Before Naples

By

Parthenope was one of the local Sirens who in Book XII of the Odyssey, and many variant versions of the story, sang songs to lure the Greek hero Odysseus to his doom, not anticipating that he would block the seductive sound by filling his sailors’ ears with wax. In shame at her poor defensive performance she hurled herself from her cliff, akatapontismos that made her “tomb” a fine foundation stone for a new Greek city.

In the Times Literary Supplement, Peter Stothard explores the literary foundations of one of the Western world’s oldest continually occupied cities.


P.E. Garcia is an Editor-at-Large for the Rumpus and a contributor to HTMLGiant. They currently live in Philadelphia, where they were recently accidentally elected to be Judge of Elections. Find them on Twitter: @AvantGarcia. More from this author →