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The Odyssey. Homer. New Terms. Homeric – 1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Greek poet Homer, his age(time period), or his writings. 2. Of epic proportions: heroic.

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new terms
New Terms

Homeric – 1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the Greek poet Homer, his age(time period), or his writings. 2. Of epic proportions: heroic.

Odyssey – 1. A long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes in fortune. 2. an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest.


what is the odyssey
What is the Odyssey?

The Odyssey is an Epic Poem as told by the great Greek poet Homer. It is the story of Odysseus, a man from Ithaca, who is trying to return home to his wife.

whatchu mean epic poem
Whatchu mean, Epic Poem?

Epic Poems are stories that have been fitted to the conventions of poetry (e.g. – rhyme and meter), are often quite long, and are meant to be performed. Much of the foundation of story telling lies in the conventions ascribed to Epic Poetry, and we would not have much of the “western canon” without the foundation that was given to us.

but mr k how is that different from any other poem
But Mr. K, how is that different from any other poem?
  • Because of these 5 things!
    • Praepositio – opens with the theme
    • Invocation – calls upon the gods
    • In Media Res – starts in the middle
    • Enumeratio – catalogues and genealogies
    • Epithet – repetition of phrases
alright but give me some other examples
Alright, but give me some other examples…
  • Can do! There are a number that have popped up over the ages such as:
    • Gilgamesh(Mesopotamian)
    • Ramayana(Hindu)
    • Iliad/Odyssey(Homer)
    • Theogony(Greek)
    • Aeneid– Virgil(Roman)
    • Metamorphoses – Ovid(Greek/Roman)
    • Buddhacarita(Indian)
    • Beowulf(Old English)
    • The Divine Comedy – Alegheri(Italian)
    • Paradise Lost – Milton(English)
overload mr k slow down
Overload, Mr. K! Slow down!

Sorry, but there are a lot. Almost every major language has an epic poem attributed to it. However, the only ones that we are going to be interested in in this unit are The Odyssey and The Iliad. Mostly because they are the only two that have anything to do with Homer.

okay i think we get that but who is homer
Okay, I think we get that…but who is Homer?
  • Tricky Question…
    • Most likely a poet born around 850-800bc
    • Possibly a group of poets/rhapsodes who are credited as “Homer”
    • Wrote/spoke two major works in the Western Canon
      • The Iliad
      • The Odyssey
    • His two works helped mold the ancient Greek civilization, inspired forms of speaking, and developed a writing style.
so it s not this guy
So it’s not this guy?

sorry minions it s actually this guy
Sorry Minions, it’s actually this guy…

okay okay cool let s move on
Okay, okay. Cool. Let’s move on.
  • Sure thing. What would you like to hear about next(we’ll cover them all eventually)
    • Odysseus
    • Greek Gods
    • Conventions of Poetry
    • Ancient Greece
  • The hero of our story
    • Trojan War
    • Where has he been?
    • Why?
  • What is his goal?
    • Getting home to Penelope and Telemachus
    • Protect his men
greek gods
Greek Gods

Gods play a large role in classic Greek literature. Unlike the different gods of modern religion, Greek gods were not omniscient. Therefore they could be fooled, persuaded, aggravated, betrayed, deceitful, manipulative, irrational, opinionated, etc.

Deus ex machina – machine of the gods

Take a direct place in the affairs of men

important gods in odyssey
Important Gods in Odyssey

Calypso – Sea goddess that has imprisoned Odysseus at the beginning of the story

Zeus – King of the gods. God of thunder, lightning, awesomeness

Apollo – The Sun god. God of Music, poetry, prophecy and medicine

Poseidon – God of the sea, earthquakes, horses, and storms

Athena – Goddess of skills, wisdom and warfare

Cronus – Titan ruler of the universe, Zeus’ father(What else might he be the god of?)

poetic conventions
Poetic Conventions
  • Line – a single phrase of poetry
    • The Odyssey has 12,110
  • Stanza – a group of lines with a common theme
  • Canto – A group of stanza with a common theme
  • Rhyme – Rhyme, if you don’t know what I mean, think Dr. Suess
    • I do not like them Sam I Am/I do not like green eggs and ham
  • Meter – The length of a line of poetry; specifically with regard to the stress of the line
    • Dactylic hexameter
dactylic hexameter
Dactylic Hexameter
  • A type of rhythmic schema for a poem. Seen almost purely in Greek and Latin writings, it is commonly known as the “Heroic Hexameter”, due to its use in Epics.
  • Difficult to construct in English because of the way that it is stressed. Each foot is made up of one stressed and two unstressed syllables. Most sentences in English do not follow this pattern, and it must be carefully written/planned in order to work out well.
  • An Example:
    • This is the | forest pri | meval. The | murmuring | pines and the | hemlocks – Evangeline - Longfellow
but mr k why is ancient greece important
But Mr. K, why is ancient Greece important?
  • First and foremost, without Greece, there would be no Mr. K. So consider yourselves lucky!
  • Greece is the birthplace of/has fostered many things that we hold in high esteem:
    • Democracy
    • Music
    • Literature
    • Poetry
    • Logic/Philosophy
this seems like it might be difficult how are we going to remember all of this information
This seems like it might be difficult, how are we going to remember all of this information?
  • This Powerpoint will be posted onto the PBWorks page for my class.
  • There will also be a few helpful links such as:
    • And a few others that I haven’t found quite yet.
  • But don’t worry! We’re not reading the whole thing, that would take FOREVER. We’re just reading excerpts.