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Ancient Greece

Homer: “Odyssey”: Book I: Athene visits Telemachus


One of the peculiarities of the “Odyssey” is that Odysseus, the Greek hero, whose travails are the subject of this book, does not actually make an appearance himself until Book V. Indeed, the first four books describe the plight of Odysseus’ only son Telemachus in the prolonged absence of his father, and how he responds to the situation of great uncertainty in which he finds himself.  Because of his particular interest in the character of Odysseus, Sabidius has previously prioritised translations of Books V-XII, but, before embarking upon the second half of the Book, and the events which occur when Odysseus finally returns to Ithaca, he has decided to undertake successive translations of the first four books, which deal with Telemachus and his exploits.

Book I begins with an invocation to the Muse and a report of the circumstances in which Odysseus finds himself in the tenth year of his wanderings between Troy and his home island of Ithaca. Then, Zeus summons an assembly of the gods on Olympus, and, after a desperate appeal from his daughter Athene concerning the fate of Odysseus, Zeus indicates that he wishes to assist him to return safely to Ithaca. Athene then goes down to Ithaca herself in the disguise of a former male friend of Odysseus and encourages Telemachus both to seek to stand up to the outrageous behaviour of the local suitors for the hand of his mother, Penelope, and to make a journey to the mainland of Greece to seek news of his father. One of the features of Book I is that it enables us to form an opinion of the character of the young Telemachus as he begins to shoulder the burdens of manhood. He comes over as a thoughtful and discreet young man, cautious, but brave and determined. Indeed, after the firm advice he receives from the disguised Athene, his mother finds him strangely masterful.

Ll. 1-43. Invocation and introduction. Zeus prepares to address the gods. 

(Pray) tell me, Muse, of the man of many wiles, who wandered far and wide after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many men, and came to know their minds, and on the sea he suffered much anguish in his heart, striving to preserve his life and (to secure) the homecoming of his companions. But, even so, he could not save his comrades, much as he longed (to do so); for they perished through their very own blind folly, childish fools (that they were,) who devoured the cattle of Helios Hyperion (i.e. the Sun-God); but he took from them the day of their return. Of these (events), goddess, daughter of Zeus, tell us also at whatever point you please.

Then all the rest, those who had escaped sheer destruction, were at home, and were free of both war and sea; him alone, though he was longing for his return home and for his wife, did the queenly nymph Calypso, most divine of goddesses, keep in her hollow caves, yearning that he should be her husband. But, when, as the seasons revolved, and the year came round in which the gods had ordained that he should return home and (be) among his own people, not even then was he free of tribulations. But all the gods took pity (on him), except Poseidon; but he continued to rage unceasingly against godlike Odysseus until he could reach his native land.

But he (i.e. Poseidon) had gone on a visit to the Ethiopians, who live far away, the Ethiopians, the remotest of men, who have been divided in two, (of whom) some (live where) Hyperion sets, and some (where) he rises, in order to take part in a hecatomb of bulls and rams. And there he was enjoying (the pleasures of) the feast; but the other (gods) were gathered together in the halls of Olympian Zeus. And the father of men and gods was the first to speak to them; for he had in his mind the handsome Aegisthus (i.e. the lover of Clytemnestra, who murdered her husband Agamemnon when he returned from Troy) whom Orestes, the far-famed son of Agamemnon, had slain; and, thinking of him, he spoke these words to the immortals:

“For shame, to think how mortals are ready now to blame the gods! For they say that evils come from us, buy they themselves also by their own reckless sins have sorrows beyond their destiny, as even now Aegisthus exceeded his destiny when he wooed the wedded wife of the son of Atreus and slew him on his return, though he knew that (this would lead to) his utter destruction, since we had spoken to him beforehand, sending Hermes, the watchful slayer of Argus, (to tell him) not to slay the man (i.e. Agamemnon), nor woo his wife; for from Orestes retribution shall come for (the murder of) Atreus’ son, once he has come to manhood and is longing (to inherit) his land. So spake Hermes, but, despite his good intention, he failed to persuade the mind of Aegisthus; and now he has paid in full the price for everything.”

Ll. 44-79.  In response to Athene’s concern about the fate of Odysseus, Zeus indicates his wish to assist him to return home.   

And then bright-eyed Athene answered him: “O father of us (all), son of Cronos, (and) highest of lords, surely that (man) lies in fitting ruin; so too may any other who does such deeds be destroyed; but my heart is torn for wise, ill-fated Odysseus, who suffers sorrows far from his friends on a sea-girt island, just where the centre of the sea is. (It is) a wooded island, and a goddess dwells in a house therein, (and she is) the daughter of crafty Atlas, who knows the depths of every sea, and himself supports the tall pillars that keep earth and sky apart. His daughter (i.e. Calypso) holds back that wretched sorrowing (man), and she charms him with soft, winning words, (suggesting) that he should forget Ithaca; but Odysseus, in his longing to see the smoke springing up from his land, yearns to die. Yet even now, Olympian, your own heart does not give heed to this at all. Now did not Odysseus, beside the ships of the Argives, freely offer to make sacrifices on the broad (land) of Troy (i.e. the Troad)? Why then are you so greatly aggrieved at him, (O) Zeus?”

Then, Zeus the cloud-gatherer, spoke to her in reply: “My child, what a word has escaped the barrier of your teeth (i.e. what nonsense you are speaking)!  How could I forget godlike Odysseus, who surpasses (all other) mortals in wisdom, and (who) gave sacrifices more abundantly to the immortal gods who inhabit broad heaven? But (it is) Poseidon the earth-supporter (who is) always (so) implacably wrathful (towards him), on account of the Cyclops whose eye he blinded, (namely) the godlike Polyphemus, whose strength is greatest among all the Cyclopes; and the nymph Thoosa bore him, (she) who is the daughter of Phorcys, who rules over the barren sea, for she slept with Poseidon in the hollow caves. From that time onward Poseidon the earthshaker does not actually slay Odysseus but leads (him) astray from his native land. But come, let all of us who are here take careful thought of his journey home, so he may return; and Poseidon will have to let go of his anger; for he will not be able to contend alone in opposition against the will of all the immortal gods.”

Ll. 80-124. Athene goes to visit Telemachus. 

Then, the goddess, the bright-eyed Athene, answered him: “O father of us (all), son of Cronos, (and) highest of lords, if indeed it (is) pleasing to the blessed gods that wise Odysseus should return to his home, let us rouse Hermes, the slayer of Argus, (to go as) a messenger to the island of Ogygia, so that he may speedily tell the fair-tressed nymph of our fixed resolve that stout-hearted Odysseus should set off on his homeward journey. But, as for me, I shall go to Ithaca, so that I can instil more spirit in his son (i.e. Telemachus), and put the courage in his heart to call the long-haired Achaeans to an assembly and to speak his mind to all the suitors, who are continually slaying his close-packed sheep and his shambling cattle with their twisted horns. Then, I shall send (him) to Sparta and to sandy Pylos, to seek news of his father’s return, if perhaps he may hear (of it), and so that a good report among men may sustain him.”

So she (i.e. Athene) spoke, and she bound beneath her feet her beautiful sandals of imperishable gold, which bore her over the deep and over the boundless earth, keeping pace with the blast of the wind, and she seized her stout spear, tipped with bronze, heavy, huge and strong (it is), and with it she subdues the ranks of heroic warriors, against whom she, the daughter of a mighty sire, bears a grudge. Then, she went darting down from the peaks of Olympus, and in the land of Ithaca she took her stand by Odysseus’ outer-gate, at the entrance to the courtyard; and she held her bronze spear in her hand, and assumed the likeness of a stranger, Mentes, the leader of the Taphians (i.e. the inhabitants of Taphos, a place near the west coast of Greece). There she found the haughty suitors. They were enjoying themselves (playing) with draughts in front of the doors, sitting on hides of oxen, which they themselves had slain; (of) the heralds and busy pages, some were mixing wine and water for them in bowls, and others were washing down the tables with porous sponges and putting (them) out, and they were distributing the meat in lavish portions.

Now, the godlike Telemachus (was) by far the first (to) see her, for he was sitting among the suitors, sad in his heart, imagining in his mind (how) his noble father, if he should come from somewhere, might effect a scattering of those suitors from his palace, and win honour for himself and be the master in his own house. As he sat among the suitors, thinking these (things), he caught sight of Athene. Then, he went straight to the porch, for in his heart he thought it shameful that a stranger should have to stand at the gates for a long time; then, drawing near, he clasped her right hand and took her bronze spear (from her), and, when he spoke, he addressed her with these winged words: “Welcome, stranger; in our house you will receive entertainment; and, when you have tasted some food, you can tell (us) what (it is) you are in need of.”

