mneme_icon_Calliope

(This is our first view of Calliope.)

The younger daughter of Homeros was sixteen, small and slender like her mother, with the thick, lustrous black hair of a Lydian.  She was darker skinned than most Hellenes, with a sensitive complexion that was easily marred by insects or illness.  Blessedly, the pox had spared her features.  Though not quite the beauty her mother was, no one could deny that she was pleasing to the eye.  Like her mother, Calliope’s cheekbones rivaled the loftiest peaks of Chios, and her nose was long and fine.  Her eyes were brown and almost preternaturally large, and her smile could melt the snows of Mount Ida.

(Later, she criticizes her father for his departures from the canonical myths about Odysseus.)

“Father, you really have no respect for tradition,” Calliope scolded.  “There’s supposed to be a hundred-and-eight suitors, not just twenty.  And your ending’s awfully abrupt:  Penelope recognizes him, falls into his arms, they embrace, and that’s the end.  What about the suitors’ kinsmen?  They’d come to exact revenge.  You’re leaving that whole thread dangling.”

“Forget the damn myths,” the rhapsode retorted.  “The whole song’s about Odysseus overcoming all obstacles to return to his wife and family.  By the end of the poem he’s done that.  They’re reunited.  The story’s resolved.  What happens afterward isn’t what the story’s about.”