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Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Michael Simpson; Leonard Baskin et al. | Go to book overview

HAPTER THIRTEEN
The Return and Death of Odysseus (Epitome 7)

EPIT. 7 1 Odysseus, as some say, wandered through Libya, or as others say, through Sicily, or as yet others say, over the ocean or over the Tyrrhenian Sea. i

After he sailed from Ilium he put in at lsmarus, a city of the Cicones, captured it in a battle and plundered it, sparing only Maro, a priest of Apollo.l. The Cicones living on the mainland learned of this and came in arms against him. After losing six men from each ship, he put to sea and fled. He landed in the country of the Lotus-eater~, and sent some of the crew to learn about the inhabitants. A pleasant fruit called lotus grew in the land which made anyone who tasted it forget every- thing. After tasting the lotus the men stayed there. When Odysseus realized what had happened, he made the rest of his men wait and forced those who had tasted the lotus to return to the ships. He then sailed away to the land of the Cyclopes."2

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Leaving the other ships at the island nearby, he approached the land of the Cyclopes in his own and went ashore with twelve com- panions. They entered a cave near the water, taking with them a skin full of wine, which Maro had given to Odysseus. The kave was in- habited by Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and a nymph Thoosa, a, huge wild cannibal with one eye in his forehead. They started a fire, sacri- riced several of the kids, and ate them. The Cyclops returned, driving his flock into the cave, and put a huge stone over the entrance. When he saw the men he ate some of them. Odysseus gave him a taste of Maro's wine. After he drank he asked for more and, after drinking a second time, he asked Odysseus his name. When he said that his name was Nobody, Polyphemus threatened to eat them all and Nobody last of all, that being the guest-gift he promised him. But he became drunk from the wine and fell asleep. Odysseus found a stake drinkingin the cave and with four companions sharpened one end of it, heated it in

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