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Basics on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey


Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles
and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.

Synopsis of Iliad
Note: Book numbers are in parentheses and come before the synopsis of the book.
(1) After an invocation to the Muses, the story launches in medias res (in the middle of things) towards the end of the
Trojan War between the Trojans and the besieging Greeks. Chryses, a Trojan priest of Apollo, offers the Greeks wealth
for the return of his daughter Chryseis, a captive of Agamemnon, the Greek leader. Although most of the Greek army is in
favour of the offer, Agamemnon refuses. Chryses prays for Apollo's help, and Apollo causes a plague throughout the
Greek army.
After nine days of plague, Achilles, the leader of the Myrmidon contingent, calls an assembly to solve the plague problem.
Under pressure, Agamemnon agrees to return Chryseis to her father, but also decides to take Achilles's captive, Briseis,
as compensation. Angered, Achilles declares that he and his men will no longer fight for Agamemnon, but will go
home. Odysseus takes a ship and brings Chryseis to her father, whereupon Apollo ends the plague.
In the meantime, Agamemnon's messengers take Briseis away, and Achilles asks his mother, Thetis, to ask Zeus that the
Greeks be brought to the breaking point by the Trojans, so Agamemnon will realize how much the Greeks need Achilles.
Thetis does so, and Zeus agrees.
(2) Zeus sends a dream to Agamemnon, urging him to attack the city. Agamemnon heeds the dream but decides to first
test the morale of the Greek army by telling them to go home. The plan backfires, and only the intervention of Odysseus,
inspired by Athena, stops a rout.
Odysseus confronts and beats Thersites, a common soldier who voices discontent at fighting Agamemnon's war. After a
meal, the Greeks deploy in companies upon the Trojan plain. The poet takes the opportunity to describe the provenance
of each Greek contingent. When news of the Greek deployment reaches king Priam, the Trojans too sortie upon the plain.
In a similar list to that for the Greeks, the poet describes the Trojans and their allies.
(3) The armies approach each other on the plain, but before they meet, Paris offers to end the war by fighting a duel
with Menelaus, urged by his brother and head of the Trojan army, Hector. While Helen tells Priam about the Greek
commanders from the walls of Troy, both sides swear a truce and promise to abide by the outcome of the duel. Paris is
beaten, but Aphrodite rescues him and leads him to bed with Helen before Menelaus could kill him.
(4) Pressured by Hera's hatred of Troy, Zeus arranges for the Trojan Pandaros to break the truce by wounding Menelaus
with an arrow. Agamemnon rouses the Greeks, and battle is joined.
(5) In the fighting, Diomedes kills many Trojans, including Pandaros, and defeats Aeneas, whom again Aphrodite rescues,
but Diomedes attacks and wounds the goddess. Apollo faces Diomedes, and warns him against warring with gods. Many
heroes and commanders join in, including Hector, and the gods supporting each side try to influence the battle.
Emboldened by Athena, Diomedes wounds Ares and puts him out of action.
(6) Hector rallies the Trojans and stops a rout; the Greek Diomedes and the Trojan Glaukos find common ground and
exchange unequal gifts. Hector enters the city, urges prayers and sacrifices, incites Paris to battle, bids his
wife Andromache and son Astyanax farewell on the city walls, and rejoins the battle.
(7) Hector duels with Ajax, but nightfall interrupts the fight and both sides retire. The Greeks agree to burn their dead and
build a wall to protect their ships and camp, while the Trojans quarrel about returning Helen. Paris offers to return the
treasure he took, and give further wealth as compensation, but without returning Helen, and the offer is refused. A day's
truce is agreed for burning the dead, during which the Greeks also build their wall and trench.
(8) The next morning, Zeus prohibits the gods from interfering, and fighting begins anew. The Trojans prevail and force
the Greeks back to their wall while Hera and Athena are forbidden from helping. Night falls before the Trojans can assail
the Greek wall. They camp in the field to attack at first light, and their watchfires light the plain like stars.
(9) Meanwhile, the Greeks are desperate. Agamemnon admits his error, and sends an embassy composed of Odysseus,
Ajax, Phoenix, and two heralds to offer Briseis and extensive gifts to Achilles, who has been camped next to his ships
throughout, if only he would return to the fighting. Achilles and his companion Patroclus receive the embassy well, but
Achilles angrily refuses Agamemnon's offer, and declares that he would only return to battle if the Trojans reach his ships
