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This page presents quotations from the poet and father of European literature Homer which are referenced in the Atlantis section of this website.



2.681From Pelasgian Argos too they came, from Alos, Alope and Trachis, those who held Phthia, and Hellas, the land of lovely women; the Myrmidons were they, the Hellenes, and Achaeans; and Achilles commanded them and their fifty ships. Yet now bitter battle was far from their minds, lacking leadership in the war, since noble Achilles, the swift of foot, rested idle among the ships, filled with his wrath because of fair Briseis, whom he'd won by his exploits at Lyrnessus, razing it and storming Thebe's wall, slaughtering Mynes and Epistrophus, bold spearmen, warrior sons of King Evenus, Selepus' son. Achilles grieved for her now, and would not fight, though fated to do so before long. [...] From Pherae by Lake Boebeïs, from Boebe, Glaphyrae, and fair Iolcus, led by Eumelus, Admetus' son, whom Alcestis, loveliest of women, fairest of Pelias' daughters bore, they sailed in eleven ships.

734From Ormenius, and the springs of Hypereia, Asterium and the white towers of Titanus, forty black ships came, led by Eurypylus, Euaemon’s noble son.

4.326Agamemnon left, gladdened by his words, and passed on to Menestheus, tamer of horses, the son of Peteos, who stood among the Athenians, famed for their battle-cry.

394Though he was a stranger and alone among the Cadmeian throng, Tydeus the horse-tamer was unafraid. He challenged them to trials of strength and, with Athene's aid, won every bout with ease. But, angered, the horse-driving Cadmeians, set an ambush as he returned - fifty men led by Maeon, godlike Haemon’s son, and Polyphontes, son of the steadfast Autophonus. Tydeus though dealt them a fateful blow, killing all but one, whom he sent on his way.

5.370At this, Ares lent her his horses with the golden harness, and sick at heart she mounted the chariot with Iris beside her, who took up the reins, and whipped up the team, which eagerly galloped away. Swiftly they reached the heights of Olympus, home of the gods, and there swift-footed Iris reined in the horses, unyoked them, and threw them ambrosial fodder, while lovely Aphrodite ran to kneel at her mother Dione's feet. Taking her daughter in her arms, Dione soothed her, saying: "Which of the heavenly ones has hurt you so spitefully, dear child, as if you deserved punishment?"

6.457"Lady," said Hector of the gleaming helm, "I too am concerned, but if I hid from the fighting like a coward, I would be shamed before all the Trojans and their wives in their trailing robes. Nor is it my instinct, since I have striven ever to excel always in the vanguard of the battle, seeking to win great glory for my father and myself. And deep in my heart I know the day is coming when sacred Ilium will fall, Priam, and his people of the ashen spear. But the thought of the sad fate to come, not even Hecabe's or Priam's, nor my many noble brothers' who will bite the dust at the hands of their foes, not even that sorrow moves me as does the thought of your grief when some bronze-clad Greek drags you away weeping, robbing you of your freedom. Perhaps in Argos you'll toil at the loom at some other woman's whim, or bear water all unwillingly from some spring, Messeïs or Hypereia, bowed down by the yoke of necessity. Seeing your tears, they will say: 'There goes the wife of Hector, foremost of all the horse-taming Trojans, when the battle raged at Troy.' And you will sorrow afresh at those words, lacking a man like me to save you from bondage. May I be dead, and the earth piled above me, before I hear your cries as they drag you away."

11.709We finished dividing the spoils and on the third day were offering sacrifice to the gods throughout the city, when the Epeians gathered in strength, men and horses, and marched swiftly on us, the two Moliones with them, young and inexperienced in true combat though they were.

22.145Like a hawk, swiftest of birds, swooping on a timorous dove in the mountains, darting towards her with fierce cries as she flees, eager to seize her, so Achilles ran and Hector fled as fast as he could in terror, below the Trojan wall. Passing the lookout point, and the wind-swept wild fig tree, along the cart-track they ran leaving the wall behind, and came to two lovely springs where the waters rise to feed the eddying Scamander. One flows warm, and steam rises above it as smoke from a fire, while even in summer the other is ice-water, cold as freezing snow or hail. Nearby are the fine wide troughs of stone where the wives and daughters of the Trojans once washed their gleaming clothes in peace-time, before the advent of the Greeks. By the troughs they ran, one fleeing, one pursuing, a fine runner in front but a better one chasing him down behind, and this was no race for the prize of a bull's hide or a sacrificial ox, a prize such as they give for running, they ran instead for the life of horse-taming Hector.

