The Myth Reading Group meets on ‘Zoom’ on Wednesday 16 December, 5:30-6:30 pm (UK time). The link to join can be found in the comments for this post. All are welcome.
Continuing our topic of ‘Food’, we will look at some moments of eating, drinking, and feasting in the Odyssey.
The Odyssey is replete with references to food and drink: the suitors’ consumption of Penelope’s stores; Telemachus’ feasts with Nestor and Menelaus; Helen’s amnesiac drink; Circe’s potion; Odysseus’ feast with the Phaeacians; references to fish as poor fare; the Lotus Eaters; Polyphemus’ sheep, cheese, and his dining on Odysseus’ companions; the cattle of the sun; the blood offering to the spirits of the dead. In these scenes, the poet evokes themes of hunger, forbidden food, narcotics, magic, social relations, and transgression.
- Homer, Odyssey IV.1-305 (trans. Emily Wilson)
This scene finds Telemachus, son of Odysseus, accompanied by Nestor’s son Pisistratus, visiting Sparta, where Telemachus seeks news of his father from Menelaus. The poet depicts the customs around the feast, and Helen’s drugged wine.
- Homer, Odyssey IX.106-554 (trans. Wilson)
This presents Odysseus’ encounter with Polyphemus the cyclops. Lines 151 – 306 are especially relevant.