Ancient Greek Mythology

Homer's Odyssey: the goddess Circe

8th century BC, Ancient Greek.

In the interior of this island lies the palace of the goddess Circe. She is a daughter of the sun and her mother is the ocean.

During a long voyage in an enchanted sea, Odysseus arrives at yet another island and spends three days on its shore. His men are terrified. They have just come from a land of giants where all their ships but one have been brutally destroyed, their crews barbarically slain.

In the interior of this new island lies the palace of the goddess Circe. She is a daughter of the sun and her mother is the ocean. The men find her sitting at a loom, singing with a beautiful voice and weaving an enchanted cloth. She invites the sailors into her abode, gives them fine wine and delicious food to taste, then turns them into pigs and chases them into her sties.

Odysseus alone has been warned by the god Hermes not to drink the potion that Circe gives them to drink, and by resisting her magic he becomes her lover. Through this new intimacy he obtains the release of his men back into human form; but they are now much younger than they were.

Circe has four handmaidens who are each the nymph of a river or a spring, suggesting that four springs rise near the palace where Circe lives; just as four springs will rise near the cave of the goddess Calypso whose island home Odysseus will visit later in the tale; and in Eden.

Circe warns Odysseus that before he can return home it is necessary for him to visit the land of the dead.

Story fragment recounted from: Shewring, Walter, with an introduction by Kirk, G. S., 1980, reprinted 2008. Homer: The Odyssey. Translated from ancient Greek with an introduction. Oxford University Press. Book X, Circe, pp 113–27.


Circle Line, Liverpool Street.


Homer – Wikipedia

Odysseus – Wikipedia

Circe – Wikipedia

Homer: The Odyssey – English translation, Internet Classics Archive




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