The Odyssey also deals with the conflict amongst the gods, in particular
Athena who supported Odysseus, and Poseidon who was determined to torment Odysseus and do all in his power to prevent his return home.
Odysseus had already upset Poseidon during the siege of Troy, and this was
further compounded when he blinded Poseidon’s son, the Cyclops Polyphemus.
Poseidon was the son of Kronos and Rhea.
Kronos was the son of Ouranos the sky god and the earth mother Gaia. Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea, the Roman equivalent being Neptune. When Kronos was overthrown, his three sons divided the world between them. Zeus took the sky, Hades the underworld, and Poseidon the sea, although Zeus was the senior of the brothers. Out of the three, Poseidon was regarded as the unruly god, being the source of sudden storms and earthquakes. He married a sea nymph Anphitrite. The sea god had many offspring by other partners, one being Polyphemus whose mother was another sea nymph called Thoosa.
Without Athena, Odysseus would never have returned home to Ithaca.
She was the daughter of Zeus and she was the Greek goddess of war and crafts. She was known for her chastity, and the city that adopted her cult is named after her, Athens. Athena sprang from the head of her father Zeus, fully grown and armed, after he had swallowed the pregnant Metis. She was known to the Romans as Minerva and her symbol was the wise owl. She delighted in walking with the mortals and assumed many disguises.
As well as Odysseus, she helped other mortals such as Jason, Heracles and
Perseus. It was Athena’s influence that persuaded Zeus to instruct Calypso to release Odysseus.