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date: 07 October 2022



  • Nicholas J. Richardson


Sirens, enchantresses who live on an island near *Scylla and *Charybdis in Homer's Odyssey (12. 39–54, 158–200). Sailors charmed by their song land and perish; their meadow is full of mouldering corpses. They attempt to lure *Odysseus by claiming omniscience, but on *Circe's advice he has himself bound to the mast and stops his comrades' ears with wax. Likewise *Orpheus saves the *Argonauts by overpowering their song with his lyre (Ap. Rhod.Argon. 4. 891–919). In some versions they die or commit suicide if a mortal can resist them (Lycoph., Alex. 712 ff., Hyg.Fab. 141). The escape of Odysseus or of Orpheus leads to their death, as does their defeat in a singing contest with the *Muses. They also have power to calm the winds (Od. 12. 168 f.; Hes. fr. 28 M–W).In Homer there are two Sirens (Od.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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