The Odyssey Timeline

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Invocation- Homer has asks the Muses to help tell the story of Odysseus. Odysseus is the Epic Hero of the story.

Textual evidence- “sing in me muse and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending”

Calypso- Odysseus travels to Calypso’s island, and spends 7 years there. Athena has supported Odysseus through the journey so she begs her father Zeus to send the messenger god Hermes to the island to release Odysseus. Her father agrees and send Hermes.

Textual evidence- “ If you could only see it all, before you go, all the adversity you face at sea, you would stay here, and guard this house, and be immortal."

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Cyclops- Odysseus and his men end up unknowingly traveling to the Cyclops cave. The cyclops treats them bad, eating some of Odysseus men and harming them. Odysseus then comes up with a plan, stabbing the cyclops in the eye when he falls asleep. He and a couple of his men do this and when he awakens he shouts Nohbdy did this because Odysseus tells the cyclops “Nohbdy” was his name.

Textual Evidence- “My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy.’

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Cyclops; when they escape- Odysseus then ties his men to the cyclops’ sheep because he was standing at the entrance of the cave. So to get them out Odysseus came up with the idea to tie them to the sheep. It actually works and they escape onto their ship.

Textual Evidence- “The Cyclops’s rams were handsome, fat, with heavy fleeces, a dark violet, three abreast I tied them silently together, then slung a man under each middle one to ride there safely.”

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Cyclops; when there on the ship- When they get to there ships Odysseus starts shouting back taunting remarks to the Cyclops. The cyclops then throws a boulder at there ship causing a large tidal wave, after this the cyclops began to pray to his father Poseidon that Odysseus and his men never see home again.

Textual Evidence- “Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of cities, took your eye: Laertes’ son, whose home’s on Ithaca!’

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I am Laertes son- Odysseus is found by daughter of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians.

He is there guest for the night and told to tell his story about his journey and how he has came before them.

Textual Evidence- Now this was the reply Odysseus made: . . . “I am Laertes’ son, Odysseus."

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Lotus Eaters- Odysseus’s ships come to the coastline of the Lotus Eaters, he sends 3 men to the island to see the race of the people there, the 3 men ate the Lotus plant there and began to never care to report, nor to return they longed to stay forever. So Odysseus ties the 3 men to the ship and warns his crew about the plant.

Textual Evidence- "All hands aboard; come, clear the beach and no one taste the Lotus, or you lose your hope of home."

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The first time that Odysseus and his men are with Circe is when she turns his men into pigs. When Odysseus learns of this he goes to save them and Hermes, the messenger god, gives him a type of molly to help the poison not effect him. Then Circe turns them back and they just stay and hang out for a while.

Textual Evidence- “Scarce had they drunk when she flew after them with her long stick and shut them in a pigsty.”

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The Land of the Dead-

Circe tells Odysseus to go to the land of the dead to see what his future holds, but he has to go alone. While he is there the prophet Teiresias tells him that all of his men are going to die. He also tells Odysseus that his home is being overrun with suitors for his wife and his kingdom.

Textual Evidence- “Lost for years, under strange sail shall you come home, to find your own house filled with trouble: insolent men eating your livestock as they court your lady.”

Circe again-

After visiting the Land of the Dead Odysseus travels back to Circe’s island to get his men and return their journey home. When he returns Circe tells him some of things he is going to have to have face for example; he will have to face the sirens and their songs, then Scylla and have to sacrifice six men and finally Charybdis will be the last obstacle. Circe tells him this things to get him to stay.

Textual Evidence- “Circe foresaw for us and shared with me,so let me tell her forecast: then we die with our eyes open, if we are going to die, or know what death we baffle if we can.”

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Odysseus tells his crew that Circe said they shouldn’t here the Siren’s song, but he should. So they tie him up to keep him from going toward the siren and this says that Odysseus’ pride gets in way just like his mens’ idiotic behavior keeps making their journey longer.

Textual Evidence- “Let the men tie you so you may hear those Harpies’ thrilling voices;

shout as you will, begging to be untied,
your crew must only twist more line around you and keep their stroke up, till the singers fade.”

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Scylla is a six headed monster that lives in the side of cliff by the sea. Again Circe told Odysseus that it was better to sacrifice six men then have all of them die. So that is what Odysseus does, he doesn’t tell his men what is going to happen so when they reach Scylla it scoops up six men.

Textual Evidence- “No ship’s company can claim
to have passed her without loss and grief; she takes, from every ship, one man for every gullet.”

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To avoid Charybdis, Odysseus tells his men to row closer to the cliff because Charybdis is a whirlpool of sorts where it opens up and swallows the ocean. If you are near it when it opens you are done for.

