Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 14

Herakles, Odysseus, and the Bow: "Odyssey" 21.11-41 Author(s): Katherine Crissy Source: The Classical Journal, Vol.

93, No. 1 (Oct. - Nov., 1997), pp. 41-53 Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3298379 . Accessed: 10/01/2014 09:21
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

The Classical Association of the Middle West and South is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Classical Journal.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

ODYSSEUS,AND THE BOW: HERAKLES, ODYSSEY21.11-410 Bow." It begins with the story of how Odysseus receives the bow, follows through with an account of the contest, and ends in the revelation of his attack by its means. Appropriately, therefore, another mythological character famous for the bow, Herakles, appears in the very same episode in which Odysseus acquires his weapon of revenge. The inclusion of this most notable example among mythical heroes is not some minor detail, but one of striking effect. I will argue that not only does the anachronisticelement in his appearancehighlight Odysseus' place in an age of heroes, but, in fact, a comparison is implied between the two which is both consistent with Herakles' other appearances in the poem and significant for conveying the starkeraspects of Odysseus' final revenge. The story of the bow's acquisition is told at 21.11-41. We learn that Odysseus, as a young man acting on behalf of his father and community, visits the house of Ortilochos on an embassy to retrieve stolen animals. There he meets Iphitos, and the two exchange weapons as the beginning of a guest-friendship. To Odysseus goes the bow, to Iphitos a sword and a spear. The newly-founded alliance is cut short, however, when Iphitos, continuing on his own mission in search of missing horses, is killed by Herakles (21.22-30):
a0' 'nroug 8t~ljgvog,at oi 10ovro "Iqtoro;0 TXuetat, bnO 8'
oi Ki 6irl At 0

Book

21 of the Odyssey might be termed "TheBook on the

aX

86EKTa

Eet~6i

lTE(PVE a?iTO6v, 'rtV IjV Oi aPxEOTJKEv Xvi 6tv Ev pEyUpoicn. ct ;EXE Yirrou;6' iat Ki(Xipwepdv-)Xa; EIMTE

J or0i tpdtnerav, ivrtv ai6~ax' oi6~0O8E axXhxo;,

pEyidXOv~irntt'op(X EpyoV, p&0''HpKXi^O(Rx, EVL oi K1, i; Iv Eivov 6vrXKtXTEKTaVEV

(Uv ;KupTEp601tgOV,

,aCxEpyo7 yEvovTo, (p6vog Koi Jto poX rtEEtoa y(P iKETo

itLiovot

* I would like to thank Professor John Miller and the anonymous referee for all their helpful comments on this paper. My thanks also go to TamaraGreen, and to Jacob Stern, Joel Lidov, Dee Clayman and Jorgen Meier for making the paper possible in the first place.
The Classical Journal 93.1 (1997) 41-53

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

42

KATHERINE CRISSY Iphitos [came] there seeking horses which he had lost, Twelve females, and hard-working mules nursing under them. These indeed afterward became his doom and destruction, At that time when he came to the strong-hearted son of Zeus, The man Herakles, experienced in great deeds, Who killed him although he was a guest in his own houseWretch!-and revered neither the face of the gods nor the table Which he set before him: even then he killed him, And was holding the strong-hooved horses in the halls himself.

