • Give Odysseus directions to lead him home safely

She cannot:

  • Provoke zeus, give him a crew or make his task much easier
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Book 5 #6

Calypso gives Odysseus:

  • A great axe of bronze
  • An adze of polished metal
  • Boring-tools
  • The cloth to make a sail
  • Dark wine ( or red wine to you and me)
  • Water
  • Grain
  • Meats
  • Best trees
  • Clothes and a bath
  • A following wind
  • Direction
  • And bread
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Book 5 #7

Odysseus's change of fortune..

  • Odysseus leaves Calypso's island and travels well for 17 days
  • Poseidon creates a giant storm just as Odysseus can see the Phaecian's country
  • The goddess Ino takes pity on him and gives him a veil which will protect him from death and injury
  • Odysseus thinks he won't use it but then a wave overthrows him and he strips off and uses the veil
  • He begins to swim driven by the heavy seas
  • On the 3rd day, the wind drops and Odysseus sees land!
  • When he gets there he realises there are no coves or harbours, just sharp rocks jutting out
  • While thinking what to do, a wave sends him crashing forward
  • Athens saves him by putting the idea in his head to grab onto one of the rocks
  • He gets flung out to see.. Again
  • Athene gives him the idea to go to a rives mouth
  • The god of the river stills the water and Odysseus can swim to land
  • He lies in the woods under a shelter of 2 olive branches and a blanket of leaves
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Book 6

The Phaeacians

  • Used to live in Hypereie
  • They were the neighbour of the Cyclopes
  • They used to ravage the Phaeacians' land, so Nausithous moved them to Scherie
  • He built a new city, which Alcinous now ruled
  • His daughters name is Nausicaa 

Nausicaa's dream

  • Athene, disguised as Nausicaa's friend Dymas, suggests that Nausicaa goes and washes her clothes

What happened at the beach?

  • Nausicaa and co. wash the clothes
  • They bathe and rub olive oil on themselves
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Book 6 #2

  • They eat their meal
  • They wait for the sun to dry their clothes
  • The friends play with a ball while Nausicaa sings a song

Nausicaa is compared to...

  • Artimis the archeress 

Odysseus is compared to...

  • A mountain lion 

Odysseus compliments Nausicaa by:

  • Confusing/comparing her to a goddess
  • Telling her she is blessed and her future husband will be blessed
  • By saying that she must be a dancer and that he has never seen anything as beautiful as her
  • Informing her that she reminds him of a palm tree... Alright then....
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Book 6 #3

Odysseus tries to win sympathy by:

  • Telling Nausicaa his story
  • Saying things like 'pity me'
  • Saying that the gods have trouble in store for him

He finally tries to convince her by:

  • Behaving humbly
  • Only asking for little things
  • Saying that she deserves everything she wants

Its important for Odysseus to appear civilised as:

  • He knows Nausicaa will help him more if he appears civilised than if he ran to her
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Book 6 #4

Before Odysseus's makeover, he looks gruesome with:

  • A salt crusted back
  • ( I can't read my own writing at this point) 'Scurf' on his hair (?)

After he washed himself:

  • 'He looks like the gods who live in heaven'
  • (The) locks to hang from his head, as thick as the petals of a hyacinth in bloom

Nausicaa's reaction to the new Odysseus:

  • She admires him
  • At first she found him repulsive but now she wants to marry him
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Book 6 #5

Nausicaa's instructions: 

  • Through the country between the beach and the city

Odysseus should walk quickly with the maids behind the wagon, following Nausicaa

  • Once they have reached the city

He should go to the poplar grave of Athene and wait until Nausicaa and co. get to the city

  • After a short wait

Go to the city and ask for directions to the palace

  • Once he reaches the palace

Go inside and ask Nausicaa's mum (grasp her knees) and beg for help

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Book 6 #6

When Odysseus sits in Athene's grave, he prays to her. However, she doesn't appear before her favourite but why?

  • Because Poseidon is still angry
  • She doesn't appear put of respect for him
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Book 7

  • While Odysseus waits in Athene's grave, Nausicaa and her maids reach the palace of Alcinous
  • To help Odysseus reach the palace, Athene, disguised as a young girl directs him
  • She also gives him some info about Arete and Alcinous, the king and queen of Phaecia

Arete is an unusual woman as:

  • She settles men's disputes
  • She is wise ( not saying that women can't be wise, but at the time this was unusual)
  • She is a descendant of Poseidon
  • She is honoured above all women

The palace!!

