Homer’s Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-Making

  Bonifazi, Anna. 2012. Homer's Versicolored Fabric: The Evocative Power of Ancient Greek Epic Word-making. Hellenic Studies Series 50. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Bonifazi.Homers_Versicolored_Fabric.2012.

Chapter 2. Encounter, Visit, and Celebration: Homeric Layering (Odyssey 14)


Table 1. Distribution of the occurrences of kenos with Odysseus as the referent in books 1 to 13 of the Odyssey.

The following study of linguistic communication in Odyssey 14 started from an analysis of occurrences of κεῖνος referring to Odysseus (see Table 1). Book fourteen includes nine such instances, which is a relatively high number (only book four, with twelve occurrences, has more). These nine instances of κεῖνος became all the more intriguing with the complementary observation of nine occurrences of αὐτός referring to Odysseus, which is also a relatively high number (see Table 2 at the beginning of chapter 3). These frequent uses of κεῖνος and αὐτός led me to consider more fully the phrases containing those third-person pronouns and eventually brought me to re-consider the entire episode of the meeting between the disguised master and Eumaeus. The pragmatics of communication in this episode includes a quite sophisticated interlacing between explicit and implicit speech, between disguised and undisguised references, and between linguistic and extralinguistic signs of communication. κεῖνος and αὐτός referring to Odysseus are a conspicuous part of this interlacing. These pronouns have been taken by some as evidence of the “textual inconcinnities” of the book; [1] I will argue that such “inconcinnities” suggest, rather, a world of reference that is larger than that strictly derived from the plot. The verbal exchange between Odysseus and Eumaeus is exceptionally lengthy, and literary critics have tended either to praise this length as masterful or to blame it as idle. For Kirk (1962:360), book fourteen is “surely the least satisfactory, poetically and dramatically, of any in either poem;” it shows a “preoccupation with trivialities.” Scholars who have, conversely, emphasized the playfulness of the narration—an increasing {69|70} majority—read the episode as evidence of Homer’s supreme gifts of irony. [2] A fascinating problem about this latter scholarship (of the last twenty years) is that it has developed two logically irreconcilable views about what happens in book fourteen.

The first of these views—consolidated through centuries of literary criticism—takes account of the poem’s storyline: Odysseus visits Eumaeus to test the latter’s loyalty; what he says does not make any sign of revelation explicit; Eumaeus does not recognize his master’s presence. This is unquestionable, as Odysseus will reveal himself to Eumaeus and Philoetius only in book twenty-one. For De Jong (2001:340), as for many other scholars, Odysseus’ meeting with Eumaeus is “an instance of the delayed recognition story-pattern,” while for Stewart, book fourteen is the culmination of what he rightly calls the “great procession of disguised guests” throughout the poem (Stewart 1976:77). In his chapter on Eumaeus, Olson (1995:124–125) shows that some odd actions carried out by the swineherd—such as the sacrifice of a boar—should be read as signs of generous hospitality and loyalty towards the master (“Eumaios simply does the best he can for him”). Louden (1999:64–65), who underscores Eumaeus’ role as an informed and skilled listener to Odysseus’ epic deeds, sees him as a representative of lower-class people who might have been a part of the intended audience of epic performances. In Thalmann’s view (1998:58), Eumaeus embodies the idealized slave in the master-slave relation. If it is noted that—within the plot itself—Eumaeus seems to sense that the beggar is Odysseus and Odysseus himself is very close to revealing his true identity, this is explained exclusively in terms of covert signals. [3] Precisely as with Penelope’s perceptions of Odysseus in the later books, Eumaeus’ perceptions of the truth remain beneath the level of the explicit. [4]

The second view—not consolidated at all—does not aim to argue clearly for the opposite, that is, that Eumaeus undoubtedly recognizes his master’s presence and Odysseus lets him know who he actually is, but it does nonetheless take into account details of the story that are unrelated to the “official” plot; {70|71} these details not only show that something special is going on in the relationship between the swineherd and the beggar, but that there are, in fact, overt signals for it. Nagler (1974:123–125), for example, traces the thematic thread of Odysseus’ staff (σκῆπτρον) as a sign of convenership from 13.437, when Athena is said to provide the transformed hero with it, to 17.199, when Eumaeus himself is said to give a “suitable staff” (σκῆπτρον θυμαρές) to Odysseus, [5] and notes that the behavior of the “pious host” Eumaeus includes the acknowledgment of Odysseus’ convenership through the “assembly element” of seating. [6] Rose (1980) tracks in Odyssey 14 the linguistic signals of an increasing intimacy between the two characters throughout the meeting; he argues: “the growth in rapport between the swineherd and the beggar proceeds by subtle, almost imperceptible stages but is totally achieved by the end of Book 15” (1980:287–288). Petropoulou (1987:136–146) shows that Eumaeus’ sacrifice at 14.414–456 is anomalous, and suggests Odysseus himself as the implicit and ultimate addressee. Roisman (1990:220 and 232) states without hesitation that “from the very beginning … the text presents all sorts of hints that Eumaeus recognizes his master” and that “as Odysseus becomes increasingly sure of Eumaeus’ loyalty, his hints as to his true identity become increasingly strong and overt.” She also states that there is a gap between Athena’s thinking of Penelope’s, Telemachus’ and the suitors’ reaction to the disguised Odysseus—cf. Odyssey 13.402–403—and Athena’s renewal of Odysseus’ disguise “only” at 16.456–459 (yet just before, the primary speaking ‘I’ says that Eumaeus had joined Odysseus and Telemachus again in his hut; cf. 452–454); furthermore, Eumaeus says nothing of the beggar’s resemblance to Odysseus (1990:220). Ahl and Roisman (1996:309 n.10), like many other scholars, are very cautious in defining what is going on (“the sequence of increasingly positive interactions with Odysseus … cannot be explained in terms of any specific statement of acknowledgement”), but their analysis (168–181) focuses, in fact, on verbal clues “prompting us to expect quick recognition between master and swineherd” (169).

The difference between these two views concerns the either covert or overt verbal signals of recognition and self-revelation. The playfulness of the narration of this episode certainly leaves space for multiple interpretations; however, it makes a substantive difference whether one understands Eumaeus in book fourteen to sense his master’s presence or to know that he is facing his master; and, likewise, there is a difference between an Odysseus who just hints at his own identity and an Odysseus who reveals his own identity. That is why I see the {71|72} two views about covert and overt signals irreconcilable: Eumaeus and Odysseus exchanged either the former or the latter, but not both. Actually, behind these verbal signals there are speaking characters who may be aware or unaware of what they are signaling and there are omniscient recipients who read the underlying poetic dynamics; most of all, there is a primary speaking ‘I’ that has certain communicative intentions. I underscore the complexity of the communicative interactions enabled by the utterances of book fourteen because only an awareness of this complexity will permit us to account for the numerous puzzling wordings of that episode, which remain, for critics, a source of contention. Dawe (1993:538) reports that lines 158–164 are condemned by some modern critics and “underlying all of these deletions is the thought that the newly-arrived beggar should not be so specific in his prediction.” In a number of cases, the words of this long exchange unsettle modern recipients. One of many of such instances is πρόφρων at 406. Eumaeus declares himself as πρόφρων to beg Zeus if he had murdered the beggar; the adjective πρόφρων in Homer commonly connotes a positive will, which is rather puzzling in this context. [7] Once the plot’s demands, however, are not assumed to be the only possible interpretive key, a discussion can arise about the roles played by the speaking characters in this book: who is Eumaeus really and what role is he supposed to play in this episode? Why is Odysseus visiting him? Just to test his loyalty? What is the ultimate purpose of reporting such a long verbal exchange? I think that the perception of an idle meeting, the oscillation of scholarship between covert and overt recognition, and the puzzling diction are due to reading the episode exclusively in terms of dramatic irony. As I will explain soon, dramatic irony highlights a fundamental reality of the reception of the Homeric Odyssey, which is the discrepancy between what the internal characters know and what the external recipients know; however, such an interpretive approach limits our ability to grasp meanings and playful references that, I will argue, go much further than those provoked by narrative irony. The sense of the 9 utterances of keinos and the 9 utterances of autos for Odysseus, the answers to the above questions concerning Eumaeus, and the function of all the puzzling words and phrases can be better comprehended only within a larger picture of communication, which I will illustrate in the next sections.

Dramatic irony-based readings

The episode of the meeting between Odysseus and his loyal swineherd has been considered one of the leading instances of dramatic irony in the Odyssey. {72|73} Dramatic (or tragic) irony [8] is defined in narratology as “a situation, action or words” that “have an additional significance for the narratees [that is, the representatives of the hearers/readers in the text], one of which the characters are unaware” (De Jong 2001:xiii). Such an account strongly favors a clear opposition between the greater knowledge of the external audience and the lesser knowledge of the characters. [9] As Fenik states (1974:46), this kind of irony “demands that the audience know something the fictional characters do not; we can see, but they are blind.” Muecke (1983:137) summarizes this contrast by speaking of “a gap of knowledge between the audience and the protagonist as to the meaning of a given situation”; Grisé stresses the consolidated use of this term by scholars studying French drama; the shared definition is “l’ironie naît de la dissymétrie dans la possession du savoir entre spectateur et personnage.” [10] This framework implies that the ultimate meaning exclusively concerns the relationship between the “blind” characters and the omniscient audience. A further narrowing feature of dramatic irony concerns the quality of the ultimate meaning: as Hug already stated in 1871 about Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos, dramatic irony is “when a character states what is perceived by the audience to be the reverse of the true condition of affairs” (Ironie des Gegenteils). [11] This describes, in fact, an antiphrastic irony: to say x in order to convey the reverse of x. [12] As I will stress, this is just one possible type of irony. On the whole, the “gap of knowledge” indicated by the notion of dramatic irony has the remarkable consequence of enhancing and highlighting the pleasure of those who are not blind—namely, the omniscient audience, which alone can fully enjoy (τέρπειν) the reception of the situation.

However, this interpretive filter considers communication in a quite rigid and flat way. It certainly focuses on a crucial and poetically quite productive variable, that is, the different amounts of knowledge available to characters {73|74} and to recipients, [13] but this is just one of the variables that can be deployed. Another variable, for example, is the discrepancy of knowledge between the characters themselves, which enriches the negotiation of meaning: [14] Who of the characters that listen to a verbal dramatic irony is aware of that irony? Who is not? Many years ago, Duckworth (1933) paid remarkable attention to the target of specific utterances in ancient epic poetry (Homer, Apollonius, and Virgil). Actually, his focus was not on irony but on how epic poets foreshadow events to come. The part of Duckworth’s argument relevant to my own is his illustration of three types of forecasting, which include speakers, characters, and readers. Events might be forecasted by the primary speaking ‘I’ to readers, for instance, but not to characters (cf. Duckworth 1933:37–79); they might be forecasted to both readers and characters (80–99); they might not be forecasted to readers (100–115; this is said not to happen in Homer). Thus, these differences show that the primary speaking ‘I’ consciously selects the target of utterances that have a relevant implied meaning. An even more striking variable that complicates any dramatic irony is the source of the utterance itself. If a certain character utters words that are interpreted as dramatic irony by the readers, is (s)he always totally blind? To what extent can we judge the degree of awareness of the character while (s)he is uttering a dramatic irony? An example: Eumaeus at Odyssey 14.386 addresses Odysseus by means of the vocative γέρον πολυπενθές (“you, old man of many grievances”). Is this a dramatic irony that “Homer” puts on Eumaeus’ mouth, while the latter is totally unaware of the use of the unequivocal πολυπενθές? Or is Eumaeus consciously participating in such an evocative utterance? In other words: who is the ultimate source of the utterance? Who is making the dramatic irony? Is it the primary speaking ‘I’ by choosing this phrase in the performance, or is it the character Eumaeus in his perception of the true identity of the beggar? In order to accommodate and encourage more flexible interpretations of such communicative devices, I am going to explore some salient elements not of dramatic irony but of irony considered more largely, in light of work on irony in ancient Greek literature, in linguistics, and in cognitive psychology.

In his study of ambiguity in ancient Greek literature (first published in 1939), Stanford classifies irony as ambiguity in tone. [15] By means of a particular {74|75} use of tone, a speaker can convey either his/her “more or less unconscious verbal manifestation of a cautious, restrained, dissembling character” or his/her purposeful wittiness; in the former case, irony is close to euphemism; in the latter, irony corresponds to the common definition of “intending the opposite of what one’s words literally mean.” [16] In both cases, tone is crucial; [17] in some cases, facial gestures are also crucial. The following Odyssean passage (cited by Stanford) exemplifies both the “opposite meaning” account and the assumed use of a specific tone or facial gesture accompanying the utterance:

Ἀντίνο’, ἦ μευ καλὰ πατὴρ ὣς κήδεαι υἷος

Odyssey 17.397; Telemachus to Antinous

Oh yes, Antinous, you take good care of me as a father with his son.

In pragmatic terms, it is the shared knowledge of the audience about the relationship between Antinous and Telemachus that permits an ironical reception of this line. Likewise, for both the internal and the external audience, the tone of the sentence has to be marked in such a way that the ironical meaning is successfully conveyed. Without an appropriate tone of voice the communicative act would fail. Stanford himself states that since irony corresponds to the communicative intention to convey specific implied meanings, irony may not be counted as ambiguity at all. [
18] It seems reasonable to conclude that irony is not precisely a kind of “unclearness” (the Aristotelian ἀσάφεια); it is, conversely, meant to convey very clear meanings. In her extensive analysis of ironies in the Odyssey, Dekker (1965:318) confirms this communicative fact by saying “the principal effect of irony is that its content is accentuated in the eyes of the audience.” Dekker also supports a basic point, that is, the realities to which irony alludes might not be exclusively the opposite of what is verbally stated, but they might be related to various aspects of the shared knowledge between speakers and addressees. This understanding concords with De Jong’s broader {75|76} narratological definition of irony: irony is when “a character speaks words which he intends his addressee(s) to understand as having a different significance.” [19] From the perspective of contemporary theoretical works on linguistics, the “opposite-meaning” account is, likewise, considered to be very reductive; irony is and does more. [20] H. H. Clark’s account, for one—which is resumed and further developed by Bara—satisfactorily clarifies, in my view, what irony is in linguistic communication. The basic idea is that any ironical sentence calls attention to an “unexpected incongruity” between what is said and what the extralinguistic context suggests. [21] Thanks to a certain amount of knowledge shared by speaker and addressee(s), the ironical sentence builds up a possible scenario that highlights the incongruity without its explicit utterance; this incongruity has to be detected by the addressee(s). [22] The following example illustrates that irony is not necessarily antiphrastic:

Bara explains that the wife’s ultimate intention is not to reassure her husband that in the fridge there is actually no iguana, even though it might well be part of the implied meaning; the most probable intention is to convey that the husband deserves an iguana for supper, or simply to convey anger and disappointment for the husband’s late return. There is an unexpected incongruity that the wife expects her husband to grasp by mentioning the possible scenario of an iguana in the fridge. The scenario “iguana in the fridge” makes the ultimate content (that is, something like “You could have come home earlier” or “I am very upset by your late arrival”) accentuated in the eyes of the audience, to use Dekker’s words.

In sum, the relevant elements of irony that contribute to a larger picture of the underlying communicative mechanisms are the following: irony does not express ambiguity; tone and facial gestures by the speaker are essential in marking what verbal irony refers to, not in terms of a gap of knowledge but in terms of shared knowledge; ironical statements do not necessarily intend “the opposite of what one’s words literally mean”; rather, they build up a possible scenario by calling attention to an unexpected incongruity. {76|77}

To this I add the limitations of dramatic irony-based readings that I have already discussed: namely, it is not always clear who shares the relevant knowledge implied by an ironical statement nor who the speaking personae are. Hence, it is possible to discuss cases of dramatic irony that involve much more than blind characters uttering ironical sentences and omniscient recipients. Thus, I examine an ironical sentence quoted by Bara. [24] In spring 1938, one year before his death, Sigmund Freud left Vienna for London because of the Nazi regime. In order to be allowed to leave Austria, he had to sign a document in which it was stated that the Gestapo had always treated him respectfully. Freud signed it, but he asked the officer who brought the letter to be allowed to add the following sentence:

I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone.

This sentence was meant to convey antiphrastic irony (and sarcasm) to everybody but the Gestapo. The point is that the same words work well and are communicatively successful in two different types of situation. Situation 1 includes the following: Speaker 1, the compliant “I” who has to state he has been treated respectfully by the Gestapo; [
25] Addressee 1, the Gestapo authorities who have to acknowledge the Nazi document and cannot share with Freud any knowledge about the Gestapo’s harshness and cruelty; Meaning 1 is, then, “the Gestapo is recommended to anyone,” which might imply “I had no problems,” “There is no reason to fear the Gestapo,” “The Gestapo treated me respectfully,” and so on. Situation 2, on the other hand, includes the following: Speaker 2, the “I” corresponding to Sigmund Freud who is ultimately forced by the Nazi regime to leave Vienna; Addressee 2, other officials or other people who do not have to acknowledge the Nazi document and who can share with Freud the knowledge of the Gestapo’s harshness and cruelty; Meaning 2 is, then, “the Gestapo is the least recommendable thing in the world for anybody,” which may imply “I got in serious trouble with the Gestapo,” “The Gestapo is a most frightening and horrifying institution,” “If possible, keep away from the Gestapo,” and so on. The same medium (the letter to be signed and mailed) is actually exploited to set up two quite different communicative situations including two different speaking “I”s, two addressees, and two meanings. The sentence in question introduces a possible scenario and calls attention to an incongruity to be detected by its addressee(s). The incongruity does not spring from a blind speaking character {77|78} and does not convey a gap of knowledge; rather, the incongruity relies on an esoteric shared knowledge, to use Dekker’s terms (the intellectual Sigmund Freud had to leave his alma mater forever by stating that he could do everything he desired [26] ), and speaker 2 is consciously willing to share in that knowledge. This example shows a feature that permits us to move from a single notion of irony to the idea of layering: some sentences or wordings may be consciously exploited to set up more than one communicative situation, to imply more than one speaker, more than one addressee, and more than one meaning.

Layering-based readings

A broader model that embraces the multiple ironies of Odyssey xiv is borrowed from H. H. Clark’s work Using Language. Let us imagine two children, John and Mary, playing in a living room. They play as if they were Peter and the wolf in the wood. On top of the starting communicative situation 1 (John and Mary in a living room) a second one is built, namely, communicative situation 2 (Peter and the wolf in a wood). Each situation represents a distinct “layer.” On the basis of an analogous example, H. H. Clark graphically represents the two layers as follows in Figure 1:


and calls this phenomenon “layering.” [
27] At each layer participants, roles, places, times, features and actions differ. If we take the example of the Peter-and-the-wolf game, in situation 1 (layer 1 from now on) we have Mary playing a make-believe game, in a living room, let us say at 5 pm, using a blanket to cover herself and suddenly jumping out in front of her playmate; in situation 2 (layer 2) we have a hungry wolf in the wood, let us say in the morning, hiding himself behind some bushes and suddenly appearing to poor Peter. A fundamental property of layering is simultaneity: the two layers are “present, or current, at the same {78|79} time.” [28] Anything that is said between the two children during the game—for instance, the exclamation of John-Peter in front of the wolf “Don’t eat me!”—has to be interpreted in the light of layering. Some more basic communicative activities are going on during this event, namely, “imagining” and “appreciating.” H. H. Clark formulates two related principles:

In layered actions, the primary participants are intended to imagine what is happening in the highest current layer of action


In layered actions, the primary participants are intended to appreciate the instigator’s purposes and techniques in creating the highest current layer of action.

H. H. Clark 1996:359

It is very important to keep in imagination and appreciation as effects of layering communication, as they significantly motivate and affect any performance of layering. H. H. Clark underscores that layering is something human beings mostly use in stories (stories in conversation, as well as in novels). Dramas (plays, movies, operas, and television sitcoms), he says, make the phenomenon more complicated. Here, I cite a literary example from drama, one mentioned by H. H. Clark, that implies the dimension of oral performance; on the whole, it works as an introduction to my analysis of several phrases within the Odysseus-Eumaeus episode. At the very beginning of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1953), Estragon is unsuccessfully trying to take off one of his boots; at some point, he gives up and says to Vladimir, who has now appeared,

Nothing to be done.

