Category Archives: H24H Sourcebook Odyssey

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll I

Translated by Samuel Butler
Revised by Soo-Young Kim, Kelly McCray, Gregory Nagy, and Timothy Power

[1] That man, tell me about him, O Muse, about that many-sided man who wandered far and wide after he had ransacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the people with whose customs and thinking [noos] he was acquainted; many things he suffered at sea

[5] while seeking to save his own life [psukhē] and to achieve the safe homecoming [nostos] of his companions; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer recklessness in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Helios; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, as you have told those who came before me, about all these things,

[10] O daughter of Zeus, starting from whatsoever point you choose. So now all who escaped death in battle or by shipwreck had got safely home except Odysseus, and he, though he was longing for his return [nostos] to his wife and country, was detained by the bright goddess Kalypsō,

[15] who had got him into a large cave and wanted to marry him. But as years went by, there came a time when the gods settled that he should go back to Ithaca; even then, however, when he was among his own people, his trials [athloi] were not yet over; nevertheless all the gods had now begun to pity him

[20] except Poseidon, who still persecuted godlike Odysseus without ceasing and would not let him get home. Now Poseidon had gone off to the Ethiopians, who are at the world’s end, and lie in two halves, the one looking West and the other East. He had gone there

[25] to accept a hecatomb of sheep and oxen, and was enjoying himself at his festival; but the other gods met in the house of Olympian Zeus, and the father of gods and men spoke first. At that moment he was thinking of stately Aegisthus,

[30] who had been killed by Agamemnon’s far-famed son Orestes; so he said to the other gods: “See now, how men consider us gods responsible [aitioi] for what is after all nothing but their own folly.

[35] Look at Aegisthus; he must needs make love to Agamemnon’s wife unrighteously and then kill Agamemnon, though he knew it would be the death of him; for I sent Hermes, the mighty watcher, to warn him not to do either of these things,

[40] inasmuch as Orestes would be sure to take his revenge when he grew up and wanted to return home. Hermes told him this in all good will but he would not listen, and now he has paid for everything in full.” Then owl-vision Athena said, [45] “Father, son of Kronos, King of kings, it served Aegisthus right, and so it would any one else who does as he did; but Aegisthus is neither here nor there; it is for high-spirited Odysseus that my heart bleeds, when I think of

[50] his sufferings in that lonely sea-girt island, far away, poor man, from all his friends. It is an island covered with forest, in the very middle of the sea, and a goddess lives there, daughter of the magician Atlas, who looks after the bottom of the ocean, and carries the great columns that keep the sky and earth asunder.

[55] This daughter of Atlas has got hold of poor unhappy Odysseus, and keeps trying by every kind of blandishment to make him forget his home, so that he is tired of life, and thinks of nothing but how he may once more see the smoke of his own chimneys. You, sir,

[60] take no heed of this, and yet when Odysseus was before Troy did he not propitiate you with many a burnt sacrifice? Why then should you keep on being so angry with him?” And Zeus said, “My child, what are you talking about?

[65] How can I forget godlike Odysseus than whom there is no more capable man on earth [in regard to noos], nor more liberal in his offerings to the immortal gods that live in the sky? Bear in mind, however, that earth-encircler Poseidon is still furious with Odysseus for having blinded an eye of Polyphemus king of the Cyclopes.

[70] Polyphemus is son to Poseidon, shaker of the earth, by the nymph Thoösa, daughter to the sea-king Phorkys; therefore though he will not

[75] kill Odysseus outright, he torments him by preventing him from his homecoming [nostos]. Still, let us lay our heads together and see how we can help him to return; Poseidon will then be pacified, for if we are all of a mind he can hardly stand out against us.”

[80] And owl-vision Athena said, “Father, son of Kronos, King of kings, if, then, the gods now mean that Odysseus should get home, we should first send Hermes, the guide, the slayer of Argos

[85] to the Ogygian island to tell lovely-haired Kalypsō that we have made up our minds and that he is to have his homecoming [nostos]. In the meantime I will go to Ithaca, to put heart into Odysseus’ son Telemakhos; I will embolden him

[90] to call the flowing-haired Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep and oxen; I will also conduct him to Sparta and to Pylos, to see if he can hear anything about the return [nostos] of his dear father –

[95] for this will give him genuine fame [kleos] throughout humankind.” So saying she bound on her glittering golden sandals, imperishable, with which she can fly like the wind over land or sea; she grasped the terrifying bronze-shod spear,

[100] so stout and sturdy and strong, wherewith she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her, and down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus, and then, right away, she was in the district [dēmos] of Ithaca, at the gateway of Odysseus’ house,

[105] disguised as a visitor, Mentes, chief of the Taphians, and she held a bronze spear in her hand. There she found the lordly suitors seated on hides of the oxen which they had killed and eaten, and playing draughts in front of the house. Men-servants and pages were bustling about to wait upon them,

[110] some mixing wine with water in the mixing-bowls, some cleaning down the tables with wet sponges and laying them out again, and some cutting up great quantities of meat. Godlike Telemakhos saw her long before any one else did. He was sitting moodily among the suitors

[115] thinking about his brave father, and how he would send them fleeing out of the house, if he were to come to his own again and be honored as in days gone by. Thus brooding as he sat among them, he caught sight of Athena and went straight to the gate, for he was vexed

[120] that a stranger should be kept waiting for admittance. He took her right hand in his own, and bade her give him her spear. “Welcome,” said he, “to our house, and when you have partaken of food you shall tell us what you have come for.”

[125] He led the way as he spoke, and Athena followed him. When they were within he took her spear and set it in the spear-stand against a strong bearing-post along with the many other spears of his unhappy father, patient-hearted Odysseus

[130] and he conducted her to a richly decorated seat under which he threw a cloth of damask. There was a footstool also for her feet, and he set another seat near her for himself, away from the suitors, that she might not be annoyed while eating by their noise and insolence,

[135] and that he might ask her more freely about his father. A maid servant then brought them water in a beautiful golden ewer and poured it into a silver basin for them to wash their hands, and she drew a clean table beside them. An upper servant brought them bread, [140] and offered them many good things of what there was in the house, the carver fetched them plates of all manner of meats and set cups of gold by their side, and a man-servant brought them wine and poured it out for them. Then the suitors came in and

[145] took their places on the benches and seats. Right away men servants poured water over their hands, maids went round with the bread-baskets, pages filled the mixing-bowls with wine and water, and they laid their hands upon the good things that were before them.

[150] As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink they wanted music and dancing, which are the crowning embellishments of a banquet, so a servant brought a lyre to Phemios, whom they compelled perforce to sing to them.

[155] As soon as he touched his lyre and began to sing Telemakhos spoke low to Athena of the owl’s vision, with his head close to hers that no man might hear. “I hope, sir,” said he, “that you will not be offended with what I am going to say. Singing comes cheap to those who do not pay for it,

[160] and all this is done at the cost of one whose bones lie rotting in some wilderness or grinding to powder in the surf. If these men were to see my father come back to Ithaca they would pray for longer legs

[165] rather than a longer purse, for wealth would not serve them; but he, alas, has fallen on an ill fate, and even when people do sometimes say that he is coming, we no longer heed them; we shall never see him again. And now, sir, tell me and tell me true,

[170] who you are and where you come from. Tell me of your town and parents, what manner of ship you came in, how your crew brought you to Ithaca, and of what nation they declared themselves to be – for you cannot have come by land. Tell me also truly, for I want to know,

[175] are you a stranger to this house, or have you been here in my father’s time? In the old days we had many visitors for my father went about much himself.” And owl-vision Athena answered, “I will tell you truly and particularly all about it.

[180] I am Mentes, son of high-spirited Ankhialos, and I am King of the oar-loving Taphians. I have come here with my ship and crew, on a voyage to men of a foreign tongue being bound for Temesa with a cargo of iron, and I shall bring back copper.

[185] As for my ship, it lies over yonder off the open country away from the town, in the harbor Rheithron under the wooded mountain Neriton. Our fathers were friends before us, as the old hero Laertes will tell you, if you will go and ask him. They say, however, that he never comes to town

[190] now, and lives by himself in the country, faring hardly, with an old woman to look after him and get his dinner for him, when he comes in tired from pottering about his vineyard. They told me your father was at home again, and that was why I came,

[195] but it seems the gods are still keeping him back, for he is not dead yet not on the mainland. It is more likely he is on some sea-girt island in mid ocean, or a prisoner among savages who are detaining him against his will.

[200] I am no prophet [mantis], and know very little about omens, but I speak as it is borne in upon me from the sky, and assure you that he will not be away much longer; for he is a man of such resource that even though he were in chains of iron he would find some means

[205] of getting home again. But tell me, and tell me true, can Odysseus really have such a fine looking young man for a son? You are indeed wonderfully like him about the head and eyes, for we were close friends

[210] before he set sail for Troy where the flower of all the Argives went also. Since that time we have never either of us seen the other.”

[215] “My mother,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “tells me I am son to Odysseus, but it is a wise child that knows his own father. Would that I were son to one who had grown old upon his own estates, for, since you ask me, there is no more ill-starred man under the sky than he [220] who they tell me is my father.” And owl-vision Athena said, “There is no fear of your lineage dying out yet, while Penelope has such a fine son as you are. But tell me, and tell me true,

[225] what is the meaning of all this feasting, and who are these people? What is it all about? Have you some banquet, or is there a wedding in the family – for no one seems to be bringing any provisions of his own? And the guests – how atrociously they are behaving; what riot they make over the whole house; it is enough to disgust any respectable person who comes near them.”

[230] “Sir,” said the spirited Telemakhos, “as regards your question, so long as my father was here it was well with us and with the house, but the gods in their displeasure have willed it otherwise,

[235] and have hidden him away more closely than mortal man was ever yet hidden. I could have borne it better even though he were dead, if he had fallen with his men in the district [dēmos] of Troy, or had died with friends around him when the days of his fighting were done; for then the Achaeans would have built a mound over his ashes,

[240] and I should myself have been heir to his renown [kleos]; but now the storm-winds have spirited him away we know not wither; he is gone without leaving so much as a trace behind him, and I inherit nothing but dismay. Nor does the matter end simply with grief for the loss of my father; the gods have laid sorrows upon me of yet another kind;

[245] for the chiefs from all our islands, Doulikhion, Samē, and the woodland island of Zakynthos, as also all the principal men of Ithaca itself, are eating up my house under the pretext of paying their court to my mother, who will neither point blank say that she will not marry, nor yet

[250] bring matters to an end; so they are making havoc of my estate, and before long will do so also with myself.” “Is that so?” exclaimed Athena, “Then you do indeed want absent Odysseus home again.

[255] Give him his helmet, shield, and a couple lances, and if he is the man he was when I first knew him in our house, drinking and making merry, he would soon lay his hands about these rascally suitors, were he to stand once more upon his own threshold. He was then coming from Ephyra,

[260] where he had been to beg poison for his arrows from Ilos, son of Mermeros. Ilos feared the ever- living gods and would not give him any, but my father let him have some, for he was very fond of him.

[265] If Odysseus is the man he then was these suitors will have a swift doom and a sorry wedding. But there! It rests with the gods to determine whether he is to return, and take his revenge in his own house or no; I would, however, urge you to set about trying

[270] to get rid of these suitors at once. Take my advice, call the Achaean heroes in assembly tomorrow – lay your case before them, and call the gods to bear you witness. Bid the suitors take themselves off, each to his own place,

[275] and if your mother’s mind is set on marrying again, let her go back to her father, who will find her a husband and provide her with all the marriage gifts that so dear a daughter may expect. As for yourself, let me prevail upon you

[280] to take the best ship you can get, with a crew of twenty men, and go in quest of your father who has so long been missing. Some one may tell you something, or (and people often hear things in this way) some message [kleos] sent from the gods may direct you. First go to Pylos and ask great Nestor;

[285] thence go on to Sparta and visit fair-haired Menelaos, for he got home last of all the bronze- armored Achaeans; if you hear that your father is alive and about to achieve his homecoming [nostos], you can put up with the waste these suitors will make for yet another twelve months. If on the other hand you hear of his death,

[290] come home at once, celebrate his funeral rites with all due pomp, build a grave marker [sēma] to his memory, and make your mother marry again. Then, having done all this, think it well over in your mind how, by fair means or foul,

[295] you may kill these suitors in your own house. You are too old to plead infancy any longer; have you not heard how people are singing Orestes’ praises [kleos] for having killed [300] his father’s murderer treacherous Aegisthus? You are a fine, smart looking young man; show your mettle, then, and make yourself a name in story. Now, however, I must go back to my ship and to my crew, who will be impatient if I keep them waiting longer;

[305] think the matter over for yourself, and remember what I have said to you.” “Sir,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “it has been very kind of you to talk to me in this way, as though I were your own son, and I will do all you tell me; I know you want to be getting on with your voyage, but stay a little longer

[310] till you have taken a bath and refreshed yourself. I will then give you a present, and you shall go on your way rejoicing; I will give you one of great beauty and value – a keepsake such as only dear friends give to one another.” Owl-vision Athena answered,

[315] “Do not try to keep me, for I would be on my way at once. As for any present you may be disposed to make me, keep it till I come again, and I will take it home with me. You shall give me a very good one, and I will give you one of no less value in return.” With these words she flew away

[320] like a bird into the air, but she had given Telemakhos courage, and had made him think more than ever about his father. He felt the change, wondered at it, and knew that the stranger had been a god, so he went straight to where the suitors were sitting.

[325] Phemios was still singing, and his hearers sat rapt in silence as he told the baneful tale of the homecoming [nostos] from Troy, and the ills Athena had laid upon the Achaeans. Circumspect Penelope, daughter of Ikarios, heard his song from her room upstairs,

[330] and came down by the great staircase, not alone, but attended by two of her handmaids. When she, shining among women, reached the suitors she stood by one of the bearing posts that supported the roof of the halls

[335] with a staid maiden on either side of her. She held a veil, moreover, before her face, and was weeping bitterly. “Phemios,” she cried, “you know many another feat of gods and heroes, such as poets love to celebrate. Sing the suitors some one of these, and let them

[340] drink their wine in silence, but cease this sad tale, for it breaks my sorrowful heart, and reminds me of my lost husband for whom I have grief [penthos] ever without ceasing, and whose name [kleos] was great over all Hellas and middle Argos.”

[345] “Mother,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “let the bard sing what he has a mind [noos] to; bards are not responsible [aitios] for the ills they sing of; it is Zeus, not they, who is responsible [aitios], and who sends weal or woe upon humankind according to his own good pleasure.

[350] There should be no feeling of sanction [nemesis] against this one for singing the ill-fated return of the Danaans, for people always favor most warmly the kleos of the latest songs. Make up your mind to it and bear it; Odysseus is not the only man who never came

[355] back from Troy, but many another went down as well as he. Go, then, within the house and busy yourself with your daily duties, your loom, your distaff, and the ordering of your servants; for speech is man’s matter, and mine above all others – for it is I who am master here.”

[360] She went wondering back into the house, and laid her son’s saying in her heart. Then, going upstairs with her handmaids into her room, she mourned her dear husband till owl-vision Athena shed sweet sleep over her eyes.

[365] But the suitors were clamorous throughout the covered halls, and prayed each one that he might be her bedmate. Then the spirited Telemakhos spoke, “You suitors of my mother,” he cried, “you with your overweening insolence [hubris], let us feast at our pleasure now, and let there be no

[370] brawling, for it is a rare thing to hear a man with such a divine voice as Phemios has; but in the morning meet me in full assembly that I may give you formal notice to depart, and feast at one another’s houses, [375] turn and turn about, at your own cost. If on the other hand you choose to persist in sponging upon one man, may the gods help me, but Zeus shall reckon with you in full,

[380] and when you fall in my father’s house there shall be no man to avenge you.” The suitors bit their lips as they heard him, and marveled at the boldness of his speech. Then, Antinoos, son of Eupeithes, said, “The gods seem to have given you lessons

[385] in bluster and tall talking; may Zeus never grant you to be chief in Ithaca as your father was before you.” The spirited Telemakhos answered, “Antinoos, do not chide with me, but,

[390] god willing, I will be chief too if I can. Is this the worst fate you can think of for me? It is no bad thing to be a chief, for it brings both riches and honor. Still, now that Odysseus is dead there are many great men in Ithaca

[395] both old and young, and some other may take the lead among them; nevertheless I will be chief in my own house, and will rule those whom great Odysseus has won for me.” Then Eurymakhos, son of Polybos, answered,

[400] “It rests with the gods to decide who shall be chief among us, but you shall be master in your own house and over your own possessions; no one while there is a man in Ithaca shall do you violence [biē] nor rob you.

[405] And now, my good man, I want to know about this stranger. What country does he come from? Of what family is he, and where is his estate? Has he brought you news about the return of your father, or was he on business of his own?

[410] He seemed a well-to-do man, but he hurried off so suddenly that he was gone in a moment before we could get to know him.” “The homecoming [nostos] of my father is dead and gone,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “and even if some rumor reaches me I put no more faith in it now.

[415] My mother does indeed sometimes send for a soothsayer and question him, but I give his prophesying no heed. As for the stranger, he was Mentes, son of Ankhialos, chief of the oar-loving Taphians, an old friend of my father’s.”

[420] But in his heart he knew that it had been the goddess. The suitors then returned to their singing and dancing until the evening; but when night fell upon their pleasuring they went home to bed each in his own abode.

[425] Telemakhos’ room was high up in a tower that looked on to the outer court; there, then, he went, brooding and full of thought. A good old woman, Eurykleia, daughter of Ops, the son of Peisenor, went before him with a couple of blazing torches.

[430] Laertes had bought her with his own wealth when she was quite young; he gave the worth of twenty oxen for her, and showed as much respect to her in his household as he did to his own wedded wife, but he did not take her to his bed for he feared his wife’s resentment. She it was who now lighted Telemakhos to his room, and she loved him

[435] better than any of the other women in the house did, for she had nursed him when he was a baby. He opened the door of his bed room and sat down upon the bed; as he took off his khiton he gave it to the good old woman, who folded it tidily up,

[440] and hung it for him over a peg by his bed side, after which she went out, pulled the door to by a silver catch, and drew the bolt home by means of the strap. But Telemakhos as he lay covered with a woolen fleece kept thinking all night through of his intended voyage and of the counsel that Athena had given him.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll II

[1] Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, dear Telemakhos rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, girded his sword about his shoulder, [5] and left his room looking like an immortal god. He at once sent the criers round to call the people in assembly, so they called them and the people gathered there; then, when they were got together,

[10] he went to the place of assembly spear in hand – not alone, for his two hounds went with him. Athena endowed him with a presence of such divine gracefulness [kharis] that all marveled at him as he went by, and when he took his place’ in his father’s seat even the oldest councilors made way for him.

[15] Aigyptios, a man bent double with age, and of infinite experience, was the first to speak. His son Antiphos the spearman had gone with Odysseus to Ilion, land of noble steeds, but the savage Cyclops had killed him

[20] when they were all shut up in the cave, and had cooked his last dinner for him. He had three sons left, of whom two still worked on their father’s land, while the third, Eurynomos, was one of the suitors; nevertheless their father could not get over the loss of Antiphos, and was still weeping for him when he began his speech.

[25] “Men of Ithaca,” he said, “hear my words. From the day great Odysseus left us there has been no meeting of our councilors until now; who then can it be, whether old or young, that finds it so necessary to convene us?

[30] Has he got wind of some host approaching, and does he wish to warn us, or would he speak upon some other matter of public moment? I am sure he is an excellent person, and I hope Zeus will grant him his heart’s desire.”

[35] Telemakhos took this speech as of good omen and rose at once, for he was bursting with what he had to say. He stood in the middle of the assembly and the good herald Peisenor, a man of deep discretion, brought him his staff. Then, turning to Aigyptios,

[40] “Sir,” said he, “it is I, as you will shortly learn, who have convened you, for it is I who am the most aggrieved. I have not got wind of any host approaching about which I would warn you, nor is there any matter of public moment on which I would speak.

[45] My grievance is purely personal, and turns on two great misfortunes which have fallen upon my house. The first of these is the loss of my excellent father, who was chief among all you here present, and was like a father to every one of you; the second is much more serious, and before long will be the utter ruin of my estate.

[50] The sons of all the chief men among you are pestering my mother to marry them against her will. They are afraid to go to her father Ikarios, asking him to choose the one he likes best, and to provide marriage gifts for his daughter,

[55] but day by day they keep hanging about my father’s house, sacrificing our oxen, sheep, and fat goats for their banquets, and never giving so much as a thought to the quantity of wine they drink. No estate can stand such recklessness; we have now no Odysseus to ward off harm from our doors,

[60] and I cannot hold my own against them. I shall never all my days be as good a man as he was, still I would indeed defend myself if I had power to do so, for I cannot stand such treatment any longer; my house is being disgraced and ruined. Have respect, therefore, to your own consciences

[65] and to public opinion. Fear, too, the wrath [mēnis] of the gods, lest they should be displeased and turn upon you. I pray you by Zeus the Olympian and Themis, who is the beginning and the end of councils,

[70] [do not] hold back, my friends, and leave me single-handed – unless it be that my brave father Odysseus did some wrong to the strong-greaved Achaeans which you would now avenge on me, by aiding and abetting these suitors. Moreover, if I am to be eaten out of house and home at all,

[75] I had rather you did the eating yourselves, for I could then take action against you to some purpose, and serve you with notices from house to house till I got paid in full, whereas now I have no remedy.” [80] With this Telemakhos dashed his staff to the ground and burst into tears. Every one was very sorry for him, but they all sat still and no one ventured to make him an angry answer, save only Antinoos, who spoke thus:

[85] “Telemakhos, insolent braggart that you are, how dare you try to throw the blame upon us suitors? We are not the ones who are responsible [aitioi] but your mother is, for she knows many kinds of craftiness [kerdos]. This three years past, and close on four,

[90] she has been driving us out of our minds, by encouraging each one of us, and sending him messages that say one thing but her mind [noos] means other things. And then there was that other trick she played us. She set up a great tambour frame in her room, and began to work

[95] on an enormous piece of fine fabric. ‘Sweet hearts,’ said she, ‘Great Odysseus is indeed dead, still do not press me to marry again immediately, wait – for I would not have skill in weaving perish unrecorded – till I have completed a shroud for the hero Laertes, to be in readiness against the time when

[100] death shall take him. He is very rich, and the women of the district [dēmos] will talk if he is laid out without a shroud.’ “This was what she said, and we assented; whereon we could see her working on her great web all day long,

[105] but at night she would unpick the stitches again by torchlight. She fooled us in this way for three years and we never found her out, but as time [hōra] wore on and she was now in her fourth year, one of her maids who knew what she was doing told us, and we caught her in the act of undoing her work,

[110] so she had to finish it whether she would or no. The suitors, therefore, make you this answer, that both you and the Achaeans may understand – ‘Send your mother away, and bid her marry the man of her own and of her father’s choice’;

[115] for I do not know what will happen if she goes on plaguing us much longer with the airs she gives herself on the score of the accomplishments Athena has taught her, and because she knows so many kinds of kerdos. We never yet heard of such a woman; we know all about

[120] Tyro, Alkmene, Mycenae, wearer of garlands, and the famous women of old, but they were nothing to your mother, any one of them. It was not fair of her to treat us in that way, and as long as she continues in the mind [noos] with which the gods have now endowed her, so long shall we go on eating up your estate;

[125] and I do not see why she should change, for she gets all the honor and glory [kleos], and it is you who pay for it, not she. Understand, then, that we will not go back to our lands, neither here nor elsewhere, till she has made her choice and married some one or other of us.” The spirited Telemakhos answered,

[130] “Antinoos, how can I drive the mother who bore me from my father’s house? My father is abroad and we do not know whether he is alive or dead. It will be hard on me if I have to pay Ikarios the large sum which I must give him if I insist on sending his daughter back to him. Not only will he deal rigorously with me, but some superhuman force [daimōn] will also

[135] punish me; for my mother when she leaves the house will call on the Furies [Erinyes] to avenge her; besides, it would not be a creditable thing to do [= “it will result in nemesis for me among men”], and I will have nothing to say to it. If you choose to take offence at this, leave the house and feast elsewhere

[140] at one another’s houses at your own cost turn and turn about. If, on the other hand, you elect to persist in sponging upon one man, may the gods help me, but Zeus shall reckon with you in full,

[145] and when you fall in my father’s house there shall be no man to avenge you.” As he spoke Zeus sent two eagles from the top of the mountain, and they flew on and on with the wind, sailing side-by-side in their own lordly flight.

[150] When they were right over the middle of the assembly they wheeled and circled about, beating the air with their wings and glaring death into the eyes of them that were below; then, fighting fiercely and tearing at one another, they flew off towards the right over the town. [155] The people wondered as they saw them, and asked each other what all this might be; whereon the aged warrior Halitherses, who was the best prophet and reader of omens among them,

[160] spoke to them plainly and in all honesty, saying: “Hear me, men of Ithaca, and I speak more particularly to the suitors, for I see mischief brewing for them. Odysseus is not going to be away much longer; indeed

[165] he is close at hand to deal out death and destruction, not on them alone, but on many another of us who live in Ithaca. Let us then be wise in time, and put a stop to this wickedness before he comes. Let the suitors do so of their own accord; it will be better for them,

[170] for I am not prophesying without due knowledge; everything has happened to resourceful Odysseus as I foretold when the Argives set out for Troy, and he with them. I said that after going through much hardship and losing all his men

[175] he should come home again in the twentieth year and that no one would know him; and now all this is coming true.” Eurymakhos son of Polybos then said, “Go home, old man, and prophesy to your own children, or it may be worse for them. I can read these omens myself

[180] much better than you can; birds are always flying about in the sunshine somewhere or other, but they seldom mean anything. Odysseus has died in a far country, and it is a pity you are not dead along with him, instead of prating here about omens

[185] and adding fuel to the anger of Telemakhos which is fierce enough as it is. I suppose you think he will give you something for your family, but I tell you – and it shall surely be – when an old man like you, who should know better, talks a young one over till he becomes troublesome,

[190] in the first place his young friend will only fare so much the worse – he will take nothing by it, for the suitors will prevent this – and in the next, we will lay a heavier fine, sir, upon yourself than you will at all like paying, for it will bear hardly upon you. As for Telemakhos, I warn him in the presence of you all

[195] to send his mother back to her father, who will find her a husband and provide her with all the marriage gifts so dear a daughter may expect. Till then we shall go on harassing him with our suit; for we fear no man,

[200] and care neither for him, with all his fine speeches, nor for any fortune-telling of yours. You may preach as much as you please, but we shall only hate you the more. We shall go back and continue to eat up Telemakhos’ estate without paying him, till such time as his mother leaves off tormenting us

[205] by keeping us day after day on the tiptoe of expectation, each vying with the other in his suit for a prize of such rare perfection [aretē]. Besides we cannot go after the other women whom we should marry in due course, but for the way in which she treats us.” Then the spirited Telemakhos said, “Eurymakhos, and you other haughty suitors,

[210] I shall say no more, and entreat you no further, for the gods and the people of Ithaca now know my story. Give me, then, a ship and a crew of twenty men to take me here and there, and I will go to Sparta and to Pylos

[215] to inquire about the nostos of my father who has so long been missing. Some one may tell me something, or (and people often hear kleos in this way) some message sent from the gods may direct me. If I can hear of him as alive and achieving his homecoming [nostos] I will put up with the waste you suitors will make for yet another

[220] twelve months. If on the other hand I hear of his death, I will return at once, celebrate his funeral rites with all due pomp, build a grave marker [sēma] to his memory, and make my mother marry again.” With these words he sat down,

[225] and Mentor who had been a friend of stately Odysseus, and had been left in charge of everything with full authority over the servants, rose to speak. He, then, plainly and in all honesty addressed them thus: “Hear me, men of Ithaca, [230] I hope that you may never have a kind and well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern you equitably; I hope that all your chiefs henceforward may be cruel and unjust, for there is not one of you but has forgotten godlike Odysseus, who ruled you as though he were your father.

