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Odysseus (ōdĭsˈēəs) [key], Lat. Ulysses yōlĭsˈēz, in Greek mythology, son and successor of King Laertes of Ithaca. A leader of Greek forces during the Trojan War, Odysseus was noted (as in the Iliad ) for his cunning strategy and his wise counsel. He is the central figure of the Odyssey, which tells of his adventures after the fall of Troy. In post-Homeric legend, however, he was pictured as a wily, lying, and evil man. He avoided service in the Trojan War by feigning madness—until exposed by Palamedes, whom he later treacherously caused to be executed.

See E. Hamilton, Mythology (1942, repr. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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