Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
Odysseus Today – Roberto Calasso, Madeline Miller, Daniel Mendelsohn
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Since ancient times, Greek myths have exerted their fascination on those who hear them told, see them performed in the theater, or read them in books. They have structured the Western cultural space alongside the Judeo-Christian tradition and Roman civilization. What the ancient Greeks expressed through those narratives influences our family relationships, our engagement with the sacred and with people in general. Think of the myth of Oedipus, narrated countless times, from Sophocles to Freud, or that of Antigone, which crystallizes the conflict between the eternal laws of the gods and the human laws of the city. Every age has rewritten and reinterpreted such myths.

In search of their own identity, people of the Western world have returned time and again to these narratives to discover who they are, to mine new meanings, question their messages, or criticize their legacy, which sometimes seems unbearable and induces us to reject them. Whatever our attitude toward such stories, we cannot help but keep them within the horizon of our focus.

One of the most fascinating characters of Greek mythology is undoubtedly Odysseus. He is not a god or a demigod, capable of feats or intrigues and always destined to triumph. He is not a Zeus always intent on devising an expedient to escape the gaze of his possessive wife, Hera. Neither is he a Hercules or an Achilles, moved to great feats by their divine origin, because of which they almost inevitably achieve success, and glory is written in their destiny. Odysseus is the opposite: human, almost too human.
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