Ll. 125-177. Telemachus asks Athene to explain the reason for her visit. 

Speaking thus, he led the way, and Pallas Athene followed. And, when they were inside the lofty house, he took her spear and placed it against a tall pillar, within a well-polished spear-rack, where many spears belonging to stout-hearted Odysseus were set as well, and then he led her in and sat her on a beautiful well-wrought chair, and spread a smooth (linen cloth) beneath (it); and below there was a footstool for her feet. And beside (it) he placed an embroidered chair for himself, (set) apart from the others, the suitors, lest the stranger, distressed by their noise, and, being in the company of such overweening (men), should decline the meal; and, also, he might wish to ask her about his absent father. Then, a handmaid brought water in a fine golden pitcher, and poured (it) over a silver basin, so they could wash (their hands), and beside (them) she laid out a well-polished table. And the revered housekeeper brought bread and laid (it) before (them), and she set out many delicacies, giving freely of what she had by (her); and a carver lifted up meat and placed before (them) platters containing all kinds of meat, and put golden goblets before them; and a herald came to (them) frequently, pouring out wine for them to drink.

Then in came the swaggering suitors. And then they sat down one after another on the seats and chairs, and the heralds poured water on their hands, and the handmaids heaped bread in baskets beside them, and the pages filled the mixing-bowls (to the brim) with drink. And they put out their hands to the food that was set out just in front of (them). Now, when the suitors had satisfied their desire for food and drink, they turned their hearts to other (things, namely) song and dance; for these (are) the accompaniments of a feast. and a herald put a most beautiful lyre into the hands of Phemius, who was forced to sing among the suitors. Indeed, he had (just) begun to sing a pleasant (song).

But Telemachus addressed the bright-eyed Athene, putting his head close (to hers), so that the others might not hear (him): “Dear guest, will you be angry with me, (if) I should say something? To (men) such as these, things such as lyre and song are managed easily (enough), since they consume another’s livelihood without any compensation, (in this case,) of a man whose white bones are perhaps made to rot in the rain, as they lie on the mainland, or a wave rolls (them) in the sea. If they were to see him returned to Ithaca, they would all pray to be swifter of foot than richer in gold and raiment. But now has he thus perished by an evil fate, nor is there any comfort for us, if anyone of the men upon the earth should predict that he will come; for the day of his return is gone (forever). But come, tell me this, and tell (it to me) truly: who are you among men, and from where (do you come)? (And) where (is) your city, and (who are) your parents? And on what kind of (vessel) did you come to this island, and how did sailors lead (you) to Ithaca? And who did they profess to be? For in no way do I think that you came here on foot. (And) tell me this truly also, so that I may know (it) well, whether you are coming here for the first time, or whether you are even a guest-friend of my father, since many were the men (who came) to our house (as) strangers, since he too was conversant with men.”

Ll. 178-229. Athene introduces herself as Mentes of Taphos. 

Then, the goddess, bright-eyed Athene, answered him: “Well then, I shall truly tell you everything. I declare that I am Mentes, son of wise Anchialus, and that I am lord of the sea-loving Taphians. But now I have put in here with my ship and its crew, sailing over the wine-dark sea to (meet) some strange-speaking men at Temesa with its (stocks of) bronze, and I bring gleaming iron. My ship has been berthed by the (open) countryside some distance from the city in Rheithron Cove beneath Neion’s woods. We declare (ourselves) to be guest-friends of one another, (just as) our fathers (were) of old, if you’ll only go and ask that old warrior Laertes, who they say no longer comes to the city, but from afar endures his toils (i.e. lives a hard life) on his farm, with an old woman attending (him), who places food and drink beside him, when weariness takes hold of his limbs as he creeps along the ridge of his vineyard plot. But now I am come; for they did say that he was living at home among his people, your father, (that is); but now the gods are thwarting his journey (home). For godlike Odysseus has not yet perished, but is still living somewhere on the earth, and is detained on a sea-girt island in the broad sea, and harsh men keep him (there), savage (men they are,) who are doubtless restraining him against his will. But now I shall make you a prophecy, as the immortals put (it) in my mind, and I think that it will be fulfilled, though I am in no way a soothsayer, nor one who knows for sure the (signs of) birds. Yet, not much longer, let me tell you, will he be (absent) from his native-land, not even if iron bonds shall hold (him); he will devise a plan of how he will return, since he is a most resourceful (man). But come, tell me this, and tell (it to me) truly, whether tall (as you are), you are the son of Odysseus himself. Your head and your fine eyes are terribly like his, since ever so often did we mix with each other before he embarked for (the land of) Troy, whither others too, the best of the Achaeans, went in their hollow ships.”

