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In the eleventh book of Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus conjures up the spirits of the dead. One of the first spirits he encounters is that of the famous Theban prophet Teiresias, the same prophet who would appears as a character in Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Sophocles' Antigone.
The spirit of Teiresias tells Odysseus about what will happen before he returns to Ithaca and what he must do after he returns to Ithaca. Regarding what will happen to Odysseus before he returns to Ithaca, Teiresias warns Odysseus about the wrath of Poseidon (because Odysseus blinded his son Polyphemus). The prophet also warns Odysseus to avoid the cattle of the sun god, Helios. If Odysseus and his men do not avoid harming these cattle, then Teiresias predicts that Odysseus may manage to make it home, but that all of his men and ships will be destroyed. Additionally, Teiresias adds that if Odysseus manages to reach Ithaca, he will
come unlooked-for to your home, in sore distress, losing all comrades, in another’s vessel, to find great trouble in your house, insolent men who destroy your goods, who court your wife and offer gifts of courtship. (A.S. Kline translation).
For the subject of Odysseus and his men's encounter with the cattle of Helios, please read Odyssey 12.
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