ἐξ ἁλός. Interpreters seem almost unanimous in rendering this, ‘far away from the sea.’ So Eustath. “εἰ καὶ δυστυχεῖς, ὦ Ὀδυσσεῦ, κατὰ θάλασσαν, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ θάνατός σοι οὐκ ἐν αὐτῇ ἔσται ἀλλ᾽ ἔξω αὐτῆς”. To establish this, passages are quoted like Od.15. 272“ἐκ πατρίδος”, ‘far from my country’ (but here the context supplies the word “ἦλθον”); Od.16. 288“ἐκ καπνοῦ κατέθηκα”, ‘I stowed it away from the smoke;’ Il.8. 213“ὅσον ἐκ νηῶν ἀπὸ πύργου τάφρος ἔεργε”, ‘outside the ships;’ Il.14. 129“ἐχώμεθα δηιοτῆτος ἐκ βελέων”, ‘out of the range of darts.’ To which we may add Hdt. 2. 142 “τετράκις ἔλεγον ἐξ ἠθέων τὸν ἥλιον ἀνατεῖλαι”, ‘out of his usual quarter.’ But a difficulty was early felt about the meaning, and Ptolemy of Ascalon read “ἔξαλος”, i. e. “ἠπειρωτικὸς καὶ οὐ θαλάσσιος”, the Scholl. quoting as a parallel “ἔκβιος”=‘deprived of life.’ This evidently shows that they felt how unnatural it was to render ἐξ ἁλός, ‘far away from the sea,’ especially when used in connection with ἐλεύσεται. Unless for some very special reason, anyone would translate this, ‘will come upon you out of the sea.’ Just as “ἐκ Πύλου εἰλήλουθας” Od.15. 42; Il.1. 269; or “ἐλθόντ᾽ ἐξ ἀπίης γαίης” Od.16. 18; or “ἐκ Λυκίης” Il.5. 645; “ἐξ ἄστεος ἱκέσθαι” Il.18. 207; or, more exactly, “ἐνοσίχθων . . ἐξ ἁλὸς ἦλθε” Il.20. 14.And this so completely falls in with the later legends about the death of Odysseus, that it seems impossible to reject the view that we have in this prophecy of Teiresias a post-Homeric interpolation. So Lauer, (Hom. Quaest. p. 50) speaking of the whole passage, says, ‘tantum abest ut poetae sit eiusdem qui fabulam de Ulixe patriam appetente composuerit, ut nonnisi ea potuerit aetate exoriri, qua, cum fabula illa de Telegono conformata esset, hanc rhapsodi studerent cum illa de Ulixis erroribus coniungere.’ Now, the Cyclic Epic called ‘Telegonia’ was ascribed by Proclus and the general tradition of the ancients to Eugammon of Cyrene (566 B.C.); but he is said to have pirated his poem from a ‘Thesprotis,’ written several centuries earlier by the mythic poet Musaeus. The plot of the Telegonia, (and, we may suppose, of the Thesprotis) makes Odysseus come into Thesprotia, and espouse Callidice, the queen of that country. This will account for the view that the Thesprotians are intended by the men, “οἳ οὐκ ἴσασι θάλασσαν”—a strange description of a people possessing a considerable coastline. On the death of Callidice (the story proceeds) Odysseus returns to Ithaca. About the same time, Telegonus, son of Odysseus by Circe, wandering in search of his father, lands on Ithaca and ravages the coast, and Odysseus attacking the invaders falls by the hand of his son. Later forms of the story, however, are careful to introduce the fact that death must come to Odysseus ‘out of the sea;’ and this is interwoven with the story about Telegonus, the son being represented as having wounded his father with a spear tipped with the bone of a sea-fish, called “τρυγών”. This legend must have formed the plot of a lost play of Sophocles called “Ὀδυσσεὺς ἀκανθοπλήξ”, and Parthenius (Erot. 3) quotes from the “Εὐρύαλος” of the same poet the line “τρωθεὶς ἀκάνθῃ τρυγόνος θαλασσίας”. In the “Ψυχαγωγοί” of Aeschylus, the story reappears in a most absurd form, “ἐρωδιὸς” (a heron) “γὰρ ὑψόθεν ποτώμενος”“ὄνθῳ σε πλήξει, νηδύος χειλώμασιν”,
“ἐξ ἧς ἄκανθα ποντίου βοσκήματος”
“σήψει παλαιὸν δέρμα καὶ τριχορρυές”. Some current form of this story cannot but be alluded to in our passage, unless we can persuade ourselves that all the stories about ‘death coming from the sea’ are only refinements upon a misconception of “ἐξ ἁλός”. In favour of the interpretation, ‘far away from the sea,’ emphasis is laid upon the words ἀβληχρός, ‘mild,’ and λιπαρός, which through the idea of ‘fat and well-liking’ takes the meaning of ‘comfortable.’ To this it may be answered that “ἀβληχρός” in Homer has far more the notion of ‘weak’ or ‘exhausted,’ than ‘mild;’ cp. Il.5. 337; 8. 178 (where “ἀβλήχρ᾽ οὐδενόσωρα” are coupled together); and in Ap. Rhod.2. 205, the miserable exhaustion of Phineus culminates in the phrase “ἀβληχρῷ δ᾽ ἐπὶ κώματι κέκλιτ᾽ ἄναυδος”. It is strange that a death which is only the gradual decay of natural power should be said ‘to slay’ (ὅς κέ σε πέφνῃ); an expression more suitable to describe sudden death, which death when painless is not called “ἀβληχρός”, but rather “ἀγανός”, in the familiar phrase “οἷς ἀγανοῖς βελέεσσιν ἐποιχόμενος” (“η”) “κατέπεφνεν”. The impersonation of θάνατος too is very suspicious here. Again whatever argument might be grounded on the meaning of λιπαρός seems to lose its force by the use of ἀρημένος, a word commonly employed in connection with such ideas as ‘weariness,’ ‘sleepiness,’ ‘sorrow,’ etc., and not employed with “ὑπό”, but coupled with the simple dative, compare “γήραι λυγρῷ ἀρημένος” Il.18. 435.No doubt the concluding words are intended to give a picture of a king dying of old age in the midst of loyal and prosperous subjects. But the whole passage must be regarded as a later addition.