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Commemorating Odysseus

August 8, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

It may surprise some to learn that Odysseus, the central character of The Odyssey, and a major character in the Iliad, was renowned for a form of lawyering in the ancient world, id est. counsel. It is said that Odysseus appeared to be an average man but exceeded all other men in counsel. When he spoke it was clear that he was the foremost amongst the Greeks and a hero amongst heroes rivaled only by the great Achilles. Indeed, Odysseus is an inspiration for attorneys by demonstrating what can be accomplished with reason, understanding, intrigue, and rhetoric.

The Trojan War

The main heroes of the Trojan War are as follows: Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Diomede, and Adominis (a name that inspired the name for the villain of the new Jurassic Park). Odysseus sailed to Troy with the fewest number of ships, but was one of the most influential Greek Champions and he was eventually awarded the palladium (MVP of the war) for his wisdom and counsel. During the Trojan War, Odysseus masterminded the Trojan horse trick. Greek tradition considers Odysseus the sharpest, most cunning man ever to reign on Greek soil. However, the ancient Romans, who consider themselves descendants of Ilium (Troy,) hold the opinion that Odysseus was a scheming pirate. 

The Journey Home

After the Trojan horse trick the entire culture of Greece and literature changed. People no longer lauded the all-consuming anger of Achilles and his macho, violent war rage. Odysseus served as a marker for mankind’s prime virtues, wisdom, reason, and counsel. This is exemplified by Odysseus’ encounter with the Cyclops who represents pure brawn. Odysseus masterminds a scheme to blind the cyclops and escape under the weather of the Cyclops’s sheep. Odysseus tells the cyclops his name is “no man” so when others come to aid the cries of the Cyclops, the Cyclops’s companions think all is well. For the cyclops tells them that “no man is killing me!”