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Encyclopedia > Lotus Eaters
Lotus-eaters beckon Odysseus and his men
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Lotus-eaters beckon Odysseus and his men

In Greek mythology, the Lotophagi ("lotus-eaters") were a race of people from an island near Northern Africa dominated by lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary foodstuff of the island and were narcotic, causing the people to sleep in peaceful apathy.


When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the lotus-eaters, Odysseus sent two of his men and a runner to investigate the island. But the men began doing as the natives did: eating the lotus fruit. This caused them to forget about leaving the island and ever going home. Finally, Odysseus managed to drive the three wailing men back to the ship and set sail.


The lotus plant in Greek mythology is thought to have been a variety of jujube or date.


In modern usage, people who frequently daydream or think of impractical ideas can be called “lotus-eaters.”


Odyssey IX, 84.


Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a well-known poem on this subject entitled "The Lotus-Eaters" (Wikisource (http://wikisource.org/wiki/The_Lotus-Eaters))


The Lotus Eater is a short story written by Somerset Maugham in 1945. The story is set in 1913 and tells of Thomas Wilson, who comes to the island of Capri in Italy for a holiday. He is so enchanted with the place he gives up his job in London and decides to live the rest of his life without any cares in Capri.


The Lotus Eaters was also the name of an 80's British pop band whose only real hit was "First Picture of You".


 
 

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