23.638So saying, he placed it in Nestor's hands, and he accepting it with delight, replied with winged words: "Yes, indeed, my son, what you say is true. I am no longer as steady on my feet, dear friend, nor can I fling my arms out in a wide wrestling grip. I wish I were as young and strong as that time when the Epeians were interring King Amarynceus at Buprasium, and his sons held funeral games in his honour. Then no man proved himself my equal, Epians, Pylians or proud Aetolians. I beat Clytomedes, the son of Enops, in the boxing and Ancaeus of Pleuron, who took me on in the wrestling. In the foot race I outran Iphiclus, good as he was, and my spear out-threw Phyleus and Polydorus. Only in the chariot race did the two Moliones beat me, by their combined superior strength, forcing their team to the front, begrudging me the victory since the race carried the best prize. They were twins, and one could drive with a sure hand, while the other plied the whip."


1.22Now, though, Poseidon was visiting the distant Ethiopians, the most remote of all, a divided people, some of whom live where Hyperion sets the others where he rises, to accept a hetacomb of sacrificial bulls and rams, and there he sat, enjoying the feast: but the rest of the gods had gathered in the halls of Olympian Zeus. The Father of gods and men was first to address them, for he was thinking of flawless Aegisthus, whom far-famed Orestes, Agamemnon's son had killed. And, thinking of him, he spoke to the immortals.

"How surprising that men blame the gods, and say their troubles come from us, though they, through their own un-wisdom, find suffering beyond what is fated. Just as Aegisthus, beyond what was fated, took the wife of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, and murdered him when he returned, though he knew the end would be a complete disaster, since we sent Hermes, keen-eyed slayer of Argus, to warn him not to kill the man, or court his wife, as Orestes would avenge Agamemnon, once he reached manhood and longed for his own land. So Hermes told him, but despite his kind intent he could not move Aegisthus' heart: and Aegisthus has paid the price now for it all."

44Athene, the bright-eyed goddess, answered him at once: "Father of us all, Son of Cronos, Highest King, clearly that man deserved to be destroyed: so let all be destroyed who act as he did. But my heart aches for Odysseus, wise but ill fated, who suffers far from his friends on an island deep in the sea. The island is densely wooded and a goddess lives there, a child of malevolent Atlas, he who knows the depths of the sea, and supports the great columns that separate earth and sky. It is his daughter who detains that unlucky, sorrowful man: she lulls him, always, with soft seductive words, intending him to forget Ithaca. But Odysseus, who yearns for the mere sight of the smoke rising from his own country, only longs to die. Yet, Olympian, your heart is unmoved. Did he win no favour with the sacrifices he made you, by the Argive ships, on the wide plains of Troy? Why do you will this man such pain, Zeus?"

2.242Then Leocritus, Euenor's son, replied: "Mentor, you troublemaker, your wits are wandering: what are these words about ordering them to stop! "However many you are, it would be hard to justify fighting over a meal. And if Odysseus himself returned to Ithaca, ready to drive away the noble Suitors dining in his palace, then his wife would have no joy of it, however much she had longed for him, since he would come to a wretched end there and then, fighting while outnumbered. Your speech has missed its mark. But disperse now, all you people, return to your own homes. Let Mentor and Halitherses speed this fellow on his way, since they are his father's friends from long ago, though I believe he will never make the journey, but sit here in Ithaca forever, listening to rumours."

4.351"Though I was anxious to return, the gods kept me in Egypt, because I failed to offer the right sacrifice, and they want men ever to remember their commandments. Now there is an isle in the sea-surge off the mouth of the Nile, that men call Pharos, a day's run for a hollow ship with a strong wind astern. There's a good anchorage there, a harbour from which men launch their trim ships into the waves, when they have drawn fresh black water. The gods kept me there for twenty days, with never a sign of wind on the sea to speed our ship over the wide waters. All my stores, and my crew’s strength would have been lost, if a divinity had not pitied me and saved me. Eidothee, it was, the daughter of mighty Proteus, Old Man of the Sea, because I stirred her heart most of all. She met me as I walked alone, far from my men, who, pinched by hunger, roamed the shore fishing with barbed hooks."

