The Odyssey blog post

Something about the Odyssey that immediately struck me was the diverse, sophisticated diction of the text. Despite being thousands of years old and having been translated multiple times, I found the Odyssey to be very understandable.The broad vocabulary Homer seems to use makes his story impressively precise and convincing.   The rhythm of its poetic form was also evident, as the text’s language flowed very nicely, never leaving me needing to reread any passages.   Now I’m sure those who did the actual translation of the poem from ancient Greek to English also deserve some credit.  For having learned just a few Greek terms in the lecture today it is clear that it is a fascinatingly different language from our own. Yet there is something very progressive about the language in the ambiguity of some of its words such as ‘xenos’. The term reflects a sense of equality (between classes, in this case) which is also conveyed in the influential presence of women in The Odyssey. For example, much of the story concerns the  likes of Athena, Penelope, and Helen nudging a comparably hopeless Odysseus towards taking certain actions. Perhaps this aspect, as well as the language of the text is what makes The Odyssey so easy for the modern mind to associate with. Going back to the translation of the poem, though,  I enjoyed reading in the introduction the brief history of how the modern printed version came to be. Knowing that the Odyssey has been printed since the renaissance period, I have to assume that, like the old testament, it has morphed over time into what it is now. The seemingly pristine quality of such an ancient text displays the sophistication of the Greek language, but also the malleability of the story Homer tells.

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