This is the incipit of the play. Such a sentence can work on at least three layers, for each of which I am going to offer my own reading: in layer 1, Estragon is communicating to Vladimir that he despairs that the boot can be taken off; in layer 2, the actor playing Estragon is communicating either to the actor playing Vladimir or to the audience attending the play (or both) that it is, indeed, difficult to take off the boot; in layer 3, either the actor playing Estragon is communicating to the audience something like “Do not expect that something is going to be done in this play” or Beckett, the play’s author, communicates through the mouth of Estragon to the audience attending the performance of the play, “Do {79|80} not expect that something is going to be done in this play.” [
29] Thus, “nothing to be done” is a sentence that can potentially be “imagined” and “appreciated” in three different situations. I think that this incipit has become famous for precisely these reasons. It is crucial that the sentence has been conceived by the author to be performed on a stage. The ultimate pleasure partakes all the variables I have mentioned: participants, roles, places, times, features, and actions; and this pleasure arises when linguistic communication is related to the other two dimensions—paralinguistic and extralinguistic—of human communication. [30]

There is, in fact, an ancient Greek word that marks the basic mechanism of layering I have introduced, which is ainos. Here, I summarize some aspects of Nagy’s account of this word, which concord with this pragmatic perspective. Ainos does not qualify, per se, a type of story, but it expresses some specific pragmatic conditions that underlie potentially different types of stories (different genres). An ainos can be found in historical anecdotes, in praise poetry, in exempla mythica, in epic embedded stories, and in fables. The common element concerns the context and the manner of communication. Nagy defines ainos as “authoritative speech,” as “affirmation,” and as a “marked speech act, made by and for a marked social group.” [32] In fact, it indicates the existence of a further layer of communication. By saying x, the speaker means also y, and this is done {80|81} in an exclusive way: what is conveyed is addressed only to certain people; ainos “restricts and is restricted by its audience.” [33] This restriction is implicit in its etymology, as Nagy himself points out: on the one hand, αἶνος affirms something as socially important, in a positive sense (the unattested related verb would be *αἴνομαι, which represents the opposite of ἀναίνομαι “deny”); on the other hand, an αἶνος communicates in an indirect, hidden way (whence the term αἴνιγμα “riddle”). [34] As such, it is neither the same as ambiguity, nor is it irony, but it builds a further layer, in which participants, roles, and actions differ from the initial (or overt) situation. A Pindaric passage exemplifies my contention. Near the beginning of Olympian 6 the poet introduces a little mythical section to express his own will to best praise the victor, Hagesias, whose ancestor is the priest Iamus. The opening words of this section are: Ἁγησία, τὶν δ’ αἶνος ἑτοῖμος, ὃν … “Hagesias, an ainos is ready for you, which …” (12). The content of the section coincides with Adrastus’ praise of Amphiaraeus after the latter’s death: “I strongly miss [ποθέω] the eye of my army; he was both a seer and a valiant man in fighting with the spear” (16–17). Adrastus’ praise may be considered as layer 1 of communication: the laudator borrows from a mythical hero the words to dedicate to his laudandus. However, a closer analysis of the passage reveals that the laudator’s praise is actually compared to the professional role of Amphiaraeus as a prophet (cf. μάντιν, 13 and 17), which is confirmed by the prophetic future of the speaking “I” immediately after the micro-mythical section (cf. μαρτυρήσω, 21). [35] The switch from the logical exemplum (Adrastus) to the ultimate exemplum (Amphiaraeus) is almost imperceptible, but it is the essence of the ainos. Pindar would like to convey implicitly to the victor Hagesias that he is a most powerful prophet, who is able to witness his merits and foresee his everlasting glory. Such a shift moves us to layer 2.

Layering of words, gestures, and objects in Odyssey 14

I propose to use the interpretive filter that sees different and co-existent layers of communication—defined by participants, roles, times, places, features, and action—behind the words uttered in Odyssey 14. This approach expands the range of the possible communicative situations in which words are successfully received, and, most of all, it does not limit an appreciation of the entire episode to the usual contrast between the events of the plot (the loyal swineherd is kindly {81|82} hosting a beggar) and the omniscient knowledge shared between the performer and the external audience (the beggar is actually the swineherd’s master). My analysis will take into account that the words of the primary speaking ‘I’ mention extralinguistic items within the narration as well—that is, the gestures that Odysseus and Eumaeus perform with their hands or their face, as well as physical objects, for example, the αὐλή and the mantle. I have divided the passages within my analysis according to the source of the utterances, which will serve to highlight the poetic ability to put words that belong to different layers in each character’s mouth; thus, my analysis will show the bravura of the primary speaking ‘I’, as it depicts what is happening at all the levels, without forgetting any of the co-existent meanings. I propose to take into account the following three layers or communicative situations carried out by Odysseus and Eumaeus:

1. The verbal exchange and the meals shared by a beggar and a swineherd who is the loyal slave of a powerful master;

2. The verbal exchange and the meals shared by a disguised master who visits his loyal swineherd, who recognizes his master;

3. The performance of some rituals concerning Odysseus’ hero cult, involving a representative worshipper and Odysseus, or else another cult hero and Odysseus.

The third layer is configured in terms of Odysseus’ posthumous epiphany (or revelation), including a face-to-face verbal exchange, the re-enactment of epic deeds from his life, sacrifices and libations in honor of him, and the sharing of two meals. [
36] These cult practices might be connected with features of some periodic festivals. More elements seem to converge upon the Eleusinian mysteries, for example. However, it is not my intention to provide the reader with historical or archaeological evidence that shows unquestionable data about specific {82|83} links, such as, for example, features of Odysseus’ hero cult in Ithaca. My reasons are two: on the one hand, Homeric references to elements of hero cult are inextricably mixed within the poetic diction, and the codification of these kinds of references is not open to all by definition. [37] On the other hand, those elements in Homer that are meant to be conveyed only to initiates reflect the “diachronic depth” [38] of the poetic production, so that elements relating to different, more or less local and more or less mixed, cult traditions might co-exist. Even though any research on these elements and on their linguistic codification (or, better, their linguistic disguise) cannot produce objective results, an inquiry into the strategies adopted by the primary speaking ‘I’ to enact layering in Odyssey 14 might, nonetheless, help in singling out some previously underestimated modalities of reference to hero cult.

The three proposed layers cannot be dissociated from one another, just as “Peter” and “the wolf” cannot be dissociated from John and Mary playing in the living room. The verbal outcome we hear/read tells about all of them at the same time. The proposed interpretive model has the advantage of clearing the contradiction between those scholars who claim that Eumaeus “remains” the unknowing loyal swineherd and those who claim that Eumaeus does recognize his master. Covert and overt signals co-exist and do not contradict each other. A related advantage is that in translation and in textual commentary we do not need to smooth away some puzzling (even embarrassing, at times) diction in which something more than an ironical meeting is going on. We can keep the problematic phrases and account them as valuable divergences; nonetheless, we can also keep the diction that indicates an unknowing Eumaeus and account that, too, as part of the game. They all are signs of the multiple readings that the performer deliberately enables for the multiple pleasures of the audience. Finally, this model allows for seeing a further—perhaps so far unexplored—aspect of Odysseus’ manyness: his actions are comprehensible not only within the paradigm of the lying vs. the truthful hero, but also of the living hero vs. the afterlife cult hero.

From the mouth of Odysseus: beggar, master, and cult hero

From the mouth of a character whose manyness includes, preeminently, his words, [39] we hear/read in Odyssey book fourteen hints of the three realms that I {83|84} have indicated above, which correspond to three co-existent roles of the same Odysseus: he acts as beggar, as disguised master, and as cult hero simultaneously. My intention is to demonstrate this claim through an analysis of selected moments of the episode. The first of these moments coincides with the very first words the primary speaking ‘I’ puts in Odysseus’ mouth:

ὦ φίλε, τίς γάρ σε πρίατο κτεάτεσσιν ἑοῖσιν,
ὧδε μάλ’ ἀφνειὸς καὶ καρτερός, ὡς ἀγορεύεις;
φῂς δ’ αὐτὸν φθίσθαι Ἀγαμέμνονος εἵνεκα τιμῆς.
εἰπέ μοι, αἴ κέ ποθι γνώω τοιοῦτον ἐόντα.
Ζεὺς γάρ που τό γε οἶδε καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι,
εἴ κέ μιν ἀγγείλαιμι ἰδών· ἐπὶ πολλὰ δ’ ἀλήθην.

Odyssey 14.115–120; Odysseus to Eumaeus

Commentators have found Odysseus’ initial question to be anomalous. The script at this point of the traditional scene would have a question by the host about the identity of the guest. Conversely, here it is the guest who takes the initiative. Moreover, he does not ask “who are you?” but “who is your master?” [
41] So far, however, this poetic choice would perfectly accord with the pleasure of the omniscient audience listening to the disguised Odysseus taking the initiative by asking about himself to his loyal swineherd. Yet, some linguistic details seem to suggest more. A series of deliberately double-meaning words enhance {84|85} a scenario in which Odysseus is not only hinting at his true identity covertly, but is also directly conveying to Eumaeus his actual identity. In my view, these communicative intentions belong both to layer 2—the disguised master reveals his true identity—and to layer 3—the cult hero declares his own appearance in front of the worshipper in a code that is understandable only to initiates. [42] Translating ὧδε (116) as “so” (in relation to ἀφνειός, “so rich”), in fact, hides the value of an adverb that in Homer quite frequently refers to the zero-point of utterance, as the demonstrative adjective and pronoun ὅδε does. [43] In a number of cases, indeed, ὧδε deictically refers to the moment in which ὧδε is uttered (“as you are doing now,” “in the way in which it is happening now,” or it refers to the immediately following discourse “with the words I am now going to utter”). [44] Eumaeus retrieves ὧδε a few lines after (cf. 138–139 οὐ γὰρ ἔτ’ ἄλλον / ἤπιον ὧδε ἄνακτα κιχήσομαι, which literally means “never again will I encounter another master as kind as the one I met now”). Thus, ὧδε at 14.116 might deictically point at the rich and powerful man who is before Eumaeus. The rejection of this deictic meaning by translators is ultimately due—I believe—to the supposedly unclear purpose of Homer in having Odysseus, at this point in the story, say “Look, Eumaeus; the rich person to whom you belong is here; it is me.” The phrase τοιοῦτον ἐόντα (118) is echoed later by τοῖον ἐόντα (at 364 it is uttered by Eumaeus; at 441 it is uttered by Odysseus), [45] and it fully contains the twofold essence of “such a” persona. τοιοῦτος in Homer can be deictic (“as such as you see here and now”) as well as non-deictic (“as such as you tell,” anaphorically oriented). [46] Saying “I might know him if he was such a man” (as in Lattimore’s translation, for example) is most apt to layer 1 and layer 2, since “such a man” maintains the double meaning “the powerful man who is your master” and “the man you see now in front of you.” But if we think of layer 3, we could translate {85|86} τοιοῦτον ἐόντα by giving the participle ἐόντα a different nuance: “If I might somehow know him, since I am such a man.” The following εἰ-clause includes ἀγγείλαιμι, ἰδών, and κε. Each of these words has a special significance. The particle κε deserves attention as it characterizes the related clause as “intensional,” since it refers to “wish-worlds” or “belief-worlds,” as Gerö suggests. [47] On the basis of historical linguistic arguments, however, it is possible to reconstruct the most ancient use of κε as a demonstrative adverb of place, whence the value “in this future moment,” as Rujigh hypothesizes. [48] In such a light, it is possible to see in κε at line 120 an ambiguity between the intensional reference to the exclusively mental realm of the expressed hypothesis (layers 1 and 2) and the extensional suggestion of something that really happens before the speaker’s eyes (layer 3). For these reasons, I will now underscore any further occurrence of κε in my analysis. ἰδών is a signpost for the visual component of the contact and the meeting between Odysseus and Eumaeus, by no means less relevant than the cognition and re-cognition component implied by γνώω (118) and by other words I will comment on. The morpheme ἀγγελ- sometimes refers specifically to the announcement regarding someone’s return home, [49] and in book fourteen it is echoed at 123 (ἀγγέλλων, uttered by Eumaeus) and at 152 (εὐαγγέλιον). The official cast of the term adds antiphrastic irony to utterances that actually take place during a presumably private meeting between a beggar and a swineherd. My commentary on lines 115–120 has so far pertained only to layer 1. Conversely, the clause ἐπὶ πολλὰ δ’ ἀλήθην (120) sounds like an unequivocal mark of identity of Odysseus ipse, not of any beggar nor of any wanderer, to the external audience. This depends on the cross-referencing polu– theme that marks the Ithacan hero from the very beginning of the poem (cf. 1.1, 3, and 4), as is commonly acknowledged. What does seem to be strange here is Odysseus’ {86|87} verbal behavior, which oscillates between a “correct” ambiguity and an “incorrect” or too explicit reference to his true identity. The former can be explained in terms of the traditional dramatic irony of the situation (the appearance of the beggar vs. the appearance of the disguised master), but the latter remains unexplained. I suggest that ἐπὶ πολλὰ δ’ ἀλήθην is meant to work at the level of layers 2 and 3: Odysseus is free to talk about himself in a communicative setting in which his true identity does not have to be concealed any more. [50]

Odysseus on himself as αὐτός and as κεῖνος

At line 117, Odysseus says φῂς δ’ αὐτὸν φθίσθαι Ἀγαμέμνονος εἵνεκα τιμῆς, whereas Eumaeus at line 70 says καὶ γὰρ κεῖνος ἔβη ’Αγαμέμνονος εἵνεκα τιμῆς. The reasons for the respective uses of αὐτός and of κεῖνος go beyond the grammatical need to retrieve the right referent (Odysseus is, in fact, the very clearly implied referent in both sentences). According to the analyses offered in chapter 1, we can consider κεῖνος (70) to be the cross-referencing κεῖνος that marks Odysseus as the venerated hero whose distance from the speaker is lamented, and whose imaginative visualization in the mind’s eye of the speaker is nostalgically evoked. According to the analysis I will present in chapter 3, αὐτόν (117) can be interpreted as a mark of visual and emotional nearness of the referent with respect to the speaker. In other words, Odysseus can use αὐτός to refer to his true essence, as a demonstrative of identity that indicates his own true identity, in layers 2 and 3. A comparandum that supports this reading is supplied by the only remaining αὐτός with Odysseus as the referent that is uttered by Odysseus himself (the other seven are spoken by Eumaeus and by the primary speaking ‘I’). During the so-called Cretan tale, the disguised master reports that the king of the Thesprotians had sworn to the Cretan sailor (the disguised master) that Odysseus was already on his way home.

ὤμοσε δὲ πρὸς ἔμ’ αὐτόν, ἀποσπένδων ἐνὶ οἴκῳ,
νῆα κατειρύσθαι καὶ ἐπαρτέας ἔμμεν ἑταίρους,
οἳ δή μιν πέμψουσι φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν.

Odyssey 14.331–333; Odysseus to Eumaeus

And he swore in my presence by pouring out libations in the house:
the ship had been dragged down to the sea and the companions were ready;
they would escort him towards his dear country. {87|88}

In layer 1, the speaker (the disguised master) and the hero of whom Odysseus the king speaks must be distinct individuals. The text makes this grammatically and semantically clear through the use of third-person pronouns (323 “he [the king] showed me the possessions that Odysseus collected”; τὸν, 327; μιν, 333), but the distinction between the two individuals in layers 2 and 3 is blurred. The adjacency ἔμ’ αὐτόν does not make sense as an emphatic reference to the Cretan sailor, [
51] but it does make sense if it works as a suggested indication of the true identity of the speaking “I,” “I” autos as “the true one I am”; the same holds for the playful adjacency Ὀδυσῆος ἐγώ (321). I would not call this irony, since no incongruity is to be detected. In this case, poetic communication simply exploits layering in order to convey that the Cretan sailor and Odysseus are the same person.

Odysseus’ words at lines 149–164 display a further synergy amongst the three layers of communication. According to layer 1, the beggar/master swears that Odysseus will come home very soon; according to layers 2 and 3, the Ithacan hero announces his own return and his own physical appearance by pointing at himself as κεῖνος. Such an epiphanic κεῖνος from the perspective of the practices of hero cult converges with κεῖνος used to mark the social distance of the venerable dead:

ὦ φίλ’, ἐπεὶ δὴ πάμπαν ἀναίνεαι οὐδ’ ἔτι φῇσθα
κεῖνον ἐλεύσεσθαι, θυμὸς δέ τοι αἰὲν ἄπιστος·
ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ οὐκ αὔτως μυθήσομαι, ἀλλὰ σὺν ὅρκῳ,
ὡς νεῖται Ὀδυσεύς· εὐαγγέλιον δέ μοι ἔστω
αὐτίκ’, ἐπεί κεν κεῖνος ἰὼν τὰ ἃ δώμαθ’ ἵκηται·

Odyssey 14.149–153; Odysseus to Eumaeus

Oh, friend, since you are utterly denying and you still don’t say
that that one will come—your spirit is always unbelieving—
well, I will speak; but not in a simple manner, rather by means of an oath:
Odysseus is coming; let me give the announcement of the good news
at the same moment when that one comes and reaches his own house.

The word order of line 150 emphasizes κεῖνον ἐλεύσεσθαι, where κεῖνος cross-refers to the Odysseus κεῖνος previously mentioned by Eumaeus (42, 70, 90). Τhe verbal mention of the referent of κεῖνος at 153 is clearest and nearest (Ὀδυσεύς, {88|89} in the prior line), which confirms that the choice of the pronoun goes beyond grammatical needs. ἐκείνου at 163 has the same effect. νεῖται and εὐαγγέλιον δέ μοι ἔστω / αὐτίκ’ at 152–153 within layer 1 work as the announcement of something that is going to happen in the near future (νέομαι often works as future, and if αὐτίκα is translated, it is “then” [Lattimore 1967] or “at once” [Dawe 1993]). [
52] However, within layers 2 and 3 νέομαι can work perfectly as present as well, [53] and αὐτίκα can mean “in this very moment; now”; [54] finally, the announcement can specifically concern a return home. [55]

Three lines later, Odysseus utters a sentence whose purpose seems, at first sight, to fit precisely the ongoing dramatic irony:

ἐχθρὸς γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς Ἀΐδαο πύλῃσι
γίνεται, ὃς πενίῃ εἴκων ἀπατήλια βάζει.

Odyssey 14.156–157; Odysseus to Eumaeus

Because as hateful as the gates of Hades
is that man who, surrendering to poverty, babbles deceitful tales.

The implicit reference made by Odysseus to himself (as an individual forced by poverty to lie) is unquestionable, and the dramatic irony follows (exploiting demonstrative κεῖνος to convey negative social distance is part of this irony [
56] ). However, I argue that the choice of κεῖνος, along with the adjacent first-person pronoun μοι, makes the sentence work well at layer 3 of the ongoing poetic communication. By saying that he hates such a babbling man, Odysseus exploits the deictic force of κεῖνος to point at himself—in a sort of self-epiphanic statement—and makes μοι and κεῖνος show the same person; he lets Eumaeus know {89|90} that he is that man. [57] Of course, we have no access to the extralinguistic features that might have accompanied the utterance of these words, but it is not implausible that a gesture would have enhanced such an interpretation. The preceding analysis might sound over imaginative if we were only to consider the two lines as an isolated example, but if we compare them to some very similar words uttered by Achilles in Iliad 9, we find striking confirmation:

ἐχθρὸς γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς Ἀΐδαο πύλῃσιν
ὅς χ’ ἕτερον μὲν κεύθῃ ἐνὶ φρεσίν, ἄλλο δὲ εἴπῃ.

Iliad 9.312–313; Achilles to Odysseus, Phoenix and Ajax

Because as hateful as the gates of Hades
is that man who—let me envision this—hides one thing in his heart, and utters another.

