The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Homer's Odyssey, how did Eumaeus come to the island of Ithaca?

Expert Answers info

JOHN THORBURN eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write606 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

One of my favorite characters in Homer's Odyssey is the swineherd Eumaeus, a poor but loyal servant to the title character. At Odyssey 15.403-492, he tells the story of how he came to live on Ithaca.

Originally, Eumaeus was son of the king of an island called Syrie. There, when he was very young, he was cared for by a servant woman who, having been seduced by Phoenician traders, abducted him and took him aboard a Phoenician ship. The servant woman died during the subsequent voyage and young Eumaeus was left alone.

At some point, the Phoenicians landed on Ithaca and sold Eumaeus to Laertes:

Then the wind and waves carried them here to Ithaca, where Laertes' wealth purchased me. That’s how I came to set eyes on this land. (A.S. Kline translation)

 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial