Homer, Odyssey (15.361-370) Odysseus’ Family

(This post is a bit longer than our usual fare, but I am almost as interested in Odysseus’ sister as in his death by feces! How many other Odysseis are out there?)

 

“So long as she was alive, even though she was grieving, it was dear to me to ask about her because she herself raised me along with slender-robed Ktimene, her strong daughter, the youngest of the children she bore. I was raised with her, and her mother honored me little less. But when we both arrived at much-desired youth, they sent her to Same and received innumerable gifts in return. She gave me a tunic, a cloak, and sandals—wonderful clothing, and sent me to the field. She loved me more in her heart.”

 

 

ὄφρα μὲν οὖν δὴ κείνη ἔην, ἀχέουσά περ ἔμπης,

τόφρα τί μοι φίλον ἔσκε μεταλλῆσαι καὶ ἐρέσθαι,

οὕνεκά μ’ αὐτὴ θρέψεν ἅμα Κτιμένῃ τανυπέπλῳ,

θυγατέρ’ ἰφθίμῃ, τὴν ὁπλοτάτην τέκε παίδων·

τῇ ὁμοῦ ἐτρεφόμην, ὀλίγον δέ τί μ’ ἧσσον ἐτίμα.

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ ἥβην πολυήρατον ἱκόμεθ’ ἄμφω,

τὴν μὲν ἔπειτα Σάμηνδ’ ἔδοσαν καὶ μυρί’ ἕλοντο,

αὐτὰρ ἐμὲ χλαῖνάν τε χιτῶνά τε εἵματ’ ἐκείνη

καλὰ μάλ’ ἀμφιέσασα ποσίν θ’ ὑποδήματα δοῦσα

ἀγρόνδε προΐαλλε· φίλει δέ με κηρόθι μᾶλλον.

 

Odysseus had a sister who was married to one of the nobles (presumably) of Same, a nearby Island that produced some of the suitors (see, e.g., 16.123-4). It seems doubly strange, then, that Telemachus and Penelope have so few allies and other help. Also strange, but probably in line with the patrilineal thinking, is the emphasis in the Odyssey on Odysseus’ line being “single” (Od. 16. 117-120):

 

ὧδε γὰρ ἡμετέρην γενεὴν μούνωσε Κρονίων·

μοῦνον Λαέρτην ᾿Αρκείσιος υἱὸν ἔτικτε,

μοῦνον δ’ αὖτ’ ᾿Οδυσῆα πατὴρ τέκεν· αὐτὰρ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς

μοῦνον ἔμ’ ἐν μεγάροισι τεκὼν λίπεν, οὐδ’ ἀπόνητο.

 

(go here for a translation)

 

But the scholia have a nice solution to this problem: they report that Eurylochus—the companion Odysseus thinks about killing at 10.441—was married to her!

Κτιμένην γὰρ γεγαμήκει τὴν ᾿Οδυσσέως ἀδελφήν. Q.V. γαμβρῷ

μοι ὄντι ἐπὶ τῇ ἀδελφῇ Κτιμένῃ. B.

 

Although, a scholion to the Iliad seems perplexed that Odysseus doesn’t mention her himself (Schol, ad Il. 16.175c1 A ex. 9-10).

 

Anyone know anything else about Odysseus’ sister?

 

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