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[2]

After Eurystheus had perished, the Heraclids came to attack Peloponnese and they captured all the cities.1 When a year had elapsed from their return, a plague visited the whole of Peloponnese; and an oracle declared that this happened on account of the Heraclids, because they had returned before the proper time. Hence they quitted Peloponnese and retired to Marathon and dwelt there.2 Now before they came out of Peloponnese, Tlepolemus had killed Licymnius inadvertently; for while he was beating a servant with his stick Licymnius ran in between; so he fled with not a few, and came to Rhodes, and dwelt there.3 But Hyllus married Iole according to his father's commands, and sought to effect the return of the Heraclids. So he went to Delphi and inquired how they should return; and the god said that they should await the third crop before returning. But Hyllus supposed that the third crop signified three years; and having waited that time he returned with his army4 ... of Hercules to Peloponnese, when Tisamenus, son of Orestes, was reigning over the Peloponnesians.5 And in another battle the Peloponnesians were victorious, and Aristomachus6 was slain. But when the sons of Cleodaeus7 were grown to man's estate, they inquired of the oracle concerning their return. And the god having given the same answer as before, Temenus blamed him, saying that when they had obeyed the oracle they had been unfortunate. But the god retorted that they were themselves to blame for their misfortunes, for they did not understand the oracles, seeing that by “ the third crop” he meant, not a crop of the earth, but a crop of a generation, and that by the narrows he meant the broad-bellied sea on the right of the Isthmus.8 On hearing that, Temenus made ready the army and built ships in Locris where the place is now named Naupactus from that.9 While the army was there, Aristodemus was killed by a thunderbolt,10 leaving twin sons, Eurysthenes and Procles, by Argia, daughter of Autesion.11


1 For the first attempted invasion of the Peloponnese by the Heraclids or sons of Herakles, see Diod. 4.58.1-4. The invasion is commonly spoken of as a return, because, though their father Herakles had been born at Thebes in Boeotia, he regarded Mycenae and Tiryns, the kingdom of his forefathers, as his true home. The word (κάθοδος) here employed by Apollodorus is regularly applied by Greek writers to the return of exiles from banishment, and in particular to the return of the Heraclids. See, for example, Strab. 8.3.30, Strab. 8.4.1, Strab. 8.5.5, Strab. 8.6.10, Strab. 8.7.1, Strab. 8.8.5, Strab. 9.1.7, Strab. 10.2.6, Strab. 13.1.3, Strab. 14.2.6; Paus. 4.3.3; Paus. 5.6.3. The corresponding verbs, κατέρχεσθαι, “to return from exile,” and κατάγειν, “to bring back from exile,” are both used by Apollodorus in these senses. See Apollod. 2.7.2-3; Apollod. 2.8.2 and Apollod. 2.8.5; Apollod. 3.10.5. The final return of the Heraclids, in conjunction with the Dorians, to the Peloponnese is dated by Thuc. 1.12.3 in the eightieth year after the capture of Troy; according to Paus. 4.3.3, it occurred two generations after that event, which tallies fairly with the estimate of Thucydides. Velleius Paterculus i.2.1 agrees with Thucydides as to the date, and adds for our further satisfaction that the return took place one hundred and twenty years after Herakles had been promoted to the rank of deity.

2 Diodorus Siculus says nothing of this return of the Heraclids to Attica after the plague, but he records (Diod. 4.58.3ff.) that, after their defeat and the death of Hyllus at the Isthmus, they retired to Tricorythus and stayed there for fifty years. We have seen (above, p. 278, note on Apollod. 2.8.1) that Tricorythus was situated at the northern end of the plain of Marathon.

3 For the homicide and exile of Tlepolemus, see Hom. Il. 2.653-670, with the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 662; Pind. O. 7.27(50)ff.; Strab. 14.2.6; Diod. 4.58.7ff. According to Pindar, the homicide was apparently not accidental, but committed in a fit of anger with a staff of olive-wood.

