Page 204. " did some band of raiders capture you as you tended your sheep and cattle alone "

Odysseus is enquiring how Eumaeus came to be sold to his family as a slave.

Page 206. " he’d fetch you a fortune in any foreign port where you sold him "
A slave holds his drunken master's forehead as he vomits, red-figure cup
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA slave holds his drunken master's forehead as he vomits, red-figure cup - Credit: Stefano Bolognini/Wikimedia Commons
Slaves in the ancient world could be sourced in a variety of different ways and places, including captives from raids or war, dependents sold into the slave trade, and kidnap and piracy as described in Eumaeus' story.
Page 213. " she cannot bring herself to the final step of rejecting all the Suitors or accepting one of them "

Women in ancient Greece needed men to provide for them. Although a widow might return to her father’s household or rely on brothers to look after her, this would be far from the ideal situation. The best thing Penelope could do if Odysseus were truly dead would be to re-marry. However, her love for Odysseus prevents her from taking these steps while she can still hold even a slim hope of his being alive.

Page 217. " The fire had got at them and damaged them badly. "

Bronze Axe-Head From Crete
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBronze Axe-Head From Crete - Credit: Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons
When bronze oxidises it does not become brittle like rusted iron. However the acids, sulphur and other damaging components of smoke can cause a destructive corrosion called ‘bronze disease.’ This would destroy bronze weapons left too long by the fire.

Page 225. " spinning the delicate thread on her distaff "

A drawing showing a distaff in use
Public DomainA drawing showing a distaff in use - Credit: Pearson Scott Foresman/Wikimedia Commons
A distaff is a tool used in spinning to hold the unspun fibres of flax or wool, keeping them untangled during the spinning process.