Homer The Odyssey

ISBN 13: 9780312869014

The Odyssey

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9780312869014: The Odyssey

The Odyssey is the original journey tale, a genre that has lasted three thousand years, and has had a lasting influence on on literature and art. The trials of Odysseus were first told by the great bard Homer. For ten long years the Greeks and Trojans have fought on the plains of Troy, and now Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, and the other victorious Greeks are ready to sail home. But after offending the sea god, Poseidon, Odysseus is hurled into years of wandering the seas, encountering monsters and sirens, raging storms and seductive idylls, before he is able to return to his wife, his son and his homeland.

This masterpiece keeps its appeal not only because it reflects a glorious time of heroes and wonders, but because it is a work that still speaks to the lives we live today. Forge book is proud to present The Odyssey in Dr. Eickhoff's compelling and authoritative new translation.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Randy Lee Eickhoff holds several graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in Classics. He lives in El Paso, Texas where he works on novels, plays, poetry and translations in several languages. His translation of Ireland's national epic, the Ulster Cycle, is now a text used in schools in the United States and overseas. His novel And Not to Yield, based on the life of Wild Bill Hickok, was selected as the Best Novel of 2004 by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage. His nonfiction work on the Tigua Indians, Exiled, won the Southwest Book Award. He is also the author of Return to Ithaca, Then Came Christmas and The Quick and the Dead. He has been inducted into the Paso Del Norte Writers Hall of Fame, the local chapter of the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters. Eickhoff served with distinction in the early phases of the Vietnam War, and was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star. He spends his time in El Paso, Ireland, and Italy, lecturing on Dante and The Ulster Cycle.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

THE FIRST BOOK
 
The Council of the Gods
 
 
The Invocation to the Muse, greeting
Her and the gods' meeting.
Athene ordered to start Odysseus
Homeward and the visit
Of the goddess to Telemachus.
 
 
 
Sing, Muse,1 of that wanderer who sundered
The sacred walls of Troy and traveled
Many sea-lanes while struggling for his
Life and his men's return. His men, who
In their folly slew and consumed the holy
Cattle of the Sun, Hyperion,2 who
Therefore spurned their journey home.
Now, Muse, begin the tale of that man
Of many masquerades. Sing to us how he,
Bereft of hearth and home, pined for his wife
In hallowed Calypso's cave, the divine Nymph,
Eager him to wed and bed, but when
The circling seasons ran their wheel, they spun
The thread for his return to Ithaca.
Yet the gods determined that he would not
Find his peace at home until all the gods
Took pity upon him. At last all did,
Save Poseidon, who grimly blocked the noble
Wanderer until the man of masquerades
Finally reached his native land, there to
Find grim designs waiting for his return.
Sing, Muse, of that man of men and tell me
The story of the man whose own wisdom
And trickery wounded him and caused him
To languish far from the loving arms of
His wife. Sing to me the story of that
Wanderer who sacked Troy and sundered her
Heaven-built walls, only to be forced to roam
Uncharted seas and visit strange lands
Where he faced many grueling trials.
Sing to me of his great adventures among nations
Of all manners, minds, fashions, and traditions.
Sing to me of a man, abandoned by the gods
After his men slew the sun god's sacred cattle,
Who still proves himself worthy of song and story.
Sing, O Muse, of him in his glory. How after ten
Long years at Troy trying to storm the many-
Towered city of Ilium, the gods
Denied Odysseus3 return passage
Home to his loving wife while other
Comrades were led to safe haven where
They sleep free from the horror of war and
The sea. Tell me how the Nymph Calypso,
Yearning for his love, trapped him by magic
In her caves, making him her lord and spouse.
Sing, Muse, why Poseidon, the god of the sea--
Despite destiny--blocks his passage home.
Explain why Poseidon spurned Zeus's council
Determining Odysseus's fate and
Sped to Ethiopia at the end
Of the earth, feasting at his festival
While the other gods obeyed the summons
Of mighty Zeus. Let us listen to Zeus's words:
 
