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In the Odyssey, why didn't Penelope simply turn away her suitors?

tl;dr Mob rule. Penelope didn't have a choice. She may have been Queen of Ithaca, but she had little actual power. All men loyal to Odysseus had followed him to Troy, she simply had no way of forcing ...
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17 votes
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Who translated the Iliad or the Odyssey to Latin first?

I have asked this question on the English Wikipedia Reference Desk a few months ago. This answer contains a copy of the answers volunteered there. Livius Andronicus (c. 284 – c. 204 BC) was possibly ...
13 votes

In the Odyssey, why didn't Penelope simply turn away her suitors?

Stalling her suitors for as long as possible was probably her best tactic. If she were to turn them away, or even to make a selection, those rejected could well have turned to violence. More generally ...
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12 votes
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Why did Odysseus pretend to be Helen's suitor if he wanted to win Penelope?

Odysseus was interested in marrying Helen, but he knew he wasn't a favourite amongst the suitors, and had anticipated that Helen would pick Menelaus, if given the choice: And from Ithaca the sacred ...
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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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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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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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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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8 votes
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Did the gods think Poseidōn's vengeance on Odysseus was just excessive, or entirely unfair?

Beware a tendency to cast Homeric gods in the role of arbiters or enforcers of human morality (or Cyclopian morality, if there were such a thing). Plato might wish Homer to go there (and Solon and ...
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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

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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7 votes
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The Odyssey lock scene (Book 21): Translations vs. original Greek?

There's certainly other ways the original text could be translated, it doesn't really force you into an archer analogy: αὐτίκ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἥ γ᾽ ἱμάντα θοῶς ἀπέλυσε κορώνης, ἐν δὲ κληῗδ᾽ ἧκε, θυρέων δ᾽ ...
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7 votes
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Why would Athena fear Poseidon?

As yannis pointed out in the comments, Athena cannot be considered stronger than Poseidon, and you're assuming too much here. Poseidon is one of the most powerful gods, along with his brothers Zeus ...
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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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7 votes
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Did Greeks bow to their gods?

Bowing at the knees in Greek is an act called proskynesis. It wasn't mandatory, but it did occur. It was more often associated with the Persians, as they would perform proskynesis to those nobler than ...
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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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6 votes
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Correct version of the Sirens scene in "The Odyssey"?

There is but only one Odyssey, and I've reproduced below the relevant passages using Butler's accessible translation: (Od. 12.39-54) 'First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come ...
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6 votes
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What is the fight between Odysseus and Achilles?

You must be referring to the passage in book eight, near verse 75. The passage is rendered as follows in Butler’s translation: “The company then laid their hands upon the good things that were before ...
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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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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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5 votes

Is there an Egyptian Old Man of the Sea?

Interesting Question, in the Orphic Hymns there is a following invocation to Proteus: Oh Keeper of the keys to the chambers of the deeps, By whose illustrious power all Nature's laws are clearly ...
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Why did Odysseus not sacrifice poultry?

According to this article by Lee Perry-Gal et al.: The arrival of chickens in Greece likely postdates Homer (around the eighth century B.C.E.), because the Greek poet does not mention this bird, but ...
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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
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How old was Nestor?

Note I am using the translated versions of the Iliad and Odyssey as provided by The Internet Classics Archive. The answer from @Codosaur from my question How much time is a generation in the odyssey ...
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4 votes
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Why is Circe in Aeaea?

Not Alone In the Odyssey, in fact, Kirke [Circe] does not live all by her lonesome on the island of Aiaia [Aeaea]. In Book 10, Odysseus says that Kirke's house is tended to by certain wood-nymphs, ...
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3 votes

Has Odysseus ever used a bow prior to the archery contest in the Odyssey?

In Odyssey 8.215 Odysseus briefly brags about his archery skills to the Phaeacians: For in all things I am no weakling, even in all the contests that are practised among men. Well do I know how to ...
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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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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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3 votes

Is there an Egyptian Old Man of the Sea?

There is no especially close correspondence between Homer's Proteus, as a Halios Geron, "Old Man of the Sea," and any deity in the Ancient Egyptian pantheons. Two Egyptian water deities could be noted ...
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