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Of the daughters of Coeus, Asteria in the likeness of a quail flung herself into the sea in order to escape the amorous advances of Zeus, and a city was formerly called after her Asteria, but afterwards it was named Delos.1 But Latona for her intrigue with Zeus was hunted by Hera over the whole earth, till she came to Delos and brought forth first Artemis, by the help of whose midwifery she afterwards gave birth to Apollo.2

Now Artemis devoted herself to the chase and remained a maid; but Apollo learned the art of prophecy from Pan, the son of Zeus and Hybris,3 and came to Delphi, where Themis at that time used to deliver oracles;4 and when the snake Python, which guarded the oracle, would have hindered him from approaching the chasm,5 he killed it and took over the oracle.6 Not long afterwards he slew also Tityus, who was a son of Zeus and Elare, daughter of Orchomenus; for her, after he had debauched her, Zeus hid under the earth for fear of Hera, and brought forth to the light the son Tityus, of monstrous size, whom she had borne in her womb.7 When Latona came to Pytho, Tityus beheld her, and overpowered by lust drew her to him. But she called her children to her aid, and they shot him down with their arrows. And he is punished even after death; for vultures eat his heart in Hades.8


1 Compare Callimachus, Hymn to Delos 36ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 401; Hyginus, Fab. 53; Serv. Verg. A. 3.73; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.795; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 13, 79ff.; (First Vatican Mythographer 37; Second Vatican Mythographer 17).

2 As to the birth of Apollo and Artemis, see the HH Apoll. 14ff.; Pind. On Delos, p. 560, ed. Sandys; Hyginus, Fab. 140; and the writers cited in the preceding note. The usual tradition was that Latona gave birth both to Artemis and to Apollo in Delos, which formerly had been called Asteria or Ortygia. But the author of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo distinguishes Ortygia from Delos, and says that, while Apollo was born in Delos, Artemis was born in Ortygia. Thus distinguished from Delos, the island of Ortygia is probably to be identified, as Strabo thought, with Rhenia, an uninhabited island a little way from Delos, where were the graves of the Delians; for no dead body might be buried or burnt in DelosStrab. 10.5.5). Not only so, but it was not even lawful either to be born or to die in Delos; expectant mothers and dying folk were ferried across to Rhenia, there to give birth or to die. However, Rhenia is so near the sacred isle that when Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, dedicated it to the Delian Apollo, he connected the two islands by a chain. See Thuc. 3.104; Diod. 12.58.1; Paus. 2.27.1. The notion that either a birth or a death would defile the holy island is illustrated by an inscription found on the acropolis of Athens, which declares it to be the custom that no one should be born or die within any sacred precinct. See Ἐφημερὶς Ἀρχαιολογική, Athens, 1884, pp. 167ff. The desolate and ruinous remains of the ancient necropolis, overgrown by asphodel, may still be seen on the bare treeless slopes of Rhenia, which looks across the strait to Delos. See H. F. Tozer, The Islands of the Aegean (Oxford, 1890), pp. 14ff. The quaint legend, recorded by Apollodorus, that immediately after her birth Artemis helped her younger twin brother Apollo to be born into the world, is mentioned also by Serv. Verg. A. 3.73 and the Vatican Mythographers (see the reference in the last note). The legend, these writers inform us, was told to explain why the maiden goddess Artemis was invoked by women in child-bed.

3 Pan, son of Zeus and Thymbreus (Thymbris? Hybris?), is mentioned by a Scholiast on Pindar, who distinguishes him from Pan, the son of Hermes and Penelope. See the Argument to the Pythians, p. 297, ed. Boeckh.

4 As to the oracle of Themis at Delphi, see Aesch. Eum. 1ff.; Eur. IT 1259ff.; Paus. 10.5.6; Scholiast on Pind. Argument to the Pythians, p. 297, ed. Boeckh. According to Ov. Met. 1.367ff., it was Themis, and not Apollo, whom Deucalion consulted at Delphi about the best means of repeopling the earth after the great flood.

5 The reference is to the oracular chasm at which the priestess, under the supposed influence of its divine exhalations, delivered her prophecies. See Diod. 16.26; Strab. 9.3.5; Justin xxiv.6.9.

6 As to Apollo's slaughter of the Python, the dragon that guarded the oracle at Delphi, see Plut. Quaest. Graec. 12; Plut. De defectu oraculorum 15; Ael., Var. Hist. iii.1; Paus. 2.7.7, Paus. 2.30.3, Paus. 10.6.5ff.; Ov. Met. 1.437ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 140. From Plutarch and Aelian we learn that Apollo had to go to Tempe to be purified for the slaughter of the dragon, and that both the slaughter of the dragon and the purification of the god were represented every eighth year in a solemn festival at Delphi. See Frazer, on Paus. 2.7.7 (Paus. vol 3. pp. 53ff.). The Pythian games at Delphi were instituted in honour of the dead dragon (Ovid and Hyginus, Fab. 140; compare Clement of Alexandria, Protrept. 2, p. 29, ed. Potter), probably to soothe his natural anger at being slain.

7 Compare Scholiast on Hom. Od. 7.324; Eustathius on Hom. Od. 7.324, p. 1581; Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.761ff., with the Scholiast on 761. The curious story how Zeus hid his light o' love under the earth to save her from the jealous rage of Hera was told by the early mythologist and antiquarian Pherecydes of Athens, as we learn from the Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., (l.c.). Pherecydes was a contemporary of Herodotus and Hellanicus, and wrote in the first half of the fifth century B.C. Apollodorus often refers to him, and appears to have made much use of his writings, as I shall have occasion to observe in the course of these notes. With regard to Elare or Elara, the mother of Tityus, some people thought that she was a daughter of Minyas, not of OrchomenusScholiast on Hom. and Eustathius on Hom. Od. vii.324, p. 1581). Because Tityus was brought up under the earth, he was said to be earth-born (γηγενής, Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.761). Homer calls him simply a son of Earth (Hom. Od. 11.576), and in this he is followed by Verg. A. 6.595.

8 As to the crime and punishment of Tityus, see Hom. Od. 11.576-581; Pind. P. 4.90(160)ff., with the Scholiast on Pind. P. 4.90(160); Lucretius iii.984ff.; Verg. A. 6.595ff.; Hor. Carm. 2.14.8ff., iii.4.77ff., iii.11.21ff., iv.6.2ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 55; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 4, 110 (First Vatican Mythographer 13; Second Vatican Mythographer 104). The tomb of Tityus was shown at Panopeus in Phocis; it was a mound or barrow about a third of a furlong in circumference. See Paus. 10.4.5. In Euboea there was shown a cave called Elarium after the mother of Tityus, and Tityus himself had a shrine where he was worshipped as a hero (Strab. 9.3.14). The death of Tityus at the hands of Apollo and Artemis was represented on the throne of Apollo at Amyclae (Paus. 3.18.15), and it was the subject of a group of statuary dedicated by the Cnidians at DelphiPaus. 10.11.1). His sufferings in hell were painted by Polygnotus in his famous picture of the underworld at Delphi. The great artist represented the sinner worn to a shadow, but no longer racked by the vultures gnawing at his liver (Paus. 10.29.3).

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