The Odyssey starts in a very late moment of the story, with a first Council held by Olympic gods, in which Athena tries to persuade Zeus to make her beloved Ulysses, who is being retained by the nymph Calypso, come back home. Right after this council, Athena visits Ulysses’ son Telemachus and tells him to check whether his father is still alive or not. He will then sail to Pylos in order to meet with  king of the region Nestor, and after that, to Sparta to ask Menelaus, who will eventually give him some tracks about his father. While this is happening, Ulysses is retained in Calypso’s island Ogigia, where he has been living during seven long years. However, after the gods hold a second council, they decide to let him go home, and as a result, Calypso is forced to release Ulysses. He will then start a rough journey through the waves, as Poseidon got angry at him because he had left his son Polyphemus blind.

athena zeus beg_mythology

Thetis Appeals to Zeus (1811) by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

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Odysseus and Ulysses, by Patrick Whitehorn

As I approach to Greek mythology, I tend to think that gods are not only anthropomorphical -that is, with human physical appeareance and behaviour- but also childish. It is because of their whims that human beings suffer, and we can prove that by exploring the Homeric texts. Let’s have a look at Ulysses. Poor Ulysses, he has been wandering about ten years after the Trojan War. That is because Poseidon, god of the seas, has got really angry at him because he left one of his sons blind . Therefore, Poseidon’s only aim is to make the hero suffer: Ulysses has to undergo lots of different adventures: he is forced to stay seven years in Calypso’s island -another example of childish divine behaviour-.

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