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Κάλχας). A celebrated soothsayer, son of Thestor. He had received from Apollo the knowledge of future events; and the Greeks, accordingly, on their departure for the Trojan War, nominated him their high-priest and prophet. Among the interpretations of events imputed to him, it is said that he predicted that Troy could not be taken without the aid of Achilles; and that, having observed a serpent, during a solemn sacrifice, glide from under an altar, ascend a tree, and devour nine young birds with their mother, and afterwards become itself changed into stone, he inferred that the siege of Troy would last ten years. He also foretold that the Grecian fleet, which was at that same time detained by contrary winds in the harbour of Aulis, would not be able to sail until Agamemnon should have sacrificed his own daughter Iphigenia. Calchas likewise advised Agamemnon, during the pestilence by which Apollo desolated the Grecian camp, to restore Chryseïs to her father, as the only means of appeasing the god. (See Trojan War.) He was consulted, indeed, on every affair of importance, and appears to have often determined, with Agamemnon and Odysseus, the import of the oracles which he expounded. His death is said to have happened as follows. After the taking of Troy, he accompanied Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraüs, to Colophon in Ionia. It had been predicted that he should not die until he found a prophet more skilful than himself: this he experienced in the person of Mopsus. He was unable to tell how many figs were on the branches of a certain fig-tree; and when Mopsus mentioned the exact number Calchas retired to the wood of Claros, sacred to Apollo, where he expired of grief and mortification. Calchas had the patronymic, Thestorides.

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