Odysseus ( or ; Greek: , Odusseus) or Ulysses ( ; ) was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle.
King of Ithaca, husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus, and son of Laërtes and Anticlea, Odysseus is renowned for his guile and resourcefulness, and is hence known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning (mētis, or "cunning intelligence"). He is most famous for the ten eventful years he took to return home after the ten-year Trojan War and his famous Trojan Horse trick.
Relatively little is known of Odysseus's background other than that his paternal grandfather (or step-grandfather) is Arcesius, son of Cephalus and grandson of Aeolus, whilst his maternal grandfather is the thief Autolycus, son of Hermes and Chione. According to The Odyssey, his father is Laertes and his mother Anticleia, although there was a non-Homeric tradition that Sisyphus was his true father. Odysseus is said to have a younger sister, Ktimene, who went to Same to be married and is mentioned by the swineherd Eumaios, whom she grew up alongside, in Book XV of the Odyssey. Ithaca, an island along the Ionian northwestern coastline of Greece, is one of several islands that would have comprised the realm of Odysseus's family, but the true extent of the Cephallenian realm and the actual identities of the islands named in Homer's works are unknown.
The name has several variants: Olysseus ( ), Oulixeus ( ), Oulixes ( ) and he was known as in Latin or in Roman mythology.
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