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In Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, Phemius /ˈfmiəs/ (Greek: Φήμιος, Phēmios) is an Ithacan poet who performs narrative songs in the house of the absent Odysseus. His audience is made up largely of the suitors (Proci), who live in the house while attempting to persuade Penelope to marry one of them. In Book 1 of the poem, Phemius performs at their request a version of the theme The Return from Troy (a theme that actually existed as a written poem, probably at a slightly later date). The performance is heard by Penelope.[1] The story distresses her, since it is a reminder that her own husband has still not returned, and she emerges from her room to ask Phemius to choose a less painful theme. The proposal is rejected by her son Telemachus because he thinks that a singer shouldn't be forbidden to sing what his heart told him to sing and because it is his right as the householder to decide and not of his mother. We are told that Phemius performs for the suitors "unwillingly",[2] and he successfully pleads to be spared the death that Odysseus is planning for the suitors.[3] Towards the end of the story Odysseus instructs Phemius to perform wedding songs to conceal the dying suitors' cries from passers-by.

He is also the son of Terpes.

See also


  1. Homer. Odyssey, 1.325-27.
  2. Homer. Odyssey, 1.154.
  3. Homer. Odyssey, 22.330-77.