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date: 04 July 2020


The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World
John RobertsJohn Roberts

wife of Odysseus, and mother of Telemachus. In Homer's Odyssey she faithfully awaits Odysseus' return, although pressed to marry one of the many local nobles. She pretends that she must first finish weaving a shroud for Laertes, Odysseus' father, which she unravels every night for three years, until detected by a maid and forced to complete it. Finally, twenty years after Odysseus' departure, in despair she resolves to marry the suitor who can string Odysseus' bow and perform a special feat of archery. Odysseus, who has returned disguised as a beggar, achieves this and kills the suitors with the bow. She tests his identity by another trick concerning their marriage‐bed and they are reunited. Homer portrays her as a model of fidelity, prudence, and ingenuity.... ...

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