"when his companions were turned into swine by Circe"

Public DomainCirce - Credit: Wright Barker, 1889
Circe was the daughter of the sun, described in Homer’s Odyssey as ‘the loveliest of all immortals.’  She was a powerful sorceress, who used her arts to turn people into animals. When Odysseus and his companions arrive at the Eaean isle, they find that the only sign of habitation is right in the centre of the island, in an area surrounded by trees.  Odysseus sends half his crew, under the command of Eurylochus, to investigate.  They find a palace surrounded by wolves, lions and tigers – all of whom used to be men.  They are lured inside by Circe, who wines and dines them, and then turns them all into swine. Eurylochus alone escapes, and returns to Odysseus to tell him the tale.  Odysseus resolves to confront Circe and rescue his men.  He receives assistance from Mercury, who provides him with a protection against Circe’s magic.  Odysseus successfully resists Circe’s spell, and demands that she restore his men to human form. She consents, and Odysseus and his men sail forth once again, with valuable advice from Circe about how to resist the sirens’ call – the next peril they will face on their journey.