The Iliad and Odyssey may be the heavenly twins of Western literature, but they are hardly identical ones.
The Iliad is a war story with a cast of, literally, thousands. The Odyssey is the story of just one of the thousands trying to get home and re-establish himself in it after twenty years away.
The west’s first known astral navigator is as formidable a hero as the Iliad’s version of him but a more complex and interesting man who fascinates the women he meets: Circe, Calypso, Penelope, Nausicaa. Even Athena, daughter of Zeus himself.
Having lost everything, including all he won at Troy, Odysseus manages to arrive home richer than when he started by telling his story along the way. It seems history’s greatest wanderer was also its first literary prize winner.
[The novelist Lawrence Durrell imagined Odysseus washed up on the coast of the Phaeacians "naked as Adam but twice as intelligent.” Samuel Butler, a Victorian translator of the Odyssey, argued that Homer’s epic was actually written by a Sicilian lady.
Interesting or what?]