Seeing the multitude of them, Tyndareus feared that the preference of one might set the others quarrelling; but Ulysses promised that, if he would help him to win the hand of Penelope, he would suggest a way by which there would be no quarrel. And when Tyndareus promised to help him, Ulysses told him to exact an oath from all the suitors that they would defend the favoured bridegroom against any wrong that might be done him in respect of his marriage. On hearing that, Tyndareus put the suitors on their oath,1 and while he chose Menelaus to be the bridegroom of Helen, he solicited Icarius to bestow Penelope on Ulysses.
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1 Compare Hesiod, in Epische und elegische Fragmente, ed. W. Schubart und U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, p. 33; Hes. Frag. 68.89ff.; Eur. IA 57ff.; Thuc. 1.9; Paus. 3.20.9; Scholiast on Hom. Il. 2.339; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 202. According to Paus. 3.20.9 the suitors took the oath standing on the severed pieces of a horse. As to the custom of standing on the pieces of a sacrificial victim or passing between them at the making of solemn covenants, see Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, i.392ff.
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