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ODYSSEUS 100.00%
King of Ithaca, son of Laertes and Anticlea, daughter of Autolycus. In post-Homeric legend he is called a son of Sisyphus, borne by Anticlea before her marriage with Laertes. According to Homer, his name, "the hater," was given him by his grandfather Autolycus, because he himself had so often cherished feelings of hatred during his life [Od. xix 402]. His wife Penelope (or Penelopeia), daughter of Icarius (see OEBALUS), is said by later legends to have been obtained for him by her uncle Tyndareos in gratitude for counsel given by him. (See TYNDAREOS.) When his son Telemachus was still an infant, Agamemnon and Menelaus, as Homer tells us, prevailed on him to take part in the expedition against Troy. Their task was hard, as it had been predicted to him that it would be twenty years before he saw his wife and child again. Later writers relate that he was bound as one of Helen's suitors to take, part in the scheme, but tried to escape his obligation by feigning madness, and among other acts yoked a horse and an ox to his plough and so ploughed a field. When however Palamedes, who with Nestor and Menelaus was desirous of taking him to Troy, proceeded to place Telemachus in the furrow, he betrayed himself and had to accompany them to war. He led the men of Ithaca and the surrounding isles to Troy in twelve vessels. In contrast to the later legend, which represents him as a cowardly, deceitful and intriguing personage, he always appears in Homer among the noblest and most respected of the heroes, and, on account of his good qualities, he is the declared favourite of Athene. He combines in his person courage and determined perseverance with prudence, ingenuity, cunning and eloquence. Accordingly he is employed by preference as a negotiator and a spy. Thus, after the disembarkation, he goes with Menelaus into the enemy's city to demand the surrender of Helen. Again, he is among those who are despatched by the Greeks to reconcile with Agamemnon the enraged Achilles. With Diomedes, who delights in his company, he captures the spy Dolon and surprises Rhesus; with the same hero he is said by later legend to have stolen the Palladium from Troy. When Agamemnon faint-heartedly thinks of flight, he opposes this idea with the utmost decision. Everywhere he avails himself of the right time and the right place, and, where courage and cunning are needed, is ever the foremost. After Achilles' death, in the contest with Ajax, the son of Telamon, he receives the hero's arms as a recognition of his services, and by his ingenuity brings about the fall of Troy. Shortly before it, he steals into the city in the garb of a beggar, in order to reconnoitre everything there; he then climbs with the others into the wooden horse, and contrives to control the impatient and the timid alike until the decisive moment. His adventures during the return from Troy and on his arrival in his native country form the contents of the Odyssey of Homer. Immediately after the departure Odysseus is driven to the Thracian Ismarus, the city of the Cicones, and, though he plunders them, loses in a surprise seventy-two of his companions. When he is now desirous of rounding the south-east point of the Peloponnesus, the promontory of Malea, he is caught by the storm and carried in nine days to the coast of North Africa, on to the land of the Lotophagi (Lotus-eaters) whence he has to drag his companions by force to prevent their forgetting their homes for love of the sweet lotus food. Thence the voyage passes into the legendary world of the Western sea, then little known to the Greeks. Odysseus comes first to the country of the Cyclopes (q.v.), where, with twelve of his comrades, he is shut up in a cavern by Polyphemus. The monster has already devoured half of Odysseus' companions before the latter intoxicates him (fig. 1), deprives him of his one eye, and by his cunning escapes with his comrades. From this time the anger of Poseidon, on whom Polyphemus calls for revenge, pursues him and keeps him far from his country. On the island of Aeolus, the Keeper of the Winds (q.v.), he finds hospitable entertainment, and receives on his departure a leathern bag in which are inclosed all the winds except the western. The latter would carry him in nine days to the coast of Ithaca, but, whilst Odysseus is taking rest, his comrades open the bag, which they imagine to contain treasure, and the winds thus released carry them back to Aeolus. He orders them off from his island, regarding them as enemies of the gods. On coming to Telephylus, the city of Lamus, king Antiphates and his Loestrygones, cannibals of immense stature, shatter eleven of their vessels, and the twelfth is saved only by Odysseus' wariness. (See PAINTING, fig. 5.) On the island of Aeaea the sorceress Circe turns part of his crew into swine, but, with the help of Hermes, he compels her to restore them to their human shape and spends a whole year with her in pleasure and enjoyment. When his companions urge him to return home, Circe bids him first sail toward the farthest west, to the entrance into the lower world on the farther bank of Oceanus, and there question the shade of the seer Tiresias concerning his return. (See HADES, REALM OF.) From the latter he learns that it is the malice of Poseidon that prevents his return, but that nevertheless he will now attain his object if his comrades spare the cattle of Helios on the island of Thrinacia; otherwise it will only be after a long time, deprived of all his comrades and on a foreign shit, that he will reach his home. Odysseus then returns to the isle of Circe and sets out on his homeward voyage, supplied by her with valuable directions and a favouring wind. Passing the isles of the Sirens (q.v.) and sailing through Scylla and Charybdis (q.v.), he