This quote is a great example of the rich descriptive language in Homer's Odyssey.The poem is full of them, such as the infamous "wine-dark sea," all of which suggest the Ancient Greeks had a deep imagination obsessed with the personification of the natural world. In particular, the description of the dawn coming "with ringlets shining" suggests many things. First of all, it brings to mind Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Eos had many lovers and was especially fond of young men, and the sensuous "ringlet" description clearly communicates this vivacious nature. Moreover, it further illustrates the Greek belief that all aspects of the natural world were governed by gods and goddesses with humanlike qualities. Thus, the dawn coming "with ringlets shining" is not just a pretty description; rather, it's an example of the way in which Ancient Greeks saw the world, as it shows how they envisioned every aspect of the natural world as an extension and personification of human-like gods.
The Greeks believed that Eos, the goddess of dawn, gave birth to the new dawn every day. The shining ringlets are her curled tresses, or hair. The image that comes to my mind is the rays of sunlight peeking trhough the morning clouds.
Good question. It gives me a range of impressions. First, of course, it personifies dawn, making it into a person. At the same time, though, the "shining" reminds us of the light that defines dawn. The ringlets make the morning female, and the idea of having them shining indicates human health and vitality, and perhaps a recent wetting, as might come with a bath…or the dew. There's a sense of freshness.