The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Oebalus – Oecus – Oedipus



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 con trols 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 (g.f.), 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, Eurnaeus, and the herdsman Phlloetius, and with the aiding presence of Athene, 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 (<?.f.) 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 painful 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 Prseneste [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 Surren-tum was found the island of the Sirens ; near Cape Laclnium that of Calypso, while near to Sicily were the isle of ^Eolus, 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.)

(Ebalus. King of Sparta, father of Hip-pocoon, Tyndareos, and Icarius by the Nymph Bateia. The first of these expels his brethren from their home, but falls with all his sons in battle against Heracles and'Cepheusof Tegea; upon this Tyudareos (q.v.) returns and takes possession of his father's realm. Icarius, who remains in I Acarnania, becomes by Porycaste, or (ac­cording to another account) by the Naiad Periboaa, father of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus.

(Ecus (Greek). The dining-room of a Roman dwelling-house. (See house.)

(Edipus. Son of Laius, descendant of Cadmus through his paternal grandfather Labdacus and his great-grandfather Poly-dorus. According to Homer [Od. xi 271-280], he_ kills his father and marries his mother EpTcaste (in later accounts locaste}; the gods, however, immediately cause the misdeed to be known, and Epicaste hangs herself; (Edipus however rules on iii Thebes, haunted with many sufferings by the vengeful spirit of his mother. Homer also mentions the funeral games celebrated in his honour [II. xxiii 679], but does not tell of the birth of his sons and the grounds of their feud. According to the ancient CEdipOdeid of Cinsethon, (Edipus after locaste's death marries Euryganeia, whence sprang his sous Eteocles and Polj'nlces, and his daughters Antigone and Ismene [Paus., ix 5, 11]. According to the ancient legend. (Edipus curses his sons either because Poly-nices had set before him at the banquet the table and goblet which Cadmus and Laius had used (which he regarded as an attempt to remind him of his transgression), or be­cause they had inadvertently sent him the haunch-bone of a victim instead of the shoulder-bone.

In the hands of the tragedians, especially of jEschylus and Sophocles (in the (Edipus Tyrannus), the legend has been changed into the following form. Laius, husband of locaste, daughter of Menceceus, and sister of Cr66n, has a curse resting on him in consequence of some misdeed. He is told by the oracle of Apollo that he will die by the hand of his son. When a son is born to him, he accordingly orders a slave to expose him, with his feet pierced, upon Cithaeron. The slave consigns the child to the care of a shepherd belonging to the king of

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.