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Melantho (/mɪˈlænθ/; Ancient Greek: Μελανθώ) is one of the minor characters in the Odyssey. Described as having a "sharp tongue", she is sister to Melanthios, a goatherd in Ithaca, and the daughter of Dolios. She is among the favorite maids of Penelope, treated like a daughter by her, having been given trinkets and other small gifts.[1]


Despite having been much cared for by Penelope, Melantho is a disloyal and ungrateful servant to Odysseus and his household. She is one of the female servants who often sleep with the suitors of Penelope, a characteristic which is evident by her relationship with Eurymachus.[2] Upon Odysseus's arrival in his own house, disguised as a beggar, Melantho treats him harshly and rudely asks why he has not gone to sleep in the smithy, the location where chance visitors in Ithaca tended to go.[3][4]

After Odysseus kills all of the suitors, Melantho and the other unfaithful maids are forced to clean the hall, after which Telemachus hangs them.[5]

Melantho is also the name of many other minor Greek mythological figures:


  1. ^ Odyssey, 18. 322
  2. ^ Od. 18. 325
  3. ^ Od. 18. 326 ff; 19. 65. ff
  4. ^ Also quoted in Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10. 25. 1
  5. ^ Od. 22. 458 - 470
  6. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 6. 120
  7. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, 209
  8. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Orestes, 932