OdysseyPart1

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Telemacheia, books 1-4
Ancient critics noted that the first four
books of the epic have a story in their
themselves.
Telemachus develops from a timid
youth, who can scarcely hold his own
among the suitors, to a worthy and
self-reliant young man, a force for the
suitors to reckon with.
Athena, as Mentes/Mentor, makes this
happen.
Key moments in the education include:
•Athena’s instruction at Ithaca
•Nestor’s instruction at Pylos
and Peisistratus’ friendship
•Menelaus and Helen hosting at Sparta
•Odysseus’s own instruction (Od. 16 ff.)
Hyginus Fab.95 says that Odysseus did not want to go to
Troy, because he knew Halitherses’ oracle (Od. 2.155f) that
he would not return for 20 years... and without
companions. Feigning madness, he yoked an ox with a
horse and began to plow the sandy seashore. Palamedes,
suspecting the ruse, used baby Telemachus for a test, which
Odysseus failed. Saving Telemachus, Odysseus revealed
himself.
above OGCMA0729NOTOdysseus_Ottinger (a work owned by BYU-MOA)
OGCMA0000NOTAjaxMinor_Serrur
ΝΟΣΤΟΙ (νοστός) = “returns”
or “The Returns” (a sub-class
of ancient epic poetry
Epic bards set themselves the task of
telling how the Achaeans and other
Greeks got home from Troy at the end
of the War.
Agamemnon, Orestes’ revenge,
Menelaus’ homecoming, Ajax (the
lesser, or “Locrian”), Odysseus and so
forth...
Each hero’s return is worth an epic
telling.
Homer’s Odyssey is a representative
of this class of poems, but worked up
with Homeric grandeur.
Phemius’s song in Od. 1.300
Why this detail in Odysseus’ home?
OGCMA0287Cassandra_Solomon
i>clicker quiz
What is the first action
in Homer’s Odyssey,
the very first thing
that happens within
the narrative (after
the invocation of the
Muses)?
A. Athena comes to visit
Telemachus.
B. Athena asks Zeus why he
hates Odysseus.
C. Zeus speaks to the
Olympians about
Aegisthus and Orestes.
D. Zeus sends Hermes with a
message for mortals.
i>clicker quiz
What is the first action
in Homer’s Odyssey,
the very first thing
that happens within
the narrative (after
the invocation of the
Muses)?
A. Athena comes to visit
Telemachus.
B. Athena asks Zeus why he
hates Odysseus.
C. Zeus speaks to the
Olympians about
Aegisthus and Orestes.
D. Zeus sends Hermes with a
message for mortals.
“His mind was full of Lord Aegisthus, slain by renowned Orestes, the child of
Agamemnon; with him in mind Zeus began to speak to the Deathless Ones…”
i>clicker quiz
Why are there many
suitors hanging
around Odysseus’
place?
A. They want to marry
Odysseus’ oldest daughter
B. They are buddies of
Telemachus and they are
fellowshipping him while
his dad’s away.
C. They believe Odysseus is
dead and they want to
marry Penelope.
D. None of these is true
i>clicker quiz
Why are there many
suitors hanging
around Odysseus’
place?
The suitors have been
thronging the home of
Odysseus more and
more in recent
months, like vultures
at road kill. (My
simile.)
A. They want to marry
Odysseus’ oldest daughter
B. They are buddies of
Telemachus and they are
fellowshipping him while
his dad’s away.
C. They believe Odysseus is
dead and they want to
marry Penelope.
D. None of these is true
i>clicker quiz
Who is this Aegisthus
that’s mentioned so
often in the Odyssey?
A. Agamemnon’s cousin and
claimant to the throne of
Argos.
B. Clytemnestra’s chief
“suitor”.
C. An Argive killed by
Orestes.
D. An Argive captain in the
Trojan War who fought
valiantly thee.
E. None of these is true
i>clicker quiz
Who is Aegisthus?
Aegisthus and
Clytemnestra
participated in the
murder of Agamemnon
upon his return from
Troy. Later, Orestes (and
Electra) exacted divinely
appointed vengeance
and killed them both.
A. Agamemnon’s cousin and
claimant to the throne of
Argos.
B. Clytemnestra’s chief
“suitor”.
C. An Argive killed by
Orestes.
D. An Argive captain in the
Trojan War who fought
valiantly thee.
E. None of these is true
i>clicker quiz
Who only could have said
this and to whom? “The
great island chieftains ..
have all come to woo my
mother, and they are
devouring my inheritance.
