This page contains MAJOR SPOILERS about Ulysses from the Outlander book series, which may not yet have aired in the TV series. Read at your own peril!
Born to a free farmer and named Joseph at birth, Ulysses' life changed at age six when his father died and his mother, unable to work the farm, sold herself into slavery. She put the money with a carpenter so that Ulysses could learn a useful trade when he grew older, but when she died as well, the carpenter claimed the boy was also a slave and sold him to a traveling schoolmaster.
From this man, Ulysses learned to read and write, and to read Greek and Latin. The schoolmaster was the one who gave him the name Ulysses. When Ulysses was about twenty, the schoolmaster died and he was bought by Hector Cameron, who learned of Ulysses' talents and valued them. Cameron taught Ulysses to play chess, sing, play the harpsichord, and eventually to serve his wife, Jocasta Cameron, who was losing her sight.
Drums of Autumn
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
- Jocasta Cameron: Ulysses had a romantic relationship with Jocasta for about twenty years, beginning long before her husband, Hector Cameron, had died. According to Ulysses, Jocasta wrote papers for his manumission and gave them to him, insisting that she could not bear the thought that he came to her bed as a slave acquiescing to a master's demand. In effect, with these papers, Ulysses could have left at any time. However, he loved Jocasta and decided to stay with her, choosing not to have his papers legally approved by the Assembly, as doing so would have put him at risk of re-enslavement so long as he remained in North Carolina.
- Joseph comes from Ioseph, the Latin form of Greek Ιωσηφ (Ioseph), which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef) meaning "he will add".
- Ulysses is the Latin form of the Greek name Odysseus, which was perhaps derived from Greek οδυσσομαι (odyssomai) "to hate". In Greek legend Odysseus was one of the Greek heroes who fought in the Trojan War.
- In A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Ulysses stated his intention to join Lord Dunsmore's troops, as that man had promised freedom to any slave who joined his army. Ulysses' fate after leaving Fraser's Ridge is unknown.
- Outlander: Look who's joining Aunt Jocasta at River Run – January 5, 2018
- Behind the Name: Joseph. Accessed 5 January 2018.
- Behind the Name: Ulysses. Accessed 5 January 2018.
- Behind the Name: Odysseus. Accessed 5 January 2018.