Potamiti, Anna. 2023. “Folklore and Magic at Odyssey 4.271–289.” In “Γέρα: Studies in honor of Professor Menelaos Christopoulos,” ed. Athina Papachrysostomou, Andreas P. Antonopoulos, Alexandros-Fotios Mitsis, Fay Papadimitriou, and Panagiota Taktikou, special issue, Classics@ 25. https://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HLNC.ESSAY:103900173.
ἵππῳ ἔνι ξεστῷ, ἵν’ ἐνήμεθα πάντες ἄριστοι
Ἀργείων, Τρώεσσι φόνον καὶ κῆρα φέροντες.
ἦλθες ἔπειτα σὺ κεῖσε· κελευσέμεναι δέ σ’ ἔμελλε
275 δαίμων, ὃς Τρώεσσιν ἐβούλετο κῦδος ὀρέξαι·
καί τοι Δηΐφοβος θεοείκελος ἕσπετ’ ἰούσῃ.
τρὶς δὲ περίστειξας κοῖλον λόχον ἀμφαφόωσα,
ἐκ δ’ ὀνομακλήδην Δαναῶν ὀνόμαζες ἀρίστους,
πάντων Ἀργείων φωνὴν ἴσκουσ’ ἀλόχοισιν·
280 αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ Τυδεΐδης καὶ δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς
ἥμενοι ἐν μέσσοισιν ἀκούσαμεν, ὡς ἐβόησας.
νῶϊ μὲν ἀμφοτέρω μενεήναμεν ὁρμηθέντες
ἢ ἐξελθέμεναι ἢ ἔνδοθεν αἶψ’ ὑπακοῦσαι·
ἀλλ’ Ὀδυσεὺς κατέρυκε καὶ ἔσχεθεν ἱεμένω περ.
285 ἔνθ’ ἄλλοι μὲν πάντες ἀκὴν ἔσαν υἷες Ἀχαιῶν,
Ἄντικλος δὲ σέ γ’ οἶος ἀμείψασθαι ἐπέεσσιν
ἤθελεν· ἀλλ’ Ὀδυσεὺς ἐπὶ μάστακα χερσὶ πίεζε
νωλεμέως κρατερῇσι, σάωσε δὲ πάντας Ἀχαιούς·
τόφρα δ’ ἔχ’, ὄφρα σε νόσφιν ἀπήγαγε Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη.
and endured in the carved horse, wherein all we chiefs
of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans slaughter and death!
You came there then, and it must be that you were bidden
by some god who wished to grant glory to the Trojans;
and godlike Deiphobus followed you on your way.
Three times did you circle the hollow ambush, trying it with your touch,
and you named aloud the chieftains of the Danaans by their names,
likening your voice to the voices of the wives of all the Argives.
Now I and the son of Tydeus and noble Odysseus
sat there in the midst and heard how you called,
and we two were eager to rise up
and come out, or else to answer at once from inside,
but Odysseus held us back and stopped us, in spite of our eagerness.
Then all the other sons of the Achaeans kept quiet,
but Anticlus alone wished to speak and answer you;
but Odysseus firmly closed his mouth
with strong hands, and saved all the Achaeans,
and held him thus until Pallas Athene led you away. 
Menelaus’ story about Helen, related to Telemachus, Peisistratus, and Helen herself in the fourth book of the Odyssey, has been widely discussed in conjunction with its pair, Helen’s own story about her secret meeting with Odysseus at Troy (Odyssey 4.242–259), recounted immediately before Menelaus’ narrative.  By general consensus, the stories are closely connected through parallel structure as well as common themes and function. They serve to praise Odysseus’ virtues to Telemachus, anticipate patterns in the story of Odysseus’ homecoming, and reveal much about the speakers’ character and their relationship.  Menelaus’ story in particular has been generally considered a thinly covered attack on Helen and a token of the tension in the couple’s marriage,  as, since antiquity, Helen’s activity around the Wooden Horse has been interpreted as a sign of her deceitfulness. It is taken for granted that Helen’s purpose is to harm the hidden warriors by coaxing them into revealing themselves.
τρὶς δὲ περίστειξας
According to the Egyptologist Robert Ritner, ancient Egyptian civilization was deeply rooted in the notion and physical act of ritual encircling, which was synonymous with “enchanting,” both in the broader notion of “having control over” and in the narrower sense of “protecting.” While there are sporadic instances where the term for “encircling” is used to denote confinement or limitation, the overwhelming majority of paradigms in public and private ceremonies suggest that ritual encircling was primarily perceived as benign.  In fact, the words and notions “remedy” and “encirclement” were very closely associated. 
νηπενθές τ’ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.
