Odysseus, a legendary hero and at the same time a very smart man...
His most catalytic contribution to the Trojan War, however, was the inspiration of the Trojan Horse. This wooden structure, a sample of strategic intelligence, marked the end of the Trojan War.
He begins the journey back to his homeland with his comrades but in his homeland Ithaca he finally returned alone...
During the voyage, Odysseus proves his bravery and intelligence.
But... was Odysseus so unlucky after all, or there was a reason for this unfortunate wandering that lasted ten whole years?
THE ARDUOUS JOURNEY HOME
After the end of the Trojan war, Odysseus, like everyone else, began his long journey home, Ithaca.
But the Gods of Olympus were very angry, because the Greeks burned their temples in Troy.
So the Gods have sent them strong and wild sea turbulence so as to make their journey difficult.
But everyone managed to return home except Odysseus.
Only Odysseus has wandered for ten whole years in seas and countries far away from homeland and went through many hardships until he reached Ithaca.
Starting from Troy, Odysseus had 12 ships at his disposal, in which his Ithaca comrades fought.
When Odysseus’s ships were in the Aegean, the gods sent wild winds to push them north into the land of the Cicones.
Odysseus and his men snatched animals and sweet wine from the Cicones and sat in the beach to eat.
Then all the Cicones attacked them together, killing many of them.
Many warriors were killed and others quickly boarded the ships and left in a wild storm.
The lotus eaters
During their journey it started blowing north and pushed the ships away, in Africa. So they arrived in the land of the Lotus Eaters.
They went ashore and Odysseus sent three of his warriors to see what kind of people were living in this country. His men met the Lotus Eaters which they gave them to eat persimmons, which were enchanted fruit!
Then they forgot their homeland and the rest of men and did not want to leave.
Odysseus went to find them and took them by force and immediately ordered the ships to sail.
Polyphemus the Cyclops
Odysseus was known for being quick-witted even in the face of adversity.
Many days they traveled, until the wind brought them to the island of Cyclops (Sicily).
They boarded the ship and went out. Near the sea they saw a mighty cave and went inside. They found milk, cheese and lambs and goats and ate.
Then Cyclops Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, came who had only one eye.
As soon as he saw them, he closed the door of the cave with a huge rock and ate some men.
The next day Odysseus offered him sweet wine (the famous red wine, "Mavroudi" that is cultivated in several parts of Greece such as in Kea island).
Nobody blinded me!
He drank, he liked it and asked him what his name was.
"Nobody, is my name," he replied. And Polyphemus answers "You, Nobody, I will eat you last", said the Cyclops and continued to drink and then fell asleep.
Then Odysseus grabbed a branch and nailed it to the eye of Polyphemus. He jumped up screaming and shouted for help.
The other Cyclops ran out of the cave "What happened, Polyphemus", they asked. "Nobody blinded me."
"As nobody has blinded you, why are you shouting?" they replied and left eagerly.
In the morning, the Cyclops opened the door of the cave and was waiting with outstretched arms to catch them.
But Odysseus has tied his men under the belly of the largest rams and hung himself from the hair of the largest animal.
The Cyclops was stroking the rams' backs as they came out, and he did not realize that the people were below.
When everyone came out of the cave, they ran to the boat and went away.
Island of Aeolus
Then they arrived to the island of Aeolus, which was the God of winds. Aeolus welcomed them and hosted them for about a month.
When they decided to leave, the God Aeolus handed him a bag containing all the winds except the favorable ones, to return immediately to Ithaca.
However, approaching Ithaca, Odysseus' men opened the bag, causing a storm that destroyed 11 ships and swept away Odysseus to the island of Laestrygones.
To the island of Laestrygones there was a port with 11 ships. Only Odysseus and his ship sailed out of the harbor. The Laestrygones ran into the harbor screaming.
They were wild and tall like giants and grabbed rocks and threw them on ships.
They broke everything and immersed them and ate all the people who were there.
Only Odysseus' ship survived. He and his men quickly left the land of the wild Laestrygones.
The Greek hero and his men were driven to the island of Circe by the wind. Odysseus asked some of his men to go and ask where they were.
They quickly found Circe’s palace. She offered them a drink and then turned them to pigs.
