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Summary Book X

Book 10

Odysseus was entertained for a month by Aeolus, king of the winds, who sent him off with the gift of all the winds bound in a sack, except the favorable west wind. When they had nearly reached home, Odysseus' crew opened the bag, thus letting loose a storm which drove them back to Aeolia. Aeolus cast them out in hostility, for they seemed to be detested by the gods. They sailed seven days to Laestrygonia. Antiphates, king of the giant Laestrygonians, devoured one of the scouts and set his people upon Odysseus' men. Hurling huge stones, they destroyed eleven ships; only Odysseus and his crew escaped. They reached Aeaea, the island of the sorceress-goddess Circe. When they had feasted, Eurylochus led half the crew to explore the house of Circe, unaware that she transformed all who entered into beasts. Only Eurylochus remained outside and could report the fate of the others to Odysseus. Odysseus ventured out to save his men and received a magic herb from Hermes. Thus protected, he compelled Circe at sword point to abjure treachery. She returned his men to human form and offered hospitality to the crew. Circe informed Odysseus that to reach home he must consult the blind prophet Teiresias of Thebes in Hades. She gave detailed instructions for the trip to the underworld, and he departed, leaving behind the young Elpenor, who had been killed in a fall.