As some have noted, Herakles' appearance in this story would seem to be an anachronism.1 He is a part of the pre-Trojan War era, having even previously sacked Troy when Laomedon was king (II. 5.638-42). Elsewhere in the Odyssey, he appears as a well-known figure of past myth in Hades (11.601-14), and is referred to in a speech as one of the great heroes of an earlier era with whom Odysseus would not dare to compare himself, although he can defeat "men of today" (8.221-24). With a stretch of the imagination, the time factor could be overlooked to some extent, as in other cases of the Odyssey and mythical tales in general: Odysseus is a young man in the story and could therefore at least be of a later generation than Herakles. Nevertheless, the contemporaneous appearance of the two is striking. The main character is juxtaposed in time with one of the most famous figures of old, when heroes were supposed to be greater and stronger.2 The juxtaposition links Odysseus with these figures and recalls the decline from the age of heroes as an element in the Odyssey, for the Trojan War is now becoming a part of the legendary past. Odysseus' appearance in the time of Herakles just before his confrontation with the suitors in the bow-competition emphasizes his own status: He is on the borderline between the older age of heroes of which he is a part, and the younger, postTrojan War generation who are much weaker, yet dare to challenge him. But at the same time, to quote Galinsky, it seems that "This is one of the most devastating indictments of Herakles in literature.... Whereas earlier in the Odyssey Homer had relegated Herakles to
1See, e.g., F. Prinz, "Herakles," in RE Suppl. 14 (1974) 190; G. K. Galinsky, The Herakles Theme: The Adaptation of the Hero in Literaturefrom Homer to the Twentieth Century (Oxford 1972) 12; J. S. Clay, The Wrath of Athena: Gods and Men in the Odyssey (Princeton 1983) 91. 2 See, e.g., Od.8.221-25, referred to above; 11.1.259-72; and for an extensive discussion of this point, C. E. Alexander, "Appeals to Tradition in the Iliad, with Particular Reference to Achilles," (diss. Columbia 1991) chap. 1.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW ODYSSEUS, HERAKLES,

43

the mythological past, he now propels him into Odysseus' own time without softening his stone-age behaviour."3 As Galinsky's comment indicates, the portrayal of the older hero in this scene focuses on the more dubious, ferocious side that he is sometimes known for. The peaceful reception that Odysseus receives at Ortilochos' house on his mission to retrieve stolen animals provides quite a contrast to Iphitos' reception, when the mares that he is looking for lead to his death by Herakles' hand. As host, the latter appears in a negative light not only for having cut down Odysseus' friend, but also for violating the laws of hospitality. Iphitos' bow is kept at home by Odysseus as a memorial of his friend (21.38-41), with the result that, once he goes to Troy, it lies dormant until the moment of Penelope's decision to set the contest. A sense of "unfinished business," then, centers on the weapon and the unavenged death of its donor.4 At first glance, it seems as if a kind of transferral has occurred from Iphitos to Odysseus as owners of the bow and injured parties in the code of hospitality. Likewise Herakles seems to be associated with the suitors as the keeper of stolen animals and violator of that code. Galinsky asserts that Herakles is meant to serve as a foil for Odysseus.5 Clay, too, maintains that a contrast between the two is indicated by this in combination with other passages in the Odyssey: "The relationship set up between the two heroes can be characterized by the contrast between the dark violent brutality of Heracles, the Pi1 'Hp(aKlpcXiFEi, as he is and the in the formulaic of the called Epic, language appropriately metis and humanity of Odysseus."6 Upon closer examination, however, a curious reversal comes to light in this passage. Herakles' deed bears a striking resemblance to Odysseus' act of revenge against the suitors. To begin with, it is Herakles who kills Iphitos when the latter is a guest in his house (26-27): -pdO' HpxciOc~c,cyiX'ov
() S; E6vr'K(XtEKT(XVEV ?Eivov uvt vv 0vlOK(p....
iEia-rop

iipycov,

Odysseus, too, will commit the killing, and he will kill those who, feasting in his own house, are technically supposed to be the guests

3 Galinsky 12. 4Pointed out in discussion by G. P. Rose. Cf. CharlesSegal's view in "ThePhaeacians and the Symbolism of Odysseus' Return,"Arion1 (1962) 50. 5 Galinsky 11-12. 6 Clay 95; see also pp. 89-96 and the discussion below.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