τοῖα Διὸς θυγάτηρ ἔχε φάρμακα μητιόεντα,
ἐσθλά, τά οἱ Πολύδαμνα πόρεν, Θῶνος παράκοιτις,
Αἰγυπτίη, τῇ πλεῖστα φέρει ζείδωρος ἄρουρα
230 φάρμακα, πολλὰ μὲν ἐσθλὰ μεμιγμένα, πολλὰ δὲ λυγρά,
ἰητρὸς δὲ ἕκαστος ἐπιστάμενος περὶ πάντων
a drug to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forgetfulness of every ill.
Such cunning drugs had the daughter of Zeus,
drugs of healing, which Polydamna, the wife of Thon, had given her,
a woman of Egypt, for there the earth, the giver of grain, bears greatest store of drugs,
many that are healing when mixed, and many that are baneful;
there every man is a physician, wise above
Helen’s encirclement of the Wooden Horse serves as the second instance of her magical knowledge, which, as it seems, predated her time in Egypt. It is only now that the secondary narratees learn of this knowledge of hers. The same magical procedure as in the administration of the drug is also at work here, only in reverse, the encircling functioning as a remedy for a challenging situation,  as Helen creates a protective circle around the Wooden Horse and those within it. Although there is no indication about the direction of Helen’s circular movement (and this is the norm in reports of circumambulation in ancient texts), it is reasonable to assume that she went in the right way, following the sun’s path. Had she gone in the opposite direction the outcome of the war would have been different and Menelaus would not have survived to recount the tale. Her encirclement ensures the Horse’s safety from direct assault and prevents it from moving.  Both prophylactic measures are necessary because, as we learn from Demodocus’ song (Odyssey 8. 503–508), even after the Trojans brought the Horse into the city and dragged it to their agora on the acropolis, they were still deliberating whether to pierce it open with their spears or to haul it to the top of the cliffs and cast it down.
καί τοι Δηΐφοβος θεοείκελος ἕσπετ’ ἰούσῃ
ἦλθε μετ’ Ἀργείους, κατὰ δὲ φρόνιν ἤγαγε πολλήν.
ἔνθ’ ἄλλαι Τρῳαὶ λίγ’ ἐκώκυον· αὐτὰρ ἐμὸν κῆρ
χαῖρ’, ἐπεὶ ἤδη μοι κραδίη τέτραπτο νέεσθαι
ἂψ οἶκόνδ’ …
he returned to the company of the Argives and brought back plentiful tidings.
Then the other Trojan women wailed aloud, but my soul
was glad, for already my heart was turned to go back
to my home.
The next mention of Deiphobus occurs at Odyssey 8.517–520, in Demodocus’ song about the fall of Troy. It is to Deiphobus’ house that Odysseus and Menelaus head as soon as they emerge out of the Wooden Horse, seeking their first Trojan victim. In Proclus’ summary of the Sack of Ilion (Chrestomathy 2) Deiphobus is killed by Menelaus: Μενέλαος δὲ ἀνευρὼν Ἑλένην ἐπὶ τὰς ναῦς κατάγει, Δηΐφοβον φονεύσας.
ἐκ δ’ ὀνομακλήδην Δαναῶν ὀνόμαζες ἀρίστους
πάντων Ἀργείων φωνὴν ἴσκουσ’ ἀλόχοισιν
κλαιούσης ἑὸν ἄνδρα, παρήμενον. αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς
θυμῷ μὲν γοόωσαν ἑὴν ἐλέαιρε γυναῖκα,
ὀφθαλμοὶ δ’ ὡς εἰ κέρα ἕστασαν ἠὲ σίδηρος
ἀτρέμας ἐν βλεφάροισι· δόλῳ δ’ ὅ γε δάκρυα κεῦθεν.
as she wept and mourned for her husband, who even then was sitting by her side. And Odysseus
in his heart had pity for his weeping wife,
but his eyes stood fixed between his lids
as though they were horn or iron, and with guile he hid his tears.
Moreover, according to Proclus’ summary of the Little Iliad, during his secret visit to Troy, Odysseus actually came to an agreement (συντίθεται) with Helen in organizing the sack of the city: ἀναγνωρισθεὶς ὑφ’ Ἑλένης περὶ τῆς ἁλώσεως τῆς πόλεως συντίθεται (Chrestomathy 4–5). The notion of collaboration conveyed by συντίθεται might indicate that Helen also revealed her plans to Odysseus, who, therefore, is in the know and collaborates with her to keep the men calm. Τhe episode with the Sirens at Odyssey 12.158–200 is a particularly relevant parallel: there, as here, Odysseus is forewarned and, therefore, forearmed. 
Porphyrius (On Abstinence 3.4.30–32) offers the interesting detail that the animal “imitates the voice of the person most dear and in a way that the called one would at all events obey what is said” (καὶ μιμεῖταί γε τοῦ φιλτάτου καὶ ᾧ ἂν πάντως ὑπακούσειεν ὁ κληθεὶς τὸ φθέγμα). Possibly, we may see in this remark the important role that the vocal timbre plays in the broader category of folktales with the deceptive voice motif, to which the hyena story belongs.