The Odyssey: Characters, Gods, Creatures, and Places

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Achilles

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1

Achilles

Famous warrior who died in the Trojan War. Odysseus converses with him in Hades.

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2

Aegisthus

Conspires with Clytemnestra to kill her husband Agamemnon. After the murders, Aegisthus replaces Agamemnon as king and rules for a few years with Clytemnestra. He and Clytemnestra are eventually killed by Orestes, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon's son.

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3

Aegyptius

One of the chieftains in Ithaca who speaks at the assembly in Book II.

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4

Agamemnon

The king of Mycenae and the leader of the Achaean expedition to Troy.

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5

Alcinous

The king of the Phaeacians, husband of Arete and father of Nausicaa. He is a generous, kind, and good-humored ruler and father.

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6

Anticleia

The mother of Odysseus. She encounters him in Hades while he is there.

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7

Arete

The queen of the Phaeacians, wife of Alcinous and mother of Nausicaa.

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8

Argus

The old hunting dog of Odysseus who recognises his master and dies.

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9

Clytemnestra

With her lover Aegisthus, she kills her husband Agamemnon. She is eventually killed by her own son Orestes.

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10

Demodocus

A blind bard who entertains at the banquets in the palace of Alcinous.

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11

Elepnor

A young seaman in the crew of Odysseus who dies in an accident on Circe island and whose spirit reproaches Odysseus in Hades.

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12

Eumaeus

The chief swineherd of Odysseus, who remains faithful to his master during his long absence and who plays an active part in assisting Odysseus to regain his kingdom.

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13

Eupeithes

The father of Antinous, he manifests the same rashness and disloyalty that is exhibited by his son when he leads a band of Ithacans to attack Odysseus but is quick to recognize his error and apologize.

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14

Eurycleia

The faithful and devoted old nurse of Odysseus, she recognizes him by the scar on his leg.

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15

Eurylochus

One of Odysseus' officers; he is an unimaginative and sober person, who wisely avoids entering Circe's palace in Book X, but who also abets the sailors when they slaughter the cattle of Helios.

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16

Eurymachus

The second most important suitor; he is as evil as Antinous, but far more soft and cowardly.

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17

Helen

The wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. She was the cause of the Trojan War.

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18

Irus

A cowardly bully who is a beggar on Ithaca and a favorite of many of the suitors.

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19

Laertes

The old father of Odysseus, who lives in isolation from the demands of public life, on a small farm in the back hills of Ithaca. He remains alert and agile, despite his age.

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20

Melantho

One of the serving maids in the palace of Odysseus; she is a nasty and an impudent young girl and is disloyal to her master, having become the mistress of Eurymachus.

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21

Melanthius

The chief goatherd of Odysseus. In his master's absence he has ignored his duty and has ingratiated himself with the suitors by catering to their whims.

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22

Menelaus

King of Sparta, husband of Helen, and brother of Agamemnon. Like Odysseus, he too has a series of misadventures on his return home from Troy.

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23

Mentor

A faithful friend of Odysseus who was left behind on Ithaca as Telemachus' tutor; he is wise, sober, and loyal.

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24

Nausicaa

The daughter of Alcinous and Arete. She is a charming young maiden, in her adolescence.

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25

Nestor

King of Pylos, father of Peisistratus. A very wise and garrulous old man, one of the few survivors of the Trojan War.

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26

Odysseus

King of Ithaca, husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, son of Laertes. He is the first of the Greek epic heroes to be renowned for his brain as well as his muscle.

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27

Orestes

Clytemnestra and Agamemnon's son who avenges his father's murder by killing his mother and her lover Aegisthus.

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28

Peisistratus

The gallant young son of Nestor. He is the companion of Telemachus on his journey through the Peloponnesus.

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29

Penelope

The wife of Odysseus. She is serious and industrious, a perfect wife and mother in many aspects.

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30

Philoetius

The chief cowherd of Odysseus; he is brave and loyal and, despite his age, stands besides his master during the battle with the suitors.

