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Odyssey Book 13

Theres No Place Like Home!

Previously in Homers Odyssey

Odysseus had just finished telling his tales to King Alcinoos and Queen Arete after the war and insisted that he not have to retell adventures with Calypso.

Gifts to Odysseus
Everyone is in awe of his stories. King Alcinoos assures Odysseus that he is in good hands and he and his men give Odysseus gifts. (These gift are given the next morning)
Gold, bronze, a great cauldron, a great basin, well-made clothes, and many other gifts. King Alcinoos praises Odysseus which convinces the men to give gifts (It is hard for a single man to give freely for nothing.)

A Day of Preparation
Alcinoos packs the ship with all the gifts so as not to hinder the rowers An ox is sacrificed and everyone eats, but Odysseus cant wait to start on the voyage. He asks to begin (requesting a libation) and asks for them to pray that his journey is safe and that he returns to a home that is faithful
Return to my wife at home blameless What about Odysseus? Calypso? Circe?

Alcinoos agrees and requests that wine be poured so everyone can pray to Zeus. (Pontinoos is the server/herald)

Odysseus and Arete

Odysseus holds out his wine and thanks Arete by toasting to her happiness and long life Arete sends Odysseus with escorts and gifts to his homeward bound ship
A well-washed mantle and tunic, a stout chest, bread, and red wine.

Odysseus is met with a soft blanket so that he may sleep during the long journey

Homeward Bound!
Odysseus sleeps for the entire journey The Phaeacians do not want to wake him so they take him and all of his stuff and leave him to sleep on Ithaca
The harbor of Phorcys
Smooth waters, an olive tree, and a shadowy cavern sacred to the Naiades

The Phaeacians sail toward home.

Poseidons Wrath
Poseidon was outraged that the gods had allowed Odysseus to return home so easily He complains to Zeus (his brother) and speaks of his embarrassment at the fact that mortals are no longer under his wrath or consequences Poseidon requests that the Phaeacians are punished for always offering safe transport to their visitors. Zeus allows Poseidon to turn the Phaeacian ship into stone once they are in viewing distance of Scheria. This fulfills a prophecy. Poseidon also wishes to turn surround Scheria with mountains. Wise Alcinoos knows about the prophecy and prepares a large sacrifice to Poseidon in hopes that he will change his mind about the mountains.

Why is this Unusual?

For the first time in both books, we see Zeus, the commander of hospitality, allow for a group of people who went far beyond their duty to help a visitor to be punished. Why? No matter how good your people are, if you insult a god, youre in trouble! Zeus fulfilled his role as a brother and god first before he considers the mortals.

Odysseus Wakes Up
And doesnt recognize where he is because Athene spread mist everywhere
She does this so that no one recognizes him this gives her time to give him the plan

Odysseus thinks that the Phaeacians have dropped him off somewhere
He is angry with them and hopes that Zeus punishes them for their lack of hospitality

Athene Saves the Day (Again)

Athene comes to Odysseus dressed as a feeder of sheep & Odysseus begs to know where he has landed Athene explains to Odysseus that he is in Ithaca. Here we get an idea of his homeland:
Poor for horses, producers of food and wine, good for goats and cows, rainy, lots of forest

Odysseus Tells a Lie

Cunning Odysseus decides to lie to the sheep feeder He tells a story of how he had to flee because he killed the son of Idomeneus, Ortilochos who was a strong, swift man who wanted Odysseus gold from the war. He says that after other journeys, he and his men landed on Ithaca and that his men left him grieving in his heart

Athene is Pleased with Cunning Odysseus

Athene, a clever immortal, is pleased with her cunning mortal. She praises Odysseus for his extemporaneous speaking She then reveals herself and tells Odysseus of the suitors inhabiting his home

Odysseus Gets Risky

After Athene reveals herself to him, Odysseus doubts that Athene is really who she says she is. He is angry at all the troubles he has been through and gives Athene a Where were you then? speech Odysseus doubts he is in Ithaca Athene is truly devoted to Odysseus. Even in his anger she views him favorably: And so I cannot forsake you when
you are wretched, because you are polite, ready-minded, and of steadfast though.

Athene reveals Ithaca to Odysseus and explains her absences. She didnt want to upset Poseidon.

The Plan
Athene reveals the cave to Odysseus who rejoices in seeing the Naiades. They hide Odysseus gifts from the Phaeacians in a nook and cover it with a rock. They both sat down at the base of the holy olive tree and talked about destruction for the presumptuous suitors. Athene tells of Penelopes loyalty Odysseus is glad that his fate is not like that of Agamemnon

The Plan
Odysseus realizes that with Athene he will be able to conquer the suitors. Athene, in all her war glory, gets a little graphic:
Some the suitors who devour your livelihood shall splatter the immense ground with their blood and brains.

Athene instructs Odysseus to go to his swine shepherd and ask him of all things.
Meanwhile, Athene plans to go to Sparta to tell Telemachos to come home She tells Odysseus that his son went to find him and Odysseus wonders why Athene does not tell him that his father is alive. Athene explains that it is to help Telemachos gain glory (oh, the pains of growing up!)

Odysseus Transformation
Athene assures Odysseus of his sons safety Turns Odysseus into an ugly old man
She shriveled his flesh, ruined his blond hair, marred his eyes, and dressed him as a vagabond

And they part

When they had made this plan, the two of them parted. And she went to godly Lacedemon after the child of Odysseus.