Homer created the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey about the Trojan War in the 8th century BCE. The poems were transmitted orally by actors, teachers, and rhapsodes, and performed in festivals to honor Athena. The first known written version of Odysseus’ journey dates to the 10th century BCE. Below is the basic chronology of the events in these poems.
• Odysseus and his men, lost at sea after war, are captured by a cyclops. They escape when Odysseus blinds him.
• Odysseus almost makes it home to Ithaca, where men have been courting his wife Penelope.
• Circe turns Odysseus’ crew into swine.
• Odysseus visits Teiresias, the blind prophet, in the underworld.
• Odysseus’ ship passes the Sirens.
• Zeus kills everyone but Odysseus.
• Odysseus is captured by Calypso.
• On Mount Olympus, there is a council of the gods. Athena bargains with Zeus for Odysseus’ survival.
• Calypso frees Odysseus.
• Poseidon destroys Odysseus’ raft.
• Odysseus tells the Phaeacians his story, and they take him home to Ithaca.
• Odysseus, with his son’s help, disguises himself as a beggar and visits his palace.
• Penelope, overwhelmed by suitors, proposes an archery competition, which Odysseus wins. He reveals himself and kills all the suitors, with Athena’s help.
• Odysseus reclaims his throne, with his wife’s support and Athena’s protection