Coming Full Circle

October 20, 2015 (9:15–1:14am)- Happy Tuesday!

In book three of the Odyssey, Telemachus and his navy arrive in Pylos just as the sun rises. The Pylians were on the edge of the water sacrificing bulls to Poseidon. There were nine groups of 500 men with nine bulls each…. That is a lot of people… When they got off the ship, Athena led them to the shore. She told Telemachus that he couldn’t be one bit of shy or nervous. She tells him that he is to walk right up to Nestor and see if he’s heard anything about Odysseus; Nestor will not lie. Telemachus is worried because he does not know how to address Nestor and he’s never had to hold long conversations with anyone. Athena reassures him that he will know what to do and the gods will help him otherwise.

When they reached the Pylians, they found Nestor sitting with his sons. When they saw their guests, they grabbed their hands and led them to their seats for dinner. Xenia all day. Nestor’s son Pisistratus asked them to pray to Poseidon because it was in his honor that they were feasting. BUT, will Poseidon bring his grudge against Odysseus to Telemachus. Athena prayed to him first and thought it was appropriate that they offered to her first. Nestor asked who they were and where they had come from. After Athena gave him courage, Telemachus spoke up and said they came from Ithaca and why he has come was a private matter. He wanted to know if there was news about his father. He asked if he knew about the death of his father because no one was certain. Telemachus asks him that he not take pity on him and asks that he tell him the truth — whether he heard something or saw it with his own eyes. Nestor becomes melancholy about the entire journey and says that if he stated all the woes of the Achaeans, Telemachus would leave defeated before he finished the story. He then tells a story about Athena creating a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus.Menelaus thought it would be fit to sail home immediately, while Agamemnon thought offering hecatombs to Athena to soften her anger would be a better fit. The next day, half went with Menalaus and the other half stayed back with Agamemnon. Those who sailed got to Tenedos where they gave offerings to the gods, but Zeus wasn’t having it. There was another quarrel and some of the men sailed back to be with Agamemnon under Odysseus. Nestor and Diomedes went on and later met up with Menelaus to figure out the best course to get home. They asked heaven for a sign and a wind led them onward. Diomedes stopped in Argos and Nestor kept pushing toward Pylos. He returned home without hearing any news of his comrades — except Agamemnon, but who hadn’t heard of his fate. He has also heard that suitors had taken over the house in hopes of marrying Penelope. He hopes that Athena favors Telemachus as must as she did Odysseus. Telmachus said that he expects nothing of the sort and that the gods have not granted such good things upon him.

This is Athena

Athena gets testy and asks Telemachus what he’s talking about. She says she would rather be doing what they’re doing than being in a hurry to get home and being killed. He tells her to calm down and stop talking about it. He knows that his father is dead and the gods already determined his fate. He then asks Nestor what happened to Agamemnon. Nestor tells him the story about how he was killed by his wife and her lover, but Orestes avenged his father by killed both of them. Nestor ends the story by telling Telemachus to never go travelling for a long time while leaving his home inhabited by dangerous people. Awko taco because too late! He encourages him to continue on to Menelaus in Sparta, but to make sure to get back home as soon as he can. He then handed over two of his sons who could guide them to Sparta.

Before they left, Athena said they should drink wine and cut off the tongues of the victims and throw them in the fire as an offering to Poseidon. They did just this and then Nestor came back as they were about to board the ship. He went crazy about them leaving and boarding the ship, acting like he couldn’t afford to house them for the night. Xenia is now two for two. Athena says that Telemachus will follow but she is to go to the men and keep them in good spirits. She is the only one older than them and must be a leader. She also asks that Nestor provide Telemachus with his best and fleetest horses. She turned into an eagle and flew away. Great. Good job, Athena. Very subtle. They were shocked and they all prayed to Athena. Nestor realized that all the men were in their respective rooms and put Telemachus in the room with Pisistratus. The nest day, Nestor tells his sons to go out onto the plain and fetch him a cow. He also tells them to go to the ships and tells the men that they will join them for dinner, except for two who will be left to guard the ships. After eating, Telemachus and Pisistratus got into the chariot and took off toward Sparta.

