The Odyssey Chats at Ancient Sites

Odyssey Chat Transcripts
Greek and Roman Mythology Pages from Ancient Sites by Tracy Marks

NOTE: Many Community members of "Athens" at Ancient Sites (which folded in 1999) participated in biweekly chats on the classics, including the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. Later, several of us continued with the chats, studying The Metamorphoses by Ovid and other texts related to ancient Greek and Roman history.

Many of these chats have been posted online by Tracy Marks (alias Torrey Philemon from Ancient Sites), although only the first page of each chat is being indexed in search engines and the html on the other chat pages is not being "cleaned up" (links removed from Ancient Sites identity). Each participant maintains his/her own copyright; this material may not be reproduced.


12:37 diopan Nestor enters...
12:51 Theseus dArtistides enters...
12:54 Petra Stuyvesant enters...
12:55THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Hi Petra and diopan!
12:56 PETRA STUYVESANT: Hello! Thank you for posting, couldn't tell if my screen was working :^)
12:56 Aurora Inca enters...
12:56THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Actually, I half did that to make sure mine was working.  Hi Aurora!
12:56 AURORA INCA: Hello! I'm glad AS came back in time for us!
12:57 PETRA STUYVESANT: Hello Aurora, Happy Belated Birthday!
12:57 PETRA STUYVESANT: Yes, I was worried yesterday that we would not be able to hold this chat
12:58 AURORA INCA: Thank you Petra, actually early birthday. It's this coming Thurs.
12:58 PETRA STUYVESANT: Well, you know "Iguana" wish you a happy one :^)
12:58THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Ah, there were problems yesterday, too?  I thought it was just this morning.
12:59 Torrey Philemon enters...
12:59 Aurora Inca enters...
12:59 PETRA STUYVESANT: I tried to log on for two hours yesterday afternoon.
12:59 PETRA STUYVESANT: Hello Torrey
12:59 AURORA INCA: That was so cute, Petra. I have to remember that one for my nephew's b-day this week!
12:59 TORREY PHILEMON: Hello all. I thought the site was down. I've been unable to get into A.S. for almost 24 hours.
13:00 AURORA INCA: It went down when I was in the middle of a post yesterday.
13:00 TORREY PHILEMON: Are you all ready to begin?
13:00 PETRA STUYVESANT: It was down Torrey, we should thank the Gods that we are able to chat, perhaps Athene is our muse
13:00THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Torrey's here!  Now we can get down! business!
13:01 AURORA INCA: Well, once again I'm behind in my reading, but I know the story.....
13:02 TORREY PHILEMON: How about everyone introducing themselves, saying what translation they've been reading, and if there's anything in particular they want to discuss.
13:03 AURORA INCA: I'm not sure which translation. I'm redecorating and my book must be buried! But it is a prose translation.
13:03 diopan Nestor enters...
13:03THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Hi!  I've been reading Samuel Butler's translation (because I already had it), and I'm delighted to follow along and see what develops.
13:03 AURORA INCA: (Aurora is very disorganized today, sorry)
13:04 adria Lucretius enters...
13:04 PETRA STUYVESANT: I am a first time Odyssey reader and I have mainly been reading the Fitzgerald translation (and accompanying guide book) with occasional peeks at the TE Lawernce translation which is not poetic but explains things ina more practicle way.
13:04 TORREY PHILEMON: Diopan, we're introducing ourselves, mentioning the translation we're reading, and antyhing we want to discuss.
13:04 AURORA INCA: Petra, I am envious! To be experiencing the Odyssey for the first time!
13:05 PETRA STUYVESANT: I am intersted in the customs of the times that influence the actions of the characters
13:05 TORREY PHILEMON: I'm reading the Fagles translation and really like it. It's great that we have different translations to compare.
13:05THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Actually, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but this is my first time too.
13:05DIOPAN NESTOR: Hi I read the Hebrew translation and the Loeb edition can't remember who the translator is.
13:06 AURORA INCA: (still looking frantically for my book)
13:06 PETRA STUYVESANT: It's hard for me reading something so dense for the first time.  My incliation is to dissect every sentence but I have to force myself to keep going in order to absorb the whole story
13:06 TORREY PHILEMON: Don't panic, Aurora. You don't have to find it now!
13:07THESEUS ARTISTIDES: I've just been reading it as an adventure story, myself.
13:07 TORREY PHILEMON: Petra mentioned one topic. Any other topics anyone wants to address?
13:07 Petronilla Livius enters...
13:08 PETRA STUYVESANT: It is very grusome and gory in parts, lots of adventure!
13:08 DIOPAN NESTOR: I'm mostly interested in the gods function in the story and been searching for the Nymphs and their relations with Odysseus.
