The Badass of the Week.


Odysseus was a powerful warrior king in Ancient Greek history who played a central role in the Homeric epics The Iliad and The Odyssey.  The son of the Argonaut Laertes, Odysseus married the beautiful, eloquent and intelligent Penelope and together they ruled the tiny Greek island of Ithaca.  But his legacy would be far more than just that of a respected king and noble ruler.  He would be forever known as one of the greatest and most famous epic heroes in the history of mankind.

Odysseus' adventure began when some bad shit started to go down with his homedog King Menelaus of Sparta.  You see, one night some punk guy named Paris broke into Menelaus' home and abducted his wife, the incomparably beautiful Helen, and brought her back to the heavily fortified city of Troy in Asia Minor.  Well, if you know anything about Spartans, you know that the motherfucking King of Sparta isn't the sort of guy who's going to sit around and let some chump make off with his woman.  This offense meant war.

Menelaus put together the largest invasion fleet the world had ever seen in preparation for his assault on the towering spires of Troy.  Odysseus was highly regarded by Menelaus for his cunning and his ability as a military tactician, and was asked to join the effort.  Though he was reluctant at first, Odysseus finally agreed.  He then played a pivotal role in the recruitment of the great Achilles, a virtually invincible warrior who would be the most powerful and feared man in the oncoming war.

The Trojan War:

The Resourceful Odysseus, as he was come to be known, was the trusted advisor and chief lieutenant of Kings Menelaus and Agamemnon throughout the course of the war.  He would fight at the forefront of battle, restore order to the camp when necessary, and his speeches strengthened the resolve of the Greek soldiers to continue their struggle against the Trojans.  When Achilles fell in battle, it was Odysseus who fought his way through the hordes of enemy soldiers and retrieved his body.  At the funeral games following Achilles' burial, Odysseus defeated Ajax the Greater in a wrestling match to win the title "Bravest of the Greeks".

Odysseus' greatest contribution to the war effort however, was when he devised the strategy that ultimately led to victory.  It was The Wily Odysseus who came up with the idea to build the Trojan Horse, and it was he who led the force that so famously infiltrated the walls of Troy inside a giant structure the Trojans believed was simply an offering to the Gods.

"Maybe if we built a large wooden badger..."

The Destruction of Troy:

When night settled, Odysseus and his men came pouring out of the Trojan Horse and started kicking Trojan asses like Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl.  They killed the guards and opened the gates of the city to the rest of the Greek army, who then proceeded to set fire to everything they could get their hands on.  After ten years of bitter war, the Greeks finally destroyed their hated enemies.  Men and boys are slaughtered in their beds.  Trojan women are captured and taken away as slaves.  The wrath of the Greek army was terrible.

While releasing pent-up aggression via wholesale slaughter of civilian and military populations might have been therapeutic for the Greek warriors, the Gods of Honorable Combat tend to frown upon such wanton destruction, particularly when it comes to Odysseus' orders to kill the heirs of King Priam of Troy while they slept.  For his crimes, the Gods decreed that Odysseus would not return home to his native Ithaca for another ten years.  So as Odysseus left the smoldering ruins of the City of Troy behind and boarded his black-hulled ships with his loyal companions, he had no idea that his adventure was really only beginning.


So the Greeks set sail, eventually coming upon the small seaside city of Kikonia.  Being the warlike people they were, the Greeks did what any Viking worth his salt would do:  They sacked the city, made off with whatever plunder they could carry, and killed some people.  Well this pissed the Kikonians off slightly, so they went and got some of their allies to come help out.  While Odysseus and his men were sitting on the beach roasting Grade A Kikonian beef over a raging bonfire, these reinforcements showed up and started kicking Greek asses.  Odysseus and his men retreated to their ships and shoved off.

