The Odyssey (Greek: Ὀδύσσεια or Odússeia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. The poem was probably written near the end of the eighth century BC, somewhere along the Greek-controlled western Turkey seaside, Ionia. The poem is, in part, a sequel to Homer's Iliad and mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses, as he was known in Roman myths) and his long journey home to Ithaca following the fall of Troy.
It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. During this absence, his son Telemachus and wife Penelope must deal with a group of unruly suitors, called Proci, to compete for Penelope's hand in marriage, since most have assumed that Odysseus has died.
The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon and is indeed the second—the Iliad is the first—extant work of Western literature. It continues to be read in Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. The original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos, perhaps a rhapsode, and was intended more to be sung than read. The details of the ancient oral performance, and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars. The Odyssey was written in a regionless poetic dialect of Greek and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most impressive elements of the text are its strikingly modern non-linear plot, and the fact that events are shown to depend as much on the choices made by women and serfs as on the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage.