Odysseus (Greek: Ὀδυσσεύς, Latin version: Ulyssēs or Ulixēs, therefore known as Ulysses in English, too) is the hero of the Odyssey, an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer. Supposedly blind, Homer is said to have put to paper, perhaps through an intermediary, the ancient epic poem, which had been previously passed along only by oral tradition.
Among the Greek kings who fought in the Trojan War, Odysseus is known for his cunning - the famous Trojan Horse was his idea, and Homer often gives him the epithet 'of many wiles'. However, cunning is not his only weapon. In the Odyssey in particular, Odysseus is physically much stronger than an ordinary man, and is the only man strong enough to use the bow with which he fights off Penelope's suitors on his arrival in Ithaca.
In the Odyssey, a companion to the Iliad, Ulysses attempts to return to his island kingdom of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus have stayed waiting for him. Unfortunately, Ulysses has incurred the wrath of the God of the Sea, Neptune, and his ship is buffeted on the seas into various confrontations with mythical monsters including the Cyclops.
John Taylor Gatto - retired school teacher and author of several books on education - called Odysseus, "the Greek hero who spent ten years fighting his way home, spurning wealth, fame, and the promise of immortality to reclaim his family."