Tricky, Suffering, and Evil: Some Views of Odysseus

Some random ancient lines about Odysseus

Eur. Fr. 715

“Odysseus is not only tricky.
He teaches usefully that a man can be wise, even if he’s slow.”

Οὐ τἄρ’ ᾿Οδυσσεύς ἐστιν αἱμύλος μόνος.
χρεία διδάσκει, κἂν βραδύς τις ᾖ, σοφόν.

Diogenes Laertius, 6.27

“[Diogenes] was amazed that scholars were studying Odysseus’ sufferings but remained ignorant of their own.”

τούς τε γραμματικοὺς ἐθαύμαζε τὰ μὲν τοῦ Ὀδυσσέως κακὰ ἀναζητοῦντας, τὰ δ᾽ ἴδια ἀγνοοῦντας.

Plutarch, De Sera Numina Vindicta [“On Delay in Divine Vengeance”, 567c]

“Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, also taunted the Corcyreans with a laugh when they asked why he sacked their island, saying “Because, by Zeus, your ancestors welcomed Odysseus.” And similarly, when the people of Ithaka were complaining that his soldier took their sheep, he said “Your king came to us and blinded our shepherd!”

᾿Αγαθοκλῆς δ’ ὁ Συρακοσίων τύραννος καὶ σὺν γέλωτι χλευάζων Κερκυραίους ἐρωτῶντας διὰ τί πορθοίη τὴν νῆσον αὐτῶν ‘ὅτι νὴ Δί’’ εἶπεν ‘οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν ὑπεδέξαντο τὸν ᾿Οδυσσέα’, καὶ τῶν ᾿Ιθακησίων ὁμοίως ἐγκαλούντων ὅτι πρόβατα λαμβάνουσιν αὐτῶν οἱ στρατιῶται ‘ὁ δ’ ὑμέτερος’ ἔφη ‘βασιλεὺς ἐλθὼν πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸν ποιμένα προσεξετύφλωσεν.’

Sophocles,  Fr. 965

“I am called Odysseus for evil deeds correctly:
For many who have been my enemy hate me.”

ὀρθῶς δ’ ᾿Οδυσσεύς εἰμ’ ἐπώνυμος κακῶν•
πολλοὶ γὰρ ὠδύσαντο δυσμενεῖς ἐμοί

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