Melantho (/mɪˈlænθ/; Ancient Greek: Μελανθώ) is one of the minor characters in the Odyssey. Described as having a "sharp tongue", she is sister to Melanthios, a goatherd in Ithaca, and the daughter of Dolios. She is among the favorite maids of Penelope, treated like a daughter by her, having been given trinkets and other small gifts.[1]

Despite having been much cared for by Penelope, Melantho is disloyal and ungrateful to Odysseus and his household. She is one of the female servants who often sleep with the suitors of Penelope, a characteristic which is evident by her relationship with Eurymachus.[2] Upon Odysseus's arrival in his own house, disguised as a beggar, Melantho treats him harshly and rudely asks why he has not gone to sleep in the smithy, the location where chance visitors in Ithaca tended to go.[3][4]

After Odysseus kills all of the suitors, it's not clear if Melantho is among the other unfaithful maids that are forced to clean the hall and then hanged by Telemachus.[5]

Melantho is also the name of many other minor Greek mythological figures:


  1. ^ Odyssey, 18. 322
  2. ^ Od. 18. 325
  3. ^ Od. 18. 326 ff; 19. 65. ff
  4. ^ Also quoted in Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10. 25. 1
  5. ^ Od. 22. 458 - 470
  6. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 6. 120
  7. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, 209
  8. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Orestes, 932