previous next
"I was trying to come on here, but the gods detained me in Egypt, for my hecatombs had not given them full satisfaction, and the gods are very strict about having their dues. Now off Egypt, about as far as a ship can sail in a day with a good stiff breeze behind her, there is an island called Pharos - it has a good harbor from which vessels can get out into open sea when they have taken in water - and the gods becalmed me twenty days without so much as a breath of fair wind to help me forward. We should have run clean out of provisions and my men would have starved, if a goddess had not taken pity upon me and saved me in the person of Eidothea, daughter to Proteus, the old man of the sea, for she had taken a great fancy to me.

"She came to me one day when I was by myself, as I often was, for the men used to go with their barbed hooks, all over the island in the hope of catching a fish or two to save them from the pangs of hunger. ‘Stranger,’ said she, ‘it seems to me that you like starving in this way - at any rate it does not greatly trouble you, for you stick here day after day, without even trying to get away though your men are dying by inches.’

"‘Let me tell you,’ said I, ‘whichever of the goddesses you may happen to be, that I am not staying here of my own accord, but must have offended the gods that live in heaven. Tell me, therefore, for the gods know everything: which of the immortals it is that is hindering me in this way, and tell me also how I may sail the sea so as to reach my home [nostos]?’

"‘Stranger,’ replied she, ‘I will make it all quite clear to you. There is an old immortal who lives under the sea hereabouts and whose name is Proteus. He is an Egyptian, and people say he is my father; he is Poseidon's head man and knows every inch of ground all over the bottom of the sea. If you can snare him and hold him tight, he will tell you about your voyage, what courses you are to take, and how you are to sail the sea so as to reach your home [nostos]. He will also tell you, if you so will, all that has been going on at your house both good and bad, while you have been away on your long and dangerous journey.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Egypt (Egypt) (2)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 10.140
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 11.161
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 4.533
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 8.186
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 21.48
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: