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Epic Adventures by Ancient Greeks

Homer is the first to describe adventures but the adventures that he describes are not the first in time. The Iliad describes a period late in the Trojan War while the Odyssey describes a period about ten years later. The traditional date of the Trojan war is 1158 BCE. Odysseus would have arrived home about 1138 BCE.

Earlier adventures include the Great Calydonian boar hunt, the other adventures of Theseus, the adventures of Hercules, and the adventures of Jason and the Argonauts. These were in the generation before the Trojan War.

Of the great epics of the time after the age of Heroes, only the Iliad and the Odyssey survive. There was also another early epic which concerned the sons of Oedipus and the siege of Thebes. An Argonaut epic and a Heracles epic can also be glimpsed in traces and later reflections.

The epics covering the Trojan war include:

  • The Cypria — Covered the origins of the war and all events up to the angry withdrawal of Achilles from the war. (now lost)
  • The Iliad — covers a few days at the end of the war.
  • Aethiopis, (now lost)
  • Little Iliad, (now lost)
  • Iliupersis, Sack of Troy, (now lost)
  • Nostoi, The Returns — told of the return voyages of the heroes, except Odysseus (now lost).
  • The Odyssey — tells of the return voyage of Odysseus.
  • Telegony — tells of the later history of Odysseus and formed an eccentric supplement to the Odyssey (now lost

A lost epic Titanomachy attributed to the blind Thracian bard Thamyris, himself a legendary figure, was mentioned in passing in an essay On Music that was once attributed to Plutarch.

Hesiod sought in his Theogony to organize mythological information along geneological lines. This effort was continued by another author in the 6th century BCE in a work called the Catalogue of Women (now lost).

A list of Adventures by their Chronological Order

Ancient Explorers

Hanno – Arrian (c. 92 -c. 175), mentions Hanno at the end of his Anabasis of Alexander VIII (Indica):
“Moreover, Hanno the Libyan started out from Carthage and passed the pillars of Heracles and sailed into the outer Ocean, with Libya on his port side, and he sailed on towards the east, five-and-thirty days all told. But when at last he turned southward, he fell in with every sort of difficulty, want of water, blazing heat, and fiery streams running into the sea”

Pytheas — a Greek navigator from the colony of Massalia (today’s Marseilles) seems to have circumnavigated Britain in the Fourth Century B.C. He also seems to have traveled all over it on foot and had written a detailed account of his travels. Furthermore, Pytheas reported sailing northwest of the British Isles for six days until “an ocean of slush ice and fog so thick one could not sail through” forced him to turn back. During those six days, aided by the west-flowing off shore currents, could he have gone beyond Iceland to the shores of Greenland? The voyage of Pytheas to Thule

SCYLAX — of Caryanda, an ancient Greek explorer who explored the Middle East, including the Indus River, in the 6th century B.C. Scylax’s small expedition sailed from the city of Caspatyrus (in Pactyica) toward the sea and explored for 30 months. Scylax was sent by the Emperor Darius of Persia (now Iran), who wanted the information in order to expand his empire and conquer India.

Colaeus (Greece) ca. 630 BC: Blown out of course on the way to Egypt, discovers the Straits of Gibraltar and trades profitably in Tartessos. Herodotus Click Here

Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greece/Turkey, 484?-420? BC) Describes the Greco-Persian war, also giving extensive descriptions of the various countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. Visits several countries himself, in particular Egypt.

Nearchus (Greece, 360?-312 BC) 325: Leads Alexander the Great’s fleet from the mouth of the Indus back to Persia. Jona Lendering: Nearchus Click here

Xenophon (Greece, 435?-355?) 401-400: Member of a group of Greek soldiers fighting with Cyrus against Artaxerxes II in the battle of Cunaxa. After Cyrus has been defeated, leads the Greeks back to the Black Sea through to them largely unknown area. The Xenophon Homepage Click Here Xenophon: Anabasis Click here (Greek original Click Here)

Hecataeus (ca. 550-490 BC) Geographer and travel writer from Miletus (today’s Turkey). He wrote “Trip around the world” (Periodos Ges), where he described local customs, anecdotes etc. in two volumes, one on Europe and one on Asia. The work has only survived in fragments, and included a map as well. Hecataeus traveled in Egypt, Persia and Scythia. His father was a wealthy land owner and there are indications the family was involved with trade.

