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[17] Having tarried a year there, he sailed the ocean, and offered sacrifices to the souls,1 and by Circe's advice consulted the soothsayer Tiresias,2 and beheld the souls both of heroes and of heroines. He also looked on his mother Anticlia3 and Elpenor, who had died of a fall in the house of Circe.4

1 The visit of Ulysses to the land of the dead is the theme of the eleventh book of the Odyssey. Compare Hyginus, Fab. 125. The visit was the subject of one of the two great pictures by Polygnotus at Delphi. See Paus. 10.28-31.

2 As to the consultation with Tiresias, see Hom. Od. 11.90-151.

3 As to the interview of Ulysses with his mother, see Hom. Od. 11.153-224.

4 In the hot air of Circe's enchanted isle Elpenor had slept for coolness on the roof of the palace; then, suddenly wakened by the noise and bustle of his comrades making ready to depart, he started up and, forgetting to descend by the ladder, tumbled from the roof and broke his neck. In his hurry to be off, Ulysses had not stayed to bury his dead comrade; so the soul of Elpenor, unwept and unburied, was the first to meet his captain on the threshold of the spirit land. See Hom. Od. 10.552-560; Hom. Od. 11.51-83.

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