One of the most famous seafarers (that is how I can blog about this in a sailing blog) was Odysseus or Ulysses and I have just finished reading Homer’s version of the story (my knowledge of ancient Greek being a bit rusty, I read a translation). It was really great – even though I knew the story and it was occasionally tedious reading, once again, about morning’s child, rosy-fingered dawn. But that is really part of the charm – some well-worn clichés used to ornament – or maybe anchor – a timeless story. And the whole concept of the gods intervening in both magical and petty ways is not exactly what we are used to, but once past the initial jolt, it is just another way of explaining the often inexplicable and unexpected things that happen to us all.
Like all mythology, it is on one level archetypical or symbolic, but the humanity of the characters – even though they speak in a very stilted way compared to our modern dialogues and the protagonists are inevitably described in terms of nobility and of good birth – comes through time and time again and I found myself smiling as I pictured the various protagonists being clever, devious or suspicious.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed it – as a younger man I would have never spent much time with it.