T.E- “Hug the cliff of Scylla, take your ship through on a racing stroke. Better to mourn six men than lose them all, and the ship, too.”

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Cattle of the Sun god-

After they make it through those obstacles they reach the island of the Cattle of the Sun god. Circe had told them not to eat the cattle on the island or they would die. While Odysseus is asleep the men kill some of the cattle and eat it. Helios’,the Sun god, his daughter tells him that they ate his cattle and he prays to Zeus to kill them all. So Zeus has no choice but to send a lightning bolt down.

T.E- “O Father Zeus and gods in bliss forever, punish Odysseus’ men! Restitution or penalty they shall pay—and pay in full—or I go down forever to light the dead men in the underworld.”

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Meeting of Father and Son-

Odysseus returned to Ithica in secret and was disguised by Athena in the form of a Beggar. This is an example of divine intervention. He goes to the hut of Eumaeus, who is a swineherd. While he is there Odysseus’ son, Telemachus stopped by to see if his mother had married one of the suitors. The two, father and son, do not recognize each other. Athena turned Odysseus back into his original form and he goes and tells his son that it is him.

T.E- “I am that father whom your boyhood lacked and suffered pain for lack of. I am he.” Telemachus did not believe that it could be his father, but when did they embraced and they wept.

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The Beggar and the Faithful Dog-

Odysseus retornes to his home, still in the form of a beggar. Him and Eurmaeus came across a dog, Argos, which is the hound Odysseus trained before he left Ithica. While Odyssues was speaking, Argos recognized his voice and tried to wag his tail but was to weak to do so. Argos was laying in a dung pile and shortly after he heard his masters voice he died.

T.E- “death and darkness in that instant closed the eyes of Argos, who had seen his master, Odysseus after twenty years…”

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The Test of the Great Bow-

The suitors were still trying to impress Penelope enough to marry her, so she came up with an impossible test. She said that if any man could bend and string Odysseus’ bow, and could shoot the arrow through twelve iron ax-helve sockets, that she would marry them. This is an impossible task for any man but Odysseus himself. None of the suitors could even bend the bow enough to string it, let alone shoot the arrow. Odysseus, still disguised as a beggar, wanted a shot at this, but the suitors didnt’t want a beggar to have a shot because they failed at the task. Penelope allows Odysseus a shot at this.

T.E- “Odysseus in one motion strung the bow.”

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The Test of the Great Bow (him and Eumaeus)-

Before Odysses did the great test he wanted to ask someone if they would stand by him if he came back. He was walking with the swineherd and herdsman, still dressed as a beggar, when he asked this question. They then started praying that Odysseus would come back, so he told them that it was him.

T.E- “I am at home, for I am he, I bore adversities, but in the twentieth year I am ashore in my own land.” He proved that it was him by the scar on his leg.

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Death at the Palace-

Odysseus wanted the suitors out of the palace for good. Antinous was the ring leader of all of this, so he wanted him gone first. Antinious was often rude to Odysseus because he was disguised as a beggar. When Antinious was taking a drink Odysseus told the men that he was going to hit a target no other man has, he then hit Antinious below his chin with the bow. He then told the suitors that it was Odysseus and that he was taking back what was rightfully his. The men were scared and were trying to find weapons, but they were all taken out. Athena then came to help, and they killed all of the suitors.

T.E- “while torn men moaned at death, and blood ran smoking over the whole floor…”

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Odysseus and Penelope-

Odysseus tried to tell Penelope that it was him and that he had come back after twenty years. Penelope didn’t believe him so Telemachus came in and tried to convine her as well because he has already known about it. When that didn’t work, Odysseus has Telemachus, the swineherd, and the cowherd to bath him and put fresh clothing on. When he comes back Penelope still isn’t convinced but she tells him she would move his bed so he could sleep. Odysseus starts to get defensive because he made that bed out of a tree and says (T.E-“There is our pact and pledge, our secret sign, build into that bed—my handiword and no one else’s!”) After this Penelope believes that it is him.

World Connection:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is based off Greek mythology and could be said to come from the Odyssey in some ways. The different gods that help Odysseus on his journey like Athena and Zeus are in the movie. Even Zeus’ lightning bolt is a big part of the movie.


Zeus’ lightning bolt is the allusion to The Odyssey. After Odysseus and his men eat the cattle of the sun god the sun god Helios is so upset that he prays to Zeus to kill them. Zeus has no choice, but to send down a lightning bolt to kill Odysseus’ men. His lightning bolt is famous in Percy Jackson because he is being framed for stealing it. So it is an allusion to the Odyssey.