- At the start of the Odyssey, the author (generally assumed to be Homer) addresses the Muse, asking her to tell him about Odysseus, the hero who spent more time traveling back to his Greek home than any other Greek hero at the Trojan War. Homer says that Odysseus and his men suffered as a result of the Sun God Hyperion Helios. Odysseus then encountered the goddess Calypso, who has kept him so long that all the gods except Poseidon feel sorry for him.
- While Poseidon is away enjoying a festival, Zeus addresses the gods and tells the story of Agamemnon, Aegisthus, and Orestes. Athene brings Zeus back to the topic of Odysseus, reminding him that Zeus has received many burnt offerings at the hand of Odysseus.
- Zeus says that his hands are tied because Poseidon is angry that Odysseus blinded his son, Polyphemus, but that if the gods show a united front, they should be able to persuade Poseidon when he returns.
- Athene responds that the messenger god, Hermes, should tell Calypso to let Odysseus go, and she herself will go to Odysseus' son Telemachus to inspire him to call the assembly and speak out against the suitors of his mother Penelope. She will also urge Telemachus to go to Sparta and Pylos for word of his father. Athena then vanishes and arrives in Ithaca disguised as Mentes, chief of the Taphians.
- Telemachus sees Mentes-Athene, goes to him to to offer hospitality. He insists the guest eat before telling why he is there. Telemachus wants to ask whether the stranger has news of his…
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