[235] I am not half so angry with the suitors, for if they choose to do violence in the naughtiness of their minds [noos], and wager their heads that Odysseus will not return, they can take the high hand and eat up his estate, but as for you others I am shocked at the way

[240] in which you the rest of the population [dēmos] all sit still without even trying to stop such scandalous goings on – which you could do if you chose, for you are many and they are few.” Leiokritos, son of Euenor, answered him saying, “Mentor, what folly is all this, that you should set the people to stay us? It is a hard thing

[245] for one man to fight with many about his victuals. Even though Odysseus himself were to set upon us while we are feasting in his house, and do his best to oust us, his wife, who wants him back so very badly, would have small cause for rejoicing,

[250] and his blood would be upon his own head if he fought against such great odds. There is no sense in what you have been saying. Now, therefore, do you people go about your business, and let his father’s old friends, Mentor and Halitherses, speed this boy on his journey, if he goes at all –

[255] which I do not think he will, for he is more likely to stay where he is till some one comes and tells him something.” Then he broke up the assembly, and every man went back to his own abode, while the suitors returned to the house of godlike Odysseus.

[260] Then Telemakhos went all alone by the sea side, washed his hands in the gray waves, and prayed to Athena. “Hear me,” he cried, “you god who visited me yesterday, and bade me sail the seas in search of the nostos of my father

[265] who has so long been missing. I would obey you, but the Achaeans, and more particularly the wicked suitors, are hindering me that I cannot do so.” As he thus prayed, Athena came close up to him in the likeness and with the voice of Mentor.

[270] “Telemakhos,” said she, “if you are made of the same stuff as your father you will be neither fool nor coward henceforward, for Odysseus never broke his word nor left his work half done. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be fruitless, but unless you have the blood of Odysseus and of Penelope in your veins

[275] I see no likelihood of your succeeding. Sons are seldom as good men as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better; still, as you are not going to be either fool or coward henceforward, and are not entirely without some share of your father’s wise discernment,

[280] I look with hope upon your undertaking. But mind you never have thoughts [noos] like those of any of those foolish suitors, for they are neither sensible nor just [dikaioi], and give no thought to death and to the doom that will shortly fall on one and all of them, so that they shall perish on the same day.

[285] As for your voyage, it shall not be long delayed; your father was such an old friend of mine that I will find you a ship, and will come with you myself. Now, however, return home, and go about among the suitors; begin getting provisions ready for your voyage; see everything well stowed,

[290] the wine in jars, and the barley meal, which is the staff of life, in leather bags, while I go round the district [dēmos] and round up volunteers at once. There are many ships in Ithaca both old and new; I will run my eye over them for you and will choose the best;

[295] we will get her ready and will put out to sea without delay.” Thus spoke Athena daughter of Zeus, and Telemakhos lost no time in doing as the goddess told him. He went moodily and found the suitors

[300] flaying goats and singeing pigs in the outer court. Antinoos came up to him at once and laughed as he took his hand in his own, saying, “Telemakhos, my fine fire-eater, bear no more ill blood neither in word [305] nor deed, but eat and drink with us as you used to do. The Achaeans will find you in everything – a ship and a picked crew to boot – so that you can set sail for sacred Pylos at once and get news of your noble father.” “Antinoos,” answered the spirited Telemakhos,

[310] “I cannot eat in peace, nor take pleasure of any kind with such men as you are. Was it not enough that you should waste so much good property of mine while I was yet a boy? Now that I am older and

[315] know more about it, I am also stronger, and whether here among this people [dēmos], or by going to Pylos, I will do you all the harm I can. I shall go, and my going will not be in vain though, thanks to you suitors, I have neither ship nor crew of my own, and must be passenger not captain.”

[320] As he spoke he snatched his hand from that of Antinoos. Meanwhile the others went on getting dinner ready about the buildings, jeering at him tauntingly as they did so.

[325] “Telemakhos,” said one youngster, “means to be the death of us; I suppose he thinks he can bring friends to help him from Pylos, or again from Sparta, where he seems bent on going. Or will he go to Ephyra as well, for poison

[330] to put in our wine and kill us?” Another said, “Perhaps if Telemakhos goes on board ship, he will be like his father and perish far from his friends. In this case we should have plenty to do,

[335] for we could then divide up his property amongst us: as for the house we can let his mother and the man who marries her have that.” This was how they talked. But Telemakhos went down into the lofty and spacious store-room where his father’s treasure of gold and bronze lay heaped up upon the floor, and where the linen and spare clothes were kept in open chests. Here, too, there was a store of fragrant olive oil,

[340] while casks of old, well-ripened wine, unblended and fit for a god to drink, were ranged against the wall in case Odysseus should come home again after all. The room was closed with well-made doors

[345] opening in the middle; moreover the faithful old house-keeper Eurykleia, daughter of Ops the son of Peisenor, was in charge of everything both night and day. Telemakhos called her to the store-room and said: “Nurse, draw me off some

[350] of the best wine you have, after what you are keeping for my father’s own drinking, in case, poor man, he should escape death, and find his way home again after all. Let me have twelve jars, and see that they all have lids; also fill me some well-sewn leather bags with barley meal

[355] – about twenty measures in all. Get these things put together at once, and say nothing about it. I will take everything away this evening as soon as my mother has gone upstairs for the night. I am going to Sparta and to Pylos

[360] to see if I can hear anything about the nostos of my dear father. When dear Eurykleia heard this she began to cry, and spoke fondly to him, saying, “My dear child, what ever can have put such notion as that into your head? Where in the world do you want to go to –

[365] you, who are the one hope of the house? Your poor illustrious father is dead and gone in some foreign locale [dēmos] nobody knows where, and as soon as your back is turned these wicked ones here will be scheming to get you put out of the way, and will share all your possessions among themselves; stay where you are among your own people,

[370] and do not go wandering and worrying your life out on the barren ocean.” “Fear not, nurse,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “my scheme is not without the sanction of the gods; but swear that you will say nothing about all this to my mother, till I have been away some ten or twelve days,

[375] unless she hears of my having gone, and asks you; for I do not want her to spoil her beauty by crying.” The old woman swore most solemnly that she would not, and when she had completed her oath, she began drawing off the wine into jars, [380] and getting the barley meal into the bags, while Telemakhos went back to the suitors. Then owl- vision Athena turned her thoughts to another matter. She took his shape, and went round the town to each one of the crew, telling them

[385] to meet at the ship by sundown. She went also to Noemon glorious son of Phronios, and asked him to let her have a ship – which he was very ready to do. When the sun had set and darkness was over all the land, she got the ship into the water, put

[390] all the tackle on board her that ships generally carry, and stationed her at the end of the harbor. Presently the crew came up, and the owl-vision goddess spoke encouragingly to each of them. Furthermore she went to the house of godlike Odysseus,

[395] and threw the suitors into a deep slumber. She caused their drink to fuddle them, and made them drop their cups from their hands, so that instead of sitting over their wine, they went back into the town to sleep, with their eyes heavy and full of drowsiness.

[400] Then she took the form and voice of Mentor, and called Telemakhos to come outside. “Telemakhos,” said she, “the strong-greaved men are on board and at their oars, waiting for you to give your orders, so make haste and let us be off.”

[405] Then she led the way, while Telemakhos followed in her steps. When they got to the ship they found the crew waiting by the water side, and the hallowed prince, Telemakhos said,

[410] “Now my men, help me to get the stores on board; they are all put together in the hall, and my mother does not know anything about it, nor any of the maid servants except one.” With these words he led the way and the others followed after.

[415] When they had brought the things as he told them, dear son of Odysseus, Telemakhos went on board, Athena going before him and taking her seat in the stern of the vessel, while Telemakhos sat beside her. Then the men loosed the hawsers and took their places on the benches.

[420] Owl-vision Athena sent them a fair wind from the West, that whistled over the deep blue waves whereon Telemakhos told them to catch hold of the ropes and hoist sail, and they did as he told them. They set the mast in its socket in the cross plank, raised it,

[425] and made it fast with the forestays; then they hoisted their white sails aloft with ropes of twisted ox-hide. As the sail bellied out with the wind, the ship flew through the deep blue water, and the foam hissed against her bows as she sped onward.

[430] Then they made all fast throughout the ship, filled the mixing-bowls to the brim, and made drink offerings to the immortal gods that are from everlasting, but more particularly to the owl-vision daughter of Zeus. Thus, then, the ship sped on her way through the watches of the night from dark till dawn.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll III

[1] But as the sun was rising from the fair sea into the firmament of the sky to shed light on mortals and immortals, they reached Pylos the strong-founded city of Neleus.

[5] Now the people of Pylos were gathered on the sea shore to offer sacrifice of black bulls to dark-haired Poseidon lord of the Earthquake. There were nine guilds with five hundred men in each, and there were nine bulls to each guild. As they were eating the innards and burning the thigh bones [on the embers] in the name of Poseidon,

[10] Telemakhos and his crew arrived, furled their sails, brought their ship to anchor, and went ashore. Owl-vision Athena led the way and Telemakhos followed her. Presently she said, “Telemakhos, you must not at all feel shame [aidōs] or be nervous; [15] you have taken this voyage to try and find out where your father is buried and how he came by his end; so go straight up to Nestor, breaker of horses that we may see what he has got to tell us. Beg of him to speak the truth,

[20] and he will tell no lies, for he is an excellent person.” “But how, Mentor,” replied the spirited Telemakhos, “dare I go up to Nestor, and how am I to address him? I have never yet been used to holding long conversations with people, and feel shame [aidōs] about questioning one who is so much older than myself.”

[25] “Some things, Telemakhos,” answered owl-vision Athena, “will be suggested to you by your own instinct, and some superhuman force [daimōn] will prompt you further; for I am assured that the gods have been with you from the time of your birth until now.” She then went quickly on,

[30] and Telemakhos followed in her steps till they reached the place where the guilds of the Pylian people were assembled. There they found Nestor sitting with his sons, while his company round him were busy getting dinner ready, and putting pieces of meat on to the spits while other pieces were cooking. When they saw the strangers they crowded round them,

[35] took them by the hand and bade them take their places. Nestor’s son Peisistratos at once offered his hand to each of them, and seated them on some soft sheepskins that were lying on the sands near his father and his brother Thrasymedes.

[40] Then he gave them their portions of the innards and poured wine for them into a golden cup, handing it to Athena first, and saluting her at the same time. “Offer a prayer, sir,” said he, “to lord Poseidon, for it is his feast that you are joining;

[45] when you have duly prayed and made your drink-offering, pass the cup to your friend that he may do so also. I doubt not that he too lifts his hands in prayer, for man cannot live without gods in the world. Still, he is younger than you are, and is much of an age with myself,

[50] so I will give you the precedence.” As he spoke he handed her the cup. Athena thought that he was just [dikaios] and right to have given it to herself first; she accordingly began praying heartily to Poseidon.

[55] “O god,” she cried, “you who encircle the earth, grant the prayers of your servants that call upon you. More especially we pray you send down your grace on Nestor and on his sons; thereafter also make the rest of the Pylian people some handsome return for the goodly hecatomb they are offering you.

[60] Lastly, grant Telemakhos and myself a happy issue, in respect of the matter that has brought us in our swift black ship to Pylos.” When she had thus made an end of praying, she handed the cup to dear Telemakhos and he prayed likewise.

[65] By and by, when the outer meats were roasted and had been taken off the spits, the carvers gave every man his portion and they all made an excellent dinner. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Nestor, charioteer of Gerenia, began to speak. “Now,” said he, “that our guests have done their dinner,

[70] it will be best to ask them who they are. Who, then, sir strangers, are you, and from what port have you sailed? Are you traders? Or do you sail the seas as rovers with your hand against every man, and every man’s hand against you?”

[75] The spirited Telemakhos answered boldly, for Athena had given him courage to ask about his father and get himself a good name [kleos]. “Nestor,” said he, “son of Neleus, honor to the Achaean name,

[80] you ask whence we come, and I will tell you. We come from Ithaca under Neriton, and the matter about which I would speak is of private not public import. I seek news [kleos] of my unhappy father patient-hearted Odysseus, who is said

[85] to have ransacked the town of Troy in company with yourself. We know what fate befell each one of the other heroes who fought at Troy, but as regards Odysseus the gods have hidden from us the knowledge even that he is dead at all, for no one can certify us in what place he perished, [90] nor say whether he fell in battle on the mainland, or was lost at sea amid the waves of Amphitrite. Therefore I am suppliant at your knees, if haply you may be pleased to tell me of his melancholy end, whether you saw it with your own eyes, or heard it from some

[95] other traveler, for he was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw. If my brave father Odysseus ever did you loyal service, either by word or deed,

[100] when you Achaeans were harassed among the [dēmos] Trojans, bear it in mind now as in my favor and tell me truly all.” “My friend,” answered Nestor, “you recall a time of much sorrow to my mind, for the brave Achaeans

[105] suffered much both at sea, while privateering under Achilles, and when fighting before the great city of king Priam. Our best men all of them fell there – Ajax, Achilles,

[110] Patroklos peer of gods in counsel, and my own dear son Antilokhos, a man singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant. But we suffered much more than this; what mortal tongue indeed could tell the whole story?

[115] Though you were to stay here and question me for five years, or even six, I could not tell you all that the Achaeans suffered, and you would turn homeward weary of my tale before it ended. Nine long years did we try every kind of stratagem, but the hand of the gods

[120] was against us; during all this time there was no one who could compare with your father in subtlety – if indeed you are his son. I can hardly believe my eyes – and you talk just like him too – no one would

[125] say that people of such different ages could speak so much alike. He and I never had any kind of difference from first to last neither in camp nor council, but in singleness of heart and purpose [noos] we advised the Argives how all might be ordered for the best.

[130] “When however, we had ransacked the city of Priam, and were setting sail in our ships as the gods had dispersed us, then Zeus saw fit to vex the Argives on their homeward voyage [nostos]; for they had not all been either wise or just [dikaios], and hence many came to a bad end through

[135] the anger [mēnis] of Zeus’ daughter owl-vision Athena, who brought about a quarrel between the two sons of Atreus. “The sons of Atreus called a meeting which was not as it should be [= without kosmos], for it was sunset and the Achaeans were heavy with wine.

[140] When they explained why they had called the people together, it seemed that Menelaos was for sailing homeward [nostos] at once, and this displeased Agamemnon, who thought that we should wait till we had offered hecatombs

[145] to appease the anger of Athena. Fool that he was, he might have known that he would not prevail with her, for when the gods have made up their minds [noos] they do not change them lightly. So the two stood bandying hard words, whereon the strong-greaved Achaeans sprang to their feet

[150] with a cry that rent the air, and were of two minds as to what they should do. “That night we rested and nursed our anger, for Zeus was hatching mischief against us. But in the morning some of us drew our ships into the water and put our goods with our women on board,

[155] while the rest, about half in number, stayed behind with Agamemnon. We – the other half – embarked and sailed; and the ships went well, for the gods had smoothed the sea. When we reached Tenedos we offered sacrifices to the gods,

[160] for we were longing for our homecoming [nostos]; cruel Zeus, however, did not yet mean that we should do so, and raised a second quarrel in the course of which some among us turned their ships back again, and sailed away under Odysseus to make their peace with Agamemnon;

[165] but I, and all the ships that were with me pressed forward, for I saw that mischief was brewing. The son of Tydeus went on also with me, and his crews with him. Later on fair-haired Menelaos joined us at Lesbos, and found us making up our minds about our course – [170] for we did not know whether to go outside Chios by the island of Psyra, keeping this to our left, or inside Chios, over against the stormy headland of Mimas. So we asked a superhuman force [daimōn] for a sign, and were shown one to the effect that we should be soonest out of danger if we headed our ships across the open sea

[175] to Euboea. This we therefore did, and a fair wind sprang up which gave us a quick passage during the night to Geraistos, where we offered many sacrifices to Poseidon for having helped us so far on our way.

[180] Four days later Diomedes, breaker of horses, and his men stationed their ships in Argos, but I held on for Pylos, and the wind never fell light from the day when the gods first made it fair for me. “Therefore, my dear young friend, I returned without hearing anything

[185] about the others. I know neither who got home safely nor who were lost but, as in duty bound, I will give you without reserve the reports that have reached me since I have been here in my own house. They say the Myrmidons returned home safely under great-hearted Achilles’ glorious son Neoptolemos;

[190] so also did the valiant son of Poias, Philoctetes. Idomeneus, again, lost no men at sea, and all his followers who escaped death in the field got safe home with him to Crete. No matter how far out of the world you live, you will have heard of Agamemnon and the bad end he came to at the hands of Aegisthus

[195] and a fearful reckoning did treacherous Aegisthus presently pay. See what a good thing it is for a man to leave a son behind him to do as Orestes did, who killed false Aegisthus the murderer of his noble father. You too, then – for you are a tall, smart-looking young man –

[200] show your mettle and make yourself a name in story.” “Nestor son of Neleus,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “honor to the Achaean name, the Achaeans will bear the kleos of Orestes in song

[205] even to future generations, for he has avenged his father nobly. Would that the gods might grant me to do like vengeance on the insolence of the wicked suitors, who are ill-treating me and plotting my ruin; but the gods have no such happiness [olbos] in store for me and for my father, so we must bear it as best we may.”

[210] “My friend,” said Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia, “now that you remind me, I remember to have heard that your mother has many suitors, who are ill-disposed towards you and are making havoc of your estate. Do you submit to this tamely, or are the people of the dēmos,

[215] following the voice of a god, against you? Who knows but that Odysseus may come back after all, and pay these scoundrels in full, either single-handed or with a force of Achaeans behind him? If owl- vision Athena were to take as great a liking to you as she did to glorious Odysseus

[220] when we were fighting in the Trojan dēmos (for I never yet saw the gods so openly fond of any one as Athena then was of your father), if she would take as good care of you as she did of him, these wooers would soon some of them forget their wooing.”

[225] The spirited Telemakhos answered, “I can expect nothing of the kind; it would be far too much to hope for. I dare not let myself think of it. Even though the gods themselves willed it no such good fortune could befall me.” Then owl-vision goddess Athena said,

[230] “Telemakhos, what are you talking about? Heaven has a long arm if it is minded to save a man; and if it were me, I should not care how much I suffered before getting home, provided I could be safe when I was once there. I would rather this, than get home quickly, and then be killed in my own house as Agamemnon

[235] was by the treachery of Aegisthus and his wife. Still, death is certain, and when a man’s hour is come, not even the gods can save him, no matter how fond they are of him.”

[240] “Mentor,” answered the spirited Telemakhos, “do not let us talk about it any more. There is no chance of my father’s ever having a homecoming [nostos]; the gods have long since counseled his destruction. There is something else, however, about which I should like to ask Nestor, for he knows much more than any one else does. [245] They say he has reigned for three generations so that it is like talking to an immortal. Tell me, therefore, Nestor, and tell me true [alēthēs]; how did widely ruling Agamemnon come to die in that way? What was Menelaos doing? And how came false Aegisthus

[250] to kill so far better a man than himself? Was Menelaos away from Achaean Argos, voyaging elsewhere among humankind, that Aegisthus took heart and killed Agamemnon?” “I will tell you truly [alēthēs],” answered Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia,

[255] “and indeed you have yourself divined how it all happened. If fair-haired Menelaos when he got back from Troy had found Aegisthus still alive in his house, there would have been no grave marker heaped up for him, not even when he was dead, but he would have been thrown outside the city to dogs

[260] and vultures, and not a woman would have mourned him, for he had done a deed of great wickedness; but we were over there, enduring ordeals [athloi] at Troy, and Aegisthus who was taking his ease quietly in the heart of Argos, cajoled Agamemnon’s wife beautiful Clytemnestra with incessant flattery.

[265] “At first she would have nothing to do with his wicked scheme, for she was of a good natural disposition; moreover there was a singer with her, to whom Agamemnon had given strict orders on setting out for Troy, that he was to keep guard over his wife; but when the gods had counseled her destruction,

[270] Aegisthus led this bard off to a desert island and left him there for crows and seagulls to batten upon – after which she went willingly enough to the house of Aegisthus. Then he offered many burnt sacrifices to the gods, and decorated many temples with tapestries and gilding,

[275] for he had succeeded far beyond his expectations. “Meanwhile Menelaos and I were on our way home from Troy, on good terms with one another. When we got to Sounion, which is the point of Athens, Apollo with his painless

[280] shafts killed Phrontis the steersman of Menelaos’ ship (and never a man knew better how to handle a vessel in rough weather) so that he died then and there with the helmet in his hand, and Menelaos, though very anxious to press forward,

[285] had to wait in order to bury his comrade and give him his due funeral rites. Presently, when he too could put to sea again, and had sailed on as far as the Malean headland, Zeus of the wide brows counseled evil against him and made it blow hard

[290] till the waves ran mountains high. Here he divided his fleet and took the one half towards Crete where the Cydonians dwell round about the waters of the river Iardanos. There is a high headland hereabouts stretching out into the sea from a place called Gortyn,

[295] and all along this part of the coast as far as Phaistos the sea runs high when there is a south wind blowing, but past Phaistos the coast is more protected, for a small headland can make a great shelter. Here this part of the fleet was driven on to the rocks and wrecked; but the crews just managed to save themselves.

[300] As for the other five ships, they were taken by winds and seas to Egypt, where Menelaos gathered much gold and substance among people of an alien speech. Meanwhile Aegisthus here at home plotted his evil deed. For seven years after he had killed Agamemnon he ruled in golden Mycenae,

[305] and the people were obedient under him, but in the eighth year Orestes came back from Athens to be his bane, and killed the murderer of his father. Then he celebrated the funeral rites

[310] of his mother and of false unwarlike Aegisthus by a banquet to the people of Argos, and on that very day Menelaos of the great cry came home, with as much treasure as his ships could carry. “Take my advice then, and do not go traveling about for long so far from home, nor leave your property with such dangerous people in your house; [315] they will eat up everything you have among them, and you will have been on a fool’s errand. Still, I should advise you by all means to go and visit Menelaos, who has lately come off a voyage among such distant peoples as no man could ever hope to get back from,

[320] when the winds had once carried him so far out of his reckoning; even birds cannot fly the distance in a twelvemonth, so vast and terrifying are the seas that they must cross. Go to him, therefore, by sea, and take your own men with you; or if you would rather travel by land you can have a chariot,

[325] you can have horses, and here are my sons who can escort you to Lacedaemon where fair-haired Menelaos lives. Beg of him to speak the truth, and he will tell you no lies, for he is an excellent person.” As he spoke the sun set and it came on dark,

[330] whereon owl-vision goddess Athena said, “Sir, all that you have said is well; now, however, order the tongues of the victims to be cut, and mix wine that we may make drink-offerings to Poseidon, and the other immortals, and then go to bed, for it is time [hōra].

[335] People should go away early and not keep late hours at a religious festival.” Thus spoke the daughter of Zeus, and they obeyed her saying. Men servants poured water over the hands of the guests, while pages filled the mixing-bowls with wine and water,

[340] and handed it round after giving every man his drink-offering; then they threw the tongues of the victims into the fire, and stood up to make their drink-offerings. When they had made their offerings and had drunk each as much as he was minded, Athena and godlike Telemakhos were for going on board their ship,

[345] but Nestor caught them up at once and stayed them. “Heaven and the immortal gods,” he exclaimed, “forbid that you should leave my house to go on board of a ship. Do you think I am so poor and short of clothes, or that I have so few cloaks as to be unable to find comfortable beds

[350] both for myself and for my guests? Let me tell you I have store both of rugs and cloaks, and shall not permit the son of my old friend Odysseus to camp down on the deck of a ship – not while I live – nor yet will my sons after me,

[355] but they will keep open house as I have done.” Then the owl-vision goddess Athena answered, “Sir, you have spoken well, and it will be much better that Telemakhos should do as you have said; he, therefore, shall return with you and sleep

[360] at your house, but I must go back to give orders to my crew, and keep them in good heart. I am the only older person among them; the rest are all young men of Telemakhos’ own age, who have taken this voyage out of friendship;

[365] so I must return to the ship and sleep there. Moreover tomorrow I must go to the great-hearted Kaukones where I have a large sum of wealth long owed to me. As for Telemakhos, now that he is your guest, send him to Lacedaemon in a chariot, and let one of your sons go with him. Be pleased also to provide him with

[370] your best and fleetest horses.” When she had thus spoken, she flew away in the form of an eagle, and all marveled as they beheld it. Nestor was astonished, and took Telemakhos by the hand.

[375] “My friend,” said he, “I see that you are going to be a great hero some day, since the gods wait upon you thus while you are still so young. This can have been none other of those who dwell in the sky than Zeus’ terrifying daughter, the most-honored Trito-born, who showed such favor towards your brave father among the Argives.”

[380] “Holy queen,” he continued, “send down noble glory [kleos] upon myself, my good wife, and my children. In return, I will offer you in sacrifice a broad-browed heifer of a year old, unbroken, and never yet brought by man under the yoke. I will gild her horns, and will offer her up to you in sacrifice.”

[385] Thus did he pray, and Athena heard his prayer. He then led the way to his own house, followed by his sons and sons-in-law. When they had got there and had taken their places on the benches and seats, [390] he mixed them a bowl of sweet wine that was eleven years old when the housekeeper took the lid off the jar that held it. As he mixed the wine, he prayed much and made drink-offerings to Athena, daughter of Aegis-bearing Zeus.

