Introduction to the Myth

Who has not heard of the glorious king of Ithaca, Odysseus?

Odysseus mocks Polyphemus

The resourceful Odysseus found himself wandering the ends of the earth after conquering Troy with the rest of the Achaean kings. All of them took the long way back to their homelands. Some were shipwrecked or lost, others suffered more or less, before returning to their homelands. But the one who suffered the most was Odysseus. On his long journey he lost his companions whom he loved so much, but whom he could not save from their great faults and weaknesses. Odysseus only had to return home to Ithaca, to his beloved queen Penelope and his son Telemachus who had seen him as a baby when he left for war. Almost twenty years had passed since the campaign against Troy had begun. Homer's telling of the story of Odysseus begins at the point where Odysseus remains against his will in Ogygia, trapped by the fairy Calypso. The Rhapsodies are presented descriptively and summarily.