The Odyssey

Page: 215

100 (return)
[ The writer is at fault here and tries to put it off on Circe. When Ulysses comes to take the route prescribed by Circe, he ought to pass either the Wanderers or some other difficulty of which we are not told, but he does not do so. The Planctae, or Wanderers, merge into Scylla and Charybdis, and the alternative between them and something untold merges into the alternative whether Ulysses had better choose Scylla or Charybdis. Yet from line 260, it seems we are to consider the Wanderers as having been passed by Ulysses; this appears even more plainly from xxiii. 327, in which Ulysses expressly mentions the Wandering rocks as having been between the Sirens and Scylla and Charybdis. The writer, however, is evidently unaware that she does not quite understand her own story; her difficulty was perhaps due to the fact that though Trapanese sailors had given her a fair idea as to where all her other localities really were, no one in those days more than in our own could localise the Planctae, which in fact, as Buttmann has argued, were derived not from any particular spot, but from sailors' tales about the difficulties of navigating the group of the Aeolian islands as a whole (see note on "Od." x. 3). Still the matter of the poor doves caught her fancy, so she would not forgo them. The whirlwinds of fire and the smoke that hangs on Scylla suggests allusion to Stromboli and perhaps even Etna. Scylla is on the Italian side, and therefore may be said to look West. It is about 8 miles thence to the Sicilian coast, so Ulysses may be perfectly well told that after passing Scylla he will come to the Thrinacian island or Sicily. Charybdis is transposed to a site some few miles to the north of its actual position.]

101 (return)
[ I suppose this line to have been intercalated by the author when lines 426-446 were added.]

102 (return)
[ For the reasons which enable us to identify the island of the two Sirens with the Lipari island now Salinas—the ancient Didyme, or "twin" island—see The Authoress of the Odyssey, pp. 195, 196. The two Sirens doubtless were, as their name suggests, the whistling gusts, or avalanches of air that at times descend without a moment's warning from the two lofty mountains of Salinas—as also from all high points in the neighbourhood.]

103 (return)
[ See Admiral Smyth on the currents in the Straits of Messina, quoted in "The Authoress of the Odyssey," p. 197.]

104 (return)
[ In the islands of Favognana and Marettimo off Trapani I have seen men fish exactly as here described. They chew bread into a paste and throw it into the sea to attract the fish, which they then spear. No line is used.]

105 (return)
[ The writer evidently regards Ulysses as on a coast that looked East at no great distance south of the Straits of Messina somewhere, say, near Tauromenium, now Taormina.]

106 (return)
[ Surely there must be a line missing here to tell us that the keel and mast were carried down into Charybdis. Besides, the aorist {Greek} in its present surrounding is perplexing. I have translated it as though it were an imperfect; I see Messrs. Butcher and Lang translate it as a pluperfect, but surely Charybdis was in the act of sucking down the water when Ulysses arrived.]

107 (return)
[ I suppose the passage within brackets to have been an afterthought but to have been written by the same hand as the rest of the poem. I suppose xii. 103 to have been also added by the writer when she decided on sending Ulysses back to Charybdis. The simile suggests the hand of the wife or daughter of a magistrate who had often seen her father come in cross and tired.]

108 (return)
[ Gr. {Greek}. This puts coined money out of the question, but nevertheless implies that the gold had been worked into ornaments of some kind.]

109 (return)
[ I suppose [Teiresias]' prophecy of bk. xi. 114-120 had made no impression on Ulysses. More probably the prophecy was an afterthought, intercalated, as I have already said, by the authoress when she changed her scheme.]

110 (return)
[ A male writer would have made Ulysses say, not "may you give satisfaction to your wives," but "may your wives give satisfaction to you."]

111 (return)
[ See note [64].]

112 (return)
[ The land was in reality the shallow inlet, now the salt works of S. Cusumano—the neighbourhood of Trapani and Mt. Eryx being made to do double duty, both as Scheria and [Ithaca]. Hence the necessity for making Ulysses set out after dark, fall instantly into a profound sleep, and wake up on a morning so foggy that he could not see anything till the interviews between Neptune and Jove and between Ulysses and Minerva should have given the audience time to accept the situation. See illustrations and map near the end of bks. v. and vi. respectively.]

113 (return)
[ This cave, which is identifiable with singular completeness, is now called the "grotta del toro," probably a corruption of "tesoro," for it is held to contain a treasure. See The Authoress of the Odyssey, pp. 167-170.]

114 (return)
[ Probably they would.]

115 (return)
[ Then it had a shallow shelving bottom.]

116 (return)
[ Doubtless the road would pass the harbour in Odyssean times as it passes the salt works now; indeed, if there is to be a road at all there is no other level ground which it could take. See map above referred to.]