The Death of Odysseus by Feces: Aeschylus, fragment (275 R; 478a1-5)

According  to Aeschylus’ fragmentary Psychagogoi, Teiresias prophesied to Odysseus that his death would come from the sea in an avarian fecal format:

         <ΤΕΙΡΕΣ.> ‘ἐρρω<ι>διὸς γὰρ ὑψόθεν ποτώμενος

         ὄνθω<ι> σε πλήξε<ι>, νηδύιος χειλώμασιν.

         ἐκ τοῦ δ’ ἄκανθα ποντίου βοσκήματος

         σήψει παλαιὸν δέρμα καὶ τριχορρυές’.


“As a heron flies on high, he will strike you with shit from his stomach’s end.

And the thorns from that watery food will rot your old and balding skin.”


This may correspond to the Odyssey‘s cryptic note that “death will come from the sea”. For a great discussion, see Timothy Gantz. Early Greek Myth. 1993. 711-712.


(If only there were a vase painting.)

10 thoughts on “The Death of Odysseus by Feces: Aeschylus, fragment (275 R; 478a1-5)

  1. What a shitty way to go!
    Did the ancient Greeks have any particular belief about the import of being hit by bird crap? (Such as considering it to be auspicious, etc)

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  6. I must say given the choice I’d rather be taken out when a gull mistakes my bald head for a rock and drops his prey on it.

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