In my review of The Odyssey, I noted how the Greeks of the Bronze Age are the ones we will remember for all time. They are the ones that composed Jason’s crew on the Argos. They’re the ones that saw Hercules complete his labors, Theseus build Athens, and Bellerophon plummet from the sky like Icarus. Most importantly, however, they are the ones that sacked Troy and attempted to return from the recovery of Helen. Thanks to Homer’s recording of those events in The Illiad and The Odyssey, their stories are recorded.
That’s not to say that The Illiad and The Odyssey are much alike, other than that a few of the same Greek heroes appear in both. Menelaus has survived the return voyage from Trom and prospers, King Agamemnon lies dead, murdered by a deceitful wife, and many of the heroes from The Illiad are in Hades, killed during the war.
But one among them stands out. Ulysses, one of the bravest of their number, has not returned nor has his death been recorded. His wife and son fend off a ravenous band of suitors that eat through his flocks and herds while attempting to woo his wife and planning to kill his son.
And where is Ulysses? Stranded on an island in the Mediterranean, stuck there due to Poseidon’s wrath while Calypso tried to woo him into her bed. But he, an upright man, wants nothing more to return to his wife and so spends his time weeping on the beach.
All this, and much more the reader discovers as the story progresses. One who thumbs the pages of a story that has survived thousands upon thousands of years reads of Ulysses outwitting and defeating the Cyclops, only to be brought down by his own boastfulness. You will read story after story in which great men accomplish great things, only to be struck down by the gods, angry with how mere mortals boast or lack due respect. And, ultimately, Ulysses redeems himself and proves his prowess once again, defeating the vile filth that inhabits his great hall.
But the story has existed for ages. Hopefully, you read it in high school, or at least know about Ulysses and his twenty-year journey from Ithaca to Troy and back again. That’s not the purpose of this review.
Rather, what’s important is to remind each and every man of the immemorial lessons from this brilliant story.
Take a few quotations as examples of the wisdom within:
I doubt not that he too lifts his hands in prayer, for man cannot live without God in the world.
There is nothing that does any one so much credit all his life long as the showing himself a proper man with his hands and feet.
“Telemachus, now that are about to fight in an engagement, which will show every man’s mettle, be sure not to disgrace your ancestors, who were eminent for their strength and courage all the world over.”
There are many other, more beautiful passages. Anyone who has read this fabulous tale can’t help but remember the many times Homer says “rosy-fingered dawn,” just as no one can read The Illiad without remembering the “bronze-clad Greeks.”
But those three passages, more than almost any others exemplify the ancient wisdom within The Odyssey. Yes, it’s a tale of struggle and the desire to return home. But, more than that, it’s about what makes a man a man. Fighting in a way that honors one’s ancestors.
That lesson is one that the timid manlets of modernity would have you forget. “Peace,” whether it be with your enemies abroad or vile creatures at home. How are those pillaging our country from within not as bad, if not worse, than the suitors that eat the sheep of Ulysses? Are those that humiliate us abroad not worse than Paris stealing Helen from Menelaus?
We have grown soft, fat, and comfortable because we forgot what the Greeks were tryng to preserve for us. The spirit of their time, the Bronze Age mindset, it cannot be forgotten. Honor your gods and your ancestors as Achilles, Ajax, and Odysseus did. We must not only remember their deeds but emulate them.
By: Gen Z Conservative.