Book 9

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  • The Sirens; Scylla and Charybdis
  • The Sirens; Scylla and Charybdis
  • The Sirens; Scylla and Charybdis
  • True to his word, Odysseus returns to Aeaea for Elpenor's funeral rites. Circe is helpful once more, providing supplies and warnings about the journey to begin the next dawn. First the Greeks must get past the Sirens whose irresistible songs lure sailors into their island's coastal reefs. Next they must avoid the Clashing Rocks which only the ship of the Argonauts ever escaped.
  • Choosing to go around the Clashing Rocks, Odysseus then must confront either Scylla or Charybdis. The first is a six-headed monster lurking in an overhanging, fog-concealed cavern. She cannot be defeated in battle, and she will devour at least six of the Greeks, one for each of her hideous heads that feature triple rows of thickset fangs. No more than an arrow shot away is Charybdis, a monster whirlpool that swallows everything near it three times a day.
  • If the Greeks survive these terrors, they will meet the most dangerous test of all: the temptation of the island (Thrinacia) of the Sungod Helios. Whatever they do, the seamen must not harm the sacred cattle of the sun. If they resist temptation, they can return home safely; if, on the other hand, they harm any sacred animal, the ship and men will be destroyed. Odysseus alone may survive, but he will return home late and alone, a broken man.
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