2. A son of Panopeus, called the artist, who went with thirty ships from the Cyclades to Troy. (Dict. Cret. 1.17.) About the close of the Trojan war, he built the wooden horse under the protection and with the assistance of Athena. (Od. 8.492
; Il. 23.664
, &c., 840; Paus. 2.29.4
According to Justin (20.2
) the inhabitants of Metapontum, which he was believed to have founded, shewed in a temple of Athena the tools which he had used in constructing the horse.
In the Homeric poems he appears as a mighty and gallant warrior, whereas later traditions assign to him an inferior place among the heroes at Troy. Stesichorus (apud Eustath. ad Hom.
p. 1323; Athen. 10.457
) called him the water-bearer of the Atreidae, and as such he was represented in the temple of Apollo at Carthea. His cowardice, further, is said to have been so great, that it became proverbial. (Hesych. s. v.
) According to Virgil (Aen.
2.264), Epeius himself was one of the Greeks concealed in the wooden horse, and another tradition makes him the founder of Pisa in Italy. (Serv. ad Aen. 10.179
There were at Argos very ancient carved images of Hermes and Aphrodite, which were believed to be the works of Epeius (Paus. 2.19.6
), and Plato (Ion,
p. 533a.) mentions him as a sculptor along with Daedalus and Theodorus of Samos. Epeius himself was painted by Polygnotus in the Lesche of Delphi in the act of throwing down the Trojan wall, above which rose the head of the wooden horse. (Paus. 10.26.1