13:08 AURORA INCA: I guess I've already ready mentioned that I'm into archetypal interp.
13:08THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Oh, Torrey, you know you have a whole pile of topics there under your hat! *grin*
13:09 TORREY PHILEMON: I just want to find out what interests most of you. I stayed up late last night creating a web page on the meaning of Odysseus and Calypso, so that should be up your alley, diopan.
13:10 TORREY PHILEMON: It's at (look later) because I couldn't upload to A.S. (NOTE:  moved HERE)
13:10 PETRA STUYVESANT: Calypso fascinates me to I know women like her now - they do not have her power as a godess but they seem to have the same motives
13:10 DIOPAN NESTOR: seems like that,I will probably check it out later
13:11THESEUS ARTISTIDES: How would you describe Calypso's motives, Petra?
13:13 PETRA STUYVESANT: Lonliness mostly that causes her to corrupt her powers - try to hold onto a man who obivously loves his wife, family, and home.  If you love someone you would want them to be happy, she obviously has her own happiness at the center of her world.
13:14 PETRA STUYVESANT: Yes, Torrey
13:14 TORREY PHILEMON: If you've been alone a long time as she has, you can be a lot more needy! (I was waiting for your answer, Petra. Our posts crossed!)
13:14THESEUS ARTISTIDES: I agree with you Petra.  She acts in this manner, despite the fact that Odysseus will clearly not be happy with her, and therefore ultimately she will not be happy with him.
13:15THESEUS ARTISTIDES: There ARE a lot of people like that, of both sexes.
13:15 AURORA INCA: And Odysseus was obviously one of the finest men to come her way. She didn't want just anybody, ore she would have kept one of her "pigs"
13:15 PETRA STUYVESANT: Yes I agree, but she was taking advantage of him to fulfill an emptyness in herself
13:15 TORREY PHILEMON: Clinging to someone who doesn't love you...that's a common neurosis.
13:16THESEUS ARTISTIDES: I think that's Circe, Aurora, later in the book.
13:16 AURORA INCA: You're right, sorry.
13:17 AURORA INCA: He does seem to run into that type a lot though, doesn't he?
13:17 PETRA STUYVESANT: I think there are certain parallels between Circe and Calypso 
13:17THESEUS ARTISTIDES: To what degree is Calypso keeping Odysseus, and how much of it is due to his fear of Poseidon's wrath?
13:17 TORREY PHILEMON: You mean Theseus, to what degree is Odysseus choosing to stay?
13:18 PETRA STUYVESANT: I dont think O. knew how to build a raft or other way to get off the island until Calypso informed him about the dry timber.
13:18THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Oh, now we can't get into Circe too much!  I haven't gotten that far!
13:18 AURORA INCA: I can't remember, does he long to return the whole time? Or does it just get stronger just before he is allowed to leave?
13:19 TORREY PHILEMON: I read an interpretation that after years of being supermale and surrounded by men, Odysseus was swallowed by the feminine...part of his own integration.
13:19 PETRA STUYVESANT: As I understand it he weeps every day for his home and that he is somehow bewitched every night to sleep with C.
13:19 PETRA STUYVESANT: That's good Torrey!  I like that.
13:20 TORREY PHILEMON: My impression is that it is in the last year, the 7th year, he weeps a lot and wants to return. Before that, we don't know.
13:20 AURORA INCA: He wouldn't be much fun to have around then, would he?
13:21 TORREY PHILEMON: It sounds to me like a lot of delayed grieving...after losing all his companions, in the war then afterwards....He was finally melting.
13:21THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Is it good?  I don't follow it completely.
13:21 AURORA INCA: I think if he REALLY wanted to leave, he would have. The wily Odysseus could get away from a little ol' nymph if he could outwit the Trojans, a cyclops, etc., except that those WERE all male.
13:22 TORREY PHILEMON: I bet most of us at some point in our lives have been in relationships in which we know we needed to leave but were still hooked and couldn't make the move...
13:23 Caenus Didius enters...
13:24 AURORA INCA: Right, Torrey. The move can't be made until someone is FULLY ready to leave.
13:24THESEUS ARTISTIDES: I certainly have been there.  And I don't get the impression Calypso was exactly hard to live with.
13:25 TORREY PHILEMON: Welcome Caenus...and Petronilla, if you're still there...Feel free to join in. We're talking about O and Calypso now.
13:25 Caenus Didius exits...
13:25 AURORA INCA: I just thought of this: Could his stay with Calypso be kind of like the ritual isolation that some cultures have when one is being initiated into a new role? He is making a big move from warrior back to "family man"
13:25 TORREY PHILEMON: But Odysseus was used to being a man of action. What kind of challenges did he have now? How could he fully be a male when he was under Calypso's thumb?
