Odysseus and the Laestrygonians
In the Land of the Laestrygonians a pair of women lure Odysseus and his crew into an orgy of consumption. The women are deceitful but not lustful or gluttonous, as our hero shows by his canny planning.
He moors his ship outside a natural harbor surrounded by cliffs. This is a place where dawn occurs almost immediately after sunset.
They attack Odysseus’s ships
The cannibals pelt the ships with huge rocks and spear the crew members. They then carry them back to their island to eat them. Only Odysseus’ ship survives the attack.
After escaping the Cyclops, Odysseus’s men sailed for a month to the home of Aeolus, master of the winds. There, they were hospitably welcomed and hosted for a month. But they were eager to sail on. As they slept, the men opened an ox skin pouch to find treasure, and inadvertently released heavy squalls that blew them right back to Aeolus’ island.
The Laestrygonians are eight-foot-tall cannibal giants. They are able to throw enormous rocks at the ships, and eleven of them sink and are destroyed. The cannibals also eat the scouts, but Odysseus’s ship is saved because of a Mahican herb that Hermes gave him. The cannibals turn some of Odysseus’s men into swine, but he is protected because he takes the herb. After Odysseus has survived the attack, Circe tells him that he must sail to Hades, the land of the dead, to speak with the spirit of Tiresias.
They eat Odysseus’s scouts
After escaping the Sirens, Odysseus and his men sail to the island of the Laestrygonians. Seeing a natural harbour, they moored their ships in it. But Odysseus kept his ship outside the harbour, perhaps having a sense of foreboding.
The scouts that Odysseus sent out found a woman of incredible height who guided them to her husband’s palace. She then introduced the men to her husband, King Antiphates. But Antiphates could only think about eating one of the men.
The Laestrygonians were a cannibal people that enjoyed extreme violence and hunting. They would often pelt their enemies with boulders, sinking all but their own ships. They were also famous for snatching men from their ships and devouring them. Giants in Greek mythology represented chaos and primal force, which contrasted with the rationality of Gods. They were the offspring of Earth (Gea) and Heaven (Uranus). They were the children of a chaotic era and were the first to be born.
They destroy eleven of Odysseus’s ships
After Odysseus meets the king of the winds, Aeolus, he and his crew sail to Laestrygonia. There, they meet a group of giant cannibals called the Laestrygonians, led by King Antiphates. They attack the ships and eat the men aboard them.
Once they are on land, Odysseus sends three of his men to scout the area. They find a natural harbor, surrounded by cliffs, and they anchor their ships in it. Odysseus keeps his ship outside of the harbor, perhaps with a sense of foreboding.
As soon as the scouts return to their ships, the Laestrygonians begin attacking them. The giants pelt the ships with rocks, and they sink eleven of them. Then they carry the survivors back to their island so that they can be eaten. Odysseus escapes, thanks to the protection of a Mahican herb Hermes gave him. He also meets the sorceress-goddess Circe, who turns some of his men into swine. She also teaches him how to find Ithaca.
They turn some of Odysseus’s men into swine
After Odysseus and his men escape from the Cyclops, they sail to the island of the Laestrygonians, a race of giant cannibals. The giants eat all but one ship and drown most of the crew, but Odysseus is saved from death by a Mahican herb Hermes gave him called Moly. He also receives advice from the spirit of Tiresias on how to complete his journey home.
At first, the Laestrygonians treat the Greeks with kindness. But they soon turn their attention to devouring them. The women seduce the men, but only Eurylochus has the sense to resist their advances. They then moor their ships to a steep cliff, keeping them hidden from the king’s sight. The king then begins an orgy of consumption, eating his captives whole. The Greeks escape this fate thanks to Odysseus’s canny planning and his sense of self-restraint.