Then, the wise Telemachus spoke to her in reply: “Well then, I will speak to you, stranger, quite truthfully. My mother keeps telling me that I am his, but yet I do not know: for no man can himself ever know his parentage for certain. Would that I had been the son of some blessed man, whom old age overtook (while he was) among his own belongings! But now, since you ask this of me, they say that I am born of the man who was the most ill-fated of (all) mortal men.”

Then, the goddess, bright-eyed Athene, addressed him once more: “Surely the gods have not given you so inglorious a lineage for the time to come, since Penelope bore you, such (as you are). But come. tell me this, and tell (it to me) truly: what is this feast, and (what is) this throng? And what, pray, is your need (for it)? (Is it) a private banquet or a wedding (feast)? (For) it is clearly not a meal where everyone contributes his own share; so, to me they seem to be feasting in your house riotously and in an overbearing manner. Seeing their many disgraceful (acts), a man would feel anger, (that is) any man of understanding who should come among (them).”

Ll. 230-279. Telemachus complains about the behaviour of the suitors, and Athene expresses her disgust at what he tells her. 

Then, the wise Telemachus spoke to her in reply: “Stranger, since you are indeed asking and questioning me about this, this house was once likely to have been prosperous and respectable, when that man (i.e. Odysseus) was still among (us); but, since then, the gods have willed otherwise, meditating sinister (designs), and they have made him invisible to all (other) men, since if he were dead, and if he had fallen among his companions in the land of Troy, or (he had died) in the arms of his friends, when he had wound up the long thread of war, I should not grieve over (him) so much. In that case, the whole host of the Achaeans would have made him a tomb, and for his son too he would have won great glory in the days to come. But, as it is, the spirits of the storm have snatched him up ingloriously, and he has gone out of sight and out of hearing, and in my case he has left behind (much)  weeping and wailing. Nor do I, in any way, weep and wail for him only, since the gods have granted me other bad troubles. For all of the princes who hold sway over the islands, Dulichium, Same, and wooded Zacynthus, and those who lord (it) over rocky Ithaca, all of these are wooing my mother, and wrecking my house. But she neither declines the hateful marriage, nor can she (bring herself to) take the final step; and, by their feasting, they are exhausting (the resources of) my household, and soon they will even destroy me myself.”

Then, overcome with wrath, Pallas Athene addressed him: “For shame, in truth you do have much need for the absent Odysseus, that he might lay his hands on these shameless suitors. For if (only) he would come now and take his stand at the outer gates of the house, with helmet and shield and two spears, (a man) such as he was (when) I first observed him in our house, drinking and making merry, on his way back from Ephyra (i.e. a city in northwestern Greece), from the house of Ilus, son of Mermerus – for thither too went Odysseus in his swift ship in search of a deadly drug, that he might have it to anoint his bronze-tipped arrows; but he did not give (it) to him, since he stood in awe of the ever-living gods, but my father gave (it) to him; for he regarded him with great affection – (yes, if only) such a man, as Odysseus was, would meet up with these suitors; then they should all find swift destruction and a bitter end to their wooing. But in truth these (matters) lie on the knees (i.e. in the lap) of the gods, whether he shall return and wreak vengeance on them in these halls, or not; and I bid you consider how you may drive away these suitors from your hall. But come now, listen to, and take heed of, my words; on the morrow call your Achaean gentlemen to an assembly, and announce your will to (them) all, and let the gods also be your witnesses. Bid the suitors disperse to their own (people), and your mother, if her heart is urging her to marry, let her go back to the hall of her very powerful father (i.e. Icarius, who had settled in Acarnania); and her (kinsfolk) will provide the wedding feast and arrange the numerous suitors’ gifts, all those that are fitting to follow as the price of a well-loved daughter. And yourself, I shall counsel firmly, if you would (but) hear (me).

Ll. 280-324. Athene advises Telemachus to seek news of his father.

