Odysseus and his men put out the
eye of the Cyclops, Polyphemos
The Odyssey was written down by the Greek poet Homer around 700 BC, although the story itself is probably much older. It is the story of King Odysseus' return from the Trojan War to his kingdom of Ithaca, a small island on the far side of Greece from
Odysseus (oh-DISS-ee-us) had a lot of trouble getting home, because the gods were angry at him and he did not respect their power. First he sailed from Troy with many ships and a lot of gold and slaves and stuff he had taken from Troy, and many men from Ithaca who had followed him to war.
But he ran into trouble with the first island he stopped at on the way home, and continued to have trouble, especially with the god Poseidon, the rest of the way. Finally the goddess Athena helped him to get home.
Then Odysseus escapes by hiding under a ram
Even after he got home, he had more trouble. He found that his house had been taken over by suitors who wanted to marry his wife, Penelope, thinking that Odysseus must be dead because he had been away so long. But with the help of his son Telemachus (tell-EM-ah-cuss), Odysseus killed all the suitors and the slaves who had helped them, and finally went back to ruling his kingdom with Penelope.
Here's a video version of part of this story, done by some kids in England:
To find out more about the Odyssey, check out these books from Amazon or from your library:
The Life and Times of Homer, by Kathleen Tracy (2004). For kids.
The Odyssey of Homer (Oxford Myths and Legends), by Barbara Leonie Picard. A retelling of the story, for kids.
Approaches to Teaching Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, by Kostas Myrsiades (1987).
The Odyssey, by Homer. Translated by Robert Fagles. A great translation, fun to read.
The World of Odysseus, by Moses Finley and Bernard Knox (1954). A standard for anyone interested in Homer.