  • Bronze walls with dark blue enamel
  • Silver and gold guard dogs
  • Gold statues of youths holding torches
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Book 7 #2

  • Golden doors, silver posts and lintel
  • Golden door handles
  • Tall chairs and high roofs
  • 50 maids, all with different skills
  • Vineyard
  • 2 springs, 4 acres of orchard
  • Vegetable beds

The Xenia of the Phaeacians

  • Odysseus walks up to the kings and queen and grasps the queens knees

BAD XENIA supposed to wait for invitation

  • Asks for help to return home

BAD XENIA should wait till after meal

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Book 7 #3

  • Odysseus sits in front of the hearth

BAD XENIA host should offer chair

  • A phaeacian elder tells Alcinous to seat Odysseus properly and provide food aend drink

GOOD XENIA but should need reminding

  • Alcinous sits Odysseus and orders food and drink to be brought


  • Alcinous sends the other Phaeacians home and they agree to help Odysseus home


  • Arete asks for his name and story

GOOD XENIA but should wait till after the meal

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Book 7 #4

Odysseus spends: 

  • 7 years ( on Ogygia with Calypso)
  • 17 days ( on a raft sailing to Scherie)
  • 1 day ( in a storm sent by Poseidon)
  • 1 night ( in the Forest)
  • The following morning ( sees/hears Nausicaa by the river)

Alcinous makes a promise:

  • Tomorrow, Odysseus will leave
  • The rowers will take him on their ships to his homeland
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Book 9

Before we meet the cyclops, we meet the Cicones, who killed 72 of Odysseus' men and the Lotus-eaters who have their magical lotus fruit

The character of the Cyclopes

  • Isolated- no neighbors
  • Fierce, aggressive and lawless
  • Don't have any merchants or craftsmen

The agriculture of the Cyclopes

  • Never plant or plough fields
  • Crops, however, spring up with the rain sent by gods
  • Lots of goats
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Book 9 #2

The laws of the Cyclopes

  • Don't have assemblies for making laws
  • Each man makes his own laws for his family
  • Nobody cares what others laws are

The community of the Cyclopes

  • Have no interest in others or neighbors
  • Have no big gatherings so don't know who others are

Technology of the Cyclopes

  • No boats or ploughs (nothing)

Does Polyphemus behave like this?

  • Made baskets, vessels, cheeses and owns sheep. Strong and aggressive. Cares for the sheep. Complimentary about the wine.
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Book 9 #3

  • Polyphemus asks Odysseus and his men who they are and where they come from. He asks weather they are pirates or cruising the main on chance
  • Odysseus replies that they are Achaeans. He asks Polyphemus to show them hospitality and reminds him that Zeus is the champion of suppliants and guests
  • Polyphemus replies that the Cyclopes don't fear the gods as they are much stronger than they are
  • He asks Odysseus where his ship is moored
  • Odysseus replies that his ship was wrecked by poseidon. He lies because he knows that Polyphemus was trying to outwit them.

Odysseus' escape plan

  • A staff of green olive wood

To sharpen and heat

To twist in the cyclops' eye

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Book 9 #4

  • Drawing lots

To make all his men equal 

So he doesn't have to choose who will spear the cyclops in the eye

  • Wine

To make sure abstinence could have no charms

To make him drunk

To make him go asleep

  • Polyphemus' single eye

So he won't die from being blinded

So he will be completely blind 

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Book 9 #5

  • Nobody

To fool the cyclops ( eat nobody last)

Other cyclops won't help if nobody hurt him

So he won't know Odysseus blinded him

  • Sheep

Could hide between them and under them

Polyphemus only feels the top of the sheep

Sacrifice to the gods

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Book 9 #6

  • Odysseus taunts Polyphemus- 'a puny, feeble, good-for-nothing Fuddles'
  • Polyphemus asks his father Poseidon to make sure Odysseus suffers on his return
  • The curse means Odysseus will get home, but he will:

- come late in wretched plight

- be in a foreign ship

- find trouble in his home

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Book 10

When they arrived at Circe's island, Odysseus:

  • Took a spear and sword when leaving the ship
  • Climbed a rocky height to see any other lands
  • Doesn't go straight to the other lands, waits
  • Kills a stag for food and offering to the gods
  • Calms his men when they cry
  • Splits his men in half to increase the chance of survival

Odysseus raises the spirits of his men by:

  • Bringing the stag

Doesn't raise spirits by:

  • Telling them they are lost
  • Telling them about the smoke- men have died where there has been smoke
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Book 10 #2

How does Homer make Odysseus appear heroic?

