"Meanwhile I myself will go to Ithaca to instil more spirit into Odysseus’ son and encourage him to call the long-haired Achaeans to an assembly and speak his mind to that crowd of Suitors who spend their time in the wholesale slaughter of his jostling sheep and his shambling cattle with their twisted horns"
A man playing the lyre, red-figure lekythos, 470–60 BC
Creative Commons AttributionA man playing the lyre, red-figure lekythos, 470–60 BC - Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons
Rambling lines such as this may seem strange at first. However, when read aloud, we can instantly hear the rhythmic quality of this sentence. It sounds almost like a chant, and that is because it is a song. The Odyssey was an oral epic meant to be performed, written in dactylic hexameter in the original Greek.

To hear Stanley Lombardo read a passage from Homer's earlier epic The Iliad in the original Greek, click on this link.

To hear the opening of Virgil's Aeneid read in the original Latin, click on this link. Listen for similarities in feel and rhythm between the two, both of which were written in dactylic hexameter, the same meter as The Odyssey.