and threaten them with fire. The embassy returns empty-handed.
(10) Later that night, Odysseus and Diomedes venture out to the Trojan lines, killing the Trojan Dolon and wreaking havoc
in the camps of some Thracian allies of Troy. (11) In the morning, the fighting is fierce and Agamemnon, Diomedes, and
Odysseus are all wounded. Achilles sends Patroclus from his camp to inquire about the Greek casualties, and while there
Patroclus is moved to pity by a speech of Nestor. (12) The Trojans assault the Greek wall on foot. Hector, ignoring an
omen, leads the terrible fighting. The Greeks are overwhelmed in rout, the wall's gate is broken, and Hector charges in.
(13) Many fall on both sides. The Trojan seer Polydamas urges Hector to fall back and warns him about Achilles, but is
(14) Hera seduces Zeus and lures him to sleep, allowing Poseidon to help the Greeks, and the Trojans are driven back
onto the plain.
(15) Zeus awakes and is enraged by Poseidon's intervention. Against the mounting discontent of the Greek-supporting
gods, Zeus sends Apollo to aid the Trojans, who once again breach the wall, and the battle reaches the ships.
(16) Patroclus can stand to watch no longer, and begs Achilles to be allowed to defend the ships. Achilles relents, and
lends Patroclus his armor, but sends him off with a stern admonition not to pursue the Trojans, lest he take Achilles's
glory. Patroclus leads theMyrmidons to battle and arrives as the Trojans set fire to the first ships. The Trojans are routed
by the sudden onslaught, and Patroclus begins his assault by killing the Trojan hero Sarpedon. Patroclus, ignoring
Achilles's command, pursues and reaches the gates of Troy, where Apollo himself stops him. Patroclus is set upon by
Apollo and Euphorbos, and is finally killed by Hector.
(17) Hector takes Achilles's armor from the fallen Patroclus, but fighting develops around Patroclus' body.
(18) Achilles is mad with grief when he hears of Patroclus's death, and vows to take vengeance on Hector; his mother
Thetis grieves, too, knowing that Achilles is fated to die young if he kills Hector. Achilles is urged to help retrieve Patroclus'
body, but has no armour. Made brilliant by Athena, Achilles stands next to the Greek wall and roars in rage. The Trojans
are dismayed by his appearance and the Greeks manage to bear Patroclus' body away. Again Polydamas urges Hector to
withdraw into the city, again Hector refuses, and the Trojans camp in the plain at nightfall. Patroclus is mourned, and
meanwhile, at Thetis' request, Hephaistos fashions a new set of armor for Achilles, among which is a magnificently
wrought shield.
(19) In the morning, Agamemnon gives Achilles all the promised gifts, including Briseis, but he is indifferent to them.
Achilles fasts while the Greeks take their meal, and straps on his new armor, and heaves his great spear. His
horse Xanthos prophesies to Achilles his death. Achilles drives his chariot into battle.
(20) Zeus lifts the ban on the gods' interference, and the gods freely intervene on both sides. The onslaught of Achilles,
burning with rage and grief, is terrible, and he slays many.
(21) Driving the Trojans before him, Achilles cuts off half in the river Skamandros and proceeds to slaughter them and fills
the river with the dead. The river, angry at the killing, confronts Achilles, but is beaten back by Hephaestus' firestorm. The
gods fight among themselves. The great gates of the city are opened to receive the fleeing Trojans, and Apollo leads
Achilles away from the city by pretending to be a Trojan.
(22) When Apollo reveals himself to Achilles, the Trojans had retreated into the city, all except for Hector, who, having
twice ignored the counsels of Polydamas, feels the shame of rout and resolves to face Achilles, in spite of the pleas of
Priam and Hecuba, his parents. When Achilles approaches, Hector's will fails him, and he is chased around the city by
Achilles. Finally, Athena tricks him to stop running, and he turns to face his opponent. After a brief duel, Achilles stabs
Hector through the neck. Before dying, Hector reminds Achilles that he is fated to die in the war as well. Achilles takes
Hector's body and dishonours it.
(23) The ghost of Patroclus comes to Achilles in a dream and urges the burial of his body. The Greeks hold a day of
funeral games, and Achilles gives out the prizes.
(24) Dismayed by Achilles' continued abuse of Hector's body, Zeus decides that it must be returned to Priam. Led
by Hermes, Priam takes a wagon out of Troy, across the plains, and enters the Greek camp unnoticed. He grasps Achilles
by the knees and begs to have his son's body. Achilles is moved to tears, and the two lament their losses in the war. After
a meal, Priam carries Hector's body back into Troy. Hector is buried, and the city mourns.


