I was reading today in book 19 of the Odyssey and came across what might be my favorite line, at least for the day. Odysseus, disguised, is speaking to Penelope, his wife, who tests him by asking what Odysseus, the real man, wore when Odysseus, the story teller, met him 20 years earlier. It’s a very moving scene, more so the more you read it.
He tells her all about this beautiful robe that everybody was admiring and even “many of the women were looking at it in admiration.”
That’s not the line, but it struck me as quite sensitive to the heart of his “audience.” Of course, she had woven this tunic and mantle herself.
Then he talks about Odysseus’s friendships, “since Odysseus had friendship with many men.”
That’s not the line either, though it strikes my sensitive heart since I value friendship above purple mantles and fine tunics.
One of those friends is described:
“There was a herald, a little older than he was
who went with him. I will describe to you what he looked like.
He was round in the shoulders, black-complexioned, wooly-haired,
and had the name Eurybates.”
Gold ring representing Penelope waiting for Odysseus. Syria, last quarter of the 5th century BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That’s not it yet either, but it was needed to introduce the line. Something about Odysseus inspired loyalty in people.
So here’s my favorite line of the day:
“Odysseus prized him
Above his other companions, for their thoughts were in harmony.”