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They all held their peace except King Alkinoos, who began, "Sir, we have had much pleasure in hearing all that you have told us, from which I understand that you are willing to show your prowess [aretê], as having been displeased with some insolent remarks that have been made to you by one of our athletes, and which could never have been uttered by any one who knows how to talk with propriety. I hope you will apprehend my meaning, and will explain to any one of your chief men who may be dining with yourself and your family when you get home, that we have an hereditary aptitude [aretê] for accomplishments of all kinds. We are not particularly remarkable for our boxing, nor yet as wrestlers, but we are singularly fleet of foot and are excellent sailors. We are extremely fond of good dinners, music, and dancing [khoros]; we also like frequent changes of linen, warm baths, and good beds; so now, please, some of you who are the best dancers set about dancing, that our guest on his return home may be able to tell his friends how much we surpass all other nations as sailors, runners, dancers, minstrels. Demodokos has left his lyre at my house, so run some one or other of you and fetch it for him."

On this a servant hurried off to bring the lyre from the king's house, and the nine men who had been chosen as stewards stood forward. It was their business to manage everything connected with the sports, so they made the ground smooth and marked a wide space for the dancers [khoros]. Presently the servant came back with Demodokos’ lyre, and he took his place in the midst of them, whereon the best young dancers [khoros] in the town began to foot and trip it so nimbly that Odysseus was delighted with the merry twinkling of their feet.

Meanwhile the bard began to sing the loves of Ares and Aphrodite, and how they first began their intrigue in the house of Hephaistos. Ares made Aphrodite many presents, and defiled lord Hephaistos’ marriage bed, so the sun, who saw what they were about, told Hephaistos. Hephaistos was very angry when he heard such dreadful news, so he went to his smithy brooding mischief, got his great anvil into its place, and began to forge some chains which none could either unloose or break, so that they might stay there in that place. When he had finished his snare he went into his bedroom and festooned the bed-posts all over with chains like cobwebs; he also let many hang down from the great beam of the ceiling. Not even a god could see them, so fine and subtle were they. As soon as he had spread the chains all over the bed, he made as though he were setting out for the fair state of Lemnos, which of all places in the world was the one he was most fond of. But Ares kept no blind look out, and as soon as he saw him start, hurried off to his house, burning with love for Aphrodite.

Now Aphrodite was just come in from a visit to her father Zeus, and was about sitting down when Ares came inside the house, and said as he took her hand in his own, "Let us go to the couch of Hephaistos: he is not at home, but is gone off to Lemnos among the Sintians, whose speech is barbarous."

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 6.267
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 18.274
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