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The Wine Red Sea:  Journeys of Odysseus
© Copyright 2014 - 2018 by Peter J Ponzio

The land of the Phaeacians, Book VII

Echeneus, an elder of the Phaeacians reminded the king that there were formalities to be observed:  guests should not be treated in this manner.  He then implores Alcinous to pour out wine to Zeus “who loves the lightning/champion of suppliants-suppliants' rights are sacred./And let the housekeeper give our guest his supper,/unstinting with her stores” (VII, 195-198). The king then instructed the feast to begin, ordered a sacrifice to the gods, and declared that the men of Phaeacia assist Odysseus in his trip homeward. Odysseus, grateful for the king's assistance, declares that he is not a god, but a man of sorrow .  The queen, piqued by this disclosure, now recites into the formula for greeting a guest: I'll be the first to question you-myself. Who are you? Where are you from? Who gave you the clothes you're wearing now? Didn't you say you reached us roving on the sea? (VII, 273-276) Rather than tell his entire story, Odysseus relates his journey to the island of Ogygia, and his stay on the island for seven years, detained there by Calypso, never giving his heart to the goddess.  Odysseus then relates how he washed up on the island of Phaeacia, and how he was aided by Nausicaa.  The king, impressed by Odysseus’ story, declares his respect for the man of many stratagems, declaring: Father Zeus, Athena and lord Apollo! if only- seeing the man you are, seeing we think as one- you could wed my daughter and be my son-in-law and stay right here with us. I'd give you a house and great wealth-if you chose to stay, that is. (VII, 356-360) This is the second time that the question of marriage for Nausicaa is broached in the poem. Odysseus neither confirms nor denies the offer of marriage, and the queen orders her maidservants to prepare a bed for the man of many sorrows.
Odysseus