The importance and influence of Homer’s works to Greek culture and history simply cannot be overstated. He has been labeled the “teacher of Greece” and he was widely lauded in his own day, as he continues to be in our day and age. Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ is a monument of world literature, and it is a vitally important example of Greek mythological writing. It is also fascinating as a kind of political document, a manifesto about war and peace, imperialism, violence, hatred, and so on. Although the Trojan War was an imaginary conflict, its depiction by Homer (in both the ‘Odyssey’ and ‘Iliad’) is vivid and harrowing, and this may be because, depending on when Homer was really writing, the horrors of war might have been all-too-real in a land where civil strife and conflict amongst city-states were common. With this possibility in mind, I want you to think about the ‘Odyssey’ not strictly as a mythological text but as a kind of political document, a creative act that negotiates the day’s crises of power and authority. Hence, I would like for you to explore something related to war and peace as depicted by Homer and articulated through his many character dialogues and speeches. Specifically, I want you to address a particular war-oriented theme – such as violence, hatred, justice, mercy, authority, violence, surrender, and negotiation – and examine that theme as presented in a particular passage from the ‘Odyssey.’ Pick a quotation or two from the text and then discuss it in terms of its political content. In your discussion you should identify the central issue of your chosen lines, and detail the challenges and logic of characters concerning the subject; then, you must offer some thoughts on what YOU think about the topic within the context of the story (if not the culture of Greece more generally). To borrow from one translation of the opening lines of the text: “Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy.” Tell ME, fair students, about the trials and tribulations of this hero, and tell US what you think the text has to say about war and peace in the context of Greek myth (and/or Greek society). I shall be curious to see where the “muse” takes you in this response!