Circe, Pigs and Magical ‘Moly'

pigs - by Kiesha Jean (wiki commons)

                                                                                                                                                               Photo:  WikiCommons

When Odysseus goes to confront the witch Circe, who has transformed many of his

 sailors into pigs, he meets the god Hermes who warns him of the perils he faces.

                                                                                                                     (Od. 10.281)

To safeguard Odysseus against Circe’s spells, Hermes gives him 

a magical herb named ‘Moly’

‘Moly' is described variously as having: 

‘ … a black root with a flower as white as milk’, 

...and being...

‘… black rooted with milk-white petals,

 still in the process of growing’

… and that it ...

‘… cannot be uprooted by human hand’*


This mysterious plant has never been found on earth.

Considering the importance of astronomy in the Odyssey perhaps 

we should be looking elsewhere.

See the next page for the answer: Moly revealed 

*Sources:   Heubeck, A: West,S; and Hainsworth, J B, A Commentary on Homer’s Odyssey, 

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), Vol. II, line 302, p 60.

Jones, H, Glotta, li (1973)

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Home            Adventures in the Heavens           Goat island and the lunar year

Cycles of the sun, moon and Venus        Homer’s Secret Iliad

See also  Homer the Astronomer-1  and  Homer the Astronomer-2  on YouTube

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