previous next

[5] But after that Ilium was captured by Hercules, as we have related a little before,1 Podarces, who was called Priam, came to the throne, and he married first Arisbe, daughter of Merops, by whom he had a son Aesacus, who married Asterope, daughter of Cebren, and when she died he mourned for her and was turned into a bird.2 But Priam handed over Arisbe to Hyrtacus and married a second wife Hecuba, daughter of Dymas, or, as some say, of Cisseus, or, as others say, of the river Sangarius and Metope.3 The first son born to her was Hector; and when a second babe was about to be born Hecuba dreamed she had brought forth a firebrand, and that the fire spread over the whole city and burned it.4 When Priam learned of the dream from Hecuba, he sent for his son Aesacus, for he was an interpreter of dreams, having been taught by his mother's father Merops. He declared that the child was begotten to be the ruin of his country and advised that the babe should be exposed. When the babe was born Priam gave it to a servant to take and expose on Ida; now the servant was named Agelaus. Exposed by him, the infant was nursed for five days by a bear; and, when he found it safe, he took it up, carried it away, brought it up as his own son on his farm, and named him Paris. When he grew to be a young man, Paris excelled many in beauty and strength, and was afterwards surnamed Alexander, because he repelled robbers and defended the flocks.5 And not long afterwards he discovered his parents.

After him Hecuba gave birth to daughters, Creusa, Laodice,6 Polyxena, and Cassandra. Wishing to gain Cassandra's favours, Apollo promised to teach her the art of prophecy; she learned the art but refused her favours; hence Apollo deprived her prophecy of power to persuade.7 Afterwards Hecuba bore sons,8 Deiphobus, Helenus, Pammon, Polites, Antiphus, Hipponous, Polydorus, and Troilus: this last she is said to have had by Apollo.

By other women Priam had sons, to wit, Melanippus, Gorgythion, Philaemon, Hippothous, Glaucus, Agathon, Chersidamas, Evagoras, Hippodamas, Mestor, Atas, Doryclus, Lycaon, Dryops, Bias, Chromius, Astygonus, Telestas, Evander, Cebriones, Mylius, Archemachus, Laodocus, Echephron, Idomeneus, Hyperion, Ascanius, Democoon, Aretus, Deiopites, Clonius, Echemmon, Hypirochus, Aegeoneus, Lysithous, Polymedon; and daughters, to wit, Medusa, Medesicaste, Lysimache, and Aristodeme.

1 See above, Apollod. 2.6.4.

2 Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 224, who seems to follow Apollodorus. The bird into which the mourner was transformed appears to have been a species of diver. See Ov. Met. 11.749-795; Serv. Verg. A. 4.254, Serv. Verg. A. 5.128.

3 According to Hom. Il. 16.718ff. Hecuba was a daughter of Dymas, “who dwelt in Phrygia by the streams of Sangarius.” But Eur. Hec. 3 represents her as a daughter of Cisseus, and herein he is followed by Verg. A. 7.320, x.705. The mythographers Hyginus and Tzetzes leave it an open question whether Hecuba was a daughter of Cisseus or of Dymas. See Hyginus, Fab. 91, 111, 249; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron, Introd. p. 266, ed. Muller. Compare the Scholiast on Eur. Hec. 3: “Pherecydes writes thus: And Priam, son of Laomedon, marries Hecuba, daughter of Dymas, son of Eioneus, son of Proteus, or of the river Sangarius, by a Naiad nymph Evagora. But some have recorded that Hecuba's mother was Glaucippe, daughter of Xanthus. But Nicander, in agreement with Euripides, says that Hecuba was a daughter of Cisseus.” The Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.718, says that according to Pherecydes the father of Hecuba was Dymas and her mother was a nymph Eunoe, but that according to Athenion her father was Cisseus and her mother Teleclia. Thus it would appear that after all we cannot answer with any confidence the question with which the emperor Tiberius loved to pose the grammarians of his time, “Who was Hecuba's mother?” See Suetonius, Tiberius 70.

4 For Hecuba's dream and the exposure of the infant Paris, see Pind. Pa. 8; Scholiast on Hom. Il. iii.325; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 86; Cicero, De divinatione i.21.42; Hyginus, Fab. 91; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 139 (Second Vatican Mythographer 197). The dream is alluded to, though not expressly mentioned, by Eur. Tro. 919ff. and Verg. A. 7.319ff. The warning given by the diviner Aesacus is recorded also by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 224), according to whom the sage advised to put both mother and child to death. Eur. And. 293ff. represents Cassandra shrieking in a prophetic frenzy to kill the ill-omened babe. The suckling of the infant Paris for five days by a she-bear seems to be mentioned only by Apollodorus.

5 Apollodorus apparently derives the name Alexander from ἀλέξω “to defend” and ἀνδρός, the genitive of “man.” As the verb was somewhat archaic, he explains it by the more familiar βοηθῶ, if indeed the explanation be not a marginal gloss. See the Critical Note.

6 Laodice is mentioned by Homer as the fairest of Priam's daughters and the wife of Helicaon (Hom. Il. 3.122ff.; Hom. Il. 6.252).

7 Compare Aesch. Ag. 1202-1212; Hyginus, Fab. 93; Serv. Verg. A. 2.247; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 55, 139 (First Vatican Mythographer 180; Second Vatican Mythographer 196). According to Serv. Verg. A. 2.247, Apollo deprived Cassandra of the power of persuading men of the truth of her prophecies by spitting into her mouth. We have seen that by a similar procedure Glaucus was robbed of the faculty of divination. See above, Apollod. 3.3.2. An entirely different account of the way in which Cassandra and her twin brother Helenus acquired the gift of prophecy is given by a Scholiast on Hom. Il. vii.44. He says that when the festival in honour of the birth of the twins was being held in the sanctuary of the Thymbraean Apollo, the two children played with each other there and fell asleep in the temple. Meantime the parents and their friends, flushed with wine, had gone home, forgetting all about the twins whose birth had given occasion to the festivity. Next morning, when they were sober, they returned to the temple and found the sacred serpents purging with their tongues the organs of sense of the children. Frightened by the cry which the women raised at the strange sight, the serpents disappeared among the laurel boughs which lay beside the infants on the floor; but from that hour Cassandra and Helenus possessed the gift of prophecy. For this story the Scholiast refers to the authority of Anticlides. In like manner Melampus is said to have acquired the art of soothsaying through the action of serpents which licked his ears. See above, Apollod. 1.9.11.

8 Compare Hom. Il. 14.248ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 90.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Sir James George Frazer)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Troy (Turkey) (1)
Phrygia (Turkey) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (40 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: