Kleos in a Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince

  Petropoulos, J. C. B. 2011. Kleos in a Minor Key: The Homeric Education of a Little Prince. Hellenic Studies Series 45. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Petropoulos.Kleos_in_a_Minor_Key.2011.

4. The Little Prince’s Voyage on a Borrowed Ship

‘ἄτοπος δοκεῖ εἶναι Τηλεμάχου ἡ ἀποδημία.’

Scholiast ad Odyssey 1.93 (Dindorf)

“Telemachos’ going abroad seems absurd.”

Telemachos and Eugene Onegin

Just like Onegin, Telemachos lives in virtual reality, experiencing the kleos of heroes second- or thirdhand, as if reading (like Onegin) a “book worn through use” (Pushkin 1979:7.24). This parallel is tempting particularly if we {92|93} recall the quasi-textual character of kleos as argued in Chapter 1 (above). We have noted that Telemachos acquires kleos in stages, and particularly through his voyage to the Peloponnese, which, even without the envious suitors’ ambush, proves perilous enough.

Telemachos and the Navajo

Cross-culturally, it is this sense of connection with a paternal model and generally with the model of male ancestors that makes a boy into a man. In Homer, if a son feels himself unconnected to his father he is by definition νήπιος, as S. Edmunds has shown. [
10] Other than the absent Odysseus, the prince has few plausible behavioral prototypes among men, [11] as we will note in chapter 5. [12] The only prototype he has, and the sole kleos he personally experiences in his single-parent family, is the sedentary, female kleos of his mother Penelope. [13]

Penelope’s Antagonistic Kleos

‘ἐπεί νύ τοι ἄρμενον ἦεν
Ἡρακλῆα λιπεῖν· σέο δ’ ἔκτοθι μῆτις ὄρωρεν,
ὄφρα τὸ κείνου κῦδος ἀν’ Ἑλλάδα μή σε καλύψῃ’

Apollonios of Rhodes Argonautika 1.1290–1292

This woman’s kleos, according to Antinoos, should be put down to her high intelligence and dexterity:

‘ἔργα τ’ ἐπίστασθαι περικαλλέα καὶ φρένας ἐσθλὰς
κέρδεά θ’, οἷ’ οὔ πώ τιν’ ἀκούομεν οὐδὲ παλαιῶν’

Odyssey 2.117–118

“the knowledge of tasks [or handiwork, i.e. spinning and weaving] most beautiful and fine intelligence
and such ruses as we have never yet heard that even any of the women of the past [knew]”

When it comes to the rumors (see Odyssey 2.118: ἀκούομεν ‘we have heard’ [literally, ‘we hear’]) circulating about her ingenuity, Penelope, as this suitor says, surpasses even the renowned women of more distant, mythical times. [
16] These legendary women are Tyro, Nestor’s grandmother, Alkmene, Herakles’ mother, and Mykene, the daughter of the river god Inachos: {94|95}

‘τάων αἳ πάρος ἦσαν ἐϋπλοκαμῖδες Ἀχαιαί,
Τυρώ τ’ Ἀλκμήνη τε ἐϋστέφανός τε Μυκήνη·
τάων οὔ τις ὁμοῖα νοήματα Πηνελοπείῃ
ᾒδη . . .’

Odyssey 2.119–122

“of these [women] who were formerly Achaian ladies of beautiful curls,
Tyro and Alkmene and Mykene of the beautiful crown—
not any of these knew strategies similar to Penelope [i.e. to those of Penelope] . . .’

Antinoos’ extravagant compliment is mordant yet not unusual, echoing as it does a conventional politeness. [
17] What is of particular relevance is his observation that through her obdurate faithfulness and her general evasiveness Penelope gains kleos day by day, even as he speaks. Her kleos, in other words, is still in a state of becoming; indeed, it veritably grows into her ‘symbolic capital’ at the expense of the literal estate of her son: [18]

“a great reputation (kleos) for herself
she is creating, but for you a distressing lack of many possessions.”

