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In Greek mythology, the Lotophagi (or Lotophagoi)("lotus-eaters") were a race of people from an island near Northern Africa dominated by lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary foodstuff of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.

When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the lotus-eaters, Odysseus sent two of his men and a runner to investigate the island. But the men began doing as the natives did: eating the lotus fruit. This caused them to forget about leaving the island and ever going home. Finally, Odysseus managed to drive the three wailing men back to the ship and set sail.

The lotus plant in Greek mythology is thought to have been a variety of jujube or date.

In modern usage, people who frequently daydream or think of impractical ideas can be called “lotus-eaters.”

Odyssey IX, 84.

Nine days fierce winds drove me away from there,
across the fish-filled seas, and on the tenth 
we landed where the Lotus-eaters live,
those who feed upon its flowering fruit.
We went ashore and carried water back.
Then my companions quickly had a meal
by our swift ships......
 

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a well-known poem on this subject entitled "The Lotus-Eaters"

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The Lotus Eater is a short story written by Somerset Maugham in 1945. The story is set in 1913 and tells of Thomas Wilson, who comes to the island of Capri in Italy for a holiday. He is so enchanted with the place he gives up his job in London and decides to live the rest of his life without any cares in Capri.

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The Lotus Eaters is the name of the last studio song recorded by Dead Can Dance before they disbanded in 1998.

The Lotus Eaters was also the name of an 80's New Wave band from Liverpool, England, whose single "The First Picture of You," from their debut album, No Sense of Sin (1984), became a hit in the UK. They had toured extensively throughout Japan despite arguments with their label over there. In 2002, The Lotus Eaters, reduced to the duo of Peter Coyle (vocalist) and Jeremy Kelly (guitarist), reformed after almost two decades to record and release a new album, entitled silentspace.

Lotus Eaters is also the name of a current experimental, acoustico-electric group which features Aaron Turner (Hydra Head Records, Isis, Old Man Gloom), Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O))), Khanate, Burning Witch), and James Plotkin (Phantomsmasher, OLD). Their first release was a very limited edition LP/CD-R called "Alienist on a Pale Horse" on Double H Noise Industries. They've also released a CD called "Mind Control for Infants" on Neurot Recordings, an untitled 7" on Drone Records, and a very limited self-released CD-R called "4 Demonstrations." They have a 2x10"/CD coming out soon (early 2006) on Troubleman Unlimited. Nurse With Wound and Organum are similar groups.

This Side of Paradise is a Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk has to rescue his crew and a planetary colony from alien spores that cause them to enjoy only lackadaisical hedonistic pursuits. When the USS Enterprise arrived they found essentially an island of the Lotus-Eaters, and his crew became infected as well. It was up to Kirk (Odyssues) to forcefully break them out of their Euphoric state and bring them back to reality.

The Lotus Eaters is also the name of a song by Seattle metal band Nevermore, which appeared on their album Dreaming Neon Black.

Greek Mythology

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