“Man a ship with twenty oarsmen, the best one that (you have), and go forth to learn about your father who has been gone for so long, if by chance some mortal may tell you, or you may hear a rumour (sent) from Zeus, (of the kind) which so often brings news to mortal men. First, go to Pylos and question godlike Nestor, and from there (go) to Sparta (and) to auburn-haired Menelaus; for he (was) the last of the bronze-clad Achaeans (to) return home. If you should hear that your father (is) alive and coming home, though you are certainly being abused, you could still endure for a year; but, if you hear that he has died and is no longer living, then you should return to your native land and build him a mound, and pile funeral gifts upon (it). as many as are fitting, and give your mother to a husband. Now, when you have settled and done these (things), you must consider in your heart and in your mind how you may slay those suitors in your halls, whether by guile or openly. You no longer need to hold to childish (ways), since you are no longer of such an age. Or are you not aware of how much fame godlike Orestes won among all of mankind when he slew his father’s murderer, the guileful Aegisthus, because he had killed his father? You too, my friend, for I see that you (are) handsome and tall, be you valiant, so that one yet to be born may also praise you. But now I shall go down to my swift ship and my comrades, who, I believe, are awaiting me with much impatience; for yourself, take care, and take heed of my words.”

Then again, the wise Telemachus spoke to her in reply: “Stranger, in truth you say these (things) with kind intentions, as a father (speaks) to his son, and never shall I forget them. But come now, tarry (for a while), eager as you are for the road, so that, (when you have) bathed and have gladdened your heart to the full, you may go to your ship, happy in your mind, bearing a precious (and) most beautiful gift, which shall be a keepsake to you from me, one of those sort of things which dear friends give to friends.”

Then, the goddess, bright-eyed Athene, answered him: “Now detain me no longer, eager as I am for the road, But whatever gift your heart may bid (you) give me, when I am am on my way back (from Temesa), (then) give (it to me) to bring home, having chosen a right beautiful (one) from the store-room); and you will have a recompense of equal value.”

So speaking, the (goddess,) the bright-eyed Athene, departed, and she flew away upwards unnoticed like a bird; and she put strength and courage in his heart, and made him think of his father even more than before. And he marked (this) in his mind, and in his heart he marvelled; and it struck him that this was a god. And straightway he rejoined the suitors, (as) a man equal to the gods.

Ll. 325-364. Telemachus rebukes his mother Penelope. 

The famous minstrel (i.e. Phemius) was singing to them, and they sat listening in silence; and he sang of the Achaeans’ woeful return from Troy, which Pallas Athene had inflicted on (them). And, from her upper chamber, wise Penelope, the daughter of Icarius, took to heart (the words of) the divinely-inspired song; then, from her bedroom she came down the steep staircase, not alone, as two handmaids followed after her. Now, when she came to the suitors, she, the most divine of women took her stand by a pillar of the well-built roof, holding her shining veil before her face; and a trusty handmaid stood on either side of her. Then, bursting into tears, she addressed the divine minstrel: “Phemius, since you know many (things) which charm mortals other (than this song, and these include) the deeds of men and gods, which minstrels celebrate, sing them one of these as you sit (there), and let them drink their wine in silence; but stop singing this woeful song, which ever wrings the heart in my breast, since this never-to-be-forgotten grief bears down especially upon me. For I ever remember with longing that dear face of my husband, whose fame (is spread) widely across Hellas and mid-Argos.”

Then, the wise Telemachus spoke to her in reply: “My mother, why do you begrudge the good minstrel the right to give pleasure in whatever way his heart is moved? Now, it is not the minstrels (who are) to blame (for it), but (it is) Zeus (who is) somehow to blame, (he) who dispenses to hard-working men (good and bad fortune), to each as he wills. But to this (man) no ill-will (can be felt), if he sings of the evil fate of the Danaans; for men praise that song the more that comes most recently to (the ears of) the hearers. And, as for yourself, let your heart and soul agree to listen. For Odysseus (is) not the only (one) to have been lost in Troy on the day of his return, but other men have perished too. But go to your chamber and take care of your own tasks, the loom and the spindle, and bid your handmaids go about their business; but taking decisions is a matter for men, all (men), but especially for me; for the authority in this house is mine.”

Full of astonishment she went back to her bed-chamber; for she had taken to heart her son’s wise words. Up to her upper chamber she went, together with her women handmaids, (and) there she lamented her dear husband Odysseus, until bright-eyed Athene cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids.

Ll. 365-420. Telemachus addresses the suitors.