44

KATHERINE CRISSY

despite their behavior. In combination with this most obvious factor, a number of other details can be found to strengthen the impression of the comparison. For example, it should be noted that while Odysseus will kill the suitors in his house at dinner, Herakles' crime is described in a cryptic fashion that distinctly emphasizes the setting at dinner (28-29):
ltEUX6c8 'E(PVEKCCt .WTv.... TTvTijv o0 1rcpnEOTKEV E

or6~ ayX~to;,

neav, 65ntv ai&Uaw'o & ?pai 0E&v

The poet feels no need to explain the motive for the murder, how it was committed, what Herakles' relation to Iphitos was, or how and why he took the horses. We are not even told whether he himself had them at the time when Iphitos visited him, or Iphitos had previously regained them. The poet does, however, make a point of telling us that Herakles has provided Iphitos with the meal due to a guest. Thirdly, it should be remembered that Odysseus will kill the suitors with the bow, which is the central concern of this passage. Herakles, too, is famous for the bow. The poem itself makes this point very clear. He is lauded for his great prowess at archery in Book Eight along with Eurytos, the former owner of Odysseus' weapon (8.219-25), and he wields the bow upon making his climactic appearance in Hades (11.601-8). Finally, Herakles kills Iphitos in what must be an unexpected attack, since Iphitos is his guest. Surprise is also the primary feature of Odysseus' attack on his guests, the finishing touch in fact of this very book. It is, moreover, a tactic particularly suited to Odysseus, the man of trickery. Even the name of Ortilochos, at whose place he receives the bow just before Iphitos' death, can mean "the one who stirs the ambush"7; and, as Edwards has shown, the hero's
7 See P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Grecque:Histoire des Mots (Paris 1968-80), s. v. 6pvynrat (also Hans von Kamptz, Homerische Personennamen: Sprachwissenschaftliche und Historische Klassifikation [G6ttingen 1982] 66, 74). On the apparently significant use of the name "Orsilochos" in the ambush story at 13.258-70, see W. B. Stanford, The Odyssey of Homer (New York 2nd ed. 1958) 2.209; A. T. Edwards, Achilles in the Odyssey (K6nigstein 1985) 32-33; and A. J. Mariani, "The Forged Feature: Created Identity in Homer's Odyssey" (diss. Yale 1967) 287. (On the confusion of the names "Ortilochos" and "Orsilochos," see FernandezGaliano in Joseph Russo, Manuel Fernandez-Galiano, and Alfred Heubeck, A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey [Oxford 1992] 3.150.) This is not to say that the name at Od.21.16 is simply invented for the context. Ortilochos, the father of Diokles, is also mentioned at 11.5.541-49. In the Odyssey, Telemachos visits Ortilochos' son, Diokles,

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW HERAKLES, ODYSSEUS,

45

ruse is an ambush of sorts.8 Has Ortilochos been chosen in order to emphasize this point? Certainly much attention is devoted to the unexpected nature of the attack, while it is also apparently an element in Herakles' reception, then murder, of Iphitos.9 A recollection in this passage of the suitors' violation of hospitality does not hinder the similarity between Herakles and Odysseus. Such cross comparisons, made through skewed or reverse associations and avoiding exact parallels, are often found in Homer. In particular, many of the similes "evoke ... an inversion of social role or a social theme with an equivalent difference of focus or point of view."'10 Men are compared to women, fathers to children, Penelope to someone who would obviously be in Odysseus' place (e.g. 19.108-14; 5.394-98; 23.233-40). In the third example just cited, when Odysseus is finally recognized by Penelope, the sight of her husband appears as welcome to her as "land appears welcome to men who are swimming, whose wellbuilt ship Poseidon has shattered on the sea" (233-35). Among the Phaiakians, when Odysseus hears the bard sing of his Trojan exploits, the famous city-sacker weeps like one of his former victims, a captive woman before the walls of a fallen city being driven away from her husband's dead body and led off into slavery (8.523-31)." In the story of Herakles, the suggestion of the suitors' violation of hospitality laws, shifting over into a distinct recollection of Odysseus' act through specific details, evokes the mutual savagery of both parties in the revenge story. Various commentators have remarked on the harsh nature of the suitors' death, and the portrayal of Herakles helps to bring this out. Neither would Homer balk at such realism, nor does myth in general shrink from including negative elements in the depiction of its heroes.12 Other passages in the Odyssey itself confirm this approach. Friedrich demonstrates how the lion simile at 22.401-406, used to describe Odysseus after rather than during the battle, "conon a journey that is in many other ways parallel to that of Odysseus (3.487-90; 15.185-88). s Edwards 35-38. 9 On the trick, see n. 19 below. 10 H. P. Foley, "'Reverse Similes' and Sex Roles in the Odyssey," Arethusa 11 (1978) 7; see also 22 n. 1; and A. J. Podlecki, "Some Odyssean Similes," G&R 18 (1971) 82, 88-90. 11Foley 7. 12See esp. Robin Hankey, "'Evil' in the Odyssey," in 'Owls to Athens': Essays on Classical Subjects Presented to Sir Kenneth Dover (Oxford 1990) ed. E. M. Craik, 92-95; Hankey mentions Odysseus' likeness to Herakles as he appears in Od.11.605-26.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

