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Mythology and Odyssey Background Notes

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1 Mythology and Odyssey Background Notes
Your prequel to Odysseus’ journey Q

2 Greek Mythology The mythology of the ancient Greeks included a dazzling array of deities (gods and goddesses), demigods (half gods), monsters, and heroes (humans). These figures inhabited a realm that stretched beyond the Greek landscape to the palaces of the gods on snow-capped Mount Olympus, as well as to the dismal underworld (the Land of the Dead. In time, Greek mythology became part of European culture, and many of its stories became known throughout the world.

3 What is a myth? Myths are traditional tales of a particular people - Vikings, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and others - and are especially connected with religious beliefs and rituals performed at public festivals. A myth is an attempt to explain other things as well, such as a certain custom or practice of a society (like a religious rite), or a natural process like the sun going across the skies.

4 Why do myths exist? Myths are mixtures of morals, poetry, and history that were used to teach humans proper behavior. Myths are stories about certain characters - gods, goddesses, men, and women - and especially heroes. Their adventures, triumphs, tragedies, devotion, and vengeance provide a history of the beliefs of ancient people.

5 Who wrote this story? An odyssey is a journey.
The Odyssey is an epic poem – a long poem about a great hero – written by Homer. Since the action begins in the middle of the story, The Odyssey begins in media res. The Odyssey and it’s predecessor, The Iliad are the second and first oldest works of Western literature. The Iliad is thought to have been written in the 8th century BC.

6 About Odysseus Odysseus’ homeland is called Ithaca.
a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and a hero of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in that same epic cycle. Odysseus is best known for this heroic characteristic, intelligence. Odysseus’ worst tragic flaw is his ego/pride.

7 The Trojan War The Trojan war was a mythological battle between the people of Greece and the people of the city of Troy.  The name of the woman who was being fought over in the Trojan War is Helen. In The Iliad, Odysseus, Achilles, and other Greek kings and warriors travel to Troy to fight Paris for stealing the beautiful lady.

8 Odysseus and the Trojan War
The Trojan War lasted for 10 years. Odysseus comes up with the idea to build a wooden horse and stuff it with Greek soldiers. They attack in the middle of the night – after the “victory” celebrations to defeat the Trojans. Odysseus and the Trojan War

9 Going home (but wait, there’s more)
Because of Odysseus’ pride and ego, he is not allowed to return immediately to Ithaca. This punishment also affects the Odysseus’ men. They are forced to suffer the same “lessons” as their king. He must battle against all manner of creatures and deities (gods and goddesses) to learn humility, and to ask for help, before he can be reunited with his family.

10 Back in Ithaca… While Odysseus was fighting far away in Troy, the years passed and Odysseus did not return, his son, Telemachus, grew to be a man. As time went on, evil things came to pass in the kingdom of Odysseus. The chiefs and lords of Ithaca admired Penelope – Odysseus’ wife - for her beauty. (and her money and lands). When Odysseus did not return, each of these men wished to marry her and make all that had belonged to Odysseus his own.

11 The journey ends… Odysseus is gone for a total of 20 years.
He returns to Ithaca just when Penelope has given up hope. He must restore her faith and take back his home…

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