Monday, 3 December 2012

#TwitterFiction Festival: 100 Greek Myths in 100 Tweets (The Full Story 81-100)

The Final 20 - Part 5 of my heroic tweetfest - Philoctetes to Odysseus's Return to Ithaca

Snake strikes Philoctetes! 'Yeuch!' heave heroes as ace archer's wound worsens! Bowman left on Lemnos by callous companions 
Philoctetes, who had inherited Heracles' bow, was a brilliant archer. Unfortunately, on the way to Troy he was bitten by a snake, and the wound festered. It smelt so much that his shipmates left him marooned on the island of Lemnos, where he stayed till summoned later in the war.

Priam's prophecy plot! Trojan king calls horses of Rhesus to sip from Scamander! Spy Odysseus ruins river plan, steals steeds 
The Trojans had a prophecy which said that if the white horses belonging to King Rhesus drank from the nearby River Scamander, then Troy would be safe forever.  Unfortunately for Troy, Odysseus heard of this from a captured spy. He killed King Rhesus and sent the horses far away on a boat, so that they never came near the river and the prophecy remained unfulfilled.

Patroclus in armour swap! Heartbreak for Achilles as Hector butchers best boyfriend! Hero promises 'payback' for Trojan heir 
Achilles let his best friend Patroclus borrow his armour and go to fight, but regretted it terribly when Prince Hector of Troy slew his friend, mistakenly thinking he was Achilles.  He vowed to avenge his friend by killing the Trojan heir to the throne.

Heroes in sword smash ding-dong! Hector dead, dragged round Troy by triumphant Achilles! Sorrowful Priam begs for son's body 
Achilles and Hector fought, battling each other seven times round the city of Troy.  Achilles, having killed Hector, dragged his dead body around the walls, strung behind his war chariot. King Priam, Hector's father, had to beg Achilles to give his son's body back to him for burial - and Achilles made him pay Hector's weight in gold before he surrendered it to the grieving monarch.

Polyxena hatches poison plan! Arrow hits heel bullseye! Achilles' 'agonising death' as hero pierced by Paris's perfect shot!
Achilles had fallen in love with Hector's sister, Polyxena, who hated him for her brother's death.  She lured him into Troy, where Paris shot him in the mortal part of his heel with a poisoned arrow. Achilles died in agony.

Pongy Philoctetes returns! Bowman's bolt slays proud Paris! Love spell lifted, contrite Helen haunted by continuing conflict 
Philoctetes comes to Troy (very unwillingly, after the Greeks had treated him so shabbily) and shoots Paris dead.  This breaks the love spell Aphrodite set on Helen, and she suddenly realises what a terrible price has been paid for her love affair with Paris on both sides of the conflict.

'Luck of Troy' lifted! Odysseus steals sacred statue! Helen hopeful of imminent escape from surrounded city! Trojans tremble 
Disguised as a beggar, Odysseus sneaks into the city and steals the 'Luck of Troy' (a magical statue which protects the Trojans from harm), helped by a contrite Helen, who hopes to escape and go back to her husband Menelaus. When they discover its loss, the Trojans realise that they are doomed.

Fleet retreat! Wooden Horse 'miracle' cry triumphal Trojans! Hidden Greek heroes trigger trap, sack city in deadly dawn raid 
The Greek fleet disappears, leaving behind a giant wooden horse. The Trojans, thinking that the Greeks have gone home, pull the horse into the city and celebrate.  However, many of the Greek heroes (including Odysseus) are secreted inside the horse's belly, and when the Trojans are all asleep, they get out, open the gates, and let in the returned Greek army, which then sacks the city.

Conquered city 'blazing & burnt' ! Menelaus recovers stolen spouse from razed ruins! Penitent Helen hangs head, hugs hubby
Troy is on fire as Menelaus hunts for Helen through the ruins. He kills one of Hector's brothers to get to her, and the forgives her, saying that what happened was the will of the gods, and takes her back as his wife.

Prisoner priestess predicts doom! Cassandra 'gabbles gibberish' claims angry Ajax! Zeus hits hero with terminal thunderbolt 
Cassandra, princess of Troy has been taken captive by the hero Ajax.  She is a prophetess, but has been doomed by Apollo always to tell the truth, but never to be believed.  When she screams at Ajax that he will die by Zeus's hand if he makes her a slave, Ajax takes no notice, telling everyone she is talking nonsense and saying that he doesn't believe in the gods.  Zeus then proves him wrong by striking him with a deadly thunderbolt and killing him.