The Lotus-Eaters:

Next they arrived at an island where the natives spent all day eating the crazy-ass Lotus Plant, which was like the best food in the entire planet (think of the best Beef Jerky you've ever eaten and times it by a billion).  Some of Odysseus' men tasted the Lotus and were like, "fuck going home man, I'm just going to get stoned, eat Lotus, and watch TV Land reruns with these Lotus-Eaters all day".  Finally, Odysseus was like, "come on douchebags, I want to get home", and they left.


The next island Odysseus and his men landed on was the home of Polyphemus the Dickhead Cyclops.  Polyphemus was like thirty feet tall, and as soon as he saw these Greeks land on his shores he captured the entire crew and locked them in his cave by sealing the entrance with a rock the size of Odysseus' left nut.  As if that wasn't bad enough, every night he showed up and ate two of Odysseus' dudes.  After a couple nights of this, Odysseus had enough.  He mixed up a huge ass bowl of super potent 151 proof wine and after Polyphemos finished munching two soldiers Odysseus was like, "hey dude why don't you wash down my delicious crew members with a huge keg of Ouzo?"  So Polyphemos got wasted, sang karaoke for about two hours and then passed out.

Then, in one of the worst drunk shaming incidents in the history of the world, Odysseus and his men took this giant-ass tree stump, whittled the end of it down to a point, held it over the fire for about an hour and then jammed this giant fucking spear into Polyphemos' eye.  Shit, it took like four guys just to lift the thing, and they rammed it straight into the Cyclops' only ocular cavity like a vengeful optometrist.

Polyphemos:  Augh!!!  Dude, what the hell!?!?!

Obviously, Polyphemos was pretty pissed about this, but since he couldn't see shit there really wasn't a whole lot he could do.  Odysseus and his men made a run for their ships while the Cyclops tried to get this giant flaming toothpick out of his fucking eye.  Finally, the crew reached their ships (stealing like two dozen of Polyphemos' sheep in the process) and set sail once again.  As they pulled away Odysseus, like any true badass, decided to start talking smack and yelled a bunch of degrading insults at the blinded monster.  Polyphemos got pissed of course, and hurleds a giant boulder at the ship, but he's got less control than LaTroy Fucking Hawkins and misses Odysseus by a mile.  Odysseus' men take this opportunity to chant "Airball!  Airball!" and insinuate that "Cyclops got no game".

The Island of Aeolus:

The crew arrive at the floating island of Aeolus, and I'm not talking about Kevin Sorbo's buddy from Hercules, the Legendary Journeys.  This Aeolus is the favored mortal of the Gods, who has power over the winds.  So Aeolus is all like, "hey check out my sack!", and hands Odysseus a bag containing the wind, but tells him not to open it.  Well of course his dumbass crew opens the bag while Odysseus is sleeping one night and the winds blow them all the way back to Aeolus' island.  Aeolus decides that these jerks aren't worthy of his sack and he takes it away from them.

The Laistrygonians:

Odysseus and his men land on another remote island where they are greeted by a super hot babe, who just so happens to be the princess of the Laistrygonians.  Well Odysseus' men have no fucking clue who the Laistrygonians are, but they DO enjoy hot babes, so they follow her back to her home and try to see if they can get some.  About two seconds after stepping in to the Palace, they are ambushed by the motherfucking Laistrygonians, a race of Hill Giants, who start skewering the men with their giant spears and carrying them off to be eaten.  The Greeks make a run for it, and are ambushed by like fifty of these greasy bastards, who start throwing hugeass boulders at the Greeks and their ships.  They set sail from the island as quickly as possible, but every ship except Odysseus' is crushed by the giant rocks.


At the next island they reach, Odysseus sends out a search party to investigate.  His men arrive at the home of Circe, an Enchantress/Goddess who lives in a home populated by dozens of lions and wolves and shit.  She's a mega-babe and invites the men in for dinner, but she drugs their wine and transmogrifies them into pigs.  Odysseus shows up and is like, "damnit woman, what the hell is going on?".  Circe offers Odysseus some of the drugged wine.  He drinks it, but is unaffected.  After seeing his ultimate ability to withstand poison, she falls madly in love with him and begs him to do her because he's such a badass.  He says he won't until she turns his men back into humans again.  She complies, so Odysseus does her.

