Read The Great Books

A Curated Guide for Autodidacts


by Homer

The Odyssey is a sequel to the Iliad. The poem focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman myth), king of Ithaca, and his ten-year journey home after the fall of Troy (which concluded the ten year long Trojan War!). The Odyssey is considered an easier (and slightly shorter) read compared to the Iliad.

As with the Iliad, there are numerous translations of the Odyssey out there. There's even a web app to help you figure out which translation you might like. As with the Iliad, for the first time reader, the 1 Robert Fagles translation is very approachable.

As with the Iliad, it's likely you'll miss a lot of the beauty of the Odyssey your first time around and a second read is always going to help you appreciate it more. Two translations are recommended in this regard as there are detailed commentaries that follow them: the 2 Lattimore translation and the 3 Fitzgerald translation, each of which can be combined with the 4 commentary by Peter Jones and the 5 commentary by Ralph Hexter, respectively.