Chione had connexion with Poseidon, and having given birth to Eumolpus1 unknown to her father, in order not to be detected, she flung the child into the deep. But Poseidon picked him up and conveyed him to Ethiopia, and gave him to Benthesicyme（ a daughter of his own by Amphitrite） to bring up. When he was full grown, Benthesicyme's husband gave him one of his two daughters. But he tried to force his wife's sister, and being banished on that account, he went with his son Ismarus to Tegyrius, king of Thrace, who gave his daughter in marriage to Eumolpus's son. But being afterwards detected in a plot against Tegyrius, he fled to the Eleusinians and made friends with them. Later, on the death of Ismarus, he was sent for by Tegyrius and went, composed his old feud with him, and succeeded to the kingdom. And war having broken out between the Athenians and the Eleusinians, he was called in by the Eleusinians and fought on their side with a large force of Thracians.2 When Erechtheus inquired of the oracle how the Athenians might be victorious, the god answered that they would win the war if he would slaughter one of his daughters; and when he slaughtered his youngest, the others also slaughtered themselves; for, as some said, they had taken an oath among themselves to perish together.3 In the battle which took place after the slaughter, Erechtheus killed Eumolpus.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 With this account of the parentage of Eumolpus, compare Paus. 1.38.2; Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 854; Hyginus, Fab. 157. Isoc. 4.68 agrees with Apollodorus in describing Eumolpus as a son of Poseidon, but does not name his mother. On the other hand the Parian Chronicle （Marmor Parium 27ff.） represents Eumolpus as a son of Musaeus, and says that he founded the mysteries of Eleusis. Apollodorus does not expressly attribute the institution of the mysteries to Eumolpus, but perhaps he implies it. Compare Apollod. 2.5.12. It seems to have been a common tradition that the mysteries of Eleusis were founded by the Thracian Eumolpus. See Plut. De exilio 17; Lucian, Demonax 34; Photius, Lexicon, s.v. Εὐμολπίδαι. But some people held that the Eumolpus who founded the mysteries was a different person from the Thracian Eumolpus; his mother, according to them, was Deiope, daughter of Triptolemus. Some of the ancients supposed that there were as many as three different legendary personages of the name of Eumolpus, and that the one who instituted the Eleusinian mysteries was descended in the fifth generation from the first Eumolpus. See Scholiast on Sophocles, Oedipus Colon. 1053; Photius, Lexicon, s.v. Εὐμολπίδαι. The story which Apollodorus here tells of the casting of Eumolpus into the sea, his rescue by Poseidon, and his upbringing in Ethiopia, appears not to be noticed by any other ancient writer.
2 As to the war between the Athenians and the Eleusinians, see Paus. 1.5.2; Paus. 1.27.4; Paus. 1.31.3; Paus. 1.36.4; Paus. 1.38.3; Paus. 2.14.2; Paus. 7.1.5; Paus. 9.9.1; Alcidamas, Od. 23, p. 182, ed. Blass; Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 854; Aristides, Or. xiii. vol. i. pp. 190ff., ed. Dindorf. Pausanias differs from Apollodorus and our other authorities in saying that in the battle it was not Eumolpus, but his son Ismarus or, as Pausanias calls him, Immaradus who fell by the hand of Erechtheus （Paus. 1.5.2, Paus. 1.27.4）. According to Pausanias （Paus. 1.38.3）, Erechtheus was himself slain in the battle, but Eumolpus survived it and was allowed to remain in Eleusis （Paus. 2.14.2）. Further, Pausanias relates that in the war with Eleusis the Athenians offered the supreme command of their forces to the exiled Ion, and that he accepted it （Paus. 1.31.3; Paus. 2.14.2; Paus. 7.1.5）; and with this account Strab. 8.7.1 substantially agrees. The war waged by Eumolpus on Athens is mentioned by Plat. Menex. 239b; Isoc. 4.68, Isoc. 12.193; Dem. 60.8; and Plut. Parallela 31. According to Isocrates, Eumolpus claimed the kingdom of Athens against Erechtheus on the ground that his father Poseidon had gained possession of the country before Athena.
3 Compare Lyc. 1.98ff.; Plut. Parallela 20; Suidas, s.v. παρθένοι; Apostolius, Cent. xiv.7; Aristides, Or. xiii. vol. i. p. 191, ed. Dindorf; Cicero, Pro Sestio xxi.48; Cicero, Tusculan. Disput. i.48.116; Cicero, De natura deorum iii.19.50; Cicero, De finibus v.22.62; Hyginus, Fab. 46. According to Suidas and Apostolius, out of the six daughters of Erechtheus only the two eldest, Protogonia and Pandora, offered themselves for the sacrifice. According to Eur. Ion 277-280, the youngest of the sisters, Creusa, was spared because she was an infant in arms. Aristides speaks of the sacrifice of one daughter only. Cicero says （Cicero, De natura deorum iii.19.50） that on account of this sacrifice Erechtheus and his daughters were reckoned among the gods at Athens. “Sober,” that is, wineless, sacrifices were offered after their death to the daughters of Erechtheus. See Scholiast on Soph. OC 100. The heroic sacrifice of the maidens was celebrated by Euripides in his tragedy Erechtheus, from which a long passage is quoted by Lyc. 1.100. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 464ff.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.