46

KATHERINE CRISSY

centrates exclusively on the abhorrent view of a blood-spattered lion after his terrible meal," rather than on the heroic splendor of the animal so often projected in the Iliad.13Upon seeing the dead suitors, the nurse begins to raise the cry of victory but Odysseus stops her with the words (22.411-13): ,X6Xi Ev 0ig4&, K(XI ypqii, XpCIF R718 i'oXEo h'X c' 1 Cv8pwvd E1XEcZtd(waOC. o)UX KtXI~EVOllV OGirl p'l 6 CIoCREGc V KCXiox 68 8Egoi1PI toiuO& EPYQC tXlQhX

Ij

Rejoice in your heart, old woman, and restrain your cry: It is not pious to boast over the slain. Destiny from the gods and their own savage deeds overcame these men. Odysseus describes his act as the gods' fulfillment of justice rather than his own heroic achievement, eschewing the vaunt over the defeated enemy often made in the Iliad. His reaction "points to the problematical nature of his &ptreFa. It is, after all, not taking place in a war between enemies, but is rather the expression of the inner strife of a community in which the king is pitted against the hybristic nobility of his own country in mortal combat. It ends in the wholesale slaughter of the iKolpov--a result not to be glorified as a &(pt"rot . As more the ya pyov. problematic aspects of Odysseus' deed ...14 are suggested here by the poet, so his association with Herakles in Book 21 contributes to the same effect.15 One final point should tentatively be considered regarding this passage, a possible allusion to a motive on Herakles' part similar to that of Odysseus, namely, revenge over a bride. No clear reason is given for Iphitos' murder, only sparse details of missing animals. The scholia give conflicting accounts on the matter. According to one note, Odysseus' grandfather Autolykos stole the horses and sold them to Herakles.16 Another refers to a far more substantial and
13 Rainer Friedrich, "On the Compositional Use of Similes in the Odyssey," 102 (1981) 125; see also W. T. Magrath, "Progression of the Lion Simile in the AJP Odyssey," CJ 77 (1982) 209-12. '4 Friedrich 130-31. '5 One might recall Herakles' slaughter of his children in his own halls. While this is not a heroic endeaver but a pathos sent by Hera, the idea remains of the destruction of what is closest to oneself through violence originally aimed at dangers in the outside world. (Observations made by the anonymous referee and Tamara Green respectively.) 16Schol. ad 21.22, B.Q.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW HERAKLES, ODYSSEUS,

47

well-known reason for the murder, telling how it happened and possibily recollecting a link between Herakles and Iphitos' father as outstanding archers, as they have in fact already been linked at 8.223-28 in this respect. Herakles was angry with Iphitos and his father Eurytos "because after he had achieved the prize, they did not give Iole [Eurytos' daughter] to him to marry, but, having dishonored him, sent him away."17 Apollodoros tells us that Eurytos, king of Oichalia, had promised to give his daughter in marriage to the winner of a bow contest with himself and his sons. Herakles won, but did not receive the bride. Consequently he was later suspected of stealing some animals from the household.18 The scholiast and other sources tell us that Iphitos went to see him looking for the lost animals, was lured to the top of a wall through trickery, and then pushed off by Herakles.19 Fragmentary details on Iole can be found elsewhere. Evidence exists for a poem called the Sack of Oichalia, attributed to Creophylos (an alleged contemporary of Homer), in which Herakles attacks Eurytos' city in order to take her.20 An early painting of Iole can be found on a Corinthian krater dated around 600 B.C. She is turning away from Herakles as he takes notice of her at a banquet with her father and brothers.21 Later vase paintings depict the bow contest and Herakles slaying Eurytos and his sons with the bow.22 According to Sophocles' Trachiniai, the tragedy in which Herakles destroys Oichalia for the sake of Iole, Eurytos shouts angrily that Herakles is inferior to his sons at archery as he insults the hero, who is his guest, and throws him out of the banquet in disgrace. (Herakles then murders Iphitos in the manner described by the scholiast above;
o c cCxv, i00K I R ad which cites 21.22, V., (Schol. Pherekydes.) Enc~v. dr~lgTaTv?E; 18 Apollod.2.6.1-2; cf. D.S.4.31.1-3. 19Schol. ad 21.22, V.; Apollod.2.6.1-2; D.S.4.31.1-3; S.Tr.260-73. According to Diodoros, the trick was that Herakles took Iphitos to the top of a tower in order to have him look around and see if the animals happened to be grazing anywhere in the vicinity. 20 See, e.g., Strabo 438, 638, Eust. ad 11.2.730 et al. in T. W. Allen, ed., Homeri Opera, Vol. 5 (Oxford 1912) 144-47; Schol. ad Eur. Hipp.545-46; and Walter Burkert, "Die Leistung eines Kreophylos: Kreophyleer, Homeriden und die Archaische Herakles-epik," MH 29 (1972) 74-85. Panyassis is also supposed to have composed an epic on the subject; see Victor J. Matthews, Panyassis of Halikarnassos: Text and Commentary (Leiden 1974) 48-49, 77, 88, 98, 129-30. 21 K. Schefold, Myth and Legend in Early Greek Art (New York 1966) 39, 70-71 and pl. 60. 22LIMC s.v. "Iole," "Eurytos," "Iphitos."
17

TEXkuFiTa7TCV xtu6p 6uit

u1v &Okov u1iv 'I6XA11v yxcgiv

X'

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

48

KATHERINE CRISSY

260-73) No mention is made of a contest for the king's daughter, but this may be expected since the herald Lichas is addressing these words to Deianira and clearly wishes to withhold information from her, including the identification of the captive Iole (307-28; 419-89). Accounts vary as to the death of Eurytos and his sons.23 In the Odyssey, Homer is consistent in saying that Eurytos is dead before the episode of Book 21 (8.223-28; 21.32-33). In fact, only in this way can Odysseus receive the bow. Prinz comments that the motive for the story of Book 21 is clear, i.e. to bestow the lustre of fame on the bow. He goes on to say that the anachronism of Herakles' appearance is evidence of an intentional "blurring" of the tradition, even invention on the poet's part, for this very purpose.24 Did the poet then invent, or at least select, a version in which Eurytos dies early? The decidedly vague wording at 21.24-29, with its emphasis on the host's table just before the killing, when compared with the murder at dinner of both the suitors and Agamemnon (11.409-20), should likewise plant the suspicion in our minds that the poet was shaping details to suit the Odyssey. At the same time, since later accounts insist that Iphitos was pushed off of a wall despite Homer's presentation suggesting a link between the murder and the guest table, they would seem to imply that some version of the story existed independently and was alluded to by Homer, whatever adjustments were made. If the audience is meant to recall Herakles' anger over Iole when they hear of Iphitos, the Odyssey furnishes a particularly suitable parallel. The primary concern of Book 21 is, of course, another bow contest for a bride, Penelope.25 Herakles' act may thus further imply a cross connection of characters and themes. The suitors are given promises, but do not get the bride, and so appropriate the animals of the household. More importantly, Odysseus, who is scorned, mocked as a contestant for Penelope, and almost thrown out of the feast even though he is the real winner of the contest,
23 Roscher's Lexikon s.v. "Eurytos"; Timothy Ganz, Early Greek Myth (Baltimore 1993) 435-36. 24Prinz 190. 25 Note that also no bride or wedding is mentioned in Antinoos' account of the Kentaur's misbehavior at 21.288-304, though the marriage of Peirithoos and bride Hippodameia may well have been the setting, and unlawful seizure of the the cause (see, e.g., II. 2.740-46; Apollod. Epit.2.21; Paus. 5.10.8; Schol. ad Od. 21.298, Q.). T. Krischer maintains that the bow contest for Iole is the model on which the contest in the Odyssey is based, and that this is why Odysseus receives the bow of Eurytos (Hermes 120 [1992] 19-25).

