In Homer, too, the suitors amused themselves in front of the doors of the palace with dice; not having learnt how to play at dice from Diodorus of Megalopolis, or from Theodorus, or from Leon of Mitylene, who was descended from Athenian ancestors: and was absolutely invincible at dice, as Phanias says. But Apion of Alexandria says that he had heard from Cteson of Ithaca what sort of game the game of dice, as played by the suitors, was. For the suitors being a hundred and eight in number, arranged their pieces opposite to one another in equal numbers, they themselves also being divided into two equal parties, so that there were on each side fifty-four; and between the men there was a small space left empty. And in this middle space they placed one man, which they called Penelope. And they made this the mark, to see if any one of them could hit it with his man; and then, when they had cast lots, he who drew the lot aimed at it. Then if any one hit it and drove Penelope forward out of her place, then he put down his own man in the place of that which had been hit and moved from its place. After which, standing up again, he shot his other man at Penelope in the place in which she was the second time. And if he hit her again without touching any one of the other men, he won the game, and had great hopes that he should be the man to marry her. He says too that Eurymachus gained the greatest number of victories in this game, and was very sanguine about his marriage. And in consequence of their luxury the suitors had such tender hands that they were not able to bend the bow; and even their servants were a very luxurious set. [p. 28] Homer, too, speaks of the smell of perfumes as something very admirable:—
Spirit divine! whose exhalation greetsHe speaks, too, of splendid beds; and such is the bed which Arete orders her handmaids to prepare for Ulysses. And Nestor makes it a boast to Telemachus that he is well provided with such things.
The sense of gods with more than mortal sweets.1