Odysseus Study Guide Terms

Laertes
Odysseus’ father who left when he was young, but was reunited with Odysseus at the end of the Epic

Teiresias
Blind prophet in Hades who told Odysseus what would happen when he and his men arrived at Thrinacia and warned him not to touch the cattle of the Sun-god

Ithaca
Home of Odysseus and his main motivation throughout the Epic

Troy
Land where the Trojan War took place and the starting point of Odysseus’ journey home

Laestrygonians
Giant cannibals who dropped stones and destroyed 11 out of 12 ships in Odysseus’ fleet while he was journeying towards Aeaea

Hermes
Messenger god who guides Odysseus up the mountain Circe’s castle and gives him an herb, moly, to prevent Circe’s spell from working

Alcinous
King of the Phaeacians who housed and aided Odysseus in exchange for his story

Poseidon
God of the Sea who disliked Odysseus and prolonged his journey home

Circe
Sorcerous goddess who was the lover of Odysseus and turned half of his men into swine; kept him on her island for a year before releasing him

Polyphemus
Cyclops who was tricked and blinded by Odysseus (Nohbdy) after consuming 6 of his 12 best men

Athene
Goddess who watched over and protected Odysseus

Helen
Queen of Troy

Eurymachus
Rival of Telemachus and one of the “Leader Suitors”

Scylla
6-headed, 12-footed, female, grey, monster-like rock creature that barks like a dog and eats anything near it; consumed 6 of Odysseus men

Aeolus
God of the wind who aided Odysseus by giving him the west wind

Elpenor
Drunken man of Odysseus who fell of Circe’s castle and was seen by Odysseus in the Land of the Dead

Swine
The animal Circe turned some of Odysseus’ men into

Cicones
People who were tortured and plundered by Odysseus and his crew; got their revenge by killing half of his crew

Ino
Goddess who gives Odysseus a veil that protects him during a storm

Sirens
Dangerous women who lured sailors to their deaths by singing

Calypso
Sea nymph who held Odysseus for 7 years

Menelaus
King of Troy and host of Telemachus

Homer
Blind author of the Odyssey

Telemachus
Son of Odysseus who aided him in battle against the suitors

Unfaithful Servants
Those who were unfaithful to Odysseus’ family and sided with the suitors after the constant abuse from them

Hades
Land of the Dead were Teiresias was found

Trojan War
War from which Odysseus spends 20 years returning from

Odysseus
Main character in the Odyssey with a character flaw of pride

Argos
Odysseus’ loyal dog who died shortly after seeing Odysseus return from his 20 year journey’

Charybdis
Whirlpool that swallowed everything around it 3 times a day every 8 hours

Helios
Sun-god who owned the cattle on Thrinacia

Antinous
Leader of the suitors who taunted and attacked Odysseus, who was disguised as a beggar, with a stool

Zeus
King god who conflicted with Odysseus and sent a lightning bolt which destroyed his ship and crew

Lotus
Anyone who ate this flower became forgetful and lost their desire for home

Eumaus
Odysseus’ swineherd who took him in when Odysseus was disguised as a beggar

Penelope
Odysseus’ wife who remained faithful and hopeful of Odysseus’ return

Beggar Disguise
Disguise given by Athena to hide Odysseus identity when he returned to Ithaca

Odysseus/Penelope’s Secret
The location of their bedroom; home was built around a tree

Shroud Weaving
How Penelope delayed having to choose a suitor for years

Archery Competition
Decided who Penelope chose as her new husband

Nausicaa
Young daughter of Alcinous who is tall and beautiful as a goddess

Moly
Herb with black roots and a white blossom given to Odysseus by Hermes

Cronus
Father of Zeus

Nestor
King of Pylos; the Gerenian Charioteer visited by Telemachus