previous next

[7] And Telamon betook himself to Salamis, to the court of Cychreus, son of Poseidon and Salamis, daughter of Asopus. This Cychreus became king of Salamis through killing a snake which ravaged the island, and dying childless he bequeathed the kingdom to Telamon.1 And Telamon married Periboea, daughter of Alcathus,2 son of Pelops, and called his son Ajax, because when Hercules had prayed that he might have a male child, an eagle appeared after the prayer.3 And having gone with Hercules on his expedition against Troy, he received as a prize Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, by whom he had a son Teucer.4

1 Compare Diod. 4.72.4; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 110, 175, 451. In the second of these passages (175, vol. i. p. 444, ed. Muller) Tzetzes agrees closely with Apollodorus and probably follows him. A somewhat different version of the legend was told by Hesiod. According to him the snake was reared by Cychreus, but expelled from Salamis by Eurylochus because of the ravages it committed in the island; and after its expulsion it was received at Eleusis by Demeter, who made it one of her attendants. See Strab. 9.1.9. Others said that the snake was not a real snake, but a bad man nicknamed Snake on account of his cruelty, who was banished by Eurylochus and took refuge at Eleusis, where he was appointed to a minor office in the sanctuary of Demeter. See Stephanus Byzantius, s.v. Κυχρεῖος πάγος; Eustathius, Commentary on Dionysius Perieg. 507 (Geographi Graeci Minores, ed. C. Müller, vol. ii. p. 314). Cychreus was regarded as one of the guardian heroes of Salamis, where he was buried with his face to the west. Sacrifices were regularly offered at his grave, and when Solon desired to establish the claim of Athens to the possession of the island, he sailed across by night and sacrificed to the dead man at his grave. See Plut. Sol. 9. Cychreus was worshipped also at AthensPlut. Thes. 10). It is said that at the battle of Salamis a serpent appeared among the Greek ships, and God announced to the Athenians that this serpent was the hero Cychreus (Paus. 1.36.1). The story may preserve a reminiscence of the belief that kings and heroes regularly turn into serpents after death. The same belief possibly explains the association of Erichthonius or Erechtheus and Cecrops with serpents at Athens. See The Dying God, pp. 86ff. On account of this legendary serpent Lycophron called Salamis the Dragon Isle (Lycophron, Cassandra 110).

2 Compare Xen. Cyn. i.9; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.14. According to Diod. 4.72.7, Telamon first married Glauce, daughter of Cychreus, king of Salamis, and on her death he wedded the Athenian Eriboea, daughter of Alcathous, by whom he had Ajax. Pindar also mentions Eriboea as the wife of Telamon: see Pind. I. 6.45(65).

3 As to the prayer of Herakles and the appearance of the eagle in answer to the prayer, see Pind. I. 6.35(51)ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 455-461. Pindar followed by Apollodorus and Tzetzes, derived the name Ajax from αἰετός “an eagle.” A story ran that Herakles wrapt the infant Ajax in the lion's skin which he himself wore, and that Ajax was thus made invulnerable except in the armpit, where the quiver had hung, or, according to others, at the neck. Hence, in describing the suicide of the hero, Aeschylus told how, when he tried to run himself through the body, the sword doubled back in the shape of a bow, till some spirit showed the desperate man the fatal point to which to apply the trenchant blade. See Scholiast on Soph. Aj. 833; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 455-461; Scholiast on Hom. Il. 23.821. Plato probably had this striking passage of the tragedy in his mind when he made Alcibiades speak of Socrates as more proof against vice than Ajax against steel (Plat. Symp. 219e).

4 See above, Apollod. 2.6.4. As Hesione, the mother of Teucer, was not the lawful wife of Telamon, Homer speaks of Teucer as a bastard (Hom. Il. 8.283ff., with the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 8.284). According to another account, it was not Telamon but his brother Peleus who went with Herakles to the siege of Troy. The poets were not consistent on this point. Thus, while in two passages (Pind. N. 4.25(40); Pind. I. 6.27(39)ff.) Pindar assigns to Telamon the glory of the adventure, in another he transfers it to Peleus (quoted by the Scholiast on Eur. Andr. 796; Pind. Fr. 172). Euripides was equally inconsistent. See his Eur. Tro. 804ff. (Telamon), contrasted with his Eur. And. 796ff. (Peleus).

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.
Athens (Greece) (3)
Troy (Turkey) (2)
Eleusis (Greece) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (10 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: