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[5] And he had sons by Andromeda: before he came to Greece he had Perses, whom he left behind with Cepheus ( and from him it is said that the kings of Persia are descended); and in Mycenae he had Alcaeus and Sthenelus and Heleus and Mestor and Electryon,1 and a daughter Gorgophone, whom Perieres married.2

Alcaeus had a son Amphitryon and a daughter Anaxo by Astydamia, daughter of Pelops; but some say he had them by Laonome, daughter of Guneus, others that he had them by Hipponome, daughter of Menoeceus; and Mestor had Hippothoe by Lysidice, daughter of Pelops. This Hippothoe was carried off by Poseidon, who brought her to the Echinadian Islands, and there had intercourse with her, and begat Taphius, who colonized Taphos and called the people Teleboans, because he had gone far3 from his native land. And Taphius had a son Pterelaus, whom Poseidon made immortal by implanting a golden hair in his head.4 And to Pterelaus were born sons, to wit, Chromius, Tyrannus, Antiochus, Chersidamas, Mestor, and Eueres.

Electryon married Anaxo, daughter of Alcaeus,5 and begat a daughter Alcmena,6 and sons, to wit, Stratobates, Gorgophonus, Phylonomus, Celaeneus, Amphimachus, Lysinomus, Chirimachus, Anactor, and Archelaus; and after these he had also a bastard son, Licymnius, by a Phrygian woman Midea.7

Sthenelus had daughters, Alcyone and Medusa, by Nicippe,8 daughter of Pelops; and he had afterwards a son Eurystheus, who reigned also over Mycenae. For when Hercules was about to be born, Zeus declared among the gods that the descendant of Perseus then about to be born would reign over Mycenae, and Hera out of jealousy persuaded the Ilithyias to retard Alcmena's delivery,9 and contrived that Eurystheus, son of Sthenelus, should be born a seven-month child.10


1 As to the sons of Perseus and Andromeda, compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. xix.116; Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.747. The former agrees with Apollodorus as to the five sons born to Perseus in Mycenae, except that he calls one of them Aelius instead of Heleus; the latter mentions only four sons, Alcaeus, Sthenelus, Mestor, and Electryon.

2 See below, Apollod. 3.10.3.

3 The name Teleboans is derived by the writer from “telou ebē” (τηλοῦ ἔβη), “he went far.” The same false etymology is accepted by Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 932;. Strabo says (Strab. 10.2.20) that the Taphians were formerly called Teleboans.

4 See below, Apollod. 2.4.7.

5 Thus Electryon married his niece, the daughter of his brother Alcaeus (see above, Apollod. 2.4.5). Similarly Butes is said to have married the daughter of his brother Erechtheus (Apollod. 3.15.1), and Phineus is reported to have been betrothed to the daughter of his brother Cepheus (Apollod. 2.4.3). Taken together, these traditions perhaps point to a custom of marriage with a niece, the daughter of a brother.

6 According to another account, the mother of Alcmena was a daughter of Pelops (Eur. Herc. 210ff.), her name being variously given as Lysidice (Scholiast on Pind. O. 7.27(49);; Plut. Thes. 6) and Eurydice (Diod. 4.9.1).

7 Compare Scholiast on Pind. O. 7.27(49).

8 According to other accounts, her name was Antibia (Scholiast on Hom. Il. xix.119) or Archippe (Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.172, 192).

9 Compare Hom. Il. 19.95-133, where (v. 119) the Ilithyias, the goddesses of childbirth, are also spoken of in the plural. According to Ov. Met. 9.292ff., the goddess of childbirth (Lucina, the Roman equivalent of Ilithyia) delayed the birth of Herakles by sitting at the door of the room with crossed legs and clasped hands until, deceived by a false report that Alcmena had been delivered, she relaxed her posture and so allowed the birth to take place. Compare Paus. 9.11.3; Ant. Lib. 29, according to whom it was the Fates and Ilithyia who thus retarded the birth of Herakles. Among the Efiks and Ibibios, of Southern Nigeria, “the ancient custom still obtains that locks should be undone and knots untied in the house of a woman who is about to bear a babe, since all such are thought, by sympathetic magic, to retard delivery. A case was related of a jealous wife, who, on the advice of a witch doctor versed in the mysteries of her sex, hid a selection of padlocks beneath her garments, then went and sat down near the sick woman's door and surreptitiously turned the key in each. She had previously stolen an old waist-cloth from her rival, which she knotted so tightly over and over that it formed a ball, and, as an added precaution, she locked her fingers closely together and sat with crossed legs, exactly as did Juno Lucina of old when determined to prevent the birth of the infant Herakles” (D. Amaury Talbot, Woman's Mysteries of a Primitive People, the Ibibios of Southern Nigeria (London, etc. 1915), p. 22). See further Taboo and the Perils of the Soul, pp. 294ff.

10 Compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. xix.119; Tzetzes, Chiliades ii.172ff., 192ff.

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