This is what I would imagine my wife's life would be like if she didn't have to work.


You know how some times you have to pour one out for all of your dead homies?  Well when you've pissed off the Gods as bad as Odysseus has, some times you need to pour one out with all your dead homies.  So at the behest of Circe Odysseus and his men sail to the edge of the Earth, up the Archon River and right into the middle of the fucking Underworld.  Odysseus sacrifices a couple of Circe's sheep to honor the dead, and all of a sudden his old buddies from the Trojan War rise up out of the ground and they have a kickass barbecue and get down like Michael Jackson and those zombies from the Thriller video.  When they're done partying and catching up on old times, his old friends give Odysseus some crucial advice for the future - don't eat the Cattle of Helios.  Helios really hates it when motherfuckers eat his cattle.

Before leaving Hades, Odysseus also drops in and meets all kinds of dead heroes like Hercules and Orion, because a true badass must always have an appreciation for those badasses who have come before him.

The Sirens:

The crew then sail past the island of the Sirens, monsters that look like super-hot babes and whose song lures men to their deaths.  Odysseus has his men tie him to the mainsail of the ship (like Bill Murray in What About Bob?) so that he can resist the temptation, and has wax earplugs made for his men.  When he hears the beautiful song and sees the beautiful babes, he orders his men to the island of the Sirens, but they're not stupid enough to comply.

Scylla and Charybdis:

The next obstacle they face is a powerful whirlpool called Charybdis and a man-eating six-headed monster named Scylla, both of whom are positioned about 100 yards from each other down a narrow strait.  Odysseus' ship has to sail between them, so he decides to steer closer to Scylla than Charybdis.  Scylla pulls six dudes off the deck of the ship and takes them back to her lair to be eaten, but I guess it's still preferable to having your entire ship sunk in a bottomless whirlpool.

The Cattle of Helios:

Odysseus finally puts ashore at the island of Helios.  Despite being told by a fucking legion of the undead not to eat the goddamned Cattle of Helios, Odysseus' men wait for Odysseus to leave camp and eat the fucking Cattle anyway while he's away.  Zeus has finally had enough of their shit, and he smites the ship with a fucking lightning bolt, killing everyone.  Odysseus is washed out to sea, past Scylla and Charybdis, and washes up on the island of the nymph Calypso.


Calypso is a mega-hot nymph babe who imprisons Odysseus, puts him under her spell, and makes him her lover for seven years.  She's like one of those girlfriends that you really can't stand and who irritates you all the fucking time, but you don't want to break up with her because she's really hot.  Eventually, the God Hermes shows up and tells Calypso to release Odysseus from her spell.  She does, so he builds a raft and sets sail again, crashing his ship on the island of the Nausicaa.  He tells them his story, and they rush him home to Ithaca aboard one of their fastest vessels.

Return to Ithaca:

After twenty years of war, adventures, shipwrecking every fifteen minutes and watching his buddies all get eaten by dozens of different gigantor disgusting monsters, Odysseus finally set foot on the island of Ithaca.  But he quickly realized that shit was fucked up when he ran into his old friend Eumaeus.

It turns out that everybody pretty much assumed that Odysseus was dead, so all these punk bitch guys started hanging around trying to sex up Odysseus' wife Penelope.  These potential suitors were living in Odysseus' home, eating all of his finest cattle and livestock, drinking all his booze, raiding his fridge, treating his son like a little bitch (they even hatched a plot to murder him), and fucking with Odysseus' house staff.  They even neglected his beloved dog to the point where it died.  Odysseus sought out his son Telemachos, who confirmed everything, saying that Penelope had ever remained faithful to Odysseus despite immense pressure from all these guys who wanted her to put out like a prom date.  Apparently, these dudes weren't going to leave any time soon either, and they demanded that Penelope choose one of them to marry.