Pictures of Adventures


  • Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth, A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Baltimore, 1993, ISBN 0-8018-4410-X (hc)

Questions and Answers

Question: who are Homer, Hesiod and etc?? are they poets? or are they
philosopher? are they their role/ occupation the same to Aristotle? sorry for
asing such a stupid question… but i don’t know where to find the answers for
this… thanks.

Answer: Of Homer there is nothing. In fact the Iliad and the Odyssey
could have even been written by different people over a long period of time.
The fact that there are so many women an geneologies in these works suggests
a theory that Homer was a group of women whose role it was to sing laments.
The best clue to the nature of Homer is given by Homer himself in the Odyssey.
(Odyssey, Book VIII) “Moreover, bid hither the divine minstrel, Demodocus, for
the god hath given minstrelsy to him as to none other, to
make men glad in what way soever his spirit stirs him to
sing….Then the henchman drew near, leading with him the beloved
minstrel, whom the muse loved dearly, and she gave him both
good and evil; of his sight she reft him, but granted him
sweet song. Then Pontonous, the henchman, set for him a
high chair inlaid with silver, in the midst of the guests,
leaning it against the tall pillar, and he hung the loud
lyre on a pin, close above his head, and showed him how to
lay his hands on it. And close by him he placed a basket,
and a fair table, and a goblet of wine by his side, to
drink when his spirit bade him. So they stretched forth
their hands upon the good cheer spread before them. But
after they had put from them the desire of meat and drink,
the Muse stirred the minstrel to sing the songs of famous
men, even that lay whereof the fame had then reached the
wide heaven, namely, the quarrel between Odysseus and
Achilles, son of Peleus; how once on a time they contended
in fierce words at a rich festival of the gods, but
Agamemnon, king of men, was inly glad when the noblest of
the Achaeans fell at variance. For so Phoebus Apollo in his
soothsaying had told him that it must be, in goodly Pytho,
what time he crossed the threshold of stone, to seek to the
oracle. For in those days the first wave of woe was rolling
on Trojans and Danaans through the counsel of great Zeus.”

In this passage Homer seems to be describing himself singing the Iliad.
In those days just after the Trojan war the main entertainment seemed to
be the Minstrels with their tales of heroes. There obviously was a bard
tradition where minstrels told their tales and taught them to new minstrels.
These tales were then passed down by word of mouth from the time of the Trojan
war about 1174 to about 750 BCE when the stories began to be written down.

Of Hesiod much more is known but it is clear that he is part of the
same minstrel tradition. He was called to write poetry by the divine
inspiration of the Muses.

Though Homer and Hesiod are clearly minstrel poets they do not fall outside
of the tradition of plilosophy in ancient Greece. Homer and Hesiod both
made statements which were important to later philosophers. For example
Plato (Theaetetus, 152E) says: “…Homer, who by saying ‘Okeanos begetter of
gods and mother Tethys’ declared all things to be offstring of flux and motion.”
Furthermore, there is in the Greek myth certain peculiarities which turn out
to be important to later philosophers. One of these is the limitation of the
gods to Fate as Homer says (Odyssey, VII): “but thereafter he shall endure such
things as Fate and the stern spinning women drew off the spindles for
him at his birth when his mother bare him.” In another passage Fate is mixed
with right (Odyssey, XVII): “Athene stood by Odysseus, son of Laertes, and moved
him to go gathering morsels of bread among the wooers, and learn
which were righteous and which unjust. Yet not even so was
she fated to redeem one man of them from an evil doom.” These concepts later
allowed Plato to make a rational test of the nature of the gods.

Question: what adventures did parsaphone have?

