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When Electryon reigned over Mycenae, the sons of Pterelaus came with some Taphians and claimed the kingdom of Mestor, their maternal grandfather,1 and as Electryon paid no heed to the claim, they drove away his kine; and when the sons of Electryon stood on their defence, they challenged and slew each other.2 But of the sons of Electryon there survived Licymnius, who was still young; and of the sons of Pterelaus there survived Everes, who guarded the ships. Those of the Taphians who escaped sailed away, taking with them the cattle they had lifted, and entrusted them to Polyxenus, king of the Eleans; but Amphitryon ransomed them from Polyxenus and brought them to Mycenae. Wishing to avenge his sons' death, Electryon purposed to make war on the Teleboans, but first he committed the kingdom to Amphitryon along with his daughter Alcmena, binding him by oath to keep her a virgin until his return.3 However, as he was receiving the cows back, one of them charged, and Amphitryon threw at her the club which he had in his hands. But the club rebounded from the cow's horns and striking Electryon's head killed him.4 Hence Sthenelus laid hold of this pretext to banish Amphitryon from the whole of Argos, while he himself seized the throne of Mycenae and Tiryns; and he entrusted Midea to Atreus and Thyestes, the sons of Pelops, whom he had sent for. 0

Amphitryon went with Alcmena and Licymnius to Thebes and was purified by Creon5 and gave his sister Perimede to Licymnius. And as Alcmena said she would marry him when he had avenged her brothers' death, Amphitryon engaged to do so, and undertook an expedition against the Teleboans, and invited Creon to assist him. Creon said he would join in the expedition if Amphitryon would first rid the Cadmea of the vixen; for a brute of a vixen was ravaging the Cadmea.6 But though Amphitryon undertook the task, it was fated that nobody should catch her.

1 Taphius, the father of Pterelaus, was a son of Hippothoe, who was a daughter of Mestor. See above, Apollod. 2.4.5. Thus Mestor was not the maternal grandfather, but the great-grandfather of the sons of Pterelaus. Who the maternal grandfather of the sons of Pterelaus was we do not know, since the name of their mother is not recorded. The words “their maternal grandfather” are probably a gloss which has crept into the text. See the Critical Note. Apart from the difficulty created by these words, it is hard to suppose that Electryon was still reigning over Mycenae at the time of this expedition of the sons of Pterelaus, since, being a son of Perseus, he was a brother of their great-grandfather Mestor.

2 Compare Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.747-751, with the Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.747; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 932, whose account seems based on that of Apollodorus.

3 Compare Hes. Sh. 14ff., where it is said that Amphitryon might not go in to his wife Alcmena until he had avenged the death of her brothers, the sons of Electryon, who had been slain in the fight with the Taphians. The tradition points to a custom which enjoined an avenger of blood to observe strict chastity until he had taken the life of his enemy.

4 A similar account of the death of Electryon is given by Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 932, who seems to follow Apollodorus. According to this version of the legend, the slaying of Electryon by Amphitryon was purely accidental. But according to Hes. Sh. 11ff.; Hes. Sh. 79ff., the two men quarrelled over the cattle, and Amphitryon killed Electryon in hot blood. Compare the Scholiast on Hom. Il. xiv.323.

5 That is, for the killing of Electryon. Compare Hes. Sh. 79ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 932; Eur. Herc. 16ff.

6 The animal had its lair at Teumessus, and hence was known as the Teumessian fox. See Paus. 9.19.1; Ant. Lib. 41; Apostolius, Cent. xvi.42; Suidas, s.v. Τευμησία; Tzetzes, Chiliades i.553ff. (who refers to Apollodorus as his authority); Ov. Met. 7.762ff. By an easy application of the rationalistic instrument, which cuts so many mythological knots, the late Greek writer Palaephatus (De Incredib. 8) converted the ferocious animal into a gentleman (καλὸς κἀγαθὸς) named Fox, of a truculent disposition and predatory habits, who proved a thorn in the flesh to the Thebans, until Cephalus rid them of the nuisance by knocking him on the head.

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