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[19]

Amphilochus son of Alcmaeon, who, according to some, arrived later at Troy, was driven in the storm to the home of Mopsus; and, as some say, they fought a single combat for the kingdom, and slew each other.1


1 This passage is quoted from Apollodorus, with the author's name, by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 440-442), who says that according to the usual tradition Amphilochus and Mopsus had gone together to Cilicia after the capture of Troy. This statement is confirmed by the testimony of Strab. 14.5.16, who tells us that Amphilochus and Mopsus came from Troy and founded Mallus in Cilicia. The dispute between Amphilochus and Mopsus is related more fully both by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 440-442) and Strab. 14.5.16 According to them, Amphilochus wished to go for a time to Argos (probably Amphilochian Argos; see above, Apollod. 3.7.7). So he departed after entrusting the kingdom or priesthood to Mopsus in his absence. Dissatisfied with the state of affairs at Argos, he returned in a year and reclaimed the kingdom or priesthood from Mopsus. But, acting on the principle Beati possidentes, the viceroy refused to cede the crown or the mitre to its proper owner; accordingly they had recourse to the ordeal of battle, in which both combatants perished. Their bodies were buried in graves which could not be seen from each other; for the people built a tower between them, in order that the rivals, who had fought each other in life, might not scowl at each other in death. However, their rivalry did not prevent them working an oracle in partnership after their decease. In the second century of our era the oracle enjoyed the highest reputation for infallibility (Paus. 1.34.3). The leading partner of the firm was apparently Amphilochus, for he is usually mentioned alone in connexion with the oracle; Plut. De defectu oraculorum 45 is the only ancient writer from whom we learn that Mopsus took an active share in the business though Cicero mentions the partners together (Cicero, De divinatione i.40.88). According to Plutarch and Dio Cassius lxxii.7, the oracles were communicated in dreams; but Lucian says (Philopseudes 38) that the inquirer wrote down his question on a tablet, which he handed to the prophet. The charge for one of these infallible communications was only two obols, or about twopence halfpenny. See Lucian, Alexander 19; Lucian, Deorum concilium 12. The ancients seem to have been divided in opinion on the important question whether the oracular Amphilochus at Mallus was the son or the grandson of Amphiaraus. Apollodorus calls him the son of Alcmaeon, which would make him the grandson of Amphiaraus, for Alcmaeon was a son of Amphiaraus. But Tzetzes, in reporting what he describes as the usual version of the story, calls Amphilochus the son, not the grandson of Amphiaraus (Scholiast on Lycophron 440-442). Compare Strab. 14.1.27; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica xiv.365-369. Lucian is inconsistent on the point; for while in one passage he calls Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus (Lucian, Alexander 19), in another passage he speaks of him sarcastically as the noble son of an accurst matricide, by whom he means Alcmaeon (Quintus Smyrnaeus, Deorum concilium 12). Elsewhere Apollodorus mentions both Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, and Amphilochus, the son of Alcmaeon. See above, Apollod. 3.7.2 and Apollod. 3.7.7.

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