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Once Upon A Time. Homer told a great story about Odysseus. The Odyssey. What is an epic?. An epic is a story-poem about a great hero who performs daring deeds that require superhuman courage Told orally; not written. In Greek epics the gods either help or hinder the hero. The Hero’s Journey.

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Once Upon A Time...

Homer told a great story about Odysseus.

The Odyssey

what is an epic
What is an epic?
  • An epic is a story-poem about a great hero who performs daring deeds that require superhuman courage
  • Told orally; not written.
  • In Greek epics the gods either help or hinder the hero.
the hero s journey
The Hero’s Journey
  • Call to Adventure -
  • Wise and Helpful Guides –
  • Dangerous Trials -
  • Meeting the Monster -
  • Enchanted Forest -
  • The Sacrifice -
  • The Hero’s Return -

The Odyssey is part 2 of one of the greatest stories ever told.

In order to REALLY understand the Odyssey, one must know some background information


Homer was a blind poet and storyteller who lived around the time of 720 B.C.

Homer is considered the inventor of the long or extended simile. He specialized in using flashback, cliffhangers and fully developed characters.

Aristotle called The Iliad the first great tragedy.


Long long ago, there was a mortal named Peleus. The gods loved him so much that they decided to allow him to marry a beautiful goddess named Thetis.

These two will have a son named Achilles. He becomes one of the great heroes in Greek legend. In fact, he plays a huge role in the Trojan war (The Iliad).


After these two get married, they have a son, Achilles. In order to protect him, Thetis dips him in the River Styx making in invulnerable. One little problem…


Eris, evil goddess of discord, was MAD because she was not invited to the wedding.

She plotted her revenge…


Eris threw a golden apple into the reception. It bounced right into the middle of all the guests. The tag on the golden apple read…

“For the fairest”


Hera is the queen of the gods, Zeus’ wife and protector of married women

Athena is goddess of wisdom and just wars. She is daughter of Zeus and one of the 3 virgin goddesses

Aphrodite is goddess of love and beauty.


Zeus said,

“NO WAY!!!!!!!!”

How can you vote against the goddess of love and beauty in a beauty contest?

How much trouble do you think Zeus would be in if he voted against his own wife?

How could Zeus vote against his favorite child?

No Win Situation for Zeus


Zeus was smart. He refused to judge the contest. He didn’t want any of the goddesses mad at him.

Zeus said let Paris do it. Paris was a lowly shepherd who had amazing taste in beauty.


Three amazingly beautiful goddesses appeared to Paris. He was shocked and amazed. All he could do was stare.


Aphrodite offered Paris the most beautiful woman in the world

Hera offered him power and cities.

Athena offered him glory and victory in battle.


Paris considered himself more of a lover than a fighter.

As a result, Paris awarded Aphrodite the winner of the golden apple.


Paris was awarded the most beautiful woman in the world.

Aphrodite neglected to mention that Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, was already married.

Oh well, minor details for a goddess.

Paris hopped in his boat and headed off to Sparta to get Helen.

the gods take sides

(Paris, Hector)


Ares, God of War



Zeus (favored, but stayed neutral to please Hera)


(Achilles, Odysseus)



Poseidon, God of the Sea

The Gods Take Sides

The Greeks and the Trojans were enemies. They were both rich city-states with mighty rulers.






Helen was married to one of the Greek rulers. He was the king of Sparta. Menelaus was a mighty ruler who loved to wage war. He was not the brightest man in the world but he was very rich.



How did Helen end up with Menelaus?

There were so many men who wanted to marry Helen that her father made each man swear an oath to protect Helen and whomever she would marry.

Once Menelaus was chosen as Helen’s husband, the rest of the men of Greece were obligated to protect the marriage.



When Paris arrived in Sparta he told Menelaous that he was there on a mission of peace.

Menelaous believed him and invited Paris to stay in his home.

Soon after, Menelaous was called away on business. He left his wife, the most beautiful woman in the world, alone at home with a young good-looking stranger from a far off land. Obviously, Menelaous was not the brightest man alive.


Two sides to Every Story



Helen ran off with Paris because he was young, good-looking and smarter than her husband.

Helen was an innocent victim who was kidnapped by Paris


Regardless, Helen went home with Paris.

Paris lived in Troy with his family.

Speaking of Paris’ family…

There is a whole other story that needs to be told about Paris and his homeland


When Paris and Helen reached Troy, they were met with grumbles. King Priam and all of Paris’ brothers complained that Paris had made a great big mistake by bringing Helen home to Troy.