reaches the island of Thrinacia, where he is compelled to land by his comrades. They are there detained for a month by contrary winds; at length his comrades, overcome by hunger, in spite of the oath they have sworn to him, slaughter, during his absence, the finest of the cattle of Helios. Scarcely are they once more at sea, when a terrible storm breaks forth, and Zeus splits the ship in twain with a flash of lightning, as a penalty for the offence. All perish except Odysseus, who clings to the mast and keel, and is carried back by the waves to Scylla and Charybdis, and after nine days reaches the island of Ogygia, the abode of the nymph Calypso, daughter of Atlas. For seven years he dwells here with the nymph, who promises him immortality and eternal youth, if he will consent to remain with her and be her husband. But the yearning for his wife and home make him proof against her snares. All the day long he sits on the shore gazing through his tears across the broad sea; fain would he catch a glimpse, were it only of the rising smoke of his home, and thereafter die. So his protectress, Athene, during Poseidon's absence, prevails on Zeus in an assembly of the gods to decree his return, and to send Hermes to order Calypso to release him. Borne on a raft of his own building, he comes in eighteen days near to Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians, when Poseidon catches sight of him and shatters his raft in pieces. However, with the aid of the veil of Ino Leucothea (q.v.), he reaches land in safety and meets with Nausicaa, the king's daughter, who conducts him into the Phaeacian city before her parents Alcinous (q.v.) and Arete. He receives the most hospitable treatment, and is then brought loaded with presents by the Phaeacians on board one of their marvellous vessels to his country, which he reaches after twenty years' absence, while asleep. He arrives just in time to ward off the disaster that is threatening his house. After his mother Anticlea had died of grief for her son, and the old Laertes had retired to his country estate in mourning, more than a hundred noble youths of Ithaca and the surrounding isles had appeared as suitors for the hand of the fair and chaste Penelope, had persecuted Telemachus, who was now growing up to manhood, and were wasting the substance of the absent Odysseus. Penelope had demanded a respite from making her decision until she had finished weaving a shroud intended for her father-in-law, and every night unravelled the work of the day. In the fourth year one of her attendants betrayed the secret; she had to complete the garment, and when urged to make her decision promised to choose the man who should win in a shooting match with Odysseus bow, hoping that none of the wooers would be able even so much as to bend it. Just before the day of trial, Odysseus lands on the island disguised by Athena as a beggar. He betakes himself to the honest swineherd Eumoeus, one of the few retainers who have remained true to him, who receives his master, whom he fails to recognise, in a hospitable manner. To the same spot Athene brings Telemachus, who has returned in safety, in spite of the plots of the suitors from a journey to Nestor at Pylus and Menelaus and Helen in Sparta. Hereupon Odysseus makes himself known and, together with his son and retainer, concerts his plan of revenge. In the shape of a beggar he betakes himself to the house, where he manfully controls his anger at the arrogance of the suitors which is displayed towards himself, and his emotion on meeting Penelope. Next day the shooting match takes place. This involves shooting through the handles of twelve axes with the bow of Eurytus (q.v.), which the latter's son Iphitus had once presented to the young Odysseus. None of the suitors can bend the bow, and so Odysseus takes hold of it, and bends it in an instant, thus achieving the master-shot. Supported by Telemachus, Eumaeus, and the herdsman Philcetius, and with the aiding presence of Athens, he shoots first the insolent Antinous, and then the other suitors. He next makes himself known to Penelope, who has meanwhile fallen into a deep sleep, and visits his old father. In the meantime the relatives of the murdered suitors have taken up arms, but Athene, in the form of Mentor (q.v.) brings about a reconciliation. The only hint of Odysseus' end in Homer is in the prophecy of Tiresias, that in a calm old age a peaceful death will come upon him from the sea. In later poetry Telegonus, the son of Odysseus by Circe, is sent forth by his mother to seek out his father. He lands at Ithaca, and plunders the island: Odysseus proceeds to meet him, is wounded by him with a poisonous sting-ray, given by Circe to her son as a spear-point, and dies a painfal death, which thus comes "from the sea." On Telegonus discovering that he has killed his father, he carries the dead body home with him, together with Penelope and Telemachus, and there the latter live a life of immortality, Telemachus becoming husband of Circe, and Telegonus of Penelope. Besides Telegonus, the legend told of two sons of Odysseus by Circe, named Agrius and Latinus, who were said to have reigned over the Etruscans. Telegonus in particular was regarded by the Romans as the founder of Tusculum [Ovid, Fasti, iii 92], and Praeneste [Horace, Odes iii 29, 8]. In later times the adventures of Odysseus were transferred as a whole to the coast of Italy: the promontory of Circeii was regarded as the abode of Circe, Formiae as the city of the Laestrygones. Near Surrentum was found the island of the Sirens; near Cape Lacinium that of Calypso, while near to Sicily were the isle of Aeolus, Scylla, and Charybdis, and, on the Sicilian shore, the Cyclopes. Odysseus is generally represented as a bearded man, wearing a semi-oval cap like that of a Greek sailor. (See fig. 1.)
 
