ture. Perhaps we may see here a parallel to the brutal scorn cast upon the physical decline of old women, which is expressed in excruciating detail in the contemporary writings of Martial and Horace. 43
In conclusion, by surveying the many representations from the Odyssey in ancient art, we learn that the footwashing during which the nurse makes her startling discovery of Odysseus' scar was never a favorite subject in the visual arts. 44 The preferred episodes are Odysseus' violent dispatch of the giant Polyphemos, his resistance to the seductive song of the Sirens, and the magic potion of Kirke. Penelope, the loving wife, also was portrayed far more often. The footwashing episode certainly revealed Odysseus' scar, and on a deeper level, it also exposed his weakness and vulnerability. This might explain these negative statistics. Rather than underscoring Odysseus' heroic and almost divine prowess, it unmasked his vulnerability and humanity. That this revelation should be carried out by a very old woman of the servant class makes the episode all the more poignant. For these reasons I am inclined to think the subject of the footwashing was not highly popular in Classical antiquity, which preferred its men to be remembered as triumphant heroes.
In loving memory of Eric A. Havelock. I am indebted to two former Vassar College colleagues, Eve D'Ambra and Steven Ostrow, for helpful comments on an earlier version, and to Beth Cohen for many valuable suggestions for the final version.