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Are you a fan of Greek mythology? Does the name "Odyssey" mean anything to you? How familiar are you with the fall of Troy and the legend of Achilles? Fortunately, I wrote an article on this a few weeks back (Trojan war), and there I mentioned the name "Odysseus", the closest friend to Achilles after his cousin -Patroclus.
You see, Odysseus was a very wise man, a favorite to the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, yet, it is his pride that would destroy him in the end. As a kid, I would often read books related to the Legendary Achilles - the popular "Iliad and the Odyssey". Odyssey in the context would often be referred to as "a journey" - a long and tedious journey relating to what Odysseus faced as he tried to go back home after the Greeks had burned troy to the ground.
The hero, Odysseus was the king of Ithaca, an Island in Greece. The exact location of this place is debatable due to the advent of civilization. He was married to "Penelope", a cousin to the beautiful "Helen", Helen of Troy or Sparta as history would have it. Just before the journey to Troy for the war which lasted years, His wife, Penelope had just given birth to a beautiful son, "Telemachus". Unfortunately, he wouldn't see his beautiful boy grow into a man.
As mentioned earlier, his pride would be his fall. He was so proud that he wanted to claim credits for the one who came up with the idea of the "Trojan Horse", which added the Greeks in defeating the Trojans. He seemed to forget the roles the gods had played in their victory and this angered the god, Poseidon, god of the Aegean sea and brother to the great Zeus, the king of the gods.
"without gods, man is nothing!!!"
Poseidon's voice echoed through the clashing of the waters and Odysseus knew he would be punished for this but his pride wouldn't let him beg for mercy. The only way back home was through the sea and Poseidon controlled the sea.
There was a heavy storm that blew Odysseus and his crew to Ismarus, the land of the Cicones. Odysseus and his men decided to lay waste to this land, captured slaves, and gathered enough loot to tell their tales of triumphs. Greed took over as their continued their raid.
He underestimated the strength of the Cicones which cost him the life of most of his crew as they fled in defeat.
Hours turned into days, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months as the tide led them on, still no signs of home. The wind took them to the land of the lotus-eaters, a land where the people there only fed on the lotus plant. This plant affected anyone who ate it, it made them forgot about home. It is unknown how long they had remained on this Island but Odyssey had to tie his crew members as he forced them back on the ships to continue on their journey.
Odysseus and his crew journeyed back home, for days they sailed on with no line of sight to any land.
"Land ahead" - one of the crew members screamed. The crew were hungry and was almost out of their loot from troy. They arrived on the island, unknown to them at the time, it was the Island of the Cyclops, a giant beast with one eye. On the Island, they saw a cave filled with cheese and decided to help themselves to a nice meal and of course coupled with wine.
Just then, the Cyclops, Polyphemus walked into the cave together with his herds of sheep. He rolled a big boulder to close the entrance to the cave. The crew were trapped and had no way of escaping. The giant grabbed a hand full of men and are them. This left the other crew members frightened for their lives.
With no means of escape, Odysseus knew he had to be clever, he instructed his crew members to play beautiful music, then he offered a giant bowl of wine to the giant.
Polyphemus had never tasted wine before so he drank to his heart's content and then he was drunk, coupled with the soft music playing the giant began to feel sleepy.
"Who is your leader?" Polyphemus asked
"It is I, oh great one" - Odysseus replied
"What is your name?"- he asked Odysseus which he replied.
"My name is nobody"
"I like you nobody and for this, I shall do you a favor and eat you last"
The drink soon took effect and the giant sleep off.
Taking a long pole which they had found in the cave, they sharpened its end. As I have mentioned, the Cyclops has one eye, with a group effort, they lifted the giant pole and aimed it on Polyphemus's eyes, with that, the giant was blind.
Polyphemus screamed out in agony, rolled over the boulder for the cave to tell his neighbors what had happened.
"Polyphemus, why are you screaming" - they asked
"Nobody, Nobody has blinded me" - he cried
The neighbors took it as a joke and left him. Odysseus then instructed his crew members to make use of the herd of sheep wool to cover their backs as they crawled their way out of the cave.
The giant couldn't differentiate his herd of sheep from the crew since they all felt the same way and with that, Odysseus and his crew escaped to their ship and hurriedly sailed away.
From a safe distance, Odysseus told the Cyclops who he way.
"It is I, Odysseus, who has blinded you"
Little did he know the Polyphemus was a son of Poseidon.
The wind led them to the island of Aeolia, home to Aeolus, the god of the wind. He saw Odysseus's plight and decided to help him. Odysseus had initially come to the Island with a bag to get drinking water as his crew was dying of thirst. Aeolus then collects Odysseus's bag and blows wind into it. He instructs Odysseus not to open the bag until he gets back home.
With a soft wind, Aeolus guided Odysseus's ship back home.
Returning to the ship, his crew were quite curious to know what was in the windbag. Gold and silver? food? They wondered.
Odysseus stayed up all night to keep watch on the bag until at last thoughts of seeing his beautiful wife and son led him into a deep sleep. At last, they got close to land and Ithaca could be seen from a distance.
One of the crew members suggested they opened the bag to see what's in it. Immediately they did, a strong wind came and blew their ship even farther from home. Odysseus woke up due to the noise and wreckage to discover what had happened and let out a cry of anger and pain. He had been close to home but his crew members had cost him the chance of returning home.
The journey of Odysseus continues. I won't be able to write everything in one article so I will publish it in parts. I have to say, what an adventure. So far, which of the adventures have you found captivating? There are more adventures to come, stay tuned.