Unveiling the Ancient Greek Notion of Home: A Journey through the Odyssey

by James William
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which excerpt from the odyssey best shows that the ancient greeks greatly valued the idea of home?The timeless epic, “The Odyssey,” penned by the revered ancient Greek poet Homer, delves deep into the fundamental values cherished by the ancient Greeks, prominently highlighting their profound appreciation for the concept of home. In this exploration, we unravel the essence of the Odyssey, seeking the excerpt that best encapsulates the profound Greek reverence for the idea of home.

The Epic Odyssey: A Glimpse into Ancient Greek Values

Nostos: The Homeward Journey

At the heart of the Odyssey lies the epic hero Odysseus, navigating perilous seas and facing mythical creatures to return to his homeland, Ithaca. The Greek term “nostos” encapsulates this sacred homeward journey, underscoring the significance of one’s return to their roots. Odysseus’s relentless pursuit of home mirrors the ancient Greek ethos, emphasizing the enduring importance of familial bonds and a sense of belonging.

The Excerpt in Question

Homer’s Artistry: A Literary Masterpiece

The Odyssey is replete with poetic brilliance, but one particular excerpt resonates profoundly with the theme of home. In Book 5, when Odysseus is held captive by the nymph Calypso on the island of Ogygia, he yearns for his homeland with poignant eloquence. The words, “O nymph with lovely braids, release me! I want to go home,” encapsulate the profound ache for home that echoes through the ages.

Ancient Greek Perception of Home

Oikos: The Sacred Household

To understand the Greeks’ deep-rooted connection to home, one must delve into the concept of “oikos,” representing the sacred household. In ancient Greece, the oikos was not merely a physical dwelling but a symbol of familial unity, societal stability, and a haven of cherished values. The excerpt from the Odyssey resonates because it echoes the universal human yearning for the warmth and security of one’s oikos.

The Symbolism of Ithaca

Ithaca: More than a Geographical Entity

Ithaca, Odysseus’s homeland, transcends its geographical boundaries. It becomes a symbolic representation of aspirations, dreams, and the ultimate destination of life’s journey. The ancient Greeks, in their wisdom, perceived Ithaca not just as a place on the map but as the embodiment of the heart’s longing—a place where the soul finds solace and purpose.

Modern Reverberations: Home in Contemporary Society

Echoes of the Ancient Yearning

The resonance of the ancient Greek appreciation for home reverberates in the contemporary world. In an era marked by constant movement and change, the Odyssey’s message remains timeless. People worldwide still yearn for a place to call home, where they can find comfort, acceptance, and a sense of identity.


In our exploration of the Odyssey, we have unearthed the profound Grecian veneration for home. The chosen excerpt, with its poetic beauty, encapsulates the universal human desire for a place of belonging. As we traverse the epic landscapes painted by Homer, we are reminded that the concept of home is not bound by time but resonates across cultures and generations.

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