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW ODYSSEUS, HERAKLES,

49

claims a bride that is his by rights with violence and a surprise attack, unforgiving in his anger. Although we have no major epic left about Herakles, nevertheless the impression remains that he is the crowning example of Greek heroes. Both Achilles and Odysseus are glorified through comparison with him.26 In particular, he shares a number of traits with Odysseus, including the quality of being a loner, the ability to endure and survive, the presence of the patron goddess Athena along with a deity who persecutes, a trip to Hades, and the bow.27 In the Odyssey itself, Herakles' name appears in two other passages. They, too, imply a likeness between the two characters which shows no concern for shedding a complimentary light on Herakles, but reminds us that he is one of the most powerful and violent heroes of the past. In Book 8, Herakles has already been linked with Eurytos as one of the outstanding archers of previous times with whom Odysseus says he would not dare to compare himself, although he is "not bad at contests among men" (214):
E

pNv ,6 ov

ol8(Xoov a

&wpxacOurnP

olo; 86 REDtXoKio'rtr d"EKaivu'ro ' '6?P vt Tp'yov, 6re rotaxoitLE 'AXatoi. 8igp 't noi)( etvat, Ov' 11XXyov FL~ xpo0epoaiepov trv viv xOovi irov i68ovES. 6aooot 3poToioiatvTin 6i 'Lpo0r'pototyv olic EXlh0 a, a&v6pdaot ptEv oiO' 'Hpaki'it oiSr'Eplr(phOiXaXt5'i, dcoav&rottyov pit~rcov nEPIT6oWv. of'Pa aX r ta Ti aCx' "OavevLyaq; o)6' ~i ypaq E9Gpyro,
'KETvi

LE ypotot XoXooaadgEvo; yap 'Ar6XkXow lcrnavEv, o )VEa tyV poiakXiEo0o~dI(o0at.

I know well how to handle the well-polished bow: Philoktetes alone surpassed me at archery In the land of the Trojans,when we Achaians would aim
our arrows.

But I say I am far better than the others, However many bread-eating mortals are on the earth today. Yet I will not wish to rival the men of previous times,
Neither Herakles nor Eurytos of Oichalia, 26For Achilles, see 11.18.117-19. 27Galinsky 12-14; Clay 92-96.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

50

KATHERINE CRISSY Those who used to vie with even the immortals in the art of the bow. Indeed, for this great Eurytos died early, and did not Reach old age in his halls; for in anger Apollo Killed him, because he challenged the god at archery. (8.215-28)

