E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Ulysses (3 syl.),
King of Ithaca, a small rocky island of Greece. He is represented in Homers Iliad as full of artifices, and, according to Virgil, hit upon the device of the wooden horse, by which Troy was ultimately taken. (The word means The Angry or Wrathful.)
After the fall of Troy, Ulysses was driven about by tempests for ten years before he reached home, and his adventures form the subject of Homers other epic, called the Odyssey.
Ulysses. When Palamedes summoned Ulysses to the Trojan war, he found him in a field ploughing with a team of strange animals, and sowing salt instead of barley. This he did to feign insanity, that he might be excused from the expedition. The incident is employed to show what meagre shifts are sometimes resorted to to shuffle out of plain duties.