The Odyssey

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Date: B.C.

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Artist: Homer (c. 850 B.C.)

Confronting Bodies: Plato, Emperor Caligula and the Roman Republic

Dates of Action: 387 B.C.

Location: Greece

Description of Artwork: "The Odyssey": Epic poem in 24 books traditionally. This epic and the "Iliad" are said to have provided the basis of Greek education and culture throughout the classical age. The poem is the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaca, who after 10 years of wanderings (although the action of the poem is in fact the final six weeks) returns home from the Trojan War. He finds himself recognized only by his faithful dog and a nurse. With the help of his son Telemachus he destroys the importunate suitors of his wife Penelope and reestablishes himself in his kingdom.

The Incident: 387 B.C. Greece : Plato suggested expurgating Homer for immature readers. A.D. 35 Rome : Caligula tried to suppress "The Odyssey" because it expressed Greek ideals of freedom - dangerous in autocratic Rome

Results of Incident: Unknown

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.