Love, lies, mythology and murder on the seas of ancient Greece.
THE SOURCE, PART VI   by Mike Warren

A disguised Odysseus finds Ithaca to be very different from how he left it.

Part VI

Acting on Athena's advice, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, seeks out his slave Eumaeus. Without recognising his true identity, Eumaeus tells the beggar that he has lost "the best of masters", and offers him food and wine in exchange for his stories. Eumaeus tells Odysseus that his son Telemachus has travelled to Pylos, and that the Suitors have planned to ambush him on his return.

Odysseus concocts another fictitious backstory: he is the illegitimate son of a wealthy Cretan who grew up to be a respected military leader. He fought in the Trojan War and survived, then sailed to Egypt, where his men flew into a frenzy and laid waste to everything they saw. He surrendered to the Egyptian king, and was later taken to Phoenicia, where he was tricked into boarding a ship to be sold into slavery. The ship sank in a storm, and he clung to the wrecked mast for nine days. His story continues, island by island. In each place he has built a good reputation, only to be tricked, abused and stripped of his possessions.

Athena visits Telemachus in Pylos, and warns him of the Suitors' ambush, offering assurance that she will protect him from them. Telemachus narrowly escapes back to Ithaca, and rushes to Eumaeus' house, where the swineherd and the beggar are still talking. Athena commands Odysseus to reveal his true identity to his son. They weep and embrace.

Odysseus returns, in disguise, to his house. The Suitors mock and insult him. Unrecognised, he speaks with Penelope, and tells her that he met Odysseus in Crete. Penelope's servant Eurycleia washes the old beggar's feet, and recognises Odysseus' hunting scar, but Athena intervenes so that Penelope cannot hear what she is trying to say. Eurycleia is sworn to secrecy. Another beggar shouts abuse at Odysseus, and Odysseus is goaded into fighting with him. Odysseus breaks the man's skull with a single blow.

Penelope orders the Suitors to work harder for her affections, and demands that they compete for her in an archery tournament. The disguised Odysseus tells her that before the tournament is over, her husband will return and win it. Odysseus sleeps fitfully in a cloister of the palace, brooding over how he should exact his revenge.

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WHY CANNIBALS?   by Mike Warren

Mike looks into Homer's Odyssey, and digs out more than one uncomfortable question.

RE-INTERPRETED, PART I   by Dylan Spicer

Across a series of articles, Dylan charts other efforts to re-write Homer's great epic. This week, he looks at two kinds of Ulysses.

SIGNAL TO NOISE   by Mike Warren

How does one tell a whole story using only the human voice? Mike takes a famous tall tale and finds meaning in the medium.

WHAT I LEARNED   by Mike Warren

In what he hopes is an affably informal article and not a scruffy, unqualified and overly-personalised rant, Mike shares a first-timer's perspective on recording an audio drama.

MEET THE CAST   by Mike Warren

We've just finished recording Giant Cannibals. After three exhausting days in-studio, I'm delighted to introduce you to our talented and hard-working cast. Expect plenty more to come; in the meantime, you can view their profiles by by following the links. The full list of contributors can also be found in our People section.

DIVINE WINDS   by Dylan Spicer

Dylan explores the balance of coincidence and plausibility in The Odyssey.


Mike asks what a monster really is, and what fictional monsters can tell us about ourselves.

CANNIBAL MYTHS   by Dylan Spicer

Dylan charts the significance of the cannibal taboo in storytelling, and asks how this changes the way we see the Laestrygonians.

SOMETHING TO HIDE   by Mike Warren

So we don't trust Odysseus. But what ugly truth might convince him to spin his stories?

THE SOURCE, PART V   by Mike Warren

After ten years at sea, Odysseus returns to Ithaca.

TELLING THE TRUTH   by Mike Warren

Is our hero's own account reliably narrated, or are we right to lose the plot?

THE SOURCE, PART IV   by Mike Warren

Odysseus' story comes to an end, as he explains his time with witches, monsters and the dead.

THE OLD AND THE NEW   by Mike Warren

Can one of our culture's most venerated texts tolerate being re-imagined so liberally? We think so, and here's why.

THE SOURCE, PART III   by Mike Warren

Odysseus continues to tell his story. After a brush with the Cyclops, Odysseus' homeward journey is thrown violently off course. Giant Cannibals focuses on this section, because we don't think our hero is telling the truth.

THE SOURCE, PART II   by Mike Warren

Shipwrecked on Scheria and exposed for who he really is, Odysseus begins to tell his story. This is the Cyclops bit, by the way.

THE SOURCE, PART I   by Mike Warren

The Odyssey is the second-oldest surviving text in Western literature. Here's a ham-fisted attempt to summarise it in eight easy chunks.