Laestrygonians - Greek Mythology Link
“Are you referring to Odysseus's encounter with the Laestrygonians? Odysseus sends three men to the nearby city of Lamus to see what kind of creatures lived. The Laestrygonians ate most of Odysseus's crew, but one ship escaped. . Again , here, we see that though the gods are powerful they are not all-knowing. Section 4 will deal with the final home-coming of Odysseus, his journey from Ogygia .. One is thus tempted to see the Laestrygonian harbor in the same terms.
The giants ate many of Odysseus's men and destroyed eleven of his twelve ships by launching rocks from high cliffs. Odysseus's ship was not destroyed as it was hidden in a cove near shore. Everyone on Odysseus's ship survived the incident. Telepylusthe city of the Laestrygonians". Lamos is not mentioned again, perhaps being understood as the founder of the city or the name of the island on which the city is situated.
In this land, a man who could do without sleep could earn double wages; once as a herdsman of cattle and another as a shepherdas they worked by night as they did by day. The ships entered a harbor surrounded by steep cliffs, with a single entrance between two headlands. The captains took their ships inside and made them fast close to one another, where it was dead calm. When Circe erases the men's memories, she turns them into pigs at once: Active Themes Eurylochus ran back to the ship and told Odysseus that the men vanished into the palace and did not return.
Odysseus set off for the palace, but before he reached its doors he met Hermes, who was disguised as a young man. The god gave him a drug called moly that would make him immune to Circe's potion. When Circe touches you with her wand, the god advised, run at her with your sword until she backs away in fear and invites you to her bed. The god told Odysseus to accept the goddess's offer, but only after she swore a binding oath not to hurt him.
The Return of Odysseus
Odysseus's encounter with Hermes is another apparently random divine intervention. Earlier in the book, Hermes acted on behalf of Zeus; but Odysseus is not at this moment in Zeus's favor, so Hermes appears to be acting of his own accord. Again, the intervention is indirect: Hermes does not disable Circe or grant Odysseus magic powers — he uses the plant as an intermediary. When Odysseus walked into Circe's palace, everything happened just as Hermes predicted, and Circe then guessed that the stranger must be Odysseus.
When they retired to bed, Circe's maids prepared a bath and a feast. But Odysseus was too troubled to eat, so Circe transformed his crew from swine to men again. Odysseus returned to his ship to hide his cargo in caves and to call the rest of his crew back to the palace.
Eurylochus urged the men to depart right then, instead of rushing into a situation that might be a trap; he reminded them of the men that died in Polyphemus's cave because of Odysseus's poor judgment.
But the men followed Odysseus, Eurylochus included. Though Odysseus acts honorably in following Hermes' advice, because it enables him to save his crewmen, it is an idea of honor that lies uneasily with our own: Odysseus's sleeping around also doesn't seem like the act of a man who is so desperate to return to his wife, but some things you just have to chalk up to different times.
- 2. Circe, the Nekyia, and Helios
- By Clement Bailly
- 1. Introduction
As Eurylochus points out, Odysseus's decision to return to the palace is risky and unwarranted. Perhaps Odysseus is flattered by the goddess's attention: Active Themes The men stayed on the island for a year, living in luxury, but after a year the crew grew increasingly restless and finally convinced Odysseus that it was time to leave. Circe advised him to go down to the land of the dead to speak to the ghost of Tiresias, a blind prophet. The first of these are negative.
As was suggested earlier, only the privileged can pass through death unharmed; thus is the hero increasingly separated from his companions. The case with Odysseus is just the reverse.
The purpose of his trip to the underworld is to hear the prophecy of Teiresias. Whether the prophecy always contained a description of the way home cannot be known for sure, but this seems doubtful. In fact, the main prophetic duties are taken over by Circe, who belongs to the upper world.
To him even when dead Persephone granted mind, to him alone, so that he might have sound wits; but the others flit about as shadows. The next question concerns the role of the sun. Like the return from death, this is for the most part quite plain. The companions are to be equated with sunset, the passing of the sun into the infernal regions.
