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Some writers say that the name "Idaean Dactyli" was given to the first settlers of the lower slopes of Mt. Ida, for the lower slopes of mountains are called "feet," and the summits "heads"; accordingly, the several extremities of Ida (all of which are sacred to the Mother of the gods) were called Dactyli.1 Sophocles2 thinks that the first male Dactyli were five in number, who were the first to discover and to work iron, as well as many other things which are useful for the purposes of life, and that their sisters were five in number, and that they were called Dactyli from their number. But different writers tell the myth in different ways, joining difficulty to difficulty; and both the names and numbers they use are different; and they name one of them "Celmis" and others "Damnameneus" and "Heracles" and "Acmon." Some call them natives of Ida, others settlers; but all agree that iron was first worked by these on Ida; and all have assumed that they were wizards and attendants of the Mother of the gods, and that they lived in Phrygia about Ida; and they use the term Phrygia for the Troad because, after Troy was sacked, the Phrygians, whose territory bordered on the Troad, got the mastery over it. And they suspect that both the Curetes and the Corybantes were offspring of the Idaean Dactyli; at any rate, the first hundred men born in Crete were called Idaean Dactyli, they say, and as offspring of these were born nine Curetes, and each of these begot ten children who were called Idaean Dactyli.

1 "Dactyli" means either "fingers" or "toes."

2 Soph. Cophi Satyri Fr. 337 (Nauck)

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load focus Greek (1877)
load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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