Q:

What does Odysseus do to call the souls of the dead to him?

A:

Quick Answer

Odysseus summons the souls of the dead by sacrificing a ram and ewe over offerings of milk, honey, wine and water in book 11 of Homer's "The Odyssey." He performs this ritual in the Land of the Dead per instructions by the goddess Circe.

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Full Answer

Odysseus summons five spirits. First is his comrade Elpenor, who died in Circe's house prior to the departure of Odysseus' fleet. Elpenor was not given a proper burial and beseeches his comrade for this final rite. After this, the spirit of Odysseus' mother Anticleia visits her son. He is surprised and grieved by this visitation, as he was unaware that she died of grief from his 10-year absence. After her, the spirit of the prophet Tiresias visits Odysseus, warning him of the trials of his journey home. Finally, the spirits of Agamemmnon and Achilles, shipmates of Odysseus, visit before a horde of the dead come after him.

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