Odyssey Book9

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  • Soon after leaving Troy, Odysseus and his crew land near Ismarus, the city of the Cicones. The Cicones are allies of the Trojans and therefore enemies of Odysseus. Odysseus and his crew raid the Cicones, robbing and killing people, until the Ciconian army kills 72 of Odysseus' men and drives the rest out to sea.
  • The attack on the Cicones
  • What of my sailing, then, from Troy? What of those years of rough adventure, weathered under Zeus? I might have made it safely home, that time, but as I came round Malea the current took me out to sea, and from the north a fresh gale drove me on, past Cythera.
  • The island of Lotus Eaters
  • His ships land at the island of the Lotus-Eaters. Anyone who eats Lotus becomes tired and forgetful because Lotus is a strong drug or opiate. The sailors eat the Lotus and are drugged. Odysseus and the other men from the ship pull their weaker, drugged shipmates off the island.
  • "Nine days I drifted on the teeming sea before dangerous high winds. Upon the tent we came to the coastline of the Lotus Eaters, who live upon that flower. We landed there to take on water. All ships' companies alongside for the mid-day meal."
  • Odysseus and his men then sail through the murky night to the land of the Cyclopes, a rough and uncivilized race of one-eyed giants. There they immediately come upon a cave full of sheep and crates of milk and cheese. The cave’s inhabitant soon returns—it is the Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon. He devours two of Odysseus’s men on the spot and imprisons Odysseus and the rest in his cave for future meals.
  • "In the next land we found were Cyclopes,  giants, louts, without a law to bless them. In ignorance leaving the fruitage of the earth in mystery  to the immortal gods, they neither plow nor sow by hand, nor till the ground, though grain—wild wheat and barley—grows untended, and wine-grapes, in clusters, ripen in heaven's rain."
  • Part 1: Cyclops Islands
  • Part 2: Cyclops Island
  • Neither reply nor pity came from him, but in one stride he clutched at my companions and caught two in his hands like squirming puppies to beat their brains out, spattering the floor. Then he dismembered them and made his meal, gaping and crunching like a mountain lion—everything: innards, flesh, and marrow bones.
  • The next day, while Polyphemus is outside pasturing his sheep, Odysseus finds a wooden log in the cave and sharpens it. When Polyphemus returns, Odysseus gets him drunk on wine that he brought along from the ship. Polyphemus passes out drunk and Odysseus and 4 of his men shove the pike into Polyphemus’ eye, blinding him.
  • Part 3: Cyclops Island
  • 'Cyclops, you ask my honorable name? Remember the gift you promised me, and I shall tell you. My name is Nohbdy: mother, father, and friends, everyone calls me Nohbdy.'
  • When morning comes, Odysseus and his men escape from the cave, unseen by the blind Polyphemus, by clinging to the bellies of the monster’s sheep as they go out to graze.
  • O Cyclops! Would you feast on my companions? Puny, am I, in a Caveman's hands? How do you like the beating that we gave you, you damned cannibal? Eater of guests under your roof! Zeus and the gods have paid you!'
  • Safe on board their ships and with Polyphemus’s flock on board as well, Odysseus calls to land and reveals his true identity. With his former prisoners now out of reach, the blind giant lifts up a prayer to his father, Poseidon, calling for vengeance on Odysseus.
  • The theme of book 9 is that you should never be arrogant so as to put you and your men in peril.
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