4 He was met by a Peloponnesian army at the Isthmus of Corinth and there defeated and slain in single combat by Echemus, king of Tegea. Then, in virtue of a treaty which they had concluded with their adversaries, the Heraclids retreated to Attica and did not attempt the invasion of Peloponnese again for fifty years. See Diod. 4.58.1-5; Paus. 8.5.1. These events may have been recorded by Apollodorus in the lacuna which follows.

5 Pausanias at first dated the return of the Heraclids in the reign of this king (Paus. 2.18.7, Paus. 3.1.5; compare Apollod. 4.3.3), but he afterwards retracted this opinion (Apollod. 8.5.1).

6 This Aristomachus was a son of Cleodaeus (Paus. 2.7.6), who was a son of Hyllus (Paus. 3.15.10), who was a son of Herakles (Paus. 1.35.8). Aristomachus was the father of Aristodemus, Temenus, and Cresphontes (Paus. 2.18.7, Paus. 8.5.6), of whom Temenus and Cresphontes led the Heraclids and Dorians in their final invasion and conquest of PeloponnesePaus. 2.18.7, Paus. 5.3.5ff., Paus. 5.4.1, Paus. 8.5.6, Paus. 10.38.10). Compare Hdt. 6.52, who indicates the descent of Aristodemus from Herakles concisely by speaking of “Aristodemus, the son of Aristomachus, the son of Cleodaeus, the son of Hyllus.” Thus, according to the traditional genealogy, the conquerors of the Peloponnese were great-grandsons of Herakles. With regard to Aristomachus, the father of the conquerors, Pausanias says (Paus. 2.7.6) that he missed his chance of returning to Peloponnese through mistaking the meaning of the oracle. The reference seems to be to the oracle about “the narrows,” which is reported by Apollodorus (see below, note 2.8.2.h).

7 As Heyne pointed out, the name Cleodaeus here is almost certainly wrong, whether we suppose the mistake to have been made by Apollodorus himself or by a copyist. For Cleodaeus was the father of Aristomachus, whose death in battle Apollodorus has just recorded; and, as the sequel clearly proves, the reference is here not to the brothers but to the sons of Aristomachus, namely, Temenus and Cresphontes, the conquerors of the Peloponnese. Compare the preceding note.

8 The oracle was recorded and derided by the cynical philosopher Oenomaus, who, having been deceived by what purported to be a revelation of the deity, made it his business to expose the whole oracular machinery to the ridicule and contempt of the public. This he did in a work entitled On Oracles, or the Exposure of Quacks, of which Eusebius has preserved some extracts. From one of these (Eusebius, v.20) we learn that when Aristomachus applied to the oracle, he was answered, “The gods declare victory to thee by the way of the narrows” (Νίκην σοι φαίνουσι θεοὶ δι᾽ ὁδοῖο στενύγρων). This the inquirer understood to mean “by the Isthmus of Corinth,” and on that understanding the Heraclids attempted to enter Peloponnese by the Isthmus, but were defeated. Being taxed with deception, the god explained that when he said “the narrows” he really meant “the broads,” that is, the sea at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. Compare K. O. Müller, Die Dorier(2), i.58ff., who would restore the “retort courteous” of the oracle in two iambic lines as follows:“ γενεᾶς γάρ, οὐ γῆς καρπὸν ἐξεῖπον τρίτον
καὶ τὴν στενυγρὰν αὖ τὸν εὐρυγάστορα
ἔχοντα κατὰ τὸν Ἰσθμὸν δεξιάν.

9 Naupactus means “ship-built.” Compare Strab. 9.4.7; Paus. 4.26.1; Paus. 10.38.10.

10 Aristodemus was a son of Aristomachus and brother of Temenus and Cresphontes, the conquerors of the PeloponnesePaus. 2.18.7). Some said he was shot by Apollo at Delphi for not consulting the oracle, but others said he was murdered by the children of Pylades and Electra (Paus. 3.1.6). Apollodorus clearly adopts the former of these two accounts; the rationalistic Pausanias preferred the latter.

11 Compare Hdt. 6.52.

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