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Homer: Odyssey

4. Gods, Goddesses and Women

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the presentation of the gods in the poem, focusing in particular on the differences between the Odyssey and the Iliad, and the importance of female gods in the Odyssey – both Olympian and otherwise.


In this course, Professor Richard Jenkyns (University of Oxford) explores Homer's Odyssey. We begin by thinking about the nature of the poem, focusing in particular on the nature of oral poetry and the Odyssey's relationship (if any) with the Iliad. After that, we think about the structure of the poem, including the idea that there are two kinds of Odysseus here, before moving on in the third module to consider the kinds of social and moral values that one finds in the poem – from the concept of divine justice to the importance of hospitality. In the fourth module, we think about society of gods and (especially) goddesses in the poem, before moving on in the final module to think about two of the most important characters in the poem after Odysseus himself – Nausicaa and Penelope.


Richard Jenkyns was an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, from 1972 to 1981, Lecturer in Classics, University of Bristol, 1978-81, and from 1981 to 2010 he was a Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall.

He became Professor of the Classical Tradition in 1999 and the University’s Public Orator in 2004. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2007-10.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jenkyns, R. (2018, August 15). Homer: Odyssey - Gods, Goddesses and Women [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jenkyns, R. "Homer: Odyssey – Gods, Goddesses and Women." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,