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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Odyseus January 5, Mythology

Odysseus: When it came time to fight the Trojans, Odysseus pretended to be crazy so they wouldn’t him go, making him the original draft-dodger.  Agamemnon, though, saw right through him.  “You can’t stay in here Ithaca hiding from battle,” is what he said to Odysseus, “you have to come to Asia Minor and hide from battle.”  And that’s just what he did.  He spent the next nine years running from battle.  He usually did this by running to the rear of the lines telling stragglers, “Get up there and fight, you cowards!”  Then he’d go even further to the rear, looking for more cowards.  Odysseus gets the credit for the idea of hiding soldiers in a big wooden horse, but some scholars say the idea for the horse was really Epeius’.  Odysseus just came up with the part about hiding.  When Odysseus got to leave for home, he proved himself every bit as good a navigator as he had a soldier.  It took Odysseus ten years to get home, and during that time he battled monstrous giants, conversed with gods, and became Calypso's boy toy.1  During this entire time his wife Penelope had been completely faithful to him.2 She had fended off suitors for ten years pretending to weave a tapestry in honor of Odysseus, which each night she would un-weave.3  Disguising himself as an old man, Odysseus outwitted and slew the suitors 4 and was reunited with his wife and son.  If he didn’t live happily ever after, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.

1. No one ever seems to comment on the fact that the only eye-witness account of Odysseus' stories was Odysseus himself, and that Odysseus by his own admission was a shameless liar.
2. She said.
3. Suitors were a lot easier to fool in those days.
4. He'd been gone for twenty years, so it took a lot less disguising than you might think.


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