[395] Then, when they had made their drink-offerings and had drunk each as much as he was minded, the others went home to bed each in his own abode; but Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia put Telemakhos the dear son of godlike Odysseus to sleep in the room that was over the gateway

[400] along with Peisistratos, who was the only unmarried son now left him. As for himself, he slept in an inner room of the house, with the queen his wife by his side. Now when the child of morning, rosy- fingered Dawn, appeared,

[405] Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia left his couch and took his seat on the benches of white and polished marble that stood in front of his house. Here aforetime sat Neleus, peer of gods in counsel,

[410] but he was now dead, and had gone to the house of Hadēs; so Nestor of Gerenia sat in his seat, scepter in hand, as guardian of the public weal. His sons as they left their rooms gathered round him, Ekhephron, Stratios, Perseus, Aretos, and Thrasymedes;

[415] the sixth son was the hero Peisistratos, and when godlike Telemakhos joined them they made him sit with them. Nestor then addressed them. “My sons,” said he, “make haste to do as I shall bid you. I wish first and foremost to propitiate the great goddess Athena,

[420] who manifested herself visibly to me during yesterday’s festivities. Go, then, one or other of you to the plain, tell the stockman to look me out a heifer, and come on here with it at once.

[425] Another must go to great-hearted Telemakhos’ ship, and invite all the crew, leaving two men only in charge of the vessel. Some one else will run and fetch gold Laerkeus the goldsmith to gild the horns of the heifer. The rest, stay all of you where you are; tell the maids in the house to prepare an excellent dinner, and to fetch seats, and logs of wood for a burnt offering. Tell them also to bring me some clear spring water.”

[430] Then they hurried off on their several errands. The heifer was brought in from the plain, and great- hearted Telemakhos’ crew came from the ship; the goldsmith brought the anvil, hammer, and tongs,

[435] with which he worked his gold, and Athena herself came to the sacrifice. Nestor, the old charioteer, gave out the gold, and the smith gilded the horns of the heifer that the goddess might have pleasure in their beauty. Then Stratios and noble Ekhephron brought her in by

[440] the horns; Aretos fetched water from the house in a ewer that had a flower pattern on it, and in his other hand he held a basket of barley meal; sturdy Thrasymedes stood by with a sharp axe, ready to strike the heifer, while Perseus held a bucket.

[445] Then Nestor began with washing his hands and sprinkling the barley meal, and he offered many a prayer to Athena as he threw a lock from the heifer’s head upon the fire. When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley meal Thrasymedes, the high-hearted son of Nestor dealt his blow, and brought the heifer down with a stroke that cut through the tendons

[450] at the base of her neck, whereon the daughters and daughters-in-law of Nestor, and his venerable wife Eurydice (she was eldest daughter to Klymenos) shouted ‘ololu’ in delight. Then they lifted the heifer’s head from off the ground, and Peisistratos, leader of men, cut her throat.

[455] When she had done bleeding and was quite dead, they cut her up. They cut out the thigh bones all in due course, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, and set some pieces of raw meat on the top of them; then Nestor laid them upon the wood fire and poured

[460] wine over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands. When the thighs were burned and they had tasted the innards, they cut the rest of the meat up small, put the pieces on the spits and toasted them over the fire. Meanwhile lovely Polykaste, [465] Nestor’s youngest daughter, washed Telemakhos. When she had washed him and anointed him with oil, she brought him a fair mantle and khiton, and he looked like a god as he came from the bath and took his seat by the side of Nestor.

[470] When the outer meats were done they drew them off the spits and sat down to dinner where they were waited upon by some worthy henchmen, who kept pouring them out their wine in cups of gold. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia said,

[475] “Sons, put Telemakhos’ horses to the chariot that he may start at once.” Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said, and yoked the fleet horses to the chariot. The housekeeper packed them up a provision of bread, wine,

[480] and sweetmeats fit for the sons of princes. Then Telemakhos got into the chariot, while Peisistratos leader of men, the son of Nestor gathered up the reins and took his seat beside him. He lashed the horses on and they flew forward nothing loath

[485] into the open country, leaving the high citadel of Pylos behind them. All that day did they travel, swaying the yoke upon their necks till the sun went down and darkness was over all the land. Then they reached Pherai where Diokles lived, who was son to Ortilokhos and grandson to Alpheus.

[490] Here they passed the night and Diokles entertained them hospitably. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn; appeared, they again yoked their horses and drove out through the gateway under the echoing gatehouse. Peisistratos lashed the horses on and they flew forward, holding back nothing;

[495] presently they came to the wheat lands of the open country, and in the course of time completed their journey, so well did their steeds take them. Now when the sun had set and darkness was over the land,

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll IV

[1] They reached the low-lying city of Lacedaemon, where they drove straight to the halls of glorious Menelaos. They found him in his own house, feasting with his many clansmen in honor of the wedding of his son, and also of his daughter, whom

[5] he was marrying to the son of that valiant warrior Achilles. He had given his consent and promised her to him while he was still at Troy, and now the gods were bringing the marriage about; so he was sending her with chariots and horses to the city of the Myrmidons over whom Achilles’ son

[10] was reigning. For his only son he had found a bride from Sparta, daughter of Alektor. This son, Megapenthes, was born to him of a bondwoman, for the gods granted Helen no more children after she had borne Hermione, who was fair as golden Aphrodite herself.

[15] So the neighbors and kinsmen of glorious Menelaos were feasting and making merry in his house. There was a singer also to sing to them and play his lyre, while two tumblers went about performing in the midst of them when the man struck up with his tune.

[20] The hero Telemakhos and the shining son of Nestor stayed their horses at the gate, whereon powerful Eteoneus, servant to glorious Menelaos came out, and as soon as he saw them ran hurrying back into the house to tell his Master.

[25] He went close up to him and said, “Menelaos, dear to Zeus, there are some strangers come here, two men, who look like sons of Zeus. What are we to do? Shall we take their horses out, or tell them to find friends elsewhere as they best can?”

[30] Fair-haired Menelaos was very angry and said, “Eteoneus, son of Boethoös, you never used to be a fool, but now you talk like a simpleton. Take their horses out, of course, and show the strangers in that they may have supper; you and I have stayed often enough at other people’s houses before we got back here, where the gods [35] grant that we may rest in peace henceforward.” So Eteoneus bustled back and bade other servants come with him. They took their sweating steeds from under the yoke,

[40] made them fast to the mangers, and gave them a feed of oats and barley mixed. Then they leaned the chariot against the end wall of the courtyard, and led the way into the house. Telemakhos and Peisistratos were astonished when they saw it,

[45] for its splendor was as that of the sun and moon; then, when they had admired everything to their heart’s content, they went into the bath room and washed themselves. When the servants had washed them and anointed them with oil,

[50] they brought them woolen cloaks and khitons, and the two took their seats by the side of Menelaos, son of Atreus. A maidservant brought them water in a beautiful golden ewer, and poured it into a silver basin for them to wash their hands; and she drew a clean table beside them.

[55] An upper servant brought them bread, and offered them many good things of what there was in the house, while the carver fetched them plates of all manner of meats and set cups of gold by their side. Fair-haired Menelaos then greeted them saying,

[60] “Eat up, and welcome; when you have finished supper I shall ask who you are, for the lineage of such men as you cannot have been lost. You must be descended from a line of scepter-bearing kings, for poor people do not have such sons as you are.”

[65] Then he handed them a piece of fat roast loin, which had been set near him as being a prime part, and they laid their hands on the good things that were before them; as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Telemakhos said to the son of Nestor, with

[70] his head so close that no one might hear, “Look, Peisistratos, son of Nestor, man after my own heart, see the gleam of bronze and gold – of amber, ivory, and silver. Everything is so splendid that it is like seeing the palace of Olympian Zeus.

[75] I am lost in admiration.” Menelaos of the fair hair overheard him and said, “No one, my sons, can hold his own with Zeus, for his house and everything about him is immortal; but among mortal men –

[80] well, there may be another who has as much wealth as I have, or there may not; but at all events I have traveled much and have undergone much hardship, for it was nearly eight years before I could get home with my fleet. I went to Cyprus, Phoenicia and the Egyptians; I went also to the Ethiopians, the Sidonians, and the Erembians,

[85] and to Libya where the lambs have horns as soon as they are born, and the sheep bear lambs three times a year. Every one in that country, whether master or man, has plenty of cheese, meat, and good milk, for the ewes yield all the year round.

[90] But while I was traveling and getting great riches among these people, my brother was secretly and shockingly murdered through the perfidy of his wicked wife, so that I have no pleasure in being lord of all this wealth. Whoever your parents may be they must have told you about all this,

[95] and of my heavy loss in the ruin of a stately dwelling fully and magnificently furnished. Would that I had only a third of what I now have so that I had stayed at home, and all those were living who perished on the plain of Troy, far from horse-pasturing Argos.

[100] I often grieve, as I sit here in my house, for one and all of them. At times I cry aloud for sorrow, but presently I leave off again, for crying is cold comfort and one soon tires of it. Yet grieve for these as I may, I do so

[105] for one man more than for them all. I cannot even think of him without loathing both food and sleep, so miserable does he make me, for no one of all the Achaeans worked so hard or risked so much as he did. He took nothing by it, and has left a legacy of sorrow [akhos] to myself, for he has been gone a long time, and we know not

[110] whether he is alive or dead. His old father, his long-suffering wife Penelope, and his son Telemakhos, whom he left behind him an infant in arms, are plunged in grief on his account.” Thus spoke Menelaos, and the heart of Telemakhos yearned as he turned his thoughts to his father. Tears fell from his eyes as he heard him thus

[115] mentioned, so that he held his cloak before his face with both hands. When Menelaos saw this he doubted whether to let him choose his own time for speaking, or to ask him at once and find what it was all about.

[120] While he was thus in two minds Helen came down from her high-vaulted and perfumed room, looking as lovely as Artemis of the golden distaff herself. Adraste brought her a seat, Alkippe a soft woolen rug,

[125] while Phylo fetched her the silver work-box which Alkandra wife of Polybos had given her. Polybos lived in Egyptian Thebes, which is the richest city in the whole world; he gave Menelaos two baths, both of pure silver, two tripods, and ten talents of gold; besides all this,

[130] his wife gave Helen some beautiful presents, to wit, a golden distaff, and a silver work-box that ran on wheels, with a gold band round the top of it. Phylo now placed this by her side, full of fine spun yarn,

[135] and a distaff charged with violet colored wool was laid upon the top of it. Then Helen took her seat, put her feet upon the footstool, and began to question her husband. “Do we know, Menelaos, beloved of Zeus” said she, “the names of these strangers who have come to visit us?

[140] Shall I guess right or wrong? But I cannot help saying what I think. Never yet have I seen either man or woman so like somebody else (indeed when I look at him I hardly know what to think) as this young man is like Telemakhos, whom great-hearted Odysseus left as a baby behind him,

[145] when you Achaeans went to Troy with battle in your hearts, on account of my most shameless self.” “My dear wife,” replied fair-haired Menelaos, “I see the likeness just as you do. His hands and feet are just like Odysseus’;

[150] so is his hair, with the shape of his head and the expression of his eyes. Moreover, when I was talking about Odysseus, and saying how much he had suffered on my account, tears fell from his eyes, and he hid his face in his mantle.”

[155] Then Peisistratos son of Nestor said, “Menelaos, son of Atreus, you are right in thinking that this young man is Telemakhos, but he is very modest, and is ashamed to come here and begin opening up discourse

[160] with one whose conversation is so divinely interesting as your own. My father, Nestor the charioteer of Gerenia, sent me to escort him here, for he wanted to know whether you could give him any counsel or suggestion. A son has always trouble at home when his father

[165] has gone away leaving him without supporters; and this is how Telemakhos is now placed, for his father is absent, and there is no one among his own dēmos to stand by him.” “Bless my heart,” replied fair-haired Menelaos; “then I am receiving a visit from the son of a very dear friend,

[170] who suffered much hardship [athlos] for my sake. I had always hoped to entertain him with most marked distinction when the gods had granted us a safe return [nostos] from beyond the seas. I should have founded a city for him in Argos, and built him

[175] a house. I should have made him leave Ithaca with his goods, his son, and all his people, and should have ransacked for them some one of the neighboring cities that are subject to me. We should thus have seen one another continually,

[180] and nothing but death could have interrupted so close and happy an intercourse. I suppose, however, that the gods grudged us such good fortune, for it has prevented the poor man from ever getting home at all.” Thus did he speak, and his words set them all to weeping. Helen of Argos, daughter of Zeus, wept, Telemakhos

[185] wept, and so did Menelaos the son of Atreus, nor could Nestor’s son Peisistratos keep his eyes from filling, when he remembered his dear brother stately Antilokhos whom the son of bright Dawn had killed. Then he said to Menelaos, [190] “Sir, my father Nestor, when we used to talk about you at home, told me you were a person of rare and excellent understanding. If, then, it be possible, do as I would urge you. I am not fond of crying while I am getting my supper. Morning will come

[195] in due course, and in the forenoon I care not how much I cry for those that are dead and gone. This is all we can do for the poor things. We can only shave our heads for them and wring the tears from our cheeks. I had a brother who died at Troy; he was by no means the worst man

[200] there; you are sure to have known him – his name was Antilokhos; I never set eyes upon him myself, but they say that he was singularly fleet of foot and in fight valiant.” “Your discretion, my friend,” answered fair-haired Menelaos,

[205] “is beyond your years. It is plain you take after your father. One can soon see when a man is son to one whom Zeus grants blessedness [olbos] both as regards wife and offspring – and he has blessed Nestor from first to last all his days,

[210] giving him a green old age in his own house, with sons about him who are both well disposed and valiant. We will put an end therefore to all this weeping, and attend to our supper again. Let water be poured over our hands. Telemakhos and I can talk with one another fully

[215] in the morning.” Then Asphalion, one of the servants, poured water over their hands and they laid their hands on the good things that were before them. Then Zeus’ daughter Helen turned her thoughts to another matter.

[220] She drugged the wine with an herb that banishes all care, sorrow, and ill humor. Whoever drinks wine thus drugged cannot shed a single tear all the rest of the day, not even though his father and mother both of them drop down dead, or

[225] he sees a brother or a son hewn in pieces before his very eyes. This drug, of such sovereign power and virtue, had been given to Helen by Polydamna wife of Thon, a woman of Egypt, where there grow all sorts

[230] of herbs, some good to put into the mixing-bowl and others poisonous. Moreover, every one in the whole country is a skilled physician, for they are of the lineage of Paieon. When Helen had put this drug in the bowl, and had told the servants to serve the wine round, she said:

[235] “Menelaos, son of Atreus, dear to Zeus, and you my good friends, sons of honorable men (which is as Zeus wills, for he is the giver both of good and evil, and can do what he chooses), feast here as you will, and listen while I tell you a tale in season.

[240] I cannot indeed name every single one of the exploits [athlos] of enduring Odysseus, but I can say what he did when he was in the Trojan dēmos, and you Achaeans were in all sorts of difficulties. He covered himself with wounds and bruises, dressed himself

[245] all in rags, and entered the enemy’s city looking like a menial or a beggar, quite different from how he looked when he was among his own people. In this disguise he entered the city of Troy, and no one said anything to him.

[250] I alone recognized him and began to question him, but he was too cunning for me. When, however, I had washed and anointed him and had given him clothes, and after I had sworn a solemn oath not to betray him to the Trojans

[255] till he had got safely back to his own camp and to the ships, he explained to me the whole plan [noos] of the Achaeans. He killed many Trojans and got much information before he reached the Argive camp, for all which things the Trojan women made lamentation, but for my own part

[260] I was glad, for my heart was beginning to long after my home, and I was unhappy about the wrong [atē] that Aphrodite had done me in taking me over there, away from my country, my girl, and my lawful wedded husband, who is indeed by no means deficient either in looks or understanding.”

[265] Then fair-haired Menelaos said, “All that you have been saying, my dear wife, is true. I have traveled much, and have learned the plans and noos of many a hero, [270] but I have never seen such another man as enduring Odysseus. What endurance too, and what courage he displayed within the wooden horse, wherein all the bravest of the Argives were lying in wait to bring death and destruction upon the Trojans. At that moment you came up to us;

[275] some superhuman force [daimōn] who wished well to the Trojans must have set you on to it and you had Deiphobos the godlike with you. Three times did you go all round our hiding place and pat it; you called our chiefs each by his own name, and mimicked all our wives.

[280] Diomedes, great Odysseus, and I from our seats inside heard what a noise you made. Diomedes and I could not make up our minds whether to spring out then and there, or to answer you from inside, but Odysseus held us all in check,

[285] so we sat quite still, all except Antiklos, who was beginning to answer you, when Odysseus clapped his two brawny hands over his mouth, and kept them there. It was this that saved us all, for he muzzled Antiklos till Athena took you away again.”

[290] “How sad,” exclaimed the spirited Telemakhos, “that all this was of no avail to save him, nor yet his own iron courage. But now, sir, be pleased to send us all to bed, that we may lie down

[295] and enjoy the blessed boon of sleep.” Then Helen of Argos told the maid servants to set beds in the room that was in the gatehouse, and to make them with good red rugs, and spread coverlets on the top of them with woolen cloaks for the guests to wear. So the maids

[300] went out, carrying a torch, and made the beds, to which a man-servant presently conducted the strangers. Thus, then, did the hero Telemakhos and glorious Peisistratos sleep there in the forecourt, while the son of Atreus lay in an inner room

[305] with lovely Helen by his side. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Menelaos rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet,

[310] girded his sword about his shoulders, and left his room looking like an immortal god. Then, taking a seat near Telemakhos he said: “And what, Telemakhos, has led you to take this long sea voyage to shining Lacedaemon? Are you on public or private business? Tell me all about it.”

[315] “I have come, sir,” replied Telemakhos, “to see if you can tell me anything about my father. I am being eaten out of house and home; my fair estate is being wasted, and my house is full of miscreants who in overweening hubris

[320] keep killing great numbers of my sheep and oxen, on the pretence of wooing my mother. Therefore, I am suppliant at your knees if haply you may tell me about my father’s melancholy end, whether you saw it with your own eyes, or heard it from

[325] some other traveler; for he was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any pity for myself, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw. If my brave father Odysseus ever did you loyal service either by word or deed,

[330] when you Achaeans were harassed in the dēmos of the Trojans, bear it in mind now as in my favor and tell me truly all.” Menelaos on hearing this was very much shocked. “So,” he exclaimed, “these cowards would usurp a brave man’s bed?

[335] A hind might as well lay her new born young in the lair of a lion, and then go off to feed in the forest or in some grassy dell: the lion when he comes back to his lair will make short work with the pair of them –

[340] and so will Odysseus with these suitors. By father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, if Odysseus is still the man that he was when he wrestled with Philomeleides in strong-founded Lesbos, and threw him so heavily that all the Achaeans cheered him –

[345] if he is still such and were to come near these suitors, they would have a swift doom and a sorry wedding. As regards your questions, however, I will not prevaricate nor deceive you,

[350] but will tell you without concealment all that the old man of the sea told me. “I was trying to come on here, but the gods detained me in Egypt, for my hecatombs had not given them full satisfaction, and the gods are very strict about having their dues. Now off Egypt, about as far as a ship can sail in a day with a good stiff breeze behind her, there is an island

[355] called Pharos – it has a good harbor from which vessels can get out into open sea when they have taken in water –

[360] and the gods becalmed me twenty days without so much as a breath of fair wind to help me forward. We should have run clean out of provisions and my men would have starved, if a goddess had not taken pity upon me and saved me

[365] in the person of Eidothea, daughter to mighty Proteus, the old man of the sea, for she had taken a great fancy to me. “She came to me one day when I was by myself, as I often was, for the men used to go with their barbed hooks, all over the island in the hope of catching a fish or two to save them from the pangs of hunger.

[370] ‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘it seems to me that you like starving in this way – at any rate it does not greatly trouble you, for you stick here day after day, without even trying to get away though your men are dying by inches.’

[375] “‘Let me tell you,’ said I, ‘whichever of the goddesses you may happen to be, that I am not staying here of my own accord, but must have offended the gods that live in the sky. Tell me, therefore, for the gods know everything: which

[380] of the immortals it is that is hindering me in this way, and tell me also how I may sail the sea so as to reach my home [nostos]?’ “‘Stranger,’ replied she, ‘I will make it all quite clear to you. There is an old ever truthful immortal who lives under the sea hereabouts and whose name is Proteus.

[385] He is an Egyptian, and people say he is my father; he is Poseidon’s head man and knows every inch of ground all over the bottom of the sea. If you can snare him and hold him tight, he will tell you about your voyage, what courses you are to take,

[390] and how you are to sail the sea so as to have a homecoming [nostos]. He will also tell you, illustrious one, if you so will, all that has been going on at your house both good and bad, while you have been away on your long and dangerous journey.’ “‘Can you show me,’ said I,

[395] ‘some strategy by means of which I may catch this old god without his suspecting it and finding me out? For a superhuman force [daimōn] is not easily caught – not by a mortal man.’ “‘Stranger,’ said she, shining among goddesses, ‘I will make it all quite clear to you.

[400] About the time when the sun shall have reached the mid-point in the sky, the ever-truthful old man of the sea comes up from under the waves, heralded by the West wind that furs the water over his head. As soon as he has come up he lies down, and goes to sleep in a great sea cave, where the seals – [Halosydne’s chickens as they call them] –

[405] come up also from the gray sea, and go to sleep in shoals all round him; and a very strong and fish- like smell do they bring with them. Early tomorrow morning I will take you to this place and will lay you in ambush. Pick out [krinein], therefore, the three best men you have in your fleet,

[410] and I will tell you all the tricks that the old man will play you. “‘First he will look over all his seals, and count them; then, when he has seen them and tallied them on his five fingers, he will go to sleep among them, as a shepherd among his sheep. The moment you see that he is asleep seize him;

[415] put forth all your strength [biē] and hold him fast, for he will do his very utmost to get away from you. He will turn himself into every kind of creature that goes upon the earth, and will become also both fire and water; but you must hold him fast and grip him tighter and tighter,

[420] till he begins to talk to you and comes back to what he was when you saw him go to sleep; then you may slacken your hold [biē] and let him go; and you can ask him which of the gods it is that is angry with you, and what you must do to have a homecoming [nostos] over the fishy sea.’ [425] “Having so said she dived under the waves, whereon I turned back to the place where my ships were ranged upon the shore; and my heart was clouded with care as I went along. When I reached my ship we got supper ready, for night was falling,

[430] and camped down upon the beach. “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I took the three men on whose prowess of all kinds I could most rely, and went along by the sea-side, praying heartily to the gods.

[435] Meanwhile the goddess fetched me up four seal skins from the bottom of the sea, all of them just skinned, for she meant to play a trick upon her father. Then she dug four pits for us to lie in, and sat down to wait till we should come up. When we were close to her,

[440] she made us lie down in the pits one after the other, and threw a seal skin over each of us. Our ambuscade would have been intolerable, for the stench of the fishy seals was most distressing – who would go to bed with a sea monster if he could help it? – but here, too, the goddess helped us, and thought of something that gave us great relief,

[445] for she put some ambrosia under each man’s nostrils, which was so fragrant that it killed the smell of the seals. “We waited the whole morning and made the best of it, watching the seals come up in hundreds to bask upon the sea shore,

[450] till at noon the old man of the sea came up too, and when he had found his fat seals he went over them and counted them. We were among the first he counted, and he never suspected any guile, but laid himself down to sleep as soon as he had done counting. Then we rushed upon him with a shout and

[455] seized him; on which he began at once with his old tricks, and changed himself first into a lion with a great mane; then all of a sudden he became a dragon, a leopard, a wild boar; the next moment he was running water, and then again directly he was a tree, but we stuck to him and never lost hold,

[460] till at last the cunning old creature became distressed, and said, ‘Which of the gods was it, Son of Atreus, that hatched this plot with you for snaring me and seizing me against my will? What do you want?’ “‘You know that yourself, old man,’ I answered.

[465] ‘You will gain nothing by trying to put me off. It is because I have been kept so long in this island, and see no sign of my being able to get away. I am losing all heart; tell me, then, for you gods know everything, which of the immortals it is that is hindering me,

[470] and tell me also how I may sail the sea so as to have a homecoming [nostos]?’ “‘Then,’ he said, ‘if you would finish your voyage and get home quickly, you must offer sacrifices to Zeus and to the rest of the gods before embarking;

[475] for it is decreed that you shall not get back to your friends, and to your own house, till you have returned to the sky-fed stream of Egypt, and offered holy hecatombs to the immortal gods that reign in the sky.

[480] When you have done this they will let you finish your voyage.’ “I was broken-hearted when I heard that I must go back all that long and terrifying voyage to Egypt; nevertheless, I answered,

[485] ‘I will do all, old man, that you have laid upon me; but now tell me, and tell me true, whether all the Achaeans whom Nestor and I left behind us when we set sail from Troy have got home safely, or whether any one of them came to a bad end either on board his own ship

[490] or among his friends when the days of his fighting were done.’ “‘Son of Atreus,’ he answered, ‘why ask me? You had better not know my mind [noos], for your eyes will surely fill when you have heard my story.

[495] Many of those about whom you ask are dead and gone, but many still remain, and only two of the chief men among the bronze-armored Achaeans perished during their return home. As for what happened on the field of battle – you were there yourself. A third Achaean leader is still at sea, alive, but hindered from returning [nostos]. Ajax was wrecked, [500] for Poseidon drove him on to the great rocks of Gyrai; nevertheless, he let him get safe out of the water, and in spite of all Athena’s hatred he would have escaped death, if he had not ruined himself by boasting. He said the gods could not drown him even though they had tried to do so,

[505] and when Poseidon heard this large talk, he seized his trident in his two brawny hands, and split the rock of Gyrai in two pieces. The base remained where it was, but the part on which Ajax was sitting fell headlong into the sea

[510] and carried Ajax with it; so he drank salt water and was drowned. “‘Your brother and his ships escaped, for Hera protected him, but when he was just about to reach the high promontory of

[515] Malea, he was caught by a heavy gale which carried him out to sea again sorely against his will, and drove him to the foreland where Thyestes used to dwell, but where Aegisthus was then living. By and by, however, it seemed as though he was to have his return [nostos],

[520] safe after all, for the gods backed the wind into its old quarter and they reached home; whereon Agamemnon kissed his native soil, and shed tears of joy at finding himself in his own country. “‘Now there was a watchman whom Aegisthus kept always on the watch, and to whom he had

[525] promised two talents of gold. This man had been looking out for a whole year to make sure that Agamemnon did not give him the slip and prepare war; when, therefore, this man saw Agamemnon go by, he went and told Aegisthus who at once began to lay a plot for him.

[530] He picked [krinein] twenty of his bravest warriors from the dēmos and placed them in ambuscade on one side of the hall, while on the opposite side he prepared a banquet. Then he sent his chariots and horsemen to Agamemnon, and invited him to the feast, but he meant foul play.