  • When he knows the events, he grabs his weapons and asks to be lead to Circe
  • Says he has no choice but to save his men
  • Lets Eurylochus stay with his other men

Hermes instructions to Odysseus

  • Take the moley drug
  • Get out his sword and rush at Circe as if to kill her
  • Make Circe swear an oath that she won't hurt him
  • Sleep with her.. Which seems to be the solution to most things at this time

How does Odysseus deal with Circe?

  • He takes the drug and goes to kill her
  • He takes compassion on her when she begs him not to kill her
  • He could have asked her to change the men back
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Book 10 #3

Odysseus' main concerns

  • His men are still pigs, get changed back
  • What to do with the rest of the crew, get ship onto land
  • The happiness of Eurylochus, Odysseus calms down, eurylochus comes along
  • To persuade the men to go back to Ithaca

Odysseus breaks the news that he's leaving

  • He blames his men for their departure
  • Circe says he doesn't have to stay if he doesn't want to

Circe's instructions

  • Go to the underworld
  • Meet Teiresias
  • Sail across the river of ( can't read my writing) Ocean
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Book 10 #4

  • Reach the grove of Persephone
  • Dig a trench and pour into it offerings to the dead
  • He should then sacrifice a ram and a black yew
  • The spirits of the dead will appear but he mist not let them feel till he speaks to teiresias
  • He will give him further instructions about his return to Ithaca

Before he leaves the island:

  • Elpenor gets drunk and falls off the roof of Circe's house

When the men hear their next destination

  • They weep and rip out their hair
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Book 12

Odysseus returns to Circe's island

  • To collect and burn Elpenors body/ to give him a proper burial

Circe offers Odysseus and co.

  • Bread, meat and wine
  • Directions
  • A place to stay for the high
  • The safest routes for their journey
  • A following wind for their departure

Circe's instructions- The sirens

  • Crew must bung ears with beeswax, Odysseus tied to the mast
  • The crew must tie Odysseus tighter to the mast if he begs for relase
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Book 12 #2

Circe's instructions, the wandering rocks

  • Don't go that way
  • Only Jason on the argo got through

Circe's instructions, Scylla and Charybdis

  • Sail close to Scylla as Charybdis is a whirlpool
  • If they go to Charybdis all will die
  • They shouldn't try to fight, 6 crew members will die

Circe's instructions, thrinacie

  • Don't touch the cows or the sheep
  • They belong to the sun god
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Book 12 #3

Scylla and Charybdis

Odysseus tells his men to:

  • Stay away from the foaming surf - rough sea
  • Stay towards the rocks
  • Doesn't mention that 6 men will die
  • Doesn't tell them the Scylla is there

Charybdis' Whirlpool

  • Sucks sea water in
  • Vomits it back up, you can see the sea floor
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Book 12 #4

The sun gods cattle

  • Remembering the advice of Circe and of Teiresias, Odysseus tells his men to keep clear of the island of the sun god- Hyperion
  • Eurylochus is critical of the plan and convinces the men that it would be better to rest on the island 
  • Odysseus gives in, but warns his men not to kill the cows and sheep
  • They must only eat the food given to them by Circe
  • The men agreed and swear an oath before bringing in their ship and eating and drinking
  • They then begin to think about the 6 who have been taken by Scylla 

Odysseus and his men remain on the island for 1 month and 6 days

  • They can't leave as they have no following wind
  • He warns the men to not touch the sheep and cows
  • Unfortunately, Odysseus goes to an island to be far away from everyone to pray for help and then falls asleep
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Book 12 #5

Eurylochus makes a speech to the men:

  • Any death is bad but starvation is the worst
  • Let's kill the sheep andncows
  • To make it all seem better, when we get home we will build a big temple for the sun god and fill it with nice things
  • If he's angry and the gods agree we should die, I'd rather die shipwrecked than starved.

Lampetie (a nymph) tells Hyperion about the slaughtered cattle

  • Hyperion says that he will shine in the underworld instead of the earth.
  • Zeus tells him that he will punish them himself by hitting the boat with a lightning bolt, smashing it up
  • Odysseus knows about this conversation as Calypso told him and Hermes told her
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Book 12 #6

Odysseus and his crew see:

  • The dead cows starting to moo and move

They leave the island after:

  • 6 days leave on the 7th
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