Shortly afterwards, Eurymachos’ bilious comments (Odyssey 2.203–205; see below) in the assembly suggest that the queen’s dilatoriness has all but destroyed her son’s fleet.

Here it may be beneficial to attempt a brief psychoanalytical excursus, which may be of interest to students of literature: if we accept that the passage just cited (Odyssey 2.125–126) indirectly pertains to the competition or antagonism between two instances of kleos, we must at the same time suppose that the passage in its turn adumbrates an Oedipal conflict between father and son, or rather, an Oedipal attraction of the son to his mother. [22] This attraction is detectable in Odyssey 21.102ff., where Telemachos becomes a master of ceremonies, as it were, and advertises his mother as a bartered bride by using traditional hymeneal language: [23]

‘ἀλλ’ ἄγετε, μνηστῆρες, ἐπεὶ τόδε φαίνετ’ ἄεθλον,
οἵη νῦν οὐκ ἔστι γυνὴ κατ’ Ἀχαιΐδα γαῖαν,
οὔτε Πύλου ἱερῆς οὔτ’ Ἄργεος οὔτε Μυκήνης·
οὔτ’ αὐτῆς Ἰθάκης οὔτ’ ἠπείροιο μελαίνης.’

Odyssey 21.106–109

“Well, come on, Suitors, since this [pointing] here prize is on display
the like of whom now there is no woman throughout the Peloponnesian land
nor in holy Pylos nor in Argos nor Mykenai,
nor in Ithaka itself nor on the dark mainland!”

After touting his priceless ‘merchandise’ as an ἄεθλον ‘prize’ (Odyssey 21.106–107), he rights himself, fully aware of the epithalamian undertones—namely, the αἶνος ‘praise, encomium’—he has just evoked. His self-correction is at first sight explicable: praise (αἶνος) of this prospective bride (Odyssey 21.110: ‘καὶ δ’ αὐτοὶ τόδε ἴστε· τί με χρὴ μητέρος αἴνου;’ [“and you yourselves know this; what need have I to praise my mother?”) is superfluous. Immediately after this praeteritio, he hopes aloud that that he will succeed in “stringing {96|97} the bow and shooting an arrow through the iron” (Odyssey 21.114). Yet if he did this—according to the rules of the contest that Penelope has officially set (Odyssey 19.572–581)—he would win the ‘prize’, namely, his own mother! Such is the logical conclusion of Odyssey 21.106–114; but in verses 115–117 he corrects himself again, designedly avoiding the embarrassing associations that ensue and shifting to another related but safer topic (such avoidance also occurs in modern Greek folk song): [

‘οὔ κέ μοι ἀχνυμένῳ τάδε δώματα πότνια μήτηρ
λείποι ἅμ’ ἄλλῳ ἰοῦσ’, ὅτ’ ἐγὼ κατόπισθε λιποίμην
οἷός τ’ ἤδη πατρὸς ἀέθλια κάλ’ ἀνελέσθαι.’

Odyssey 21.115–117

“I would not be sorry if my lady mother were to leave this house,
going away with another [man], because I would be left behind
capable now of carrying off my father’s beautiful prizes [i.e. the axes].”

Here the Oedipal allusions are drowned out through the use of the plural πατρός ἀέθλια ‘my father’s prizes’ (Odyssey 21.117) [
25] instead of the singular and highly emphatic τόδε ἄεθλον ‘this prize’ (21.106). [26]

Let us return to the competing ‘fame’ of Odysseus and Penelope, respectively. It is interesting that from the perspective of Geistesgeschichte the Oedipal conflict between son and mother is described by Antinoos in the language of kleos: Penelope’s kleos grows every day, while Telemachos searches after Odysseus’ ‘fame’ and ‘news’ every day. As noted, the former kind of kleos checks Telemachos’ identification with his father’s kleos. Penelope, in the simile she unapologetically applies to herself in Odyssey 19.518–524, is the suffocating infanticide Aedon; day by day she kills the prince’s masculine identification with the king. This psychologizing interpretation of the repercussions of Penelope’s kleos may seem untenable; even so, it is at least significant that the youth reacts aggressively to his mother’s instructions to Phemios in Book 1 because he is intent on gaining access to his father’s kleos (in both senses of the term). {98|99}


“Not yet old enough for a man, nor young
enough for a boy … ᾽tis with him in standing water, between boy and man.”

