Saturday, April 3, 2010


In the Odyssey by Homer, Demodocus is a poet who often visits the court of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians on the island of Scherie. During Odysseus' stay on Scherie, Demodocus performs three narrative songs. Two of these, from the cycle of the Trojan War, are the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles, and the story of the Trojan War.
Both performances are curtailed because Odysseus is distressed at reliving his own experiences in this way. Demodocus's other song, which is performed in the market-place of Scherie to the accompaniment of dancing, concerns the love affair of Ares and Aphrodite, an amusing tale which gives pleasure to all its listeners.
Demodocus is described as blind: "The squire now came, leading their favourite bard, whom the Muse loved above all others, though she had mingled good and evil in her gifts, robbing him of his eyes but granting him the gift of sweet song." It may well have been on the basis of this portrayal, viewed as a self-portrait, that Homer, identified as the author of the Odyssey, was said by later Greeks to have been blind. In Greek art, he is often seen with an eyeball, but it is badly wounded and therefore limits his sight to barely nothing.

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