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31

Telemachus

The son of Odysseus and Penelope. He is just entering manhood and is very self-conscious of his duty, and his father's reputation as a hero, which he feels he must live up to.

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32

Tiresias

The most famous of all Greek seers. The legend was that in compensation for his blindness the gods had given him his awesome visionary powers. His spirit is consulted by Odysseus in Hades.

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33

Aeolus

God of the winds, and a son of Poseidon. Zeus gave him dominion over the winds, which he keeps in vast caves on the mystical island of Aeolia.

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34

Athena

Daughter of Zeus, goddess of wisdom and patroness of the arts and crafts, also known as Pallas. Odysseus is her favorite and protégé.

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35

Calypso

The sea nymph that keeps Odysseus captive for nine years and who, in hope of making him her husband, offers him immortality.

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36

Charybdis

A sea monster that swallows huge amounts of water three times a day before belching them back out again, creating whirlpools.

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37

Circe

The enchantress who transforms the crew of Odysseus into swine and who, when she finds that she cannot conquer Odysseus, takes him as a lover and helps him with advice and supplies on his voyage home.

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38

Hades

The lord of the dead and ruler of the underworld, which is also referred to as Hades.

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39

Helios/Hyperion

The god of the sun, whose cattle are eaten by Odysseus' crew.

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40

Hermes

Son of Zeus, the ambassador of the gods, conductor of the dead souls to Hades, and patron of travelers, merchants, and thieves.

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41

Ino

An immortal goddess who gives divine aid to Odysseus. She provides him with a veil and instructs him how he can succeed in his plight to reach land.

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42

Polyphemus

A one-eyed Cyclops who holds Odysseus and his men captive in his cave until he is made drunk and blinded by Odysseus.

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43

Poseidon

Younger brother of Zeus, god of the sea and earthquakes, father of Polyphemus. Because Odysseus is a sailor and must travel home by ship, Poseidon is able to do him much harm. The god bears a grudge against him because of his rough treatment of Polyphemus.

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44

Proteus

Also known as the Old Man of the Sea. He can foretell the future, but he will change his shape to avoid having to; he will only answer to someone who is capable of capturing him. Menelaus captures him and finds about the fate of his brother and friends.

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45

Scylla

A sea monster with six head whom Odysseus and his men must pass during their voyage.

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46

Sirens

Two (or three) dangerous bird-women who dwell in a flowery meadow on an island somewhere between that of Circe and of Scylla. They tempt passing mariners to their deaths with their tantalizing songs.

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47

Zeus

The supreme god and king of Olympus. He is officially neutral in human affairs; his duty is to carry out the will of Destiny, but he is often sympathetic towards humans.

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48

Aeaea

The island home of the enchantress Circe.

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49

Aeolia

A floating island home of Aeolus, king of the winds.

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50

Capri

Island home of the Sirens.

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51

Cicones

A Thracian tribe whose capital is raided by Odysseus and his men after leaving Troy.

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52

Hades (place)

The land of the dead. Also known as Tartarus or Klysium.

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53

Ithaca

The island kingdom of Odysseus, located off the west coast of mainland Greece.

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54

Ismaurus

The capital of the Cicones, located in Thrace, to the northeast of Greece.

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55

Laestrygonians

A tribe of cannibal barbarians who seriously defeat defeat Odysseus and his men when the Greek ships land in their country.

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56

Lotus Eaters

A tribe that eats a plant that causes them to sleep and live in apathy.

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57

Ogygia

Island home of the nymph Calypso. Thought to be modern day Malta.

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58

Olympus

A mountain in Greece, which is home to many of the gods and goddesses.

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59

Phaeacians

The inhabitants of the land of Scheria.

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60

Pylos

The kingdom of Nestor, located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

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61

Scheria

The island home of the Phaeacians, and the kingdom of Alcinous. Also may be referred to as Drepane.

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62

Sparta

The kingdom of Menelaus, located on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

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63

Troy

A kingdom that was destroyed by the Greeks in the Trojan War. It is located on the western coast of Asia Minor.

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64

Thrinacia

Island home to the cattle of the sun god, Helios.

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