(The). The suitors of Penelope (4 syl.), wife of Ulysses, King of Ithaca. While Ulysses was absent, many suitors presented themselves to Penelope, affirming that Ulysses was certainly dead. Penelope put them off, saying she would give a definite answer when she had finished the robe she was weaving for Laertes, but at night she unravelled all she had woven during the day. At last Ulysses returned and slew the suitors.
All the ladies, each and each, Like the Ithacensian suitors in old time, Stared with great eyes, and laughed with alien lips.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894