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

The suitors, many of whom are named, make up a cohesive group that stands apart from the anonymous λαός ‘people’. All of the suitors are destined for decimation. [32] More or less contemporary with Telemachos—though some, as we saw, are older—they are also his Ersatzbrüder under the patriarchal system, aspiring to marry his mother, to whom they are sexually drawn (see Odyssey 1.366, 18.212–213). [33] These Oedipal rivals are the ‘evil step-brothers’ of fairy tales, venomous foes among whom the good prince has grown up. Only by killing his brothers/candidate fathers can Telemachos in his turn become a father and the husband of his mother. [34] Moreover, the usurpers constitute a gang of youths comparable, for instance, to the partisans who collectively oppose Romeo in Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. [35] The distinguished (κεκριμένοι) [36] jeunesse dorée of the kingdom are, from a psychosocial point of view, the crucial peer group that, theoretically at least, should have facilitated the development of his social identity. [37] The suitors’ ‘end’ (in the Aristotelian sense) is marriage to Penelope, as Haubold points out. [38] By the same token, Telemachos’ τέλος ‘end, purpose’ is κλέος ἔχειν, κλέος ἄρνυσθαι ‘to win kleos’, as Athena repeatedly asserts. Yet ‘circumspect’ Penelope thwarts both purposes. Through resistance and clever evasion for over three years, she effectively delays the maturation of these young men in particular. Given that marriage signals the decisive, quasi-initiatory step {99|100} towards full maturity for both sexes, [39] Eurymachos’ comment to Halistherses makes eminent sense. He charges Penelope with not only delaying but moreover altogether denying the suitors their chance to mature:

‘ἡμεῖς δ’ αὖ ποτιδέγμενοι ἤματα πάντα
εἵνεκα τῆς ἀρετῆς ἐριδαίνομεν, οὐδὲ μετ’ ἄλλας
ἐρχόμεθ’, ἃς ἐπιεικὲς ὀπυιέμεν ἐστὶν ἑκάστῳ.’

Odyssey 2.205–207

“we for our part, waiting on and on every day,
vie with one another on account of her general excellence (aretê), and we do not go
after other women, whom it would be [literally, is] fitting for each [of us] to marry.”

The implication of the adverbial phrase ἥματα πάντα ‘every day, day by day’ (Odyssey 2.205) is noteworthy: time flows steadily and unstoppably at the cost of the suitors’ designs of marriage to Penelope, [
40] but this is to the benefit of her kleos, as Antinoos has earlier observed (Odyssey 2.125–128).

Just as she fails in the end to postpone the maturation of her 108 surrogate sons when she decides to hold the shooting contest, so also she proves incapable of putting off her real son’s journey towards maturity. Her tearful {100|101} reaction to the news that the prince has set out speaks volumes. Beneath the melodrama of her expostulation it is possible to discern the resolutely tight control she has exercised over him up to this point:

‘εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ πυθόμην ταύτην ὁδὸν ὁρμαίνοντα,
τῷ κε μάλ’ ἤ κεν μεῖνε, καὶ ἐσσύμενός περ ὁδοῖο,
ἤ κέ με τεθνηκυῖαν ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἔλειπεν.’

Odyssey 4.732–734

“For if I had learned that he was contemplating this journey,
either right here he would have stayed, even though intent on his journey,
or he would have left me dead in the palace.”

This possessive net had shown signs of slackening when in Odyssey 1.346ff. the prince delivered his tirade to his startled mother (Odyssey 1.360). Now Telemachos’ departure brings this control to an unexpected end.

