Naming Odysseus

        In Book XIX, the story of Odysseus' scarred leg is told for the first time.  This identifying wound, we are lead to believe, has been visible to all and sundry for eighteen books of narrative, but only Eurykleia, Odysseus' ancient nurse, can recognize it.  In fact, she seems to be "reading" it with her hands as she bathes the stranger's feet in a bronze basin filled with water.  Robert Fitzgerald's more free, poetic translation of the lines somewhat obscures the precise language with which Odysseus' godfather, Autolycos, gave the infant Odysseus his name.  Here is A. T. Murray's more literal prose translation, created for the Loeb Editions (XIX: 405-409):

  "Then Autolycus answered her, and said: 'My daughter's husband and my daughter, give him whatsoever name I say. Lo, inasmuch as I am come hither as one that has been angered with many, both men and women, over the fruitful earth, therefore let the name by which the child is named be Odysseus.'"

         The full Murray translation is available via Project Perseus, and in print via the two-volume copy in the Goucher Library collection (886.1 H76HoBmu).

Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard UP, 1919.