"Vain, petulant men! Yes, that's what they are! All of them! Look at them playing their games, misusing their freedom, and blaming their sins on wicked fate. Fate! And blaming us for their crimes! I tell you that I will not tolerate these floundering fools for long! Look! Look there! Do you see what I mean? Adulterous Aegisthus making love to Agamemnon's wife and scheming that king's slaughter!4 Listen to the cry of Agamemnon, 'Oh, I am killed by a mortal blow!' Why does man sin knowing he will suffer? I even sent Hermes (who slaughtered Argus--but enough of that waggling tale) to Aegisthus before he struck the mortal blow, telling him to beware of desecrating the marriage bed. Yet he ignored my warning. Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, wreaks vengeance on Aegisthus now. Blood war ensues! Oh, these mortal fools! Oh! My head, my head!" moaned Zeus, rubbing the heels of his hands hard against his temples.
Athene rose, her graceful form and azure eyes drawing covetous glances from the others, and said, "Now, Father, son of the Titan Cronus,5 king of kings, the well of power upon the earth--"
"Yes, yes. Out with it," Zeus growled, glowering from beneath heavily beetled brows. "Nuts and nails! I know you! Wandering words where one will do! Speak!"
"All right." Athene drew herself up, her bold beauty hammering pulses. She shrugged. "All right. Aegisthus is fate past. Nothing can be done, and Agamemnon's land is a blood ground. So be it! Why wail over its fate? The die is cast: Aegisthus deserves his death. But my heart aches for Odysseus's sorrows. Why should he suffer because proud Poseidon pouts, refusing to lift his yoke and forgive Odysseus for the innocent insult he flung at the sea god? Now Odysseus suffers in Calypso's arms,6 daughter of Atlas,7 upon her sylvan island, where she has entrapped him with sorcery and beauty--"
"Aye, we should all suffer such pains!" one god broke in. The others roared in mirth while Athene cast a disapproving eye upon the author of the ribald jest.
"Now," she said softly, "Calypso's wizard father, the author of many jests himself, shoulders the colossal columns that separate heaven and earth." The offender averted his eyes, reddened, gulping nectar to conceal his chagrin. "Yes, great Odysseus languishes on a rocky isle amid the thunder of great Poseidon's roaring waves. A lesser man--thrall to Calypso's charms--would be content, but Odysseus remembers his chimney smoke, the bleat of his sheep, and the warmth of Penelope's arms.8 For seven years Calypso has sought to soothe his troubled mind, vanquish memory, and smother in his breast all thoughts of Ithaca. For seven years he is lost to hearth and home because he has angered one of us. Yet many times in Troy he honored you, Father, with burnt sacrifices. Still, he is denied Ithaca."
The cloud-trembler glowered, but she boldly stared him down. He sighed and said, "All right. What words fly so boldly from your lips! Pale daughter, how can I not recall Odysseus? No more resourceful man treads the earth or has so enriched the Immortals enthroned on high. His gifts are vast, but remember he is bold. It is he who stole the Cyclops's glaring eye. This same Polyphemus, I might add, who is the son of Poseidon from the sea Nymph Thoosa, daughter to the sea king Phorcys, who lay with Poseidon in his hollow caves and bore this wheel-eyed Cyclops to the god of storms. This is why Poseidon torments the great Odysseus. But"--he raised his hands, stifling Athene's lips--"let us reason and seek to ease the torment of Odysseus since no one god can prevail against a man despite his vaunted powers."
The gray-eyed maid laughed and cried, "Father and adored king! Let all who reside on Olympus make the wandering Greek their public care and succor his misery. Let Hermes carry our message to the golden-tressed Nymph on Ogygia that it is our will that she no longer hold him fast. I will travel to Ithaca and seek out his son who, despite his green, unpracticed years, shows spirit--although he is hot-blooded and headstrong when caution should work its way through his words. I will advise him to assemble Ithaca's Greeks and denounce his mother's suitors who devour their sheep and oxen and desire her for their pride." She gave a short, ugly laugh. "The suitors will, of course, like foxes whose noses are filled with a vixen's scent, scorn the words of Telemachus.9 I will counsel him to sail to Sparta and to Pylos to gather news of his wandering father. His search for his father far from Ithaca will draw its people to him. This I will do! You do your part!"10