If the Little Prince is a hybrid ἀνδρόπαις [44] —that is, a man (ἀνήρ) whose biological maturation does not overlap with his psychosocial growth—we might say that the clinging queen focuses on the centripetal strand of παῖς ‘child, boy’. At the same time Athena, especially when impersonating Mentes, counterbalances this by foregrounding the centrifugal strand of ἄνδρ in Telemachos’ make-up. It is the latter component that the youth will bring to fruition once he returns from his mission. Parenthetically, Athena in her successive guises fulfills the educational role of Phoinix, who later in antiquity was considered the prototypical teacher. An Ersatzvater, Phoinix takes the infant Achilles as his charge (Iliad 9.485–91) and, significantly, accompanies the youth to Troy:

‘νήπιον, οὔπω εἰδόθ’ ὁμοιΐου πολέμοιο,
οὐδ’ ἀγορέων, ἵνα τ’ ἄνδρες ἀριπρεπέες τελέθουσι.’

Iliad 9.440–441

“childish, not yet knowledgeable about war that is impartial [?] to all
nor even about assemblies [public deliberation] where [sc. generally] men become outstanding.”

There he teaches Achilles the arts of rhetoric and good counsel as well as war, all of which, as we have seen, define mature heroic conduct. [
45] The Iliadic passage that spells this out is well known and has already been cited:

‘τοὔνεκά με προέηκε διδασκέμεναι τάδε πάντα,
μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων.’

Iliad 9.442–443

“For this reason he [sc. Peleus] sent me to teach you all these things,
namely to be to be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.”

In her own words Penelope denies that her son possesses the two necessary ingredients of adult heroic identity. If she had her way, the prince would remain νήπιος ‘childish’, though she silently knows that he has indeed reached physical (chronological) maturity. [46] We noted in earlier chapters {102|103} that her wish corresponds in large measure to her son’s actual state since he has not yet been ‘initiated’ into heroic status. Antinoos’ spontaneous curse (uttered before Penelope’s oneiric conversation with her ‘sister’) is consistent with Penelope’s statement in the dream:

‘ἀλλά οἱ αὐτῷ
Ζεὺς ὀλέσειε βίην, πρὶν ἥβης μέτρον ἱκέσθαι.’

Odyssey 4.668–669

“but to his own detriment
may Zeus destroy his strength before he reaches the measure of youth.”

Scholars have been intrigued by the suitor’s comment. [
47] In effect Antinoos, like the Queen, rejects the reality that Telemachos has grown up, at least on the outside. Indeed, the completion of the “measure of youth” is a dire prospect for both and with good reason: in Archaic (and Classical) ideology ἥβη ‘youth, coming of age’ signals teleologically personal and civic agency, on the one hand, and, on the other, competence in warfare, [48] and, given the poem’s particular ideology, the capacity for revenge. [49] The eventuality of personal agency threatens a mother; the second kind of agency, which Orestes embodies in exemplary fashion, threatens the suitors to their core. Yet before setting off on his ὁδός ‘journey’ Telemachos shows himself to be an ἀνδρόπαις ‘man-child’ in respect of both kinds of agency. It would be nice—according to his mother and the suitors—if he were to remain so. {103|}


[ back ] 1. Odyssey 2.318–320,386–387. Why does Telemachos emphasize ἔμπορος ‘passenger’ in Odyssey 2.319? Dawe 1993:116 ad loc. suspects a non sequitur and therefore condemns verses 319–320. Yet Telemachos himself implies at least one reason why he has no ship of his own: the usurpers’ dissipation even of Odysseus’ fleet. The lack of a fleet is emblematic of the absence of great Captain (σημάντωρ) Odysseus; see Odyssey 19.313–315. For Telemachos’ literal ἀπορία ‘resourcelessness’, see also Olson 1995:79–80 and below. Further on the ship and its tellingly small crew, see Chapter 5 n54 and n57.

[ back ] 2. Copley 1993:61–64.

[ back ] 3. For the portrait of the depressed, decrepit Laertes: Odyssey 24.226ff., esp. 231, 233 (πένθος); also Odyssey 1.189–193, 11.187–196, 16.139–140.

