Amazing Facts about Odyssey

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Classical literature boasts of a large collection of seminal creations. Amongst them, Odyssey has a coveted place in history. It has been acclaimed as one of the greatest literary creations in the history of mankind and has maintained a level popularity through centuries.

The Odyssey is an epic composed in the poetic form by the Greek poet Homer of the ancient Hellenic Civilization and it is believed to have been completed sometime during the 8th century B.C.E in the Hellenic world. The Odyssey is the sequel to another epic of the same classical stature, the Iliad. Together, these two epic poems have been regarded as the best epic in the history of any literature. The Odyssey takes up the story of the Odysseus, the king of Ithaca, after the end of Trojan War. While he faces adversities and all sorts of experiences on his long journey back home, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus have a hard time dealing with suitors of the former.

Although the epic is extensively read both by experts as well laymen since ancient times, there are some interesting facts about the Odyssey which remain little known or unknown. Some of these facts are:

The epic poem consists of 12,110 lines in a literary form which is known as dactylic hexameter.

A sequel to the Odyssey, the Telegony, was believed to have been composed but somehow it got lost in time.

The original poem was composed in oral tradition and was meant to be heard rather than read. The written form of the epic in classical Greek was probably a later phenomenon.

The name of Odysseus, the protagonist of the epic whose name has been borrowed as the title, literally means ‘œtrouble’ in classical Greek.

The modern translations of the Odyssey are all divided into 24 books.

Many scholars believe that the Ithaca in Odyssey might have been the modern Ithake as the latter corresponds to the Geographical position of the former as asserted in the epic.

The earliest papyrus fragments of this epic poem date back to the 3rd Century B.C.E, although the first complete manuscript recovered is of 10th century C.E.

Many of the famous and popular literary creations of later times were influenced by the Odyssey. For example, the tales of Sinbad the Sailor and the Book of One Thousand and One nights had many stories in them inspired from the Odyssey.

If the scholars speculating the probable date of the events of the Odyssey are correct, then all the incidents as described in the epic took place sometime during the 11th century B.C.E. This clearly implies that the events of the Odyssey were set in the Bronze Age!

It is believed that the first written copy of the Odyssey was organized sometime during the 6th century B.C.E in ancient Athens when Peisistratos was the ruling tyrant.

These are only some of the interesting facts about the Odyssey which are lesser known to the common people. It is no wonder then that it holds the same charm to readers even after centuries have passed.

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