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by Archaeology Newsroom

The straits of Skylla and Odysseus

This article proposes an interpretive and semasiological analysis of certain data contained in the Homeric narration and referring to the Odysseus’ passing through the straits of Skylla. Specifically noted are – The relation between Odysseus’ and Jason’s ships (contrary to the Argonautic epos the importance in the Odyssey is given to Odysseus not to his ship).

– The significance of the voice as a “representational” medium and the function of the multiple narration in the composition of the “oral” geography in Odyssey, in Odysseus’ narration the words of others are almost narrated).

– The description of Skylla made by Circe in relation to certain characteristic faculties, which are assigned to Skylla (voice of a female puppy).

– The relation of Skylla with other terrifying mythical creatures, its killing by Heracles, its revival by Phorcys, its resemblance to the appearance of a dog and its feminine substance (invulnerable, therefore fatal).

– The persistence of the Homeric description of Skylla in certain elements relevant to food, immortality and mainly to childishness.

– The role of food, maternity and immortality in the Homeric narrations about Skylla and the Threnacia island, the inclusion of the Skylla episode in Odysseus’ return and its importance for the definition of the general concept of time in Odyssey (separation of Odysseus from his companions, regaining of individuality by Odysseus, his interposition in a time that exclusively concerns him).