Achilles is arguably rejecting the speech of one specific person: Odysseus. [
58] I will not comment on the general question of the intertextuality between the Odyssey and the Iliad; I limit myself to noting that the similarity is impressive and that in both cases the reference to Odysseus is clear and deliberate. [59]

The ainos

Within layers 2 and 3, Odysseus’ first two speeches addressing Eumaeus—before the Cretan tale and before the ainos of the cloak—may be seen as confirmation by the hero himself of his identity. His physical arrival, the eye-contact between the special guest and the host (note the masterfully polysemic ὁ δὲ προσέειπεν ἄνακτα, uttered by the primary speaking ‘I’ at line 36 [60] ), and a first swine-based meal (72–80) [61] have already taken place. Odysseus’ complex verbal behavior within the very long lying tale (199–359) has been much discussed and {90|91} its truthful elements have been noted. [62] The primary speaking ‘I’ will himself comment on the lies told to Penelope in book nineteen by saying ἴσκε ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγων ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα, “he was making the many falsehoods he was saying equal to truth” (19.203). [63] In addition to noting those aspects of Odysseus’ storytelling that other scholars have well explored—pleasure, entertainment, marking similarities with Eumaeus’ story—I propose to ask what the primary speaking ‘I’ accomplishes through such elaborate layering. By marking Odysseus’ stories as “disguised truth,” the primary speaking ‘I’ lets the listeners know that the poem itself has both true and false parts. [64] By revealing some true aspects of his own life, Odysseus becomes a test case not so much for Eumaeus-the loyal swineherd as for Eumaeus-the worshipper, who is presumably able to accommodate truth and falsehood in the stories of his cult hero. I see evidence of this underlying playfulness in the question Eumaeus raises immediately after Odysseus’ long tale is over: τί σε χρὴ τοῖον ἐόντα / μαψιδίως ψεύδεσθαι; “why does such a man as you are need to lie without any reason?” (364–365). [65]

The last speech by Odysseus to Eumaeus in book fourteen concerns the gift of the cloak, an embedded story that was once labeled “one of the poorest digressions in the whole poem.” [66] Here the fictive truth is even “truer.” The bravura of layering is, at this point, at its highest. The cloak (χλαῖνα) is the signpost of a motif that is remarkably recurrent in book fourteen. [67] Well before Odysseus asks for a cloak, Eumaeus jokes about his guest’s potential ability to make up epea if he might, in return, receive a cloak, a tunic, and (proper) cloths (132); later, Odysseus warns the swineherd to give him a cloak, a tunic, and fine cloths once the master has come (154). [68] Eumaeus himself defines Odysseus’ speech as an αἶνος (508). [69] The tale starts from a cold night during the Trojan War, when the beggar was missing his cloak. Curiously enough, a χλαῖνα is something Odysseus takes off at Iliad 2.183, when, after listening to Athena, he runs toward the ships to convince the Achaeans to return to battle; later on, in the Doloneia, as Muellner {91|92} points out, Odysseus is the only Greek warrior to carry just the shield and not the cloak (Iliad 10.149). [70] The very possibility of such an intertextual connection, I would add, is attributable to the concept of layering: in layers 2 and 3 the ultimate purpose of noticing the missing cloak indirectly triggers the connection with what is told twice in the Iliad, which is a way of making the speaking beggar resemble Odysseus. The beggar asks nobody but Odysseus himself (the speaker puns by placing ἐγών adjacent to Ὀδυσῆα, 484) to provide for one. The speaker—the disguised Odysseus—shows his performative virtuosity by calling Odysseus κεῖνος (491), as if he were consciously retrieving—once again—the cross-referencing κεῖνος for the long absent, venerated master. The implied communication marks Eumaeus as a privileged recipient: thanks to his philotēs and his aidōs towards the guest (505), he is able to receive the ultimate sense of the words, and to act consequently. As Most rightly observes, Eumaeus’ reaction makes explicit “the link between the listener’s judgment of the aesthetic quality of the discourse and his decision to reward it”; [71] Eumaeus does, indeed, conclude by saying, “So far you have said nothing amiss or unprofitable. Therefore, you will not lack either clothes or anything else” (509–510). [72] Eumaeus’ promise of reward to the beggar illustrates the correspondence I suggested earlier about ainos and layering: they both stimulate aesthetic appreciation and successful reaction from their chosen recipients. The symbolic meaning of putting a cloak on someone not only includes the non-verbal recognition of the identity of the master (see the words spoken at 154, “[once the master arrives], put a cloak, a tunic and fine cloths on me”), [73] but it also draws upon the folkloric tradition of magically making a hero invisible. [74] Thus, I argue that the actual gift of the cloak to Odysseus (520–521) is a layering gesture: within layer 1, the unaware servant kindly helps a beggar; within layer 2, the swineherd confirms his noble and loyal essence to the recognized master; as for layer 3, two meanings might be conveyed: the helper shows that he will support the invisibleness of the hero throughout the coming enterprises, and the worshipper blesses the super-human status of his cult hero. On the whole, the behavior of the two characters in this book starts showing an exclusive complicity, based on a harmony resembling that between Odysseus and Athena. [75] This complicity leads me to underscore that cultic actions are, by definition, set up in order to be performed {92|93} and to be received via initiation, which implies secrecy. From the point of view of linguistic communication, this necessarily means the use of double-meaning words, of polysemous objects, and of layering.


A last and single word by Odysseus remains to be highlighted: vocative Εὔμαιε (440). [76] We do not need to consider this an interpolation or a later insertion on the premise that the beggar should not know the swineherd’s name—nor, even less, should he explicitly mention it. [77] Within layer 3, the linguistic act can be seen in a different light. This vocative comes after a quite peculiar sacrifice (418–438). Though I will not discuss the details of this sacrifice until later, it is relevant to note here that the positive effect of it on the disguised master is rather abnormal: [78] κύδαινε δὲ θυμὸν ἄνακτος “[Eumaeus] glorified the soul of the lord” (438). [79] Κυδαίνω—rare in the Iliad, and occurring only here in the Odyssey—can encompass the glory that comes once a hero is an object of cult. [80] κύδαινε δὲ θυμὸν ἄνακτος might well hint at a glory that is conferred by the accomplishment of a special ritual. In other words, calling Eumaeus by name at this point in the episode might be seen as a sign of intimacy between the hero of cult and the worshipper. The name Εὔμαιος presents questions of its meaning and of the “representative type” behind the name. [81] As Olson points out, Εὔμαιε occurs for the first time at 14.55, after the swineherd “has been {93|94} repeatedly and carefully characterized,” which might suggest that the name is “less traditional than he is himself.” [82] Amongst studies of Odyssean names, Mühlestein devotes intriguing pages to the hypothetical sacred figure represented by Eumaeus. His suggestion is that Εὔμαιος—from eὖ + μαίομαι “who strives after good” [83] —is a “quasi-synonym” of Eubuleus—from eὖ + βούλομαι “who counsels good”; further, Eumaeus’ figure in the Homeric Odyssey might have shaped Eubuleus, the godlike swineherd who helps Demeter to search for Persephone. [84] Mühlestein’s arguments include the unique mention in Homer of the word for piglets at lines 73 and 81 in relation to pig sacrifices for Demeter; [85] the overall resemblance at the level of narrative role—Eumaeus helps Odysseus who has lost his sovereignty, just as Eubuleus helps Demeter who has lost her own power; finally, the frequent addresses to Zeus Xenios. [86] The reference to a mythical figure involved in sacred activities may shed light on the controversial function of the epithets δῖος ὑφορβός “divine swineherd” and ὄρχαμος ἀνδρῶν “the first of the heroes,” as well. [87] I emphasize that names in the Odyssey are very frequently significant speaking names, as Stanford, N. Austin, and many others have argued. [88] From a cognitive-pragmatic point of view, uttering names {94|95} triggers different associations, both backwards and forwards, that are involved with the mental representations every anaphora activates in us. [89] I interpret vocative Εὔμαιε as a verbal gesture that works particularly well within layer 3. While in layer 1 it appears to be a lapse that should not be there and in layer 2 it is a sign of the reciprocal awareness of respective identities, in layer 3 it recalls a sacred function of the figure of the swineherd and is the sign of a specific and secret knowledge that is being shared.

From the mouth of Eumaeus: slave, worshipper, and hero

Eumaeus’ diction perhaps best shows the technique of layering; indeed, it is the constant to-and-fro between the three layers that I have proposed that makes his verbal behavior so puzzling to modern readers. At lines 80–81, he refers to piglets by using the term χοῖρος, which in a number of texts lexically qualifies piglets used for sacrifices. [90] The connection between piglets and piglets used {95|96} for sacrifices—in particular, within Demeter cult [91] —along with the uniqueness of such a term and of such animals in Homer, lead me to suggest a layering-based translation of these lines, namely, “this is what servants are allowed to eat: sacred piglets” (τά τε δμῶεσσι πάρεστι / χοίρε’). This is an instance of concepts pertaining to completely different contextual uses being put side by side. Homeric Eumaeus seems to like these kinds of multifaceted messages. Let us consider, for example, how he calls the beggar as he faces him and how he calls his master. Odysseus’ playfulness concerning the name of the swineherd is somehow balanced by Eumaeus’ playfulness concerning the guest’s name. A connection can be drawn between the pious host’s respectful reticence in naming the master—a topic discussed by many scholars [92] —and the vocatives used to refer to the guest—a topic discussed especially by Rose (1980). At lines 145–147, the swineherd states, “About calling him by name, I feel some fear …; so I call him lord and brother (ἠθεῖον).” [93] Rose (1980:287) argues that in this moment “Eumaeus reveals a dimension to the earlier relationship that goes deeper than that of master and slave,” since the adjective in Homer is usually applied by a younger brother to an older one. [94] N. Austin (1972:9) qualifies Eumaeus’ verbal behavior as an “apotropaic gesture, to ward off the kind of catastrophe which Odysseus had invited by pronouncing his name to Polyphemos.” The apotropaic nature of this verbal gesture could be linked to the feeling Eumaeus mentions immediately before withholding the name of the master—that is, πόθος (144). The special yearning underlying the notion of pothos can be extended to what worshippers feel about their cult heroes. [95] Later {96|97} in the episode, once the sacrifice is complete, the swineherd seems to reply to Odysseus’ vocative Εὔμαιε by using a definitely ambiguous term in a parallel vocative: δαιμόνιε (443). [96] Within layer 3, Eumaeus might have acknowledged Odysseus’ actual identity, and in layer 2 he might have done this even earlier, at 386, when he uses another significant vocative, namely γέρον πολυπενθές “old man of many mournings.” [97]

Eumaeus on Odysseus as κεῖνος and as αὐτός

Five times throughout the episode, Eumaeus expresses his hopeless assumption that he has lost his master forever (lines 40–44; 66–71; 90; 133–144; 371). In three of these instances, he uses κεῖνος to refer to him; thus, he resumes the communicative intentions already known from the first four books of the poem: lamenting the master’s supposed death (ἀλλ’ ὄλεθ’ … καὶ γὰρ κεῖνος ἔβη ’Αγαμέμνονος εἵνεκα τιμῆς / Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον “but he died … ; for that one too went to Ilium of fine horses, because of Agamemnon’s honor,” 68–71; κείνου λυγρὸν ὄλεθρον “the mournful death of that one,” 90), and envisioning, within the lament, his presence elsewhere (ἄνακτος ὀδυρόμενος καὶ ἀχεύων / ἧμαι … αὐτὰρ κεῖνος ἐελδόμενός που ἐδωδῆς / πλαζετ’ … / εἴ που ἔτι ζώει “I am sitting and lamenting and grieving the master … ; [on the other side] that one is wandering, longing for food … if he is still alive,” 40–44). However, a further κεῖνος corresponds, I would argue, to a very different communicative intention, especially when we consider that its utterance is included in the verbal reaction of the swineherd to Odysseus’ masterful double-meaning words at lines {97|98} 115–120. Within layers 2 and 3, Odysseus has just announced that he saw the master because he is that one. Eumaeus’ reaction is: “old sir, there is no man who, having wandered, could come and make an announcement about that one and who could persuade his wife and his near and dear son”—which in layer 1 makes perfect sense. Yet, the wording shows some canniness that can be better detected if we suppose layers 2 and 3 to be working:

ὦ γέρον, οὔ τις κεῖνον ἀνὴρ ἀλαλήμενος ἐλθὼν
ἀγγέλλων …

Odyssey 14.122–123; Eumaeus to Odysseus

Oh, old sir, there is no man who, having wandered, could come
and make an announcement about that one …

The ambivalence of ἀλαλήμενος ἐλθών for any possible beggar or wanderer and for Odysseus as well is no surprise. However, the setting side by side of the accusative κεῖνον—which refers to the swineherd’s master, the one whom the two men are speaking about—and the nominative ἀνήρ is quite amazing, especially when we think of either the oral or aural effect of the utterance. [
98] Moreover, the preceding οὔ τις might not be a neutral choice either. [99] If we interpreters overlap Eumaeus’ role with the role of a posthumous worshipper reacting to the epiphany of his cult hero, [100] it is possible to capture and to better appreciate these elements of poetic and performative bravura. All of this becomes clearer when we analyze Eumaeus’ uses of αὐτός referring to the master and to the beggar. As in the case of κεῖνος, different underlying intentions make the strategic pronoun suitable to multiple layers. The swineherd utters αὐτοῦ twice (102 and 135) to explicitly indicate Odysseus’ belongings, which sounds like an unmarked use. Yet, two more uses of αὐτός referring to the beggar permit the recipients to perceive that Eumaeus’ acknowledgment of the beggar’s identity is real. The first links the guest to the troubles the latter suffered: κλισίηνδ’ ἴομεν, γέρον, ὄφρα καὶ αὐτόςεἴπῃς … ὁππόσα κήδε’ ἀνέτλης “let’s go to the shelter, old man, so that you too … may tell … how many troubles you suffered” {98|99} (45–47). As I will show in chapter 3, αὐτός can be used to recall a higher-rank individual, which would fit layer 2 and the recognition of Odysseus’ real identity. Furthermore, in layer 3 “you αὐτός” is not only “you yourself” contrasting Eumaeus’ painful sorrows—just told—to Odysseus’ sorrows, but also the subtler reference to Odysseus’ afterlife—that is, Odysseus’ heroic essence through his corpse. [101] Later on, in a quite similar semantic and lexical context, the swineherd insists on this use by saying:

ἀλλ’ ἄγε μοι σύ, γεραιέ, τὰ σ’ αὐτοῦ κήδε’ ἐνίσπες

Odyssey 14.185; Eumaeus to Odysseus

But come on, old man, tell me about your own troubles

My point is not to “prove” that these occurrences of αὐτός are evidence of Eumaeus’ awareness of who the beggar is; rather, I point out that the interlacing of the uses of these pronouns keeps open the question of which personae are speaking to whom and in which context. In layer 2, for example, the meeting between the returning master and one of his future allies would have included embedded epic tales as a regular feature of hospitality scenes. In layer 3, for example, the invitation to tell about the troubles of one’s life is equivalent to calling for an epic performance of the hero’s story, which could have taken place under a shelter and within the practices of hero cult. [

“I know about the nostos of my master myself”

The fact that Eumaeus is utterly fascinated by Odysseus’ words during the latter’s stay at the hut is made explicit by Eumaeus himself in book seventeen, when he tells Penelope:

οἷ’ ὅ γε μυθεῖται, θέλγοιτό κέ τοι φίλον ἦτορ.
τρεῖς γὰρ δή μιν νύκτας ἔχον, τρία δ’ ἤματ’ ἔρυξα
ἐν κλισίῃ· πρῶτον γὰρ ἔμ’ ἵκετο νηὸς ἀποδράς·
ἀλλ’ οὔ πω κακότητα διήνυσεν ἣν ἀγορεύων.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἀοιδὸν ἀνὴρ ποτιδέρκεται, ὅς τε θεῶν ἒξ
ἀείδῃ δεδαὼς ἔπε’ ἱμερόεντα βροτοῖσι,
τοῦ δ’ ἄμοτον μεμάασιν ἀκουέμεν, ὁππότ’ ἀείδῃ· {99|100}
ὣς ἐμὲ κεῖνος ἔθελγε παρήμενος ἐν μεγάροισι.

Odyssey xvii 514–521; Eumaeus to Penelope

In this key passage, Eumaeus now makes explicit what he could only hint at in book fourteen. Within layer 3, these statements communicate the extraordinary moment of an epiphany (ἐμὲ κεῖνος ἔθελγε, 521) and mark the lucky circumstance in which the worshipper happened to have had the honor of establishing close contact (even eye-contact) with his favorite hero in the shelter. The discrepancy (previously noted) in the number of days of Odysseus’ stay—here Eumaeus says three, but, as Dawe reports (1993:647), the beggar is supposed to have stayed four nights—is very significant: in my view, the number three is to be understood, within layer 3, as the duration of a festival or of a ritual, perhaps including hero-cult practices. [
104] Finally, the lexical choice μέγαρον in the plural form (ἐν μεγάροισι, 521) might contain a reference to the megara of a Demeter sanctuary. [105] {100|101}

In light of the preceding argument, Eumaeus’ claim at lines 365–366 (ἐγὼ δ’ εὖ οἶδα καὶ αὐτός / νόστον ἐμοῖο ἄνακτος …) might be read as not at all {101|102} ironical. After the first long tale by the beggar, the swineherd insists on saying that Odysseus is not going to have any return. Within layer 1, the claim “I know well the nostos of my master myself” shows Eumeus’ confidence in what he has already expressed many times: Odysseus is lost, dead somewhere, and there is no kleos for him (366–371); in this sense, he takes nostos as “the adventures of the homecoming of the Greeks after the war of Troy,” or as the tale about that. [106] The same claim can also work as pure Ironie des Gegenteils: the omniscient recipients know that Eumaeus—still unaware of the real situation—actually does not know anything about the real nostos of Odysseus; if he did, he would “know well” that Odysseus had come home. Within layers 2 and 3, however, the same utterance has the opposite meaning. Before returning to speak as an unknowing swineherd, Eumaeus states, “Why do you need to tell me falsehoods, since you are such as you are? As for me, I saw your nostos myself.” [107] The nostos of the master is, of course, a dominant concern for the loyal servant; in layer 1, it underscores what Eumaeus is most blind about and what Odysseus, conversely, would eventually enjoy; in layer 2, it reinforces the recognition of Odysseus’ nostos now being completed; in layer 3, it highlights a fundamental characteristic of hero cult—knowing the tales of the hero and the subsequent everlasting kleos. [108] After the solemn sacrifice, Eumaeus renews this concern, and the poetic bravura renews the polysemy: {102|103}

… and he was praying to all the gods
that Odysseus of the many thoughts would reach his home.

εὔχομαι with the dative means to “invoke someone by means of prayers.” [
110] However, in Sophocles (Oedipus at Colonus 1024), ἐπεύχομαι + θεοῖς unequivocally means “give thanks to the gods.” I suggest that the primary speaking ‘I’ constructed the sentence in order to convey meaning 1 (“He was praying that Odysseus would come home”) and meaning 2 (“Eumaeus was giving thanks to all the gods that Odysseus came back home”). Aorist infinitive νοστῆσαι leaves space for both readings.

“Canny Eumaeus” [111] also replies to Odysseus’ double-meaning words in another passage, which precedes the main sacrifice. The text is quite puzzling:

εἰ δέ κε μὴ ἔλθῃσιν ἄναξ τεὸς ὡς ἀγορεύω,
δμῶας ἐπισσεύας βαλέειν μεγάλης κατὰ πέτρης,
ὄφρα καὶ ἄλλος πτωχὸς ἀλεύεται ἠπεροπεύειν.
τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσεφώνεε δῖος ὑφορβός·
ξεῖν’, οὕτω γάρ κέν μοι ἐϋκλείη τ’ ἀρετή τε
εἴη ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπους, ἅμα τ’ αὐτίκα καὶ μετέπειτα,
ὅς σ’ ἐπεὶ ἐς κλισίην ἄγαγον καὶ ξείνια δῶκα,
αὖτις δὲ κτείναιμι φίλον τ’ ἀπὸ θυμὸν ἑλοίμην·
πρόφρων κεν δὴ ἔπειτα Δία Κρονίωνα λιτοίμην.
νῦν δ’ ὥρη δόρποιο·

Odyssey 14.398–407; Odysseus to Eumaeus; Eumaeus to Odysseus

If your master—let me envision this—does not come as I am saying,
order your slaves to throw me from a high rock,
so that the next beggar keeps away from deceiving.
As a reply to him, the divine swineherd spoke: {103|104}
‘Stranger, indeed in this way—let me envision this—I would gain good kleos and honor
among human beings, both in this very moment and afterwards,
if I who have led you in my hut and given you hospitable gifts,
should kill you and ravish the dear heart from you.
With good will—let me envision this—I would pray to Zeus son of Cronus after that.
But now, it is the right time for a meal.

