In Homer‘s classic epic poem, The Odyssey, Mentor (Greek: Μέντωρ, gen.: Μέντορος), was both friend and counsellor to Odysseus (also known by the Latin name Ulysses). Odysseus, king of Ithaca, fights in the Trojan War and entrusts the care of his household to Mentor, who serves as teacher and overseer of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.
After the war, Odysseus is condemned to wander vainly for ten years in his attempt to return home. In time, Telemachus, now grown, ventures in search of his father. Athena, goddess of War and patroness of the arts and industry, assumes the form of Mentor and accompanies Telemachus on his quest. Father and son reunite and cast down would-be usurpers of Odysseus’ throne and Telemachus’s birthright.
The word Mentor evolved to mean trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person. The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a 1699 book entitled The adventures of Telemachus, by the French writer Francois Fenelon. In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. The slender plot fills out a gap in Homer’s Odyssey, recounting the educational travels of Telemachus, son of Odysseus, accompanied by his tutor, Mentor, who is revealed at the end of the story to be Athena, goddess of wisdom, in disguise.
History offers many examples of helpful mentoring relationships: Socrates and Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great, Hayden and Beethoven, Freud and Jung. Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where one person invests time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person.
All the above have been a powerful inspiration behind the creation of Mentor.
Home is where the heart is. It may be as humble as a shepherd’s hut or as stately as a Bronze Age palace in Greece. Sometimes, though, it can be packed with greedy suitors keen on squandering someone else’s fortune. What is a young man or woman supposed to do then? Go abroad in search of knowledge and wisdom!
The voyage may be long but full of palaces, old temples, new friends, and a country you thought you knew but had never truly experienced with your own senses. And since you may feel lost or timid or unsure as to your itinerary and destination, why not place your trust in a mentor who can support, teach, and inspire you? After all, Telemachus, the son of King Odysseus, did it and had by his side the invaluable assistance of Athena (yes, it’s her in our homepage), the goddess of wisdom, in the form of Mentor.