A reminiscence of this equation may well be contained in xiiwhere Helios threatens to descend into Hades if the offending companions do not die for him: If they do not pay me a fitting recompense for the cattle, I will sink into the house of Hades and shine among the dead.
Odysseus escapes death because he has had no part in the offense of his companions. In xii ff. Their herdsmen are goddesses, the fair-tressed nymphs Phaethousa and Lampeia, whom shining Neaira bore to Helios. In the Odyssey Helios has not only cattle but sheep as well; when Circe first describes Thrinacia to Odysseus, she says that there is an equal number of the two species xii ff.
You will come to the island of Thrinacia; many cattle and sturdy sheep of Helios graze there, seven herds of cattle and as many beautiful flocks of sheep, with fifty head in each. Perhaps the most important source for our purposes is Herodotus 9. This passage tells the story of Euenius, a prophet from the Corinthian colony of Apollonia who lived in the generation before the Persian wars.
According to this story, Euenius acquired the gift of prophecy as a direct consequence of his role as the guardian of sheep that were sacred to Helios. In Apollonia there is a flock of sheep sacred to the sun; during the daytime these sheep graze along the banks of the river which rises on Mt. The people of Apollonia value these sheep very highly because of an oracle they once received concerning them.
Laestrygonians - Wikipedia
The place where they are penned for the night is a cave, a long way from the town, and here it was that Euenius, who had been chosen for the task, was keeping watch.
One night he fell asleep on duty, and some wolves got in and killed about sixty of the sheep. When, on waking, he saw what had happened, Euenius kept silent and told nobody about it, intending to buy some more sheep to make good the losses; but the people of the town got to know of the disaster, and at once brought the culprit to trial and condemned him to have his eyes put out for sleeping at his post. The sentence was carried out and immediately afterwards the sacred ewes had no more lambs, and the land ceased to produce the normal harvests.
The gift Euenius received from the gods was that of prophecy, and this gift, as the oracles had foretold, made him famous. They rent the cave with their song and with the power of their prayer. Greek tradition also associates a cave with the sheep of Helios in the story of Euenius. Further, they seem to be connected with the cattle of Helios, [ 23 ] and to have to do with darkness and death. They came also to the land of man-delighting Helios, Taenarum, where the deep-fleeced sheep of lord Helios graze forever.
Neither of these elements is overtly present in Odyssey 12, [ 27 ] and this fact calls for an explanation. The explanation probably has to do with the Cyclops episode, which fully exploits both mythic elements in question.
It remains to say something more about Circe. Homer says in x that she was the daughter of Helios. Thus her episode in the Odyssey also has to do with symbolism of the sun. As has been seen, this symbolism has an eastern and a western aspect. One wonders whether this is not the reason that her home, the land of Aeaea, is variously located in both east and west. O friends, we do not know where the darkness is and where the dawn, we do not know where the sun that shines on men goes beneath the earth and where it returns.
This discrepancy is easily explained. The Homeric version, in fact, seems to represent a compromise. Odysseus and his men do venture into darkness, but the text suggests a northerly direction. Their ship takes them to the land of the Cimmerians, upon whom the sun never shines xi 13 ff.
Our ship came to the boundary of deep-flowing Oceanus. The Cimmerians were a historical people who moved from the north into Asia Minor in the eighth and seventh centuries and who therefore must be a late feature in Greek epic. There the children of dark Night have their house, the dread gods Sleep and Death; neither does shining Helios ever look upon them with his rays, either ascending into the sky or descending from the sky. On the contrary, Hesiod has preserved the original context of the underlined phrase sleep, death, the region beyond sunsetwhereas Homer has sacrificed part of this context the extreme west for the sake of realism.
Initially she is a very hostile figure to Odysseus and his companions. This is her chthonic aspect, which is explained by her close relationship to Helios—so Eliade explains it. He is the father of the sorceress Circe, and the grandfather of Medea, both illustrious specialists in nightplant philtres.