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660). In Greek culture, boxing, like dancing, is very much a young men’s sport: it is the sport in which the “boys of Zeus,” the Dioscuri excel, and is already depicted as a boys’ sport in a Minoan fresco from the island of Thera (Santorini). From Delus and, in a wide sweep into Anatolia, through Lycia, “lovely Maeonia and Miletos, beautiful city on the sea” (179), the poet has his god move towards Delphi or, as he says, “rocky Pytho” (183); the god is dressed in the long musician’s cloak and plays his lyre.
He prays to Apollo to bring him fame (Od. 7), reveals his identity, and turns the weapon against the suitors, the first arrow killing brash Antinous. Already the Iliad had taught more than once that a successful archer should first pray to Apollo; we know that Odysseus would not miss – and, although she did not yet know the beggar’s true identity, Penelope also thought it possible that Apollo might bring him fame through the bow (Od. 338). It is apt that Odysseus’ fateful archery should take place on the day the city of Ithaca performed a festival of Apollo “Far-shooter,” the patron of archery and master of silent killing; the butchery in the palace goes unnoticed outside.
It is all the more significant that several sanctuaries of Apollo are mentioned in Homer, and that one of the few festivals for a named divine recipient that Homer describes is Apollo’s. The festival was celebrated in Ithaca, on the very day when Odysseus, up to now in his disguise as a beggar at Penelope’s court, revealed his identity and took his revenge on the suitors. The narrator introduces it rather off-handedly. The suitors assembled in Odysseus’ hall, sacrificed “large sheep and meaty goats, fat hogs and a cow from the herd” (Od.