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

Revelations, Book VIII

At dawn, Alcinous and Odysseus made their way to the meeting grounds, where the men of Phaeacia gathered to meet the new arrival.  Athena, who assumed the guise of the herald of King Alcinous, proclaiming “A new arrival!  Here at our wise king's palace now,/he's here from roving the ocean, driven far off course/he looks like a deathless god!” (VIII, 13-16). Alcinous, observing the laws of a good host, called for a ship to be fitted-out with a grew of fifty-two sailors.  In the meanwhile, he invited the lords to return to the palace to be feted by the bard, Demodocus.  As the men made their way to the palace, the bard arrived: In came the herald now, leading along the faithful bard the Muse adored above all others, true, but her gifts were mixed with good and evil both: she stripped him of sight but gave the man the power of stirring, rapturous song. (VIII, 71-75) As legend has it, Homer, also a bard, was blind.  Could this be a case of Homer inserting himself into the poem? As the bard began, he sang of the Trojan War: . . .the Muse inspired the bard to sing the famous deeds of fighting heroes- the song whose fame had reached the skies those days: The strife between Odysseus and Achilles, Peleus' Son. . . how once at the gods' lavish feast the captains clashed in a savage war of words, while Agamemnon, lord of armies, rejoiced at heart that Achaea's bravest men were battling so. . . That was the song the famous harper sang but Odysseus, clutching his flaring sea-blue cape in both powerful hands, drew it over his head and buried his handsome face, ashamed his hosts might see him shedding tears. (VIII, 86 - 92;99-103)
Odysseus weeps at the bard’s tale