And she placed her glittering golden sandals upon her alabaster feet, those sandals fledged with ambrosial plumes with which she flies like the wind, and wielding her army-slaughtering spear, she soared from the halls of Olympus to the rocky shores of Ithaca. There, close at Odysseus's gates, she shape-shifted her lovely form into the lumpy muscled form of Anchialus's son Mentes, the king of Taphia. She leaned upon her spear, disdaining the suitors lounging on oxhides. They slew those beasts before the gates, diced, drank, roared, and laughed. Serving wenches moved about them, sponging tables, dodging the drunken hands that groped for their breasts and buttocks.
Amid all this sat Telemachus, scorning their drunkenness. His heart ached for his father's return to scourge these beasts from his palace door. Now, in his mind, he imagines that violent return of Odysseus and hears the thunder of heaven. But in the middle of his daydreams, he sees Athene, disguised, standing alone at the gate and, rising, hastens to her.
"I beg your pardon," he said hastily. "Whoever you are, please forgive this…this…"He cast about him for words and at a loss shook his head. "Enter. Please. You are most welcome. Join our feasting and tell us why you have come to my home."
Saying so, he took her spear and placed it against a column where stood many of Odysseus's spears, dusty with disuse. He led her to a richly embroidered seat far from the boasting suitors. Placing a footstool for her feet, he signaled a maidservant to bring them water in a gorgeous golden pitcher. He took the pitcher from the maidservant and filled a silver basin for her to wash her hands. Another servant brought fresh bread and clear wine for them, and the meat carver sliced the meat free from fat and placed it on a platter before them.11
Some of the rude suitors saw how this newcomer was being treated and sauntered over to take their places on rough-hewn oaken benches near to them, sprawled, legs akimbo, and eyed the newcomer blearily while dribbling wine through gnarled and twisted beards.
With a gesture of distaste, Telemachus motioned for them to be served too, and serving wenches swinging saucy hips hastily brought in baskets filled with coarse-ground bread and set them before the bold wooers, who quickly stuffed their mouths with rich and greasy meat, wiping their hands and fingers on soiled tunics.
"Bring more wine!" one bawled drunkenly and closed one eye in an obscene wink. "And bring in the girls and let us have a bit of wiggle and giggle, eh, boys? What do you say?"
Shouts of agreement followed his words, and a servant brought a harp finely tuned and thrust it into the hands of Phemius. Reluctantly, the famed singer touched his fingers lightly to the warbling wires and began to sing.
"Blustering braggarts!" Telemachus growled, then quickly apologized to Athene. "Forgive me. That was most unmannerly. I am afraid that I have behaved most boorishly." He could not help but cast a disapproving eye at the revels beginning before them. "But I hope that you will not be offended by these…others," he finished lamely. "I'm afraid that singing comes cheaply enough for those who do not have to pay the harpist. They forget that this feast has been paid for by one whose white bones lie wasting in some unknown land. And," he muttered beneath his breath, "if he were here, he would put their fat buttocks to flight sorely enough." Then, raising his voice and forcing a smile to his young lips, he said, "But enough of my troubles. Please tell me where you are from and what brings you to Ithaca. Are you a stranger to my father's house or have you been here before?" Then a thought dabbed at him. His eyes narrowed. "You are not a would-be contender for my mother's hand, are you?"
Athene smiled and dabbled her fingers daintly in the silver finger bowl placed before her and carefully cleaned them with a white damask cloth. "I am Mentes, son of Anchialus, king of the Taphians. I have come with my ship and men across the wine-dark seas on a voyage bound for Temesa with a cargo of iron I wish to trade for copper. My ship rests at anchor in the harbor of Rheithron under Neius's wooded slopes. Our fathers were friends, as old Laertes, your grandfather, will tell you if you should seek him out. But I understand he seldom comes to town these days, preferring to live by himself in the country with only an old woman to care for him when he comes in from the day's heat after pottering around in his vineyard. I came because I was told your father had returned home, but"--she looked around the hall with contempt--"I can see that was only the scuttlebutt of wayward rowers more limber with tongue than hands. Mind"--she raised her hands warningly--"I am no prophet, but I have heard from the tongues of those who are that he languishes in some wood somewhere, bearing the inflictions of the gods. I thought he might have made his way here, but he has not. That doesn't mean he won't. No iron fetters have been forged that could keep him away! Mark my words upon that, my young friend! Patience! Patience!"
