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ClassicsOnline Home » FLYNN, B.: Adventures of Odysseus (The) (Unabridged)
The Adventures of Odysseus is the story of what happened after the Trojan War when Odysseus, the most cunning of all the Greek heroes, left Troy and made his way back to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. It was first told by a poet named Homer nearly three thousand years ago and is retold in this new version especially for younger listeners.
THE ADVENTURES OF
When Paris, Prince of Troy, stole the most beautiful woman
in the world, Helen of Sparta, from her husband, it was an insult that could
not be left unavenged. From all over Greece, warriors in their thousands, and
their tens of thousands, descended on Troy to rescue her. Great heroes and
brave men fell in that bitter struggle, but after ten long years the walls of
Troy still stood, and still the Greeks remained in their great camp on the
plain below the city. Then suddenly the Greeks were gone. In the middle of the
night, without a sound, they launched their ships and left the camp deserted.
All that remained was a huge wooden horse, a gift to the gods from the Greeks.
Victory was theirs at last, thought the Trojans, the war was
they wheeled the horse through the gates of the city to
celebrate. But the wooden horse contained a terrible secret. Under cover of
darkness Greek warriors emerged from their hiding place inside its belly. The
Trojans had no warning of the attack. No time to gather their soldiers together
as more Greek warriors poured into the city. Troy fell to the Greeks in a flash
of flame and a splash of blood.
The Adventures of Odysseus is the story of what happened
after that; how Odysseus, the most cunning of all the Greek heroes, left Troy
and made his way back home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus.
A poet named Homer nearly three thousand years ago first
told it. Homer wandered from town to town in Ancient Greece reciting his poem;
everyone — noblemen, merchants, farmers — would pay to listen to him. The Tale
of Troy, the story of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans and how it
begins comes to us through The Iliad, another poem that Homer would recite, so
called because Ilium was another name for Troy.
Both poems tell of a time before even Homer lived, when
bronze, not iron, was used for weapons. It was a Heroic Age. Gods and mortals
mingled and wonderful deeds were done. Yet the poems are not all fairy story;
there really was a city called Troy.
Odysseus takes a long time to reach home because he angers
Poseidon, the god of the sea. The gods were very real for the people to whom
Homer recited his poems. They were the way the ancient Greeks explained their
world. They believed the gods were always around them. Mostly they were
invisible or disguised, and they constantly interfered in human affairs. The
gods might call up a good wind or a storm or send a mortal to sleep. If
something strange happened a god was probably behind it.
Athene, the goddess of wisdom and courage, was Odysseus’
protectress. Zeus, the thunderer, was the father of the
gods, and the most powerful. He sat enthroned on Mount Olympus from where he
ruled the stormy sky with his thunderbolts. Heroes were the children of a
mortal and a god. Odysseus counted Zeus as one of his ancestors, but he was a
different kind of hero. He was strong and brave like other heroes, but his most
important quality was his cunning. Odysseus was the last of the Greek heroes.
After him, the gods no longer mixed with mortals. When Odysseus arrived home
the age of legends ended and history began.
Notes by Benedict Flynn
Benjamin Soames trained at LAMDA. Since then he has been
active on both stage and screen, appearing in the popular television series
Sharpe and Absolutely Fabulous as well as the television films Heavy Weather
and England, My England. He has toured worldwide in the acclaimed Cheek By Jowl
production of Measure For Measure.
The music on this cassette taken from the NAXOS and MARCO
MAHLER SYMPHONY NO l 8.550522
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Michael Halasz
SCHUMANN SYMPHONY NO 3 8.553082
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice), Antoni Wit
GLAZUNOV STENKA RAZIN 8.553538
Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Konstantin Krimets
KHACHATURIAN GAYANNE SUITES NOS 1-3 8.550800
St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Andre Anichanov
D’INDY ORCHESTRAL WORKS 8.223659
Wurttemberg Philharmonic, Gilles Nopre/Jean-Marc Burfin
BLISS FILM MUSIC 8.223315
Czecho-slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Adriano
DEBUSSY NOCTURNES 8.550262
BRT Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels, Alexander Rahbari
Music Programming by Nicolas Soames
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FLYNN, B.: Adventures of Odysseus (The) (Unabridge...