But the suitors burst into uproar throughout the shadowy halls, and they all prayed to lie beside her on her bed. Then, the wise Telemachus began to speak to them: “Suitors of my mother, outrageous as you are in your insolence, for the present let us make merry with feasting, but let there be no clamour, as it is a fine (thing) to listen to a minstrel of such a kind as this (man) is, like to the gods in his voice. But in the morning let us go the place of assembly and take our seats, so that I may declare to you bluntly my message that you should leave these halls; but may you provide other feasts, eating your own substance, and moving alternately from house to house. But, if it seems to you that it is better and more desirable that one man’s livelihood should be destroyed without recompense, (then) devour (it); but I shall call upon the gods that live forever (to see) if somehow Zeus may grant that deeds of requital do happen; then would you perish within my household without any compensation having been exacted.”

So he spoke, and the men all bit their lips and marvelled at Telemachus, because he spoke (so) boldly. Then, Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him: “Telemachus, (it must) surely (be) the gods themselves that are teaching you to be (so) boastful, and to speak with such boldness. May the son of Cronos never make you king in sea-girt Ithaca, (though it is something) which is your heritage by birth.”

Then, the wise Telemachus spoke to him in reply: “Are you really angry with me, Antinous, for the words that I may have said? Even this I should be willing to accept, if it were given (to me) by Zeus. Do you really think that this is the worst (thing) that could be wrought among men? For (it is) not all a bad (thing) to be a king; not only does his house become rich at once, but (he) himself (becomes) more honourable. But, in truth, there are also many other kings of the Achaeans in sea-girt Ithaca, (both) young and old; may one of these gain this (place), since godlike Odysseus is dead; but I shall be lord of our own house and of the slaves that godlike Odysseus won for me.”

Then, Eurymachus, son of Polybus, spoke to him in reply: “In truth, Telemachus, this (matter), (that is) which one of the Achaeans shall be king in sea-girt Ithaca, lies on the knees of the gods (i.e. is in the lap of the gods); (as for) your possessions, you may keep (them) yourself, and you may be lord in your own house. For never may that man come who, against your will and by violence, will deprive you of your possessions, while people are still dwelling on Ithaca. But I do wish to ask you, (O) best of men, about the stranger, from where this man (comes), and from what land does he declare himself to be, and where now (are) his kinsmen and his native soil. Does he bring us some tidings of your father’s coming, or does he come thus searching for some need of his own? (I noticed) how he sprang up and was gone straightaway, nor did he wait (for us) to recognise (him); and yet, in his appearance, he did not look at all like a base (fellow).”

Then, the wise Telemachus spoke to him once more in reply: “In truth, Eurymachus, (the prospect of) my father’s homecoming is dead and gone. So I no longer let myself be persuaded by any message, wherever it may come from, nor do I take heed of any prophecy, of the kind which my mother may learn from a seer (whom she has) called to the hall. But this (man) is a guest-friend of my father’s house from Taphos, and he declares himself to be Mentes, son of the wise Anchialus, and he is the lord of the sea-loving Taphians.”

So spoke Telemachus, but in his heart he knew (her as) an immortal goddess.

Ll. 421-444. Telemachus and Eurycleia.

Now, they (i.e. the suitors) turned to dancing and the delights of song, and they made merry, and waited for evening to come on. And, as they made merry, dark evening came upon them; then, they went, each to his own house, to take their rest. But Telemachus, where his lofty upper-chamber was built in the very beautiful courtyard in a place with a clear view around it, there he went to his bed, pondering many (things) in his mind. And, (as she went along) with (him), the true-hearted Eurycleia, daughter of Ops, the son of Pisenor, carried blazing torches for him, (she,) whom Laertes had once bought as his own property, when she was still in the prime of youth, for the price of twenty oxen, and he showed her equal honour to (that which he showed) his faithful wife, but he never lay with (her) in his bed. For he sought to avoid the wrath of his wife; (as she went along) with (him), she bore his flaming torches, for, of (all) the handmaids, she loved him the most, and had nursed (him) when he was a child. Then, he opened the doors of the well-built chamber, and sat down on the bed, and took off his soft tunic; and he put it in the hands of the discreet old woman. She folded and smoothed down the tunic and hung (it) on a peg beside the perforated bedstead, and then she went forth from the chamber, and she pulled the door to by its silver handle, and drove home the bolt by means of its leather strap. So, there, all night long, wrapped in  the fleece of a ram, he pondered in his mind the journey which Athene had shown (him).

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