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Laestrygonians

The Laestrygonians (or Laestrygones, Laistrygones, Laistrygonians) were a mythological tribe of gigantic cannibals encountered by Odysseus in the Odyssey. The land was ruled by Lamos and Antiphates. The city of the Laestrygonians was Telepylos, a rocky stronghold of Lamos. It was a country where a man who could do without sleep could earn double wages; once as a herdsman of cattle and another as a shepherd, since they worked by night as they did by day.

Odysseus and his company, with about a dozen ships, arrived at Telephylos on the seventh day of rowing after leaving the island of Aeolus. They found a harbour surrounded by steep cliffs, with a single entrance between two headlands. The captains took their ships inside and made them fast close to one another, where it was dead calm. Odysseus kept his own ship outside the harbour, moored to a rock. He climbed a high rock to reconnoitre, but could see nothing but some smoke rising from the ground. He sent two of his company with an attendant to investigate the inhabitants.

The men followed a road and eventually met a young woman, who said she was a daughter of Antiphates, the king, and directed them to his house. However when they got there they found a gigantic woman, the wife of Antiphates. She called her husband, who immediately snatched up one of the men and started to eat him. The other two men ran away, but Antiphates raised a hue-and-cry, so that they were pursued by thousands of Laestrygonians, ogres, not men. They threw vast rocks from the cliffs, smashing the ships, and speared the men like fish.

Odysseus made his escape with his single ship; the rest of his company was lost. The surviving crew went next to the island of Circe.

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