13:26 TORREY PHILEMON: Nice point, Aurora.
13:26 PETRA STUYVESANT: He might have felt indebted to her for saving him from death.  She felt that the God's were jealous of her relationship with a mortal--didn't see that she did not have the right to hold a man against his will.
13:26DIOPAN NESTOR: In a way he is afraid of C. herself since he says that he won't leave without her permision and practiclly makes her swear  her good will
13:27 TORREY PHILEMON: Right. He finds her devious and manipulative (females aren't portrayed very well, are they?)
13:28THESEUS ARTISTIDES: She is a goddess, doesn't that give her the right to keep a mortal man against his will, all other things being equal, which they weren't?
13:29 TORREY PHILEMON: Odysseus has been using force against others and triumphing. Now he's on the other side.
13:29 DIOPAN NESTOR: No! they could either be under male 'protection' or they are the Circe/Calypso type.
13:30 AURORA INCA: It gives her the power to, I don't think it gives her the right. The gods often do "wrong".
13:30 PETRA STUYVESANT: I think that the word "Manipulative" is a word that starts out with the letters man because a man invented it :^)  I think that women did not have a lot of power in this society, look how Penelope is left without any action taken by the "assemble" of elders.  She has to be manipulative it was her only strength.
13:30THESEUS ARTISTIDES: He certainly can't be much of a man qua man under C's thumb.  I think this is one of the reasons the story is laid out in this manner.  Imagine going through the rest of his adventure and then have him spend seven years on an island...
13:31 TORREY PHILEMON: MANipulative, great! I read somewhere that those with lesser power usually have to rely on indirect means of asserting themselves.
13:31THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Very anticlimatic!
13:31 AURORA INCA: Was Penelope manipulative, or "wily" like her mate?
13:32 PETRA STUYVESANT: You are very clever Torrey *grin*
13:32 TORREY PHILEMON: Do you all like the fact that the story starts near the end? It would seem to me we would understand more the significance of his time with Calypso if we knew about his other adventures first. He was with her for SEVEN YEARS.
13:32 AURORA INCA: I see Penelope as the perfect female complement of Odysseus, unlike the other females he met along his way.
13:33 TORREY PHILEMON: Because she's wily too?
13:33 PETRA STUYVESANT: Yes, Aurora, when men are called these things it's a compliment, women an insult.  I think Penelope was in a difficult situation and was equal to O. in a lot of ways.  If she had failed him during his absence it would have crushed him emotionally I think
13:33THESEUS ARTISTIDES: By right I mean "legal" authority to do so... Which I think in the Greek mentality at the time was on C's side until some stronger god told her otherwise.
13:34 TORREY PHILEMON: Diopan brought up the topic of the gods function in Odysseus. Do you all want to address that?
13:35 PETRA STUYVESANT: I think the story starts at a time of transition for Odysses.  A sort of plateau 7 years where he confirms that his home is the most important thing to him - his focus is made clear.
13:35 TORREY PHILEMON: I mean in the Odyssey.
13:35 PETRA STUYVESANT: Yes, the Gods!
13:36 AURORA INCA: 7 years does seem to be the point when one gets to wanting to make changes. That's when most divorces and breakups happen, except for those that end at the very beginning.
13:36THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Torrey, I think in regard to the plot of the story that it's important to remember that Homer was primarily interested in delving deep into the story of Odysseus, looking for eternal truths or even social commentary.  He was trying to entertain.  In this regard, the structure of The Odyssey is genius!
13:38 AURORA INCA: And his listeners knew the story, so how he told it was the important thing. But the first time I read it, it was hard for me to keep the timeline straight.
13:38THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Oops!  That should read "...Homer was not interested..."
13:39 PETRA STUYVESANT: Also, he starts Odyseus at the 1/2 way point.  From Calypso's island on he really ios going home.  Up to this point he was being delayed/hindered by Posiedon
13:40 TORREY PHILEMON: Actually, I think he really starts in about the last year of his journey, though I don't know how long all his pre-Calpyso adventures took.
13:41 PETRA STUYVESANT: Actually Thesus, I think you might have been right with your typo - I don't think this story would have held up for thousands of years if he hadn't hit on eternal truths
13:42THESEUS ARTISTIDES: I think he did hit on these truths, but it wasn't his primary purpose.
13:43 AURORA INCA: Torrey - we still have the shakes from AS withdrawal, so we hit the wrong keys!
13:44 TORREY PHILEMON: Other topics? The role of the gods, the influence of the customs of the times....?
