In Homer’s Odyssey, Thrinakia was the island of Helios, the sun god, where he kept his herds of cattle and sheep. Odysseus was warned that when he and his companions got to the island, they should not to slaughter and eat any of the cattle or sheep. When they sailed near the island, Odysseus suggested they not land there at all, but his companions insisted, swearing that they wouldn’t touch Helios’ herds. He relented. A wind, sent by the gods, sprang up in the night that prevented them from sailing the next morning; it continued to blow for a full month, until they had consumed all of their stored food and had started to starve. Finally, once when Odysseus had been lulled into a deep sleep by the gods, his companions killed and slaughtered the best of the oxen. Odysseus woke to the smell of roasted meat. Portents of their doom began to be seen. The skins of the slaughtered animals crawled, and the bloody meat skewered on the spits over the fire bellowed like cattle.

A week later, the winds died down, and they set sail, only to have their ship immediately destroyed in a storm for their impiety. Odysseus was the only survivor.

Not that I really think that life is unfair or that the gods are against us, but it’s just a useful thing to remember that we’re probably screwed.


About eteokretan

Interests include: books, art, movies, history, mythology, wandering around, people watching, being a bit weird, running, soccer.
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One Response to Thrinakia

  1. pgurris says:

    Dear eteokretan, you might be interested in my page about the travels of Ulysses illustrated with modern postcards, even though it is in German. The entry for Thrinakia is here

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