Telemachus blinked away bright tears and said, "I thank you for your words, Mentes. But I wonder about my father and think that he must be dead, or else why has he not returned?"
"Stuff and nonsense!" Athene said hotly. "Dead? Your father?" She frowned. "You are Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, correct?"
"Yes," Telemachus sighed. "So my mother tells me. I am the son of that star-crossed man."
"Well, then," Athene beamed and clapped him on the shoulder so heartily that he caught himself upon the edge of the table to keep from landing face first in the meat sauce. "Fear not your line's demise while Penelope has a fine lad like you, what? Now, what"--she gestured disdainfully at the drunken disorder about them--"is this chaos about? Hm? Do you celebrate some feast? A wedding in the family? A banquet? No one seems to have brought any food of his own. Most unseemly even for the poorest of guests. And"--she leaned close to the ear of Telemachus--"I must say that they behave like pigs."
Telemachus sighed and shook his head. "Ah, well! I am afraid, sir, that bad times have fallen upon us. The gods in their displeasure have hidden my father from us, and so these…these 'fellows' have come to woo my mother into believing he is dead and to accept one of them in his place. I almost wish my father had fallen gloriously upon the field of Troy, for then the Greeks would have built a mound over his ashes and I would have inherited his fame. But the storm winds have blown that away from me, and now I inherit nothing but shame and this drunken revelry. If this wasn't enough, the gods have caused me further grief and headache with my father's absence, for all the chiefs of our islands--Dulichium, Samos, and the forested island of Zacynthus--along with certain headmen from Ithaca itself are eating up our flocks and herds while pretending to court my mother."
"And your mother?" Athene asked delicately. Telemachus shrugged and spread his hands in dismay.
"What can she do? She does not offer her hand. Night after night these suitors take what they will. Soon I'm afraid, there will be nothing left. And then"--he shrugged--"I'm afraid they will kill me as well."
Athene sighed and shook her head, sipping from her wine. "I can see that you do need your father about. Give Odysseus a helmet, sword, spear, and shield, and he'd quickly set these oafs on their ears, mark my words! I remember when I saw him in our house. He was coming from Ephyra where he h...

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Book Description St Martin s Press, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The Odyssey is the original journey tale, a genre that has lasted three thousand years, and has had a lasting influence on on literature and art. The trials of Odysseus were first told by the great bard Homer. For ten long years the Greeks and Trojans have fought on the plains of Troy, and now Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, and the other victorious Greeks are ready to sail home. But after offending the sea god, Poseidon, Odysseus is hurled into years of wandering the seas, encountering monsters and sirens, raging storms and seductive idylls, before he is able to return to his wife, his son and his homeland. This masterpiece keeps its appeal not only because it reflects a glorious time of heroes and wonders, but because it is a work that still speaks to the lives we live today. Forge book is proud to present The Odyssey in Dr. Eickhoff s compelling and authoritative new translation. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780312869014

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Book Description Forge. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 432 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 5.9in. x 1.3in.THE ODYSSEY, translated by a former soldier, award winning novelist and classics scholar. This translation encompasses the best of both worlds--a prose translation with the most dramatic sections rendered into verse. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780312869014

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