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[8]

When the war had already lasted ten years, and the Greeks were despondent, Calchas prophesied to them that Troy could not be taken unless they had the bow and arrows of Hercules fighting on their side. On hearing that, Ulysses went with Diomedes to Philoctetes in Lemnos, and having by craft got possession of the bow and arrows he persuaded him to sail to Troy. So he went, and after being cured by Podalirius, he shot Alexander.1


1 These events are related in precisely the same way, though with many poetic embellishments, by Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica ix.325-479 (the fetching of Philoctetes from Lemnos and the healing of him by Podalirius), Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica x.206ff. (Paris wounded to death by the arrows of Philoctetes). The story was told somewhat differently by Lesches in the Little Iliad. According to him, the prophecy that Troy could not be taken without the help of Philoctetes was uttered, not by Calchas, but by the Trojan seer Helenus, whom Ulysses had captured; Philoctetes was brought from Lemnos by Diomedes alone, and he was healed, not by Podalirius, but by Machaon. The account of Tzetzes, Posthomerica 571-595 agrees with that of Lesches in respect of the prophecy of Helenus and the cure by Machaon. Sophocles also followed the Little Iliad in putting the prophecy in the mouth of the captured Trojan seer Helenus (Soph. Phil. 604-613). Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 911. In their plays on the subject (see above, note on Apollod. E.3.27) Euripides and Sophocles differed as to the envoys whom the Greeks sent to bring the wounded Philoctetes from Lemnos to Troy. According to Euripides, with whom Apollodorus, Quintus Smyrnaeus, and Hyginus, Fab. 103 agree, the envoys were Ulysses and Diomedes; according to Sophocles, they were Ulysses and Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. See Dio Chrysostom lii. vol. ii. p. 161, ed. L. Dindorf; Jebb's Introduction to his edition of Sophocles, Philoctetes (Cambridge, 1898), pp. xvff.; TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 613ff. However, while Sophocles diverges from what seems to have been the usual story by representing Neoptolemus instead of Diomedes as the companion of Ulysses on this errand, he implicitly recognizes the other version by putting it in the mouth of the merchant (Soph. Phil. 570-597). A painting at the entrance to the acropolis of Athens represented Ulysses or Diomedes (it is uncertain which) in the act of carrying off the bow of Philoctetes. See Paus. 1.22.6, with Frazer's commentary (vol. ii. pp. 263ff.). The combat between Philoctetes and Paris is described by Malalas, Chr. v. pp. 110ff., ed. L. Dindorf.

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