554I spoke, and he at once replied, saying: "He is Odysseus, Laertes' son, whose home is on Ithaca. I saw him shedding great tears in the island haunt of the Nymph Calypso, who keeps him captive there, far from his native land, since he has no oared ship, no crew, to carry him over the wide waters. But because you are Helen's husband, and therefore the son-in-law of Zeus, it is not ordained that you, Menelaus, favoured by Zeus, should meet your end in Argos, the horse-pasture. Instead the immortals will bear you to the Elysian Fields, at the world's end, where yellow-haired Rhadamanthus dwells, and existence is best for men. There is no snow there, no rain, or fierce storms: rather Ocean brings singing breaths of the West Wind, to refresh them."

5.43He spoke, and the messenger god, the slayer of Argus, promptly obeyed. He quickly fastened to his feet the lovely imperishable golden sandals that carry him swift as the flowing wind over the ocean waves and the boundless earth. He took up the wand as well, with which he lulls men to sleep, or wakes them from slumber, and the mighty slayer of Argus flew off with it in his hand. He stepped out of the ether onto the Pierian coast then swooped over the sea, skimming the waves like a cormorant that drenches its dense plumage with brine, as it searches for fish in the fearsome gulfs of the restless ocean. So Hermes travelled over the endless breakers, until he reached the distant isle, then leaving the violet sea he crossed the land, and came to the vast cave where the nymph of the lovely tresses lived, and found her at home.

A great fire blazed on the hearth, and the scent of burning cedar logs and juniper spread far across the isle. Sweet-voiced Calypso was singing within, moving to and fro at her loom, weaving with a golden shuttle. Around the cave grew a thick copse of alder, poplar and fragrant cypress, where large birds nested, owls, and falcons, and long-necked cormorants whose business is with the sea. And heavy with clustered grapes a mature cultivated vine went trailing across the hollow entrance. And four neighbouring springs, channelled this way and that, flowed with crystal water, and all around in soft meadows iris and wild celery flourished. Even an immortal passing by might pause and marvel, delighted in spirit, and the messenger-god, the slayer of Argus, stood there and wondered. But when he had marvelled at all he saw, he quickly entered the wide-cave-mouth, and Calypso, the lovely goddess knew him when she saw his face, since the deathless gods are not unknown to each other, however far apart they live. Of Odysseus there was no sign, since he sat wretched as ever on the shore, troubling his heart with tears and sighs and grief. There he could gaze out over the rolling waves, with streaming eyes.

180Calypso, the lovely goddess, smiled at his words and, stroking his arm, replied: "What a rascal you are, with a devious mind, to think of speaking so to me? So let Earth be my witness now, and the underground waters of Styx, this the blessed gods' greatest most dreadful oath, that I will not plan anything new to harm you. Rather my thoughts and advice are like those I would have for myself if I needed them. My intentions are honest ones, and my heart is not made of iron. It too can feel pity."

228As soon as rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, Odysseus dressed in tunic and cloak, and the Nymph clothed herself in a long white robe, lovely and closely woven, and fastened a fine gold belt around her waist, and covered her head with a veil. Then she began to prepare valiant Odysseus' departure. She gave him a bronze double axe that fitted his hands well, one with its blades both sharpened, its fine olivewood handle firmly fixed, and a polished adze as well. She led the way to the fringes of the island where stands of alder, poplar, and fir rose to the sky: dry, well-seasoned timber that would ride high in the water. When she had shown him where the tall trees stood, Calypso, the lovely goddess, turned for home, while he began felling timber, making rapid progress. He cut down twenty trees in total, trimming them with the axe: then he smoothed them dextrously, and made their edges true. Meanwhile Calypso, the lovely goddess, brought him drills, and he bored through the timbers then joined them, hammering the mortice and tenon joints together. Odysseus made his raft as wide as a skilled shipwright makes the hull of a broad-beamed trading vessel. And he placed the decking, bolting the planks to the close-set timbers as he worked, completing the raft with long gunwales. He fixed up a mast and yardarm, and a steering oar for a rudder. Then he lined its sides from stem to stern with intertwined willows, as a defence against the sea, and covered the deck with brushwood. Meanwhile Calypso, the lovely goddess, had brought him the cloth for a sail, and he skilfully fashioned that too. Then he lashed the braces, halyards and sheets in place, and levered it down to the shining sea.

