Cranaus was expelled by Amphictyon, who reigned in his stead;1 some say that Amphictyon was a son of Deucalion, others that he was a son of the soil; and when he had reigned twelve years he was expelled by Erichthonius.2 Some say that this Erichthonius was a son of Hephaestus and Atthis, daughter of Cranaus, and some that he was a son of Hephaestus and Athena, as follows: Athena came to Hephaestus, desirous of fashioning arms. But he, being forsaken by Aphrodite, fell in love with Athena, and began to pursue her; but she fled. When he got near her with much ado （ for he was lame）, he attempted to embrace her; but she, being a chaste virgin, would not submit to him, and he dropped his seed on the leg of the goddess. In disgust, she wiped off the seed with wool and threw it on the ground; and as she fled and the seed fell on the ground, Erichthonius was produced.3 Him Athena brought up unknown to the other gods, wishing to make him immortal; and having put him in a chest, she committed it to Pandrosus, daughter of Cecrops, forbidding her to open the chest. But the sisters of Pandrosus opened it out of curiosity, and beheld a serpent coiled about the babe; and, as some say, they were destroyed by the serpent, but according to others they were driven mad by reason of the anger of Athena and threw themselves down from the acropolis.4 Having been brought up by Athena herself in the precinct,5 Erichthonius expelled Amphictyon and became king of Athens; and he set up the wooden image of Athena in the acropolis,6 and instituted the festival of the Panathenaea,7 and married Praxithea, a Naiad nymph, by whom he had a son Pandion.
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1 Compare the Parian Chronicle, Marmor Parium 8-10; Paus. 1.2.6; Eusebius, Chronic. vol. ii. p. 30, ed. A. Schoene. The Parian Chronicle represents Amphictyon as a son of Deucalion and as reigning, first at Thermopylae, and then at Athens; but it records nothing as to his revolt against Cranaus. Pausanias says that Amphictyon deposed Cranaus, although he had the daughter of Cranaus to wife. Eusebius says that Amphictyon was a son of Deucalion and in-law of Cranaus.
3 With this story of the birth of Erichthonius compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. 2.547 （who agrees to a great extent verbally with Apollodorus）; Eur. Ion 20ff.; Eur. Ion 266ff.; Eratosthenes, Cat. 13; Nonnus, in Westermann's Mythographi Graeci, Appendix Narrationum, 3, pp. 359ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 111; Antigonus Carystius, Hist. Mirab. 12; Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἐρεχθεύς, p. 371.29; Hyginus, Fab. 166; Hyginus, Ast. ii.13; Serv. Verg. G. 3.113; Fulgentius, Mytholog. ii.14; Lactantius, Divin. Inst. ii.17; Augustine, De civitate Dei xviii.12; Scholia in Caesaris Germanici Aratea, p. 394, ed. Fr. Eyssenhardt （in his edition of Martianus Capella）; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 41, 86ff., 88 (First Vatican Mythographer 128; Second Vatican Mythographer 37, 40). The story of the birth of Erichthonius was told by Euripides, according to Eratosthenes, Cat. 13 and by Callimachus, according to the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 2.547. Pausanias was plainly acquainted with the fable, though he contents himself with saying that Erichthonius was reported to be a son of Hephaestus and Earth （Paus. 1.2.6; Paus. 1.14.6）. As C. G. Heyne long ago observed, the story is clearly an etymological myth invented to explain the meaning of the name Erichthonius, which some people derived from ἔρις, “strife,” and χθών, the ground,” while others derived it from ἔριον, “wool,” and χθών, “the ground.” The former derivation of “eri” in Erichthonius seems to have been the more popular. Mythologists have perhaps not sufficiently reckoned with the extent to which false etymology has been operative in the creation of myths. “Disease of language” is one source of myths, though it is very far from being the only one.