TELEMACHUS 100.00%
Son of Odysseus (q.v.) and Penelope.
 
ALCINOUS 87.76%
King of the Phaeacians (q.v.), with whom Odysseus, and in later legend Jason and Medea, find shelter and aid. (See ODYSSEUS and ARGONAUTS.)
 
CALYPSO 82.63%
A nymph, the daughter of Atlas, who dwelt on the island of Ogygia, where she gave a friendly welcome to Odysseus, whom she kept with her for seven years. (See ODYSSEUS.)
 
EUMAEUS 72.65%
The faithful swineherd of Odysseus, who gave his master a friendly welcome on his return home in the guise of a beggar, and aided him in the slaughter of the suitors. (See ODYSSEUS.)
 
ANTICLEIA 63.11%
Daughter of Autolycus, wife of Laertes, and mother of Odysseus (q.v.).
 
CIRCE 56.21%
(a figure in Greek mythology). A celebrated magician, daughter of the Sun (Helios) and the Ocean nymph Perseis, sister ofn Aeetes and Pasiphae. She dwelt on the island of Aeaea. For her meeting with Odysseus and the son she bore him, Telegonus, see ODYSSEUS .
 
ARETE 54.01%
Wife of Alcinous king of the Phoeacians (see both), and protectress of Odysseus (q.v.).
 
PENELOPE 53.38%
Daughter of Icarius and the Nymph Periboea, the faithful wife of Odysseus (q.v.) and mother of Telemachus.
 
LAERTES 49.68%
King of Ithaca, and son of Arcisius, a son of Zeus. He was the husband of Anticleia and father of Odysseus (q.v.).
 
RHESUS 47.95%
Son of Eioneus, or Strymon, and one of the Muses, king of the Thracians. He came to help Priam, but, in the very night after his arrival before Troy, was surprised by Diomedes and Odysseus, and slain by the former, together with twelve of his companions, while Odysseus took away his swif horses of glistening whiteness. It had been prophesied that, if these fed on Trojan fodder, or drank of the Xanthus before Troy, the town could not be taken.
 
RHESUS 47.95%
Son of Eioneus, or Strymon, and one of the Muses, king of the Thracians. He came to help Priam, but, in the very night after his arrival before Troy, was surprised by Diomedes and Odysseus, and slain by the former, together with twelve of his companions, while Odysseus took away his swif horses of glistening whiteness. It had been prophesied that, if these fed on Trojan fodder, or drank of the Xanthus before Troy, the town could not be taken.
 
TELEGONUS 47.49%
Son of Odysseus and Circe. At his mother's command he set out to find his father. Landing on the coast of Ithaca, he began to plunder the fields, and Odysseus came out armed against him. Telegonus did not recognise his father, and mortally wounded him with the spine of a sting-ray which Circe had given him to serve as the barb of his lance. When he learned that the wounded man was his father, he took the body home with him, accompanied by Telemachus and Penelope, and subsequently married the latter. He was supposed to be the founder of Tusculum. [Horace, Od. iii 29, 8] and Praeneste, near Rome. [Plutarch, Parall. Min. 41, and Propertius, ii 32, 4. The legend of Telegonus was the theme of the Telegonea, by the cyclic poet Eugammo, of Cyrene. The strange manner in which Odysseus met his end is mentioned in Oppian, Halieutica ii 497.]
 
LOTOPHAGI 47.19%
A people on the north coast of Africa, mentioned as early as Homer [Od. ix 84]. They lived on the fruit of the lotus. (Cp. ODYSSEUS.)
 
