Oxen of the Sun: Homeric Parallel

In Book 12 of The Odyssey, Odysseus and his men sail from Circe's island; they pass the Sirens, run the gamut of Scylla and Charybdis, and at nightfall are coasting the island of the sun-god Helios (Trinacria, modern Sicily). Both Circe and Tiresias have warned Odysseus to avoid the island and particularly to avoid harming the cattle sacred to Helios. But the crew, led by Eurylochus, refuse to spend the night at sea; Odysseus asks them to swear that they will not touch the sacred cattle, and when they agree, he reluctantly lands on the island. However, adverse weather maroons them on the island, and finally their provisions are exhausted. Odysseus goes inland to pray for relief but falls asleep. In the meantime, Eurylochus convinces the crew to forswear their oath, and they slaughter enough cattle for a six-day feast. Odysseus was in despair when he returned, but nothing could be done. On the seventh day, in deceptively fair weather, they embark. But Lampote has warned her father, Helios, who has appealed to Zeus. Zeus has promised retribution, and when the ship leaves the island, he makes good his word, destroying ship and crew with a lightning bolt and thus fulfilling the prophecies of Circe and Tiresias. Odysseus, once more frustrated and now condemned to further delay in his voyage home, lashes the mast and keel of his shattered ship together and endures the voyage through the whirlpool of Charybdis and past Scylla's rock. He is beached in exile on Calypso's island.

(from Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman, "Ulysses" Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's "Ulysses" [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988], p. 408. The first numbers following quotes from The Odyssey [for example, 1:115] refer to book and line numbers in the Greek text; English translations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald [New York: Doubleday, 1961])