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Mentor (Odyssey)

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Telemachus and Mentor1

Telemachus and Mentor.

In Greek mythology, Mentor (Greek: Μέντωρ, Méntōr; gen.: Μέντορος)[1] was the son of Alcimus or Anchialus or Heracles and Asopis. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus' foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War.

When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope.[2] As Mentor, the goddess encouraged Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and go abroad to find out what happened to his father. When Odysseus returned to Ithaca, Athena appeared briefly in the form of Mentor again at Odysseus' palace.

Mentor as term

Because of Mentor's relationship with Telemachus, and the disguised Athena's encouragement and practical plans for dealing with personal dilemmas, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.

The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a 1699 book entitled Les Aventures de Télémaque, by the French writer François Fénelon[3] In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.[3]


  1. Online Etymology Dictionary - Mentor
  2. Homer. Odyssey, Book II, Lines 255 and 268.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Roberts, Andy. (1999) "The origins of the term mentor". History of Education Society Bulletin, No. 64, November 1999, p. 313–329.

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Mentor (Odyssey). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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