By the fourth day all his work was done, and on the fifth lovely Calypso bathed him and dressed him in scented clothes, and watched him set out. The goddess had placed a skin filled with dark wine on board, and a larger one of water, and a bag of provisions, full of many good things to content his heart, and she sent a fine breeze, warm and gentle. Odysseus spread his sail to the wind with joy, and steered the raft cleverly with the oar as he sat there. At night he never closed his eyes in sleep, but watched the Pleiades, late-setting Bootes, and the Great Bear that men call the Wain, that circles in place opposite Orion, and never bathes in the sea. Calypso, the lovely goddess had told him to keep that constellation to larboard as he crossed the waters. Seventeen days he sailed the seas, and on the eighteenth the shadowy peaks of the Phaeacian country loomed up ahead, like a shield on the misty sea.

But now Lord Poseidon, the Earth-Shaker, returning from visiting Ethiopia, saw him far off from the Solymi range, as he came in sight over the water: and the god, angered in spirit, shook his head, and said to himself: "Well now, while I was among the Ethiopians, the gods have certainly changed their minds about Odysseus! Here he is, close to Phaeacian country, where he's fated to escape his trials and tribulations. But I'll give him his fill of trouble yet."

6.1So noble long-suffering Odysseus lay there, conquered by weariness and sleep, while Athene came to the island and city of the Phaeacians. They had once lived in broad Hypereia, neighbours to the Cyclopes, arrogant men, more powerful than they, who continually attacked them. Godlike Nausithous led the Phaeacians from there to settle in Scheria far from men. He ringed the city with a wall, built houses and temples for the gods, and divided the land into fields, but he had long since died and gone to the House of Hades, and now Alcinous was king, his wisdom inspired by the gods.

292You will find a fine grove, near the road, sacred to Athene, a cluster of poplar trees. A spring wells up in the centre, and there's a meadow round about. My father has his estate there, his fertile vineyards, within shouting distance of the city. Sit there, and wait till we have reached the city and my father's palace. When you think we are there, enter the Phaeacian city, and ask for my valiant father Alcinous' palace. It's easy to recognise, a child, a mere infant, could show you, for noble Acinous' palace is nothing like the Phaeacians' houses.

7.1So noble long-suffering Odysseus prayed there, while the pair of sturdy mules drew the girl to the city. When she had reached her father's great palace, she halted the mules at the gate, and her brothers, godlike men, crowded round her. They unhitched the mules from the cart, and carried the clothing inside, while she went to her room. There her waiting-woman, Eurymedusa, an old Aperaean woman, lit a fire. Curved ships had brought her from Aperaea long ago, and she had been chosen from the spoils as a prize for Alcinous, king of all the Phaeacians, considered a god by the people. She had reared Nausicaa of the white arms in the palace, and now she lit the fire, and prepared supper in the room. [...]

The first person you will approach in the palace hall is the queen: Arete is her name, of the same lineage as the king, Alcinous. Nausithous was founder, born of Earth-Shaker Poseidon and Periboea, loveliest of women, youngest daughter of valiant Eurymedon once king of the insolent Giants. He brought destruction on his reckless race, and was destroyed. But Poseidon lay with Periboea, and bore a son, valiant Nausithous, who ruled the Phaeacians, and Nausithous had two sons, Rhexenor and Alcinous.

129Beyond the courtyard, near to the doors, lies a large four-acre orchard, surrounded by a hedge. Tall, heavily laden trees grow there, pear, pomegranate and apple, rich in glossy fruit, sweet figs and dense olives. The fruit never rots or fails, winter or summer. It lasts all year, and the West Wind's breath quickens some to life, and ripens others, pear on pear, apple on apple, cluster on cluster of grapes, and fig on fig. There is Alcinous' fertile vineyard too, with a warm patch of level ground in one part set aside for drying the grapes, while the labourers gather and tread others, as the foremost rows of unripe grapes shed their blossom, and others become tinged with purple. Beyond the furthest row again are neat beds with every kind of plant, flowering all year round, and there are two springs in the orchard, one flowing through the whole garden, while the other runs the opposite way, under the courtyard sill, near where the people of the city draw their water, towards the great house. Such were the gods' glorious gifts to Alcinous' home.

