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[7]

Salmoneus at first dwelt in Thessaly, but afterwards he came to Elis and there founded a city.1 And being arrogant and wishful to put himself on an equality with Zeus, he was punished for his impiety; for he said that he was himself Zeus, and he took away the sacrifices of the god and ordered them to be offered to himself; and by dragging dried hides, with bronze kettles, at his chariot, he said that he thundered, and by flinging lighted torches at the sky he said that he lightened. But Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt, and wiped out the city he had founded with all its inhabitants.2


1 Compare Diod. 4.68.1. His city was called Salmone. See Strab. 7.3.31-32; Stephanus Byzantius, s.v. Σαλμώνη.

2 Compare Verg. A. 6.585ff. with the commentary of Servius; Hyginus, Fab. 61; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 28, 93 (First Vatican Mythographer 82; Second Vatican Mythographer 56). In the traditions concerning Salmoneus we may perhaps trace the reminiscence of a line of kings who personated the Skygod Zeus and attempted to make rain, thunder and lightning by means of imitative magic. See The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, i.310, ii.177, 180ff. Sophocles composed a Satyric play on the subject (The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, vol. ii. pp. 177ff. ).

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