Odyssey XI - Nekuia
|Odyssey Book XI|
|Who's Who In Greek Legend|
After Agamemnon, Odysseus let Achilles drink the blood. Achilles complained about death and asked about his son's life. Odysseus was able to assure him that Neoptolemus was still alive and had repeatedly proved himself to be brave and heroic.
In life, when Achilles had died, Ajax had thought the honor of the dead man's armor should have fallen to him, but instead it was awarded Odysseus. Even in death Ajax held a grudge and would not speak with Odysseus.
Next Odysseus saw:
Minos (son of Zeus and Europa whom Odysseus witnessed meting out judgment to the dead)
Orion (driving herds of wild beasts he had slain)
ITityos (who paid for violating Leto in perpetuity by being gnawed upon by vultures)
Tantalus (who could never quench his thirst despite being immersed in water, nor slake his hunger depite being inches from an overhanging branch bearing fruit) and
Sisyphus (doomed forever to roll back up a hill a rock that keeps rolling back down)
but the next (and last) to speak was Hercules' phantom (the real Hercules being with the gods). Hercules compared his labors with those of Odysseus, commiserating on the god-inflicted suffering.
Next Odysseus would have liked to have spoken with Theseus, but the wailing of the dead scared him and he feared Persephone would destroy him using the head of Medusa:
"I would fain have seen - Theseus and Peirithoos glorious children of the gods, but so many thousands of ghosts came round me and uttered such appalling cries, that I was panic stricken lest Persephone should send up from the house of Hades the head of that awful monster Gorgon."
So he returned to his men, the ship, and sailed away from the Underworld through Oceanus, back to Circe for more refreshment, comfort, a burial, and help getting home to Ithaca.
His adventures were far from over.
a.) The Danaids, the 49 daughters of Danaus who killed their husbands on their wedding night. Their punishment is to try to draw water using a sieve.
b.) Ixion who is tied to a revolving fiery wheel.