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

Odysseus Revealed, Book VIII

The bard began his song with Odysseus' men in the Trojan Horse, causing the man of sorrow to break into tears.  The King noticed Odysseus' distress and asked the bard to discontinue his song.  He then asked Odysseus to declare his identity.  Before the man of sorrows could answer, the King told of a prophecy which would have an impact on Odysseus' tale, as well as that of the Phaeacians: True, there's an old tale I heard my father telling once.  Nausithous sued to say that lord Poseidon was vexed with us because we escorted all mankind and never came to grief. He said that one day, as a well-built ship of ours sailed home on the misty sea from such a convoy, the god would crush it, yes, and pile a huge mountain round about our port. So the old king foretold. . . And as for the god, well, he can do his worst or leave it quite undone, whatever warms his heart. (VIII, 631-641) Unfortunately, the old prophecy comes true, and the Phaeacian port is ruined.  Antinous then asks Odysseus to tell his tale. Book IX begins as Odysseus comments on the story told by the bard, and begins his revelation by saying he has suffered many pains.  He then reveals himself by saying: “I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, known to the world/for every kind of craft-my fame has reached the skies” (IX, 21-22).  This is the first time in the poem that Odysseus has publicly revealed himself. He then starts his narrative, saying:  “No more.  Come,/let me tell you about the voyage fraught with hardship/Zeus inflicted on me, homeward bound from Troy” (IX, 41-43). Odysseus begins to relate his journeys on the trip home from Troy, as follows:  1. The land of the Cicones (book IX)  2. The dwelling of the Lotus-eaters (Book IX)  3. The Cyclopes (Book IX)  4. The land of Aeolus (Book X)  5. The Lastrygonians (Book X)  6. Circe's home (Book X)  7. Hades (Book XI)  8. Return to the island of Circe (book XII)  9. The Sirens (Book XII)  10. The Clashing walls (Book XII)  11. Scylla and Charybdis (Book XII)  12. Island of Hyperion (Book XII)  13. Return to Charybdis (Book XII)  14. Calypso's island (Book XII)  15. Phaeacia (Book VI) Odysseus' journey is a circle, beginning in Phaeacia, where he tells his story, and ending in Phaeacia where he arrives after being released by Calypso.