In book four, the sun begins to set and Telemachus and Pisistratus make it to Sparta. They went straight to his house and found him feasting to honor the wedding of his son. His daughter was also wedded to the Neoptolemus, Achilles’ son. Menelaus’ son was born from a woman who had been taken, after Helen had not been able to conceive any children after their daughter Hermione. Eteoneus, a servant of Menelaus, saw Telemachus and Pisistratus at the gate and ran to Menelaus to tell him that there were two men who had to be the sons of Zeus we there. Menelaus got mad and told him he’s never been a fool and that sending them away was never a good idea. Xenia fail. Servants came and washed the two men and anointed them with oil. They were dressed in wool cloaks and shirts and seated next to Menelaus. Telemachus is is awe of the home of Menelaus and compares it to Zeus’ palace. He tells him that his parents must have told him about everything, for he only had a third of his riches — the rest was taken by Paris and Helen. He then went on to talk about Odysseus and how he left Penelope and Telemachus behind. Telemachus began to have tears in his eyes at the mention of his father. While in Egypt, Polybus and his wife, Alcandra, had given Menelaus gifts. Helen descended the stairs and guessed that Telemachus was the son of Odysseus because they looked alike. Menelaus agreed and Pisistratus had to open his mouth -_-. He said that Telemachus was too ashamed to be in the house and that his father, Nestor, asked him to accompany him on the journey. Menelaus then offered his condolences and he, Telemachus, and Helen all began to cry. Pisistratus then began to cry and asked Menelaus about his brother, Antilochus. Menelaus says that they shall talk the next morning. Before feasting, Helen drugged the wine with something that erases all care, sorrow, and ill humor. Whoever sipped the wine would not be able to cry for an entire day — no matter what. She told the maids to serve the drinks and she began to tell a story of Odysseus. In this tale, she said that he covered himself in wounds and dressed himself as a beggar and entered the gates of Troy. She bathed and anointed him and promised him that she would not reveal him. He killed many people and got a lot of information before making it back to the Achaean camp. She was happy because she was ready to go back home. After telling tales, she told the maids to go and get the beds ready to sleep.

The next day, Menelaus asked if Telemachus had come to Sparta for a public or private reason. Telemachus let him know that he had come in order to find out any information Menelaus had on his father. He tells him about the suitors and how he is being run out of his home. Menelaus was shocked and annoyed that the suitors had the nerve to do such things. He then tells Telemachus that he will tell him everything he knows from “the old man of the sea.” He tells him that he was stuck in Egypt trying to get home. He asked Idothea what gods were preventing him from getting home She said that if he got a hold of her father, he would tell Menelaus the route to get home. She told him to get his three best men and she will tell him all the tricks her father would play. First, he would counts his seals and go to sleep among them. She says that when he falls asleep, Menelaus must seize him with all his strength. He will transform to many earthly animals as well as fire and water, but Menelaus must continue to hold on.

Uhhhh, okay? He must hold him until he begins to talk and turn back into what he was when Menelaus saw him sleeping. When he does, Menelaus must let him go. Menelaus recalls taking his three men and hiding into four holes and covering themselves in sealskin. When the old ma laid down to sleep, Menelaus attacked and help on while he turned into a lion, a dragon, a leopard, a wild boar, running water, and then a tree. The old man asked who it was that sent Menelaus and Menelaus said he already knew. Menelaus asked which god was hindering him from returning home and he found out that he has to offer sacrifices to Zeus and the gods will let him finish his journey. Menelaus then asked what happened to the other Achaeans.Ajax was wrecked when Poseidon sent him into some rocks. He started feeling himself and said the gods couldn’t drown him even though they tried. Poseidon got mad, threw his tritan and split the rock Ajax was sitting on. He drowned. He then tells him about the story of Agamemnon. Lastly, he told him that Odysseus was being held captive by Calypso. He tells Menelaus that he shall be taken to the Eleysian plain where life is good; this will happen because he is Zeus’ son-in-law. When he finishes the story, he tells Telemachus to stay ten to twelve more days, then he will send him on his way. He says he will give Telemachus a chariot with three horses, and a chalice so Telemachus will think of him when he gives drink offerings to the gods. Telemachus asks him not to beg him to stay for his crew is already impatient. Menelaus grabs his hand and tells him that he can tell that Telemachus came from a good family.

In Ithaca, the suitors were throwing discs and spears and Antinous and Eurymachus learn that Telemachus has left the house. Two of the suitors asked if they knew when Telemachus planned on returning. They asked when he left, who he took with them, and what ships he took. Noemin said that he lent him the ship and Mentor, or a god in the form of Mentor, led as captain. They got mad and called everyone into assembly. Antinous annoyed my life and told the men to get him a ship with twenty men and he will wait for Telemachus between Ithaca and Same. He says Telemachus will regret going out to search for news of his father. Now, how does that make sense? Swerve.