13:45 PETRA STUYVESANT: sure diopan!  Because it's hard to type and think and post at the same time, especially on such interesting topics as these :^)
13:46 PETRA STUYVESANT: I think it's interesting that Athene choose to disguise her self as motals in order to influence
13:46 PETRA STUYVESANT: Reminds me of the bible quote about entertaining angles unawares
13:47 TORREY PHILEMON: Alexandros Lupos keeps telegramming me. He can't find the chat room. (I think Calypso's held him up!)
13:47 TORREY PHILEMON: Entertaining angles (grin!)
13:47 TORREY PHILEMON: So why do the gods disguise themselves as mortals?
13:48DIOPAN NESTOR: Where do you think the gods had greater influence (I mean between Odyssey and Illiad)?
13:48 PETRA STUYVESANT: I do believe that there are powers in another dimension that assist us.  The ancient Greeks seemed to feel this way too, in modern times there is a resurgence in the belief that angels or Saints or prophets assist us when asked.
13:49THESEUS ARTISTIDES: You got me, on that disguise question.
13:49 AURORA INCA: Because its fun?
13:50THESEUS ARTISTIDES: LOL - Now that I like, Aurora!
13:50 TORREY PHILEMON: Is maybe their power too great? Like if you look at a god face to face, you turn to stone? Or like looking at the sun, you go blind?
13:50 PETRA STUYVESANT: I think it a subtle or softer way for the Gods to assist us, while helpiong us maintain a sense of free will
13:50 AURORA INCA: I know that's kind of a flippant answer, but it seems to me Athene kind of enjoyed it.
13:50 PETRA STUYVESANT: that's good, Aurora, FUN!
13:50 PETRA STUYVESANT: perhaps it was the Gods way to amuse themselves
13:51 TORREY PHILEMON: Nice point, Petra....though I sometimes wonder if the gods really cared about man's free will...
13:51 TORREY PHILEMON: Well, we're all appearing to other mortals in disguise here!
13:51 DIOPAN NESTOR: nice answer Aurora... I think there is the problem of appearing in front of mortals 'as is'. Its there in almost any religion.
13:51THESEUS ARTISTIDES: My son just said, "She's right, we do it because it's fun."
13:51 AURORA INCA: I first read it as a teeneage girl, and it really intrigued me that Athene could pop in and assist her favorite male, unknown to him, and go!
13:52 PETRA STUYVESANT: I don't remember where I read it but I think Athene says she can only assist where man makes the effort.
13:52 TORREY PHILEMON: Was Telemachus making an effort before Athena appeared to him? Or did she wake him up?
13:53 AURORA INCA: I think she was waking him up to his manhood and his manly resposibilities. He acted as a boy before she appeared.
13:54DIOPAN NESTOR: Petra - that sounds too familiar ;-)
13:54 AURORA INCA: And the suitors still treated him as a boy, until she started to advise him.
13:54 PETRONILLA LIVIUS: And did Telemachus respond better to a "man" than he would have to a female , even a godess, since he had been raised by women.
13:54 PETRA STUYVESANT: In my translation Athene says she is going to put *more* courage into the son which leads me to believe he was already contemplating action
13:55 TORREY PHILEMON: Yes, Petronilla, he was needing a male role model or mentor.
13:56 AURORA INCA: Just like the boys us single moms are trying to raise!
13:56 PETRA STUYVESANT: mentor - mentes perhaps the name confirms what you are saying, Torrey
13:57 TORREY PHILEMON: (Folks, are you all members of FB? Alexandros can't get in here. Maybe you have to be a member to see the chat link)
13:57 TORREY PHILEMON: Hey, Petra, that's great. Didn't think of that. Mentes as mentor.
13:57 AURORA INCA: I think that is where we get the word "mentor" from, actually
13:57 PETRA STUYVESANT: I am a member of FB
13:58 AURORA INCA: Torrey, I think you do have to be a member. That's one of the points to a protected board.
13:58THESEUS ARTISTIDES: Member here.  And my translation calls him Mentor!
13:58 AURORA INCA: If you ever go in the main caht, you'll know what I mean.....
13:59 PETRA STUYVESANT: That's very interesting Thesus
13:59 AURORA INCA: Mine also calls him Mentor
13:59 DIOPAN NESTOR: Sorry folks have to go. See you next time (next books). by the way when is it?
14:00 TORREY PHILEMON: Asterix says the next chat is on the 24th which is next Saturday. We'll post the time.
14:01 Asterix Flavius enters...
14:01 TORREY PHILEMON: Though perhaps we could limit it to only books 9-12, since they're so rich...and do 4 chats.
14:01 AURORA INCA: I would like that Torrey
14:01 TORREY PHILEMON: Welcome Asterix.

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