In Homer's Odyssey, Demodocus or Demodokos (Δημοδόκος) "received by the demos" is a storyteller at the court of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians at Scheria. He sings the quarrel between Odysseus and Achilles, the episode of the Trojan horse and the loves of Ares and Aphrodite.
He is blind: "Meanwhile the herald was returning with the loyal singer, a man the Muse so loved above all others. She'd given him both bad and good, for she'd destroyed his eyes, but had bestowed on him the gift of pleasing song." ( Odyssey VIII). From this excerpt, the Greeks concluded that Homer was blind as well.
Odyssey Book 8:
These carcasses they skinned and dressed and then prepared
a splendid banquet. Meanwhile the herald was returning
with the loyal singer, a man the Muse so loved
above all others. She'd given him both bad and good,
for she'd destroyed his eyes, but had bestowed on him
the gift of pleasing song. The herald, Pontonous,
then brought up a silver-studded chair for him.
He set its back against a lofty pillar in their midst,
hung the clear-toned lyre on a peg above his head,
then showed him how to reach it with his hands.
The herald placed a lovely table at his side,
with food in a basket and a cup of wine to drink,
when his heart felt the urge. Then all those present
reached for the splendid dinner set in front of them.
Once they'd enjoyed their heart's fill of food and drink,
the minstrel was inspired by the Muse to sing
a song about the glorious deeds of warriors,
that tale, whose fame had climbed to spacious heaven,
about Odysseus and Achilles, son of Peleus,
when, at a lavish feast in honour of the gods,
they'd fought each other in ferocious argument.
Still, in his heart Agamemnon, king of men,
had been glad to see the finest of Achaeans
quarreling, for that's what he'd been told would happen,
when he'd crossed the stone threshold in sacred Pytho
to consult Phoebus Apollo in his oracle
and the god had answered him with this reply—
that from this point on, disasters would begin
for Trojans and Danaans, as great Zeus willed.
This was the song the celebrated minstrel sang.
Odysseus's strong hands took his long purple cloak,
pulled it above his head, and hid his handsome face.
He felt ashamed to let Phaeacians look at him
with tears streaming from his eyes. So every time
the godlike minstrel stopped the song, Odysseus
would wipe away the tears, take his two-handled cup,
and pour out a libation to the gods. But then,
when Demodocus started up again, urged to sing
by Phaeacian noblemen enjoying his song,
Odysseus would hide his head once more and groan.
He concealed the tears he shed from all those present,
except Alcinous, the only one who noticed,
because he sat beside him and heard his heavy sighs.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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