The initial purificatory ritual of the Thargelia, the Athenian festival in honor of Apollo and Artemis celebrated in May, included the throwing of a criminal from the rock of Leukas as a scapegoat, with men waiting for him in boats and escorting him to the borders of the city. [
112] Nagy has drawn a conceptual connection between leaping from rocks into the sea for love and plunging into the Eridanus, Hades’ river, as symbols of a crucial borderline between death and rebirth, or death and life after death. [113] If myths concerning diving from high rocks are ultimately linked to heroization processes, we can better understand the exchange between Odysseus and Eumaeus cited above. To the former’s oath, “If I am not saying the truth, treat me as a criminal and throw me from a high rock,” the latter replies with two completely different meanings. Meaning 1 works within layers 1 and 2, and is totally ironic: “Oh, I would really gain great fame if I were to kill you” where “you” may equal both “the beggar I am hosting” and “the master that is visiting me.” Meaning 2, conversely, works exclusively within layer 3, and is not ironical at all: “If I were to participate in your heroization process by throwing you from the rock I would definitely gain great kleos and honor” (ἐϋκλείη τ’ ἀρετή … ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπους even sounds like a reference to his own heroization process); he goes on to say, “This fame would be for this very moment and for afterwards” and then “I would be willing to beseech Zeus after that.” πρόφρων (406) is interpreted either as a strongly ironical reference to yearning for forgiveness (Monro translates “Then I should be eager to beseech Zeus, Cronos’ son [sc. for pardon]) [114] or as a neutral reference to a good disposition (Murray and Dimock has “with a ready heart”). I am arguing that πρόφρων in layer 3 is in line with the statement about great kleos: if Eumaeus were to make Odysseus succeed in the transition from human being to supernatural being, he would be more than happy to beseech Zeus; this would be a felix culpa. {104|105} The three occurrences of the particle κε throughout the passage (whose force is rendered by the clause “let me envision this;” see 398, 402, and 406) keep the attention of the recipients focused on the borderline between intensional and extensional realms. [115] Finally, the immediately following sentence is “But now it is time for supper.” The Greek, as so often, allows for more interpretations: νῦν δ’ ὥρη δόρποιο. Dorpos in Homer designates a “secular” evening meal in a number of cases. However, it also seems to be specifically connected with memory, [116] sacrifices, [117] and meals after someone has been killed—in funerary contexts or after vengeance. [118] Dorpos is also the name of the huge public meal that was the start of the three-day festival of the Apaturia. I would not exclude the possibility that our passage hints at a meal related to the commemoration of Odysseus’ death, including sacrifices and libations. This possibility is supported lexically by ὥρη and pragmatically by δέ. ὥρη qualifies the right time, the perfect moment for celebrating hero-cult, [119] while δέ usually marks a shift at the level of discourse act, though the types of acts involved can greatly vary; therefore, the “discontinuous force” of this δέ might not rest on a radical topic switch. [120] The particle might mark not only a quite abrupt switch from the imagined murder to suppertime (in layers 1 and 2), but also the transition to a new discourse act that complements the previous utterances. Within layer 3, δέ could simply re-orient the hearer’s attention to the next step in a procession of ritual practices.

The primary speaking ‘I’ on what happens

The primary speaking ‘I’ here and there makes use of descriptions, epithets, uncertain subjects, and tendentious word orders that, in my view, contribute to a full picture of a multi-layered communication. These elements pertain mostly {105|106} to Eumaeus’ figure, gestures, and objects. My first point concerns the references of the primary speaking ‘I’ to Eumaeus. He chooses for him “extravagant” epithets, [121] some highly unusual vocatives in speech-introductory formulas (“you, Eumaeus”) and four uses of αὐτός. δῖον ὑφορβόν and ὄρχαμος ἀνδρῶν, which puzzled—and still puzzle—many scholars, [122] can be seen as epithets that simply mark the character as a hero, as Milman Parry long ago noted. [123] The conclusive point of Bonnafé 1984, an article devoted entirely to these two epithets, is that they underscore Eumaeus’ aretē and the relevance of his role in the following books. The heroic status of the swineherd may be connected to the brave deeds he will accomplish at Odysseus’ side, to the noble origins he himself essentially claims during his tale in Odyssey 15.403–484, or to what he generically symbolizes (his royal descent “is transformed into a metaphor for demonstrable excellence regardless of the actual situation of the individual” [124] ). However, his status as hero can also be related to the overlap of his figure with the sacred swineherd venerated within the Eleusinian mysteries—that is, Eubuleus, as Mühlestein suggests. The “you, Eumaeus” of formulaic speech introductions (τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφης, Εὔμαιε συβῶτα “As a reply to him, you said, swineherd Eumaeus,” lines 55, 165, 360, 442, and 507 [125] ) can be seen not just as a sign of the particular affection or sympathy or pathos of the poet towards the loyal slave; [126] in layer 3, these formulas might reflect a high involvement in the performance of the episode by the primary speaking ‘I’, as if the latter would like to deliberately establish an exclusive communicative relationship with Eumaeus. [127] The primary speaking ‘I’ might also indirectly point out his {106|107} own role as parallel to Eumaeus’. After all, they both are privileged spectators of Odysseus’ appearance and listeners to Odysseus’ speeches; Eumaeus does this by sharing the same physical setting; the primary speaking ‘I’ does it by reenacting these remarkable events, which is part of Odysseus’ worship, as well. [128]

The aul ē with wild pear

The peculiar description of Eumaeus’ aulē by the primary speaking ‘I’ has aroused curious notes by commentators. In my view the reason is that the aulē constitutes a very good example of layering object in this episode. [130] The text recites as follows:

τὸν δ’ ἄρ’ ἐνὶ προδόμῳ εὗρ’ ἥμενον, ἔνθα οἱ αὐλὴ
ὑψηλὴ δέδμητο, περισκέπτῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ,
καλή τε μεγάλη τε, περίδρομος· ἥν ῥα συβώτης
αὐτὸς δείμαθ’ ὕεσσιν ἀποιχομένοιο ἄνακτος,
νόσφιν δεσποίνης καὶ Λαέρταο γέροντος,
ῥυτοῖσιν λάεσσι καὶ ἐθρίγκωσεν ἀχέρδῳ.

Odyssey 14.5–10; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

[Odysseus] found him [Eumaeus] sitting on the porch; there, the enclosure
had been built high, in a place where it was visible,
beautiful and great, with an open space around it; the swineherd himself
made it for the pigs while the master was away,
far from the mistress and from old Laertes,
with stones dragged to the spot, and he crowned the top with wild pear. {108|109}

Monro sees here “almost a parody of the description of Priam’s palace’’ (cf. Iliad 6.244–249); N. Austin compares it to a palace as well, but he does not find a parodic effect: “Eumaios’ hut, lowly as it is, is as striking as a palace for its architectural detail, its symmetry and its craftmanship.” [
131] In Homer, αὐλή designates various spaces: a courtyard of a house, a courtyard before a cave (as in Odyssey 9.239), an enclosure before a tent (as in Iliad 24.452), a space around a palace or a courtyard of a farm (as in Odyssey 14). As a courtyard of a house, it can, in turn, include different objects, such as a gate, a portico, a stable, a slave-quarter, an altar, and even a tholos. [132] Thus, the word itself triggers the visualization of quite different elements and surroundings. The description at issue introduces at least four components that destabilize the plain image of a courtyard of a farm—and that might bewilder readers: the zone, περισκέπτῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ (6); the adjective qualifying the aulē, περίδρομος (7); and two associated materials: ῥυτοῖσιν λάεσσι and ἀχέρδῳ (10). περίσκεπτος may indicate an object that is shut in, covered on all sides (from σκέπω), or else conspicuous from every side (in connection with σκέπτομαι). [133] Either way, the position seems to be strategic. Περίδρομος is equally ambiguous, because it may connote a round object but it may also indicate that there is a circular path running around the round object. Both phrases, so far, match the description of a monument or of a place devoted to a cult of the dead. [134] The stones used by Eumaeus are said to be ῥυτοί, which according {109|110} to Hainsworth means “hauled” (from ἐρύω), because of their weight. [135] Such an ambiguous round space could, in principle, refer to a cult place of Odysseus in Ithaca not far from the Cave of the Nymphs. [136] Finally, the primary speaking ‘I’ says that Eumaeus had crowned the top with wild pear. The verb sounds odd, [137] but is not as striking as the reference to wild pear, a Homeric hapax. Far from being a prickly plant that simply works as “an effective barricade on top of the stones,” as Stanford says (1996, II:216), [138] wild pear is metonymically referring to tombs or to the heroization process of very special men. There are very few occurrences of ἄχερδος in Greek literature: it appears in a funerary epigram dedicated to Hipponax; [139] in Theocritus’ Idyll 24, where it is part of the rites whose performance will preserve Heracles’ life and afterlife; [140] and towards the end of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, where death, afterlife, and heroization are near coincident. [141] The latter text is especially rich in symbols of hero cult. Jebb translates: “He [Oedipus] stood midway between that basin and the Thorician stone / the hollow pear-tree and the marble tomb”—ἀφ’ οὗ μέσος στὰς τοῦ τε θορικίου πέτρου / κοίλης τ’ ἀχέρδου κἀπὸ λαΐνου τάφου / καθέζετ’, 1595–1597—and in his commentary he adds the following information: “The wild pear gave its name to the Attic deme Ἀχερδοῦς … . If, as the schol. states (n. 1593), the local myth placed the rape of Persephone here, this old tree may have been {110|111} pointed out as the spot whence she was snatched.” [142] Independently of Jebb, Calame notes that Oedipus’ descent into Hades is associated with Persephone’s; he also draws a connection between the dryness and barrenness of wild pear branches, which are mentioned in relation to the dying Oedipus, and rites of transition (1998:339–341). Most interestingly, Calame (1998:349–351) lists the Eleusinian features characterizing Oedipus’ ritual acts—for instance, the clothing (line 1603) and τὰ δρώμενα (1644). I believe that there is a link between the odd detail about the wild pear in Odyssey 14, Demeter cult, the aulē, and hero cult. According to the hypothesis of Mühlestein, the name Eumaeus is a variant of Eubuleus, the swineherd who was eye-witness to Persephone’s abduction. [143] This also concords with Eumaeus’ use of the wild pear. Moreover, in the courtyard of Demeter’s sanctuary (αὐλή), piglets were sacrificed. [144] Courtyards could, in turn, include tholoi and/or altars. [145] Eleusis, for example, seems to have been characterized by the presence of several graves that received worship (from Pausanias we know that the Seven against Thebes were buried there). [146] Even independently of any specific allusion to Eleusis, the link between journeys into the land of the dead—and, consequently, the possibility to see and talk to the dead—and Demeter cult was well-established. [147] Other sacred places might have been alluded to, such as the Eleusinion at Athens, a sanctuary of Demeter near the harbor at Phaleron, and another along the Sacred Way near the river Cephissus. [148] Piglets were also thrown in the megara, sacred caves of Demeter, [149] during the Athenian festival of Thesmophoria and during the {111|112} Athenian festival of Scirophoria. [150] This ceremony was an intentional reminder of what had happen to the swineherd Eubuleus and his pigs. This list of some of the more possible places and occasions for the practices of a hero cult dedicated to Odysseus does not aim to indicate which was the most appropriate; rather, it has the general purpose of suggesting some contextualizing coordinates for the performance(s) of Odyssey 14, which might be anchored to the real life and well-known symbols of some “there and then” recipients. More precisely, the verbal text we have seems to offer several hints at ritual practice familiar to the environs and festivals of Athens. [151] {112|113}

The sandals

Following a description of the aulē and the count of the pigs and of the dogs, the primary speaking ‘I’ offers the first description of Eumaeus, as he appears to Odysseus; it seems quite unrelated to farm duties:

αὐτὸς δ’ ἀμφὶ πόδεσσιν ἑοῖς ἀράρισκε πέδιλα,
τάμνων δέρμα βόειον ἐϋχροές· …

Odyssey 14.23–24; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

As for him [Eumaeus], he was fitting sandals around his feet,
cutting well-colored oxhide …

This is a peculiar detail, which has no parallels in the Homeric poems. Usually sandals are mentioned when gods’ “missions” start and, sometimes, when mortals go somewhere, but never in relation to their making or to the type of hide employed. [
152] A Hesiodic passage from Works and Days—by no means less odd—also tells about the type of hide used for making sandals:

καὶ τότε ἕσσασθαι ἔρυμα χροός, ὥς σε κελεύω,
χλαῖνάν τε μαλακὴν καὶ τερμιόεντα χιτῶνα·
στήμονι δ’ ἐν παύρῳ πολλὴν κρόκα μηρύσασθαι·
τὴν περιέσσασθαι, ἵνα τοι τρίχες ἀτρεμέωσι
μηδ’ ὀρθαὶ φρίσσωσιν ἀειρόμεναι κατὰ σῶμα·
ἀμφὶ δὲ ποσσὶ πέδιλα βοὸς ἶφι κταμένοιο
ἄρμενα δήσασθαι, πίλοις ἔντοσθε πυκάσσας·

Hesiod Works and Days 536–542; the primary speaking ‘I’ to Perses {113|114}

At that time, wear also some protection for your skin, as I recommend:
a soft cloak and a tunic that comes all the way down.
Weave a thick woof on a thin warp;
wear it so that the hairs do not quiver,
nor bristle upright, lifted all over the body.
Fasten shoes around the feet,
made from the hide of a slaughtered ox, after lining the inside with felt.

I believe that this text says more than what it first communicates (that is, a series of practical suggestions about how to protect oneself from the cold). I see two potential references to winter and to death (and note that lines 532–534 mention old people trying to find a rocky shelter): κρόκα (538), the accusative of κρόξ—an unusual alternative of the feminine κρόκη—which resembles the name of the flower —masculine κρόκος—that is sacred to Demeter (the crocus sativus); [
153] and σῶμα (540), which refers to the live body of the addressed “you,” but which might also refer to a corpse. [154] Scholars have explained the detail, in both the Hesiodic and the Homeric passages, about the hide of a slain ox rather than one dead of sickness in terms of better conditions and a better look. [155] However, in several ancient sacred rituals, no one was permitted to keep their shoes on except for those wearing shoes made of the hide of slain or sacrificed animals. [156] More precisely, from Pausanias we know that within the Andanian mysteries—which included Demeter amongst the gods worshipped—none of the sacred women, for example, could wear “shoes made of anything but felt or leather from sacrificial victims.” [157] Odyssey 14.24 does not include the particulars of the slain ox, but it does, nevertheless, specify δέρμα … ἐϋχροές, where ἐϋχροές, rather than referring to a “good” color, can refer to a “good” exterior part of the body. [158] On the whole, the depiction of Eumaeus cutting oxhide to make sandals might well fit layer 3: the purpose would be to let the external {114|115} audience know that Eumaeus was preparing himself for a sacred ceremony. [159] Whether the sandals were for himself—which would imply that he was barefooted or about to participate to a sacred ritual—or, ultimately, for Odysseus—iconographically, dead heroes often wear shoes—does not matter; what is important is that before the two sacrifices and the face-to-face conversation begins, the primary speaking ‘I’ provides the audience with depictions that are both detailed and esoteric, so that the poetic communication is successfully received at any possible layer. [160]

The anomalous sacrifice

If Eumaeus’ aulē can be seen as a good example of a layered object, the sacrifice of lines 418–448 can be seen as a good example of a layered gesture. Around the beginning of the episode, a first meal based on piglets is mentioned (72–79), which is preceded by what looks like a “sacrifice” type-scene, as De Jong says (2001:346), since the description includes the killing of the victims, the preparation of the meat, and the meal itself. As I have already pointed out, the word used to designate the victims (χοῖρος, vv. 73 and 81) is not neutral and recalls the term for “suckling-pig/piglet offered in sacrifices.” Within layer 3, the sacrifice of sacred piglets might hint at the preliminary ceremony of the myesis, which, as Burkert says, was “performed in the courtyard—αὐλή—of the sanctuary.” [161] But the really striking sacrifice is the complex one that is performed after Eumaeus announces “And now it is the right time for dorpos” (407). Petropoulou (1987) calls this an “anomalous” sacrifice; he argues that the only food offered to the gods in this sacrifice is first fruits, and the boar is sacrificed in honor of the guest, Odysseus. In fact, Eumaeus uses a very ambiguous verb to denote the {115|116} killing of the boar: he says ἄξεθ’ ὑῶν τὸν ἄριστον, ἵνα ξείνῳ ἱερεύσω “Bring the best of the pigs, to sacrifice in honor of the guest” (414). Of course, scholars commonly deny any possible religious implication to the use of ἱερεύω here for the killing; however, the verb is used in Homer in seemingly non-religious as well as in explicitly religious contexts. [162] Let us now follow Petropoulou’s argument about the sequence and the substance of the offerings: the first offering mentioned is the burnt hairs of the victim, a first fruit gift for the gods (ἀλλ’ ὅ γ’ ἀπαρχόμενος κεφαλῆς τρίχας ἐν πυρὶ βάλλεν / ἀργιόδοντος ὑός “so, he [Eumaeus] began by putting on the fire hairs from the head of the white-toothed pig,” 422–423); a second offering is the first fruits of the animal’s raw meat (ὁ δ’ ὠμοθετεῖτο συβώτης, / πάντων ἀρχόμενος μελέων ἐς πίονα δημόν. / καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐν πυρὶ βάλλε, παλύνας ἀλφίτου ἀκτῇ “The swineherd first placed some raw meat from all the parts of the body in the thick fat. Then he put the pieces on the fire, after sprinkling them with barley-meal,” 427–429), which is “the god’s share of the victim at the standard animal sacrifice”; [163] a third offering is the first fruits consecrated to Hermes and the Nymphs in situ—deposited, that is, on the table (trapezōmata; [164] καὶ τὰ μὲν ἕπταχα πάντα διεμμοιρᾶτο δαΐζων· / τὴν μὲν ἴαν Νύμφῃσι καὶ Ἑρμῇ, Μαιάδος υἷι, / θῆκεν ἐπευξάμενος “and he divided all in seven pieces; while praying, he offered one portion to the Nymphs and for Hermes, Maia’s son,” 434–436); a fourth offering is the first fruits for all the gods again, called ἄργματα, [165] solid burnt food (ἦ ῥα, καὶ ἄργματα θῦσε θεοῖσ’ αἰειγενέτῃσι, “he spoke, and sacrificed first fruits to the eternal gods,” 446). Then, two separate gestures concern the gift of the long cuts of the chine, which goes exclusively to Odysseus (νώτοισιν δ’ Ὀδυσῆα διηνεκέεσσι γέραιρεν / ἀργιόδοντος ὑός, “but [he] gave Odysseus the long cuts of the white-toothed pig’s chine,” 437–438), and the libation (σπείσας δ’ αἴθοπα οἶνον, “after pouring gleaming wine,” 447). After these preliminaries, the meal starts (449–453). The anomalies of this sacrifice, as presented by Petropoulou are quite relevant to my argument that Eumaeus celebrates Odysseus’ return and his heroic afterlife. Without parallel in Homer is the omission of the treatment of the thigh bones (μηροί): here, they are not covered by double folds of fat, slices of raw meat are {116|117} not placed on them, and the whole is not burned until it is incinerated (for a typical description, see, e.g., Iliad 2.423–425). Eumaeus does something quite different at lines 427–429: he does not offer the thigh bones to the gods, but he rather simply consecrates some bits of the animal’s raw meat to them, while the rest (that is, the entire sacrificed boar) is for the mortals, and specifically for the mortal guest Odysseus. [166] Though Petropoulou does not explain how this macroscopic event can be explained in terms of plot, he does note further peculiar—and domestic—elements of Eumaeus’ sacrifice: a simple hearth “that serves as Eumaeus’ home altar” [167] is used, namely, an ἐσχάρα (τὸν μὲν ἔπειτ’ ἔστησαν ἐπ’ ἐσχάρῃ—“[they] made him [the boar] stand on the hearth” 420)—a word whose relevance to hero cults has been debated. [168] Finally, the offering to Hermes and the Nymphs as part of the “ritual performed at the consumption of food at home” is compared by Petropoulou to the Romans’ offerings to the Lares on important familial occasions, such as “birth or marriage, or the departure or homecoming of a family member.” [169] In addition to the arguments of Petropoulou, I would highlight further linguistic divergences in the description of Eumaeus’ sacrifice. I refer to three particular details to which Reece has called attention: Eumaeus is said to cut the wood νηλέϊ χαλκῷ “with the pitiless bronze” (418), which usually occurs in the context of ritual sacrifices; the boar is said to be 5 years old (πενταέτηρον, 419), which means it is too old to be good for roasting; finally, as the victim dies the primary speaking ‘I’ says τὸν δ’ ἔλιπε ψυχή “and the breath of life abandoned him” (426), which is said nowhere else in Homer of an animal. [170] My reading is that the primary speaking ‘I’ has deliberately mixed elements of standard and non-standard procedures in order to let the recipients of layer 3 identify the sacrifice as part of hero-cult practices, perhaps in connection with a theoxenia. Ekroth (2002:281) calls Eumaeus’ sacrifice an “early precedent for theoxenia in Homer,” because of the {117|118} portion set aside for the Nymphs and for Hermes. If we suppose that Odysseus was worshipped as a cult hero, the privileged gift of the cuts of the pig’s chine, along with the invitation to participate in the celebratory sacrifice, may be seen as signs of a theoxenia centered on Odysseus himself, beside the Nymphs and Hermes: “Among … food offerings, the ritual of theoxenia occupies a particular place, since the divine recipient was not only given food of the kind eaten by humans, but was also thought of as a guest, who was entertained and offered a table with a prepared meal and a couch to recline on.” [171] A more explicit sign of divinity might be found in the wine libation of 447–448, [172] where the word order is remarkable:

σπείσας δ’ αἴθοπα οἶνον ’Οδυσσῆϊ πτολιπόρθῳ
ἐν χείρεσσιν ἔθηκεν·

Odyssey 14.447–448; the primary speaking ‘I’ to the audience

The phrase in the dative that ends the first line hints masterfully at a possible grammatical alternative—namely, that the actual addressee of the libation was none other than Odysseus himself (“having made libations for Odysseus sacker of cities”). [
174] {118|119}

The closure

The closure of the episode, then, depicts much more than the end of an intense day at a pig farm; I suggest that it also represents the conclusion of an extraordinary event, when worshippers stop the celebration of contact with the cult hero and return to the less luminous moments of ordinary life; finally, it also connotes the conclusion of a life, or even the transition to an afterlife safe from the destructive forces of forgetfulness.