On the tenth year of the Trojan War, tensions rise so high among Achaians. First, Chryses, a priest, asked
King Agamemnon to release his daughter but the king refused. Chryses prayed to Apollo to send a plague to
the Achaians. After nine days of plague, the Achaians demanded Agamemnon to release Chryses's daughter.
He agreed with a condition that Achilleus, the greatest warrior of the Achaians will give him his girlfriend,
Briseis. Though he was so mad, he just gave his girlfriend. He prayed to his mother Thetis, a goddess, to
connive with the other gods so that the Achaians will lose their battles and they'll realize how much they
depend on him. Thetis spoils Achilleus so she talked to Zeus. The next day, the Trojans counterattacked to the
Achaians led by Hektor, their greatest warrior. After several days of violent battles, Patroklos, Achilleus's best
friend asked permission to take the place of Achilleus. Achilleus agreed and even led Patroklos his armor. But
Hektor, with the help of Apollo and Euphorbos, a minor Trojan warrior, killed Patroklos. When Achilleus knew
this, he experienced terrible grief and swore revenge. He asked his mother to give him new suit of armor
especially made by Hephaistos, the fire god. The next day, Achilleus joined the battle and killed many Trojan
warriors including Hektor on a one-on-one battle

But Achilleus isn't satisfied. For the next few days, he continually abused Hektor's body in brutal ways, even
after Patroklos received a proper funeral. The gods didn't like this, and sent a message down to Achilleus
telling him to give up the body. When the Trojan King Priam, Hektor's father, came unarmed, by night, to ask
for his son's body, Achilleus agreed. They ate together and experienced a moment of shared humanity.
Achilleus granted the Trojans a grace period to perform their funeral rituals. Then it ended with the funeral of
Hektor - though we know that soon Achilleus will die.



1. When is The Iliad thought to have been composed?
a. The twelfth century B.C.
b. The fifteenth century B.C.
c. The eighth century B.C.
d. The third century B.C.

2. How long has the Trojan War been going by the time The Iliad begins?
a. Nine years
b. Eight months
c. One week
d. The poem begins with the beginning of the war.

3. Who was the priest who asked King Agamemnon to release his daughter but the king refused?
a. Chryses
b. Hektor
c. Jupiter
d. Abraham

4. Who sends the plague to the Achaean camp near the beginning of The Iliad?
a. Apollo
b. Zeus
c. Hera
d. Moses

5. After nine days of plague, who demanded Agamemnon to release the priest's daughter.
a. the Achaians
b. Apollo
c. Chryses
d. Zeus

6. Which of the following characters is Helens brother-in-law?
a. Hector
b. Achilles
c. Agenor
d. Agamemnon

7. What provokes Achilles rage against Agamemnon?
a. Agamemnons demand that Achilles hand over Briseis
b. Agamemnons insults of Achilles lineage
c. Agamemnons defeat of Achilles in a footrace
d. Agamemnons repeated sending of Achilles to the front lines, where the danger of being killed is

8. Who is Achilles' mother?
a. Helen
b. Minerva
c. Venus
d. Thetis

9. Why does Zeus initially agree to help the Trojans in the war?
a. Because he thinks Paris deserves Helen more than Menelaus does.
b. He does so as a favor to Thetis, who asks him on behalf of Achilles.
c. He does so to spite his nagging wife, Hera.
d. Because he despises Odysseus for lusting after Hera.

10. Who is the Achaians' greatest warrior?
a. Achilles
b. Mars
c. Apollo
d. Hektor

11. Who sets fire to a Greek ship?
a. Aeneas
b. Hephaestus, god of fire and iron
c. Hector
d. Agamemnon, in a suicidal urge

12. Why is Astyanax frightened when he sees his father, Hector?
a. He sees Hectors blood-stained sword.
b. He foresees Hectors death.
c. The plume on Hectors helmet startles him.
d. He worries that Hector will bring him back to the battlefield with him.

13. With what weapon does Ajax knock Hector unconscious?
a. A boulder
b. A spear
c. A wooden club
d. His astonishing good looks

14. What grave tactical error does Hector make out of overconfidence?
a. He orders his men to put down their swords and fight with daggers.
b. He orders his men to camp outside Troys walls.
c. He gives permission for half of his men to go on vacation.
d. He decides that his troops do not need to eat before fighting

15. Who is Achilles' bestfriend?
a. Patroklus
b. Apollo
c. Zeus
d. Agamemnon

16. Who raised Patroclus?
a. Thetis
b. Peleus
c. Shepherds on Mount Ida
d. Nestor

17. Which god helps to bring about the death of Patroclus?
a. Zeus
b. Hephaestus
c. Poseidon
d. Apollo

18. At what point in the story do the Achaeans hold their athletic competition?
a. After the war
b. Before the war
c. After the funeral of Patroclus
d. When Achilles rejoins the battle