[ back ] 4. Yet another sign of the irregular state of affairs in the kingdom: Odyssey 1.154: ἤειδε … ἀνάγκῃ.

[ back ] 5. See Chapter 2.

[ back ] 6. Jones 2002:152 ad Odyssey 16.242; further, see Chapter 3. Cf. e.g. Odyssey 1.258, 7.228, etc.

[ back ] 7. Dawe 1993: ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπους is properly used of “fame spreading” (814); see also Nagy 1974. Here, however, Dawe suggests that the phrase pertains to ἀρίστη. Either way, Odysseus’ reputation for his cunning will have spread globally, so to speak.

[ back ] 8. But cf. Diomedes, who lost his father at a very tender age: Iliad 6.222–223 and Chapter 1 n94 and n98.

[ back ] 9. Devereux 1985:19–20 (my italics). Similarly, according to Wöhrle 1999:32–48, the Homeric father is the cognitive model that shapes all of his son’s social relations with other males.

[ back ] 10. Edmunds 1990 and Chapter 3 above.

[ back ] 11. See Olson 1995:67.

[ back ] 12. Cf. the kourotrophic role of Iphidamas’ grandfather (Iliad 11.221–224) and Chapter 5.

[ back ] 13. See n20 below.

[ back ] 14. Chapter 1 of Ferrari 2002. The ταφεῖον φᾶρος that the Queen weaves and then unravels is not a death shroud, but rather an ἐπίβλημα, that is, a cloth cover for Laertes’ lying in state (πρόθεσις). Stretching beyond his corpse, it would cover the ‘coffin’ and would likely have been decorated with parti-colored friezes representing his patron deity and narrating his feats and those of his ancestors. It is ‘a eulogy on cloth’. As a number of diverse ancient sources suggest, the entire process of the fabrication and decoration of a φᾶρος of comparable proportions would indeed have required two or almost three years. See Barber 1991:350–383, esp. 378, 380, 382.

[ back ] 15. Heitman 2005:22–23, 26.

[ back ] 16. For these hyperbolic comparisons: Jones 2002:22 ad Odyssey 2.120. These heroines evoke an unusually distant and hence more definite past for the Odyssey’s protagonists. See Jones 1992:82 (who however argues that the past is conceived as recent in the poem).

[ back ] 17. Petropoulos 2003:20–21, 39–40.

[ back ] 18. Bourdieu and Passeron 1964 and Robbins 1991. Ferrari 2002:11–12, following E. Keuls, regards Penelope’s weaving as an act of political resistance.

[ back ] 19. But cf. Jones 1991:141 ad loc.

[ back ] 20. The beggar Odysseus’ words to Penelope (Odyssey 19, esp. 108–109) are not a “deluge of insipid compliments” (pace Dawe 1993:693 ad loc. and similarly Jones 2002:176). The identical phraseology at Odyssey 9.20 (= 19.108–109), where the hero describes his kleos in the first person (see Chapter 1), implies on the contrary that in Book 19 he identifies with the laudanda or at least applies the terms of masculine kleos analogously to his wife.

[ back ] 21. See Chapter 1.

[ back ] 22. For Penelope as an “analysand,” see Devereux 1957:378–386 and Devereux and Κουρέτας 1958:250–255.

[ back ] 23. Parody is in tune with the young man’s ironical, mocking mood, as can be seen in Odyssey 21.102–105 (esp. 105: ‘αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ γελόω καὶ τέρπομαι ἄφρονι θυμῷ’). Nuptial discourse is echoed consciously in Odyssey 21.106–109; cf. the technical terms in verses 316 (‘οἴκαδέ μ’ ἄξεσθαι’) and 322 (‘οὔ τί σε τόνδ’ ἄξεσθαι ὀϊόμεθ’); cf. also Odysseus’ words to Nausikaa in Odyssey 6.149–169, 180–185 as well as the latter’s reply at 243–245. Odyssey 6.227–235 may be based on the songs of praise accompanying the customary bath and preparation of the bridegroom, on which see Petropoulos 2003, chapter 2. Further on the ‘intertextual’ relationship between the above passages from Book 6 and ancient bridal songs, see Petropoulos 2003.

[ back ] 24. Petropoulos 2003:8–9 (“teasing technique”).

[ back ] 25. According to Jones 2002:198 ad Odyssey 21.117, these are Odysseus’ old prizes, i.e. the axes, connoted in verses 61–62 by the phrase ‘iron and bronze’ (a hendiadys).

[ back ] 26. The demonstrative pronoun τόδε suggests that Telemachos points with his finger or makes some other gesture in the direction of his mother.

[ back ] 27. For the suitors’ ages, see Odyssey 21.94, 179, 401, and Stanford 1958:363 ad Odyssey 21.179; cf. Odyssey 20.361, 24.107ff., and Dawe 1993:839 ad Odyssey 24.102. The suitors’ youth is seldom mentioned by philologists but is highlighted by psychoanalysts, e.g. Devereux and Κουρέτας 1958:253. See also Chapter 6 for the social and cultural age of the suitors.

[ back ] 28. The Queen tenderly raises from her infancy Melantho, the maidservant (Odyssey 18.322–323): might this imply that Penelope is a collective mother? See Chapter 3 n70.

[ back ] 29. See de Jong 2001:39 ad Odyssey 1.367–424 for these chances.

[ back ] 30. A mordant comment that also acknowledges the suitor’s seniority. The irony is especially pronounced because Telemachos’ real father is present. For the suitors as substitute brothers and fathers, see below. Though in a sense a ‘father’ to Telemachos, Antinoos, if we judge by the way in which the Queen scolds him in Odyssey 16.418–421 (‘καὶ δέ σέ φασιν / . . .μεθ’ ὁμήλικας ἔμμεν ἄριστον / βουλῇ καὶ μύθοισι· σὺ δ’ οὐκ ἄρα τοῖος ἔησθα’) also poses smugly as Penelope’s ‘son’ (cf. the manner in which she upbraids Telemachos in Odyssey 18.215–220). Antinoos’ filial relationship stems, on the one hand, from his youth in relation to her and, on the other, from the paternalistic hierarchy that reduces social inferiors to the status of children: see Odyssey 4.31–36, Menelaos’ stern words to his remiss servant Eteoneus. See also n33 below.

[ back ] 31. Cf. Friedman and Gassel 1952:215–23.

[ back ] 32. See Chapter 6.

[ back ] 33. Cf. Felson-Rubin 1994: the suitors at times behave paternally towards Telemachos, and at times they are his “brothers”: in the first case they are a foil to Odysseus, in the second they oppose Telemachos (177n14); also Wöhrle 1999: every suitor is an Ersatzbruder who however aspires to become the Prince’s father or, better, his stepfather. As potential stepfathers, the suitors contend with Telemachos in a “battle of generations” (141). These ‘half-brothers’/’step-fathers’ have a father in common with Telemachos—Odysseus, the collective father, on whom see Appendix II.

[ back ] 34. Cf. Wöhlre 1999:141. See the preceding section on epithalamian echoes in Odyssey 21.115–117.

[ back ] 35. For this youth gang, see Copley 1993:101, 135–136, and Chapter 6. The suitors resemble a gang of youths in Copley’s definition of the term: a gang provides its members with a) a sense of identity articulated through b) violent behavior (see ἀγήνορες) that also serves as the ‘glue’ for the gang; and c) a gang is “largely antisocial in its operations.”

[ back ] 36. For the suitors, see, inter alios, Hölscher 1990:264–267.

[ back ] 37. Copley 1993:93; Wöhlre 1999: ordinarily the peer group would have facilitated the Prince’s social integration by involving him, e.g., in pranks and jokes (119).

[ back ] 38. See e.g. Odyssey 21.157–158 and Haubold 2000:138.

[ back ] 39. In Iliad 11.225–228 marriage marks accession to the ἥβης μέτρον ‘measure of maturity’ in the case of the Trojan hero Iphidamas, who though newly married heads for battle from Thrace: see Ferrari 2002:133–134. In general, transvestism in myths and actual rituals (e.g. the Oschophoria) involving boys may be construed as symbolic preparation for the assumption of a heterosexual role in marriage. This view is argued by Waldner 2000 and cited by Ferrari 2002:123 and 283–284n65. That male initiation also aims at grooming a youth for a heterosexual role in society finds further support in the Telemachy: a) The two simultaneous weddings at Sparta (Odyssey 4.3–19) are neither merely an image of social normality with which Telemachos is unfamiliar (thus Jones 2002:35 ad loc.) nor an inessential and hence suspect scene (thus Dawe 1993:159–160 ad loc.) but rather part of the Prince’s ‘premarital’ education, the doubling of a wedding feast being an emphatic educational device. b) Helen’s innate sexuality, which is also made perceptible through her drug (Wöhlre 1999:128, 131n35), affords Telemachos a leisurely opportunity to become ‘initiated’ into female sexuality. c) The wedding gift that Helen, now the champion of matrimony, offers to the Prince (Odyssey 15.125–129), looks ahead to his maturity (possibly in the epic cycle outside the Odyssey): cf. Odyssey 15.125–127: ‘τοῦτο δίδωμι, / . . .πολυηράτου ἐς γάμου ὥρην, / . . .τῆος δὲ φίλῃ παρὰ μητρὶ / κεῖσθαι ἐνὶ μεγάρῳ’. d) Athena herself predicts Telemachos’ wedding (Odyssey 15.26). e) In general, military training, equipping a youth as it does with ‘excellence’ (ἀρετή), makes him attractive for a prospective bride, as suggested by Odysseus in one of his Cretan tales (Odyssey 15.211–213). See also Iliad 13.363ff. and the sexual ‘initiation’, which follows on their initiation proper, of Jason and other Argonauts at Lemnos in Apollonios of Rhodes and the African parallels: Woronoff 1978:246–249, 251, 257.

[ back ] 40. See Odyssey 16.383, 390–392. Yet their general chances of marriage are not any fewer: Odyssey 2.206–207, 21.160–162. (Dawe and others consider Odyssey 21.157–162 an interpolation.)

[ back ] 41. Wöhrle 1999:131.

[ back ] 42. Wöhrle 1999:131.

[ back ] 43. Cf. Penelope’s dream of 20 geese (κατὰ οἶκον, Odyssey 19.536ff.), Felson-Rubin 1994:177n9 ad loc., and esp. Devereux and Κουρέτας 1958:252–253, who note that χήν ‘goose’ is male in gender in ancient Greek. Cf. also Penelope as a child-slaying nightingale (above).

[ back ] 44. The term occurs in Aischylos Septem 533 (Hutchinson): Ferrari 2002, esp. 137, shows that this term refers to a hybrid, liminal stage embracing both “man and child.”

[ back ] 45. See Chapter 5 for the likely stages of Achilles’ ‘education’ by Phoinix. Note τελέθουσι ‘become’ in Iliad 9.441 above, which connotes the ‘hands-on’ training of participation in the assembly. See also Chapter 3 and esp. n36 on Diomedes’ schooling in speech.

[ back ] 46. Cf. her explicit admission that ‘νῦν δ’ὅτε δὴ μέγας ἐσσὶ καὶ ἥβης μέτρον ἱκάνεις’ (Odyssey 18.217); also cf. Odyssey 18.269 and 19.160–161, where she calls her son man of the household, echoing Odysseus’ observation at Odyssey 19.86ff.; see discussion below.

[ back ] 47. Heubeck, West, and Hainsworth 1988:235 ad Odyssey 4.668; Dawe 1993:203 ad loc.

[ back ] 48. For ἥβη and agency, see Ferrari 2002:134–135, 163.

[ back ] 49. Heitman 2005: Telemachos’ beard forebodes his revenge (51). See Chapter 5 below.