Penelope asked Medon what all the noise was about and she thought that the suitors were angry that they were angry with Odysseus. Medon tells her that they are planning to kill Telemachus when he returns home from getting news about his father. She is shocked and tears begin to well in her eyes as she wonders why her son left her. She dropped to the floor and began to cry. The maids gathered around her and they began to cry too. She, then, becomes angry with them for not telling her that her son left, even though they probably knew he was setting off. She tells them to send Dolius, a wedding gift and gardener, to Laertes in hopes of gaining sympathy. Euryclea spoke up and tells Penelope that she can decide to kill her or let her live, for it was her who knew that Telemachus was taking off. She informs Penelope that Telemachus didn’t want her to know until ten to twelve days after his departure and he didn’t wat her to ruin her beauty by crying. Next, she says to get her maids and go pray to Athena and to not bother Laertes. The suitors told each other to remain hushed and Atinous grabbed his twenty men and went to his ship. Meanwhile, Penelope lay grieving (not eating or drinking) and was likened to a lioness trapped by hunters. She continued to think about Telemachus until she fell asleep. Athena sends a vision in the form of Penelope’s sister and tells Penelope that Telemachus has done no wrong to the gods and he will be returned to her. Penelope is still doubtful and the vision tells her that Athena is with Telemachus. Penelope asked the vision to tell her if Odysseus was alive or dead and the vision denied an answer.

Question 1: I believe that Menelaus and Helen do love each other, but not as they once did. It’s clear to see that there is some strain within their relationship and they’re not really sure what to do. It’s like those exes who stay friends for the sake of their children or because they don’t want to lose their friendship. I think once you love someone, the love will always be there, it just may shift to another state of love.

In book five, the gods are gathered in council and Athena tells them how much Odysseus is suffering. Zeus comes back with a counterargument by saying that it was her idea to send Telemachus out in search of new of his father and she is capable of protecting Telemachus from the suitors. He then tells Hermes that he is to go down and tell Calypso to let Odysseus go. He is to journey to Scheria (land of the Phaecians) for twenty days. They will honor him as a god and they will give him a ship to go back home. They will also give him gold and bronze. The imagery of Calypso’s cave was beautiful. Calypso recognized Hermes as soon as she saw him. Odysseus was not in the cave, for he was sitting on the shore staring out to the ocean. She tells Hermes to come inside, sit down, and tell her why he has come to her. Xenia. He explains to her that Zeus sent him to tell her to let Odysseus go at once. Odysseus is not to die on the island, but is to return home to his friends and family. Calypso was outraged and said that the gods ought to be ashamed of themselves. The gods had no problem when other gods were in the same situation. She said that she found a poor man shipwrecked and basically fell in love with him. She realizes that she cannot disobey Zeus and she says that she cannot send him back herself because she has not ships.

She went to look for Odysseus and saw him weeping and dying of homesickness. She tells him that she is sending him away, for he shall not stay on the island any longer. She will give him bread, wine, and water on the raft and send him fair winds. Odysseus is caught of guard and asked what prompted her to send him off. Calypso assures him that she means him no harm. When they finish eating, she warns Odysseus that his journey will not be a smooth one. THEN, oh, but then, she basically says he can choose to stay with her because the beauty of a mortal woman cannot add up to that of an immortal. Oh, okay. Odysseus says or nah and says that he really wants to go home. The next day, Calypso gave Odysseus a bronze ax and a sharp adze (an ax with an arched blade). He cut down twenty trees to make the raft. took him four days to complete the task. She set him off with goatskin filled with wine, water, bread, and meat. She gave him a fair, warm wind. As he sailed off, Odysseus never closed his eyes, for they were fixed on the horizon. On the eighteenth day, he saw the mountains near the Phaeecian coast. Poseidon saw him on the way from Ethiopia and got mad. He gathered the clouds, grabbed his tritan, and stirred up all the winds. Odysseus becomes afraid and wonders what is to come of this. A wave came up and knocked him off the raft. He went under water and found it hard to get back to the surface because the clothes Calypso gave him weighed him down. He never lost sight of his raft and he climbed back on to it. Ino saw him and flew down to him. She asked why Poseidon was so angry with him and reassures him that Poseidon will not kill him. She tells him to take off his clothes, abandon the raft, and swim to shore. She give him her veil and says that as long as he wears it, no harm will come to him. When he gets to land, he is to take the veil off and throw it as far back into the ocean that he can. Lawd have mercy. Odysseus thinks that she is a god who is trying to ruin him. Trust issues. He decides that he will stay on the raft until the sea breaks it up, THEN he will swim to shore. Just in time, Poseidon sends a wave that, indeed, breaks up his raft. Athena saw him struggling and helped him out. He stayed on the water for two days and two nights. On the third day, the wind stopped and everything was calm. He swam with all of his might but got discouraged when he heard how deathly the waves sounded as they crashed against the rocks on the shore. A wave picked him up and threw him toward the rocks and he would’ve died if Athena didn’t intervene and show him what to do. He grabbed the rocks with both ands and hung on until the wave retreated. However, it kept coming back. He prayed one last time and everything went calm again. He was able to get to the shore and he kissed it as he arrived. He went into the woods and found two shoots of olive that would protect him from all elements. Under this, he made a bed of dead leaves and covered himself. Athena cast sleep upon him and rid him of all memories of his sorrow.