19. Where is Achilles old armor most vulnerable to attack?
a. At the heel
b. At the elbow
c. At the neck
d. In the eye visor

20. Who is the fire god who made Achilles' new suit of armor?
a. Hephaistos
b. Jupiter
c. Poseidon
d. Uranus

21. Which of the following do not appear on Achilles new shield?
a. Dancing children
b. Constellations
c. Verdant pastures
d. Valiant warriors

22. Who reminds Achilles that the Achaean soldiers cannot fight on empty stomachs?
a. Ajax
b. Odysseus
c. Agamemnon
d. Menelaus

23. With which immortal does Achilles engage in one-on-one combat?
a. The river god Xanthus
b. Zeus
c. Hephaestus
d. Apollo

24. How many Trojan warriors does Achilles sacrifice on Patrocluss pyre?
a. 100
b. 12
c. 8
d. 25

25. Who is Hektor's father?
a. King Agamemnon
b. King Priam
c. Jupiter
d. Poseidon

26. When does Achilles die?
a. In Book 4
b. In Book 12
c. In Book 24
d. He doesnt die in The Iliad.

27. Which of the following characters do not engage in one-on-one combat with each other in the poem?
a. Paris and Menelaus
b. Achilles and Agenor
c. Hector and Ajax
d. Priam and Agamemnon

28. Who helps rescue Machaon after Paris wounds him?
a. Nestor
b. Hector
c. Patroclus
d. Odysseus

29. Who kills Dolon?
a. Odysseus
b. Aeneas
c. Ajax
d. Diomedes

30. Who suggests that Helen be returned to Menelaus?
a. Hector
b. Hecuba
c. Paris
d. Antenor

31. What magical charm does Hera use in seducing Zeus and making him fall asleep?
a. Some powder from a ground-up rhinoceros horn
b. An enchanted breastband from Aphrodite
c. A magical potion mixed by the Sirens
d. A talisman that Hermes gave her

32. What do Helen and Paris do during one particularly stormy battle?
a. They pray to the gods.
b. They set up an orphanage for the future orphans of Troy.
c. They mix medicines.
d. They sleep together.

The Odyssey (Greek: , Odsseia) is one of two major ancient Greekepic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in
part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and
is the second oldest extant work of Western literature, the Iliad being the oldest. It is believed to have been composed
near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.

The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses inRoman myths) and his journey home after
the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War.
In his absence, it is assumed
he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors,
the Mnesteres (Greek: ) or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.