4 With this story of the discovery of Erichthonius in the chest compare Eur. Ion 20ff.; Eur. Ion 266ff.; Paus. 1.18.2; Antigonus Carystius, Hist. Mirab. 12; Ov. Met. 2.552ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 166; Hyginus, Ast. ii.13; Fulgentius, Mytholog. ii.14; Lactantius, Divin. Inst. i.17; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 41, 86ff., 88 (First Vatican Mythographer 128; Second Vatican Mythographer 37, 40). Apollodorus apparently describes the infant Erichthonius in the chest as a purely human babe with a serpent coiled about him. The serpent was said to have been set by Athena to guard the infant; according to Eur. Ion 20ff., there were two such guardian serpents. But according to a common tradition Erichthonius was serpent-footed, that is, his legs ended in serpents. See Nonnus, in Westermann's Mythographi Graeci, Appendix Narrationum 3, p. 360; Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἐρεχθεύς, p. 371.47; Hyginus, Fab. 166; Serv. Verg. A. 3.113; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 41, 87 (First Vatican Mythographer 128, Second Vatican Mythographer 37). Indeed, in one passage （Astronom. ii.13） Hyginus affirms that Erichthonius was born a serpent, and that when the box was opened and the maidens saw the serpent in it, they went mad and threw themselves from the acropolis, while the serpent took refuge under the shield of Athena and was reared by the goddess. This view of the identity of Erichthonius with the serpent was recognized, if not accepted, by Pausanias; for in describing the famous statue of the Virgin Athena on the acropolis of Athens, he notices the serpent coiled at her feet behind the shield, and adds that the serpent “may be Erichthonius” （Paus. 1.24.7）. The sacred serpent which lived in the Erechtheum on the acropolis of Athens and was fed with honey-cakes once a month, may have been Erichthonius himself in his original form of a worshipful serpent. See Hdt. 8.41; Aristoph. Lys. 758ff., with the Scholiast; Plut. Them. 10; Philostratus, Im. ii.17.6; Hesychius, s.vv. δράκαυλος and οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν; Suidas, s.v. Δράκαυλος; Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. δράκαυλος, p. 287; Photius, Lexicon, s.v. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν; Eustathius on Hom. Od. i.357, p. 1422, lines 7ff. According to some, there were two such sacred serpents in the Erechtheum （Hesychius, s.v. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν）. When we remember that Cecrops, the ancestor of Erichthonius, was said, like his descendant, to be half-man, half-serpent （above, Apollod. 3.14.1）, we may conjecture that the old kings of Athens claimed kinship with the sacred serpents on the acropolis, into which they may have professed to transmigrate at death. Compare The Dying God, pp. 86ff.; and Frazer on Paus. 1.18.2 （vol. ii. pp. 168ff.）. The Erechtheids, or descendants of Erechtheus, by whom are meant the Athenians in general, used to put golden serpents round the necks or bodies of their infants, nominally in memory of the serpents which guarded the infant Erechthonius, but probably in reality as amulets to protect the children. See Eur. Ion 20-26, Eur. Ion 1426-1431. Erechtheus and Erichthonius may have been originally identical. See Scholiast on Hom. Il. 2.547; Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἐρεχθεύς, p. 371.29; C. F. Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, vol. i. p. 61 note (n).
5 “The precinct” is the Erechtheum on the acropolis of Athens. It was in the Erechtheum that the sacred serpent dwelt, which seems to have been originally identical with Erichthonius. See the preceding note.
7 Compare the Parian Chronicle, Marmor Parium 18; Harpocration, s.v. Παναθήναια; Eratosthenes, Cat. 13; Hyginus, Ast. ii.13, who says that Erichthonius competed at the games in a four-horse car. Indeed, Erichthonius was reputed to have invented the chariot, or, at all events, the four-horse chariot. See the Parian Chronicle, Marmor Parium 18, 21; Eusebius, Chronic. vol. ii. p. 32, ed. A. Schoene; Verg. G. 3.113ff.; Fulgentius, Mytholog. ii.14. According to some, he invented the chariot for the purpose of concealing his serpent feet. See Serv. Verg. G. 3.113; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 41, 87 (First Vatican Mythographer 127; Second Vatican Mythographer 37). The institution of the Panathenaic festival was by some attributed to Theseus （Plut. Thes. 24）, but the Parian Chronicle （Marmor Parium 18）, in agreement with Apollodorus, ascribes it to Erichthonius; and from Harpocration, s.v. Παναθήναια we learn that this ascription was supported by the authority of the historians Hellanicus and Androtion in their works on Attica. Here, therefore, as usual, Apollodorus seems to have drawn on the best sources.
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