The sea nymphs who charmed seamen so much with their melodious voices that the men stopped working their ships to listen. Because they were unable to sail their vessels, they ultimately died of hunger. The names of these charmers were Parthenope, Ligeia, and Leucosia, daughters of the muse Calliope, and they lived on a small island near Cape Pelorus in Sicily. The Sirens had been told by the oracle that as soon as any persons passed them by without being charmed by their songs, they themselves would perish. They prevailed in calling the attention of all sailors until Odysseus, who had been warned of the power of their voices by Circe, prepared for his encounter with them by stopping the ears of his companions with wax. He also ordered that he himself should be tied to the mast of his ship, and that no attention should be paid to his commands, should he wish to stay and listen to the Sirens' song. His plan succeeded and the fatal coast was passed in safety. The Sirens were so disappointed by their failure that they threw themselves into the sea and perished. The place on the coast of Sicily where they destroyed themselves was afterwards called Sirenis.
Subjects: Classical Studies — Maritime History.