These words are addressed to the Phaiakian Euryalos, who rudely presumes to challenge his guest Odysseus at the games. The young man meets with a sharp rebuke, then a demonstration of the stranger's prowess at throwing the discus. The rebuke is reinforced by the story of Eurytos' presumptuous challenge to Apollo, and by Odysseus' own deferential refusal to measure himself against his betters, the heroes of old. In this refusal there is both foreshadowing28 and paradox; for Odysseus will soon accomplish a feat suggesting a likeness between himself and these heroes after all. He will kill the suitors in a challenge using the very bow belonging to Eurytos. The foreshadowing seems reasonably clear, given Odysseus' choice of weapons in the paradigm and the prominence of the bow in the climax of the poem, not to mention the fact that the destruction of the suitors is on the mind of all from the beginning of the Odyssey (e.g. 1.252-69; 2.161-76). Clay traces two rival genealogies, so to speak, of the bows passed on from Herakles to Philoktetes (mentioned at line 219) and from Eurytos to Odysseus, in order to draw the contrast described above between the "humane" Odysseus and the "brutal" Herakles.29 I would again suggest that a likeness is implied between these two characters, not a contrast. In fact, Eurytos, the one specifically portrayed as the transgressor who challenges Apollo, is the former owner of Odysseus' bow. Likewise Herakles, in line 225 (indicated by ot ), in the Iliad and elsewhere, is famous for challenging the for getting away with it.30 The bow serves to gods-moreover, link these two older heroes to one another and to Odysseus. While the latter uses this example to reprimand Euryalos at the games, he, rather than challenge Apollo with the same bow, will claim the god as his ally when he begins his attack (22.7). A certain successful hybris which is like that of Herakles and in rivalry with
28Schol. ad 8.215, Q.T. 29Clay 91-96. 30 E. g. 11.5.392-404; Pi. 0. 9.29-35; Eur. Alc.1139-42; Athenaeus 11.470cd, who quotes Pherekydes (cf. Apollod. 2.5.10).

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW ODYSSEUS, HERAKLES,

51

Eurytos' failed attempt seems to be implied here. The man of shrewd counsel will combine boldness with caution to accomplish his Heraklean feat. The comparison between Odysseus and Herakles is openly expressed when the two encounter one another in Hades. Odysseus, even as he describes the awful ferociousness of the latter's appearance, says that Herakles draws that comparison himself. In fact, Odysseus' later appearance when he faces the suitors in Book 22 seems to match the fierceness of Herakles in this scene as he peers about, his bow held ready in hand(11.605-14):31 v oiOVdv vK ayy vei6mcv (0, SVci 0 ' 6 PEqyvjvt)K i otuK;, t ndvtoo' alogiv0,v' xclE ot1K(;. 1PliOXovtt 1ou'Lativov, 6uEtvbv ' Eoi appi nepi &'opthp ripJeoEatv acEpSaxkfo; Y'va O0oCx la Epya tIrwcto, v TreaRGVE Xpl)(EEO ilv', UE ovreS, TE ipirot r'dyp6Tepo{ oEg Xapolnoi r' TE aE. Rdxat (6vo0t av6poKraiot b~giva~ 'Ea a p18' ZEXVo(d~aEvo PTh 61o 'tT'eXviotojto, E lyicraOEro TXVl. BgE(ivov EXahxLeva

Kail~dt vE)pi(Ptv 6oi(T6v, T6(ov y7uvvbv EX(0v

And around him was the cry of the dead, as of birds, fleeing in all directions: and he looking like the dark night, Holding the bow uncovered and the arrow on the string, Peering awfully, like one always about to shoot. And a terrible sword-belt was around his chest, A golden baldric, where wondrous works had been wrought, Bears and savage boars and bright-eyed lions, Battles and struggles and murders and slaughters. May he who wrought them never, may he never make another, He who devised that baldric in his art. At once the terrible phantom recognizes Odysseus (11.617-19): noX AtoyEv; AaEpztdwi, ui'Xaov''6OuooaaE, i &68{i', 'tvr Kd 66pov o Kaobv ihylnketq, Un'a y&6 6v 1nep Ey7v6deoov 7l Xioto.
Zeus-born son of Laertes, Odysseus of many wiles, Ah, luckless man, surely you, too, are living out some wretched

and speaks

destiny, Such as I was enduring under the rays of the sun.