Conclusion: Beyond the unity of plot and characters

In this chapter, I propose to read the encounter of Odysseus and Eumaeus not just as a masterful episode of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony-based readings use an interpretive model that primarily takes into account the gap of knowledge between the omniscient recipients of the literary piece and the characters the piece is about. When applied to the episode of the disguised master and his loyal swineherd, this model can only postulate that what comes from the mouth of the characters has to be in accord with the plot. Hypothetical signs of different or alternative attitudes towards what happens can only be read within this framework; they are seen as the result either of an ironical situation set forth by the primary speaking ‘I’ or of an unconscious behavior. Eumaeus cannot be aware of the identity of the beggar; he may have suspicions, and he may behave as if he feels something special in his relationship with his guest, but nothing more than that. Odysseus would very much like to tell the truth to Eumaeus, and he does his best in order to covertly say who he is; nevertheless, he cannot be explicit because of Athena’s orders and because secrecy is essential for succeeding in the suitors’ massacre. I have proposed a reading of the text that goes beyond that, which is also beyond plot consistency. Dramatic irony is certainly an important feature of Homeric narrative; let us think, for example, of our pleasure as recipients of “blind” statements by Iliadic heroes {120|121} about the outcome of fights and battles. However, the linguistic surface of the texts we have allows us to hypothesize different levels of interaction involving the recipients, the primary speaking ‘I’ performing the texts, and the roles of the characters involved in the narration. Storytelling and the reenactment of mythical deeds seem to be particularly suitable for a fundamental communicative mechanism underlying the performance—namely, layering. Layering multiplies the dramatic situations and the roles being played. This means that behind the same character more figures and more roles may be heard; and, presumably, the rendering of the character’s voice can clarify these roles. Unity of time, unity of place, and unity of action are blurred, in favor of the overlapping of further temporal and spatial planes. For example, within what I call layer 3 in book xiv, there is no need to establish at what moment the revelation of the hero takes place. The linear sequence of moments is not primary, but rather the enactment (or reenactment) of an entire experience of contact with the afterlife of a hero in his full and eternal revelation. Layering allows not only for playful incongruities that make the external audience smile, but also for “serious” affinities that lead the audience to compare a narrated event with activities that they themselves might practice. The multiple pleasures of the audience might, therefore, derive not only from the sharing of knowledge about myths but also from the sharing of experience about rites. In the case of Eumaeus in book fourteen, for example, the linguistic surface is, I have argued, the creation of the different roles he plays in performance, at different times and in different places, as he uses different aspects of his roles and accomplishes different actions. With Odysseus, we are used to thinking of many roles; I suggest that the case of Eumaeus is analogous and that throughout the episode of book fourteen he plays all of the following roles: a humble—and perhaps idealized—slave of a master who is doing his best to offer hospitality to a passing beggar; the swineherd of a master who comes to visit him to test his loyalty and his aptness as an infallible ally; a sacred figure involved with Eleusinian mysteries and pig sacrifices; a heroic character engaged in a face-to-face conversation with another dead hero (perhaps not differently from Odysseus in the Nekuia [180] ); the worshipper of Odysseus as cult hero, who celebrates the latter’s kleos through honors at one of his cult places. Through the description of the aulē, different layering objects are signaled; through the narration of the main sacrifice, different layering gestures are signaled. The argument that objective connections to specific cult procedures or to more or less local traditions cannot be proven does not negate the hypothesis of performative layering as a working feature in Homeric epic. At {121|122} the linguistic level, for example, it is impossible—indeed, nonsensical—to state that vocative expressions addressed to an individual are, per se, a trace of an intimate dialogue with a dead hero during hero cult celebrations. However, it is possible to state that vocatives are a common and secular pragmatic feature that can be charged with a religious significance in certain contexts of utterance. Layering is precisely what allows us to distinguish, for instance, between secular and sacred uses of vocatives. Odyssey 14 does, undoubtedly, display a number of vocative expressions that show lexical and pragmatic peculiarities—or, as we might now better argue, are particularly suitable for multi-layered readings (let us think of δαιμόνιε). [181]

What, then, about other Odyssean characters and their diction in the rest of the poem? What about layering in the Iliad? What I have presented here is an initial and partial study. I hope that the interpretive model that I have introduced in this chapter can join other studies concerning the multiple layers of Homeric performances. Here, I offer an example: Mackie 1999 is a work that, in exploring the thematic elements of Iliad 18-24, connects the events of the plot to the indirect telling of Achilles’ death (cf. Iliad 18.22–31); likewise, Mackie considers the “otherworldly terms” of the account of Priam’s visit to Achilles. [182] The scenario that Mackie explores can also be seen as an example of layering in the Iliad: communicative situation 1 is the plot-derived one—that is, the meeting of the two live heroes after Achilles has killed Hector; communicative situation 2 is represented by Priam’s visit to a dead Achilles in the Underworld. In addition to the already much discussed symbolic ambiguities of this visit, some strikingly analogous objects and gestures from Odyssey xiv might be added. [183] Among the many Odyssean episodes that can represent {122|123} Odysseus’ death and return from death as the linear plot unfolds, I briefly flag two moments that can be interpreted at different temporal levels; they tangentially regard Odysseus’ afterlife and the ritual care devoted to “posthumous” Odysseus, without contradicting the basic story line (i.e. layer 1). The first is Odysseus’ bath in book nineteen. As Grethlein has pointed out, refreshing baths may ambiguously reverberate with the ritual baths of corpses, at least in the Iliad. [184] Thus, Eurycleia’s washing of Odysseus’ body might reverberate with the washing of his corpse. The second moment is Odysseus’ supplication of queen Arete (Odyssey 7.139–154). Newton has drawn attention to the significance of Odysseus’ invisibility, his prolonged contact with the ground (in the ashes), and the Phaeacians’ wonder (θαύμαζον δ’ ὁρόωντες “they were amazed at the sight of him,” 145) in terms of “allusions to a ritual of rebirth.” [185] It is, after all, acknowledged that the hero symbolically undergoes death and burial in book five. [186] We can assume that multiple realities underlie spatial and temporal representations within Homeric poetry, just as they do in vase-paintings, where they contribute to the τέρψις of the viewer. When we view vase paintings, we recognize that we are asked to contemplate the image of a dying hero as coexistent with the personification of Thanatos lifting the body, or to face the sēma of a {123|124} hero and his eidōlon at the same time. [187] The real and the symbolic, the physical and the spiritual, the momentary and the everlasting become indivisibly recognizable to mortals. The same holds true for Homeric language. As an example of the Odyssey’s bravura handling of lexical, syntactic, and pragmatic details, I offer an especially provocative and open-ended example from outside of book fourteen. In book one, Telemachus laments Odysseus’ absence with Athena-Mentes: νῦν δ’ ἑτέρως ἐβόλοντο θεοὶ κακὰ μητιόωντες, / οἳ κεῖνον μὲν ἄϊστον ἐποίησαν περὶ πάντων / ἀνθρώπων. Lattimore (1967) translates: “But now the gods, with evil intention, have willed it otherwise, / and they have caused him to disappear, in a way no other / man has done” (234–236). Such a reading of the relative clause (“who caused that one to disappear in a way no other human being has done”) does not, however, sound entirely logical. [188] Usually, in Homeric diction περὶ πάντων following an adjective marks a superlative quality, either good or bad, concerning humans (for example, “expert beyond any other” or “very expert among all the others”). [189] In the case of ἄϊστος (“invisible”), it is not immediately evident why invisibleness in the highest degree causes Odysseus to be compared to “any of the human beings.” I suggest that if we locate Telemachus’ speech of the same relative clause within a different layer than that of the plot, we might well account for the oddness resulting from a familiar construction (adjective + περὶ πάντων) with the adjective ἄϊστος. In fact, we might also read “beyond any other human beings” as “among any other human beings,” [190] as if the speaker were referring to Odysseus’ invisibleness from an omniscient standpoint (much as Haliterses will say at 2.175 with reference to Odysseus: ἄγνωστον πάντεσσιν “unidentified by anybody”). Whether the primary speaking ‘I’ is here at play, giving Telemachus words whose meaning Telemachus cannot be aware of, or whether the primary speaking ‘I’ here quotes Telemachus not as the living son of Odysseus but as a cult hero posthumously referring to Odysseus’ invisibleness—this is of little importance. But what does seem to me of central importance is that some Homeric utterances are shaped so masterfully as to allow for multiple interpretations according to multiple layers. Thus, instead {124|125} of understanding characters as fixed roles and adapting the meaning of words to their personalities, we might assume that multiple meanings are a regular feature of Homeric poetry, and each meaning can be ascribed to the different roles of characters. The next chapter will illustrate the uses and the functions of Odysseus κεῖνος and Odysseus αὐτός from books 15-24, and my analysis will consider the layering of deliberate references to what Odysseus is inside, as well as outside, the logic of the plot. {125|}


[ back ] 1. Newton (1997–1998:153n29) speaks of the “textual inconcinnities” of Odyssey 14 in terms of “the application of heroic diction to non-heroic settings.” Reece (1993:149) stresses the same point: “Faced with a non-heroic character or situation, the poet sometimes resorted to the usual, heroic diction anyway, inevitably producing descriptions and collocations that strike a literate reader as contextually inappropriate.”

[ back ] 2. See, for example, the careful analysis of puns between truth and lies in book fourteen by Segal (1994:177–183).

[ back ] 3. As Murnaghan argues (1987:107–108), Eumaeus’ and Penelope’s hospitality “serves as a substitute or alternative for recognition of identity”; it is “a specific form of covert recognition.” Roisman (1990:215) writes of Odysseus’ covert self-revelation (my italics).

[ back ] 4. Roisman (1990:219) speaks of “subconscious recognition”; covert recognition may correspond to implicit narrative signs about the process, whereas overt, conscious recognition may correspond to explicit narrative terms about the process. On the different articulations of the concept “recognition,” including self-disclosure, recognition of identity, and social acknowledgement, see Murnaghan 1987:23–25. Implicitness mostly relates to the plot’s demands, as Fenik makes clear: Penelope does not recognize Odysseus until book twenty-three “because the thematic logic of the situation requires that Penelope not guess the truth” (Fenik 1974:45; italics in the text).

[ back ] 5. Nagler mentions the ironical gesture told at xiv 31, when Odysseus reacts to the dogs’ assault by dropping the staff (σκῆπτρον δέ οἱ ἔκπεσε χειρός “and the staff fell out of his hand”).

[ back ] 6. Cf. 14.48–49 κλισίηνδ’ ἡγήσατο … / εἷσεν δ’ εἰσαγαγών “he [Eumaeus] led him [Odysseus] to the shelter, let him in and seated him.”

[ back ] 7. The entire passage will be analyzed later on.

[ back ] 8. “Tragic” denotes, of course, that this type of irony is prototypically present in tragedies. The concept was first illustrated by Thirlwall (1833) with reference to Sophocles’ theatrical pieces. From Stanford 1939 on (cf. Bibliography, Stanford 1972), the majority of scholars have preferred to call the phenomenon “dramatic irony,” since it is not exclusive to tragedy. Muecke (1983:137) proposes the phrase “situational irony,” as result is a contradiction “between two opposing interpretations of a situation.” In order to underline the possible application of the concept to literature beyond drama, Grisé (1990:359) proposes to call it “cognitive irony.” Muecke 1983 includes helpful bibliographical references on the topic.

[ back ] 9. The knowledge in question is about the macro events of the plot and the salient qualities of the characters involved in the plot.

[ back ] 10. Definition by Magné quoted by Grisé (1990:355).

[ back ] 11. Hug 1871:83.

[ back ] 12. See Anaximenes Ars Rhetorica 21.1 Εἰρωνεία δέ ἐστι λέγειν τι μὴ λέγειν προσποιούμενον ἢ {ἐν} τοῖς ἐναντίοις ὀνόμασι τὰ πράγματα προσαγορεύειν “Irony is saying something by pretending not to say, telling facts by means of opposite words.”

[ back ] 13. “Irony is playful, intellectual, and esoteric (i.e. it is addressed exclusively to those possessing knowledge of the reality alluded to)” (Dekker 1965:318).

[ back ] 14. On negotiation of meaning and discourse dynamics, see Introduction.

[ back ] 15. He adopts Quintilian’s basic distinction between lexical ambiguity (in singulis vocibus) and phrasal ambiguity (in coniunctis vocibus); see Quintilian Institutio oratoria 7.9 and Stanford 1972:10–11. In Stanford’s work, the term ambiguity refers to the large group of Aristotelian communicative phenomena called ἀσάφεια. For the different Aristotelian categories of ambiguity and the related loci, see Stanford 1972:5–11. I am not considering here the different uses and meanings of εἰρωνεία and εἰρωνεύεσθαι in Socrates, in Plato, and in Aristotle because my argument is focused on the modern notion of dramatic irony.

[ back ] 16. Stanford 1972:61 and 63 for the quotations, respectively. This kind of irony is also labeled as antiphrastic.

[ back ] 17. Quintilian Institutio oratoria 8.6.54 In eo vero genere quo contraria ostenduntur ironia est (inlusionem vocant): quae aut pronuntiatione intellegitur aut persona aut rei natura.

[ back ] 18. “… in general we may define classical irony in its use as a literary device as a way of making statements in such a manner that the words must be understood otherwise than in their literal meanings. It may depend for its effect solely on tone, gesture, or the speaker’s known characteristics, or it may also involve formal lexical or phrasal ambiguities. In every case there is theoretically an ambiguity between the literal and intended meanings, but in practice there is usually no real ambiguity—if there were the irony would have failed” (Stanford 1972:65).

[ back ] 19. De Jong 2001:xv; cf. Servius on Aeneid 4.93 ironia est cum aliud verba, aliud continet sensus.

[ back ] 20. Early relevant contributions to a re-definition of the communicative mechanisms underlying irony are: Grice 1989:24–31; Sperber and Wilson 1992; Clark and Gerrig 1984.

[ back ] 21. H. H. Clark 1996:373.

[ back ] 22. Bara 1999:205–207.

[ back ] 23. Example from Bara (1999:203, originally in Italian).

[ back ] 24. Bara 1999:207–208. The anecdote, the text of the letter, and the quoted sentence are in Jones 1953–1957, III:226. What follows is my own reading of the sentence.

[ back ] 25. The fact that Sigmund Freud is the compiler of the document does not cancel the distinction between the two personae or roles, which are distinct.

[ back ] 26. The letter in question also included such statements as: “I could continue to pursue my activities in every way I desired, … I found full support from all concerned in this respect” (Jones 1953–1957, III:226).

[ back ] 27. H. H. Clark 1996:354.

[ back ] 28. H. H. Clark 1996:359.

[ back ] 29. For H. H. Clark’s view on “Nothing to be done,” see H. H. Clark 1996:364–365.

[ back ] 30. See Introduction.

[ back ] 31. H. H. Clark 1996:369 and 371, respectively. The idea of pretense makes this contemporary reading very close to what Socratic εἰρωνεία was primarily supposed to be, namely, dissimulation or feigning.

[ back ] 32. Nagy 1990a:31.

[ back ] 33. Nagy 1990a:148.

[ back ] 34. Nagy 1990a:31 and 149. The sense of “speaking in covert terms” is clear, for example, in Sophocles Philoctetes 1380 ὦ δεινὸν αἶνον αἰνέσας, τί φῄς ποτε; “You gave a terrible counsel; what are you saying?.”

[ back ] 35. See Bonifazi 2001:112–117.

[ back ] 36. My proposal of a hero cult layer springs from various arguments and evidence about hero cult provided in works on archaeology, as well as in works on literature (Farnell 1921; Hack 1929; Brelich 1958; Hadzisteliou-Price 1973; Montero 1973; E. Vermeule 1979; Antonaccio 1995; Coldstream 1976 and 1977:346–351; Bergquist 1998; Whitley 1995; Parker 1996:29–42; Hägg 1998; Calame 1998; Snodgrass 2000; Maclean and Aitken 2001; Ekroth 2002; Tandy 1997:149–165; Currie 2005; Nagy 1999, 2001a, and 2006; Bonnechere 2007). Some general assumptions that underlie my analysis are the following: in the archaic and classical period, especially in Attica, Mycenaean tombs had presumably been re-used and re-appropriated, as Homeric epic came increasingly into circulation (cf. Coldstream 1977:351 and Whitley 1995:50); however, cults of epic heroes might have been detached from the physical presence of tombs (cf. Montero 1973:124–125; Snodgrass 2000:186–187); dead heroes could share meals with worshippers (Nock 1972:148–157 and Bergquist 1998) and, more generally, dead individuals could behave as the living (“The Greek dead play games, and eat, and enjoy the blessings of fresh cold water, and of the gold fruits of the tree,” E. Vermeule 1979:74); finally, very often hero cult is connected to mysteries (Montero 1973:132–134).

[ back ] 37. Nagy speaks of the “opaqueness of cult heroes” in connection to what the mouth must be closed about (μύω); Nagy 2001a:xx with n13.

[ back ] 38. Bakker 2001:332.

[ back ] 39. See Pucci 1982:53–55.

[ back ] 40. My translation takes the interrogative act to extend over line 115, despite the question mark located at the end of 116 (which is well transmitted, yet disputable, if we assume that this punctuation mark was added in relatively recent times). Ending the question at 115 requires taking 116 as an elliptical main clause and enhancing the assertive force of ὧδε μάλα.

[ back ] 41. “Usually it is the host who opens the conversation and asks his guest who he is, and this is what the narratees expect to happen here … . In fact, we find a reversal of the ritual of the identification of the guest, in that the guest takes the initiative … . Nowhere does the narrator give a clue as to why Odysseus takes the initiative in launching this conversation. He has already been informed about the situation in the palace and there is no indication that it is a test … . Apparently, the narratorial motivation, the narrator’s wish to employ his ‘delayed recognition’ story-pattern … has taken precedence over any actorial motivation” (De Jong 2001:348–349).

[ back ] 42. I call the reader’s attention to the adverb ἀντίον as it is used sometimes to refer to face-to-face crucial encounters (cf. Odyssey 16.160 and Hesiod Shield 72 κατεναντίον in epiphanic contexts; cf. also Iliad 9.218, Odyssey 5.198, 16.53, 17.96, 257, 334, 529, 23.165). Odyssey 14 uses ἀντίον to qualify the face-to-face situation of Odysseus and Eumaeus at the beginning of their first meal (79).