Only one managed to escape and went back to inform Odysseus. He grabbed his sword, entered the palace and forced her to turn them to humans again.
They stayed to the island of Circe for a long time. When they decided to leave, Circe advised Odysseus to go to underworld to meet Tiresius and ask him how he would get to Ithaca.
The Journey to the Underworld
Odysseus and his men arrived to underworld, a place no one ever dared trespass.
After a while the prophet Tiresius came to meet Odysseus and he asked the prophet what he has to do in order to get home.
Tiresius said to him: "Poseidon hates you, because you blinded Cyclops Polyphemus, his son.
However, if you do not disturb the oxen of the Sun god, when you go to his island, you will arrive at Ithaca one day".
The island of Sirens
Leaving underworld, Odysseus and his men arrived to the island of Sirens. Τhey were actually enchanted the sailors with their sweet song and when they approach, they eat them. Fortunately, Circe had guided Odysseus to wax his men's ears to drown out the sirens' songs.
Scylla and Charybdis
They then approached the Strait of Scylla and Charybdis. From one side of the Strait Charybdis were sucking the water of the sea and drowned the ships. They did not approach her and escaped. On the other side, Skylla, curled up in her cave, stretched out her six terrible heads, grabbed six men and ate them. They passed through the terrible strait and escaped.
The cattle of Helios
After many nights at sea, they arrived to the island of the Sun god.
As prophet Tiresius had advised Odysseus not to eat the oxen of the Sun god begged his men to leave the island. But they were very tired and did not accept.
When they ran out of food, they fasted for a few days. One day, however, when Odysseus was asleep, they slaughtered some oxen and roasted them. When Odysseus woke up it was too late.
Leaving the island of the Sun, Zeus (the father of all gods) sent them a wild storm. An asteroid hit the ship and shattered it. Everyone drowned.
Only Odysseus escaped.
Captured by a stick, he spent ten whole nights in the sea. Finally, the kings took him to the island of nymph Calypso.
Calypso took him to her cave and took care of him and did not let him go. She kept him on her island for seven whole years.
Until Athena felt sorry for him and begged her father, Zeus, to help him.
He sent Hermes (the messenger god) to Calypso and ordered her to let Odysseus go.
Back in Ithaca
Odysseus finally arrives to Ithaca.
The Goddess Athena approached him and told him that in his palace there are many suitors who want to marry Penelope. But Penelope is waiting for him to return.
Odysseus then entered his house and saw the suitors eating and drinking.
Then Athena put in Penelope's mind to bring the bow of Odysseus and his arrows and twelve axes, which had a hole in the top.
Penelope ordered the axes to be set in order, and made an announcement: “Listen, Suitors! Whoever tries to bend the string of this bow and throw an arrow, which will pass through the holes of the twelve axes, he will become my husband".
Then all the suitors, one after the other, began to try, but no one was able to stretch the string.
Odysseus then asked to be tested.
He grabbed the bow, straightened the string and threw an arrow, which passed like lightning through the holes of all the axes.
Then Odysseus killed all the suitors.
LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF THE GREEK HERO
Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, is known for his unparalleled wit that helped end the long Trojan War, and his bravery that got him through all the trials he had to face.
Odysseus was the hero that many writers were inspired by. He was a model of perseverance, courage and intelligence.
He remained fearless throughout the trip as his love of returning home and his beloved wife and son kept him focused on his goal. During the trip, the difficulties he faced were enormous. He made superhuman efforts and eventually succeeded.
All people are endowed with the virtue of perseverance, patience and bravery. It is enough for people to know themselves and to use their virtues wisely.
In the case of Odysseus, there were many moments when his knees bent from fear and despair. The courage to continue one's struggle is given to those who have the will. Although the collective effort is necessary to achieve what he seeks, his personal courage and unwavering will, will help him is.
Strength and patience are not talents, they are not the acquisition of knowledge. But it is the conquest of our inner world that motivates us to achieve our goals.
Persistence is often a stronger tool than talent and no one is born talentless.
Everyone has a special gift, but the fact that only a few people succeed in climbing the summit of success proves the importance of not giving up.
And your job is simple:
Have faith and keep on going.