[535] He got him there, all unsuspicious of the doom that was awaiting him, and killed him when the banquet was over as though he were butchering an ox in the shambles; not one of Agamemnon’s followers was left alive, nor yet one of Aegisthus’, but they were all killed there in the halls.’ “Thus spoke Proteus, and I was broken hearted as I heard him. I sat down upon the sands and wept; I felt as though I could no longer

[540] bear to live nor look upon the light of the sun. Presently, when I had had my fill of weeping and writhing upon the ground, the ever-truthful old man of the sea said, ‘Son of Atreus, do not waste any more time in crying so bitterly; it can do no manner of good; find your way home

[545] as fast as ever you can, for Aegisthus be still alive, and even though Orestes anticipates you in killing him, you may yet come in for his funeral.’ “Then I took comfort in spite of all my sorrow,

[550] and said, ‘I know, then, about these two; tell me, therefore, about the third man of whom you spoke; is he still alive, but at sea, and unable to get home? Or is he dead? Tell me, no matter how much it may grieve me.’ “‘The third man,’ he answered,

[555] ‘is Odysseus son of Laertes who dwells in Ithaca. I can see him in an island sorrowing bitterly in the house of the nymph Kalypsō, who is keeping him prisoner, and he cannot reach his home for he has no ships nor sailors

[560] to take him over the sea. As for your own end, Menelaos, fostered son of Zeus, you shall not die in horse-pasturing Argos, but the gods will take you to the Elysian plain, which is at the ends of the world. There fair-haired Rhadamanthus

[565] reigns, and men lead an easier life than any where else in the world, for in Elysium there falls not rain, nor hail, nor snow, but Okeanos breathes ever with a West wind that sings softly from the sea, and gives fresh life to all men. This will happen to you because you have married Helen, and are

[570] Zeus’ son-in-law.’ “As he spoke he dived under the waves, whereon I turned back to the ships with my companions, and my heart was clouded with care as I went along. When we reached the ships we got supper ready, for night was falling, [575] and camped down upon the beach. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, we drew our ships into the water, and put our masts and sails within them; then we went on board ourselves, took our seats on the benches,

[580] and smote the gray sea with our oars. I again stationed my ships in the sky-fed stream of Egypt, and offered hecatombs that were full and sufficient. When I had thus appeased the anger of the gods, I raised a tomb to the memory of Agamemnon that his kleos

[585] might be inextinguishable, after which I had a quick passage home, for the gods sent me a fair wind. “And now for yourself – stay here some ten or twelve days longer, and I will then speed you on your way. I will make you a noble

[590] present of a chariot and three horses. I will also give you a beautiful chalice that so long as you live you may think of me whenever you make a drink-offering to the immortal gods.” “Son of Atreus,” replied the spirited Telemakhos, “do not press me to stay longer;

[595] I should be contented to remain with you for another twelve months; I find your conversation so delightful that I should never once wish myself at home with my parents; but my crew whom I have left at Pylos are already impatient, and you are detaining me from them.

[600] As for any present you may be disposed to make me, I had rather that it should be a piece of plate. I will take no horses back with me to Ithaca, but will leave them to adorn your own stables, for you have much flat ground in your kingdom where lotus thrives, as also meadowsweet and wheat and barley, and oats with their white and spreading ears;

[605] whereas in Ithaca we have neither open fields nor racecourses, and the country is more fit for goats than horses, and I like it the better for that. None of our islands have much level ground, suitable for horses, and Ithaca least of all.” Menelaos smiled

[610] and took Telemakhos’ hand within his own. “What you say,” said he, “shows that you come of good family. I both can, and will, make this exchange for you, by giving you the finest and most precious piece of plate in all my house.

[615] It is a mixing-bowl by Hephaistos’ own hand, of pure silver, except the rim, which is inlaid with gold. The hero Phaidimos, king of the Sidonians, gave it me in the course of a visit which I paid him when I returned there on my homeward journey. I will make you a present of it.”

[620] Thus did they converse as guests kept coming to the king’s house. They brought sheep and wine, while their wives had put up bread for them to take with them; so they were busy cooking their dinners in the courts.

[625] Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs or aiming with spears at a mark on the leveled ground in front of Odysseus’ house, and were behaving with all their old hubris. Antinoos and Eurymakhos, who were their ringleaders and much the foremost in aretē among them all, were sitting together

[630] when Noemon son of Phronios came up and said to Antinoos, “Have we any idea, Antinoos, on what day Telemakhos returns from Pylos? He has a ship of mine, and I want it,

[635] to cross over to Elis: I have twelve brood mares there with yearling mule foals by their side not yet broken in, and I want to bring one of them over here and break him.” They were astounded when they heard this, for they had made sure that Telemakhos had not gone to the city of Neleus. They thought he was only away somewhere

[640] on the farms, and was with the sheep, or with the swineherd; so Antinoos son of Eupeithes said, “When did he go? Tell me truly, and what young men did he take with him? Were they freemen or his own bondsmen – for he might manage that too?

[645] Tell me also, did you let him have the ship of your own free will because he asked you, or did he take it by force [biē] without your leave?” “I lent it him,” answered Noemon. “What else could I do [650] when a man of his position said he was in a difficulty and asked me to oblige him? I could not possibly refuse. As for those who went with him they were the best young men we have in the dēmos, and I saw Mentor go on board as captain – or some god who was exactly like him.

[655] I cannot understand it, for I saw splendid Mentor here myself yesterday morning, and yet he was then setting out for Pylos.” Noemon then went back to his father’s house, but Antinoos and Eurymakhos were very angry. They told the others to leave off competing [athlos], and to come and sit down along with themselves.

[660] When they came, Antinoos son of Eupeithes spoke in anger. His heart was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he said: “Skies above! This voyage of Telemakhos is a very serious matter; we had made sure that it would come to nothing,

[665] but the young man has got away in spite of us, and with a crew picked [krinein] from the best of the dēmos, too. He will be giving us trouble presently; may Zeus destroy him with violence [biē] before he is full grown. Find me a ship, therefore, with a crew of twenty men,

[670] and I will lie in wait for him in the straits between Ithaca and Samos; he will then rue the day that he set out to try and get news of his father.” Thus did he speak, and the others applauded his saying; they then all of them went inside the buildings.

[675] It was not long before Penelope came to know what the suitors were plotting; for a man servant, Medon, overheard them from outside the outer court as they were laying their schemes within, and went to tell his mistress.

[680] As he crossed the threshold of her room Penelope said: “Medon, what have the suitors sent you here for? Is it to tell the maids to leave their godlike master’s business and cook dinner for them? I wish they

[685] may neither woo nor dine henceforward, neither here nor anywhere else, but let this be the very last time, for the waste you all make of my high-spirited son’s estate. Did not your fathers tell you when you were children how good Odysseus had been to them – never doing anything high-handed,

[690] nor speaking harshly to anybody in the dēmos? Such is the justice [dikē] of divine kings: they may take a fancy to one man and dislike another, but Odysseus never did an unjust thing by anybody – which shows what bad hearts you have,

[695] and that there is no such thing as gratitude [kharis] left in this world.” Then Medon, a man of spirited mind said, “I wish, Madam, that this were all; but they are plotting something much more dreadful now – may the gods frustrate their design.

[700] They are going to try and murder Telemakhos as he is coming home from Pylos and glorious Lacedaemon, where he has been to get news of his father.” Then Penelope’s heart sank within her, and for a long time she was speechless; her eyes

[705] filled with tears, and she could find no utterance. At last, however, she said, “Why did my son leave me? What business had he to go sailing off in fast-running ships that make long voyages over the ocean like sea-horses?

[710] Does he want to die without leaving any one behind him to keep up his name?” “I do not know,” answered Medon, “whether some god set him on to it, or whether he went on his own impulse to see if he could find out if his father was dead, or alive and on his way home [nostos].”

[715] Then he went downstairs again, leaving Penelope in an agony of grief [akhos]. There were plenty of seats in the house, but she had no heart for sitting on any one of them; she could only fling herself on the floor of her own room and cry; whereon all the maids in the house,

[720] both old and young, gathered round her and began to cry too, till at last in a transport of sorrow she exclaimed, “My dears, the gods have been pleased to try me with more affliction than any other woman of my age and country. First I lost my brave and lion-hearted husband, [725] who had every good quality [aretē] under the sky, and whose kleos was great over all Hellas and middle Argos; and now my darling son is at the mercy of the winds and waves, without my having heard one word about his leaving home. You hussies, there was not one of you would so much as think

[730] of giving me a call out of my bed, though you all of you very well knew when he was starting. If I had known he meant taking this voyage, he would have had to give it up, no matter how much he was bent upon it, or leave me a corpse behind him – one or other. Now, however,

[735] go some of you and call old man Dolios, who was given me by my father on my marriage, and who is my gardener. Bid him go at once and tell everything to Laertes, who may be able to hit on some plan

[740] for enlisting public sympathy on our side, as against those who are trying to exterminate his own lineage and that of godlike Odysseus.” Then the dear old nurse Eurykleia said, “You may kill me, Madam, or let me live on in your house, whichever you please, but I will tell you the real truth.

[745] I knew all about it, and gave him everything he wanted in the way of bread and wine, but he made me take my solemn oath that I would not tell you anything for some ten or twelve days, unless you asked or happened to hear of his having gone, for he did not want you to spoil your beauty by crying.

[750] And now, Madam, wash your face, change your dress, and go upstairs with your maids to offer prayers to Athena, daughter of Aegis-bearing Zeus, for she can save him even though he be in the jaws of death. Do not trouble Laertes: he has trouble enough already.

[755] Besides, I cannot think that the gods hate the lineage of the son of Arkeisios so much, but there will be a son left to come up after him, and inherit both the house and the fair fields that lie far all round it.” With these words she made her mistress leave off crying, and dried the tears from her eyes. Penelope washed her face, changed her dress,

[760] and went upstairs with her maids. She then put some bruised barley into a basket and began praying to Athena. “Hear me,” she cried, “Daughter of Aegis-bearing Zeus, the one who cannot be worn down. If ever resourceful Odysseus while he was here burned you fat thigh bones of sheep or heifer,

[765] bear it in mind now as in my favor, and save my darling son from the villainy of the suitors.” She cried aloud as she spoke, and the goddess heard her prayer; meanwhile the suitors were clamorous throughout the covered hall, and one of them said:

[770] “The queen is preparing for her marriage with one or other of us. Little does she dream that her son has now been doomed to die.” This was what they said, but they did not know what was going to happen. Then Antinoos said, “Comrades, let there be no loud

[775] talking, lest some of it get carried inside. Let us be up and do that in silence, about which we are all of a mind.” He then chose [krinein] twenty men, and they went down to their ship and to the sea side;

[780] they drew the vessel into the water and got her mast and sails inside her; they bound the oars to the thole-pins with twisted thongs of leather, all in due course, and spread the white sails aloft, while their fine servants brought them their armor.

[785] Then they made the ship fast a little way out, came on shore again, got their suppers, and waited till night should fall. But circumspect Penelope lay in her own room upstairs unable to eat or drink, and wondering whether her brave son would escape,

[790] or be overpowered by the wicked suitors. Like a lioness caught in the toils with huntsmen hemming her in on every side she thought and thought till she sank into a slumber, and lay on her bed bereft of thought and motion.

[795] Then owl-vision goddess Athena turned her thoughts to another matter, and made a vision in the likeness of Penelope’s sister Iphthime daughter of great-hearted Ikarios who had married Eumelos and lived in Pherai. She told the vision to go to the house of godlike Odysseus,

[800] and to make Penelope leave off crying, so it came into her room by the hole through which the thong went for pulling the door to, and hovered over her head, saying, “You are asleep, Penelope: [805] the gods who live at ease will not suffer you to weep and be so sad. Your son has done them no wrong, so he will yet come back to you.” Circumspect Penelope, who was sleeping sweetly at the gates of dreamland, answered,

[810] “Sister, why have you come here? You do not come very often, but I suppose that is because you live such a long way off. Am I, then, to leave off crying and refrain from all the sad thoughts that torture me? I, who have lost my brave and lion-hearted husband,

[815] who had every good quality [aretē] under the sky, and whose kleos was great over all Hellas and middle Argos; and now my darling son has gone off on board of a ship – a foolish man who has never been used to undergoing ordeals [ponoi], nor to going about among gatherings of men. I am even more anxious about him than about my husband;

[820] I am all in a tremble when I think of him, lest something should happen to him, either from the people in the dēmos where he has gone, or at sea, for he has many enemies who are plotting against him, and are bent on killing him before he can return home.” Then the vision said,

[825] “Take heart, and be not so much dismayed. There is one gone with him whom many a man would be glad enough to have stand by his side, I mean Athena; it is she who has compassion upon you, and who has sent me to bear you this message.”

[830] “Then,” said circumspect Penelope, “if you are a god or have been sent here by divine commission, tell me also about that other unhappy one – is he still alive, or is he already dead and in the house of Hadēs?”

[835] And the vision said, “I shall not tell you for certain whether he is alive or dead, and there is no use in idle conversation.” Then it vanished through the thong-hole of the door and was dissipated into thin air;

[840] but Penelope rose from her sleep refreshed and comforted, so vivid had been her dream. Meantime the suitors went on board and sailed their ways over the sea, intent on murdering Telemakhos. Now there is a rocky islet called Asteris, of no great size,

[845] in mid channel between Ithaca and Samos, and there is a harbor on either side of it where a ship can lie. Here then the Achaeans placed themselves in ambush.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll V

[1] And now, as Dawn rose from her couch beside haughty Tithonos – harbinger of light alike to mortals and immortals – the gods met in council and with them, Zeus the lord of thunder, who is their king.

[5] Then Athena began to tell them of the many sufferings of Odysseus, for she pitied him away there in the house of the nymph Kalypsō. “Father Zeus,” said she, “and all you other gods that live in everlasting bliss, I hope there may never be such a thing as a kind and well-disposed ruler any more, nor one who will govern equitably.

[10] I hope they will be all henceforth cruel and unjust, for there is not one of his subjects who has not forgotten godlike Odysseus, who ruled them as though he were their father. There he is, lying in great pain in an island where dwells the nymph Kalypsō, who will not let him go;

[15] and he cannot get back to his own country, for he can find neither ships nor sailors to take him over the sea. Furthermore, wicked people are now trying to murder his only son Telemakhos,

[20] who is coming home from Pylos and glorious Lacedaemon, where he has been to see if he can get news of his father.” “What, my dear, are you talking about?” replied her father. “Did you not send him there yourself, because you thought [noos] it would help Odysseus to get home and punish the suitors?

[25] Besides, you are perfectly able to protect Telemakhos, and to see him safely home again, while the suitors have to come hurrying back without having killed him.” When he had thus spoken, he said to his beloved son Hermes, “Hermes, you are our messenger, [30] go therefore and tell Kalypsō we have decreed that poor enduring Odysseus is to return home [nostos]. He is to be convoyed neither by gods nor men, but after a perilous voyage of twenty days upon a raft he is to reach fertile Skheria,

[35] the land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the gods, and will honor him as though he were one of ourselves. They will send him in a ship to his own country, and will give him more bronze and gold and raiment than he would have brought back from Troy,

[40] if he had had all his prize wealth and had got home without disaster. This is how we have settled that he shall return to his country and his friends.” Thus he spoke, and Hermes, guide and guardian, slayer of Argus, did as he was told. Right away he bound on his glittering golden sandals

[45] with which he could fly like the wind over land and sea. He took the wand with which he seals men’s eyes in sleep or wakes them just as he pleases, and flew holding it in his hand over Pieria;

[50] then he swooped down through the firmament till he reached the level of the sea, whose waves he skimmed like a cormorant that flies fishing every hole and corner of the ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in the spray. He flew and flew over many a weary wave,

[55] but when at last he got to the island which was his journey’s end, he left the sea and went on by land till he came to the cave where the nymph Kalypsō lived. He found her at home. There was a large fire burning on the hearth, and one could smell from far the fragrant reek of burning cedar

[60] and sandal wood. As for herself, she was busy at her loom, shooting her golden shuttle through the warp and singing beautifully. Round her cave there was a thick wood of alder, poplar, and sweet smelling cypress trees,

[65] wherein all kinds of great birds had built their nests – owls, hawks, and chattering sea-crows that have their business in the waters. A vine loaded with grapes was trained and grew luxuriantly about the mouth of the cave;

[70] there were also four running rills of water in channels cut pretty close together, and turned here and there so as to irrigate the beds of violets and luscious herbage over which they flowed. Even a god could not help being charmed with such a lovely spot,

[75] so Hermes stood still and looked at it; but when he had admired it sufficiently he went inside the cave. Kalypsō knew him at once –

[80] for the gods all know each other, no matter how far they live from one another – but great-hearted Odysseus was not within; he was on the sea-shore as usual, looking out upon the barren ocean with tears in his eyes, groaning and breaking his heart for sorrow.

[85] Kalypsō, shining among goddesses, gave Hermes a seat and said: “Why have you come to see me, Hermes – honored, and ever welcome – for you do not visit me often? Say what you want; I will do it for you at once

[90] if I can, and if it can be done at all; but come inside, and let me set refreshment before you. As she spoke she drew a table loaded with ambrosia beside him and mixed him some red nectar, so Hermes ate and drank

[95] till he had had enough, and then said: “We are speaking god and goddess to one another, and you ask me why I have come here, and I will tell you truly as you would have me do. Zeus sent me; it was no doing of mine;

[100] who could possibly want to come all this way over the sea where there are no cities full of people to offer me sacrifices or choice hecatombs? Nevertheless I had to come, for none of us other gods can cross aegis-bearing Zeus, nor transgress his orders [his noos].

[105] He says that you have here the most ill-starred of all those who fought nine years before the city of King Priam and sailed home in the tenth year after having ransacked it. During their homecoming [nostos] they sinned against Athena, who raised both wind and waves against them, [110] so that all his brave companions perished, and he alone was carried here by wind and tide. Zeus says that you are to let this by man go at once, for it is decreed that he shall not perish here, far from his own people, but shall return

[115] to his house and country and see his friends again.” Kalypsō, shining among divinities, trembled with rage when she heard this, “You gods,” she exclaimed, “ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You are always jealous and hate seeing a goddess take a fancy

[120] to a mortal man, and live with him in open matrimony. So when rosy-fingered Dawn made love to Orion, you precious gods were all of you furious till Artemis went and killed him in Ortygia.

[125] So again when Demeter of the lovely hair fell in love with Iasion, and yielded to him in a thrice plowed fallow field, Zeus came to hear of it before so long and killed Iasion with his thunder-bolts. And now you are angry with me too because

[130] I have a man here. I found the poor creature sitting all alone astride of a keel, for Zeus had struck his ship with lightning and sunk it in mid ocean, so that all his crew were drowned, while he himself was driven by wind and waves on to my island.

[135] I got fond of him and cherished him, and had set my heart on making him immortal, so that he should never grow old all his days; still I cannot cross aegis-bearing Zeus, nor bring his counsels [noos] to nothing; therefore, if he insists upon it,

[140] let the man go beyond the seas again; but I cannot send him anywhere myself for I have neither ships nor men who can take him. Nevertheless I will readily give him such advice, in all good faith, as will be likely to bring him safely to his own country.”

[145] “Then send him away,” said Hermes, “and fear the mēnis of Zeus, lest he grow angry and punish you.” Then he took his leave,

[150] and Kalypsō went out to look for great-hearted Odysseus, for she had heard Zeus’ message. She found him sitting upon the beach with his eyes ever filled with tears, his sweet life wasting away as he wept for his homecoming [nostos]; for he had got tired of Kalypsō, and though he was forced to sleep with her

[155] in the cave by night, it was she, not he, that would have it so. As for the daytime, he spent it on the rocks and on the sea-shore, weeping, crying aloud for his despair, and always looking out upon the sea. Kalypsō then went close up to him said:

[160] “My poor man, you shall not stay here grieving and fretting your life out any longer. I am going to send you away of my own free will; so go, cut some beams of wood, and make yourself a large raft with an upper deck that it may carry you safely over the sea.

[165] I will put bread, wine, and water on board to save you from starving. I will also give you clothes, and will send you a fair wind to take you home, if the gods in the sky so will it –

[170] for they know more about these things, and can settle them better than I can.” Long-suffering great Odysseus shuddered as he heard her. “Now goddess,” he answered, “there is something behind all this; you cannot be really meaning to help me home when you bid me do such a dreadful thing as put to sea

[175] on a raft. Not even a well-found ship with a fair wind could venture on such a distant voyage: nothing that you can say or do shall make me go on board a raft unless you first solemnly swear that you mean me no mischief.”

[180] Kalypsō, shining among divinities, smiled at this and caressed him with her hand: “You know a great deal,” said she, “but you are quite wrong here. May the sky above and earth below be my witnesses,

[185] with the waters of the river Styx – and this is the most solemn oath which a blessed god can take – that I mean you no sort of harm, and am only advising you to do exactly what I should do myself in your place. [190] My mind [noos] is favorable towards you; my heart is not made of iron, and I am very sorry for you.” When she had thus spoken she led the way rapidly before him, and Odysseus followed in her steps; so the pair, goddess and man, went on and on till they came to Kalypsō’s cave,

[195] where godlike Odysseus took the seat that Hermes had just left. Kalypsō set meat and drink before him of the food that mortals eat; but her maids brought ambrosia and nectar for herself,

[200] and they laid their hands on the good things that were before them. When they had satisfied themselves with meat and drink, shining goddess Kalypsō spoke, saying: “Resourceful Odysseus, noble son of Laertes, so you would start home

[205] to your own land at once? Good luck go with you, but if you could only know how much suffering is in store for you before you get back to your own country, you would stay where you are, keep house along with me, and let me make you immortal, no matter how anxious you may be to see

[210] this wife of yours, of whom you are thinking all the time, day after day; yet I flatter myself that I am no whit less tall or well-looking than she is, for it is not to be expected that a mortal woman should compare in beauty with an immortal.” “Goddess,” replied resourceful Odysseus,

[215] “do not be angry with me about this. I am quite aware that my wife circumspect Penelope is nothing like so tall or so beautiful as yourself. She is only a woman, whereas you are an immortal. Nevertheless, I want to get home,

[220] and can think of nothing else. If some god wrecks me when I am on the sea, I will bear it and make the best of it. I have had infinite trouble both by land and sea already, so let this go with the rest.”

[225] Presently the sun set and it became dark, whereon the pair retired into the inner part of the cave and went to bed. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Odysseus put on his khiton and cloak,

[230] while the goddess wore a dress of a light gossamer fabric, very fine and graceful, with a beautiful golden waistband about her waist and a veil to cover her head. She at once set herself to think how she could speed great-hearted Odysseus on his way. So she gave him a great bronze axe that suited his hands;

[235] it was sharpened on both sides, and had a beautiful olive-wood handle fitted firmly on to it. She also gave him a sharp adze, and then led the way to the far end of the island where the largest trees grew – alder, poplar and pine, that reached the sky –

[240] very dry and well seasoned, so as to sail light for him in the water. Then, when she had shown him where the best trees grew, Kalypsō, shining among divinities, went home, leaving him to cut them, which he soon finished doing. He cut down twenty trees in all and adzed them smooth,

[245] squaring them by rule in good workmanlike fashion. Meanwhile Kalypsō, the shining goddess, came back with some augers, so he bored holes with them and fitted the timbers together with bolts and rivets. He made the raft as broad as a skilled shipwright

[250] makes the beam of a large vessel, and he filed a deck on top of the ribs, and ran a gunwale all round it. He also made a mast with a yard arm,

[255] and a rudder to steer with. He fenced the raft all round with wicker hurdles as a protection against the waves, and then he threw on a quantity of wood. By and by Kalypsō, the shining goddess, brought him some linen to make the sails, and he made these too, excellently,

[260] making them fast with braces and sheets. Last of all, with the help of levers, he drew the raft down into the water. In four days he had completed the whole work, and on the fifth shining Kalypsō sent him from the island after washing him and giving him some clean clothes.

[265] She gave him a goat skin full of black wine, and another larger one of water; she also gave him a wallet full of provisions, and found him in much good meat. Moreover, she made the wind fair and warm for him, and gladly did glorious Odysseus spread his sail before it, [270] while he sat and guided the raft skillfully by means of the rudder. He never closed his eyes, but kept them fixed on the Pleiades, on late-setting Boötes, and on the Bear – which men also call the wagon, and which turns round and round where it is, facing Orion,

[275] and alone never dipping into the stream of Okeanos – for Kalypsō, bright among goddesses, had told him to keep this to his left. Seventeen days did he sail over the sea, and on the eighteenth the dim outlines of the mountains

[280] on the nearest part of the Phaeacian coast appeared, rising like a shield on the horizon. But lord Poseidon, the strong Earthshaker, who was returning from the Ethiopians, caught sight of Odysseus a long way off, from the mountains of the Solymoi. He could see him sailing upon the sea, and it made him very angry,

[285] so he wagged his head and muttered to himself, saying, “Heavens, so the gods have been changing their minds about Odysseus while I was away in Ethiopia, and now he is close to the land of the Phaeacians, where it is decreed that he shall escape from the calamities that have befallen him.

[290] Still, he shall have plenty of hardship yet before he has done with it.” Then he gathered his clouds together, grasped his trident, stirred it round in the sea, and roused the rage of every wind that blows till earth, sea, and sky were hidden in cloud, and night sprang forth out of the sky.

[295] Winds from East, South, North, and West fell upon him all at the same time, and a tremendous sea got up, so that Odysseus’ heart began to fail him. “Alas,” he said to himself in his dismay, “what ever will become of me?

[300] I am afraid Kalypsō was right when she said I should have trouble by sea before I got back home. It is all coming true. How black is Zeus making the sky with his clouds, and what a sea the winds

[305] are raising from every quarter at once. I am now safe to perish. Blest and thrice blest were those Danaans who fell before Troy in the cause [kharis] of the sons of Atreus. Would that I had been killed on the day when the Trojans

[310] were pressing me so sorely about the dead body of Achilles, for then I should have had due burial and the Achaeans would have honored my name [kleos]; but now it seems that I shall come to a most pitiable end.” As he spoke a sea broke over him with such terrific fury that the raft reeled again,

[315] and he was carried overboard a long way off. He let go the helmet, and the force of the hurricane was so great that it broke the mast half way up, and both sail and yard went over into the sea. For a long time Odysseus was under water, and it was all he could do

[320] to rise to the surface again, for the clothes Kalypsō had given him weighed him down; but at last he got his head above water and spat out the bitter brine that was running down his face in streams. In spite of all this, however, he did not lose sight of his raft,

[325] but swam as fast as he could towards it, got hold of it, and climbed on board again so as to escape drowning. The sea took the raft and tossed it about as Autumn winds whirl thistledown round and round upon a road.