[ back ] 43. See Bakker 1999:6 and 10.

[ back ] 44. Iliad 1.181, 212 and 574; 2.258, 271, 439; Odyssey 2.111; 4.141; 5.339; 17.9, 544 and 587 are representative cases. Autenrieth includes in the meanings of the adverb “as you see” and “so, right before your eyes.” On the infrequent backward-oriented anaphoric meanings of ὅδε, τοιόσδε, τοσόσδε, ὧδε, Kühner and Gerth (1955, I:646–647) comment: “Ungleich seltener, wenigstens in der attischen Prosa, werden ὅδε, τοιόσδε, τοσόσδε, ὧδε auf schon erwähntes bezogen, indem der Redende sich dasselbe vergegenwärtigt oder etwas Vergangenes in seine Gegenwart herüberzieht und es als etwas Gegenwärtiges gleichsam vor Augen stellt, wie der Lateiner häufig hic gebraucht, wo man is oder ille erwartet.”

[ back ] 45. This echo was already noticed by Stanford (1996, II:233).

[ back ] 46. Autenrieth (s.v. τοιοῦτος) notes a “stronger demonstrative sense” of τοιοῦτος with respect to τοῖος.

[ back ] 47. “In intensional contexts … expressions have reference in alternative worlds, … in extensional contexts they have reference in the “real” world” (Gerö 2000:183n11).

[ back ] 48. Ruijgh 1992:83. Ruijgh identifies κε as an adverb of place in origin, which is asserted to be the same κε as is κεῖνος. Τhe analysis of κεῖνος in ch. 1 has basically shown an analogous ambiguity, which is between “intensional” κεῖνος expressing desired appearances and “extensional” κεῖνος expressing actual visions. Further research might be done on how in Homeric poetry κε frequently simultaneously signals something that belongs to the belief of the speaker and something that turns out to really happen in the future, especially when an explicit “I” deixis co-occurs (maybe in some slight contrast to what ἄν alone signals), whether a subjunctive present or indicative future is used. For instance, in Iliad 1 137–139 κε/κεν occurs four times and seems to underscore that Agamemnon’s intensional world will, in fact, coincide with the Achaeans’ extensional world (Agamemnon does steal Briseis from Achilles, and Achilles does rage against him); in Odyssey 5.168–169 two instances of κε occur, first in a consecutive and then in a conditional clause, each of which expresses Calypso’s purpose and the result of her actions at the same time (“so that κε you come back to your country, if gods κε consent”).

[ back ] 49. See 4.528 (Agamemnon’s return); 16.150, 153, 329, and 467 (Telemachus’s return); 1.414, 22.496, and 24.405 (Odysseus’ return).

[ back ] 50. At 5.223 and at 8.155, Odysseus says about himself πολλὰ πάθον καὶ πολλὰ μόγησα “I had many sufferings and many tribulations” in front of Athena and of the Phaeacians respectively.

[ back ] 51. Dawe (1993:545, his italics) comments: “Why should the Thesprotian swear ‘to me myself’ two such simple things as the position of the ship and the readiness of its crew? Answer (unsatisfactory): because Odysseus is trying to impress Eumaeus.”

[ back ] 52. Punctuation, in this case, makes a significant difference: if no comma is put between αὐτίκ’ and ἐπεί, the translation reflects the formulaic phrase ἀυτίκ’ ἐπεί (“as soon as he shall come,” as Murray and Dimock); conversely, if a comma is put between the two words, αὐτίκα means “at once.” Only the latter interpretation allows for reading αὐτίκα as “now.” More on αὐτίκα in ch. 5.

[ back ] 53. See Roisman 1990:152.

[ back ] 54. As at Iliad 6.308; 9.135 and 277; 12.69; 18.98; 21.359; 23.412 and 593; Odyssey 5.205; 9.356; 13.364; 14.403; 20.63; Homeric Hymn V to Aphrodite 151. The communicative intention to anchor the news of Odysseus’ return to an ambiguous “here and now”—both “this period of time” and “this present moment”—is confirmed by τοῦδ’ αὐτοῦ λυκάβαντος “[he will come] this very lukabas” and by ἐνθάδε “here” at 161 (repeated at 19.306). The mystery underlying λυκάβαντος, which has exercised both ancient and modern commentaries, is enhanced by these ambiguous deictic references. For a very recent overview of the proposed interpretations of λυκάβας and on the link to a monthly festival in honor of Apollo, see Levaniouk 2011:203–205. I am indebted to Olga Levaniouk for allowing me to read her manuscript as I was writing my monograph.

[ back ] 55. See above, n49.

[ back ] 56. For κεῖνος and negative social distance, see ch. 1.

[ back ] 57. For κεῖνος in situations in which someone suddenly appears and for the adjacent placement of κεῖνος and the first-person pronoun, see ch. 1. Independently of the use of κεῖνος, Bierl offers a general suggestion concerning Odysseus’s epiphanies in the Odyssey: “the entire narrative is, in a way, the literary reflection of the epiphany … of the main agent Odysseus” (2004:49).

[ back ] 58. See Nagy (1999:52–53).

[ back ] 59. On κεῖνος exploiting politeness by pointing at someone whose name cannot be fully revealed, see ch. 1, pp. 61–62 and Bonifazi 2004b:292–294.

[ back ] 60. In book fourteen, Eumaeus is the one who typically calls Odysseus ἄναξ (40, 63, 67, 139, 170, 366, 376). On this sentence, see Roisman 1990:220.

[ back ] 61. Mühlestein (1984:153 n28) notices that 14.73 and 81 include the only Homeric occurrences of χοῖρος “suckling pig/piglet.” I will discuss the centrality of this lexical choice below (section “From the mouth of Eumaeus: slave, worshipper, and hero,” and nn 90 and 91).

[ back ] 62. See, e.g., Thalmann 1992:102–106; Olson 1995:130 “… the Stranger quickly comes to resemble Odysseus as well”; De Jong 2001:353 “a mixture of facts and fictional elements, the latter often allomorphs of his own adventures.” Reece 1994 argues for Odysseus’ Cretan stay as included in a “real,” alternative nostos tale. On Odysseus’ lying as a plausible and non-magical narrative of the travels and adventures of a Greek sailor across the Mediterranean, see Malkin 2001:202–206.

[ back ] 63. On ἴσκε and on the polyvalent syntax of this line, see Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, III:87.

[ back ] 64. See Pucci’s general idea of Odyssean fiction as “disguised truth” (1987:98).

[ back ] 65. On Eumaeus as a qualified listener to a performance in this moment, see Louden 1999:64 and Carlisle 1999:80.

[ back ] 66. Kirk 1962:360.

[ back ] 67. 30% of the total occurrences of this term in the Odyssey are concentrated in this book.

[ back ] 68. This line (repeated at 396) is omitted in many codices (see Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, II:202).

[ back ] 69. On the significance of ainos here as “tale containing an ulterior purpose,” see Verdenius 1962:389 and Nagy 1999:234–237. On ainos in general, see above, “Layering-based readings.”

[ back ] 70. Muellner 1976:96.

[ back ] 71. Most 1989:132.

[ back ] 72. Tr. Most.

[ back ] 73. As already noted by Murnaghan (1987:108–110).

[ back ] 74. On this motif, see Hansen 2002:202–203.

[ back ] 75. “A harmony rises up between the two men which is unmistakable. At one point the degree of understanding between the two men come close to that which Athena claimed existed between her and Odysseus” (N. Austin 1972:204).

[ back ] 76. Odysseus will use the vocative Εὔμαι’ also at Odyssey 16.8. I cite here what Dickey (1996:232) says about addresses to servants: they are “less frequent than we might expect, for addresses were not as common in speech to servants as in interactions with free characters. … This practice is part of the larger tendency for addresses to be omitted when the addressee is of significantly lower status than the speaker.” Furthermore, as Dickey reports (1996:47), Wendel (1929:56) points out that in Homer and in Attic tragedy address by name is less frequent than other forms of address.

[ back ] 77. See Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, II:224.

[ back ] 78. Roisman (1990:229) states that Odysseus’ rejoicing is mysterious. Hoekstra (Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, II:224) simply notes that the unusual expression must be a later form.

[ back ] 79. As for κῦδος, see Benveniste and Lallot 1969, II:57–69, who concludes the analysis by saying: “le kūdos … ne dépend plus des hommes, mais il est exclusivement entre les mains des dieux, et semble mettre l’humain qui le reçoit au rang des dieux, étant l’apanage des divinités. C’est un pouvoir magique dont la possession confère la supériorité dans des circonstances données, souvent au combat où il est une garantie de victoire” (Benveniste 1969, II:69); and see Iliad 8.176.

[ back ] 80. At Iliad 5.445–448, the wounded Aeneas is taken off the battlefield and set by Apollo in his temple on the acropolis of Ilion, where Artemis and Leto “in the big adyton were curing him and giving glory to him [κύδαινον].” Such a “unique and striking episode” (Kirk in Kirk et al. 1985–1993, II:107), might turn out to be less odd if we think of the narrator’s association, at this point of the tale, between a living Aeneas, wounded in the story, and the afterlife of an Aeneas who is venerated in Apollo’s temple.

[ back ] 81. See Thalmann 1998:84 “Eumaios … or Philoitios … : these names … point to a conception of their bearers more as representative types than as fully delineated human beings.”

[ back ] 82. Olson 1995:120n1.

[ back ] 83. See also Von Kamptz 1982:73.

[ back ] 84. Mühlestein 1984:149–150. On Eubuleus as the name that substitutes for several mythical characters (Zeus, Dionysus, Helius, Adonis, and Hades), see Von Pauly et al. 1894, VI:863 and Röscher 1965–1978, I:1397; also Calame 2006:264–265. Ancient sources on Eubuleus are Pausanias 1.14.3 and Cicero On the Nature of the Gods 3.53. N. J. Richardson (1974:84) reports that at Eleusis Eubuleus appears “in inscriptions as a separate person, receiving offerings with ὁ θεός and ἡ θεά” and in gold-leaf inscriptions. In the Orphic Hymns, Eubuleus is mentioned several times: as the name for Pluto (18.11–12 ὦ πολυδέγμων / Εὔβουλ’, “much-receiving Eubuleus”); as son of Persephone (29.8 [Persephone] μῆτερ ἐριβρεμέτου πολυμόρφου Εὐβουλῆος “mother of loud-sounding, multiform Eubuleus”); as turned from mortal into god by Demeter (41.8 Εὔβουλον τεύξασα θεὸν θνητῆς ἀπ’ ἀνάγκης “[She who] turned Eubuleus into god from his necessarily mortal condition”); as the name for Dionysus (42.2 πολυώνυμον Εὐβουλῆα “Eubuleus of many names;” 52.4 Εὐβουλεῦ; 30.6 Εὐβουλεῦ, πολύβουλε “Eubuleus of many advices”); as the name for Adonis (56.3 Εὐβουλεῦ, πολύμορφε); as the name of Zeus, Artemis’ father (72.3–4 Ἄρτεμιν …, Εὐβουλῆος / αἵματος ἐκγεγαῶσαν “Artemis … born of the blood of Eubuleus”). On Eubuleus as an “indigenous inhabitant of Eleusis,” see Calame 2006:280–282.

[ back ] 85. See Burkert 1983:256–259; and on the role of Eubuleus in related mythology, specifically 258–259. N. J. Richardson (1974:81–82 and 84) reports two accounts for worship of Eubuleus in Eleusis along with Demeter and Persephone: according to the former, Eubuleus and Triptolemus “saw their swine being swallowed in the earth with Hades’ chariot, and hence were able to report it to Demeter”; according to the latter, Demeter herself went to Hades to recover Persephone and took Eubuleus as her guide (cf. Orphic Hymn 41.5–8).

[ back ] 86. Mühlestein 1984:150–153.

[ back ] 87. Mühlestein himself argues for this (1984:151–152). I will return to the topic of Eumaeus’ “parodistic” epithets.

[ back ] 88. Among others, see Stanford 1996, I:xxi–xxii and Stanford 1972:99–107; N. Austin 1972; also Von Kamptz 1982 and Mühlestein 1987.

[ back ] 89. See ch. 1.

[ back ] 90. Aristophanes provides us the most explicit evidence for this claim. At Peace 374–375, Trygaeus says to Hermes, “Now lend me three drachmas for a piglet for I must be initiated before I die” (εἰς χοιρίδιόν μοί νυν δάνεισον τρεῖς δραχμάς· δεῖ γὰρ μυηθῆναί με πρὶν τεθνηκέναι). The hilarious exchange between Dicaeopolis, the Megarian, and the latter’s two daughters in the Acharnians (729–835) is centered on the ambiguities characterizing τὰ χοιρία (οr χοιρίδια), that is, “piglets for sacrifice”/“sows” and “feminine genitals”/“whores.” The daughters of the Megarian (who defines himself as “seller of piglets,” χοιροπώλας Μεγαρικός, 818) are in disguise as piglets and are going to be sold; they put pig’s trotters on and they exclusively answer “κοῒ κοΐ.” Explicit references to piglets for sacrifice occur at line 747 (χἠσεῖτε φωνὰν χοιρίων μυστηρικῶν “Emit the sound of piglets of mysteries”); 764 (χοίρους μυστικάς “piglets for mysteries”) and 784 (ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ θυσίμός ἐστιν αὑτηγί “but this one here [the sow] is not good for sacrifices”). The same ambiguity becomes masterfully irreverent in Frogs 336–337, where Xanthias, addressing Dionysus, says (tr. Sommerstein 1996): “O most glorious Lady, O maiden daughter of Demeter, what a lovely smell of pork has wafted its way to me!” (Ὦ πότνια πολυτίμητε Δήμητρος κόρη, / ὡς ἡδύ μοι προσέπνευσε χοιρείων κρεῶν); and see Sommerstein’s comment on these lines (1996:185). On the serious, cultic side of the ambiguity, with reference to the Thesmophoria and female initiation, see Bierl 2001:273n452. Herodotus (II 48.1) explains that the Epyptians sacrifice pigs only to Selene and to Dionysus: τῷ δὲ Διονύσῳ τῆς ὁρτῆς τῇ δορπίῃ χοῖρον πρὸ τῶν θυρέων σφάξας ἕκαστος διδοῖ ἀποφέρεσθαι τὸν χοῖρον αὐτῷ τῷ ἀποδομένῳ τῶν συβωτέων “At the evening meal of the feast dedicated to Dionysus, each one, after slaughtering a piglet before the door, offers it to the swineherd who has given it, so that he carries it away.” Aeschylus Eumenides 282–283 uses χοιροκτόνος to indicate the sacrificial killing of suckling-pigs: ποταίνιον γὰρ ὂν πρὸς ἑστίᾳ θεοῦ / Φοίβου καθαρμοῖς ἠλάθη χοιροκτόνοις “it [the blood] has been driven away when it was still fresh by means of purificatory sacrifices of piglets, at the hearth of the god Phoebus”; and see also Aeschylus fr. 327.1 (Radt) and Tetralogy 44, play A, fr. 648.3 (Mette). Aeschylus Tetralogy 44, play A, fr. 618a.1 (Mette) has: θύσας δὲ χοῖρον τόνδε τῆς αὐτῆς ὑός “having sacrificed this piglet here, from the same boar.” At Athenaeus 4.73, Χοίρακοι are “the ones who sacrifice piglets” at religious services in Delos. The term is used with clear reference to sacrifices in Plato Republic 378a; Xenophon Anabasis 7.8.5; Demosthenes Against Conon 39.

[ back ] 91. “Pig-sacrifice for Demeter was the most common feature of all forms of the Demeter cult” (Burkert 1983:257). Clemens Alexandrinus Protrepticus 2.17 provides the most relevant information about Eubuleus, pigs, Demeter cult, and Athenian festivals: βούλει καὶ τὰ Φερεφάττης ἀνθολόγια διηγήσωμαί σοι καὶ τὸν κάλαθον καὶ τὴν ἁρπαγὴν τὴν ὑπὸ Ἀιδωνέως καὶ τὸ σχίσμα τῆς γῆς καὶ τὰς ὗς τὰς Εὐβουλέως τὰς συγκαταποθείσας ταῖν θεαῖν, δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν ἐν τοῖς Θεσμοφορίοις μεγαρίζοντες χοίρους ἐμβάλλουσιν; Ταύτην τὴν μυθολογίαν αἱ γυναῖκες ποικίλως κατὰ πόλιν ἑορτάζουσι, Θεσμοφόρια, Σκιροφόρια, Ἀρρητοφόρια, πολυτρόπως τὴν Φερεφάττης ἐκτραγῳδοῦσαι ἁρπαγήν. “Do you want me to tell you about Persephone gathering flowers, and about the basket, and about Hades’ abduction, and about the cleft of the earth, and about the pigs of Eubuleus that have been swallowed together with the two goddesses, which is why during the Thesmophoria they throw piglets in the sacred caves? Women celebrate this tale in various ways, in the city, through the festivals of Thesmophoria, Scirophoria, Arrephoria; they turn into tragedy the rape of Persephone according to many variants.” On the relevance of μέγαρα, see below, n105.

[ back ] 92. In addition to the standard commentaries, see, specifically, Bassett 1919:385–386; Fenik 1974:29–30; Austin 1972:8–9.

[ back ] 93. I am adopting the translation “lord and brother” from Stanford (1996, II:222).

[ back ] 94. On the affinities to Odysseus later revealed by Eumaeus in his “surprising” tale (Odyssey 15.403–484), see Minchin 1992:262–263.

[ back ] 95. See Nagy 2001a:xxvii n20; Dué 2006:75–77, with reference to Philostratus On Heroes 666.22 and 686.28. From this perspective, a further self-reference by Eumaeus might connote his special status as guard of the cult hero’s abode—namely, οἰκεύς (cf. line 63). On patriarchal oikoi becoming sanctuaries, see Mazarakis Ainian 1999:16–18.

[ back ] 96. On this vocative, Stanford comments, “Eumaeus has sensed something ‘queer’ about his guest” (1996, II:234). δαιμόνιε is a very interesting linguistic phenomenon, as a unifying semantic meaning of the word is basically nonexistent. Brunius-Nilsson affirms that the basic meaning “is neither positive nor negative”; rather, its use seems to be motivated exclusively by pragmatic and illocutory reasons: “The essential characteristic of the word is that it expresses intensity, force – a force of the kind released by a speaker using the name of the person addressed: he can arouse a response to an eagerly desired wish: he creates an intimacy which may break down the resistance of the person addressed” (1955:142). Moreover, as a pragmatically powerful word, it also has one advantage with respect to proper names, which is its possible application to different figures, as it “eludes characterization and naming.” (Burkert 1985:180). This is why δαιμόνιε at Odyssey 14.443 is translated in many different ways (Brunius-Nilsson collects all of them; 1955:18), including “unhappy stranger” and “my worthy guest.” This is also why δαιμόνιε potentially—though not at all a priori—includes a secret reference to a “puissance divine” that cannot be explicitly designated (cf. Chantraine 1999, s.v. δαίμων). On δαίμων implying “divine preservation,” see Nagy 1999:190–192. I note that at Iliad 3.399, as Helen recognizes the divine epiphany of Aphrodite, she starts her speech with the vocative δαιμονίη.

[ back ] 97. The only other Odyssean occurrence of πολυπενθές is at 23.15, used by Penelope to define her own thumos.

[ back ] 98. On further playful adjacencies including keinos, see ch. 1.

[ back ] 99. The semantics and the syntax of at least some Odyssean passages make οὔ τις a potentially playful pro-noun indirectly referring to Odysseus (see Odyssey 16.187, 21.344–345 and 348, 4.106 and 3.120; all of which might evoke Odysseus’ well-known pun Οὖτις ἐμοί γ’ ὄνομα “ ‘Nobody’ is my name” at Odyssey 9.366). In those cases, it is difficult to say whether the conscious use is by the primary speaking ‘I’ reporting the characters’ words, or by the characters themselves.

[ back ] 100. An interesting lexical detail concerning the hypothesis of Odysseus’ epiphanic appearance is the occurrence of the verb ὑποδέχομαι “to receive,” or, better, “to perform a welcome” at 14.52 and 54. Currie (2005:181–183) underscores that δέχομαι is used to express the worshipper’s act of receiving a god in his/her epiphany.