Synopsis of Odyssey
The Odyssey begins ten years after the end of the ten-year Trojan War (that is the subject of the Iliad), and Odysseus has
still not returned home from the war. Odysseus' son Telemachus is about 20 years old and is sharing his absent father's
house on the island of Ithaca with his mother Penelope and a crowd of 108 boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose
aim is to persuade Penelope to marry one of them, all the while enjoying the hospitality of Odysseus' household and
eating up his wealth.
Odysseus' protectress, the goddess Athena, discusses his fate with Zeus, king of the gods, at a moment when Odysseus'
enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon, is absent from Mount Olympus. Then, disguised as a Taphian chieftain
named Mentes, she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father. He offers her hospitality; they observe
the Suitors dining rowdily while the bard Phemius performs a narrative poem for them. Penelope objects to Phemius'
theme, the "Return from Troy",
because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections.
That night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a ship and crew for the true Telemachus. The next morning,
Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Accompanied by
Athena (now disguised as Mentor), he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor, most venerable of the
Greek warriors at Troy, now at home in Pylos. From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's
son, Peisistratus, to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus and Helen who are now reconciled. He is told that they returned
to Sparta after a long voyage by way of Egypt. There, on the island of Pharos, Menelaus encountered the old sea-
god Proteus, who told him that Odysseus was a captive of the nymph Calypso. Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of
Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home
by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.
Escape to the Phaeacians
The second part tells the story of Odysseus. After having spent seven years in captivity on Calypso's
island, Ogygia, Calypso falls deeply in love with him but he has consistently spurned her advances. She is persuaded to
release him by Odysseus' great-grandfather, the messenger god Hermes, who has been sent by Zeus in response to
Athena's plea. Odysseus builds a raft and is given clothing, food and drink by Calypso. When Poseidon finds out that
Odysseus has escaped, he wrecks the raft but, helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino, Odysseus swims ashore
on Scherie, the island of the Phaeacians. Naked and exhausted, he hides in a pile of leaves and falls asleep. The next
morning, awakened by the laughter of girls, he sees the young Nausicaa, who has gone to the seashore with her maids to
wash clothes after Athena told her in a dream to do so. He appeals to her for help. She encourages him to seek the
hospitality of her parents, Arete and Alcinous, or Alkinous. Odysseus is welcomed and is not at first asked for his name.
He remains for several days, takes part in a pentathlon, and hears the blind singer Demodocus perform two narrative
poems. The first is an otherwise obscure incident of the Trojan War, the "Quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles"; the second is
the amusing tale of a love affair between two Olympian gods, Ares and Aphrodite. Finally, Odysseus asks Demodocus to
return to the Trojan War theme and tell of the Trojan Horse, a stratagem in which Odysseus had played a leading role.
Unable to hide his emotion as he relives this episode, Odysseus at last reveals his identity. He then begins to tell the story
of his return from Troy.
Odysseus' account of his adventures
After a piratical raid on Ismaros in the land of the Cicones, he and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms. They
visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters who gave two of his men their fruit which caused them to forget their homecoming, and
then were captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus, escaping by blinding him with a wooden stake. While they were
escaping, however, Odysseus foolishly told Polyphemus his identity, and Polyphemus told his father, Poseidon, that
Odysseus had blinded him. Poseidon then curses Odysseus to wander the sea for ten years, during which he would lose
all his crew and return home through the aid of others. After their escape, they stayed with Aeolus, the master of the
winds and he gave Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured
a safe return home. However, the greedy sailors foolishly opened the bag while Odysseus slept, thinking it contained gold.
All of the winds flew out and the resulting storm drove the ships back the way they had come, just as Ithaca came into
After unsuccessfully pleading with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embarked and encountered
the cannibalistic Laestrygonians. All of Odysseus's ships except his own entered the harbor of the Laestrygonians' Island
and were immediately destroyed. He sailed on and visited the witch-goddess Circe. She turned half of his men into swine
after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes warned Odysseus about Circe and gave Odysseus a drug called moly which
gave him resistance to Circe's magic. Circe, surprised by Odysseus' resistance, agreed to change his men back to their
human form in exchange for Odysseus' love. They remained with her on the island for one year, while they feasted and
drank. Finally, guided by Circe's instructions, Odysseus and his crew crossed the ocean and reached a harbor at the
western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrificed to the dead. He first encountered the spirit of crewmember
Elpenor, who had gotten drunk and fallen from a roof to his death, which had gone unnoticed by others, before Odysseus
and the rest of his crew had left Circe. Elpenor's ghost told Odysseus to bury his body, which Odysseus promised to do.
Odysseus then summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias for advice on how to appease the gods upon his return
home. Next Odysseus met the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he got
his first news of his own household, threatened by the greed of the Suitors. Finally, he met the spirits of famous men and
women. Notably he encountered the spirit of Agamemnon, of whose murder he now learned, and Achilles, who told him
about the woes of the land of the dead (for Odysseus' encounter with the dead, see also Nekuia).
Returning to Circe's island, they were advised by her on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirted the land of
the Sirens, who sang an enchanting song that normally caused passing sailors to steer toward the rocks, only to hit them
and sink. All of the sailors except for Odysseus, who was tied to the mast as he wanted to hear the song, had their ears
plugged up with beeswax. They then passed between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpoolCharybdis,
Odysseus losing six men to Scylla, and landed on the island of Thrinacia. Zeus caused a storm which prevented them
leaving. While Odysseus was away praying, his men ignored the warnings of Tiresias and Circe and hunted down the
sacred cattle of the sun godHelios as their food had run short. The Sun God insisted that Zeus punish the men for this
sacrilege. They suffered a shipwreck as they were driven towards Charybdis. All but Odysseus were drowned; he clung to
a fig tree above Charybdis. Washed ashore on the island of Calypso, he was compelled to remain there as her lover until
she was ordered by Zeus, via Hermes, to release Odysseus.
Return to Ithaca
Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians, who are skilled mariners, agree to help Odysseus get
home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbour on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one
of his own slaves, the swineherdEumaeus. Athena disguises Odysseus as a wandering beggar so he can see how things
stand in his household. After dinner, he tells the farm laborers a fictitious tale of himself: He was born in Crete, had led a
party of Cretans to fight alongside other Greeks in the Trojan War, and had then spent seven years at the court of the king
of Egypt; finally he had been shipwrecked in Thesprotia and crossed from there to Ithaca.
Meanwhile, Telemachus sails home from Sparta, evading an ambush set by the Suitors. He disembarks on the coast of
Ithaca and makes for Eumaeus's hut. Father and son meet; Odysseus identifies himself to Telemachus (but still not to
Eumaeus), and they decide that the Suitors must be killed. Telemachus goes home first. Accompanied by Eumaeus,
Odysseus returns to his own house, still pretending to be a beggar. He is ridiculed by the Suitors in his own home,
especially by one extremely impertinent man named Antinous. Odysseus meets Penelope and tests her intentions by
saying he once met Odysseus in Crete. Closely questioned, he adds that he had recently been in Thesprotia and had
learned something there of Odysseus's recent wanderings.
Odysseus's identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia, when she recognizes an old scar as she is washing his
feet. Eurycleia tries to tell Penelope about the beggar's true identity, but Athena makes sure that Penelope cannot hear
her. Odysseus then swears Eurycleia to secrecy.
Slaying of the Suitors
The next day, at Athena's prompting, Penelope maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery
competition using Odysseus' bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win.
Odysseus takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the
dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then turns his arrows on the Suitors and with the help of Athena,
Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, he kills all the Suitors. Odysseus and Telemachus hang twelve of their
household maids, who had betrayed Penelope or had sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the
goatherd Melanthius, who had mocked and abused Odysseus. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She
is hesitant, but accepts him when he mentions that their bed was made from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many
modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the Odyssey, and the rest to be an interpolation.
The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes, who likewise accepts his identity only
when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him.
The citizens of Ithaca have followed Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their
leader points out that Odysseus has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one
of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both
sides to give up the vendetta, a deus ex machina. After this, Ithaca is at peace once more, concluding the Odyssey.

