Antinous of Ithaca

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In Greek mythology, Antinous /ænˈtɪnəs/ (Greek: Ἀντίνοος), son of Eupeithes, is most known for his role in Homer’s Odyssey. One of two prominent suitors vying for Penelope’s hand in marriage, the other being Eurymachus, Antinous is presented as a violent, mean-spirited, and over-confident character who willfully defiles Odysseus’ home while the hero is lost at sea.[1] In an attempt to kill Telemachus, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, Antinous sends out a small band of suitors in the strait between Ithaca and rugged Same where there is a rocky isle called Asteris, to intercept the young prince on his journey back to Ithaca from the hall of Menelaus.[2] The plan, however, fails, as Telemachus avoids the trap with help from the goddess Athena.

Antinous is a prime example of disregard for the custom of xenia (guest-friend hospitality); rather than reciprocating food and drink with stories and respect, he and his fellow suitors simply devour Odysseus’ livestock. He also shows no respect for the lower-classed citizenry, as is exemplified when he assaults a beggar, who is actually Odysseus in disguise, with a chair, which even the other suitors disapprove of.[3] Antinous is the first of the suitors to be killed. Drinking in the Great Hall, he is slain by an arrow to the throat shot by Odysseus. Eurymachus then tries to blame Antinous for the suitors' wrongs.


Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Canada: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2000. Print.

  1. ^ Book IV: 627-628
  2. ^ Book IV: 845-850
  3. ^ Book XVII: 453-455