[330] [It was as though the South, North, East, and West winds were all playing battledore and shuttlecock with it at once.] When he was in this plight, sweet-stepping Ino daughter of Kadmos, also called Leukothea, saw him. She had formerly been a mere mortal,

[335] but had been since raised to the rank of a marine goddess. Seeing in what great distress Odysseus now was, she had compassion upon him, and, rising like a sea-gull from the waves, took her seat upon the raft. “My poor good man,” said she, “why is Poseidon the shaker of the earth so furiously

[340] angry with you? He is giving you a great deal of trouble, but for all his bluster he will not kill you. You seem to be a sensible person, do then as I bid you; strip, leave your raft to drive before the wind, and swim [345] to the Phaeacian coast where better luck awaits you. And here, take my veil and put it round your chest; it is enchanted, and you can come to no harm so long as you wear it. As soon as you touch land take it off, throw it back as far

[350] as you can into the sea, and then go away again.” With these words she took off her veil and gave it him. Then she dived down again like a sea-gull and vanished beneath the seething dark waters. But long- suffering great Odysseus did not know what to think.

[355] “Alas,” he said to himself in his dismay, “this is only some one or other of the gods who is luring me to ruin by advising me to quit my raft. At any rate I will not do so at present, for the land where she said I should be quit of all troubles seemed to be still a good way off.

[360] I know what I will do – I am sure it will be best – no matter what happens I will stick to the raft as long as her timbers hold together, but when the sea breaks her up I will swim for it; I do not see how I can do any better than this.”

[365] While he was thus in two minds, Poseidon, shaker of the earth, sent a terrifying great wave that seemed to rear itself above his head till it broke right over the raft, which then went to pieces

[370] as though it were a heap of dry chaff tossed about by a whirlwind. Odysseus got astride of one plank and rode upon it as if he were on horseback; he then took off the clothes divine Kalypsō had given him, bound Ino’s veil under his arms, and plunged into the sea –

[375] meaning to swim on shore. King Poseidon the strong Earthshaker watched him as he did so, and wagged his head, muttering to himself and saying, “‘There now, swim up and down as you best can till you fall in with well-to-do people. I do not think you will be able to say that I have let you off too lightly.”

[380] Then he lashed his fair-maned horses and drove to Aigai where his palace is. But Athena, daughter of Zeus, resolved to help Odysseus, so she bound the ways of all the winds except one, and made them lie quite still;

[385] but she roused a good stiff breeze from the North that should lay the waters till Zeus-sprung Odysseus reached the land of the oar-loving Phaeacians where he would be safe. Then he floated about for two nights and two days in the water, with a heavy swell on the sea and death staring him in the face;

[390] but when the third day broke, the wind fell and there was a dead calm without so much as a breath of air stirring. As he rose on the swell he looked eagerly ahead, and could see land quite near. Then, as children rejoice when their dear father

[395] begins to get better after having for a long time borne sore affliction sent him by some angry spirit, but the gods deliver him from evil, so was Odysseus thankful when he again saw land and trees, and swam on with all his strength that he might once more set foot upon dry ground.

[400] When, however, he got within earshot, he began to hear the surf thundering up against the rocks, for the swell still broke against them with a terrific roar. Everything was enveloped in spray; there were no harbors where a ship might ride, nor shelter of any kind,

[405] but only headlands, low-lying rocks, and mountain tops. Odysseus’ heart now began to fail him, and he said despairingly to himself, “Alas, Zeus has let me see land after swimming so far that I had given up all hope,

[410] but I can find no landing place, for the coast is rocky and surf-beaten, the rocks are smooth and rise sheer from the sea, with deep water close under them so that I cannot climb out for want of foothold.

[415] I am afraid some great wave will lift me off my legs and dash me against the rocks as I leave the water – which would give me a sorry landing. If, on the other hand, I swim further in search of some shelving beach or harbor, a hurricane may

[420] carry me out to sea again sorely against my will, or the gods may send some great monster of the deep to attack me; for Amphitrite breeds many such, and I know that Poseidon the renowned Earthshaker is very angry with me.” While he was thus in two minds [425] a wave caught him and took him with such force against the rocks that he would have been smashed and torn to pieces if the owl-vision goddess Athena had not shown him what to do. He caught hold of the rock with both hands and clung to it groaning with pain till the wave retired, so he was saved

[430] that time; but presently the wave came on again and carried him back with it far into the sea- tearing his hands as the suckers of an octopus are torn when some one plucks it from its bed, and the stones come up along with it- even so did the rocks

[435] tear the skin from his strong hands, and then the wave drew him deep down under the water. Here poor Odysseus would have certainly perished even in spite of his own destiny, if the owl-vision goddess Athena had not helped him to keep his wits about him. He swam seaward again, beyond reach of the surf that was beating against the land, and at the same time he kept looking towards the shore to see if he could find

[440] some haven, or a spit that should take the waves aslant. By and by, as he swam on, he came to the mouth of a river, and here he thought would be the best place, for there were no rocks, and it afforded shelter from the wind. He felt that there was a current, so he prayed inwardly and said:

[445] “Hear me, O King, whoever you may be, and save me from the anger of the sea-god Poseidon, for I approach you prayerfully. Anyone who has lost his way has at all times a claim even upon the gods, wherefore in my distress I draw near to your stream, and cling to the knees of your riverhood.

[450] Have mercy upon me, O king, for I declare myself your suppliant.” Then the god stayed his stream and stilled the waves, making all calm before him, and bringing him safely into the mouth of the river. Here at last Odysseus’ knees and strong hands failed him, for the sea had completely broken him.

[455] His body was all swollen, and his mouth and nostrils ran down like a river with sea-water, so that he could neither breathe nor speak, and lay swooning from sheer exhaustion; presently, when he had got his breath and came to himself again, he took off the scarf that Ino had given him

[460] and threw it back into the salt stream of the river, whereon Ino received it into her hands from the wave that bore it towards her. Then he left the river, laid himself down among the rushes, and kissed the bounteous earth. “Alas,” he cried to himself in his dismay,

[465] “what ever will become of me, and how is it all to end? If I stay here upon the river-bed through the long watches of the night, I am so exhausted that the bitter cold and damp may make an end of me – for towards sunrise there will be a keen wind blowing from off the river.

[470] If, on the other hand, I climb the hill side, find shelter in the woods, and sleep in some thicket, I may escape the cold and have a good night’s rest, but some savage beast may take advantage of me and devour me.” In the end

[475] he thought it best to take to the woods, and he found one upon some high ground not far from the water. There he crept beneath two shoots of olive that grew from a single stock – the one ungrafted, while the other had been grafted. No wind, however squally, could break through the cover they afforded, nor could the sun’s rays pierce them,

[480] nor the rain get through them, so closely did they grow into one another. Odysseus crept under these and began to make himself a bed to lie on, for there was a great litter of dead leaves lying about – enough to make a covering for two

[485] or three men even in hard winter weather. He was glad enough to see this, so he laid himself down and heaped the leaves all round him. Then, as one who lives alone in the country, far from any neighbor,

[490] hides a brand as fire-seed in the ashes to save himself from having to get a light elsewhere, even so did Odysseus cover himself up with leaves; and Athena shed a sweet sleep upon his eyes, closed his eyelids, and made him lose all memories of his sorrows.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll VI

[1] So here long-suffering great Odysseus slept, overcome by sleep and toil; but Athena went off to the dēmos and city of the Phaeacians – a people who used to live in the fair town of Hypereia,

[5] near the lawless Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes were stronger in force [biē] than they and plundered them, so their king godlike Nausithoös moved them thence and settled them in Skheria, far from all other people. He surrounded the city with a wall, built houses

[10] and temples, and divided the lands among his people; but he was dead and gone to the house of Hadēs, and King Alkinoos, whose counsels were inspired by the gods, was now reigning. To his house, then, did owl-vision goddess Athena go in furtherance of the return [nostos] of great-hearted Odysseus.

[15] She went straight to the beautifully decorated bedroom in which there slept a girl who was as lovely as a goddess, Nausicaa, daughter to great-hearted King Alkinoos. Two maid servants were sleeping near her, both very pretty, one on either side of the doorway, which was closed with well-made folding doors.

[20] Athena took the form of the famous sea captain Dymas’ daughter, who was a bosom friend of Nausicaa and just her own age; then, coming up to the girl’s bedside like a breath of wind, she hovered over her head and said:

[25] “Nausicaa, what can your mother have been about, to have such a lazy daughter? Here are your clothes all lying in disorder, yet you are going to be married almost immediately, and should not only be well dressed yourself, but should find good clothes for those who attend you. This is the way to get yourself a good name,

[30] and to make your father and mother proud of you. Suppose, then, that we make tomorrow a washing day, and start at daybreak. I will come and help you so that you may have everything ready as soon as possible, for all the best young men

[35] throughout your own dēmos are courting you, and you are not going to remain a young girl much longer. Ask your father, therefore, to have a wagon and mules ready for us at daybreak, to take the rugs, robes, and belts; and you can ride, too, which will be much pleasanter for you

[40] than walking, for the washing-cisterns are some way from the town.” When she had said this owl- vision Athena went away to Olympus, which they say is the everlasting home of the gods. Here no wind beats roughly, and neither rain nor snow can fall; but it abides

[45] in everlasting sunshine and in a great peacefulness of light, wherein the blessed gods are illumined for ever and ever. This was the place to which the owl-vision goddess went when she had given instructions to the girl. By and by morning came, throned in splendor, and woke Nausicaa, who began wondering about her dream;

[50] she therefore went to the other end of the house to tell her father and mother all about it, and found them in their own room. Her mother was sitting by the fireside spinning her purple yarn with her maids around her, and she happened to catch her father just as he was going out to attend a meeting of the town council,

[55] which the proud Phaeacian aldermen had convened. She stopped him and said: “Papa dear, could you manage to let me have a good big wagon? I want to take all our dirty clothes to the river and wash them.

[60] You are the chief man here, so it is only right that you should have a clean khiton when you attend meetings of the council. Moreover, you have five sons at home, two of them married, while the other three are good-looking bachelors; you know they always like to have clean linen

[65] when they go to a dance [khoros], and I have been thinking about all this.” She did not say a word about her own wedding, for she did not like to, but her father knew and said, “You shall have the mules, my love, and whatever else you have a mind for. Be off with you, and the men shall get you [70] a good strong wagon with a body to it that will hold all your clothes.” Then he gave his orders to the servants, who got the wagon out, harnessed the mules, and put them to, while the girl brought the clothes down from the linen room

[75] and placed them on the wagon. Her mother prepared her a basket of provisions with all sorts of good things, and a goat skin full of wine; the girl now got into the wagon, and her mother gave her also a golden cruse of oil,

[80] that she and her women might anoint themselves. Then she took the whip and reins and lashed the mules on, whereon they set off, and their hoofs clattered on the road. They pulled without flagging, and carried not only Nausicaa and her wash of clothes, but the maids also who were with her.

[85] When they reached the water side they went to the washing-cisterns, through which there ran at all times enough pure water to wash any quantity of linen, no matter how dirty. Here they unharnessed the mules and turned them out

[90] to feed on the sweet juicy herbage that grew by the water side. They took the clothes out of the wagon, put them in the water, and vied with one another in treading them in the pits to get the dirt out. After they had washed them and got them quite clean, they laid them out by the sea side, where

[95] the waves had raised a high beach of shingle, and set about washing themselves and anointing themselves with olive oil. Then they got their dinner by the side of the stream, and waited for the sun to finish drying the clothes. When they had done dinner

[100] they threw off the veils that covered their heads and began to play at ball, while Nausicaa of the white arms sang for them. As the huntress Artemis, who showers arrows, goes forth upon the mountains of Taygetos or Erymanthos to hunt wild boars or deer,

[105] and the wood-nymphs, daughters of Aegis-bearing Zeus, take their sport along with her (then is Leto proud at seeing her daughter stand a full head taller than the others, and eclipse the loveliest amid a whole bevy of beauties), even so did the girl outshine her handmaids.

[110] When it was time for them to start home, and they were folding the clothes and putting them into the wagon, owl-vision goddess Athena began to consider how Odysseus should wake up and see the handsome girl who was to conduct him to the city of the Phaeacians.

[115] The girl, therefore, threw a ball at one of the maids, which missed her and fell into deep water. Then they all shouted, and the noise they made woke noble Odysseus, who sat up in his bed of leaves and began to wonder what it might all be. “Alas,” said he to himself, “what kind of people have I come amongst?

[120] Are they cruel, savage, and uncivilized [= not dikaios], or hospitable and endowed with a god-fearing mind [noos]? I seem to hear the voices of young women, and they sound like those of the nymphs that haunt mountain tops, or springs of rivers and meadows of green grass. At any rate I am

[125] among a lineage of men and women. Let me try if I cannot manage to get a look at them.” As he said this he crept from under his bush, and broke off a bough covered with thick leaves to hide his nakedness.

[130] He looked like some lion of the wilderness that stalks about exulting in his strength and defying both wind and rain; his eyes glare as he prowls in quest of oxen, sheep, or deer, for he is famished, and will dare break even into a well-fenced homestead, trying to get at the sheep –

[135] even such did Odysseus seem to the young women, as he drew near to them all naked as he was, for he was in great want. On seeing one so unkempt and so begrimed with salt water, the others scampered off along the spits that jutted out into the sea, but the daughter of Alkinoos stood firm, for Athena

[140] put courage into her heart and took away all fear from her. She stood right in front of Odysseus, and he doubted whether he should go up to her, throw himself at her feet, and embrace her knees as a suppliant, or stay where he was and entreat her to give him some clothes and show him the way to the town. [145] In the end he thought it best to entreat her from a distance in case the girl should take offence at his coming near enough to clasp her knees, so he addressed her in honeyed and persuasive language. “O queen,” he said, “I implore your aid – but tell me, are you a goddess or are you a mortal woman?

[150] If you are a goddess and dwell in the sky, I can only conjecture that you are Zeus’ daughter Artemis, for your face and figure resemble none but hers; if on the other hand you are a mortal and live on earth, thrice happy are your father and mother –

[155] thrice happy, too, are your brothers and sisters; how proud and delighted they must feel when they see so fair a scion as yourself going out to a dance [khoros]; most happy, however, of all will he be whose wedding gifts have been the richest, and who takes you to his own

[160] home. I never yet saw any one so beautiful, neither man nor woman, and am lost in admiration as I behold you. I can only compare you to a young palm tree which I saw when I was at Delos growing near the altar of Apollo – for I was there, too, with much people after me,

[165] when I was on that journey which has been the source of all my troubles. Never yet did such a young plant shoot out of the ground as that was, and I admired and wondered at it exactly as I now admire and wonder at yourself. I dare not clasp your knees, but I am in great distress [penthos];

[170] yesterday made the twentieth day that I had been tossing about upon the sea. The winds and waves have taken me all the way from the Ogygian island, and now a superhuman force [daimōn] has flung me upon this coast that I may endure still further suffering; for I do not think that I have yet come to the end of it, but rather that the gods have still much evil in store for me.

[175] “And now, O queen, have pity upon me, for you are the first person I have met, and I know no one else in this country. Show me the way to your town, and let me have anything that you may have brought here to wrap your clothes in.

[180] May the gods grant you in all things your heart’s desire – husband, house, and a happy, peaceful home; for there is nothing better in this world than that man and wife should be of one mind in a house. It discomfits their enemies,

[185] makes the hearts of their friends glad, and they themselves know more about it than any one.” To this Nausicaa of the white arms answered, “Stranger, you appear to be a sensible, well-disposed person. There is no accounting for luck; Zeus the Olympian, gives prosperity [olbos] to rich and poor just as he chooses,

[190] so you must take what he has seen fit to send you, and make the best of it. Now, however, that you have come to this our country, you shall not want for clothes nor for anything else that a foreigner in distress may reasonably look for. I will show you the way to the town, and will tell you the name of our people:

[195] we are called Phaeacians, and I am daughter to great-hearted Alkinoos, in whom the whole strength and power [biē] of the state is vested.” Then she called her maids and said, “Stay where you are, you girls. Can you not see a man without running away from him?

[200] Do you take him for a robber or a murderer? Neither he nor any one else can come here to do us Phaeacians any harm, for we are dear to the gods, and live apart on a land’s end

[205] that juts into the sounding sea, and have nothing to do with any other people. This is only some poor man who has lost his way, and we must be kind to him, for strangers and foreigners in distress are under Zeus’ protection, and will take what they can get and be thankful; so, girls, give the poor man something to eat and drink,

[210] and wash him in the stream at some place that is sheltered from the wind.” Then the maids left off running away and began calling one another back. They made Odysseus sit down in the shelter as Nausicaa had told them, and brought him a khiton and cloak. [215] They also brought him the little golden cruse of oil, and told him to go wash in the stream. But glorious Odysseus said, “Young women, please to stand a little on one side that I may wash the brine from my shoulders and anoint myself with oil,

[220] for it is long enough since my skin has had a drop of oil upon it. I cannot wash as long as you all keep standing there. I am ashamed to strip before a number of good-looking young women.” Then they stood on one side and went to tell the girl, while great Odysseus washed himself in the stream and scrubbed

[225] the brine from his back and from his broad shoulders. When he had thoroughly washed himself, and had got the brine out of his hair, he anointed himself with oil, and put on the clothes which the girl had given him; Athena, daughter of Zeus, then made him look taller and stronger

[230] than before, she also made the hair grow thick on the top of his head, and flow down in curls like hyacinth blossoms; she poured down gracefulness [kharis] over his head and shoulders as a skilful workman who has studied art of all kinds under Hephaistos and Athena enriches a piece of silver plate by gilding it –

[235] and his work is full of beauty. Then he went and sat down a little way off upon the beach, looking quite young and full of charm [kharis], and the girl gazed on him with admiration; then she said to her maids: “Hush, my dears, for I want to say something.

[240] I believe the gods who live in the sky have sent this man to the Phaeacians. When I first saw him I thought him plain, but now his appearance is like that of the gods who dwell in the sky. I should like my future husband to be just such another as he is,

[245] if he would only stay here and not want to go away. However, give him something to eat and drink.” They did as they were told, and set food before noble and long-suffering Odysseus, who ate and drank ravenously,

[250] for it was long since he had had food of any kind. Meanwhile, Nausicaa of the white arms turned her thoughts to another matter. She got the linen folded and placed in the wagon, she then yoked the mules, and, as she took her seat, she called Odysseus:

[255] “Stranger,” said she, “rise and let us be going back to the town; I will introduce you at the house of my excellent father, where I can tell you that you will meet all the best people among the Phaeacians. But be sure and do as I bid you, for you seem to be a sensible person. As long as we are going past the fields and farm lands,

[260] follow briskly behind the wagon along with the maids and I will lead the way myself. Presently, however, we shall come to the town, where you will find a high wall running all round it, and a good harbor on either side with a narrow entrance into the city,

[265] and the ships will be drawn up by the roadside, for every one has a place where his own ship can lie. You will see the market place with a temple of Poseidon in the middle of it, and paved with large stones bedded in the earth. Here people deal in ship’s gear of all kinds, such as cables and sails, and here, too, are the places where oars are made,

[270] for the Phaeacians are not a nation of archers; they know nothing about bows and arrows, but are a sea-faring folk, and pride themselves on their masts, oars, and ships, with which they travel far over the sea. “I am afraid of the gossip and scandal that may be set on foot against me later on; for the people in the dēmos here are very ill-natured,

[275] and some lowly man, if he met us, might say, ‘Who is this fine-looking stranger that is going about with Nausicaa? Where did she find him? I suppose she is going to marry him. Perhaps he is a vagabond sailor whom she has taken from some foreign vessel, for we have no neighbors;

[280] or some god has at last come down from the sky in answer to her prayers, and she is going to live with him all the rest of her life. It would be a better thing if she would take herself away and find a husband somewhere else, for she will not look at one of the many excellent young Phaeacians in the dēmos who woo her.’

[285] This is the kind of disparaging remark that would be made about me, and I could not complain, for I should myself be scandalized at seeing any other girl do the like, and go about with men in spite of everybody, while her father and mother were still alive, and without having been married in the face of all the world. “If, therefore,

[290] you want my father to give you an escort and to help you to your homecoming [nostos], do as I bid you; you will see a beautiful grove of poplars by the roadside dedicated to Athena; it has a well in it and a meadow all round it. Here my father has a field of rich garden ground, about as far from the town as a man’s voice will carry.

[295] Sit down there and wait for a while till the rest of us can get into the town and reach my father’s house. Then, when you think we must have done this, come into the town and ask the way to the house of my father, great-hearted Alkinoos.

[300] You will have no difficulty in finding it; any child will point it out to you, for no one else in the whole town has anything like such a fine house as he has. When you have got past the gates and through the outer court, go right across the inner court till you come to

[305] my mother. You will find her sitting by the fire and spinning her purple wool by firelight. It is a fine sight to see her as she leans back against one of the bearing-posts with her maids all ranged behind her. Close to her seat stands that of my father, on which he sits and topes like an immortal god.

[310] Never mind him, but go up to my mother, and lay your hands upon her knees if you would get home quickly. If you can win her over, you may hope to see your own country again,

[315] no matter how distant it may be.” So saying she lashed the mules with her whip and they left the river. The mules drew well and their hoofs went up and down upon the road. She was careful not to go too fast for Odysseus

[320] and the maids who were following on foot along with the wagon, so she plied her whip with judgment [noos]. As the sun was going down they came to the sacred grove of Athena, and there great Odysseus sat down and prayed to the mighty daughter of Zeus. “Hear me,” he cried, “daughter of Aegis- bearing Zeus, the one who cannot be worn down,

[325] hear me now, for you gave no heed to my prayers when Poseidon was wrecking me. Now, therefore, have pity upon me and grant that I may find friends and be hospitably received by the Phaeacians.” Thus did he pray, and Athena heard his prayer, but she would not show herself to him openly, for she was afraid of her

[330] uncle Poseidon, who was still furious in his endeavors to prevent godlike Odysseus from getting home.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll VII

[1] Thus, then, did long-suffering great Odysseus wait and pray; but the girl drove on to the town. When she reached her father’s house she drew up at the gateway, and her brothers

[5] – comely as the gods – gathered round her, took the mules out of the wagon, and carried the clothes into the house, while she went to her own room, where an old servant, Eurymedousa of Apeira, lit the fire for her. This old woman had been brought by sea

[10] from Apeira, and had been chosen as a prize for Alkinoos because he was king over the Phaeacians, and the people in the dēmos obeyed him as though he were a god. She had been nurse to white-armed Nausicaa, and had now lit the fire for her, and brought her supper for her into her own room. Presently Odysseus got up to go towards the town; and Athena [15] shed a thick mist all round him to hide him in case any of the proud Phaeacians who met him should be rude to him, or ask him who he was. Then, as he was just entering the town, she came towards him in the likeness

[20] of a little girl carrying a pitcher. She stood right in front of him, and great Odysseus said: “My dear, will you be so kind as to show me the house of king Alkinoos? I am an unfortunate foreigner in distress,

[25] and do not know one in your town and country.” Then owl-vision goddess Athena said, “Yes, father stranger, I will show you the house you want, for Alkinoos lives quite close to my own father.

[30] I will go before you and show the way, but say not a word as you go, and do not look at any man, nor ask him questions; for the people here cannot abide strangers, and do not like men who come from some other place. They are a sea-faring folk, and sail

[35] the seas by the grace of Poseidon in ships that glide along like thought, or as a bird in the air.” Then she led the way, and Odysseus followed in her steps; but not one of the Phaeacians could see him

[40] as he passed through the city in the midst of them; for the great goddess Athena in her good will towards him had hidden him in a thick cloud of darkness. He admired their harbors, ships, places of assembly, and the lofty

[45] walls of the city, which, with the palisade on top of them, were very striking, and when they reached the king’s house Athena, the owl-vision goddess, said: “This is the house, father stranger, which you would have me show you. You will find a number of great people

[50] sitting at table, but do not be afraid; go straight in, for the bolder a man is the more likely he is to carry his point, even though he is a stranger. First find the queen. Her name is Arete, and she comes of the same

[55] family as her husband Alkinoos. They both descend originally from Poseidon, shaker of the Earth, who was father to Nausithoös by Periboia, a woman of great beauty. Periboia was the youngest daughter of great-hearted Eurymedon, who at one time reigned over the giants,

[60] but he ruined his ill-fated people and lost his own life to boot. “Poseidon, however, lay with his daughter, and she had a son by him, the great-hearted Nausithoös, who reigned over the Phaeacians. Nausithoös had two sons Rhexenor and Alkinoos; Apollo of the silver bow killed the first of them

[65] while he was still a bridegroom and without male issue; but he left a daughter Arete, whom Alkinoos married, and honors as no other woman is honored of all those that keep house along with their husbands. “Thus she both was, and still is, respected beyond measure

[70] by her children, by Alkinoos himself, and by the whole people, who look upon her as a goddess, and greet her whenever she goes about the city, for she is a thoroughly good woman both in mind [noos] and heart, and when any women are friends of hers, she will help their husbands also to settle their disputes.

[75] If you can gain her good will, you may have every hope of seeing your friends again, and getting safely back to your home and country.” Then owl-vision Athena left Skheria and went away over the sea.

[80] She went to Marathon and to the spacious streets of Athens, where she entered the close-built abode of Erekhtheus; but Odysseus went on to the house of great-hearted Alkinoos, and he pondered much as he paused a while before reaching the threshold of bronze,

[85] for the splendor of the palace was like that of the sun or moon. The walls on either side were of bronze from end to end, and the cornice was of blue enamel. The doors were gold, and hung on pillars of silver that rose from a floor of bronze,

[90] while the lintel was silver and the hook of the door was of gold. On either side there stood gold and silver mastiffs which Hephaistos, with his consummate skill, had fashioned expressly to keep watch over the palace of great-hearted king Alkinoos; so they were immortal and could never grow old.

[95] Seats were ranged all along the wall, here and there from one end to the other, with coverings of fine woven work which the women of the house had made. Here the chief persons of the Phaeacians used to sit and eat and drink, for there was abundance at all seasons; [100] and there were golden figures of young men with lighted torches in their hands, raised on pedestals, to give light by night to those who were at table. There are fifty maid servants in the house, some of whom are always grinding rich yellow grain at the mill,

[105] while others work at the loom, or sit and spin, and their shuttles go, backwards and forwards like the fluttering of aspen leaves, while the linen is so closely woven that it will turn oil. As the Phaeacians are the best sailors in the world, so their women

[110] excel all others in weaving, for Athena has taught them all manner of useful arts, and they are very intelligent. Outside the gate of the outer court there is a large garden of about four acres with a wall all round it. It is full of beautiful trees –

[115] pears, pomegranates, and the most delicious apples. There are luscious figs also, and olives in full growth. The fruits never rot nor fail all the year round, neither winter nor summer, for the air is so soft that a new crop ripens before the old has dropped.