And although the thought
of marriage is hateful to
her, she dare not refuse
outright and make and end
of it.”
A.
B.
C.
D.
Telemachus to Mentes
Telemachus to Mentor
Telemachus to Antinous
Telemachus to Penelope
i>clicker quiz
Who only could have said
this and to whom? “The
great island chieftains ..
have all come to woo my
mother, and they are
devouring my inheritance.
And although the thought
of marriage is hateful to
her, she dare not refuse
outright and make and end
of it.”
A.
B.
C.
D.
Telemachus to Mentes
Telemachus to Mentor
Telemachus to Antinous
Telemachus to Penelope
Tricky, but not a trick! In
Odyssey 2.401 Athena disguises
herself as “Mentor”; but, in
Odyssey 1, where he’s setting
forth the problem, Telemachus
thinks he is talking to Mentes.
i>clicker quiz
At the end of Book 5,
Odysseus survives a
shipwreck and pulls himself to
safety on the island of
Scheria. Before he decides on
a course of action he speaks
the following words: “Alas,
what will happen to me now?
What will become of me after
all? … I am almost at my last
gasp.” To whom does
Odysseus speak at this point?
Odysseus speaks to
A. The princess Nausicaa
B. The goddess Athena
C. The “stern god of the sea”
(i.e. Poseidon)
D. Telemachus
E. None of these
i>clicker quiz
At the end of Book 5,
Odysseus survives a
shipwreck and pulls himself to
safety on the island of
Scheria. Before he decides on
a course of action he speaks
the following words: “Alas,
what will happen to me now?
What will become of me after
all? … I am almost at my last
gasp.” To whom does
Odysseus speak at this point?
Odysseus speaks to
A. The princess Nausicaa
B. The goddess Athena
C. The “stern god of the sea”
(i.e. Poseidon)
D. Telemachus
E. None of these
Tricky, but not a trick,
technically! Odysseus speaks
“to his ardent soul” (his
megathumos)
i>clicker quiz
A simile in Od. 4.791 ff. likens
a particular person to a lion.
“As a lion ringed by a band of
hunters is filled with
bewilderment and fear as
they close their cunning circle
round him, in such
bewilderment lay [this
person] until welcome sleep
came suddenly.” Whom does
Homer liken here to this lion?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Odysseus
Telemachus
Menelaus
Penelope
Helen
i>clicker quiz
A simile in Od. 4.791 ff. likens
a particular person to a lion.
“As a lion ringed by a band of
hunters is filled with
bewilderment and fear as
they close their cunning circle
round him, in such
bewilderment lay [this
person] until welcome sleep
came suddenly.” Whom does
Homer liken here to this lion?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Odysseus
Telemachus
Menelaus
Penelope
Helen
Homeric similes often
compare moments of
domestic life to moments in
the wild, as here (hunted lion
to besieged mistress).
i>clicker quiz
In Menelaus’ palace in
Sparta, Telemachus enjoys
hospitality offered by the
most gracious hostess ever to
have occupied Menelaus’
palace. This same hostess
does something to “dispell all
grief and anger and banish
remembrance of every
trouble.” What does she do?
And who is she?
A. Nausicaa provides
refreshing baths at her
father’s thermal complex.
B. Queen Arete provides a
sumptuous meal of
sacrificial meats.
C. Helen of Troy spikes the
winebowl with a special
drug.
D. Athena shows her true
identity to the assembled
heroes.
i>clicker quiz
In Menelaus’ palace in Sparta,
Telemachus enjoys hospitality offered
by the most gracious hostess ever to
have occupied Menelaus’ palace. This
same hostess does something to
“dispell all grief and anger and banish
remembrance of every trouble.” What
does she do? And who is she?
A. Nausicaa provides
refreshing baths at her
father’s thermal complex.
B. Queen Arete provides a
sumptuous meal of
sacrificial meats.
C. Helen of Troy spikes the
winebowl with a special
drug. … VERY WEIRD.
D. Athena shows her true
identity to the assembled
heroes.
i>clicker quiz
Some host tells Telemachus the
tawdry tale of Aegisthus’
involvement with Clytemnestra,
starting in this way:
“… If [only] Menelaus returning
from Troy had found Aegisthus
alive in those halls. … We were
still encamped at Troy, still
fighting out many a contest, when
Aegisthus, sheltered deep in the
Argive plain that pastures horses,
had begun already with his
cajolings to tempt Agamemnon’s
wife. And at first Clytemnestra
would not consent to the deed of
shame.”
