After reading my last book, Circe by Madeline Miller, I was utterly fascinated by the Greek Gods and stories mentioned in the book… and I realised that I knew very little about Greek mythology.
So I decided to go all hardcore and challenge my brain a bit.
I read The Odyssey by Homer.
I loved it so much, that I read TWO versions of it.
Apparently The Odyssey is the 2nd oldest book in Western literature, written around 750BC.
It’s actually an epic poem, telling the story of a hero name Odysseus trying to get home after the Trojan War, but the Gods kept messing with his journey, which involves bumping into the Cyclops, Calypso, the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens and more.
Obviously it was written in Ancient Greek, so most the editions that have been translated into modern English are in fact VERY READABLE.
Not heavy at all. It’s a fun, adventurous read.
(Gets a bit violent in parts. Gets a bit long winded too.)
One version I read, the story was adapted into a novel form (the teal cloth-bound book in the photo above), so it reads like a story. It was written and translated in 1991 by D. C. H. Rieu. I recommend reading this version if you’re a newbie.
The other version I read, (the dark red book in the photo) retains its original poem form and it’s a lot more lyrical and rhythmic. Some words are kept to Greek spelling such as Circe = Kirkê and Sirens =Seirênês.
But omg it’s absolutely, intoxicatingly beautiful to read as a poem.
That edition was written and translated in 1963 by Robert Fitzgerald.
(In fact, I was so intoxicated by the text, I went to the library to borrow two other versions, as I wanted to read it in a super-modern poem form, but it wasn’t as good and fun to read and I felt that lots of the over-the-top, dramatic Greek spirit was left out. Omg listen to me crap on like this. Do feel sorry for my husband who had to hear me blabber about this every night for the 1 month it took me to read 2.5 editions).
I have now added “The Iliad by Homer” to my reading list, but I think I’ll give my brain a bit of a break haha.
Also… I think I would like to learn how to read a few words of Ancient Greek before I die :)