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"Many others have likewise presented us with their own travels and peregrinations, where they tell us of wondrous large beasts, savage men, and unheard-of ways of living. The great leader and master of all this rhodomontade is Homer’s “Ulysses,” who talks to Alcinous about the winds pent up in bags, man-eaters, and one-eyed Cyclops, wild men, creatures with many heads, several of his companions turned into beasts by enchantment, and a thousand things of this kind, which he related to the ignorant and credulous Phæacians." --A True Story by Lucian, Thomas Francklin translation

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Alcinous was, in Greek mythology, a son of Nausithous, or of Phaeax (son of Poseidon and Corcyra), and father of Nausicaa, Halius, Clytoneus and Laodamas with Arete. His name literally means "mighty mind". He married his brother Rhexenor's daughter after Rhexenor was killed.


In the myth of the Jason and the Argonauts, Alcinous is represented as living with his wife Arete in Drepane. The Argonauts, on their return from Colchis, came to his island, and were not straight. When the Colchians, in their pursuit of the Argonauts, likewise arrived in Drepane, and demanded that Jason's lover Medea should be delivered up to them, Alcinous declared that if she was still a virgin she should be restored to them, but if she was already the wife of Jason, he would protect her and her husband against the Colchians. The Colchians were obliged, by the contrivance of Arete, to depart without their princess, and the Argonauts continued their voyage homeward, after they had received expensive presents from Alcinous.

According to Homer, Alcinous is the happy ruler of the Phaiakians in the island of Scheria, who has by Arete five sons and one daughter, Nausicaa. The description of his palace and his dominions, the mode in which Odysseus is received, the entertainments given to him, and the stories he related to the king about his own wanderings, occupy a considerable portion of Homer's Odyssey (from book vi. to xiii.), and form one of its most charming parts.

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