As a sequel to Book VI, this book tells of how Odysseus manages to disarm the suspicions, and indeed to gain the support, of King Alcinous and Queen Arete. The 'topos' of 'xenia', the etiquette which is required in relation to hospitality to strangers, is at the centre of the book. In the end Odysseus is very well-treated, but the long silence of Arete, whose understanding Nausicaa has told him is crucial, allows the suspense to be maintained for much of the book.
On 17th September 2010 Sabidius published on this blog an extract from Book V of Homer's "Odyssey". He has now translated the whole of Book VI, and this translation is hereby offered to his readers below. As much of the introduction to the extract from Book V is relevant here it is not repeated, but the reader is referred to it now.
Book VI explores the themes of 'xenia' (hospitality) and its abuse, and survival through endurance and cunning. After Odysseus' terrible seven year imprisonment by the nymph Calypso on the island of Ogygea, he now has the pleasure of meeting the beautiful young Nausicaa, an exemplary maiden in all respects. The manner in which Odysseus addresses the dangers and temptations of the position in which he finds himself as a naked castaway is most intriguing.
"Philoctetes" is one of Sophocles latest plays. It is unusual in several respects, with a small all-male cast and without a tragic ending. The text of this extract is taken from "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002. The prologue and epilogue to this extract are also repeated here.
Philoctetes joined the Greek expedition to Troy. During a halt to offer sacrifice at the island of Chryse he was bitten by a snake. The wound festered, and the stench and his cries so disturbed his comrades...