How Long Does Odysseus Stay With Circe?

Dan Diffendale/CC-BY-2.0

Odysseus and his men stay with Circe for one year. This incident takes place between Odysseus’ encounter with the cannibalistic Achaeans and his visit to the land of the dead to speak with the spirit of Tiresias.

Having escaped the Achaeans with only one ship intact, Odysseus and his crew arrive on Circe’s island in search of food. A group of Odysseus’ men soon encounter the sorceress, who promptly turns the Greeks into pigs. The god Hermes appears to warn Odysseus of what has transpired and gives him an herb called moly to counteract Circe’s potions. Protected by the herb, Odysseus is able to overpower Circe and force her to return his men to their proper forms. Impressed by Odysseus and filled with new sympathy for his men, Circe invites the Greeks to stay with her. It isn’t long before Circe and Odysseus become lovers. After a year of living in luxury on Circe’s island, Odysseus’ men come to him and express their desire to continue the voyage home. Circe grants her permission for the Greeks to leave, but informs Odysseus that in order to learn the way home, he must enter into Hades to consult with the blind prophet Tiresias.