The sun went down, and all the paths across the sea were in darkness. Our ship had reached the limits of the deep Ocean; the nation of the Cimmerians lives there, and they have a city, all wrapped in mist and clouds. Never does the Sun shine upon them and look at them with his beams, not [in the morning,] when he climbs up the starry sky, nor [in the evening,] when he turns back from heaven toward the earth. Gloomy night is spread over these poor people.
After we had landed there, we beached the ship and took out our sheep. We walked along the Ocean shore until we came to the spot that Circe had described.
There Perimedes and Eurylochus held the victims while I drew my sharp sword from my hip to dig a ditch about a cubit long and a cubit deep. Around it I poured libations for all the dead, first of milk and honey, then of sweet wine, and finally of water; on top I sprinkled shiny barley. On my knees I then prayed to the dead, those insubstantial beings, and promised them after my return to Ithaca the sacrifice of a heifer, the best to be found on my estate, and a funeral pyre full of precious things. Especially for Tiresias I promised to sacrifice a ram, all black, a choice male from my flocks.
After praying to the nation of the dead and making my vows to them, I took the sheep and cut o√ their heads over the ditch in such a way that the dark blood dripped into it. From the depths of Erebus flocked the souls of the dead, the deceased: young women and adolescents, old men who had su√ered a great deal, delicate maidens who never got over their first sad experience, soldiers who had been wounded by bronze spears and still held their bloodstained weapons. They all crowded around the trench, coming from di√erent directions, and their wailing was weird. The fear that makes one pale overwhelmed me. I ordered my companions to hurry up and skin the sheep that lay there, slaughtered by my merciless sword, and burn them, praying to the gods [of the underworld], great Hades and terrible Persephone. I myself sat there, holding my sharp sword that I had drawn from the hip, to prevent the dead, those insubstantial beings, from coming any closer to the blood…