They were right!


When Menelaus got home…


What happened?

  • No Paris
  • No Wife
  • No Treasure
  • Empty House



The Oath


Meneleus called all the Greeks together who had taken the oath to protect Helen’s marriage.

Many of the Greeks didn’t want to go to war. But, then Meneleus reminded the men of how much money $$$$$ and treasure could be theirs if they conquered Troy.

Not to mention all the gorgeous women…


All the best of the best heroes and warriors gathered together. They were ready for WAR.

Agamemnon and Meneleus were the leaders of the army.


Before the all the Greeks could gather and leave for Troy a tragedy happened.

One of the Greeks, who was waiting to leave for Troy, shot a pregnant bunny. This made Artemis really, really mad. She is the goddess of the moon, the hunt and protector of animals.


Artemis stopped the wind.

The men waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited

and waited…


Artemis required Agamemnon to sacrifice one of his daughters, Iphigenia. Unless, Agamemnon complied, Artemis would prevent the war by stopping the wind.


Agamemnon sent word to his wife Clytemnestra.

Send our daughter, Iphigenia,

to the Greek camp.

Achilles, the greatest warrior,

wants to marry her before he leaves

for Troy.


Clytemnestra and her daughter, Iphigenia, were very excited. They got all dressed up and rushed to the Greek camp.


When she got there…

  • No wedding
  • No flowers
  • No happy day

Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to Artemis.


The Greeks sailed for


Clytemnestra cried, mourned and hated her husband.

But that’s another story…


The Greeks went to war.

  • They pillaged.
  • They burned towns.
  • They stole treasure.
  • They stole women (war prizes).
  • And this was all just on the way to Troy.
  • They weren’t even serious yet.

The Iliad is the story of the

last few months of the

Trojan War

Did I mention, the war lasted 10 very long years?


The Iliad is the story of the last few months of the Trojan War.

The Odyssey is the story of Odysseus’ journey home from the war. It takes poor Odysseus 20 years to get home.


Poor Odysseus, that is 20 long years away from home and family.

Ithaca- Odysseus’ beloved island home

Penelope, Odysseus’ faithful wife


Did we mention that Odysseus faked insanity trying to get out of going away to the Trojan war?

When the Greeks arrived to pick up Odysseus to go to war, he was acting crazy. In fact, he was plowing a field and planting rocks. In order to test his sanity, the Greeks laid Odysseus’ son in front of the plow. When he swerved around the baby, they knew it was a trick.


Why on earth would a macho Greek leader want to stay home from war?

Paradise home, beautiful young wife and a new baby (Telemachus)


Bye bye…

Odysseus bids farewell to his wife Penelope and infant son Telemachus, as his faithful dog Argos lies nearby.






God-like wisdom



Quick Review



King Priam ruled Troy. Troy was under attack because of Paris “stealing” Helen. The biggest, baddest warrior was Hector.

Agamemnon and Meneleous (Helen’s angry husband) were the leaders of the army.

Their biggest, baddest warrior was Achilles.


On the way to Troy the Greeks did a lot of damage. They gathered many goodies. The Greeks had a weird tradition that they called “war prizes.” They would capture a town and steal its beautiful women. The women would be handed out as war prizes to the leaders and great heroes.


Agamemnon was awarded a very beautiful girl. She was Apollo’s priest’s daughter.

Agamemnon was a happy man. He thought his war prize was more beautiful and that he would love her more than his very own wife (Clytemnestra).

She is already mad about the death of her daughter. Can you imagine how mad she would be if she heard this?


Apollo caused the Greeks to get sick. Many strong heroes died. It was very sad for the Greeks.


The Greeks held a meeting and decided to send a messenger to Apollo to find out what they could do to make him happy

The messenger came back but won’t tell…


I know why Apollo is mad but if I tell, I’m a dead man.

Someone here will kill me.

“I’m too scared. Someone must promise to protect me.”

Achilles said, “Don’t worry little buddy. No one here will lay a hand on you.”


The messenger told the Greeks that Apollo was mad at them because of how Agamemnon had treated his priest. Until things were made right with the priest, by returning his daughter, the Greeks would continue to die.


The Greeks said….

Give the girl back!


Achilles said, “Yes, you must return the girl to her father.”

Agamemnon pouted and said, “Fine, then I’m taking your war prize to replace mine.”


