The Odyssey Supplemental Info Part I
Minor Adventures: Aeolia After leaving the Cyclops, Odysseus and his men go to the land of Aeolia and are given a bag containing the winds blowing away from Ithaca. They sail peacefully most of the way home (almost within sight of Ithaca). While Odysseus sleeps, the men open the bag secretly, thinking it contains treasure. Instead, a huge storm comes up and blows them back to Aeolia.
Minor Adventures: Laestrygonians After Aeolus (king of Aeolia) kicks them out, they sail to the land of the Laestrygonians who kill and eat many of Odysseus’ men and destroy all but one of his ships. The survivors run for it and sail blindly to the island belonging to the enchantress Circe.
100 BCE wallpainting Shows Odysseus’ men and ships attacked by the Laestrygonians
Circe, the enchantress Upon arriving, Odysseus and his men don’t know where they are, so he sends some men inland to find out. The men journey until they find a palace full of exotic animals, where a beautiful woman offers them food and rest. They start to relax, and she sneakily goes around the table, turning them into pigs one-by-one.
Circe: continued Odysseus is nervous that his men aren’t returning, and gets worried – you know, cannibals and stuff – and goes inland to look for the men himself. Athena (his patroness) warns him about what awaits, and gives him a magic herb to ward off Circe’s enchantment. When Odysseus gets to the palace, he gets the same treatment as his men, but when her magic doesn’t work, Circe invites him to stay with her for a year.
The Land of the Dead Before he leaves her island, Circe tells him that he can’t go home; he must go to the land of the dead and seek a blind prophet, Tiresias. He and his men sail to the mouth of the underworld and Odysseus goes in alone, taking a black ram as a sacrifice. He kills the ram and collects the blood in a puddle on the ground.
Underworld: continued Odysseus must guard the blood from all the dead except Tiresias. While he waits, he sees many faces from the past drift by, such as: many men lost in Troy, his own mother, and his crewman, Elpenor (whom Odysseus didn’t even notice was dead). Elpenor asks Odysseus to go back to Circe’s palace and bury him. He died by falling off the roof and is still unburied.
Underworld: continued Tiresias comes, drinks the blood and tells Odysseus about the cattle of the sun god, how to reconcile with Poseidon, and that only he, Odysseus will make it home. None of his men will live to see Ithaca again.
Circe: Again After leaving the underworld, Odysseus goes back to Circe’s palace to keep his promise to Elpenor. They bury him and then Circe warns Odysseus of the dangers of the Sirens, and the monsters Scylla and Charybdis. She gives him advice about how to get past them as well as possible.