PHAEACES 45.30%
A fabulous people in Homer, to whom Odysseus comes in his wanderings [Od. vi-viii]. They stand as near to the gods as the Giants and Cyclopes, seeing them face to face. Originally settled in Hypereia, they were compelled by the violence of their neighbours the Cyclopes to migrate, under their king Nausithous, son of Poseidon and Periboea, daughter of Eurymedon the last king of the Giants, to the happy island of Scheria, where they built a city. On the arrival of Odysseus their ruler was Alcinous, the wise son of Nausithous; his wife was Arete, his brother's daughter, and besides many sons he was the father of the fair Nausicaa. Odysseus' preserver. Far from the turmoil of the world, the Phaeaces are described as leading a life of undisturbed happiness in the enjoyment of the goods wherewith they are richly blessed; above all Aloinous, who had the fairest of orchards and a most beautiful palace. Their business is solely with the sea, with shipping and the provision of all that belongs to it, Their ships are of wondrous sort. Without steersman or rudder, divining of themselves the wishes and thoughts of all men, and knowing all lands, they traverse the sea swift as a bird or a thought, wrapped in mist and darkness, yet have never suffered wreck or foundering. But when the ship, that brought the sleeping Odysseus in one night to Thrace, came back, Poseidon, of whose envious malice a prophecy had long ago bidden them beware, changed it to a rock in sight of harbour, and the Phaeaces were in fear that the rest of the saying would come true, and mountains rise up all round their city. Though it is obvious that the Phaeaces and their abodes, Hypereia and Scheria, are purely mythical, the kingdom of Alcinous was early identified as Corcyra <Corfu). He had a shrine there, and the harbour was named after him. Near the island was also shown the petrified ship. Hence the later Argonautic legends made even Jason and Medea touch at Corcyra on their flight from Aeetes, and, like Odysseus, find protection and help from Alcinous. (See ARGONAUTS.)
 
MENTOR 43.51%
Son of Alcimus of Ithaca, friend of Odysseus, who, on defarting for Troy, confided to him the care of his house and the education of Telemachus [Od. ii 225]. His name has hence become a proverbial one for a wise and faithful adviser or monitor. Athene assumed his shape when she brought Telemachus to Pylus [Od. ii 268), and when she aided Odysseus in fighting the suitors and made peace between him and their relatives [xxii 206, xxiv 4461.
 
PILLEUS 43.39%
A round felt cap with little or no brim lying close to the temples. It was the mark of fishermen, sailors, and artisans; hence Castor and Pollux, Odysseus, Charon, Hephaestus, and Daedalus are representedwith it. The upper classes wore it only in the country or when travelling; but it was worn in Rome by the whole people at the Saturnalia, and by freedmen as a sign of their new position. It was placed on the head of slaves when sold, as a sign that the vender undertook no responsibility. (See cuts, and cp.ODYSSEUS, fig. 1, and coin under BRUTUS.)
 
LATINUS 38.46%
Son of Faunus and of the Nymph Marica (according to another story, of Hercules and Fauna, or of Odysseus and Circe). He was king of Latium, and father of Lavinia, the wife of Aeneas (q.v.).
 
AIAS 38.15%
Son of Telamon of Salamis, and half-brother of Teucer: called the Great Aias, because he stood head and shoulders higher than the other Greek heroes. He brings twelve ships to Troy, where he proves himself second only to Achilles in strength and bravery; and while that hero holds aloof from the fight, he is the mainstay of the Achaeans, especially when the Trojans have taken their camp by storm and are pushing the battle to their ships. In the struggle over the corpse of Patroclus, he and his namesake the son of Oileus cover Menelaus and Meriones while they carry off their fallen comrade. When Thetis offered the arms and armour of Achilles as a prize for the worthiest, they were adjudged, not to Aias, but to his only competitor Odysseus. Trojan captives bore witness that the cunning of Odysseus had done them more harm than the valour of Achilles. Aias thereupon, according to the post-Homeric legend, killed himself in anger, a feeling he still cherished against Odysseus even in the lower world. The later legend relates that he was driven mad by the slight, mistook the flocks in the camp for his adversaries, and slaughtered them, and on coming to his senses again, felt so mortified that he fell on his sword, the gift of Hector after the duel between them. Out of his blood sprang the purple lily, on whose petals could be traced the first letters of his name, Ai, Ai. His monument stood on the Rhoetean promontory, where he had encamped before Troy, and upon which the waves washed the coveted arms of Achilles after the shipwreck of Odysseus. As the national hero of Salamis, he had a temple and statue there, and a yearly festival, the Aianteia; and he was worshipped at Athens, where the tribe Aiantis was named after him. He too was supposed to linger with Achilles in the island of Leuce. By Tecmessa, daughter of the Phrygian king Teuthras, whom he had captured in one of the raids from before Troy, he had a son Eurysaces, who is said to have removed from Salamis to Attica with his son or brother Phihaeus, and founded flourishing families, which produced many famous men, for instance Miltiades, Cimon, Alcibiades, and the historian Thucydides.
 
THRINACIA 36.59%
A mythical island, on which the herds of the Sun-god grazed [ Od. xi 107, xii 127, xix 275; afterwards identified with Sicily, Trinacria]. (Cp. HELIOS and ODYSSEUS.)
 
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