Read-along: The Odyssey | Books 1-8

The Odyssey consists of 24 books, and I decided to divide my progress reports into thirds.

For this read-along, link in the sidebar, I am reading the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, translated by Robert Fagles, which is a gorgeous edition. I love the cover design and how it feels in my hands, the deckle edges and other details. I’ve heard and read quite a few things in praise of R. Fagles, and he won awards for his translated version.

If you have taken an Ancient History course or have any knowledge of Ancient Greece, you are already familiar with several characters and events of The Odyssey. Mortals and gods, like Agamemnon, Menelaus, Zeus and Athena (+all other Olympians) , the Trojan war and the Trojan horse are some of the things present or mentioned in the epic. The actions takes place throughout Mycenae, the Achaean, and Sparta, as well as other places, which is also familiar.

The literary value of the poem is only increased by its historical value. The Reader, as well as the Historian, get a lot of glimpses into the life of the time with regards to fashion, tradition, religion (sacrifice), etc.

Here are some more notes that I jotted down during my reading:

 • Everyone is very friendly to strangers and guests. First they must be fed and welcomed with hospitality, only then questioned. This seems risky at times, because what if they were sent to assassinate the king? 🙂
• At Menelaus’s palace we get a very vivid scene of sacrifice. Vegetarians, beware. (As well as everyone else.)
There is a lot of repetition in Homer’s verse, which gives the story a fairy tale vibe.
 I love that each morning begins with “young Dawn with her rose-red fingers” — such beautiful imagery!

So, there we go! If you are part of this read-along (and if you are not) feel free to leave your insights. How far in are you?

I am just about to begin Book 9 called “In the One-Eyed Giant’s Cave” — so bye, I am going to bury my nose in this book! 😀

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