182At this, Pontonous mixed the honeyed wine, and poured the first drops into every cup. When they had poured their libations and drunk what they wished, Alcinous addressed the gathering, saying: "Leaders and Counsellors of the Phaeacians, listen while I speak what is in my heart. Now you have dined, go to your homes and rest, and in the morning we will call a wider assembly of elders, and entertain this stranger, and offer sacrifices to the gods. After that we can think about his quick and happy return, without pain or effort, to his native land, however far he may have come. And he shall not suffer accident or harm till he sets foot in his own country: though afterwards he must fulfil whatever thread of destiny the Dread Fates spun for him at birth. But if he is one of the immortals come down from heaven, then this is some new project of the gods, since they always appeared plainly to us before, after we had offered them rich sacrifice, and they sat and feasted among us. Even if one of us walking the road alone were to meet them, they used no disguise, since we are next of kin to them, like the Cyclopes and the wild tribe of Giants."

9.116A fertile island lies slantwise outside the Cyclopes' harbour, well wooded and neither close to nor far from shore. Countless wild goats inhabit it, since there is nothing to stop them, no hunters to suffer the hardship of beating a path through its woods, or to roam its mountaintops. There are no flocks, and no ploughed fields: but always unsown, and untilled it is free of mankind and nurtures only bleating goats. The Cyclopes have no vessels with crimson-painted prows, no shipwrights to build sound boats with oars, to meet their need and let them travel to other men's cities, as other races visit each other over the sea in ships, no craftsmen that is who might also have turned it into a fine colony. For this island is by no means poor, but would carry any crop in due season. There are rich well-watered meadows there, along the shore of the grey sea, where vines would never fail. There is level land for the plough with soil so rich they could reap a dense harvest in season. And there's a safe harbour where there's no need for moorings, neither anchor stones nor hawsers: you can beach your ship and wait till the wind is fair and the spirit moves you to sail.

Now, at the head of the harbour a stream of bright water flows out from a cave ringed by poplars. We entered, and some god must have guided us through the murky night, since it was too dark to see, a mist shrouded the ships, and the moon covered with cloud gave not a gleam of light. No one could see the land, or the long breakers striking the beach, until we had run our oared ships aground. Once they were beached we lowered sail and went on shore, then we lay down where we were to sleep, and waited for the light of dawn.

10.1So we came to the floating island of Aeolia, where Aeolus lived, son of Hippotas, dear to the deathless gods. A wall of unbroken bronze surrounds it, and the cliffs are sheer. In those halls his twelve children live as well, six daughters and six fine sons, and he has given his daughters to his sons in marriage. They are always feasting with their brave father and good mother, with endless good food set before them. All day long the house is full of savoury smells, and the courtyard echoes to the banquet's sound, while at night they sleep by the wives they love, on well-covered well-strung beds.

503The lovely goddess replied swiftly: "Odysseus, man of many resources, scion of Zeus, son of Laertes, don't think of finding a pilot to guide your vessel, but raise your mast and spread your white sail, and take your seat aboard, and the North Wind's breath will send her on her way. When you have crossed the Ocean stream, beach your ship by the deep swirling waters on a level shore, where tall poplars, and willows that shed seed, fill the Groves of Persephone. Then go to the moist House of Hades. There is a rock where two roaring rivers join the Acheron, Cocytus, which is a tributary of the Styx, and Pyriphlegethon. Draw near then, as I bid you, hero, and dig a trench two feet square, then pour a libation all around to the dead, first of milk and honey, then of sweet wine, thirdly of water, sprinkled with white barley meal. Then pray devoutly to the powerless ghosts of the departed, swearing that when you reach Ithaca you will sacrifice a barren heifer in your palace, the best of the herd, and will heap the altar with rich spoils, and offer a ram, apart, to Teiresias, the finest jet-black ram in the flock.