31 Galinsky 14.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

52

KATHERINE CRISSY

On the question of the authenticity of the passage in which these lines occur, Heubeck brings to bear the evidence of their place in an artful symmetry: The overall structure of the book guarantees the place of these disputed lines. The two main sections, divided by the 'intermezzo', correspond to each other;the firstthreemeetingswith heroines arefollowed by a catalogue of heroines (each section being introduced by i'tov, 235, etc.); similarly the encounters with the three heroes of the TrojanWar are followed by a catalogue of six heroes, whom Odysseus sees without any words being spoken except in the last case ('68ov(568), cf. 572, 576, 582, 592, 601). The first, second, and sixth figures are 'positive'; the third, fourth, and fifth characters 'negative'.32 Elsewhere Heubeck shows that within the larger structure, the catalogue of heroines itself follows a discernible order.33 More can be said of the catalogue of heroes with regard to its own symmetrical pattern. The first figure, Minos, has a singular role as lawmaker. He therefore appropriately precedes a group which includes the three "criminals," Tityos, Tantalos, and Sisyphos, all undergoing their famous punishments. Framing these three are Orion before and Herakles after, neither of whom is being chastised. On the contrary, both are armed. Both appear in the powerful, ferocious roles they played in life. Both have a reputation for ridding the land of wild beasts elsewhere in myth, here evident in Orion's role as the hunter (572-75) and the sword-belt of Herakles which horrifies T E X Trwto, / apictot t' &yp6Tzpoi Odysseus, 'ivx OaKEa Epya

aE EMovre;(610-11).The symmetrynoted is not only aesXaponxol an oral poet theticallypleasing and an excellentmemoryaid for it also placesemphasison Orionand handlinga lengthycatalogue; in a Heraklesas model heroesfroman earlierage who have Kkio Armed and Tantalos. to sense, as

positive

hunters of beasts, unpunished in their ferocity, both charactersmay


be said to illuminate the concept of hero which fits Odysseus as slaughterer of the suitors.

opposed

Tityos, Sisyphos,

32 Heubeck in Alfred Heubeck and Arie Hoekstra, A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey (Oxford 1989) 2.111. 33 A. Heubeck, Der Odyssee-Dichterund die Ilias (Erlangen 1954) 33-35. Symmetrical structure is, of course, related to ring composition and chiastic form, all of these being frequently used by oral poets. See, for example, A. B. Lord, The Singer of Tales (Cambridge, MA 1960) 119 and William Thalmann, Conventions of Form and Thought in Early Greek Epic Poetry (Baltimore 1984) chap. 1.

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

AND THEBOW HERAKLES, ODYSSEUS,

53

As the paramount hero from an earlier era, Herakles is the most important mythological figure with whom Odysseus can be compared. The passages in Books 8 and 11 have been seen to introduce and reinforce the notion of a comparison which is later implied in Book 21, when Herakles steps out of the past and becomes contemporary with Odysseus. His anachronistic presence helps to emphasize the fact that Odysseus is part of an older age that is fading and already becoming legend. Odysseus, too, steps out of the past, as it were, to confront the suitors as his undisguised self. But details in the representation of Herakles do still more. The killing of the visitor in one's house, the emphasis on the guest table, the element of surprise, the prominence of the bow, possibly even the motive of revenge over a bride, distinctly suggest the suitors' demise. Thus the story of the bow links Herakles and Odysseus in such a way as to serve as a reminder of the negative side of Odysseus' triumph. Through retrospect it projects the tone and nature of the oncoming attack. Past and future stories of the two heroes are joined in this formidable likeness to help impart a resonance to the instrument of Odysseus' victory.
KATHERINECRISSY

HunterCollege

This content downloaded from 194.95.59.195 on Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:21:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions