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Ancient Greek Mythology

Homer's Odyssey

8th century BC, Ancient Greek.

Athene waved her magic wand and Odysseus became an old man, dresed in rags.

'Odysseus returns to Ithica in a magical ship that carries him across the waves while he is asleep,' said Miranda. 'He wakes to find himself on a beach, with all his treasure in boxes around him. He doesn't recognise the place, and pretends to be someone else, to a shepherd, who turns out to be the goddess Athena in disguise.

'He wants to find out the lie of the land before revealing his identity,' said Quintin.

'She waves her magic wand and he becomes an old man, dresed in rags. Even his loyal swineherd cannot begin to recognise him. Then, in front of his son Telemachus, he appears as a young man again.

'Yes, his old self.'

'No, not his old self. [Athene] touched him with her golden wand. First she put a mantle and a fresh tunic over him, then made him more tall and young and lithe… He tells his son: Athene the goddess has transformed me; it is her way to make me, according to her all-powerful will, now like a beggar, now like a youth in handsome garments.

'He set off for the Trojan war as a top commander twenty years ago, so standing in front of his grown-up son he can hardly be a youth. And now, he's off to his palace with his loyal swineherd, Eumaeus: and here was Eumaeus, guiding his master towards the town in the shape of an old, wretched beggar, stooping over a stick and with dismal rags about his body.

Quotations from: Shewring, Walter, with an introduction by Kirk, G. S., 1980, reprinted 2008. Homer: The Odyssey. Translated from ancient Greek with an introduction. Oxford University Press. Book XVI, Odysseus Reveals Himself to Telemachus, and Book XVII, The King as Beggar.

See for yourself

Homer – Wikipedia

Odysseus – Wikipedia

The Odyssey – Wikipedia

Athena – Wikipedia

Homer: The Odyssey – English translation, Internet Classics Archive

Concealed identity

Elizabeth Line

detail from pastal artwork
pastel drawing, entanglement and fear

Concealed identity: summary

Station location: explore the motifs

hawk in flight
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