The Odyssey eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 428 pages of information about The Odyssey.
Tartars, South-Sea Islanders, Finns, Russians, Scandinavians, and Eskimo.  The whole is surrounded with the atmosphere of the kingly age of Greece, and the result is the Odyssey, with that unity of plot and variety of character which must have been given by one masterly constructive genius.  The date at which the poet of the Odyssey lived may be approximately determined by his consistent descriptions of a peculiar and definite condition of society, which had ceased to exist in the ninth century B.C., and of a stage of art in which Phoenician and Assyrian influences predominated. (Die Kunst bei Homer.  Brunn.) As to the mode of composition, it would not be difficult to show that at least the a priori Wolfian arguments against the early use of writing for literary purposes have no longer the cogency which they were once thought to possess.  But this is matter for a separate investigation.

The Odyssey

Book I

In a Council of the Gods, Poseidon absent, Pallas procureth an order for the restitution of Odysseus; and appearing to his son Telemachus, in human shape, adviseth him to complain of the Wooers before the Council of the people, and then go to Pylos and Sparta to inquire about his father.

Tell me, Muse, of that man, so ready at need, who wandered far and wide, after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy, and many were the men whose towns he saw and whose mind he learnt, yea, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the deep, striving to win his own life and the return of his company.  Nay, but even so he saved not his company, though he desired it sore.  For through the blindness of their own hearts they perished, fools, who devoured the oxen of Helios Hyperion:  but the god took from them their day of returning.  Of these things, goddess, daughter of Zeus, whencesoever thou hast heard thereof, declare thou even unto us.

Now all the rest, as many as fled from sheer destruction, were at home, and had escaped both war and sea, but Odysseus only, craving for his wife and for his homeward path, the lady nymph Calypso held, that fair goddess, in her hollow caves, longing to have him for her lord.  But when now the year had come in the courses of the seasons, wherein the gods had ordained that he should return home to Ithaca, not even there was he quit of labours, not even among his own; but all the gods had pity on him save Poseidon, who raged continually against godlike Odysseus, till he came to his own country.  Howbeit Poseidon had now departed for the distant Ethiopians, the Ethiopians that are sundered in twain, the uttermost of men, abiding some where Hyperion sinks and some where he rises.  There he looked to receive his hecatomb of bulls and rams, there he made merry sitting at the feast, but the other gods were gathered in the halls of Olympian Zeus.  Then among them the father of gods and men began to speak, for he bethought him in his heart of noble Aegisthus, whom the son of Agamemnon, far-famed Orestes, slew.  Thinking upon him he spake out among the Immortals: 

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The Odyssey from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.