Epic Noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style Characteristics of an epic: • The hero is a figure of great national or even • cosmic importance, usually the ideal man of his culture. He often has superhuman or divine traits. He has an imposing physical stature and is greater in all ways than the common man. The setting is vast in scope. It covers great geographical distances, perhaps even visiting the underworld, other worlds, other times. Characteristics of an epic: • The action consists of deeds of valor or superhuman courage (especially in battle). • Supernatural forces interest themselves in the action and intervene at times. The intervention of the gods is called "machinery." • The style of writing is elevated, even ceremonial. Homer The blind poet who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey. Odysseus The protagonist of the story. Was gone from his home, Ithaca, for 20 years after fighting in the Trojan War. Penelope Faithful wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus. Telemachus Son of Odysseus who sets off on a journey to find his lost father. Athena Goddess of wisdom, art, war, and peace. She is the protector of Odysseus. Calypso Nymph who keeps Odysseus on her island for 7 years. Hermes The messenger god. He delivers messages from Zeus to help Odysseus. King Alcinous King of Phaeacia. Odysseus tells the king the story of his travels. Lotus Eaters People who feed the men with the lotus plant to make them forget their homes and desire to do nothing but eat the lotus plant. Polyphemus The cyclops son of Poseidon who eats men. Poseidon God of the sea and brother to Zeus. He causes Odysseus to get lost at sea for 20 years. Circe The witch goddess who turns Odysseus’ men to pigs. Tiresias The blind prophet who meets Odysseus in the Land of the Dead to tell him how to get back to Ithaca. Sirens Sea nymphs who use beautiful songs to lure sailors to steer their ships into rocks. Scylla A monster with 6 snake heads, all with 3 rows of fangs. Charybdis A sea monster who feeds 3 times a day by forming a deadly whirlpool Helios God of the sun. He owns an island full of forbidden cattle. Eurymachus One of Penelope’s suitors Antinous Penelope’s main suitor and enemy to Telemachus Eurycleia Odysseus’ old nurse who recognizes him by a scar on his leg. Zeus The most powerful god on Mount Olympus.