Friday, December 08, 2023


A Droll Death

M.L. West, The Making of the Odyssey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 14:
According to a legend used by Aeschylus in his Psychagogoi (fr. 275), Odysseus, after coming safely through all the perils that beset him on sea and land, perished at last in a droll manner. There fell on his bald pate the droppings of a passing heron that had eaten a stingray. The residual poison from the fish seeped into his scalp, and his aged constitution succumbed to it. I have argued elsewhere (2013: 307-15) that this was originally the 'gentle death from the sea' that Teiresias prophesied would visit him in his old age (λ 134-6).
Elsewhere = West's The Epic Cycle: A Commentary on the Lost Troy Epics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

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