The Real Odysseus – AUGUST 2020

A trickster? An adventurer? A philanderer? A wise counsellor with a gift for words and persuasive argument? These are some of the conflicting portrayals of this complex Greek legendary hero. The story of Odysseus was based on a distant memory of the Greek Mycenean Bronze Age, captured, embellished and handed down through the generations within an oral poetry tradition. In writing Finding Ithaka, I was intrigued to discover the real man and the kernels of truth behind the myth. From researching Homer’s epic poems, I discovered Odysseus the man as both the true leader of the Greeks in the Trojan Wars, but also as life’s ultimate survivor. Using intelligence and ingenuity, our hero has a prodigious capacity to overcome whatever circumstances he finds himself in. A surprise discovery in a second-hand bookshop of Ernle Bradford’s Ulysses Found also enabled me to track his likely Odyssey around the Mediterranean. Odysseus may have been an overlord of an obscure Mycenean island kingdom, but somehow his human spirit personifies a timeless hero.

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