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date: 09 December 2022



  • Alan H. Griffiths


Ambrosia and nectar are the food and drink of eternal life—usually in that order, though nectar is for eating in Alcman (fr. 42 Page, PMG) and Sappho thinks of ambrosia as a drink (fr. 141 LP). They are thus properly reserved for the gods, as traditional stories emphasize: see Od. 5. 196–9 on *Odysseus' meals with *Calypso. *Heracles was formally served with a draught of immortal spirit by Athena on his assumption into Olympus, but the dying *Tydeus was refused the same favour at the last moment when the goddess found him devouring his enemy's brains (Pherec. FGrH 3 F 97). One version of *Tantalus' crime claims that, having tasted divine food himself, he tried to smuggle some away for others who were not so privileged (Pind., Ol. 1. 60 ff.). Those who ingest such rarefied substances naturally have not blood but a special fluid called ichor coursing through their veins (Il.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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