So the Wily Odysseus disguised himself as a homeless beggar and went back to his home to see for himself.

Penelope can't even sew without getting hit on by bitch-holes.

Once he saw for himself what was going on, Odysseus did what any badass would do and GOT FUCKING RIPSHIT PISSED.  But being the shrewd tactician he was, he bided his time and waited for right opportunity to present itself.

It didn't take long.

After twenty years of being alone, Penelope had finally determined that she would relent and marry one of the suitors.  She decided to set up a test:  First she stuck a dozen axes in the ground in a straight line, and then she got the mighty Bow of Odysseus out of the attic.  She said that she would agree to marry the first man who was able to string the bow and fire an arrow through all of the axe-handles.

The suitors spent all day trying, but they weren't even strong enough to string up the bow.  There were probably like fifty of these motherfuckers, and since none of them had worked a day in their lives they were all soft, prissy bitches and probably couldn't muster the strength to hold Odysseus' jock strap if their lives depended on it.

Finally, when everybody had hurt their dainty little wife-stealing fingers trying to put this massive weapon together, the humble beggar sitting in the corner of the room asked if he could try to string it up.  All the suitors, being the pompous asses that they were, started talking all kinds of shit to the "old man".  Eventually, after a little bit of coaxing, they allowed him to try.  The humble beggar gripped the bow in one hand, and strung it up effortlessly in one fluid motion.  He nocked an arrow, drew the bowstring back, and fired a powerful shot through all ten axe handles.

The suitors all soiled themselves.

The beggar then took another arrow, drew it back, and fired it right through the motherfucking throat of the foremost suitor.

This sent everyone into an uproar.  They cursed him and told him he was to suffer for his crimes, but the beggar then threw off his humble trappings and revealed himself to be the Resourceful Odysseus, King of Ithaca.  He looked out across the room and said in a somber tone:

"You dogs, you never thought that I would any more come back
from the land of Troy, and because of that you despoiled my household
and forcibly took my serving women to sleep beside you,
and sought to win my wife while I was still alive, fearing
neither the Immortal Gods who hold the wide Heaven,
nor any resentment sprung from men to be yours in the future.
now upon all of you the terms of destruction are fastened."

At this point, everyone pretty much knew that they were fucked.  One of the suitors, a ridiculously wealthy man named Eurymachos, offered Odysseus huge sums of gold, land and livestock, and offered to pay restitution to Odysseus for all the offenses he and the other suitors had committed.  He offered wealth beyond Odysseus' wildest dreams.  Odysseus furrowed his eyebrows and grimly said the following:

"Eurymachos, if you gave me all your father's possessions,
all that you have now, and what you could add from elsewhere,
even so, I would not stay my hand from the slaughter,
until I had taken revenge for all the suitors transgression.
now the choice has been set before you, either to fight me
or run, if any of you can escape death and its spirits.
But I think not one man will escape from sheer destruction."

You guys are so totally fucked.

With that, the battle was on.  The suitors ran off to Odysseus' armory, loaded up on weapons and gear and bull rushed him, trying to strike him down with his own fucking weapons.  Odysseus fired a buttload of arrows, killing several of these idiots, but before too long they had overrun his position.  At the last minute, Telemachos showed up with an armful of spears and together Odysseus and his son fought off the horde of suitors in an intense mêlée.  When the dust had settled, all of the suitors lie dead at their feet.  Odysseus was reunited with Peneolope, twenty years after his departure, and his adventure had finally ended.

The Odyssey is one of the most badass tales in human history.  Odysseus has the brains and his resourcefulness to get out of tricky situations, the eloquence and charisma to inspire (and instill fear) in men, and the strength to fight his way out of any situation.  He proves himself as a war hero, goes on an epic adventure, visits strange new lands, and exacts cruel revenge on everyone who wronged him.  His legend has survived for thousands of years and has long stood (and will long stand) as one of the ultimate models of what it means to be badassed.

Reunited at last.


The Trojan War: An Illustrated Companion



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