[120] Pear grows on pear, apple on apple, and fig on fig, and so also with the grapes, for there is an excellent vineyard: on the level ground of a part of this, the grapes are being made into raisins; in another part they are being gathered;

[125] some are being trodden in the wine tubs, others further on have shed their blossom and are beginning to show fruit, others again are just changing color. In the furthest part of the ground there are beautifully arranged beds of flowers that are in bloom all the year round. Two streams go through it, the one turned in ducts throughout the whole

[130] garden, while the other is carried under the ground of the outer court to the house itself, and the town’s people draw water from it. Such, then, were the splendors with which the gods had endowed the house of king Alkinoos. So here long-suffering great Odysseus stood for a while and looked about him, but when he had looked long enough

[135] he crossed the threshold and went within the precincts of the house. There he found all the chief people among the Phaeacians making their drink-offerings to sharp-eyed Hermes, which they always did the last thing before going away for the night. He went straight through the court,

[140] still hidden by the cloak of darkness in which Athena had enveloped him, till he reached Arete and King Alkinoos; then he laid his hands upon the knees of the queen, and at that moment the miraculous darkness fell away from him and he became visible. Every one was speechless with surprise at seeing a man there,

[145] but Odysseus began at once with his petition. “Queen Arete,” he exclaimed, “daughter of godlike Rhexenor, in my distress I humbly pray you, as also your husband and these your guests (whom may the gods make prosperous with long life and happiness [olbos], and may they leave their possessions to their children,

[150] and all the honors conferred upon them by the state [dēmos]) to help me home to my own country as soon as possible; for I have been long in trouble and away from my friends.” Then he sat down on the hearth among the ashes and they all held their peace,

[155] till presently the old hero Ekheneus, who was an excellent speaker and an elder among the Phaeacians, plainly and in all honesty addressed them thus: “Alkinoos,” said he, “it is not creditable to you

[160] that a stranger should be seen sitting among the ashes of your hearth; every one is waiting to hear what you are about to say; tell him, then, to rise and take a seat on a stool inlaid with silver, and bid your servants mix some wine and water that we may make a drink-offering to Zeus the lord of thunder,

[165] who takes all well-disposed suppliants under his protection; and let the housekeeper give him some supper, of whatever there may be in the house.” When Alkinoos heard this he took the high-spirited and much-devising Odysseus by the hand, raised him from the hearth, [170] and bade him take the seat of powerful Laodamas, who had been sitting beside him, and was his favorite son. A maid servant then brought him water in a beautiful golden ewer and poured it into a silver basin for him to wash his hands, and she drew a clean table beside him;

[175] an upper servant brought him bread and offered him many good things of what there was in the house, and long-suffering great Odysseus ate and drank. Then Alkinoos, the hallowed prince, said to one of the servants, “Pontonoos, mix a cup of wine and hand it round

[180] that we may make drink-offerings to Zeus the lord of thunder, who is the protector of all well- disposed suppliants.” Pontonoos then mixed wine and water, and handed it round after giving every man his drink-offering. When they had made their offerings, and had drunk each as much as he was minded,

[185] Alkinoos said: “Aldermen and town councilors of the Phaeacians, hear my words. You have had your supper, so now go home to bed. Tomorrow morning I shall invite a still larger number of aldermen,

[190] and will give a sacrificial banquet in honor of our guest; we can then discuss the question of his escort, and consider how we may at once send him back rejoicing to his own country without toil [ponos] or inconvenience to himself, no matter how distant it may be.

[195] We must see that he comes to no harm while on his homeward journey, but when he is once at home he will have to take the luck he was born with for better or worse like other people. It is possible, however, that the stranger is one of the immortals who has come down from the sky to visit us;

[200] but in this case the gods are departing from their usual practice, for hitherto they have made themselves perfectly clear to us when we have been offering them hecatombs. They come and sit at our feasts just like one of our selves, and if any solitary wayfarer happens to stumble upon some one or other of them,

[205] they affect no concealment, for we are as near of kin to the gods as the Cyclopes and the savage giants are.” Then resourceful Odysseus said: “Pray, Alkinoos, do not take any such notion into your head. I have nothing of the immortal about me,

[210] neither in body nor mind, and most resemble those among you who are the most afflicted. Indeed, were I to tell you all that the gods have seen fit to lay upon me, you would say that I was still worse off than they are.

[215] Nevertheless, let me sup in spite of sorrow, for an empty stomach is a very importunate thing, and thrusts itself on a man’s notice no matter how dire is his distress [penthos]. I am in great distress [penthos],

[220] yet it insists that I shall eat and drink, bids me lay aside all memory of my sorrows and dwell only on the due replenishing of itself. As for yourselves, do as you propose, and at break of day set about helping me to get home. I shall be content to die if I may first once more

[225] behold my property, my bondsmen, and all the greatness of my house.” Thus did he speak. Every one approved his saying, and agreed that he should have his escort inasmuch as he had spoken reasonably. Then when they had made their drink-offerings, and had drunk each as much as he was minded they went home to bed every man in his own abode,

[230] leaving great Odysseus in the hall with Arete and godlike Alkinoos while the servants were taking the things away after supper. White-armed Arete was the first to speak, for she recognized the khiton, cloak,

[235] and good clothes that Odysseus was wearing, as the work of herself and of her maids; so she said, “Stranger, before we go any further, there is a question I should like to ask you. Who, and whence are you, and who gave you those clothes? Did you not say you had come here from beyond the sea?”

[240] And resourceful Odysseus answered, “It would be a long story, my Lady, were I to relate in full the tale of my misfortunes, for the hand of the gods has been laid heavy upon me; but as regards your question, there is an island far away in the sea which is called ‘the Ogygian’. [245] Here dwells the cunning and powerful goddess Kalypsō, daughter of Atlas. She lives by herself far from all neighbors human or divine. A superhuman force [daimōn], however, led me to her hearth all desolate and alone, for Zeus struck my ship with his thunderbolts,

[250] and broke it up in mid-ocean. My brave comrades were drowned every man of them, but I stuck to the keel and was carried here and there for the space of nine days, till at last during the darkness of the tenth night the gods brought me to the Ogygian island where the great goddess Kalypsō of ordered hair

[255] lives. She took me in and treated me with the utmost kindness; indeed she wanted to make me immortal that I might never grow old, but she could not persuade me to let her do so. “I stayed with Kalypsō seven years straight on end, and watered

[260] the good clothes she gave me with my tears during the whole time; but at last when the eighth year came round she bade me depart of her own free will, either because Zeus had told her she must, or because she had changed her mind [noos]. She sent me from her island on a raft, which she provisioned

[265] with abundance of bread and wine. Moreover she gave me good stout clothing, and sent me a wind that blew both warm and fair. Seventeen days did I sail over the sea, and on the eighteenth I caught sight of the first outlines of the mountains upon your coast – and glad indeed was I to set eyes upon them.

[270] Nevertheless there was still much trouble in store for me, for at this point the Earthshaker Poseidon would let me go no further, and raised a great storm against me; the sea was so terribly high that I could no longer keep to my raft,

[275] which went to pieces under the fury of the gale, and I had to swim for it, till wind and current brought me to your shores. “There I tried to land, but could not, for it was a bad place and the waves dashed me against the rocks,

[280] so I again took to the sea and swam on till I came to a river that seemed the most likely landing place, for there were no rocks and it was sheltered from the wind. Here, then, I got out of the water and gathered my senses together again. Night was coming on, so I left the river,

[285] and went into a thicket, where I covered myself all over with leaves, and presently the gods sent me off into a very deep sleep. Sick and sorry as I was I slept among the leaves all night, and through the next day till afternoon, when I woke as the sun was setting in the west,

[290] and saw your daughter’s maid servants playing upon the beach, and your daughter among them looking like a goddess. I besought her aid, and she proved to be of an excellent disposition, much more so than could be expected from so young a person – for young people are apt to be thoughtless.

[295] She gave me plenty of bread and wine, and when she had had me washed in the river she also gave me the clothes in which you see me. Now, therefore, though it has pained me to do so, I have told you the whole truth [alētheia].” Then Alkinoos said, “Stranger,

[300] it was very wrong of my daughter not to bring you on at once to my house along with the maids, seeing that she was the first person whose aid you asked.” “Pray do not scold her,” replied resourceful Odysseus; “she is not to blame. She did tell me to follow along with the maids,

[305] but I was ashamed and afraid, for I thought you might perhaps be displeased if you saw me. Every human being is sometimes a little suspicious and irritable.” “Stranger,” replied Alkinoos, “I am not the kind of man

[310] to get angry about nothing; it is always better to be reasonable; but by Father Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, now that I see what kind of person you are, and how much you think as I do, I wish you would stay here, marry my daughter, and become my son-in-law. If you will stay I will give you a house and an estate,

[315] but no one (may the gods forbid) shall keep you here against your own wish, and that you may be sure of this I will attend tomorrow to the matter of your escort. You can sleep during the whole voyage if you like, and the men shall sail you over smooth waters [320] either to your own home, or wherever you please, even though it be a long way further off than Euboea, which those of my people who saw it when they took yellow-haired Rhadamanthus to see Tityos the son of Gaia, tell me is the furthest of any place –

[325] and yet they did the whole voyage in a single day without distressing themselves, and came back again afterwards. You will thus see how much my ships excel all others, and what magnificent oarsmen my sailors are.” Then was long -suffering great Odysseus glad

[330] and prayed aloud saying, “Father Zeus, grant that Alkinoos may do all as he has said, for so he will win an imperishable kleos among humankind, and at the same time I shall return to my country.” Thus did they converse.

[335] Then Arete of the white arms told her maids to set a bed in the room that was in the gatehouse, and make it with good red rugs, and to spread coverlets on the top of them with woolen cloaks for Odysseus to wear. The maids then went out with torches in their hands,

[340] and when they had made the bed they came up to Odysseus and said, “Rise, sir stranger, and come with us for your bed is ready,” and glad indeed was he to go to his rest. So long-suffering great Odysseus slept in a bed

[345] placed in a room over the echoing gateway; but Alkinoos lay in the inner part of the house, with the queen his wife by his side.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll VIII

[1] Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Alkinoos, the hallowed prince, and Odysseus, ransacker of cities, both rose, and Alkinoos led the way

[5] to the Phaeacian place of assembly, which was near the ships. When they got there they sat down side-by-side on a seat of polished stone, while Athena took the form of one of the servants of the high- spirited Alkinoos, and went round the town in order to contrive nostos for great-hearted Odysseus.

[10] She went up to the townspeople, man by man, and said, “Aldermen and town councilors of the Phaeacians, come to the assembly all of you and listen to the stranger who has just come off a long voyage to the house of high-spirited King Alkinoos; he looks like an immortal god.”

[15] With these words she made them all want to come, and they flocked to the assembly till seats and standing room were alike crowded. Every one was struck with the appearance of Odysseus, high-spirited son of Laertes, for Athena had given him gracefulness [kharis] about the head and shoulders,

[20] making him look taller and stouter than he really was, that he might impress the Phaeacians favorably as being a very remarkable man, and might come off well in the many trials [athlos] of skill to which they would challenge him. Then, when they were got together,

[25] Alkinoos spoke: “Hear me,” said he, “aldermen and town councilors of the Phaeacians, that I may speak even as I am minded. This stranger, whoever he may be, has found his way to my house from somewhere or other either East or West.

[30] He wants an escort and wishes to have the matter settled. Let us then get one ready for him, as we have done for others before him; indeed, no one who ever yet came to my house has been able to complain of me for not speeding on his way soon enough. Let us draw a ship into the sea –

[35] one that has never yet made a voyage – and man her with two and fifty of our choicest [krinein] young sailors in the dēmos. Then when you have made fast your oars each by his own seat, leave the ship and come to my house to prepare a feast. I will provide you with everything.

[40] I am giving these instructions to the young men who will form the crew, for as regards you aldermen and town councilors, you will join me in entertaining our guest in the halls. I can take no excuses, and we will have Demodokos to sing to us; for there is no bard like him [45] whatever he may choose to sing about.” Alkinoos then led the way, and the others followed after, while a servant went to fetch Demodokos. The fifty-two picked [krinein] oarsmen went to the sea shore as they had been told,

[50] and when they got there they drew the ship into the water, got her mast and sails inside her, bound the oars to the thole-pins with twisted thongs of leather, all in due course, and spread the white sails aloft.

[55] They moored the vessel a little way out from land, and then came on shore and went to the house of high-spirited King Alkinoos. The outhouses, yards, and all the precincts were filled with crowds of men in great multitudes both old and young; and Alkinoos killed them a dozen sheep, eight

[60] full grown pigs, and two oxen. These they skinned and dressed so as to provide a magnificent banquet. A servant presently led in the famous bard Demodokos, whom the muse had dearly loved, but to whom she had given both good and evil, for though she had endowed him with a divine gift of song, she had robbed him of his eyesight.

[65] Pontonoos set a seat for him among the guests, leaning it up against a bearing-post. He hung the lyre for him on a peg over his head, and showed him where he was to feel for it with his hands. He also set a fair table with a basket of victuals by his side,

[70] and a cup of wine from which he might drink whenever he was so disposed. The company then laid their hands upon the good things that were before them, but as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, the Muse inspired Demodokos to sing the glories [kleos] of heroes. In particular it was something that had a kleos that reached all the way to the sky in its full breadth. It was

[75] the quarrel [neikos] between Odysseus and Achilles, and the fierce words that they heaped on one another as they sat together at a banquet. But Agamemnon was glad in his mind [noos] that the best of the Achaeans were quarrelling with one another, for Apollo had foretold him this

[80] at Pytho [Delphi] when he crossed the stone floor to consult the oracle. Here was the beginning of the evil that by the will of Zeus started rolling down toward both Danaans and Trojans. Thus sang the bard, but Odysseus drew his purple

[85] mantle over his head and covered his face, for he was ashamed to let the Phaeacians see that he was weeping. When the bard left off singing he wiped the tears from his eyes, uncovered his face, and, taking his cup, made a drink-offering

[90] to the gods; but when the Phaeacians pressed Demodokos to sing further, for they delighted in his lays, then Odysseus again drew his mantle over his head and wept bitterly. No one noticed his distress except Alkinoos,

[95] who was sitting near him, and heard the heavy sighs that he was heaving. So he at once said, “Aldermen and town councilors of the oar-loving Phaeacians, we have had enough now, both of the feast, and of the minstrelsy that is its due accompaniment;

[100] let us proceed therefore to the athletic sports [athlos], so that our guest on his return home may be able to tell his friends how much we surpass all other nations as boxers, wrestlers, jumpers, and runners.” With these words he led the way, and the others followed after.

[105] A servant hung Demodokos’ lyre on its peg for him, led him out of the hall, and set him on the same way as that along which all the chief men of the Phaeacians were going to see the sports; a crowd of several thousand people followed them,

[110] and there were many excellent competitors for all the prizes. Akroneos, Okyalos, Elatreus, Nauteus, Prymneus, Ankhialos, Eretmeus, Ponteus, Proreus, Thoön, Anabesineos, and Amphialos son of Polyneos son of Tekton.

[115] There was also Euryalos son of Naubolos, who was like manslaughtering Ares himself, and was the best looking man among the Phaeacians except Laodamas. Three sons of stately Alkinoos, stately Laodamas, Halios, and godlike Klytoneus, competed also. [120] The foot races came first. The course was set out for them from the starting post, and they raised a dust upon the plain as they all flew forward at the same moment. Stately Klytoneus came in first by a long way; he left every one else behind him by the length of the furrow that a couple of mules can plow

[125] in a fallow field. They then turned to the painful art of wrestling, and here Euryalos proved to be the best man. Amphialos excelled all the others in jumping, while at throwing the disc there was no one who could approach Elatreus.

[130] Alkinoos’ fine son Laodamas was the best boxer, and he it was who presently said, when they had all been diverted with the games [athlos], “Let us ask the stranger whether he excels in any of these sports [athlos]; he seems very powerfully built;

[135] his thighs, calves, hands, and neck are of prodigious strength, nor is he at all old, but he has suffered much lately, and there is nothing like the sea for making havoc with a man, no matter how strong he is.”

[140] “You are quite right, Laodamas,” replied Euryalos, “go up to your guest and speak to him about it yourself.” When Laodamas heard this he made his way into the middle of the crowd and said to Odysseus,

[145] “I hope, sir, that you will enter yourself in some one or other of our competitions [athloi] if you are skilled in any of them – for you seem to know of sports [athloi]. There is no greater kleos for a man all his life long as the showing himself good with his hands and feet. Have a try therefore at something, and banish all sorrow from your mind.

[150] Your return home will not be long delayed, for the ship is already drawn into the water, and the crew is found.” Resourceful Odysseus answered, “Laodamas, why do you taunt me in this way? My mind is set rather on cares than contests [athloi];

[155] I have been through infinite trouble, and am come among you now as a suppliant, praying your king and people [dēmos] to further my homecoming [nostos].” Then Euryalos reviled him outright and said, “I gather, then, that you are unskilled

[160] in any of the many sports [athloi] that men generally delight in. I suppose you are one of those grasping traders that go about in ships as captains or merchants, and who think of nothing but of their outward freights and homeward cargoes. There does not seem to be much of the athlete [athlētēs] about you.”

[165] “For shame, sir,” answered resourceful Odysseus, fiercely, “you are an insolent man – so true is it that the gods do not grace all men alike in speech, person, and understanding. One man may be of weak presence,

[170] but the gods have adorned him with such a good conversation that he charms every one who sees him; his honeyed moderation [aidōs] carries his hearers with him so that he is leader in all assemblies of his fellows, and wherever he goes he is looked up to. Another may be as handsome as a god,

[175] but his good looks are not crowned with verbal grace [kharis]. This is your case. No god could make a finer looking man than you are, but you are empty with respect to noos. Your ill-judged [= without kosmos] remarks have made me exceedingly angry, for I excel

[180] in a great many athletic exercises [athlos]; indeed, so long as I had youth and strength, I was among the first athletes of the age. Now, however, I am worn out by labor and sorrow, for I have gone through much both on the field of battle and by the waves of the weary sea; still, in spite of all this I will engage in the competition [athlos],

[185] for your taunts have stung me to the quick.” So he hurried up without even taking his cloak off, and seized a disc, larger, more massive and much heavier than those used by the Phaeacians when disc- throwing among themselves. Then, swinging it back, he threw it from his brawny hand,

[190] and it made a humming sound in the air as he did so. The Phaeacians quailed beneath the rushing of its flight as it sped gracefully from his hand, and flew beyond any mark [sēma] that had been made yet. Athena, in the form of a man, came and marked the place where it had fallen. [195] “A blind man, sir,” said she, “could easily tell your mark [sēma] by groping for it – it is so far ahead of any other. You may make your mind easy about this contest [athlos], for no Phaeacian can come near to such a throw as yours.” Much-enduring great Odysseus was glad

[200] when he found he had a friend among the lookers-on, so he began to speak more pleasantly. “Young men,” said he, “come up to that throw if you can, and I will throw another disc as heavy or even heavier. If anyone wants to have a bout with me

[205] let him come on, for I am exceedingly angry; I will box, wrestle, or run, I do not care what it is, with any man of you all except Laodamas, but not with him because I am his guest, and one cannot compete with one’s own personal friend. At least I do not think it a prudent or a sensible thing

[210] for a guest to challenge his host’s family at any game [athlos], especially when he is in a foreign dēmos. He will cut the ground from under his own feet if he does; but I make no exception as regards any one else, for I want to have the matter out and know which is the best man. I am a good hand at every kind of athletic sport [athlos] known among humankind.

[215] I am an excellent archer. In battle I am always the first to bring a man down with my arrow, no matter how many more are taking aim at him alongside of me. Philoctetes was the only man who could shoot better than I could

[220] when we Achaeans were before the dēmos of the Trojans. I far excel every one else in the whole world, of those who still eat bread upon the face of the earth, but I should not like to shoot against the mighty dead, such as Herakles, or Eurytos of Oikhalia –

[225] men who could shoot against the gods themselves. This in fact was how great Eurytos came prematurely by his end, for Apollo was angry with him and killed him because he challenged him as an archer. I can throw a dart farther than any one else can shoot an arrow.

[230] Running is the only point in respect of which I am afraid some of the Phaeacians might beat me, for I have been brought down very low at sea; my provisions ran short, and therefore I am still weak.” They all held their peace

[235] except King Alkinoos, who began, “Sir, we have had much pleasure in hearing all that you have told us, from which I understand that you are willing to show your prowess [aretē], as having been displeased with some insolent remarks that have been made to you by one of our athletes, and which could never have been uttered

[240] by any one who knows how to talk with propriety. I hope you will apprehend my meaning, and will explain to any one of your chief men who may be dining with yourself and your family when you get home, that we have an hereditary aptitude [aretē]

[245] for accomplishments of all kinds. We are not particularly remarkable for our boxing, nor yet as wrestlers, but we are singularly fleet of foot and are excellent sailors. We are extremely fond of good dinners, music, and dancing [khoros]; we also like frequent changes of linen, warm baths, and good beds; so now,

[250] please, some of you who are the best dancers set about dancing, that our guest on his return home may be able to tell his friends how much we surpass all other nations as sailors, runners, dancers, minstrels. Demodokos has left his clear-voiced lyre at my house,

[255] so run some one or other of you and fetch it for him.” Then a servant hurried off to bring the lyre from the king’s house, and the nine men who had been chosen as stewards stood forward. It was their business to manage everything connected with the sports, so they made

[260] the ground smooth and marked a wide space for dancing [khoros]. Presently the servant came back with Demodokos’ lyre, and he took his place in the midst of them, whereon those in the town who were best at dancing [khoros] began to foot and trip it so nimbly that Odysseus [265] was delighted with the merry twinkling of their feet. Meanwhile the bard began to sing the loves of Ares and sweet-garlanded Aphrodite, and how they first began their intrigue in the house of Hephaistos. Ares made Aphrodite many presents, and defiled

[270] lord Hephaistos’ marriage bed, so the sun, who saw what they were about, told Hephaistos. Hephaistos was very angry when he heard such dreadful news, so he went to his smithy brooding mischief, got his great anvil into its place, and began to forge some chains

[275] which none could either unloose or break, so that they might stay there in that place. When he had finished his snare he went into his bedroom and festooned the bed-posts all over

[280] with chains like cobwebs; he also let many hang down from the great beam of the ceiling. Not even a god could see them, so fine and subtle were they. As soon as he had spread the chains all over the bed, he made as though he were setting out for the fair state of strong-founded Lemnos, which of all places in the world was the one he was most fond of.

[285] But Ares kept no blind look out, and as soon as he saw him start, hurried off to his house, burning with love for sweet-garlanded Aphrodite. Now Aphrodite was just come in from a visit

[290] to her father Zeus, the powerful son of Kronos, and was about sitting down when Ares came inside the house, and said as he took her hand in his own, “Let us go to the couch of Hephaistos: he is not at home, but is gone off to Lemnos among the Sintians, whose speech is barbarous.”

[295] She was not unwilling, so they went to the couch to take their rest, whereon they were caught in the toils which cunning Hephaistos had spread for them, and could neither get up nor stir hand or foot, but found too late that they were in a trap.

[300] Then glorious Hephaistos of the strong arms came up to them, for he had turned back before reaching Lemnos, when his scout the sun told him what was going on. He was in a furious passion,

[305] and stood in the vestibule making a dreadful noise as he shouted to all the gods. “Father Zeus,” he cried, “and all you other blessed gods who live for ever, come here and see the ridiculous and disgraceful sight that I will show you. Zeus’ daughter Aphrodite is always dishonoring me because I am lame. She is in love with ruinous Ares,

[310] who is handsome and clean built, whereas I am a cripple – but my parents are responsible [aitioi] for that, not I; they ought never to have begotten me. Come and see the pair together asleep on my bed. It makes me furious to look at them.

[315] They are very fond of one another, but I do not think they will lie there longer than they can help, nor do I think that they will sleep much; there, however, they shall stay till her father has repaid me the sum I gave him for his bitch-eyed daughter,

[320] who is fair but not honest.” Then the gods gathered to the house of Hephaistos. Earth-encircling Poseidon came, and kindly Hermes the bringer of luck, and lord Apollo, but the goddesses stayed at home all of them for shame.

[325] Then the givers of all good things stood in the doorway, and the blessed gods roared with inextinguishable laughter, as they saw how cunning Hephaistos had been, whereon one would turn towards his neighbor saying: “Ill deeds do not bring excellence [aretē], and the weak

[330] confound the strong. See how limping Hephaistos, lame as he is, has caught Ares who is the fleetest god in the sky; and now Ares will be cast in heavy damages.” Thus did they converse, but lord Apollo said to Hermes,

[335] “Messenger Hermes, giver of good things, you would not care how strong the chains were, would you, if you could sleep with Aphrodite the golden?” “King Apollo,” answered Hermes, “I only wish

[340] I might get the chance, though there were three times as many chains – and you might look on, all of you, gods and goddesses, but I would sleep with her if I could.” The immortal gods burst out laughing as they heard him, but Poseidon took it all seriously, and kept on imploring [345] Hephaistos to set Ares free again. “Let him go,” he cried, “and I will undertake, as you require, that he shall pay you all the damages that are held reasonable among the immortal gods.” “Do not,” replied renowned Hephaistos of the strong arms,

[350] “ask me to do this; a bad man’s bond is bad security; what remedy could I enforce against you if Ares should go away and leave his debts behind him along with his chains?” “Hephaistos,” said Poseidon, shaker of the Earth,

[355] “if Ares goes away without paying his damages, I will pay you myself.” So mighty Hephaistos answered, “In this case I cannot and must not refuse you.” Then he loosed the bonds that bound them,

[360] and as soon as they were free they scampered off, Ares to Thrace and laughter-loving Aphrodite to Cyprus and to Paphos, where is her grove and her altar fragrant with burnt offerings. Here the Graces bathed her, and anointed her with oil of ambrosia

[365] such as the immortal gods make use of, and they clothed her in raiment of the most enchanting beauty. Thus sang the bard, and both Odysseus and the seafaring Phaeacians were charmed as they heard him.

[370] Then Alkinoos told Laodamas and Halios to dance alone, for there was no one to compete with them. So they took a red ball which Polybos, the skilled craftsman, had made for them, and one of them bent himself backwards and threw it up towards the clouds,

[375] while the other jumped from off the ground and caught it with ease before it came down again. When they had done throwing the ball straight up into the air they began to dance, and at the same time kept on throwing it backwards and forwards to one another, while all the young men

[380] in the ring applauded and made a great stamping with their feet. Then great Odysseus said: “King Alkinoos, pre-eminent among all people, you said your people were the nimblest dancers in the world, and indeed they have proved themselves to be so. I was astonished as I saw them.”

