The Discus of Odysseus

Wed Jul 8, 2009

Among the Phaeacians, Odysseus, with athletic vanity piqued: “Up he sprang, cloak and all, and seized a discus,/huge and heavy, more weighty by far than those/the Phaeacians used to hurl and test each other” (Fagles’s translation, 8.216-218).

Why is this too-heavy discus there? Did the man-formed Athena create it beforehand? I expect no Homeric discus is left unflung, so I’m sure there are centuries of weighty scholarship on the issue. I suppose it could just be one on the pile, so to speak, or a reminder of the mighty men the Phaeacian ancestors were.