Odysseus battles internal and external conflict to take part in the Trojan War. It is at a time when his son
Telemachus, is only a month old. Twenty years after the war, Odysseus retraces his steps back home. By that
time, Telemachus is twenty and living with his mother Penelope in Ithaca. His mother has to deal with 108
suitors, who are boisterous and adamant that she should agree to marriage.

Athena, Odysseus's guardian, decided with the King of Gods according to Greek mythology, Zeus, to take the
form of Mentes, a Taphian chief and speak to Telemachus. She urged the boy to look for his father.
Telemachus and Athena witness Phemius the bard entertaining the rowdy suitors with "Return from Troy".
Even as Penelope objects, urged by Athena, Telemachus ordered Phemius to read on.

Athena provided Telemachus a ship and crew and helped him to depart for the mainland. Welcomed by the
Nestor family, Telemachus then embarked on a land journey alongside Sparta, Nestor's son. He chanced upon
Helen and Menelaus bear witness of a meeting with sea-god Proteus. They informed Telemachus that his
father has been captured by Calypso, a nymph.

Odysseus, meanwhile, spent seven years in captivity. He is released only to incur the wrath of Poseidon, the
sea god who was not present on Mount Olympus when Athena and Zeus interacted. Escaping the wreckage,
Odysseus swam ashore exhausted and fell asleep. He then sought the hospitality of Arete and Alcinous.
Odysseus struggled through a situation where his identity was always in doubt.

A raid on his twelve ships by storms, lotus eaters and blinded with a wooden stake, left the hero a broken man.
A boon from Aeolus, the wind god helped Odysseus harness all the winds. However, with destiny playing
truant, Odysseus did not retain the only 'safe' wind that could blow him homeward. His escapades with the
pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses, a treacherous sailor, Laestrygones the cannibal, Circe, the witch
goddess and the spirit of Tiresias, left Odysseus spent and longing for home.

Odysseus' lucky meeting with the Phaeacians, buys him a homebound journey. Disguised as a beggar,
Odysseus learned about his family. He met Penelope with the intention of testing her love for him. Eurycleia,
the housekeeper, discovered Odysseus' identity and all is well when he stringed his own bow as part of the
suitor competition set by Penelope.

Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_summary_of_The_Iliad_and_The_Odyssey#ixzz2vTdP0x7L


1. In about what year was the Odyssey composed?
a. C.E. 1590
b. 700 B.C.E.
c. 200 B.C.E.
d. 1200 B.C.E.

2. Where had Odysseus been at the start of the Odyssey?
a. On campaign in Egypt.
b. Trojan War.
c. Fighting the Mesopotamians.
d. Fighting the Gauls and Brits.
e. India.

3. In the opening words to the Odyssey, Odysseus blames people for...
a. not supporting their Heroes.
b. causing their own suffering.
c. allowing people to be poor.
d. giving in to the Gods and Goddesses.
e. their animal natures.

4. How old is Telemachus at the start of the epic?
a. Early thirties
b. Early teens
c. Early twenties
d. Late forties

5. Odysseus left Penelope bound for what city?
a. Orinda
b. Athens
c. Sparta
d. Troy

6. What did Penelope, Odysseus' wife, do during his absence?
a. Weave a shroud.
b. Unravel a shroud.
c. Thwarted 100 suitors.
d. Waited 19 years for her husband to come home.
e. All of the above.