Question 2:

Odysseus is more than ready to go home. He almost died from homesickness. He cried every day for seven years. I can’t even cry for more that 2 hours so… He had a lot of tears. He had good reason. He was ready to return to his wife and to his son. Going home was the only thing he could think about since he left Troy, but the odds were against him the whole time. He doubted that he was going to make it home, but once the obstacles were out of the way, he did everything he could to make sure he got to the next stop.

October 20, 2015 (2:15–3:30pm)- Today in class, we learned that th first four books are known as a Telemachia, or the story of Telemachus. It’s like Telemachus own mini-epic. Then, we discussed Menelaus’ nostos. On his journey home, he fights with Agamemnon about whether to stay at home or to go home. When he ends up in Egypt, a woman tells him what he should do to get the old man of the sea to tell him what gods are angry with him and how to get home. The old man’s name is Proteus. From his name, we get the word “protean” which means shape-shifting. Menelaus must hide under sealskin in order to attack Proteus.

We, also, discussed different moments of Odysseus’ kleos. Mostly, we discussed the incident with the Cyclops. He told the Cyclops that his name was “Outis” or ‘Nobody.” Outis is a play on his own name. When he departs, he tells the Cyclops his real name to receive his glory and that’s how the Cyclops was able to ask Poseidon to curse him. Next, we talkd about marital relations; mostly about Helen and Menelaus. We talked abotut how their relationship feels more like a partnership than a relationship since they’ve been back from Troy. Helen drugged the wine so that no one would feel sorrow for a whole day; this is called a “nepenthe.” They also had to different versions of a story of how they helped Odysseus. Helen said she helped Odyssesu by not giving up his identity and she claimed that she only wanted to go home to her country, her daughter, and her husband. On the other hand, Menelaus recalled that she almost got them killed because she wanted to be petty. Lastly, we learned that “sophrosune” means self-restrain and “epimeleia” means attentiveness.

October 21, 2015 (5:30–7:39pm/October 22, 2015 12:30–1:28am)- Today,we had a chance to get extra credit by watching Clash of the Titans. It sounded cool so Ashlei and I went and I don’t regret it. It was great.

In book six, while Odysseus is sleeping, Athena goes down to the city of the Phaeacians to the home of King Alcinous. She went directly to the room where the beautiful Nausicaa, King Alcinous’ daughter, was sleeping. She was accompanied by two sleeping servants. Athena transformed herself into her friend, Dymas’ daughter, and went to the bed. She comes for her life and asks her why her room was a mess and called her lazy. She tells her that wehn she gets up, she is to go to the river and wash her clothes so that she will be more appealing. She that someone is about to put a ring on it. Nausicaa woke up the next morning and wanted to tell her parents about her dream. She gathered all the clothes and took them to the river. When they finished, Athena wondered how she would wake Odysseus to see Nausicaa. First of all…. What about Penelope???

