Heroes, horrors, divine interventions, human imperfections, the tug and pull of yearning for home and adventuring away from home combine to give The Odyssey elemental appeal to students of varying ages And the breadth Of this epic poem, the genius of its rhapsode, can best be seen by the timeless interest of students who follow the ‘long-tried, royal’ Ithacan as he struggles from Troy to home
while a student of less than average reading ability can enjoy the basic story, The Odyssey can be appreciated for more than the narrative by a ninth grade class of college level aptitude. And for any class reading a story of twenty-four book, a variety of activities offers diversion and interest.
Should not a student have a nodding acquaintance with the geography of the Mediterranean? For here is the world of Homer, the site of Troy, the island of Ithaca, and the conjectural landfalls of Odysseus and his crew.
Should not a student research the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik and Mycenae? For the Greeks were at war in the ever volatile Near East and at home in the Peloponnesus.
Should not a student examine pictures of artifacts and relate what has been found to what has been read?
For here may be seen gold cups, tripods, and bronze swords inlaid with silver and ivory, the kinds of guest gifts a king might confer upon the stranger at his door.
Should not a student know the hierarchy of Greek gods and goddesses? For here is a civilization that offers libations to the gods, believes in intervention by them, and abides by advice and auguries from the gods. In short, one hopes that his class is temporarily but totally immersed in the period c. 1200-700 B.C., the age of Homeric culture.