Homer’s incredible epic The Odyssey was set in the Bronze Age which burgeoned from the sixteenth to the twelfth century BC. The time setting of The Odyssey is very much relevant to the context time frame of our course, “World Civilizations to 1500”, discussing many aspects of the development of civilizations until the 1500s.
Reading The Odyssey helped me comprehend and illustrate the historical developments such as culture and society of the Greeks that I learnt in class. From the very beginning of the book, it is exemplified that religion is a big part of Greek culture. As we learnt in class, the Greek religion was polytheistic in feature. The book too showed that the Greeks worshipped a variety of Gods such as Zeus, dispenser of lightning and justice, Athena, Goddess of wisdom, Poseidon, God of the sea and much more. The Gods were consulted on different occasions. It is also seen through the book as taught in class that no Greek deity represents the supreme good as they represent aspects of human behavior which is being anthropomorphic in character. “Poseidon got angry and wanted to seek revenge when Odysseus blinded his son.” Besides that, I particularly enjoyed the book as I realized how The Odessey depicted the relationship between the god and mortal mainly because of Athene’s intervention throughout the book.
Next, it is also justified in The Odyssey that the Greeks believe in sacrifice in the form of food as “at a sacrifice to the gods, the thigh bones of the slaughtered victim were wrapped in fat and burned…in honor of the gods.” Liquid offerings, or libations, were also commonly made. This helps me understand the rituals taken into account during this time frame. Sex is always a popular element of ritual, and certainly seems to have been practiced in Greece. Odysseus himself portrayed this as he slept with several nymphs throughout his journey.
“One of the most hospitable cultures was that of the ancient Greeks, exemplified...