Odysseus woke up and wondered what type of people the Phaeacians were. He walked down, naked, and saw the women. When Nausicaa saw him, she did not cower for Athena put courage into her heart. He asks her if she is a goddess or a mortal woman, for her body and face reminded him of that of Artemis. He asks for her help and says that he hopes heaven will grant her with all the things she desires. She responds by telling him that he may want for nothing while he is there and tells him who they are as a people. She tells the maids to give him food and water and to wash him in a stream away from the wind. When they leave, Odysseus asks them to step away from him because he is ashamed of stripping in from of good-looking women. ELOHEL! When he finshed washin away the brine, Athena made him look taller and stronger than he had before. Nausicaa begins to fall in love with him. Girl, bye. She tells him to follow closely behind the wagon with the maids and she will lead the way. She explains that the Phaeacians knew nothing about bows and arrows, for they were a seafaring people.

This is Nausicaa

I’m laughing so hard! She tells Odysseus that the Phaecians might speak ill-natured things towards them and ask “who is this fine-looking stranger.” She is hinting so hard. She tells him the way to get to the house of king and queen; the queen wll be sitting by the fire spinning purple wool. He is to ignore her father and go up to her mother and place his hands upon her knees. If he wins her over, he will be on track to getting back home. Odysseus prays to Athena and asks that he could make friends upon the Phaecians. Athena heard his prayers but did not show up in fear of her uncle Poseidon, for he was still angry at Odysseus.

Question 1: Nausicaa likes Odysseus from afar. She didn’t see him and want to kidnap him like Calyspo did. She didn’t even have feelings for him until she saw him a second time. She also didn’t throw herself at him. I think she knows that there is a Penlope, even though she doesn’t know who Penelope is. I think there is a hope, but she isn’t going to put all her eggs in one basket.

Question 2: The Phaeacians are not heroic in the same sense as the Achaeans and the Trojans. They do not know how to use weapons like the other warriors, for they are only seafaring people. They undrstand how to navigate the sea, which, I think, is an advantage. King Alcinous is a good man, for he is a happy ruler and the Phaeacians like him.

October 22, 2015 (2:10–3:30pm)- Today in class, we had one of those classes I enjoy the most in college. You know, those classes where the professor gives you life lessons that you just can’t help but relate to.

First, we had a quiz. Do I think I did well? Not really, but I’ve learned my lesson. After the quiz, we talked about Telemachus’ refusal of Menelaus’ horses and chariot. His refusal showed how he was raised and it pleased Menelaus. Next, we learned that a “phren” is an organ that hosts morality — the ability to ponder what is right and what is wrong. We also learned that another name for Hermes is Argeiphontes. This was a question on the test and I did not feel bad that I didn’t know it because I wasn’t the only one.

We learned that “metis” means resourceful intelligence. Basically, it means being able to think quickly on one’s feet to get out of a tough situation. Odysseus has to do this multiple times on his journey home. Lastly, we learned that “psychopompos” means escorter of souls. This sounds really creepy and I always think of a bony creature in a sheer grey robe walking towards the darkness. Weird right? I know.

Now to the good stuff! Dr. Sandridge gave us a great life lesson that started with our journey at Howard. He said that we are “excellent sheep” being molded here at Howard to go out into the world and be great. The next big thing we discussed was collection. We talked about the different characteristics people have that collect things as a hobby or by habit. Some of those characteristics include acquisition, making room for the items, having focus, making time and finacnial commitments — this also includes searching for the items and doing research on the items — displaying/showing off the collection, having an interest in the items and preserving them, having patience, and finding a way to stop eventually. Here comes the mind blowing moment. Dr. Sandridge tied it into finding a field of study…..

Many people come into college thinking they know what they want to in their future, but once the classes take off, they don’t have a care in the world. This hit home for me because I was a psychology major when I came to Howard. Before I got here, I just knew I wanted to be a biology major so I could go into neuroscience (I’m obviously fascinated by the brain). Nope. I knew what I wanted to do as soon as I filled out that application. Psychology. It’s perfect for me. I changed my major to sport management because I want to help athletes with severe head trauma. Sport management major, psychology minor. Sport management opens up the field to any sport I want to work with and psychology gives me a direct path to what I want to do with it. I plan to go to graduate school for psychology so I will be able to start my own practice. I’m excited about my future because a lot of people judge me or think what I tell them I plan to do is weird or unattainable. I’m going to make a difference and I can feel it already. Other people, however, might not be so lucky. Those people have always had a set plan or are afraid that what they really want to do isn’t going to make them any money. Money-oriented people actually annoy my soul because people who make the most money are usually the most miserable. Why do something you don’t really want to do just to make a ton of money? It doesn’t make sense. I will be completely content following my passion while also making a comfotable living.

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