Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Characters of the Odyssey in Ancient Art

Every Ancient Greek knew their names: Odysseus, Penelope, Telemachas, Nestor, Helen, Menelaos, Ajax, Kalypso, Nausicaä, Polyphemos, Ailos… The trials and tribulations of these characters occupied the Greek mind so much that they found their way into ancient art, whether mosaics or ceramics, mirrors or sculpture. From heroic nudity to small visual cues in clothing, we present a brief slideshow of characters that appear in Barry B. Powell’s new free verse translation of The Odyssey.