Who is Telemus in The Odyssey? What did he predict?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Telemus is the son of Eurymos, and he is a seer, a prophet. He landed on the island of the Cyclops' and lived out the rest of his days there. He prophesied that Polythemus would lose his sight at the hands of Odysseus.

When Odysseus lands on the island, he tells Polythemus his name is "Noman" or "No one" or "Nobody" (it varies with translation). After Odysseus blind Polythemus, he reveals his true identity. It is then that Polythemus speaks of Telemus.

`Cyclops, if anyone among mortal men should ask who put out your eye in this ugly fashion, say that the one who blinded you was Odysseus the city-sacker, son of Laertes and dweller in Ithaka.'
So I spoke. He groaned aloud as he answered me: Ah, it comes home to me at last, that oracle uttered long ago. We once had a prophet in our country, a truly great man called Telemos son of Eurymos, skilled in divining, living among the Kyklopes race as an aged seer. He told me all this as a thing that would later come to pass--that I was to lose my sight at the hands of one Odysseus. But I always thought that the man who came would be tall and handsome, visibly clothed with heroic strength; instead, it has been a puny and strengthless and despicable man who had taken my sight away from me after overpowering me with wine.

So although Polythemus is blind and cheated by Odysseus, he still manages a shot at Odysseus' appearance and personality. He seems to recognize that the hero's strength lies in thought, rather than physical prowess. Although, no one will argue Odysseus' physical strength either.