Which of Telemachus’ hosts
informs the boy about
Aegisthus’ behavior?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Mentes
Mentor
Agamemnon’s shade
Nestor
Peisistratus
i>clicker quiz
Some host tells Telemachus the tawdry
tale of Aegisthus’ involvement with
Clytemnestra, starting in this way:
“… If [only] Menelaus returning from
Troy had found Aegisthus alive in
those halls. … We were still encamped
at Troy, still fighting out many a
contest, when Aegisthus, sheltered
deep in the Argive plain that pastures
horses, had begun already with his
cajolings to tempt Agamemnon’s wife.
And at first Clytemnestra would not
consent to the deed of shame.”
Which of Telemachus’ hosts
informs the boy about
Aegisthus’ behavior?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Mentes
Mentor
Agamemnon’s shade
Nestor : see Od. 4.250 ff.
Peisistratus
i>c q
Who, or what, is
XENIA?
A. An unwritten code
concerning the ritualized
friendship between guests
and hosts
B. An Amazon warrior,
played by Lucy Loveless in
a late TV series
C. a term that characterizes
the misbehavior of the
suitors, of Polyphemus,
and of Paris in Menelaus’
house
i>c q
Who, or what, is
XENIA?
A. An unwritten code
concerning the ritualized
friendship between guests
and hosts. From Grk ξένος “stranger”
comes ξενία “the rights of a guest,
hospitality, friendly entertainment or
reception”
B. An Amazon warrior, played
by Lucy Loveless in a late TV
series
C. a term that characterizes
the misbehavior of the
suitors, of Polyphemus, and
of Paris in Menelaus’ house
i>cq
At one point in Od.4, a
certain woman
descends a staircase
and Homer likens her
to the goddess
Artemis. Who is it?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Arete
Nausicaa
Helen
Penelope
Clytemnestra
i>cq
At one point in Od.4, a
certain woman
descends a staircase
and Homer likens her
to the goddess
Artemis. Who is it?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Arete
Nausicaa
Helen Od. 4.120f.
Penelope
Clytemnestra
Think about it.
i>cq
Which mortal
woman is
compared in a
dramatic epic
simile to a
cornered lion in
Od. 4?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Arete
Nausicaa
Helen
Penelope
Clytemnestra
i>cq
Which mortal
woman is
compared to a
cornered lion in a
dramatic epic
simile in Od. 4?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Arete
Nausicaa
Helen
Penelope Od. 4. 800 ff.
Clytemnestra
Highly provocative.
Don’t you agree?
i>cq
Which of the
Greeks returned
home via Egypt
and met there the
“old man of the
sea” Proteus?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Aias (or Ajax)
Agamemnon
Odysseus
Menelaus
Philoctetes
i>cq
Which of the
Greeks returned
home via Egypt
and met there the
“old man of the
sea” Proteus?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Aias (or Ajax)
Agamemnon
Odysseus
Menelaus
Philoctetes
Menelaus disguises himself in
seal skins and wrestles with the
Protean god before wresting
from him the info needed to
return home safely.
Helps for studying the
Odyssey
This Powerpoint lecture-note set, and
subsequent sets
Some Study Questions for Homer’s
Odyssey
Listing of Names of Importance
The timeline called 40 Days of the
Odyssey
Mythological in the
Odyssey: the gods and
their functions
Zeus and his ponderings on
Aegisthus...
Hermes was sent to advise Aegisthus.
Athena takes the lead...
Zeus and xenia underpin it all.
Helen likened to Artemis on arrival
(4.122)
Poseidon’s ticked off from the start
(i.e. see the proem).
ΧΕΝΙΑ (χενία) = guest/host
relations
The ready measuring-stick in the epic.
“...then [the boy] saw Athene. He
made straight for the outer porch,
inwardly vexed that a guest should
stand at the door so long; he came up
to her, clasped her right hand and took
the bronze spear while his words came
in rapid flight: ‘Greeting, friend; you
shall be made welcome here;
afterwards, when you have had your
meal, you shall tell us what service you
require.’” Shewring trans, Odyssey
1.120 ff.
There are positive and negative
exempla.
Excerpt from J.L. David, “The Loves of Paris and Helen
OGCMA0834ParisAndHelen_David
Correspondence:
Odyssey and Oresteia
• Odysseus
• Penelope
• Antinous, Eurymachus,
and their ilk*
• Telemachus
• Etc?
• Agamemnon
• Clytemnestra
• Aegisthus
• Orestes
• Etc?
* Penelope’s demeanor in the face of multiple suitors makes her that many times
better than Clytemnestra. Penelope’s challenge is of epic proportions.

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