[385] The hallowed king was delighted at this, and exclaimed to the oar-loving Phaeacians “Aldermen and town councilors, our guest seems to be a person of singular judgment; let us give him such proof of our hospitality as he may reasonably expect.

[390] There are twelve chief men throughout the dēmos, and counting myself there are thirteen; contribute, each of you, a clean cloak, a khiton, and a talent of fine gold; let us give him all this in a lump down at once,

[395] so that when he gets his supper he may do so with a light heart. As for Euryalos, he will have to make a formal apology and a present too, for he has been rude.” Thus did he speak. The others all of them applauded his saying, and sent their servants to fetch the presents.

[400] Then Euryalos said, “Great King Alkinoos, I will give the stranger all the satisfaction you require. He shall have sword, which is of bronze, all but the hilt, which is of silver. I will also give him the scabbard of newly sawn ivory

[405] into which it fits. It will be worth a great deal to him.” As he spoke he placed the sword in the hands of Odysseus and said, “Good luck to you, father stranger; if anything has been said amiss may the winds blow it away

[410] with them, and may the gods grant you a safe return, for I understand you have been long away from home, and have gone through much hardship.” To which resourceful Odysseus answered, “Good luck to you too my friend, and may the gods grant you every happiness [olbos]. I hope you will not miss the sword you have given

[415] me along with your apology.” With these words he girded the sword about his shoulders and towards sundown the presents began to make their appearance, as the servants of the donors kept bringing them to the house of King Alkinoos; here his sons [420] received them, and placed them under their mother’s charge. Then Alkinoos led the way to the house and bade his guests take their seats. “Wife,” said he, turning to Queen Arete, “Go, fetch the best chest we have,

[425] and put a clean cloak and khiton in it. Also, set a copper on the fire and heat some water; our guest will take a warm bath; see also to the careful packing of the presents that the noble Phaeacians have made him; he will thus better enjoy both his supper and the singing that will follow.

[430] I shall myself give him this golden goblet – which is of exquisite workmanship – that he may be reminded of me for the rest of his life whenever he makes a drink-offering to Zeus, or to any of the gods.” Then Arete told her maids to set a large tripod upon the fire as fast as they could,

[435] whereon they set a tripod full of bath water on to a clear fire; they threw on sticks to make it blaze, and the water became hot as the flame played about the belly of the tripod. Meanwhile Arete brought a magnificent chest from her own room, and inside it she packed all the beautiful presents

[440] of gold and raiment which the Phaeacians had brought. Lastly she added a cloak and a good khiton from Alkinoos, and said to Odysseus: “See to the lid yourself, and have the whole bound round at once, for fear any one should rob you

[445] by the way when you are asleep in your ship.” When long-suffering great Odysseus heard this he put the lid on the chest and made it fast with a bond that Circe had taught him. He had done so before an upper servant told him to come

[450] to the bath and wash himself. He was very glad of a warm bath, for he had had no one to wait upon him ever since he left the house of fair-haired Kalypsō, who as long as he remained with her had taken as good care of him as though he had been a god. When the servants had done washing and anointing him with oil,

[455] and had given him a clean cloak and khiton, he left the bathing room and joined the guests who were sitting over their wine. Lovely Nausicaa, with the gods’ loveliness on her, stood by one of the bearing-posts supporting the roof of the hall, and admired him as she saw him pass.

[460] “Farewell stranger,” said she, “do not forget me when you are safe at home again, for it is to me first that you owe a ransom for having saved your life.” And resourceful Odysseus said, “Nausicaa, daughter of great-hearted Alkinoos,

[465] may Zeus the mighty, high-thundering husband of Hera, grant that I may reach my home and see my day of homecoming [nostos]; so shall I bless you as a goddess all my days, for it was you who saved me.” When he had said this, he seated himself beside Alkinoos.

[470] Supper was then served, and the wine was mixed for drinking. A servant led in the favorite bard Demodokos, and set him in the midst of the company, near one of the bearing-posts supporting the hall, that he might lean against it.

[475] Then resourceful Odysseus cut off a piece of roast pork with plenty of fat (for there was abundance left on the joint) and said to a servant, “Take this piece of pork over to Demodokos and tell him to eat it; for all the pain his lays may cause me I will salute him none the less; bards are honored

[480] and get respect [aidōs] throughout the world, for the Muse teaches them their songs and loves them.” servant carried the pork in his fingers over to the hero Demodokos, who took it and was very much pleased. They then laid their hands on the good things that were before them,

[485] and as soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Odysseus the resourceful said to Demodokos, “Demodokos, there is no one in the world whom I admire more than I do you. You must have studied under the Muse, Zeus’ daughter, and under Apollo, in such good order [kosmos] do you sing the fate of the Achaeans

[490] with all their sufferings and adventures. If you were not there yourself, you must have heard it all from some one who was. Now, however, change your song and tell us of the making [kosmos] of the wooden horse which Epeios fashioned with the assistance of Athena, and which great Odysseus got by stratagem into the fort of Troy

[495] after freighting it with the men who afterwards ransacked the city. If you will sing this tale aright I will tell all the world how magnificently the gods have endowed you.” The singer, starting with a prayer to the god,

[500] took up the story at the point where some of the Argives set fire to their tents and sailed away while others, hidden within the horse, were waiting with famous Odysseus in the Trojan place of assembly. For the Trojans themselves had drawn the horse into their fortress,

[505] and it stood there while they sat in council round it, and were in three minds as to what they should do. Some were for breaking it up then and there; others would have it dragged to the top of the rock on which the fortress stood, and then thrown down the precipice; while yet others were for letting it remain as an offering and propitiation for

[510] the gods. And this was how they settled it in the end, for the city was doomed when it took in that horse, within which were all the bravest of the Argives waiting to bring death and destruction on the Trojans. Then he sang how the sons of the Achaeans issued from the horse,

[515] and ransacked the town, breaking out from their ambuscade. He sang how they overran the city here and there and ravaged it, and how Odysseus went raging like Ares along with Menelaos to the house of Deiphobos. It was there that the fight raged most furiously,

[520] nevertheless by great-hearted Athena’s help he was victorious. All this he told, but Odysseus was overcome as he heard him, and his cheeks were wet with tears. He wept as a woman weeps when she throws herself on the body of her husband

[525] who has fallen before his own city and people, fighting bravely in defense of his home and children. She wails aloud and flings her arms about him as he lies gasping for breath and dying, but her enemies beat her from behind about the back and shoulders, and carry her off into slavery,

[530] to a life of labor [ponos] and sorrow, and the beauty fades from her cheeks – even so piteously did Odysseus weep, but none of those present perceived his tears except Alkinoos, who was sitting near him, and could hear the sobs and sighs that he was heaving.

[535] The king, therefore, at once rose and said: “Aldermen and town councilors of the oar-loving Phaeacians, let Demodokos cease his song, for there are those present who do not seem to like it. From the moment that we had done supper and Demodokos

[540] began to sing, our guest has been all the time groaning and lamenting. He is evidently in great distress [akhos], so let the bard leave off, that we may all enjoy ourselves, hosts and guest alike. This will be much more as it should be, for all these festivities, with the escort and the presents that we are making with so much good will, are wholly in his honor,

[545] and any one with even a moderate amount of right feeling knows that he ought to treat a guest and a suppliant as though he were his own brother. “Therefore, sir, do you on your part affect no more concealment nor reserve in the matter about which I shall ask you; it will be more polite in you to give me a plain answer;

[550] tell me the name by which your father and mother over yonder used to call you, and by which you were known among your neighbors and fellow-townspeople. There is no one, neither rich nor poor, who is absolutely without any name whatever, for people’s fathers and mothers give them names as soon as they are born.

[555] Tell me also your country, district [dēmos], and city, that our ships may shape their purpose accordingly and take you there. For the Phaeacians have no pilots; their vessels have no rudders as those of other nations have, but the ships themselves understand what it is that we are thinking about and want; [560] they know all the cities and countries in the whole world, and can traverse the sea just as well even when it is covered with mist and cloud, so that there is no danger of being wrecked or coming to any harm. Still I do remember hearing my father say

[565] that Poseidon was angry with us for being too easy-going in the matter of giving people escorts. He said that one of these days he should wreck a ship of ours as it was returning from having escorted some one, and bury our city under a high mountain.

[570] This is what the old man used to say, but whether the god will carry out his threat or no is a matter which he will decide for himself. “And now, tell me and tell me true. Where have you been wandering, and in what countries have you traveled? Tell us of the peoples themselves,

[575] and of their cities – who were hostile, savage and uncivilized [non-dikaios], and who, on the other hand, hospitable and endowed with a god-fearing mind [noos]. Tell us also why you are made unhappy on hearing about the return of the Argive Danaans from Troy. The gods arranged all this, and sent them their misfortunes

[580] in order that future generations might have something to sing about. Did you lose some brave kinsman of your wife’s when you were before Troy? A son-in-law or father-in-law – which are the nearest relations a man has outside his own flesh and blood? Or was it some brave and kindly-natured comrade

[585] – for a good friend is as dear to a man as his own brother?”

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll IX

[1] And resourceful Odysseus answered, “King Alkinoos, pre-eminent among all people, it is a good thing to hear a bard with such a divine voice as this man has.

[5] There is nothing better or more delightful than when a whole dēmos makes merry, with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer

[10] draws wine and fills his cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see. Now, however, since you are inclined to ask the story of my sorrows, and rekindle my own sad memories in respect of them, I do not know how to begin, nor yet how to continue and conclude my tale,

[15] for the hand of the gods has been laid heavily upon me. “Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you too may know it, and that one day, if I outlive this time of sorrow, I may become a guest-friend to you, though I live so far away from all of you. I am Odysseus son of Laertes, renowned among humankind

[20] for all manner of subtlety, so that my kleos ascends to the sky. I live in Ithaca, where there is a high mountain called Neriton, covered with forests; and not far from it there is a group of islands very near to one another – Doulikhion, Samē, and the wooded island of Zakynthos.

[25] It lies squat on the horizon, all highest up in the sea towards the sunset, while the others lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, but it breeds brave men, and my eyes know none that they better love to look upon. The goddess Kalypsō, shining among divinities, kept me

[30] with her in her cave, and wanted me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean goddess Circe; but they could neither of them persuade me, for there is nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents,

[35] and however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far from father or mother, he does not care about it. Now, however, I will tell you of the many hazardous adventures which by Zeus’ will I met with on my return [nostos] from Troy. “When I had set sail thence the wind took me first to Ismaros,

[40] which is the city of the Kikones. There I ransacked the town and put the people to the sword. We took their wives and also much booty, which we divided equitably amongst us, so that none might have reason to complain. I then said that we had better make off at once, but my men very foolishly would not obey me, [45] so they stayed there drinking much wine and killing great numbers of sheep and oxen on the sea shore. Meanwhile the Kikones cried out for help to other Kikones who lived inland. These were more in number, and stronger, and they were more skilled in the art of war, for they could fight,

[50] either from chariots or on foot as the occasion served; in the morning, therefore, they came as thick as leaves and bloom in summertime [hōra], and the hand of the gods was against us, so that we were hard pressed. They set the battle in array near the

[55] ships, and the hosts aimed their bronze-shod spears at one another. So long as the day waxed and it was still morning, we held our own against them, though they were more in number than we; but as the sun went down, towards the time when men let loose their oxen, the Kikones got the better of us,

[60] and we lost half a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got away with those that were left. “Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades, nor did we leave

[65] till we had thrice invoked each one of the poor men who had perished by the hands of the Kikones. Then cloud-gathering Zeus raised the North wind against us till it blew a hurricane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick clouds, and night sprang forth out of the sky.

[70] We let the ships run before the gale, but the force of the wind tore our sails to tatters, so we took them down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our hardest towards the land. There we lay two days and two nights suffering

[75] much alike from toil and distress of mind, but on the morning of the third day we again raised our masts, set sail, and took our places, letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I should have got home at that time unharmed

[80] had not the North wind and the currents been against me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me off my course hard by the island of Cythera. “I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower.

[85] Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk

[90] I chose [krinein] two of my company to go see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no harm, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it

[95] left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their nostos; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them

[100] fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home [nostos], so they took their places and smote the gray sea with their oars.

[105] “We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we came to the land of the lawless and inhuman Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes neither plant nor plow, but trust in providence, and live on such

[110] wheat, barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them. They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master

[115] in his family, and they take no account of their neighbors. “Now off their harbor there lies a wooded and fertile island not quite close to the land of the Cyclopes, but still not far. It is overrun with wild goats, that breed there in great numbers and are never disturbed by foot of man;

[120] for sportsmen – who as a rule will suffer so much hardship in forest or among mountain precipices – do not go there, nor yet again is it ever plowed or fed down, but it lies a wilderness untilled and unsown from year to year, and has no living thing upon it but only goats. [125] For the Cyclopes have no ships, nor yet shipwrights who could make ships for them; they cannot therefore go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one another’s country as people who have ships can do;

[130] if they had had these they would have colonized the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield everything in due season. There are meadows that in some places come right down to the sea shore, well watered and full of luscious grass; grapes would do there excellently; there is level land for plowing, and it would always yield heavily

[135] at harvest time [hōra], for the soil is deep. There is a good harbor where no cables are wanted, nor yet anchors, nor need a ship be moored, but all one has to do is to beach one’s vessel and stay there till the wind becomes fair for putting out to sea again.

[140] At the head of the harbor there is a spring of clear water coming out of a cave, and there are poplars growing all round it. “Here we entered, but so dark was the night that some god must have brought us in, for there was nothing whatever to be seen. A thick mist hung all round our ships; the moon

[145] was hidden behind a mass of clouds so that no one could have seen the island if he had looked for it, nor were there any breakers to tell us we were close in shore before we found ourselves upon the land itself; when, however, we had beached the ships, we took down the sails,

[150] went ashore and camped upon the beach till daybreak. “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs, Zeus of the aegis’ daughters,

[155] roused the wild goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. Then we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and dividing ourselves into three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got nine goats,

[160] while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill, – and we had plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken

[165] many jars full when we ransacked the city of the Kikones, and this had not yet run out. While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of their sheep and goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped down upon the beach,

[170] and next morning I called a council. “‘Stay here, my brave men,’ said I, ‘all the rest of you, while I go with my ship and make trial of these people myself:

[175] I want to see if they are uncivilized [= not dikaios] savages, or a population that is hospitable and endowed with a god-fearing noos.’ I went on board, bidding my men to do so also and loose the hawsers;

[180] so they took their places and smote the gray sea with their oars. When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels. It was a station for a great many sheep and goats, and outside there was a large yard,

[185] with a high wall round it made of stones built into the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This was the abode of a huge monster who was then away from home shepherding his flocks. He would have nothing to do with other people, but led the life of an outlaw.

[190] He was a horrid creature, not like a human being at all, but resembling rather some crag that stands out boldly against the sky on the top of a high mountain. “I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were,

[195] all but the twelve best [krinein] among them, who were to go along with myself. I also took a goatskin of sweet black wine which had been given me by Maron, son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo the patron god of Ismaros, and lived within the wooded precincts of the temple. When we were ransacking the city we respected him, and spared his life, as also his wife and child; [200] so he made me some presents of great value – seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended,

[205] and of the most exquisite flavor. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed twenty parts of water to one of wine,

[210] and yet the fragrance from the mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to deal with some savage who would be of great strength,

[215] and would respect neither right [dikē] nor law. “We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding, so we went inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens could hold.

[220] They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the piglets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming with whey. When they saw all this, my men begged me

[225] to let them first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present.

[230] When, however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with. “We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sacrifice, ate others of them, and then sat waiting till the Cyclops should come in with his sheep. When he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry firewood to light the fire for his supper,

[235] and this he flung with such a noise on to the floor of his cave that we hid ourselves for fear at the far end of the cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes inside, as well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leaving the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in the yards. Then

[240] he rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the cave – so huge that two and twenty strong four-wheeled wagons would not be enough to draw it from its place against the doorway. When he had so done he sat down and milked his ewes and

[245] goats, all in due course, and then let each of them have her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it aside in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he might drink it for his supper.

[250] When he had got through with all his work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said: “‘Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from? Are you traders, or do you sail the sea as rovers,

[255] with your hands against every man, and every man’s hand against you?’ “We were frightened out of our senses by his loud voice and monstrous form, but I managed to say, ‘We are Achaeans on our way home from Troy, but by the will of Zeus,

[260] and stress of weather, we have been driven far out of our course. We are the people of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, who has won infinite kleos throughout the whole world,

[265] by ransacking so great a city and killing so many people. We therefore humbly pray you to show us some hospitality, and otherwise make us such presents as visitors may reasonably expect. May your excellency revere [give aidōs to] the gods, for we are your suppliants,

[270] and Zeus takes all respectable travelers under his protection, for he is the avenger of all suppliants and foreigners in distress.’ “To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, ‘Stranger,’ said he, ‘you are a fool, or else you know nothing of this country. Talk to me, indeed, about fearing the gods or shunning their anger?

[275] We Cyclopes do not care about Zeus of the aegis or any of your blessed gods, for we are ever so much stronger than they. I shall not spare either yourself or your companions out of any regard for Zeus, unless I am in the humor for doing so. And now tell me [280] where you made your ship fast when you came on shore. Was it round the point, or is she lying straight off the land?’ “He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught in that way, so I answered with a lie; ‘Poseidon, shaker of the Earth,’ said I, ‘sent my ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country,

[285] and wrecked it. We were driven on to them from the open sea, but I and those who are with me escaped the jaws of death.’ “The cruel wretch granted me not one word of answer, but with a sudden clutch he gripped up two of my men at once and dashed them down upon the ground as though they had been puppies.

[290] Their brains were shed upon the ground, and the earth was wet with their blood. Then he tore them limb from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them up like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, marrow, and entrails, without leaving anything uneaten. As for us, we wept and lifted up our hands to the sky on seeing

[295] such a horrid sight, for we did not know what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled his huge paunch, and had washed down his meal of human flesh with a drink of neat milk, he stretched himself full length upon the ground among his sheep, and went to sleep. I was at first inclined

[300] to seize my sword, draw it, and drive it into his vitals, but I reflected that if I did we should all certainly be lost, for we should never be able to shift

[305] the stone which the monster had put in front of the door. So we stayed sobbing and sighing where we were till morning came. “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, he again lit his fire, milked his goats and ewes, all quite rightly, and then let each have her own young one;

[310] as soon as he had got through with all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, and began eating them for his morning’s meal. Presently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the stone away from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at once put it back again – as easily as though he were merely clapping the lid on to a quiver full of arrows.

[315] As soon as he had done so he shouted, and cried ‘Shoo, shoo,’ after his sheep to drive them on to the mountain; so I was left to scheme some way of taking my revenge and covering myself with glory. “In the end I thought it would be the best plan to do as follows. The Cyclops had a great club which was lying near one of the sheep pens;

[320] it was of green olive wood, and he had cut it intending to use it for a staff as soon as it should be dry. It was so huge that we could only compare it to the mast of a twenty-oared merchant vessel of large burden, and able to venture out into open sea.

[325] I went up to this club and cut off about six feet of it; I then gave this piece to the men and told them to fine it evenly off at one end, which they proceeded to do, and lastly I brought it to a point myself, charring the end in the fire to make it harder. When I had done this I hid it under dung,

[330] which was lying about all over the cave, and told the men to cast lots which of them should venture along with myself to lift it and bore it into the monster’s eye while he was asleep. The lot fell upon the very four whom I should have chosen,

[335] and I myself made five. In the evening the wretch came back from shepherding, and drove his flocks into the cave – this time driving them all inside, and not leaving any in the yards; I suppose some fancy must have taken him, or a god must have prompted him to do so.

[340] As soon as he had put the stone back to its place against the door, he sat down, milked his ewes and his goats all quite rightly, and then let each have her own young one; when he had got through with all this work, he gripped up two more of my men, and made his supper off them.

[345] So I went up to him with an ivy-wood bowl of black wine in my hands: “‘Look here, Cyclops,’ said I, ‘you have been eating a great deal of man’s flesh, so take this and drink some wine, that you may see what kind of liquor we had on board my ship. I was bringing it to you as a drink-offering, in the hope that you would take compassion upon me [350] and further me on my way home, whereas all you do is to go on ramping and raving most intolerably. You ought to be ashamed yourself; how can you expect people to come see you any more if you treat them in this way?’ “He then took the cup and drank. He was so delighted with the taste of the wine that he begged me for another bowl full.

[355] ‘Be so kind,’ he said, ‘as to give me some more, and tell me your name at once. I want to make you a present that you will be glad to have. We have wine even in this country, for our soil grows grapes and the sun ripens them, but this drinks like nectar and ambrosia all in one.’

[360] “I then gave him some more; three times did I fill the bowl for him, and three times did he drain it without thought or heed; then, when I saw that the wine had got into his head, I said to him as plausibly as I could: ‘Cyclops, you ask my name and I will tell it you;

[365] give me, therefore, the present you promised me; my name is Noman; this is what my father and mother and my friends have always called me.’ “But the cruel wretch said, ‘Then I will eat all Noman’s comrades before Noman himself,

[370] and will keep Noman for the last. This is the present that I will make him.’ As he spoke he reeled, and fell sprawling face upwards on the ground. His great neck hung heavily backwards and a deep sleep took hold upon him. Presently he turned sick, and threw up both wine and the gobbets of human flesh on which he had been gorging, for he was very drunk.

[375] Then I thrust the beam of wood far into the embers to heat it, and encouraged my men lest any of them should turn faint-hearted. When the wood, green though it was, was about to blaze,

[380] I drew it out of the fire glowing with heat, and my men gathered round me, for a superhuman force [daimōn] had filled their hearts with courage. We drove the sharp end of the beam into the monster’s eye, and bearing upon it with all my weight I kept turning it round and round as though I were boring a hole in a ship’s plank with an auger,

[385] which two men with a wheel and strap can keep on turning as long as they choose. Even thus did we bore the red hot beam into his eye, till the boiling blood bubbled all over it as we worked it round and round, so that the steam from the burning eyeball scalded his eyelids

[390] and eyebrows, and the roots of the eye sputtered in the fire. As a blacksmith plunges an axe or hatchet into cold water to temper it – for it is this that gives strength to the iron – and it makes a great hiss as he does so, even thus did the Cyclops’ eye hiss round the beam of olive wood,

[395] and his hideous yells made the cave ring again. We ran away in a fright, but he plucked the beam all besmirched with gore from his eye, and hurled it from him in a frenzy of rage and pain, shouting as he did so to the other Cyclopes who lived

[400] on the bleak headlands near him; so they gathered from all quarters round his cave when they heard him crying, and asked what was the matter with him. “‘What ails you, Polyphemus,’ said they, ‘that you make such a noise, breaking the stillness of the night, and preventing us from being able to sleep? Surely no man is carrying off your sheep?

[405] Surely no man is trying to kill you either by fraud or by force [biē]? “But Polyphemus shouted to them from inside the cave, ‘Noman is killing me by fraud! Noman is killing me by force [biē]!’ “‘Then,’ said they,

[410] ‘if no man is attacking you, you must be ill; when Zeus makes people ill, there is no help for it, and you had better pray to your father Poseidon.’ “Then they went away, and I laughed inwardly at the success of my clever stratagem,

[415] but the Cyclops, groaning and in an agony of pain, felt about with his hands till he found the stone and took it from the door; then he sat in the doorway and stretched his hands in front of it to catch anyone going out with the sheep, for he thought I might be foolish enough to attempt this. [420] “As for myself I kept on puzzling to think how I could best save my own life [psukhē] and those of my companions; I schemed and schemed, as one who knows that his life depends upon it, for the danger was very great. In the end I thought that this plan would be the best.

[425] The male sheep were well grown, and carried a heavy black fleece, so I bound them noiselessly in threes together, with some of the reeds on which the wicked monster used to sleep. There was to be a man under the middle sheep,

[430] and the two on either side were to cover him, so that there were three sheep to each man. As for myself there was a ram finer than any of the others, so I caught hold of him by the back, ensconced myself in the thick wool under his belly,

[435] and hung on patiently to his fleece, face upwards, keeping a firm hold on it all the time. “Thus, then, did we wait in great fear of mind till morning came, but when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, the male sheep hurried out to feed, while the ewes remained bleating about the pens waiting to be milked, for their udders

[440] were full to bursting; but their master in spite of all his pain felt the backs of all the sheep as they stood upright, without being sharp enough to find out that the men were underneath their bellies. As the ram was going out, last of all,

[445] heavy with its fleece and with the weight of my crafty self; powerful Polyphemus laid hold of it and said: “‘My good ram, what is it that makes you the last to leave my cave this morning? You are not wont to let the ewes go before you, but lead the mob with a run whether

[450] to flowery mead or bubbling fountain, and are the first to come home again at night; but now you lag last of all. Is it because you know your master has lost his eye, and are sorry because that wicked Noman and his horrid crew have got him down in his drink and blinded him?

[455] But I will have his life yet. If you could understand and talk, you would tell me where the wretch is hiding, and I would dash his brains upon the ground till they flew all over the cave.

[460] I should thus have some satisfaction for the harm this no-good Noman has done me.’ “As spoke he drove the ram outside, but when we were a little way out from the cave and yards, I first got from under the ram’s belly, and then freed my comrades; as for the sheep, which were very fat, by constantly heading them in the right direction

[465] we managed to drive them down to the ship. The crew rejoiced greatly at seeing those of us who had escaped death, but wept for the others whom the Cyclops had killed. However, I made signs to them by nodding and frowning that they were to hush their crying, and told them to get all

[470] the sheep on board at once and put out to sea; so they went aboard, took their places, and smote the gray sea with their oars. Then, when I had got as far out as my voice would reach, I began to jeer at the Cyclops.

[475] “‘Cyclops,’ said I, ‘you should have taken better measure of your man before eating up his comrades in your cave. You wretch, do you intend by violence [biē] to eat up your visitors in your own cave? You might have known that your sin would find you out, and now Zeus and the other gods have punished you.’

[480] “He got more and more furious as he heard me, so he tore the top from off a high mountain, and flung it just in front of my ship so that it was within a little of hitting the end of the rudder. The sea quaked as the rock fell into it, and the wash

[485] of the wave it raised carried us back towards the mainland, and forced us towards the shore. But I snatched up a long pole and kept the ship off, making signs to my men by nodding my head,

[490] that they must row for their lives, whereon they laid out with a will. When we had got twice as far as we were before, I was for jeering at the Cyclops again, but the men begged and prayed of me to hold my tongue. “‘Do not,’ they exclaimed, ‘be mad enough to provoke this savage creature further; [495] he has thrown one rock at us already which drove us back again to the mainland, and we made sure it had been the death of us; if he had then heard any further sound of voices he would have pounded our heads and our ship’s timbers into a jelly with the rugged rocks he would have heaved at us, for he can throw them a long way.’