7. The journey of Odysseus takes him...
a. to the Underworld.
b. to self-discovery.
c. to internal truths.
d. through the subconscious.
e. all of the above.

8. Of what did Odysseuss mother die?
a. Grief
b. Drowning
c. Old age
d. Starvation

9. Which goddess often assists Odysseus and Telemachus, and speaks up for them in the councils of the
gods on Mount Olympus?
a. Calypso
b. Athena
c. Circe
d. Melantho

10. How does Athena disguise herself to make preparations for Telemachuss journey?
a. As a beggar
b. As Antinous
c. As Mentes
d. As Mephistopheles

11. The Goddess Athena helps Odysseus by...
a. warning him of his temper.
b. warning his of his divine birth.
c. warning him of Zeus' revenge.
d. women in disguise.
e. all of the above.

12. Menelaus is king of which city?
a. Pylos
b. Argos
c. Athens
d. Sparta

13. What gift does Telemachus accept from Menelaus?
a. A monkey
b. A chariot and team of horses
c. A silver mixing-bowl finished with a lip of gold
d. A band of goats

14. Along the way, Odysseus...
a. is shipwrecked.
b. is turned into a woman and back again.
c. is eaten by a cannibal.
d. kills his wife.
e. all of the above.
15. Who makes Odysseus her love slave?
a. Aphrodite
b. Medusa
c. The Queen of Sheba
d. Calypso
e. All of the above

16. Calypso is said to represent...
a. unchecked curiosity.
b. female rights.
c. unchecked female sexuality.
d. rampant romanticism.
e. female fertility.

17. Who does Zeus send to rescue Odysseus from Calypso?
a. Hermes
b. Athena
c. Poseidon
d. Nausicaa

18. Along the way, Hermes rescues Odysseus twice. One theory for this is...
a. Zeus thinks Odysseus is about to be overwhelmed by female forces.
b. Apollo is concerned for his son.
c. Odysseus has learned his lessons.
d. All the women were busy.
e. All of the above.

19. How long does Odysseus spend on Calypsos island?
a. One year
b. Seven years
c. Ten years
d. Three years

20. In the Odyssey, Circe and Calypso share narrative elements that DO NOT include...
a. reducing men to their common denominator.
b. feminine power linked to magic and mystery.
c. representative of matriarchal islands in the sea of patriarchy.
d. loving Odysseus.
e. being half-serpent half-human.

21. Who sentenced Odysseus "to wander" on his journey home for blinding his son Polythemus?
a. Zeus
b. Poseidon
c. Hades
d. Apollo
e. Tiresias

22. Why does Poseidon despise Odysseus?
a. Odysseus does not respect the sea.
b. Odysseus and his men attacked him.
c. Odysseus tricked him with a disguise.
d. Odysseus blinded his son.

23. Which plant makes the sailors forget their desire to return home?
a. Lotus
b. Poppy
c. Lethe-root
d. Hemlock

24. Who first finds Odysseus on the island of Scheria?
a. Telemachus
b. King Alcinous
c. Nausicaa
d. Circe

25. Who begs Odysseus to bury him?
a. Laertes
b. Polyphemus
c. Elpenor
d. Chilles

26. Polythemus was a...
a. giant cannibal.
b. dolphin.
c. King of Ithaca.
d. dragon/man.
e. giant whirlpool.

27. Who is the wind God who helped Odysseus harness all the winds?
a. Aeolus
b. Poseidon
c. Hermes
d. Ares

28. How is Odysseus able to listen safely to the Sirens song?
a. He has his men bind him to the ships mast.
b. Athena makes the Sirens appear ugly to him.
c. He eats a lotus flower, rendering him unable to swim to the Sirens island.
d. He isnt; he plugs his ears with wax as the ship passes the Sirens island.

29. Who transforms Odysseuss sailors into pigs?
a. Calypso
b. Athena
c. Poseidon
d. Circe

30. Who is the enchantress who turns men into swine?
a. Medusa
b. the Goddess of the Moon
c. Circe
d. Medea
e. Cassandra

31. The blind seer, Tiresias, was...
a. in most myths of the royal family of Thebes.
b. always ignored by the leaders.
c. always right.
d. in the Underworld in the Odyssey.
e. all of the above.

32. The prophet, Tiresias, warns the Hero Odysseus to...
a. avoid women.
b. use a disguise when leaving Hades.
c. use a secret spell to leave Hades.
d. adopt a more loving attitude.
e. adopt a more prudent attitude.