“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said Achilles. “After all, I’m the biggest, baddest warrior you have. Without me you are nothing. The Trojans would have beaten you along time ago.”

“Why, Agamemnon, are you whining about this? You always get the most treasure. You know, I do all the work and you get all the glory. If you take away my war prize, I just might pack up and go home. You’ll wish you had treated me better when the Trojans are knocking at your door.”


Achilles cried because Agamemnon took his woman.

He was so upset that he refused to fight. Just like he said.


Agamemnon was very mature about the whole thing. He said, “Ha ha, she’s mine. We don’t need you to fight. We’ll be just fine.”

Ha ha!



The Greeks say...

Yeah Agamemnon, this will work without Achilles


The Greeks started losing; without Achilles they just weren’t that tough. Hector, the biggest, badest Trojan, started inflicting serious pain on the Greeks


Achilles was sad to see his friends all getting hurt and dying. He loved and lived to fight and was seriously bummed out that he was not able to participate and earn glory and honor through his deeds in battle. Honor was very, very important to the Greeks.

Achilles would not fight because of the dishonor Agamemnon caused him. He felt he had to prove a point.


When the Trojans pushed the fighting back almost to the ships…

I wish Achilles was in the fight



Achilles was so very sad. He walked along the beach and called to his mommy (goddess Thetis)

He asked her what he should do. The big guy,

Zeus, owed her a favor. She found out Achilles’ fate.



Zeus said…

Achilles has two possible fates.

If he fights at Troy, then he will earn honor and immortality. He will be a hero and be remembered forever.

If he does not fight at Troy, then Achilles will live a long good life but die and not be remembered.



Patroclous was Achilles best friend. Patroclous begged his friend to let him wear the scary armor of Achilles. If the Trojans thought Achilles was back in the battle then maybe they would back off.




“Okay Pat, you can wear my armor and kick some Trojan butt. However, I do not want you to push them all the way back to the city. That would rob me of honor.” Achilles was worried that his friend would encounter the great Trojan hero, Hector.


Pat went out wearing Achilles’ armor.

The Trojan warriors freaked outand ran toward the city.

Pat and the Greek army followed. They killed many Trojans.

Caught up in the moment, Pat chases the Trojans to the city walls. Achilles told him not to go that far. He forgot.

I’m Achilles,


He paid with his life








Achilles is the strongest man alive. In fact, he is the son of a goddess. He is macho, strong, stubborn and angry about the death of his best friend. He wants to go kill some Trojans but he had no armor.

Pat lost the

armor to Hector.

As a prize of war

Hector kept the

very valuable armor

for himself


Thetis had Hephestus, the god of iron-working, make Achilles’ new armor. It was awesome and fearful.

Achilles did not waste any time at all. He went into battle and killed tons and tons of Trojans. The ones who escaped, ran into the gates of the city. All but one…

Historic armor


Achilles was able to kill Hector because he knew where the weakness was in his armor. How did he know? Remember, the armor that Hector was wearing used to be his!Talk about your twisted irony.



It was ugly!!!

Achilles was so upset over the death of his friend, Pat, that he hooked Hector up to the back of his chariot and dragged him around the city.


So, how did this war

finally end?

For 10 years they fought. Sometimes the Greeks would be winning and sometimes the Trojans. Sometimes the gods and goddess would get involved and help and sometimes they wouldn’t.


Remember Odysseus?

The super smart Greek

Hey guys, I have an idea!

And when Odysseus talks, people listen


Troy is a huge city with powerful walls. We haven’t be able to break down or get inside the walls. So, here is my idea. Let’s pack everything up and make it look like we gave up and went home. We’ll hide the ships just around the coast. We will leave one guy and an “offering” to the gods.


“Our “offering” will be their downfall. They will open the gates to check everything out. The guy that we leave behind will tell them that the big statue is an offering to the gods and they better be nice to it. When they take it into the city…”


You guessed it

Our “smarty pants” Odysseus came up with the idea of the Trojan Horse. His idea has been copied zillions of times


Hiding in the belly of the horse was the best of the best Greek warriors. When the Trojans brought the horse into the city, they brought in big trouble. The saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” came from this story.


When all the Trojans slept, the Greeks sneaked out and opened the gates. The Greek army was waiting. The Greeks killed the Trojans and won the war.

Nice work Odysseus!



The Greeks divided up the spoils and headed for home.


This is the end of the

Iliad but only the

beginning for Odysseus