Some days ago I finished reading Homer’s Odyssey, maybe the most ancient travelogue of all times.
It seems that we Greeks have always been pretty adventurous people. Although at school we used to learn that Odysseus or Ulysses spent 10 years at sea, trying to reach his beautiful home, the island of Ithaca, in fact most of the time he was having a good time in the arms of Calypso, a nymph who was in love with him and wanted to make an immortal of him.
I was impressed by the fact that even Odysseus had a greek mother who made him feel guilty. When, following Circe’s instructions, he went down to Hades, the Underworld, the hero met his dead mother who told him that she had died during his absence because she missed him so much!
One must always bear in mind that Odysseus, the most notorious of all Greek warriors, was in truth a pacifist, as he had objected from the very beginning to this war and had tried to avoid it feigning lunacy.
After having read the Odyssey in modern greek, I’d like to set myself an Herculean task and read it once more in the ancient text. At school we had read a few rhapsodies in the original and I had enjoyed the poetic language with its many immaginative adjectives and metaphors.
As for Iliad, I read many years ago translated into english. Very strange for a Greek, don’t you think? But we Greeks are strange people.