Masterpieces of World Literature – III Homer and The Odyssey

Notes for week 3, Masterpieces of World Literature by David Damrosch and Martin Puchner from HarvardX: HUM12x on edX.


Homer and the Archeology of the Classical Past: The Odyssey

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  • Characters in the Odyssey (Wikipedia)
  • Ὀδυσσεύς
  • Τηλέμαχος
  • Πηνελόπη
  • Ναυσικάα – She is the daughter of King Αλκίνοος and Queen Arete of Phaeacia. Her name, in Greek, means “burner of ships” (ναῦς: ship; κάω: to burn). The first person in literature to be described playing with a ball.
  • Καλυψώ
    The story of Odysseus and Calypso has some close resemblances to the interactions between Gilgamesh and Siduri in the Epic of Gilgamesh in that “the lone female plies the inconsolable hero-wanderer with drink and sends him off to a place beyond the sea reserved for a special class of honoured people” and “to prepare for the voyage he has to cut down and trim timbers.
  • Κίρκη
  • Πολύφημος


You will find the scene of Odysseus’s wanderings when you find the cobbler who sewed up the bag of winds. (Strabo 1.2.15, quoted by Moses I. Finley, The World of Odysseus)







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