33. What does Tiresias warn Odysseus not to harm on his voyage?
a. The eagle of the Moon
b. The serpent of the Seas
c. The cattle of the Sun
d. The badger of the Mountains

34. In Penelopes archery contest, through how many axes must Odysseus fire his arrow?
a. two
b. eight
c. twelve
d. thirty

35. Who is Argos?
a. The master of the winds
b. Penelopes chief suitor
c. The Cyclops
d. Odysseuss old dog

36. How long does it take Odysseus to return home?
a. 15 years
b. 6 months
c. 10 months
d. 10 years
e. 2 years

37. Eurycleia recognizes Odysseus based on what distinguishing feature?
a. A scar on his leg
b. His cunning
c. The sound of his voice
d. His noble bearing

38. Who has an affair with Eurymachus?
a. Melantho
b. Penelope
c. Circe
d. Helen

39. What happens to the disloyal maids after they clean the blood from the great hall?
a. They are hanged.
b. They are forgiven.
c. They are whipped.
d. They are dismissed from the palace.

40. Who kills Antinouss father?
a. Eumaeus
b. Odysseus
c. Telemachus
d. Laertes

41. Which two characters provide a point of comparison for Odysseus and Telemachus?
a. Athena and Zeus
b. Poseidon and Proteus
c. Helen and Menelaus
d. Agamemnon and Orestes

42. What did Ajax do to bring disaster upon the homecoming Greek fleet?
a. He ate all of the armys remaining rations.
b. He murdered sheep.
c. He led the fleet between Scylla and Charybis.
d. He raped Cassandra.

43. The Hero Odysseus is considered unique among the ancient Greek Heroes because he...
a. was a giant.
b. was fashioned of thunderbolts.
c. was very loud.
d. used intelligence.
e. used a magical sword and cape.

44. Differences between the Iliad and the Odyssey may be attributed to...
a. different cultures.
b. an older author.
c. typographical and translation errors.
d. lack of divine inspiration.
e. divine law.

45. Theories that attribute authorship of the Odyssey to a woman include...
a. the changed status of women in the Greek culture.
b. the increased presence of women in the narrative.
c. the advent of female warriors.
d. the resurgence of matriarchal culture in the Mediterranean.
e. the influence of the Gods and Goddesses.

46. In the Iliad the action takes place...
a. in a castle.
b. on a beach.
c. on high seas.
d. in a dream.
e. all of the above.

47. In the Odyssey the action takes place...
a. in India.
b. all over Greece.
c. all over Africa.
d. all over the Mediterranean.
e. all over Norway.

48. Compared to the Iliad, the Odyssey has...
a. more man-eating giants.
b. more nymphs, sirens and women.
c. more messages from the dead.
d. more Gods and Goddesses.
e. all of the above

49. Compared to the Iliad, the Odyssey has...
a. more special, supernatural effects.
b. bigger Heroes.
c. only men.
d. all of the above.
e. none of the above.

50. In Hades, the spirit of Agamemnon warns Odysseus of...
a. magic spells that Circe will use against him.
b. even the closest of friends.
c. even the most loving of fathers.
d. even the best of wives.
e. all of the above.

51. Most of the women Odysseus encounters...
a. first challenge and then aid him.
b. first love and then leave him.
c. first seduce and then torture him.
d. offer him their children.
e. return with him to his home.

52. The concept of "divine law" refers to...
a. the rules of the Gods and Goddesses.
b. the reward of the good and punishment of the bad.
c. unavoidable and unpredictable change.
d. all of the above.

53. Athena is said to appear in the narrative of the Odyssey as the...
a. representative of women everywhere.
b. symbolic messenger of the Underworld.
c. unexpected occurrence of rational thought.
d. unexpected occurrence of joy.
e. unexpected arrival of encounters with mythical beasts representing the subconscious.

54. Penelope is said to be...
a. the fullness of Odysseus' female counterpart.
b. the lovely evil of Zeus.
c. the enchantress of Odysseus.
d. the leader of Thebes while Odysseus was gone.
e. the link between the realms of the Underworld and the world of men.

55. Among the qualities Penelope has in common with Odysseus is NOT...
a. weaving.
b. cunning.
c. endurance.
d. immortality.
e. resourcefulness.

56. Odysseus ends the tale of the Odyssey by confiding to Penelope that he...
a. seduced Circe.
b. was seduced by Calypso.
c. must kill their son.
d. must leave again.
e. no longer loves her.

57. Zeus and Athene bring the Troy Saga to an end by...
a. causing everyone to forget the war ever happened.
b. reconciling relatives of the suitors.
c. causing the 100 suitors to be transported to Egypt.
d. a plague.
e. causing the invasion by the Dorians.