Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Month Long Journey that Took Ten Years

Odysseus's Journey
Did you ever wonder why it took Odysseus ten years to complete a journey that should have taken a month? Did you ever wonder why Odysseus after fighting a ten-year war, doesn't just jump in his ship and paddle back to Ithaca (and Penelope) as fast as he can? Well, those are questions that could be argued forever, and probably will be, but now there is an interactive map of Odyssesus's Journey to help readers keep track of the wandering hero. Something to notice about the map is that Odysseus could not have taken a longer route if he planned it that way.

Click on the link and you'll see. He starts out in Troy then heads right across the straight to Ismara which he plunders - oops, bad move. Before he and his men can get back on the ships many are killed. They then run into fierce storms that carry them all the way across the Mediterranean to northern Africa where they reach the land of the lotus eaters. The crew imbibes of the lotus and ends up not caring whether they ever leave? Hmm, sounds like some kind of drug problem.

If you look at the map the furthest port they reach from Ithaca, or Troy for that matter, is Calypso. The map puts the island of Circe somewhere in Spain and Odysseus ends up living with the nymph for seven years (it's a long story). If you're reading the story, the interactive map created by Gisèle Mounzer is a great way to keep track of Odysseus' tacking back and forth across the ancient seas.

When I read books, I like the ones where there is a map on the inside front cover so that I can follow along with the characters and see where they are headed. This map is helpful because it shows the breadth of the ancient world and makes the reader wonder what Odysseus was thinking?

Why do you think it took Odysseus twenty years to get home? He constantly talks about getting home to his wife and son, but then wanders all over the Mediterranean. Could it be fate? Did he tempt the gods too much? Did he just have a rambling soul? Can you picture yourself on a ten-year odyssey?

9 comments:

  1. This is such an amazing story of Odysseus. Sometimes we get so anxious that we go on with a long term project. I mean Lewis and Clark went on an expedition. Any type of expedition can take longer only because we do not have a clearly stated agenda. Of course things happen in life where we get side tracked. That is my take on why some journeys take longer than others. i personally would take a long odyssey only if it requires learning more about a city. For example, maybe I will discover a hidden treasure. Journeys usually do not last more than 5 years now days. For one, it takes time and dedication to complete a sojourn.This is my input on the story behind Odysseus.

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  2. Seeing the map of Odysseus's travels makes me realize how tragic (is that the right word?) his story is. He's always so close, yet so very far from his wife and son due to the circumstances. What little I know of the actual story (I've only really watched movies and read some short stories), it always seemed like he was swept far far away. The map really puts some perspective on things.

    Speaking of maps in books. The maps in the Game of Thrones series are great! It really lets me see where the characters are going. And also see how close some Starks get to each other before... stuff happens.

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  3. I think it took Odysseus some years to get back home because he was probably too busy having fun. It could have also been that they weren't sure how to navigate back home. I really want to believe that Odysseus was being adventurous and every time he made landfall he discovered new things for himself as well as his men. The voyage after time probably felt rewarding to find new places and to see and try new things. He also would then have stories to tell his friends and family when he made it back home. I myself could not picture myself on a ten-year odyssey. Maybe if I traveled by plane and had lots of money, but ten-years is a long time to be on a journey.

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  4. I personally have read the story of Odysseues. It was really interesting to read how he would talk about his wife and son, but he would continue exploring around the continent. In many ways it was fate; Odysseues was returning from the Trojan war and his ships got blown off course by a storm. In other ways, he could have being toying with the gods too much. Odysseues' journey was long and eventful; it was a journey. I could easily picture myself in his position. I would like to start traveling around the world one day. It would a life-changing experience traveling around and learning about the different types of cultures and other people's way of life. As the old saying goes, "It is about the journey, not the destination."

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  5. I love this story. I think it took so long simply because of all the places, people, and creatures to see. Even though he wanted to be back to Ithaca, there was always something to see on the way there. There was always something to be done on his journey. But there were also events that made the journey longer. Maybe he did tempt the gods, or maybe he just had bad luck when it came to the creatures he encountered and the weather or maybe it is just fate. Can I see myself on a ten-year odyssey? Not really. I like to stay relatively local.

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  6. I think it's interesting how he traveled and even though he went through a hard and tough journey he still had the experience to see new places and experience new things. Even though it took him a long time he still didn't give up. I feel if I had that opportunity to travel for ten years I would really enjoy it because this only happens once in a life time. He did talk about his family and how he felt but he still had his crew as a family.I could see myself as Odyssey for tens years because I like to taking adventures and seeing new things. Hopefully one day I get to travel as much as he did.

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  7. I really like the Odyssey. I remember reading it some years back and it took him so long to get back home because of all of the people he meet along the way, and adventures we sought out. He tempted gods along the way and had his fair share of bad luck. It was always interesting to me that he took the most dangerous route and still managed to make it back home.

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  8. I always loved/hated the Odyssey, I remember being in class and sometimes just having to literally close the book and take a moment to think about the extreme stupidity of the characters and wondering how on earth Odysseus expected his wife to just happily take him back after taking his sweet time to get home as well as deciding to stay with other women for the past twenty years. But it also amazed me by the fact that he took the most dangerous route possible, ticked off multiple gods along the way, went up against a ton of monsters and still managed to make it home despite every setback and curve ball thrown at him.

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  9. In high school, the odyssey was honestly one my most enjoyable things to read. However it did make me frustrated from time to time because i did not understand what was going on. i believe he took forever on his journey becausse he picked one of the longest and most dangerous routes.i also believe he was stuck on calypso's island (not entirely sure)and he kind of had a little to much "fun" with her. so i believve the stops he made played a part in why he took so long.

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