Question: Click on the Menu Directory below, then click on Persephone.

Question: greek god of Earth

Answer: Gaia is the Earth goddess.

Question: how did the people live like in the of jason of greece

Answer: Jason and the Argonauts were of the Mycenaean culture. Some of
how they lived can be learned from the epic stories The Iliad,
The Odyssey, the works of Hesiod, and Pindar’s odes. But these
works were written down 500 years after the end of the Mycenaen culture.
Archeology has also been helpful. The Mycenaens were a sea-faring people
living in the Bronze age with swords, spears, and bows and arrows as weapons.
They ate a lot of bread, meat, olives, and wine. The men were often nude
and the ladies wore a skirt, girdle and vest which left the breast bare.
They worshipped some of the same gods as the classical Greeks but they
were a lot more bound up in their religion. Towns were built around a
centralized elevated fortress.

Question: all info. on althaea

Answer: Althaea was the daughter of Thestius, wife of Oeneus, mother of
Meleager, Who ultimately killed the Calydonian boar. She cursed Meleager for
killing his brothers who were angry that he gave the boar prize to Atalanta.
She burned the brand on which the life of Meleager depended and hung herself
She is mentioned in Hesiod, Homer, Pausanius, and Apollodorus.

Question: What were women’s roles in the olympics

Answer: Click on the Menu Directory below, then click on Olympics.

Question: who is homer or what is homer?

Answer: All we really know about Homer is that he is given as the author
of two books, The Iliad, and The Odyssey. His portrait, though old, is pure
fantasy, as might be his blindness.

Question: What support and encouragement and guidance can you give to Polyphemus after being tricked by Odysseus?

Answer: Where there is life there is hope.

Question: do you have a picture of a battle ship?>

Answer: Olympias

Question: was wondering if you would be able to show me a picture of an armor that belong to a trojan?

Answer: Both sides in the Trojan war used essentially the same armor. There
is some doubt that bronze was used, as mentioned in the Iliad. The figures
on the Warrior vase from Mycenae are likely the most accurate:

Warrior Vase

Question: Is Laertes a human,god,or supernatural being? And where could i be
able to find more about him, such as if he has a family,etc.

Answer: Laertes, the father of Odysseus, is a mythical mortal. You can
find more about him in the Odyssey.

Question: greek god, who got his liver taken out for giving mortals fire?

Answer: Prometheus

Question: why do you think andromache had a sense of foreboding for hecktors
fate in battle?

Answer: The Trojan war was a battle of heroes and Hector was the number one
hero on the Trojan side. Every Greek wanted to do battle with him. With
each battle there was a chance he would be killed.

Question: How did ancient greeks record and pass down their history?

Answer: Before the classical period there was an oral tradition. Important
facts were noted and versified. Bards presented news verbally as they passed
around the community. When they met differents bards would exchange stories.
The versified stories of the bards formed extremely popular epics which the
ancient greek ancestors never tired of hearing. Because of the talent of the
ancient Greek bards an extremely large body of work was preserved for a very
long time.

When writing was developed the ancient Greeks became very interested in
it. First of all many of the poems of the bards were written down. Then
the Greeks applied their desire for finding the reasons of things to the
events around them. The ancient Greeks, as a result, became the first true
historians. The classical Greeks recorded their history with ink on
papyrus or vellum. Because of the quality of their work and the interest of
the people, these works were copied many times, and so we still have some of

Question: who are some of the ladies from troy?

Answer: Hecuba, Cassandra, Pollyxena, Andromache.

Question: Hi! I need help in finding research on the Wife Of Herakles! Please hurry, google didnt really help, though. And I need at least 4 pages of research!

Answer: One problem is that you may not have identified one person.
Herakles killed his own children and his first wife Megara (daughter of King Kreon), 
Hippolyta might also be a wife.
Hesione another.
How about Omphale?
Iole was Wooed by Herakles and he brought her home as a bride.
It is Deianeira, his wife, who caused his death because he brought home Iole.
Then he got to marry Hebe.