ΠΟΛΥΤΡΟΠΟΣ – Polytropos

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Polytropos is a greek word meaning “of twists and turns.” This is a new word for me but I think I am already in love with it. It is actually the first adjective used in Odyssey by the the famous Greek poet, Homer. Polytropos is a general “ancient term” which could also mean well travelled, resourceful, and crafty. Bad news is, it’s a Greek term, so saying it out loud like “Hey, I am a polytropos” is a big no-no. It’s up to you though.

Anyway, why is it that I sounded like I came from a Greek Mythology class and suddenly quoted Homer. Well, it’s because I just did. It’s an 8-week online class at University of Pennsylvania about Greek and Roman Mythology. I love mythology but I was more focused on Ancient Egyptian myths. It’s a bit mainstream for me that time to be interested in Greek and Rome because practically most of my classmates are in to it. But I guess there is a time for everything (and taking up an online course from Penn is one hell of an opportunity…so thanks to Penn for your free online courses). Aside from the fact that I am gung-ho for history, I am also aware that cultures today in general was based from it. Whatever your perception towards myths, it definitely has an effect on how we behave/what we believe during this contemporary era. That is why I took this course. I want to validate if studying history, mythology in this case, is relevant nowadays.

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Some of the insights I have learned so far:

  • Both ancient and modern ideas about Greek and Roman Mythology are usually conflicting because MYTH is based on one’s interpretation. Plato believes that myths shape cultures. Xenophanes believes the other way around. Melrodus believes that myths are allegorical while Aristarchus believes that myths should be taken literally. They are all great thinkers but with different paradigms.
  • For the modern era, myth was taken as a support to science, or as a foundation of enlightenment or probably a religion, a language or an art.
  • There is a theory that Homer (the guy who wrote Odyssey and Iliad)  is not just a guy but they are a group of people. I still stick with Homer as a one-man team.
  • I have learned to love the character of Odysseus because he is an open minded guy. Let me quote Homer (translated by Samuel Butler):

…and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted

Odysseus neither judged nor enter into an argument about one’s beliefs. He respected them. That is why I believe he was described as “POLYTROPOS.”

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