"And when you have petitioned the glorious host of the dead, with prayers, sacrifice a ram and a black ewe, holding their heads towards Erebus, while you look behind towards the running streams. Then the hosts of the dead will appear. Call then to your comrades, and tell them to flay and burn the sheep killed by the pitiless bronze, with prayers to the divinities, to mighty Hades and dread Persephone. You yourself must draw your sharp sword and sit there, preventing the powerless ghosts from drawing near to the blood, till you have questioned Teiresias. Soon the seer will come, you leader of men, and give you your course, and the distances, so you can return home over the teeming waters."

11.1On reaching the shore, we dragged the vessel down to the glittering sea, and set up mast and sail in our black ship. Then we hauled the sheep aboard, and embarked ourselves, weeping, shedding huge tears. Still, Circe of the lovely tresses, dread goddess with a human voice, sent us a good companion to help us, a fresh wind from astern of our dark-prowed ship to fill the sail. And when we had set the tackle in order fore and aft, we sat down, and let the wind and the helmsman keep her course. All day long with straining sail she glided over the sea, till the sun set and all the waves grew dark.

So she came to the deep flowing Ocean that surrounds the earth, and the city and country of the Cimmerians, wrapped in cloud and mist. The bright sun never shines down on them with his rays neither by climbing the starry heavens nor turning back again towards earth, but instead dreadful Night looms over a wretched people. There we beached our ship, and landed the sheep, and made our way along the Ocean stream, till we came to the place Circe described.

11.225So we talked together, and then the women, the wives and daughters of heroes came, sent by royal Persephone. A crowd they thronged around the black blood, and I considered how best to question them, and this was my idea: to draw my long sword from its sheath, and prevent them drinking of the blood together. Then each came forward, one by one, and declared her lineage, and I questioned all.

Know then, the first I saw was noble Tyro, who told me she was peerless Salmoneus' daughter, and wife to Cretheus, Aeolus' son. She fell in love with the god of the River Enipeus, most beautiful of Earth's rivers, and used to wander by its lovely waters. But the Earth-Shaker, Earth-Bearer Poseidon, took Enipeus' form, and lay with her at the eddying river-mouth. A dark wave, mountain-high, curled over them, and hid the mortal woman and the god. There he unclasped the virgin's girdle, and then he sealed her eyes in sleep. When he had finished making love to her, he took her by the hand, and said: “Lady, be happy in this love of ours, and as the year progresses you will bear glorious children, for a god's embrace is not without power. Nurse them and rear them, but for now go home and keep silent, and know I am Poseidon, the Earth-Shaker.” With this he sank beneath the surging sea. Tyro conceived, and bore Pelias and Neleus, two mighty servants of great Zeus. Pelias, rich in flocks, lived in spacious Iolcus, while Neleus lived in sandy Pylos. This queen among women bore other children to Cretheus: Aeson, Pheres and Amythaon, filled with the charioteer's delight in battle.

Next I saw Antiope, Asopus' daughter, who claimed she had slept with Zeus himself. She gave birth to two sons, Amphion and Zethus, who founded Seven-Gated Thebes, ringing it with walls, since powerful as they were they could not live in a Thebes vast but unfortified.

Then came Alcmene, wife of Amphitryon, who conceived Heracles, lion-hearted, fierce in fight, when she lay in great Zeus' arms. And I saw Megara, proud Creon's daughter, who married that same indomitable son of Amphitryon.

Then Oedipus' mother came, the beautiful Jocasta, who unknowingly did a monstrous thing: she wed her own son. He killed his father and married his mother: only then did the gods reveal the truth. By the gods' dark design despite his suffering he still ruled the Cadmeans in lovely Thebes, but she descended to the house of Hades, mighty jailor, tying a fatal noose to the high ceiling, hung by her own grief, leaving endless pain for Oedipus, all that a mother's avenging Furies can inflict.

