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Visual aids: Return From Troy, Episode 3

Below are a series of links and suggested activities for using visual aids to support the teaching of this episode.

  • Odysseus blinds Polyphemus
    Based on an Attic black figure oinochoe (wine jug) attributed to the Theseus painter, c. 510 - 490 BC, Louvre, Paris
    The bearded giant Polyphemus, sitting on the ground and leaning back, drunk, cradles his club in his right arm and holds his knee with his left hand, while Odysseus and his men aim a long sharpened stick at his forehead (with which to blind him).

    Suggested activities
    Have they noticed that the eye is not in the centre as described in our story? This is an opportunity to discuss the variation in tellings of a story and the different ways in which artists interpret them. This Cyclops has a very human form with huge strong muscles.

    Look at other illustrations of Polyphemus to compare.

  • Odysseus escapes under a ram from the cave of Polyphemus
    Based on an Attic black figure stemless cup, c. 530-520 BC, Toledo Museum of Art, Spain
    Odysseus has tied each of his fellow companions underneath the middle of three sheep, roped together, to enable them to get past the blinded Polyphemus who checks the sheep with his hands. As last to go, Odysseus holds tight to the bottom of a large ram — the leader of the herd. This image appears to show Odysseus tied to the ram, although the story suggests he had to hold on with his hands!

  • Odysseus’ voyages
    Odysseus’ long journey from Troy to Ithaca took ten years, seven of which were spent on Calypso’s island and one year on Circe’s island. Although there have been many attempts to relate Odysseus’ travels to the geography of the Mediterranean (and sometimes beyond), there is of course a fundamental problem when linking mythical events and places to the real world — there is no evidence that any of them, other than Troy and Ithaca (the start and end points), ever really existed. Nevertheless, the desire to root Odysseus’ journey in reality is a strong one, and the route shown here, although complete conjecture, may help with picturing Odysseus’ voyages in their heads.

  • Odysseus’ voyages — blank map for personalising
    This map can be used to locate and illustrate stories and journeys of your own choice. You can select information from the previous map. Enlarging it to A3 gives more space. If learners have the opportunity to look at treasure maps and other illustrated maps it will help them to build up their own personalised map.

    >> Back to other teaching resources for this episode