Odysseus loses luxury-loving crew to Lotus-Eaters! Sleepy sailors say 'sod off!' Crotchety captain lugs laggards aboard again 
The Odyssey begins with a visit to the land of the Lotus-Eaters, where some of Odysseus's crew fall under the spell of the pleasure-loving inhabitants, and fall into a sleep filled with beautiful dreams.  When Odysseus tries to get them to come back to the ship, they refuse, and he has to drag them away forcibly.

Hungry heroes in Polyphemus peril! Monster munches mariners! Odysseus hatches sly sheep scheme! Early escape cons Cyclops 
Odysseus's crew are hungry, and when they see an island with fat sheep grazing on it, they decide to have a feast. Unfortunately the sheep belong to the one-eyed Cyclops, Polyphemus, who traps the sailors in a cave and begins to eat them. Odysseus blinds the Cyclops and he and his men escape tied under the bellies of the sheep.

Circe whips out wand in porcine prank! Odysseus 'encourages' evil enchantress to reshape hoggish heroes! All-round relief 
Circe the Enchantress tempts Odysseus's sailors with a feast, and then turns them into pigs.  Odysseus, helped by Hermes, persuades her to change his men back again, and the sorceress concedes defeat.

Magic mist shrouds ship! 'No sneezing' says sorceress! Odysseus disobeys with triple 'atishoo' after Tartarus ghost trip! 
Circe surrounded Odysseus's ship with an enchanted mist, so that he would be protected from the sight of the gods who were against him.  The only proviso was that no one must sneeze three times in a row, or the spell would be broken.  After Odysseus had made a trip down to Tartarus to find out how long it would be before he got home, he sneezed three times, and was then seen by Zeus, who called on Poseidon to whip up a storm and drive the ship away from Ithaca again.

Wax-eared seamen row rapidly as Odysseus defies deadly Siren singers! Only man ever to escape winged women's wanton wiles! 
No sailor ever escapes the terrible Sirens, beautiful winged women with wonderful voices, who tempt ships onto the rocks.  Odysseus is determined to get past them, so has himself tied to the mast, and his sailors' ears stopped with wax. The plan works, and the angry Sirens go hungry as Odysseus and his ship sail past them safely.

6-headed Scylla swallows screaming sailors! Cruel Charybdis sinks ship in violent vortex! Odysseus 'only overboard escapee'
The terrible monster Scylla lives on top of a narrow sea passage between rocks.  Underneath lives the water sucking creature Charybdis.  When Odysseus's ship sails between the rocks, his sailors are all eaten, and his ship wrecked.  Odysseus himself only just escapes by clinging to a spar, and Zeus eventually takes pity on him and saves him.

Seven year itch hits homesick hero! Calypso's confinement 'irksome', objects upset Odysseus! Forlorn nymph bids fond farewell 
Odysseus is trapped on an island for seven years by the nymph Calypso, who loves him.  Eventually she is ordered by Zeus to let him go, and makes him a beautiful raft to sail away on.

Prim princess 'petrified' after bareass beachbum scare! Nausicaa grants garments to apologetic Odysseus! Hero heads homeward
Shipwrecked yet again by Poseidon, Odysseus ends up naked on a beach in Phaecia.  He is discovered by a shocked Princess Nausicaa, who, on discovering who he is, gives him clothes and a ship to take him home to Ithaca.

'My Hero Dad!' Tender reunion touches Telemachus! Odysseus vows vengeance on villains! Snooty suitors now 'dead men walking' 
Odysseus lands on Ithaca after twenty years away, and heads for the shepherd Eumaeus's hut, where he has a joyful reunion with his now grown-up son, Telemachus. Telemachus explains that, thinking his father is dead, many suitors are after his mother Penelope's hand in marriage, and are drinking, eating and generally behaving very badly in Odysseus's palace.  Odysseus vows to kill them all.

'Bend hubby's big bow!' Penelope deals out diabolical dare! Odysseus slaughters shocked suitors! Epic journey ends joyfully
Odysseus's wife, Penelope has been putting off her suitors for years by saying that she will only marry when she has finished the tapestry which she has been weaving by day and unpicking at night.  When they press her for a final date, she tells them that she will only marry the man who can bend her husband's enormous bow.  None of them can but the 'beggar' in the corner - Odysseus disguised - who then reveals himself and slaughters all the suitors. A happy reunion ensues, and Odysseus's long journey home from Troy is finally over.

Click HERE for Part 1: Myths 1-20 Creation to the Minotaur
Click HERE for Part 2: Myths 21-40 Endymion to Echo and Narcissus
Click HERE for Part 3: Myths 41-60 Artemis to Autolycus
Click HERE for Part 4: Myths 61-80 Death of Heracles to Odysseus's Call-up to the Trojan War

All these stories are told in more detail in my book

which was written for children, but also seems to be the 'ready reference' book of choice for many university Classics students.  It's available HERE

No comments:

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison