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What was the definitive reason behind Sisyphus punishment?

Homer describes Sisyphus as the craftiest of men; he was a generally deceitful guy. However Homer gives no reason for his punishment, no list of crimes and so we must look to other Classical writers. ...
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10 votes
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How did Odysseus's ship get wrecked, and how did Odysseus himself land to Ogygia?

This is detailed in book 12 of the Odyssey. Odysseus' crew disobeyed his (and the gods') command not to eat the cattle of Helios, which led to Helios' and Zeus' displeasure. So Zeus sends a storm ...
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9 votes
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Was there an epic or drama detailing Menelaus's return?

The wanderings of Menelaus were described in the “Nostoi” attributed to Agias of Troezen. The remnants of this poem are collected by M.L. West in the Loeb volume “Greek Epic Fragments”. This is older ...
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9 votes
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How did Helen get back from Troy?

There is not a canonical answer to this. Helen's portrayal in the Greek and Roman sources presents a wide variety of different interpretations. Perhaps most canonical is Apollodorus' Bibliotecha. ...
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9 votes
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Roughly, where was Ogygia?

It likely wasn't anywhere. Homer, or rather the author of the Odyssey, had some conception of the broader Mediterranean, but it was largely unexplored by the Greeks at that time, and so magical ...
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9 votes
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Why is Dante’s Odysseus different from Homer’s?

For one thing, Dante never read Homer. Like most medieval Christians, Dante did not have direct access to the original Greek texts. Instead, they would've learnt of ancient Greek mythology through ...
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8 votes

Why was Odysseus needed for killing the suitors in the Odyssey?

Who was in charge? No-one was in charge. Remember that Odysseus took all of Ithaca's soldiers away with him to Troy and none of them made it back. The only soldiers left were the kids too young to go ...
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8 votes
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Identifying the places in the Odyssey

Most of the "new identifications" are quite fanciful. Most scholars agree that by and large the places described in the Odyssey are imagined. Ogygia, for example, is squarely within the realm of myth. ...
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8 votes

What was the purpose of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus?

It was built specifically as a prison for the minotaur. See this article The most famous labyrinth is found in Greek mythology: Designed by Daedalus for King Minos of Knossos to contain the ...
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7 votes
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What was the purpose of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus?

It was built specifically to keep the Minotaur in. If you are familiar with the story of the Minotaur, it was the son of Pasiphae, who was the king of Crete's (King Minos) wife. Minos wanted a sign ...
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7 votes

Was there an epic or drama detailing Menelaus's return?

In Book 4 of the Odyssey, Menelaus mentions a few details of his voyage home, during his conversation with Telemachus: "I was trying to come on here, but the gods detained me in Egypt, for my ...
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7 votes
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Could Achilles have killed Hector at a later time?

Achilles doesn't actually want to escape his fate. Turning away from the war at its outset is a response to Agamemnon's insult over Briseis. (The Iliad actually begins with this feud, and the major ...
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7 votes

Why does Ino help Odysseus?

First, the expectation is misguided. Deities are not beholden to their "kings." This is no better represented than all the Olympians disobeying Zeus by sneaking into battle in the Iliad. In real life,...
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6 votes
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Why did Zeus take half the goodness out of a man?

It's not a common accepted believe, just something that Eumaeus, the swineherd of Odysseus, says to his master while Odysseus is still in disguise. Slaves, when their masters lose their power, are ...
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5 votes
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Did Achilles suspect he might die by Hector's hands?

The duel in Book 22 is not the first time Achilles and Hector met on the battlefield. The story of their earlier encounter is told by Achilles himself, a little earlier in Book 9: [346] "Nay, ...
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5 votes

What does Ulysses Pidytes of Percote mean?

The wording of the translation here has brought about some confusion. There is no character named "Ulysses Pidytes." Rather the sentence is describing the deaths of three men on the Trojan side as ...
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4 votes
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Do gods know all other gods?

Yes, gods can recognise each other because through their eyes, they appear as columns of fire and cloud. Case in point is the birth of Dionysus, as Hera saw through Zeus's mortal disguise while he was ...
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4 votes

Is Homer a good overview, or an encompassing view, of Greek Mythology?

Great question. Homer is definitely the place to start, but fuller understanding requires the Greek dramatists, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, who were commenting on, and extending, Homer. (...
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4 votes

Honor, cunning and realism of underhandedness in the Iliad

Greek authors in the centuries after Homer seem to have a strong preference for honorable fighting over guile. This subject is touched on in a few works that deal with the conflict between Ajax and ...
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  • 675
4 votes

Why does Clytemnestra kill Cassandra?

Aeschylus claims jealousy. CASSANDRA: This two-footed lioness, who mates with a wolf in the absence of the noble lion, will slay me, miserable as I am. Brewing as it were a drug, she vows that with ...
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4 votes
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How does Glaucus know Patroclus killed Sarpedon?

The Greek you presented is the right line, and you're right that it's not clear what is going on. Because the text doesn't actually say, it's anyone's guess why Homer might have had Glaucus name ...
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4 votes

Odysseus raid on the Cicones at Ismaros (Odyssey Book 9 lines 40-66)

It was quite common to sack towns on the trip to, from, and even during the war. (Compare to the medieval Crusaders.) I don't have time to run down specific examples, but there is a discussion here: ...
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4 votes

Was Helen of Troy in Egypt during the war?

Ah, well, Not a exact answer, as this is probably where you got it from, but, here goes! At least three Ancient Greek authors denied that Helen ever went to Troy; instead, they suggested, Helen ...
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4 votes

Why does Hector accept Achilles' challenge?

Pride and shame It is put best in book 12, 90-130: BkXXII:1-89 Priam and Hecabe fail to dissuade Hector | poetryintranslation.com Which shows his own thinking on the issue: [bolding mine] But ...
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  • 504
3 votes
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What is the story of Eurymedon, the giant king who brought destruction on his people?

Two modern scholars, in their analyses of this obscure reference to the character in question, both point out a certain apocryphal connection between Eurymedon and Hera. In his 1993 book Early Greek ...
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3 votes
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How much time is a generation in the odyssey and Iliad?

Since Homer wrote primarily from a male perspective, we can roughly equate a generation with the average age of marriage for males in Ancient Greece, which would be around 30 years. From the female ...
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3 votes

Why was Odysseus needed for killing the suitors in the Odyssey?

According to the legend about this preserved or invented by the ancient poet Homer, recorded in his epic poem 'the Odyssey', these events occurred at a time when the Greeks were illiterate and by our ...
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  • 540
3 votes
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What did Odysseus and his men do to err Athena?

Before the sack of Troy, Diomedes and Odysseus sneak into Troy and steal the Palladium , a wooden statue of Athena, from her temple. A prophecy stated that Troy could not fall as long as the statue ...
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  • 1,594
3 votes

Why does Zielinski's Law exist? Were the poets unable to say "meanwhile"?

You absolutely could say "meanwhile" in ancient Greek. It's not a matter of what words to use, but of the narrative practice of oral poetry. The problem is that Zielinski and some ...
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2 votes

Who came to Troy?

Apollodorus also has a Catalogue of Ships at Troy in the Epitome of the Bibliotheca (E.3.11 ff.) You may also be interested in this paper: A Programmatic Function of the Iliadic Catalogue of Ships
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