[500] “But I would not listen to them, and shouted out to him in my rage, ‘Cyclops, if any one asks you who it was that put your eye out and spoiled your beauty, say it was the valiant warrior Odysseus, ransacker of cities,

[505] son of Laertes, who lives in Ithaca.’ “Then he groaned, and cried out, ‘Alas, alas, then the old prophecy about me is coming true. There was a prophet [mantis] here, at one time, a man both brave and of great stature, Telemos son of Eurymos, who was an excellent seer,

[510] and did all the prophesying for the Cyclopes till he grew old; he told me that all this would happen to me some day, and said I should lose my sight by the hand of Odysseus. I have been all along expecting some one of imposing presence and superhuman strength,

[515] whereas he turns out to be a little insignificant weakling, who has managed to blind my eye by taking advantage of me in my drink; come here, then, Odysseus, that I may make you presents to show my hospitality, and urge Poseidon, glorious shaker of the Earth, to help you forward on your journey – for Poseidon and I are father and son.

[520] He, if he so will, shall heal me, which no one else neither god nor man can do.’ “Then I said, ‘I wish I could be as sure of killing you outright and sending you down, bereft of your psukhē, to the house of Hadēs, as I am

[525] that it will take more than Poseidon to cure that eye of yours.’ “Then he lifted up his hands to the firmament of the sky and prayed, saying, ‘Hear me, great Poseidon, who encircles the Earth; if I am indeed your own true-begotten son,

[530] grant that Odysseus, ransacker of cities, son of Laertes, who makes his home in Ithaca may never reach his home alive; or if he must get back to his friends at last, let him do so late and in sore plight after losing all his men let him reach his home

[535] in another man’s ship and find trouble in his house.’ “Thus did he pray, and Poseidon heard his prayer. Then he picked up a rock much larger than the first, swung it aloft and hurled it with prodigious force. It fell just short of the ship,

[540] but was within a little of hitting the end of the rudder. The sea quaked as the rock fell into it, and the wash of the wave it raised drove us onwards on our way towards the shore of the island. “When at last we got to the island where we had left the rest of our ships, we found our comrades

[545] lamenting us, and anxiously awaiting our return. We ran our vessel upon the sands and got out of her on to the sea shore; we also landed the Cyclops’ sheep, and divided them equitably amongst us so that none might have reason to complain.

[550] As for the ram, my companions agreed that I should have it as an extra share; so I sacrificed it on the sea shore, and burned its thigh bones to Zeus, dark-clouded son of Kronos, who is the lord of all. But he heeded not my sacrifice, and only thought how he might destroy

[555] my ships and my comrades. “Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and drink, but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped upon the beach.

[560] When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, I bade my men on board and loose the hawsers. Then they took their places and smote the gray sea with their oars; so we sailed on with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have escaped death though we had lost our comrades.

Sourcebook Odyssey Scroll X

[1] Thence we went on to the Aeolian island where lives Aiolos son of Hippotas, dear to the immortal gods. It is an island that floats (as it were) upon the sea, iron bound with a wall that girds it.

[5] Now, Aiolos has six daughters and six sons in the bloom of youth, so he made the sons marry the daughters, and they all live with their dear father and mother, feasting and enjoying every conceivable kind of luxury.

[10] All day long the atmosphere of the house is loaded with the savor of roasting meats till it groans again, yard and all; but by night they sleep on their well-made bedsteads, each with his own wife between the blankets. These were the people among whom we had now come. “Aiolos entertained me for a whole month asking me questions all the time

[15] about Troy, the Argive fleet, and the return [nostos] of the Achaeans. I told him exactly how everything had happened, and when I said I must go, and asked him to further me on my way, he made no sort of difficulty, but set about doing so at once. Moreover, he flayed me a prime ox-hide

[20] to hold the ways of the roaring winds, which he shut up in the hide as in a sack – for Zeus, son of Kronos had made him captain over the winds, and he could stir or still each one of them according to his own pleasure. He put the sack in the ship and bound the mouth so tightly with a silver thread that not even a breath

[25] of a side-wind could blow from any quarter. The West wind which was fair for us did he alone let blow as it chose; but it all came to nothing, for we were lost through our own folly. “Nine days and nine nights did we sail, and on the tenth day our native land showed on the horizon.

[30] We got so close in that we could see the stubble fires burning, and I, being then dead tired, fell into a light sleep, for I had never let the rudder out of my own hands, that we might get home the faster. Then the men fell to talking among themselves,

[35] and said I was bringing back gold and silver in the sack that great-hearted Aiolos, son of Hippotas, had given me. ‘Bless my heart,’ would one turn to his neighbor, saying, ‘how this man gets honored and makes friends in whatever city or country he may go.

[40] See what fine prizes he is taking home from Troy, while we, who have traveled just as far as he has, come back with hands as empty as we set out with – and now Aiolos has given him ever so much more. Quick – let us see what it all is,

[45] and how much gold and silver there is in the sack he gave him.’ “Thus they talked and evil counsels prevailed. They loosed the sack, whereupon the wind flew howling forth and raised a storm that carried us weeping out to sea and away from our own country. Then I awoke,

[50] and knew not whether to throw myself into the sea or to live on and make the best of it; but I bore it, covered myself up, and lay down in the ship, while the men lamented bitterly as the fierce winds bore our fleet

[55] back to the Aeolian island. “When we reached it we went ashore to take in water, and dined hard by the ships. Immediately after dinner I took a herald and one of my men

[60] and went straight to the famous house of Aiolos, where I found him feasting with his wife and family; so we sat down as suppliants on the threshold. They were astounded when they saw us and said, ‘Odysseus, what brings you here? What superhuman force [daimōn] has been ill-treating you?

[65] We took great pains to further you on your way home to Ithaca, or wherever it was that you wanted to go to.’ “Thus did they speak, but I answered sorrowfully, ‘My men have undone me; they, and cruel sleep, have ruined me. My friends, mend me this mischief, for you can if you will.’

[70] “I spoke as movingly as I could, but they said nothing, till their father answered, ‘Vilest of humankind, get you gone at once out of the island; him whom the gods hate will I in no way help. [75] Be off, for you come here as one abhorred of the gods.’ And with these words he sent me sorrowing from his door. “Thence we sailed sadly on till the men were worn out with long and fruitless rowing, for there was no longer any wind to help them.

[80] Six days, night and day did we toil, and on the seventh day we reached the rocky stronghold of Lamos – Telepylos, the city of the Laestrygonians, where the shepherd who is driving in his sheep and goats [to be milked] salutes him who is driving out his flock [to feed] and this last answers the salute. In that country a man who could do without sleep might earn

[85] double wages, one as a herdsman of cattle, and another as a shepherd, for they work much the same by night as they do by day. When we reached the harbor we found it land-locked under steep cliffs,

[90] with a narrow entrance between two headlands. My captains took all their ships inside, and made them fast close to one another, for there was never so much as a breath of wind inside, but it was always dead calm.

[95] I kept my own ship outside, and moored it to a rock at the very end of the point; then I climbed a high rock to reconnoiter, but could see no sign neither of man nor cattle, only some smoke rising from the ground.

[100] So I sent two of my company with an attendant to find out what sort of people the inhabitants were. “The men when they got on shore followed a level road by which the people draw their firewood from the mountains into the town,

[105] till presently they met a young woman who had come outside to fetch water, and who was daughter to a Laestrygonian named Antiphates. She was going to the sweet-running fountain Artakia from which the people bring in their water, and when my men had come close up to her, they asked her

[110] who the king of that country might be, and over what kind of people he ruled; so she directed them to her father’s house, but when they got there they found his wife to be a giantess as huge as a mountain, and they were horrified at the sight of her. “She at once called her husband famous Antiphates

[115] from the place of assembly, and right away he set about killing my men. He snatched up one of them, and began to make his dinner of him then and there, whereon the other two ran back to the ships as fast as ever they could. But Antiphates raised a hue and cry after them,

[120] and thousands of sturdy Laestrygonians sprang up from every quarter – ogres, not men. They threw vast rocks at us from the cliffs as though they had been mere stones, and I heard the horrid sound of the ships crunching up against one another, and the death cries of my men, as the Laestrygonians speared them like fishes and took them home to eat them.

[125] While they were thus killing my men within the harbor I drew my sword, cut the cable of my own ship, and told my men to row with all their might if they too would not fare like the rest;

[130] so they laid out for their lives, and we were thankful enough when we got into open water out of reach of the rocks they hurled at us. As for the others there was not one of them left. “Thence we sailed sadly on, glad to have escaped death, though we had lost our comrades,

[135] and came to the Aeaean island, where Circe of the lovely hair lives, a great and cunning goddess who is own sister to the magician Aietes – for they are both children of the sun, Helios who shines on mortals, by Perse, who is daughter to Okeanos.

[140] We brought our ship into a safe harbor without a word, for some god guided us there, and having landed we stayed there for two days and two nights, worn out in body and mind. When the fair-haired morning of the third day came

[145] I took my spear and my sword, and went away from the ship to reconnoiter, and see if I could discover signs of human handiwork, or hear the sound of voices. Climbing to the top of a high look-out I espied the smoke of Circe’s house [150] rising upwards amid a dense forest of trees, and when I saw this I doubted whether, having seen the smoke, I would not go on at once and find out more, but in the end I thought it best to go back to the ship, give

[155] the men their dinners, and send some of them instead of going myself. “When I had nearly got back to the ship some god took pity upon my solitude, and sent a fine antlered stag right into the middle of my path. He was coming down his pasture in the forest to drink of the river,

[160] for the heat of the sun drove him, and as he passed I struck him in the middle of the back; the bronze point of the spear went clean through him, and he lay groaning in the dust until the life went out of him. Then I set my foot upon him, drew my spear from

[165] the wound, and laid it down; I also gathered rough grass and rushes and twisted them into a fathom or so of good stout rope, with which I bound the four feet of the noble creature together; having so done I hung him round my neck and walked back to the ship

[170] leaning upon my spear, for the stag was much too big for me to be able to carry him on my shoulder, steadying him with one hand. As I threw him down in front of the ship, I called the men and spoke cheeringly man by man to each of them. ‘Look here my friends,’ said I, ‘we are not going to die so much before our time after all,

[175] and at any rate we will not starve so long as we have got something to eat and drink on board.’ Then they uncovered their heads upon the sea shore

[180] and admired the stag, for he was indeed a splendid specimen. Then, when they had feasted their eyes upon him sufficiently, they washed their hands and began to cook him for dinner. “Thus through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we stayed there eating and drinking our fill,

[185] but when the sun went down and it came on dark, we camped upon the sea shore. When the child of morning, fingered Dawn, appeared, I called a council and said,

[190] ‘My friends, we are in very great difficulties; listen therefore to me. We have no idea where the sun either sets or rises, so that we do not even know East from West. I see no way out of it; nevertheless, we must try and find one. We are certainly on an island, for I went as high as I could this morning,

[195] and saw the sea reaching all round it to the horizon; it lies low, but towards the middle I saw smoke rising from out of a thick forest of trees.’ “Their hearts sank as they heard me, for they remembered how they had been treated by the Laestrygonian Antiphates,

[200] and by the savage ogre Polyphemus. They wept bitterly in their dismay, but there was nothing to be got by crying, so I divided my strong-greaved into two companies and set a captain over each;

[205] I gave one company to godlike Eurylokhos, while I took command of the other myself. Then we cast lots in a helmet, and the lot fell upon great-hearted Eurylokhos; so he set out with his twenty-two men, and they wept, as also did we who were left behind.

[210] “When they reached Circe’s house they found it built of cut stones, on a site that could be seen from far, in the middle of the forest. There were wild mountain wolves and lions prowling all round it – poor bewitched creatures whom she had tamed by her enchantments and drugged into subjection. They did not attack my men, but wagged their great tails,

[215] fawned upon them, and rubbed their noses lovingly against them. As hounds crowd round their master when they see him coming from dinner – for they know he will bring them something – even so did these wolves and lions with their great claws fawn upon my men, but the men were terribly frightened at seeing such strange creatures.

[220] Presently they reached the gates of the goddess’ house, and as they stood there they could hear Circe within, singing most beautifully as she worked at her loom, making a web so fine, so soft, and of such dazzling colors as no one but a goddess could weave. Then Polites leader of men, [225] whom I valued and trusted more than any other of my men, said, ‘There is some one inside working at a loom and singing most beautifully; the whole place resounds with it, let us call her and see whether she is woman or goddess.’ “They called her

[230] and she came down, unfastened the door, and bade them enter. They, thinking no evil, followed her, all except Eurylokhos, who suspected mischief and stayed outside. When she had got them into her house, she set them upon benches and seats and mixed them a drink with cheese, honey, meal,

[235] and Pramnian wine but she drugged it with wicked poisons to make them forget their homes, and when they had drunk she turned them into pigs by a stroke of her wand, and shut them up in her pigsties. They were like pigs- head, hair, and all,

[240] and they grunted just as pigs do; but their senses [noos] were the same as before, and they remembered everything. “Thus then were they shut up squealing, and Circe threw them some acorns and beech masts such as pigs eat, but Eurylokhos hurried back

[245] to tell me about the sad fate of our comrades. He was so overcome with dismay that though he tried to speak he could find no words to do so; his eyes filled with tears and he could only sob and sigh, till at last we forced his story out of him,

[250] and he told us what had happened to the others. “‘We went,’ said he, ‘as you told us, through the forest, and in the middle of it there was a fine house built with cut stones in a place that could be seen from far. There we found a woman, or else she was a goddess, working at her loom and singing sweetly;

[255] so the men shouted to her and called her, whereon she at once came down, opened the door, and invited us in. The others did not suspect any mischief so they followed her into the house, but I stayed where I was, for I thought there might be some treachery. From that moment I saw them no more,

[260] for not one of them ever came out, though I sat a long time watching for them.’ “Then I took my sword of bronze and slung it over my shoulders; I also took my bow, and told Eurylokhos to come back with me and show me the way. But he laid hold of me with both his hands

[265] and spoke piteously, saying, ‘Sir, do not force me to go with you, but let me stay here, for I know you will not bring one of them back with you, nor even return alive yourself; let us rather see if we cannot escape at any rate with the few that are left us, for we may still save our lives.’

[270] “‘Stay where you are, then,’ answered I, ‘eating and drinking at the ship, but I must go, for I am most urgently bound to do so.’ “With this I left the ship and went up inland.

[275] When I got through the charmed grove, and was near the great house of the enchantress Circe, I met Hermes with his golden wand, disguised as a young man in the hey-day of his youth and beauty with the down just coming upon his face.

[280] He came up to me and took my hand within his own, saying, ‘My poor unhappy man, where are you going over this mountain top, alone and without knowing the way? Your men are shut up in Circe’s pigsties, like so many wild boars in their lairs. You surely do not fancy that you can set them free? I can tell you

[285] that you will never get back and will have to stay there with the rest of them. But never mind, I will protect you and get you out of your difficulty. Take this herb, which is one of great virtue, and keep it about you when you go to Circe’s house, it will be a talisman to you against every kind of mischief. “‘And I will tell you of all the wicked witchcraft that Circe will try to practice upon you.

[290] She will mix a potion for you to drink, and she will drug the meal with which she makes it, but she will not be able to charm you, for the virtue of the herb that I shall give you will prevent her spells from working. I will tell you all about it. When Circe strikes you with her wand, draw your sword

[295] and spring upon her as though you were goings to kill her. She will then be frightened and will desire you to go to bed with her; on this you must not point blank refuse her, for you want her to set your companions free, and to take good care also of yourself, but you make her swear solemnly by all the blessed that she [300] will plot no further mischief against you, or else when she has got you naked she will unman you and make you fit for nothing.’ “As he spoke he pulled the herb out of the ground an showed me what it was like. The root was black, while the flower was as white as milk;

[305] the gods call it Moly, and mortal men cannot uproot it, but the gods can do whatever they like. “Then Hermes went back to high Olympus passing over the wooded island; but I fared onward to the house of Circe, and my heart was clouded with care as I walked along.

[310] When I got to the gates I stood there and called the goddess, and as soon as she heard me she came down, opened the door, and asked me to come in; so I followed her – much troubled in my mind. She set me on a richly decorated seat

[315] inlaid with silver, there was a footstool also under my feet, and she mixed a mixture in a golden goblet for me to drink; but she drugged it, for she meant me mischief. When she had given it me, and I had drunk it without its charming me, she struck me with her wand.

[320] ‘There now,’ she cried, ‘be off to the pigsty, and make your lair with the rest of them.’ “But I rushed at her with my sword drawn as though I would kill her, whereon she fell with a loud scream, clasped my knees, and spoke piteously, saying,

[325] ‘Who and whence are you? From what place and people have you come? How can it be that my drugs have no power to charm you? Never yet was any man able to stand so much as a taste of the herb I gave you; you must have some sort of spell-proof noos;

[330] surely you can be none other than the bold hero, resourceful Odysseus, who Hermes of the golden staff always said would come here some day with his ship while on his way home from Troy; so be it then; sheathe your sword and let us go to bed,

[335] that we may make friends and learn to trust each other.’ “And I answered, ‘Circe, how can you expect me to be friendly with you when you have just been turning all my men into pigs? And now that you have got me here myself, you mean me mischief

[340] when you ask me to go to bed with you, and will unman me and make me fit for nothing. I shall certainly not consent to go to bed with you unless you will first take your solemn oath to plot no further harm against me.’

[345] “So she swore at once as I had told her, and when she had completed her oath then I went to bed with her. “Meanwhile her four servants, who are her housemaids, set about their work.

[350] They are the children of the groves and fountains, and of the holy waters that run down into the sea. One of them spread a fair purple cloth over a seat, and laid a carpet underneath it. Another brought tables of silver up to the seats,

[355] and set them with baskets of gold. A third mixed some sweet wine with water in a silver bowl and put golden cups upon the tables, while the fourth brought in water and set it to boil in a large cauldron over a good fire which she had lighted.

[360] When the water in the cauldron was boiling, she poured cold into it till it was just as I liked it, and then she set me in a bath and began washing me from the cauldron about the head and shoulders, to take the tire and stiffness out of my limbs. As soon as she had done washing me and anointing me with oil,

[365] she arrayed me in a good cloak and khiton and led me to a richly decorated seat inlaid with silver; there was a footstool also under my feet. A maid servant then brought me water in a beautiful golden ewer and poured it into a silver basin

[370] for me to wash my hands, and she drew a clean table beside me; an upper servant brought me bread and offered me many things of what there was in the house, and then Circe bade me eat, but I would not, and sat without heeding what was before me, still moody and suspicious.

[375] “When Circe saw me sitting there without eating, and in great grief [penthos], she came to me and said, ‘Odysseus, why do you sit like that as though you were dumb, gnawing at your own heart, and refusing both meat and drink? Is it [380] that you are still suspicious? You ought not to be, for I have already sworn solemnly that I will not hurt you.’ “And I said, ‘Circe, no man with any sense of what is right can think of either eating or drinking in your house

[385] until you have set his friends free and let him see them. If you want me to eat and drink, you must free my men and bring them to me that I may see them with my own eyes.’ “When I had said this she went straight through the court with her wand in her hand and opened the pigsty doors.

[390] My men came out like so many prime hogs and stood looking at her, but she went about among them and anointed each with a second drug, whereon the bristles that the bad drug had given them fell off,

[395] and they became men again, younger than they were before, and much taller and better looking. They knew me at once, seized me each of them by the hand, and wept for joy till the whole house was filled with the sound of their shouting,

[400] and Circe herself was so sorry for them that she came up to me and said, ‘Resourceful Odysseus, noble son of Laertes, go back at once to the sea where you have left your ship, and first draw it on to the land. Then, hide all your ship’s gear and property in some cave,

[405] and come back here with your men.’ “I agreed to this, so I went back to the sea shore, and found the men at the ship weeping and wailing most piteously.

[410] When they saw me the inept blubbering characters began frisking round me as calves break out and gambol round their mothers, when they see them coming home to be milked after they have been feeding all day, and the homestead resounds with their lowing.

[415] They seemed as glad to see me as though they had got back to their own rugged Ithaca, where they had been born and bred. ‘Sir,’ said the affectionate creatures, ‘we are as glad to see you back

[420] as though we had got safe home to Ithaca; but tell us all about the fate of our comrades.’ “I spoke comfortingly to them and said, ‘We must draw our ship on to the land, and hide the ship’s gear with all our property in some cave;

[425] then come with me all of you as fast as you can to Circe’s house, where you will find your comrades eating and drinking in the midst of great abundance.’ “Then the men would have come with me at once, but Eurylokhos tried to hold them back

[430] and said, ‘Alas, poor wretches that we are, what will become of us? Rush not on your ruin by going to the house of Circe, who will turn us all into pigs or wolves or lions, and we shall have to keep guard over her house.

[435] Remember how the Cyclops treated us when our comrades went inside his cave, and bold Odysseus with them. It was all through his sheer folly that those men lost their lives.’ “When I heard him I was in two minds whether or no to draw the keen blade that hung by my sturdy thigh

[440] and cut his head off in spite of his being a near relation of my own; but the men interceded for him and said, ‘Sir, if it may so be, let this man stay here and mind

[445] the ship, but take the rest of us with you to Circe’s house.’ “Then we all went inland, and Eurylokhos was not left behind after all, but came on too, for he was frightened by the severe reprimand that I had given him. “Meanwhile Circe had been seeing that the men who had been left behind

[450] were washed and anointed with olive oil; she had also given them woolen cloaks and khitons, and when we came we found them all comfortably at dinner in her house. As soon as the men saw each other face to face and knew one another, they wept for joy and cried aloud till the whole palace rang again.

[455] Then Circe came up to me and said, ‘Resourceful Odysseus, noble son of Laertes and seed of Zeus, tell your men to leave off crying; I know how much you have all of you suffered at sea, and how ill you have fared among cruel savages on the mainland, [460] but that is over now, so stay here, and eat and drink till you are once more as strong and hearty as you were when you left Ithaca; for at present you are weakened both in body and mind; you keep all the time thinking of the hardships – you have suffered during your travels, so that you have no more

[465] cheerfulness left in you.’ “Thus did she speak and we assented. We stayed with Circe for a whole twelvemonth feasting upon an untold quantity both of meat and wine. But when the year had passed,

[470] and the seasons [hōrai] had turned round, and the waning of moons and the long days had begun, my men called me apart and said, ‘Sir, it is time you began to think about going home, if so be it you are to be spared to see your house and native country at all.’

[475] “Thus did they speak and I assented. Then through the livelong day to the going down of the sun we feasted our fill on meat and wine, but when the sun went down and it came on dark the men laid themselves down to sleep in the covered halls.

[480] I, however, after I had got into bed with Circe, besought her by her knees, and the goddess listened to what I had got to say. ‘Circe,’ said I, ‘please keep the promise you made me about furthering me on my homeward voyage. I want to get back

[485] and so do my men, they are always pestering me with their complaints as soon as ever your back is turned.’ “And the goddess answered, ‘Resourceful Odysseus, noble son of Laertes and seed of Zeus, you shall none of you stay here any longer if you do not want to,

[490] but there is another journey which you have got to take before you can sail homewards. You must go to the house of Hadēs and of dread Persephone to consult the spirit [psukhē] of the blind Theban prophet [mantis] Teiresias whose thinking [noos] is still in place. To him alone has Persephone left his consciousness [phrenes]

[495] even in death, but the other spirits flit about aimlessly.’ “I was dismayed when I heard this. I sat up in bed and wept, and would gladly have lived no longer to see the light of the sun, but presently when I was tired of weeping and tossing myself about,

[500] I said, ‘And who shall guide me upon this voyage – for the house of Hadēs is a port that no ship can reach.’

[505] “‘You will want no guide,’ she answered; ‘raise you mast, set your white sails, sit quite still, and the North Wind will blow you there of itself. When your ship has traversed the waters of Okeanos, you will reach the fertile shore of Persephone’s country

[510] with its groves of tall poplars and willows that shed their fruit untimely; here beach your ship upon the shore of deep-eddying Okeanos, and go straight on to the dark abode of Hadēs. You will find it near the place where the rivers Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus (which is a branch of the river Styx) flow into Acheron, and you will see

[515] a rock near it, just where the two roaring rivers run into one another. “‘When you have reached this spot, as I now tell you, dig a trench a cubit or so in length, breadth, and depth, and pour into it as a drink-offering to all the dead, first, honey mixed with milk, then wine,

[520] and in the third place water-sprinkling white barley meal over the whole. Moreover you must offer many prayers to the poor feeble spirits, and promise them that when you get back to Ithaca you will sacrifice a barren heifer to them, the best you have, and will load the pyre with good things. More particularly you must promise that Teiresias shall have a black

[525] sheep all to himself, the finest in all your flocks. “‘When you shall have thus besought the spirits with your prayers, offer them a ram and a black ewe, bending their heads towards Erebos; but yourself turn away from them as though you would make towards the river. Then,

[530] many dead men’s spirits [psukhai] will come to you, and you must tell your men to skin the two sheep that you have just killed, and offer them as a burnt sacrifice with prayers to Hadēs the powerful and to revered Persephone. [535] Then draw your sword and sit there, so as to prevent any other poor spirit [psukhē] from coming near the spilt blood before Teiresias shall have answered your questions. The seer [mantis] will presently come to you, and will tell you about your voyage – what stages you are to make,

[540] and how you are to sail the sea so as to reach your homecoming [nostos].’ “It was day-break by the time she had done speaking, so she dressed me in my khiton and cloak. As for herself she threw a beautiful light gossamer fabric over her shoulders,

[545] fastening it with a golden waistband round her waist, and she covered her head with a mantle. Then I went about among the men everywhere all over the house, and spoke kindly to each of them man by man: ‘You must not lie sleeping here any longer,’ said I to them, ‘we must be going, for Lady Circe has told me all about it.’

[550] And this they did as I bade them. “Even so, however, I did not get them away without misadventure. We had with us a certain youth named Elpenor, not very remarkable for sense or courage, who had got drunk

[555] and was lying on the house-top away from the rest of the men, to sleep off his liquor in the cool. When he heard the noise of the men bustling about, he jumped up on a sudden and forgot all about coming down by the main staircase, so he tumbled right off the roof

[560] and broke his neck, and his spirit [psukhē] went down to the house of Hadēs. “When I had got the men together I said to them, ‘You think you are about to start home again, but Circe has explained to me that instead of this, we have got to go to the house of Hadēs and revered Persephone

[565] to consult the spirit of the Theban prophet Teiresias.’ The men were broken-hearted as they heard me, and threw themselves on the ground groaning and tearing their hair, but they did not mend matters by crying. When we reached the sea shore,

[570] weeping and lamenting our fate, Circe brought the ram and the ewe, and we made them fast hard by the ship. She passed through the midst of us without our knowing it, for who can see the comings and goings of a god, if the god does not wish to be seen?