[ back ] 101. On autos as a pronoun of identity and as indicating corpses of heroes, see ch. 3. κῆδος and τλα- forms in the Odyssey are consistently used to thematically connote Odysseus’ experience; among others, see Pucci 1987:46–49. Odysseus himself seems to capture the allusion by resuming the topic at 196–197: “Easily, then, even in an entire year I could not finish speaking my troubles” (ἐμὰ κήδεα).

[ back ] 102. On shelters and huts as cult places, cf. Nagy 2009– (online version): ch. 7, II§56–58.

[ back ] 103. I am using capital letters according to the conventional way of rendering prosodic prominence in writing. On γε and prosodic prominence, see ch. 1, n63.

[ back ] 104. Thesmophoria and Apaturia, for instance, lasted three days.

[ back ] 105. The possibility cannot be excluded that, within layer 3, Eumaeus intentionally refers to a hero-cult celebration in relation to a megaron —or, better, to megara. Eustathius (1960, I:13) informs us about a specific meaning of megara for Attic readers: Μέγαρον δὲ ὡς ἐν ῥητορικῷ φέρεται λεξικῷ, οὐ μόνως τὸ κοινῶς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἰδικῶς μέγαρα, κατάγεια οἰκήματά φησι ταῖν θεαῖν ἤγουν Δήμητρος καὶ Περσεφόνης. Αἴλιος δὲ Διονύσιος φησὶ καὶ ὅτι μάγαρον οὐχὶ μέγαρον, εἰς ὃ τὰ μυστικὰ ἱερὰ κατατίθενται “ ‘Megaron,’ as it is reported in the oratorical lexicon, not only has a general meaning, but also a specific one, that is, it indicates ‘megara,’ which—they say—are the subterranean dwellings of the two goddesses, that is, Demeter and Persephone. Dionysus Ailius also says that ‘magaron’ and not ‘megaron’ was the place into which sacred offerings related to the mysteries were thrown”; see Henrichs 1969:34 and Dietrich 1973:5n27. Pausanias 9.8.1 says about a sanctuary of Demeter: ἐν χρόνῳ δὲ εἰρημένῳ δρῶσι καὶ ἄλλα ὁπόσα καθέστηκέ σφισι καὶ ἐς τὰ μέγαρα καλούμενα ἀφιᾶσιν ὗς τῶν νεογνῶν “At an agreed time, they perform all the rituals that have been established, and they let young pigs fall in what they call “the halls.” Megaron seems to be the designatum of an interesting place, as far as religious practices are concerned. Despite the substantially negative evidence for megaron and megara as linked with religious practices, Dietrich (1973:4) stresses that in Herodotus, for example, megaron exclusively denotes “a temple or sacral building, in which a deity is supposed to dwell.” In three Athenian festivals—Arrhephoria, Thesmophoria and Scirophoria—a central role was played by the megaron as “cave” or “underground chamber.” During the Thesmophoria and the Scirophoria, piglets, along with other objects, were deposited (Dietrich 1973:5; Parke 1977:163; Bierl 2001:226; cf. also the quotation from Clemens Alexandrinus reported above, n91). The basic suggestion by Dietrich (1973:5) is that “in the Greek word megaron there survived the tradition of the cave as an original cult site prior to its transference to the palace.” By analyzing the phrase ἐς μέγαρον τετράγυιον included in an oracle of Apollo Kareios (IIb, line 8; see West’ s edition in ZPE 1, 1967:185), Henrichs, in an article that pre-dates Dietrich (1969), provides more arguments for Dietrich’s claim. The context for the phrase is the sacrifices and the libations to be offered to Gaia (vv. 7–11), as well as other offerings to the heavenly gods and sacrifices for Demeter, for the gods of the Underworld, and for the heroes in the ground (ἥρωες χθονίοι; cf. vv. 13–15). Henrichs (1969:35–36) concludes that megaron must have indicated not a natural cave but a built cave, as a place for chthonian offerings. Henrichs provides a variety of textual citations (1969:33–35), and I call attention here to two of those that attest to the use of megaron in cult practices: Pausanias 4.31.9 πεποίηται δὲ καὶ Εἰλειθυίας Μεσσηνίοις ναὸς καὶ ἄγαλμα λίθου, πλησίον δὲ Κουρήτων μέγαρον, ἔνθα ζῷα τὰ πάντα ὁμοίως καθαγίζουσιν “There is a temple built by the Messenians dedicated also to Eileithyia, and a statue made by stone, and nearby there is the hall of the Curetes, where they make offerings of every kind of living creatures”; Porphyry On the Cave of the Nymphs 6 [ἱδρύσαντο]χθονίοις δὲ καὶ ἥρωσιν ἐσχάρας, ὑποχθονίοις δὲ βόθρους καὶ μέγαρα “They set up altars of burnt-offerings for the heroes of the earth, and pits dug in the ground and caves for those under the earth.” To complicate the polysemous implications of megaron in the quoted passage from Odyssey 14, Hades’ palace was called megaron as well (cf. Homeric Hymn II to Demeter 379 and E. Vermeule 1979:36). Future research might explore the layering presented by the Homeric use of the generic terms μέγαρον and μέγαρα in potentially polysemous contexts, including hero cult practices. A final note concerns the relationship between megaron and graves. In the area of the Sacred House in Eleusis, a megaron dating back to the Geometric period, laying beneath the later archaic naiskos, was discovered by Travlos in 1938. In front of the porch of the megaron, Travlos found a male inhumation grave (which he dates to the end of the 8th century BCE), with a tumulus of earth and multiple sacrificial pyres over the grave. The skeleton was laying on top of a stratum that “was apparently placed immediately after the construction of the edifice, in order to create a neat walking surface around the building” and was “surrounded by a row of stones and simply covered with the mound of earth” (Mazarakis Ainian 1999:30–31; the source of this account is J. Travlos’ unpublished report in the archives of the Greek Archaeological Society, titled Ἱερά Οἰκία). Mylonas (1975, II:326) affirms that in late Geometric times “prehistoric graves accidentally found were associated with local traditions and were attributed to important personalities of the past who were transformed into heroes. This practice apparently marks the beginning of the hero cults of ancient Greece that became prevalent in the closing years of the Geometric period and in the early archaic times.” [ back ] A grave monument devoted to Odysseus in Eleusis might have been present as well, but not necessarily; after all, oracles and sanctuaries marking the hero’s transition to the afterlife did not usually coincide with the burial place (see Bonnechere 2007:35 and 38). The association of archaic graves and an abutting megaron as a cult place is attested also in the studies of Bérard (1970) about warrior tombs adjacent to the West gate of Eretria (and see Tandy 1997:154).

[ back ] 106. On nostos as the experience of homecoming and the poetic genre about that experience, see Nagy 1999:97n2 and Bonifazi 2009c. The latter meaning would perfectly fit the context, in that Odysseus has just completed a variant of a nostos tale about himself (the Cretan tale).

[ back ] 107. In my translation, I am assuming that the knowledge expressed by εὖ οἶδα has been acquired through personal and visual/sensorial experience. At Iliad 7.237–241, Hector is talking to Ajax and asserts he has experience of battles, killings, and so on; such an experience seems to be based on vision: αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν εὖ οἶδα μάχας τ’ ἀνδροκτασίας τε· … οἶδ’ ἐπὶ δεξιά, οἶδ’ ἐπ’ ἀριστερὰ νωμῆσαι βῶν / ἀζαλέην, τό μοι ἔστι ταλαύρινον πολεμίζειν· / οἶδα δ’ ἐπαΐξαι μόθον ἵππων ὠκειάων· / οἶδα δ’ ἐνὶ σταδίῃ δηΐῳ μέλπεσθαι Ἄρηϊ “As for me, I know well battles and the killing of men; … I know how to turn to the right and to the left the dry oxhide, which is a tough shield in war; I am able to spring the tumult of speedy horses; I am able in the close fighting to sing and dance to hostile Ares”; see also Iliad 4.163 (= 6.447) εὖ γὰρ ἐγὼ τόδε οἶδα κατὰ φρένα καὶ κατὰ θυμόν “For according to my mind and to my spirit, I see this well”; 11.408, 18.192, and, most of all, Iliad 19.421 εὖ νυ τὸ οἶδα καὶ αὐτὸς ὅ μοι μόρος ἐνθάδ’ ὀλέσθαι “Yes, even I know this myself; it’s my destined part to die here,” with which Achilles “sees” that he will have to die in the Trojan land.

[ back ] 108. Eumaeus’ counterfactual mention of Odysseus’ grave (τῷ κέν οἱ τύμβον μὲν ἐποίησαν Παναχαιοί “All the Achaeans would have made a grave for you,” 369) is actually underscoring what in layer 3 would simply be the reality. The relevance of the use of κε in this respect is commented upon below. In book one, Telemachus parallels the lament over Odysseus’ supposed death with the same words (1.238–241 = 14.368–371). Παναχαιοί, that is, all the federated Greeks, could imply a deliberate reference to the Panathenaean character of the public enterprise, as a sign of a later—“national”—tribute to the hero. At Odyssey 24.32, the same line is uttered by Achilles’ ghost while speaking to Agamemnon’s ghost about the latter’s death.

[ back ] 109. See also 20.238–239 and 21.203–204 (both with reference to Eumaeus; the latter occurs immediately before Odysseus’ overt revelation to him and to Philoetius).

[ back ] 110. See Muellner 1976:43–54 (the εὔχομαι in question is not commented upon).

[ back ] 111. So in Ahl and Roisman 1996:168.

[ back ] 112. Strabo (10.2.9) gives this account with reference to annual sacrifices in honor of Apollo. On scapegoats and the Thargelia, see, in particular, Bremmer, who notes that “on the same day on which the scapegoats were expelled the Greeks also celebrated the fall of Troy” (Bremmer 2000:291). The association of the expulsion of the evil with the massacre of the suitors is evident.

[ back ] 113. I am referring to the expanded version of Nagy 1973, which is in Nagy 1990b:223–262.

[ back ] 114. Cf. Stanford 1996, II:232.

[ back ] 115. On κε, see also above, pp. 48n116; 50n125; 86.

[ back ] 116. Odyssey 4.213 δόρπου δ’ ἐξαῦτις μνησώμεθα; 13.280 δόρπου μνῆστις; Ι liad 24.601 νῦν δὲ μνησώμεθα δόρπου.

[ back ] 117. Odyssey 16.453; Iliad 11.730.

[ back ] 118. Iliad 19.208; 23.11 and 55; 24.2 and 601. Curiously enough, diction strikingly similar to Odyssey 14.407 is put in Odysseus’ mouth immediately before the massacre of the suitors (Odyssey 21.428; Odysseus to Telemachus: νῦν δ’ ὥρη καὶ δόρπον ’Αχαιοῖσιν τετυκέσθαι / ἐν φάει “And now it’s time to prepare also the meal for the Argives, in the light of victory”). Even before that, the primary speaking ‘I’ is calling what is going to happen to the suitors a most unwelcome dorpos (δόρπου δ’ οὐκ ἄν πως ἀχαρίστερον ἄλλο γένοιτο, / οἷον δὴ τάχ’ ἔμελλε θεὰ καὶ καρτερὸς ἀνὴρ / θησέμεναι “There couldn’t be anything more sinister than the meal that the goddess and the mighty hero were soon ready to offer,” Odyssey 20.392–394).

[ back ] 119. See Philostratus On Heroes 663.13 and 28; Nagy 1996a:47–49; 2001a:xxvii–xxviii.

[ back ] 120. On the different discourse functions of δέ, see, in particular, Bakker 1993a:281–305 (293 for the quotation).

[ back ] 121. Thus, Olson (1995:120n1).

[ back ] 122. For example, Stanford 1996, II:215 says about δῖον ὑφορβόν “the Epithet is surprising for a swineherd. Some take it as mainly metri gratia” (italics in the text). Reece (1993:151) states that the use of such epithets is not purposeful.

[ back ] 123. M. and A. Parry 1971:151–152.

[ back ] 124. Rose 1992:110–111.

[ back ] 125. He is the only character apostrophized by the primary speaking ‘I’ over the course of the entire poem (see also 16.60, 135 and 464; 17.272, 311, 380, 512 and 579; 22.194).

[ back ] 126. Among others, see Block 1982; Kahane 1994:107; De Jong 2001:345.

[ back ] 127. Kahane (1994:153–155) effectively summarizes the main approaches to Homeric apostrophe and dismantles the theory of metrical convenience (“from a purely technical point of view apostrophe is of very limited value and is often an inconvenience,” 1994:153). A. Parry had already proposed (1972:9) to explain Homeric apostrophe not in terms of metrical convenience but as a device used to “focus attention on a particular person.” The pragmatic approach I would like to offer follows upon both an argument by Kacandes on apostrophe in modern literature and a remark about the use of vocatives in Pindaric epinicia. Kacandes (1994:1–2) claims that apostrophes are “messages uttered with two addressees simultaneously in mind”—that is, the receiver-audience of the text and an explicit addressee that “could respond but will not.” The “you” of the apostrophe and the “I” actually share a “short-circuited communication,” in that “messages do not flow in both directions.” Such a rhetorical device has the effect of singling out an explicit “you” involved at some point in the text as someone/something fairly distinct from the intended receiver(s). It is precisely this distinction that leads me to propose a parallel between the relatively rare Homeric vocatives uttered by the primary speaking ‘I’ and other vocatives in early Greek poetry, such as vocative expressions in Pindar’s songs. Most of the latter definitely show “short-circuited communication,” either because they are self-referential vocatives to the poetry/the music itself (for example, ὦ Μοῖσα), or because they refer to dead people (for example, a dead relative of the victor) or to mythological figures (for example, “o son of Tantalus”). In all of these cases, the underlying communicative purpose is to establish a contact with a further “you” that is beyond the receivers of the song, but whose presence is invoked or outlined. Even the receivers of the song can potentially join the speaking “I” in such a special appeal to the non-responding “you.” What I find striking is that often in Pindaric poetry the referents of vocatives uttered by the singing “I” are entities or individuals that seem to become part of the extralinguistic context of the ode through some physical signposts: in Isthmian 7, the nymph Thebe could represent the city of the performance (ὦ μάκαιρα Θήβα, line 1); in Olympian 1, Pelops’ tomb, recalled through the vocative addressed to Pelops himself (υἱὲ Ταντάλου, 36, noted above), is certainly an existing feature of the Olympian landscape. This pragmatic relevance of using vocatives—which enhances strong involvement by the attendants of the performance—might, in principle, be transferred to some Iliadic and Odyssean utterances, including apostrophes to characters. An inquiry that might be undertaken is to determine whether the content and the context of such utterances might somehow allude to a physical signpost for the character in question, such as a grave monument, or an abode, or an artistic image that is available ad oculos or am Phantasma to some audiences. For example, just as Achilles uses a vocative to call the dead Patroclus (Iliad 18.333; 23.19 and 179; 24.592), so the primary speaking ‘I’ might use a vocative for Patroclus because of some built object standing for Patroclus’ presence in historical times. As for Eumaeus, the puzzling vocatives used by the primary speaking ‘I’ to introduce Eumaeus’ words can be read within layer 3 as deictic hints to some signpost for Eumaeus’ presence, such as a hērōon, a grave monument, or simply a statue. If so, the sympathy, the affection, and the special attitude of “Homer” would actually be the expression of nearness and of exclusivity in the dialogue with a cult hero; the same might hold for apostrophized Menelaus and Patroclus.

[ back ] 128. The latter thought sprang from an observation by Gregory Nagy about the poet “possessing” the character through the use of second-person pronouns, on the basis of Indian poetic performance traditions (personal communication; see also Nagy 2001a xxxii with n28). At a more narratological level, the “solidarity” between the speaking “I” and the audience is underscored by Block in the following terms: “in Homer apostrophe synchronizes the relation between narrator and audience and affirms the mutuality of subjective emotion” (Block 1986:163).

[ back ] 129. On ἀντίον, see above, n42.

[ back ] 130. I would like to point out here a different (and yet somehow homologous) explanation very recently offered by Vergados (2011) about a similarly puzzling description of a place: Hermes’ cave as it is variously recalled in the Homeric Hymn IV to Hermes. The author ascribes the seemingly incongruous features of the place to a shift in focalization—that is, different viewpoints are possibly incorporated in the text while the same object is described. I see a fundamental idea common to my own and Vergados’ explanations, which is the search for discourse strategies rather than mechanical reasons motivating lexical oddness.

[ back ] 131. Monro 1901:20 and N. Austin 1975:166.

[ back ] 132. See Autenrieth, LSJ s. v. αὐλή, and Lorimer 1950:430–431.

[ back ] 133. Stanford (1996, II:216) and Heubeck et al. (1988–1992, II:193) offer the same two alternatives. The interesting parallel passages that include the same phrase in the Odyssey do not help to disambiguate the word: at Odyssey 1.425–426 it connotes the place of Telemachus’ thalamos (ὅθι οἱ θάλαμος περικαλλέος αὐλῆς / ὑψηλὸς δέδμητο, περισκέπτῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ “where the chamber of the beautiful enclosure had been built, high, in a quite visible place/in a sheltered place”); at Odyssey 10.210–211, it connotes Circe’s house (εὗρον δ’ ἐν βήσσῃσι τετυγμένα δώματα Κίρκης / ξεστοῖσιν λάεσσι, περισκέπτῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ “In the glen they [Odysseus and some of the companions] found the house of Circe, built with polished stones, in a quite visible place/in a sheltered place”). However, it is interesting that at Odyssey 16.41, Telemachus is said to step over the threshold of stone of Eumaeus’ hut (ὑπέρβη λάϊνον οὐδόν); Reece (1993:153) notices that such a phrase “is used elsewhere only of the temple of Apollo and of Odysseus’ palace.”

[ back ] 134. In Euripides’ Alcestis (259–262), Alcestis sings (to Admetus): ἄγει μ’ ἄγει τις, ἄγει μέ τις (οὐχ / ὁρᾶις;) νεκύων ἐς αὐλάν, / ὑπ’ ὀφρύσι κυαναυγέσι / βλέπων πτερωτὸς †αἵδας? “Somebody is taking me, somebody is taking me—don’t you see it?—to the yard of the dead. Hades with his wings is staring at me from his dark-gleaming brows.” In Pindar Nemean 4.24 “the blessed enclosure of Heracles” is mentioned (Ἡρακλέος ὀλβίαν πρὸς αὐλάν), which is usually taken as the Heracleion at the Electran gates of Thebes (Pausanias 9.11.4). In Pindar, fr. 52g (= D7, Pa. VII in I. Rutherford 2001) 3 ἀγλαάν τ’ ἐς αὐλάν “to the shining enclosure” seems to refer to the sanctuary of Melia, mother of Tenerus and Ismenus (I. Rutherford 2001:339). Interestingly enough, while at Iliad 5.726 περίδρομος describes the silver hubs of the chariot Hebe is assembling (“revolving on this side and on that,” Murray and Dimock’s translation of περίδρομοι ἀμφοτέρωθεν), at Iliad 2.812 it describes an “accessible” κολώνη “mound,” which is called by the immortals “the grave mound of Myrine” (σῆμα … Μυρίνες).

[ back ] 135. Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, I:311; Eustathius (1960, I:57) and Scholia (Dindorf 1962:579). At Odyssey 6.267, ῥυτοῖσιν λάεσσι is used to describe the ἀγορή surrounding the sacred precinct of Poseidon.

[ back ] 136. On Odysseus’ cult at Polis Bay, see Benton 1934–1935:45–73; 1936:350; 1938–1939:1–51; Coulson 1991:42–64; Antonaccio 1995:152–155; De Polignac 1994:11n23; Mazarakis Ainian 1999:12; Malkin 1998:94–119. The presence of a spring and of a rock “of the Raven” near Eumaeus’ place—potential signposts for a place of hero cult—is directly mentioned in Homer (Odyssey 13.407–408); also, Eumaeus himself in book seventeen (204–211) will reach a sacred grove—including fresh water, a high rock, and an altar dedicated to the Nymphs—where he will pray for Odysseus’ return (240–246). On the elements of the latter alsos, see Bershadsky (in press).

[ back ] 137. Hoekstra (in Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, II:193) says: “This word … has been considered an element of parody, but the shade of meaning it had in Homer’s time is unknown.”

