Odysseus’s Bed: The Ultimate Wooden Bed

Posted March 27th, 2010

Everyone wants the ultimate bed. The one that will cure ills, solve disputes and promise everlasting love.

We do our best at The Sleep Room, and we are of course proud of our own luxury beds. But even we are prepared to concede that the ultimate luxury bed is no longer available - as it belonged to Odysseus.

Odysseus was one of Greek epic poet Homer's greatest creations. A brave and honourable soldier, he put in ten years of sterling service during the Trojan War, as told in The Iliad. Once he'd played his part in ensuring his side won, it then took him a further ten years to get back home. Yes, that's ten years people - twenty years away from home. See The Odyssey for details. So you can imagine that his reunion with faithful wife Penelope would be one fraught with anxiety and potential heartache.

Having turned down an offer of immortality from the goddess Calypso to make it home to Penelope, Odysseus finally made it back on April 16th 1178BC. He was understandably keen to test if she had been faithful herself. So he turned up, slaughtered all of her 100 potential suitors in a bow contest and then shook off his disguise, ready to reclaim his long lost wife.

Pen, something of a feisty bird, who had been fending off marital wannabes for twenty years, was just as keen to make absolutely sure that Odysseus was who he claimed to be. So she played a trick: she asked her servant Euryclea to quickly move their wedding bed for him to rest in. No biggie, you might think. But Odysseus righteously freaked out. Because he knew that of all the wooden beds on earth, theirs was the finest - and the least moveable. For it was carved from the stump of an olive tree. No human being could possibly move it.

Of course, Penelope quickly realised that she finally had her man back and the pair were reunited. What more powerful symbol of love could there be than a marital bed so rooted on earth that it literally cannot be shifted? It might not be practical if you're planning a home move, but that's one hell of a wooden bed, and it's certainly the most romantic story we've ever heard.

You needn't take The Sleep Room's word for it, as the goddess of love herself agrees: that evening Athena extended the night for the reunited pair, giving them extra time to catch up and rest. Now if only we could invent a luxury bed that did that for us…