And lovely Chloris I saw, youngest daughter of Amphion, son of Iasus once the great Minyan King of Orchomenus. Neleus wooing her gave her countless gifts, marrying her because of her beauty: and she was Queen in Pylos. She bore her husband glorious children, Nestor, Chromius, and noble Periclymenus, and the lovely Pero, she a wonder to men, so that all her neighbours tried for her hand, but Neleus would only give her to the man who could drive great Iphicles' cattle from Phylace: a broad and spiral-horned herd, and hard to drive. The infallible prophet, Melampus, alone, agreed to try, but the gods' dark design snared him, and the savage herdsmen's cruel bonds. Only when days and months had passed, the seasons had altered, and a new year came, did mighty Iphicles release him, since he had exhausted all his prophecies, and Zeus' will was done.

Leda, I saw, Tyndareus' wife, who bore him those stout-hearted twins, Castor, the horse-tamer, and Polydeuces, the boxer. Though they still live, they have even been honoured by Zeus in the underworld, beneath the fruitful Earth. Each alternately is alive for a day, and the next day that one is dead: they are honoured as if they were gods.

Next I saw Iphimedeia, Aloeus wife, who claimed she had slept with Poseidon. She too bore twins, short-lived, godlike Otus and famous Ephialtes, the tallest most handsome men by far, bar great Orion, whom the fertile Earth ever nourished. They were fifteen feet wide, and fifty feet high at nine years old, and threatened to sound the battle-cry of savage war even against the Olympian gods. They longed to add Ossa to Olympus, then Pelion and its waving woods to Ossa, and scale the heavens themselves. They would have done it too, if they had already reached manhood, but Apollo, Zeus' son, born of lovely Leto, slew them both, before the down had covered their faces, and their beards began to grow.

And Phaedra too I saw, and Procris, and fair Ariadne, daughter of baleful Minos. Theseus tried to carry her off from Crete to the sacred hill of Athens, but had no joy, for Artemis, warned by Dionysus, killed her on sea-encircled Dia.

And Maera came, and Clymene, and hateful Eriphyle, who sold her own husband's life for gold.

12.73The other course leads to two cliffs, one whose sharp peak towers to the wide heavens. A dark cloud caps it that never vanishes to leave clear skies, even in summer or at harvest. No mortal could climb it and set foot on the summit, not though he had twenty hands and feet: the rock is smooth as if it were polished. In the centre of this cliff-face is a dark cave, facing West towards Erebus, on the path your hollow ship will take, glorious Odysseus, if you listen to my advice. Even a man of great strength could not shoot an arrow from your vessel as far as that arching cavern. Scylla lives there, whose yelp it is true is only that of a new-born whelp, yet she is a foul monster whom not even a god could gaze at with pleasure. She has twelve flailing legs and six long thin necks, each ending in a savage head with a triple row of close-set teeth masking death's black void. She is sunk to her waist in the echoing cave, but extends her jaws from that menacing chasm, and there she fishes, groping eagerly round the cliff for her catch, dolphins and seals or one of the greater creatures that Amphitrite breeds in countless numbers in the moaning depths. No crew passing by in their ship can boast it has ever escaped her unscathed, since each head snatches a man, lifting him from his dark-prowed vessel.

22.292Now Odysseus wounded Agelaus, Damastor's son, with a thrust of his great spear at close range, while Telemachus hurt Leocritus, Evenor's son, thrusting his bronze-tipped spear straight through his groin, so that he fell face forward, striking the ground with his forehead.

24.1Meanwhile Cyllenian Hermes was summoning the ghosts of the Suitors. In his hands he held his lovely golden wand with which he can lull men's eyelids or wake them from sleep: and with this wand he called the ghosts and led them, and they followed him gibbering. Like bats that flit about and gibber in the depths of an eerie cave, after one falls from the hanging cluster where they cling to the rock and one another, so they went gibbering behind Hermes the Helper, down the dank way. Past Ocean's stream, and the White Rock, past the Gates of the Sun and the place of dreams, they soon reached the meadows of asphodel where the ghosts abide, the phantoms of men whose work is done.

Here they met with the ghost of Achilles, Peleus' son, and that of Patroclus, of flawless Antilochus, and Ajax whose form and beauty were greatest of the Danaans, except for the matchless son of Peleus. And these crowded around Achilles. Then the sad ghost of Agamemnon, Atreus' son, drew near and round him thronged others: the ghosts of all those who met their fate and died with him in Aegisthus' house.

Sir Graham