[ back ] 138. Baumann (1993:135) notes that wild pear (Pyrus amygdaliformis) was eaten in ancient times and its fruits “took the place of bread, still unknown, for the Argives, just like acorns did for the Arcadians.”

[ back ] 139. Greek Anthology 7.536; the tone is iambic, as it is referring to Hipponax: wild pear is said to appear on his tomb as a countersign of fertility.

[ back ] 140. Teiresias’ instructions to Alcmena include how to burn the killed snakes by using dry sticks of plants such as wild pear (Theocritus Idyll 24.88–92).

[ back ] 141. In particular, Calame 1998 highlights the peculiar traits of Sophocles’ account of Oedipus’ disappearance (“un parcours rituel inédit”; cf. 1998:332) and shows them to a re-orientation of previous traditions so as to create a specifically Athenian hero cult. Colonus is said to be inhabited by some divinities that no longer reign over the Acropolis, such as Dionysus, the Nymphs, Demeter and Persephone, the Muses, and Aphrodite (Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 678–693). The flora and fauna of the scene recall many symbols of death; Oedipus’ disappearance looks like a Catabasis (Calame 1998:339–340). On Colonus as place-name of a sacred grove, see Nagy 2001a:xxxiii–xxxiv n34.

[ back ] 142. Jebb 1889:247.

[ back ] 143. Cf. Ferrari 1999:306; Röscher 1965–1978, I:1397 and above, n84.

[ back ] 144. Burkert 1983:258 and above, nn90–91. Demosthenes Against Neaera 116, says: “It is worth your while, men of Athens to consider this also—that you punished Archias, who had been hierophant, when he was convicted in court of impiety and of offering sacrifice contrary to the rites handed down by our fathers. Among the charges brought against him was, that at the feast of the harvest he sacrificed on the altar in the court at Eleusis (ἐπὶ τῆς ἐσχάρας τῆς ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ Ἐλευσῖνι) a victim brought by the courtesan Sinopē although it was not lawful to offer victims on that day, and the sacrifice was not his to perform, but the priestess” (tr. Murray 1939).

[ back ] 145. The Odyssey itself tells us that a tholos was to be placed in front of the porch of the megaron of Odysseus’ palace (22.442, 459, and 466). As E. Vermeule reminds us (1979:51), a tholos was meant to be a miniature of the Underworld itself. As for altars in house courtyards, see Sourvinou-Inwood 2003:3.

[ back ] 146. See Pausanias I 39.2–3 (further graves are mentioned at I 37.5); Parker 1996:35–36; Mylonas 1961:62–63; Mylonas 1975, II:153–154; 262–264; 326.

[ back ] 147. See Odyssey 10.509–510; in order to reach the land of the dead Odysseus has to stop by the sacred grove of Kore (ἔνθ’ ἀκτή τε λάχεια καὶ ἄλσεα Περσεφονείης / μακραί τ’ αἴγειροι καὶ ἰτέαι ὠλεσίκαρποι “there [where there is] a fertile shore and the sacred grove of Persephone, and tall poplars and fruit-perishing willows”).

[ back ] 148. Pausanias 1.14.1–3, 1.1.4; 1.37.2 respectively.

[ back ] 149. See above, nn91 and 105.

[ back ] 150. Some ritual and symbolic aspects concerning the Scirophoria might contribute to the definition of an “Athenian mark” underlying our text of Odyssey 14. The general thesis of Cook is that “the Odyssey acquired the form in which it has come down to us in the context of Athenian civic cult” (1995:7). The end of the war between Athens and Eleusis was ritually remembered through the tomb of Sciros (son of Poseidon, co-leader of the Eleusinian forces, and killed by Athena), which was located near the temple of Demeter at Sciron. The Scirophoria opened with a procession from the Acropolis to Sciron, where women were throwing piglets into underground chambers later recovered during the Thesmophoria (Cook 1995:134–142); the place was sacred to Demeter and Kore, to Athena Sciras, and to Poseidon, for here Athens and Eleusis were reconciled. Helios was a witness of the oaths. For a general picture of the features of the Scira festival, see Parke 1977:156–169.

[ back ] 151. The Athenian re-writing of Oedipus’ myth in Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus locates Oedipus’ redemption in an intermediary place between Athens and Eleusis. Calame argues that the myth told in the tragedy combines elements of the Eleusinian initiation and themes relating to Athenian autochthony (Calame 1998:354 and 356). Along similar lines, and in accord with Cook’s interpretation of our Odyssey (see above, n150), I would outline two possible aspects of the Athenian cast of Odyssey 14. One is the treatment of the myth of Odysseus’ return to his fatherland through the meeting with the pivot-figure of Eumaeus, who—on this reading—symbolizes the presence of covert references to the Eleusinian mysteries, to Orphic themes, and to other sacred rituals (through Eumaeus’ figure, again). Indeed, as Lloyd-Jones has described it, the Homeric poems show a sort of “censorship,” which “avoids mentions of magic, pollution and other primitive beliefs that were widely held long after Homeric times” Lloyd-Jones 1971:81). Moreover, the religious dimension of Homeric poetry could never become fully overt, as the majority of cults had strongly local origins and features (Nagy 1999:116). On hero cult being ruled out of Homeric poetry, see Currie 2005:47–56. All of the preceding might be connected to the Panhellenic and the Athenian “stage” of Homeric performances. A second aspect of the Athenian cast follows from Reece’s linguistic analysis of the epic diction in the same book. Reece’s conclusion (1993:155) is that “such verses could only have been composed during the latest period of the epic tradition.” Evidence for that claim comes from morphological modifications (for example, a high frequency of ὁ, ἡ, τό used as definite article, and the high incidence of irresolvable vowel contractions), along with modifications of formulaic phrases (e.g. line 75 εὗσέ τε μίστυλλέν τε καὶ ἀμφ’ ὀβελοῖσιν ἔπειρεν departs from the more usual μίστυλλόν τ’ ἄρα τἆλλα καὶ ἀμφ’ ὀβελοῖσιν ἔπειραν (or ἔπειρον)—cf. Iliad 1.465; 2.428; Odyssey 3.462; 12.365; and later in Odyssey 14 itself, line 430.

[ back ] 152. In the Odyssey, the mortals who are said to wear sandals (πέδιλα) are exclusively Eumaeus (15.369 [ὑποδήματα], 16.154) and Telemachus (15.550, 17.2 and 20.126). At 16.80 and 21.341, Telemachus and Penelope respectively promise to give the beggar proper clothes (including a χλαῖνα) and shoes. Within Homeric diction, πέδιλα are usually mentioned only in connection with the action of going out, never in arming scenes (LfgrE, s.v. πέδιλον). Amongst the gods, Hermes notoriously wears (winged) sandals/boots (πέδιλα). Hermes’ multiple competencies include being guide of the dead: he guides Heracles to Hades on a quest for the watch-dog (Odyssey 11.626); Persephone lets him guide the souls to Hades (Orphic Hymn LVII to Chthonian Hermes); and guides the ghost of Protesilaus to his mourning wife (Pseudo-Apollodorus The Library, epitome 3.30a). Amongst living, shoe-wearing heroes, an allusion to liminal experiences (initiation? a journey to the Underworld?) might be seen at the beginning of the Argonautica (1.8–12) in Jason’s loss of one sandal while fording the Anaurus. On the widely acknowledged importance of boots for dead men, see E. Vermeule 1979:63–65; the author recalls Alcman’s phrase ἀπ]έδιλον ἀλκά (fr. 1.15), indicating the “bootless strength” from which humans should keep.

[ back ] 153. See Homeric Hymn II to Demeter 428, and Suter 2002:148 and 178–179.

[ back ] 154. In Homer, σῶμα is said only of dead bodies; see M. L. West (1978:295). West, however, argues that if the original sense of σῶμα had only concerned corpses, “its application to the living could never have come about.” As for σῶμα denoting live bodies thereafter, see, for example, Theognis 1.649; Pindar Olympian 6.56 and Pythian 8.82; Herodotus 1.139.

[ back ] 155. So M. L. West 1978:295; Hays 1918:162; Scholia vetera, ad 541–542 (Pertusi 1955:178).

[ back ] 156. “Anything made of the hide of animals dying a natural death—i.e. not slain or sacrificed—would defile a sacred place” (Hastings 1908–1926, XI, “Shoes and sandals”: 475). On the ritual function of shoes in ancient Greece, see Blundell 2006.

[ back ] 157. Meyer 1987:53. On Andanian mysteries, see Pausanias 4.1.9; 3.10.

[ back ] 158. Compare also Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, II:194.

[ back ] 159. Pausanias informs us about the clothing of the initiated pilgrim, as he was about to enter Trophonius’ oracle (9.39.8): θεασάμενος δὲ ἄγαλμα ὃ ποιῆσαι Δαίδαλόν φασιν—ὑπὸ δὲ τῶν ἱερέων οὐκ ἐπιδείκνυται πλὴν ὅσοι παρὰ τὸν Τροφώνιον μέλλουσιν ἔρχεσθαι—τοῦτο τὸ ἄγαλμα ἰδὼν καὶ θεραπεύσας τε καὶ εὐξάμενος ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸ μαντεῖον, χιτῶνα ἐνδεδυκὼς λινοῦν καὶ ταινίαις τὸν χιτῶνα ἐπιζωσθεὶς καὶ ὑποδησάμενος ἐπιχωρίας κρηπῖδας. ἔστι δὲ τὸ μαντεῖον ὑπὲρ τὸ ἄλσος ἐπὶ τοῦ ὄρους. “After contemplating the statue which—they say—Daedalus made (it is not shown by the priests to anyone except for those who are going to visit Trophonius), and after having stared at this statue, and taking care about it, and praying, he goes toward the oracle, dressed with a linen garment, girded with bands, and wearing local boots. The oracle is beyond the grove, on the mountain.” On Trophonius’ cult and the ἄλσος in Lebadaea, see, in particular, Nagy 2001a:xxii–xxv and Bonnechere 2007:31–37. On shoes in this and other religious contexts, see Frazer 1965, V:202–203. About the “local boots,” Nagy writes: “According to this mentality of sacred metonymy, the local earth of the cult hero can be trodden only by local footwear” (2001a:xxiv n16).

[ back ] 160. Dogs, which appear at the start of the Eumaeus episode (21–22 and 29–36) present another potentially layering object that might well be investigated. On dogs in funerary contexts, see C. Vermeule 1972:57; on Kύνες and Κυνηγέται as object of cult, see Brelich 1958:181.

[ back ] 161. See above, nn90, 91 and 144.

[ back ] 162. The action of killing in sacrifices for the gods is called ἱερεύειν at Iliad 2.402, 6.94, 275 and 309, 7.314, 21.131, 23.147, Odyssey 13.24 and 182. Interestingly, in two cases ἱερεύειν is used of animals being sacrificed in honor of dead heroes: Iliad 24.125 (for Patroclus), Odyssey 10.524–525 and also 11.32–33 (for Teiresias).

[ back ] 163. Petropoulou 1987:136. The article reconsiders the interpretation of Kadletz 1984, according to which all the offerings were in honor of the gods, while the cooked meat dedicated to the Nymphs and to Hermes is not to be considered as part of the proper sacrifice.

[ back ] 164. On the term and the meaning, see also Ekroth 2002:319.

[ back ] 165. Petropoulou (1987:136n3) notes that ἄργματα is a hapax legomenon for ἀπαρχαί (and quotes Eustathius and the Scholia).

[ back ] 166. Petropoulou 1987:140–142 and 145–146; “The sacrifice of Eumaeus is made … in honor of a mortal guest. Thus the animal is not divided in the usual way, between the Olympian gods and mortals: it is reserved entirely for the mortals” (146).

[ back ] 167. Petropoulou 1987:147.

[ back ] 168. Ekroth 2002:25–59 presents a detailed excursus of the use of the term in literary and non-literary sources throughout the centuries; she concludes that “the assumption that eschara was a special kind of altar for hero-cults and was used for particular rituals cannot be substantiated for the Archaic to early Hellenistic periods. Instead, when eschara is used as referring to an altar, the term functions as an equivalent to bōmos and cannot be connected with any particular deities or rituals” (Ekroth 2002:54). In Homer, eschara, as household hearth, never refer to an altar, which is contrary to what we can find in Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; however, as Ekroth herself points out (2002:39), “a sacrifice can be performed on the hearth of the house … as Eumaios does in the Odyssey in connection with a meal.”

[ back ] 169. Petropoulou 1987:146–147.

[ back ] 170. Reece 1993:153–154.

[ back ] 171. Ekroth 2002:276–277; see also Jameson 1994 and Burkert 1985:107. On theoxenia and hero cults see Ekroth 2002:276–286. On aparchai and theoxenia, see Ekroth 2002:179. On aparchai sent from many Greek places to Eleusis for Eubuleus, see Brelich 1958:122.

[ back ] 172. On wine libations in hero cult, see, among others, Brelich 1958:162–163; Henrichs 1983:98–99; Ekroth 2002:236–237; Bershadsky (in press).

[ back ] 173. In a previous passage about wine rituals, Homeric syntax seems again to create confusion about the subjects of the action. After the first meal (109–111), either Eumaeus or Odysseus gives to the other a cup, fills it with wine, and hands it to the other. It is quite unclear who is the grammatical subject of δῶκε at 112. Hoekstra (Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, IΙ:200–201) summarizes the scholarly debate, and concludes that the subject is Odysseus, who is almost “forgetting the role he is playing,” since it is not expected that the guest will fill the cup and give it to the host. I think that this is another instance of epic diction contributing to layered communication, even if in an almost imperceptible way.

[ back ] 174. While showing that votive iconography explicitly connects the epiphany of the hero with cult practices of xenia (including banquets, tables, and drinking cups), Bravo clarifies the difference between iconographic and verbal sources: “Whereas the literary accounts often approach the claims of epiphany with a judicious neutrality or even skepticism, in votive iconography one finds a more unmediated expression of the popular beliefs about heroes” (2004:76).

[ back ] 175. On the multifaceted associations (including the ritual ones) underlying Odysseus wearing a χλαῖνα, see now Levaniouk 2011:109–135.

[ back ] 176. For example, Pausanias (9.38.4) says that Hesiod’s bones had been found ἐν χηραμῷ τῆς πέτρας “in a hollow of the rock.” On Hesiod’s burial places near rocks, see Bershadsky (in press). On rocks as symbols of liminal moments between consciousness and unconsciousness, life and death, see Nagy 1990b. On graves cut in the rock already in the Middle Helladic period, see Mylonas 1975, II:317. The presence of arms in warriors’ graves is confirmed by archaeological evidence; nonetheless, as Bouvier (2002) points out, the Homeric poems in fact include arms in graves only in two cases (see Iliad 6.418–419, about Eetion being incinerated with his arms, and Odyssey 11.74–75, about Elpenor’s wish to be burned together with his arms), the main heroic deaths of the poems offering, conversely, a thematic elaboration of the value of dead’s arms.

[ back ] 177. As at Odyssey 5.296, 328, 331, 385; 9.67; 19.200.

[ back ] 178. When Odysseus asks Circe directions as to which way to guide his ship, she tells him to hoist his sail and let Boreas carry him across Oceanus to the entrance to the Underworld (Odyssey 10.501–512).

[ back ] 179. Odyssey 13.110–112.

[ back ] 180. The encounter with dead heroes in the Homeric Nekuia is supposed to originally concern lively shades instead of witless shades; see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995:89–92.

[ back ] 181. Here, I recapitulate all twenty-two of the vocatives included in book fourteen: spoken by Odysseus: ξεῖνε (53); ὦ φίλε (115); Εὔμαιε (440 and 462); by Eumaeus: ὦ γέρον (37, 122, 166, 508); γέρον (45); γεραιέ (185); ξεῖν’ (56, 402); ὦ ξεῖνε (80, 145); ἆ δειλὲ ξείνων (361) σύ, γέρον πολυπενθές (386); δαιμόνιε ξείνων (443); finally, from the primary speaking ‘I’, we have the formulaic speech introduction τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφης, Εὔμαιε συβῶτα (55, 165, 360, 442, 507). Throughout ancient Greek literature, conversations between “I” live individuals and “you” dead individuals and/or between an “I” and a “you” who are both dead are not infrequent; let us think, for instance, of what Odysseus himself does in Odyssey 11, what Dionysus, Aeschylus, and Euripides do in Aristophanes’ Frogs, what all the characters do in Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead, and what the vine-dresser does with Protesilaus in Philostratus’ On Heroes. E. Vermeule (1979:17) remarks that “in early times the chief mourner was the direct communicant with the dead.”

[ back ] 182. See Mackie 1999:488–491; 490 for the quotation; 488n10 for bibliographical references to works pointing out the ambivalence of the description. Very recently, Herrero de Jáuregui has intriguingly explored the “catabatic” features of Iliad 24 along with some initiatory resonances (see Herrero de Jáuregui 2011).

[ back ] 183. Those principal ambiguities include: Priam’s status as he is about to leave for the enemy’s camp (Iliad 24.160–166: everyone seems to mourn Priam); Priam’s statement “my wish is to go sooner down to the house of the death god” (246); Hermes as his guide (437; typically, he wears sandals, 340); the contextualization of Achilles as he is seen by Priam (Achilles at the table, just after a meal, 475–476). To these examples, I add the following: before departing, Priam is said to wear a chlaina (163); Achilles’ tent is topped with “a roof of thatch” (451), and around it Priam finds a great aulē (452); the intense eye-contact between the two heroes closely resembles an epiphanic event (482–484 and 629–633); Priam makes a wine libation (306); after a long verbal exchange, they eat (601 νῦν δὲ μνησώμεθα δόρπου, which is strikingly similar to νῦν δ’ ὥρη δόρποιο, xiv 407), and they both go to sleep, as do Eumaeus and Odysseus (643–655; like Eumaeus, Priam sleeps out of the κλισίη). Finally, I point out that several uses of αὐτός that have Achilles and Priam as the referents could polysemically include the reference to a corpse. In addition to uses of αὐτός that refer to Patroclus’ and to Hector’s corpses (7, 421 and 666), Priam is recalled as αὐτός at 191, 198, 223, 280, 294, 312, 418 “you αὐτός can see when you go there [to see Hector dead],” 430 “give me [o Hermes] protection for myself αὐτός,” and 601 “when dawn shows you αὐτός will see him [Hector]”; Achilles is αὐτός at 123 “his beloved companions were around him, busy at their work”; 156 “I do not think he αὐτός will kill [Priam]” = 185; 472 “Priam found him αὐτός, alone”; 560 “It is me αὐτός that has the intention to give Hector back”; 589 “he αὐτός lifted and laid him on the litter”; 658 “so that I αὐτός stay still and hold the people back.”.

[ back ] 184. Grethlein 2007; as for Andromache intending to prepare a bath for Hector once the latter has already died (Iliad 22.442–446), the author suggests that “the tension between Andromache’s expectation and reality is not only pointed out explicitly and expressed by epic diction, but is reinforced at the level of scene-pattern by a play on the double significance of the bath” (2007:32).

[ back ] 185. See Newton 1984:8, and also Segal 1962:20–25.

[ back ] 186. On Ogygia as “Toteninsel,” see, in particular, Güntert 1919:164–172; on Calypso’s garden as ἄλσος, see Bonnechere 2007:41. Calame (2007:53) qualifies Odysseus’ state in book five as “a second state, in erotic ecstasy as in funerary ritual, that allows communication with a privileged space and with the blessed life of the immortal gods.”

[ back ] 187. See E. Vermeule 1979:32–33, 38, 58.

[ back ] 188. See Heubeck et al. 1988–1992, I:104 “ ‘above all other men’ …; the construction is not quite logical with ἄϊστος.”

[ back ] 189. The adjectives that are used in such constructions over the two poems are ὠκύμορος καὶ ὀϊζυρός “swift-fated and wretched” (Iliad 1.417); κρατερός “mighty” (Iliad 21.566); ἐπιστάμενος “skilled” (Odyssey 4.231); ἴδρις “skilful” (Odyssey 7.108); κάμμορος “ill-starred” (Odyssey 11.216); χαλεπός “grim” (Odyssey 17.388).

[ back ] 190. The Homeric locatival as well as abstract usages of περί + genitive reflect the identification of a landmark around/about which action takes place: “the landmark with peri is the object of a certain activity: the state of affairs denoted by the verb is conceptualized as holding in the area that surrounds the landmark” (Luraghi 2003:270).