Introduction

We will kick off our Odyssey with Leonidas and his 300, but we will then move all the way many years later and meet his grandson Alexios, who is a simple mercenary on the Island of Kephallonia. However, Alexios’ fate is much greater than being just a simple mercenary. Let’s meet our hero in this spectacular odyssey in the first episode of English Plus The Odyssey Video Series. We will also learn a lot of English along the way, and there’s more to practice on the website, so don’t miss on that opportunity and take your English to the next level with English Plus The Odyssey video series.

Video Episode

Language Tip

‘Would Have Liked to Have Done Something’

Well, for this episode, I’m going to focus on what Leonidas said to Dienekes before the beginning of the battle of Thermopylae. Let’s take a look at the context first and then, we’ll talk more about this very special expression.

Leonidas: Tell me Dienekes, have you every gone fishing with your son?

Dienekes: No, never. A soldier’s life is all I’ve had the honor to know.

Leonidas: I would have like to have gone fishing with my son. But now, let us meet our fate, shall we?

Well, this might seem like a very complicated expression, and it is kind of complicated, but its meaning is very simple. To understand it better, I will contrast it with the similar looking expression ‘I would like to do something’.

When you want to do something, you can simple say, ‘I want to do something,’ or be a little more polite and say, ‘I would like to do something.’ In both expressions, you’re talking about something that you think is possible to do. It can be anything from ‘I would like to drink coffee,’ to ‘I would like to be an astronaut.’ Nobody can tell you what’s possible and what’s not; it all depends on what you think, so if you think it’s possible, you can go ahead and use ‘I would like to do something.’

However, if you think that what you want is impossible or it is too late and you missed your chance, and this thing you really want has become a unfulfillable wish, you can use the other more complicated expression, ‘I would have liked to have done something.’ I know it looks, sounds and feels a lot more complicated, but it simply means that you don’t think it is possible anymore. Leonidas in our context said “I would have liked to have gone fishing with my son,” but Leonidas knows that there’s no chance this is going to happen, and he knows he’s going to die in battle, so he didn’t say, “I would like to go fishing with my son” because that makes it possible, and he knows as well as we do that it isn’t.

Another thing you need to know about this expression is that it’s all up what you think is possible or impossible; it’s not about science here. You can decide to choose whichever expression you like, but you have to know what each of them means.

So, now that we’ve understood the meaning of the expression, let’s see how we can form it:

  • Would + like + to do — possible
  • Would + have liked + to have done — impossible

e.g.

  • I would like to go on a vacation when I finish this big project I’m working on. (It’s possible, and I think I will be able to do it.)
  • I would have liked to have become a professional basketball player, but I’m 40. (It’s not possible anymore; it’s too late)

All right, that’s a new expression you can add to your speaking and writing arsenal. Now let’s move on and see if you were really paying attention to what happened in the episode.

Comprehension Check

Let's see how much you remember of what happened in the episode.

Name
Email
1. 
Who was Leonidas of Sparta fighting?

2. 
Who were the thugs who attacked Alexios?

3. 
What does Phoibe want Alexios to ask Zeus for?

4. 
What is Markos' new business?

5. 
How does Markos feel about giving Alexios a horse?

6. 
Why was Phoibe kidnapped?

7. 
Where is Alexios originally from?

8. 
How did Markos and Alexios meet?

9. 
Why do you think Alexios is so attached to Phoibe?

10. 
How would you best describe Markos?

Vocabulary Check

The Odyssey  | EP 1 | A Great Grandfather, A Mercenary Grandson

Focus: Vocabulary
Quiz time: 5 minutes
Name
Email
1. 
If you say that you will leave no ______ unturned, you are emphasizing that you will try every way you can think of in order to achieve what you want.

2. 
If a storm is ______ing, large clouds are beginning to form and the sky is becoming dark because there is going to be a storm.

3. 
A ______ is the money that has to be paid to someone so that they will set free a person they have kidnapped.

4. 
If you ______ in, you admit that you are defeated or that you cannot do something.

5. 
A ______ is a habit or aspect of a person's character which is odd or unusual.

6. 
If you ______ somewhere, you hide or move around quietly because you do not want to be seen.

7. 
A ______ is a soldier who is paid to fight by a country or group that they do not belong to.

8. 
If you ______ about something, you worry about it.

9. 
If a person or thing is ______ed by something, that thing is situated all around them.

10. 
To put in a good ______ for someone means to speak favorably of them or comment them.

11. 
If you say that someone is out of their ______, you mean that they are mad or very foolish.

12. 
If you do something for someone to ______ them over, you help them through a period when they are having difficulties, especially by lending them money.

13. 
If you say that someone is made a ______ for something bad that has happened, you mean that people blame them and may punish them for it although it may not be their fault.

14. 
If you ______ out of something, you have no more of it left.

15. 
To ______ someone in on something means to provide someone with additional facts, details, etc.

16. 
A ______ is money that is offered as a reward for doing something, especially for finding or killing a particular person.

17. 
To ______ means to complain or speak in a way which shows that you are very unhappy.

18. 
A person's ______ is their ancestors over many generations, and the characteristics they are believed to have inherited from these ancestors.

19. 
When something ______s an activity, it causes great changes in the way that it is done.

20. 
The ______ of a ship or plane is the goods that it is carrying.

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