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Now Hector married Andromache, daughter of Eetion,1 and Alexander married Oenone, daughter of the river Cebren.2 She had learned from Rhea the art of prophecy, and warned Alexander not to sail to fetch Helen; but failing to persuade him, she told him to come to her if he were wounded, for she alone could heal him. When he had carried off Helen from Sparta and Troy was besieged, he was shot by Philoctetes with the bow of Hercules, and went back to Oenone on Ida. But she, nursing her grievance, refused to heal him. So Alexander was carried to Troy and died. But Oenone repented her, and brought the healing drugs; and finding him dead she hanged herself.

The Asopus river was a son of Ocean and Tethys, or, as Acusilaus says, of Pero and Poseidon, or, according to some, of Zeus and Eurynome. Him Metope, herself a daughter of the river Ladon, married and bore two sons, Ismenus and Pelagon, and twenty daughters, of whom one, Aegina, was carried off by Zeus.3 In search of her Asopus came to Corinth, and learned from Sisyphus that the ravisher was Zeus.4 Asopus pursued him, but Zeus, by hurling thunderbolts, sent him away back to his own streams;5 hence coals are fetched to this day from the streams of that river.6 And having conveyed Aegina to the island then named Oenone, but now called Aegina after her, Zeus cohabited with her and begot a son Aeacus on her.7 As Aeacus was alone in the island, Zeus made the ants into men for him.8 And Aeacus married Endeis, daughter of Sciron, by whom he had two sons, Peleus and Telamon.9 But Pherecydes says that Telamon was a friend, not a brother of Peleus, he being a son of Actaeus and Glauce, daughter of Cychreus.10 Afterwards Aeacus cohabited with Psamathe, daughter of Nereus, who turned herself into a seal to avoid his embraces, and he begot a son Phocus.11

Now Aeacus was the most pious of men. Therefore, when Greece suffered from infertility on account of Pelops, because in a war with Stymphalus, king of the Arcadians, being unable to conquer Arcadia, he slew the king under a pretence of friendship, and scattered his mangled limbs, oracles of the gods declared that Greece would be rid of its present calamities if Aeacus would offer prayers on its behalf. So Aeacus did offer prayers, and Greece was delivered from the dearth.12 Even after his death Aeacus is honored in the abode of Pluto, and keeps the keys of Hades.13

As Phocus excelled in athletic sports, his brothers Peleus and Telamon plotted against him, and the lot falling on Telamon, he killed his brother in a match by throwing a quoit at his head, and with the help of Peleus carried the body and hid it in a wood. But the murder being detected, the two were driven fugitives from Aegina by Aeacus.14

1 See Hom. Il. 6.395ff., where it is said that Eetion was king of Thebe in Cilicia.

2 For the loves of Paris and Oenone, and their tragic end, compare Conon 23; Parthenius, Narrat. 4; Ovid, Her. v.

3 As to the river-god Asopus and his family, see Diod. 4.72.1-5; Paus. 2.5.1ff.; Paus. 5.22.6. According to Diodorus, Asopus was a son of Ocean and Tethys; he married Metope, daughter of the Ladon, by whom he had two sons and twelve daughters. Asopus, the father of Aegina, is identified by Diodorus and Pausanias with the Phliasian or Sicyonian river of that name; but the patriotic Boeotian poet Pindar seems to claim the honour for the Boeotian Asopus (Pind. I. 8.16(35)ff., and he is naturally supported by his Scholiast (Scholiast on Pind. I. 8.17(37)), as well as by Statius vii.315ff.) and his Scholiast, Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. vii.424. The Phliasians even went so far as to assert that their Asopus was the father of Thebe, who gave her name to the Boeotian Thebes; but this view the Thebans could not accept (Paus. 2.5.2).

4 Compare above, Apollod. 1.9.3; Paus. 2.5.1.

5 Compare Callimachus, Hymn to Delos 78; Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.117.

6 According to Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. vii.315, live coals were to be found in the Asopus, and Statius, in his windy style (Statius, Theb. vii.325ff.), talks of the “brave river blowing ashes of thunderbolts and Aetnaean vapours from its panting banks to the sky,” which may be a poetical description of river-mists. But both the poet and his dutiful commentator here refer to the Boeotian Asopus, whereas Apollodorus probably refers to the Phliasian river of that name.

7 Compare Diod. 4.72.5; Paus. 2.29.2; Hyginus, Fab. 52. As to Oenone, the ancient name of Aegina, compare Pind. N. 4.46(75); Pind. N. 5.16(29); Pind. N. 8.7(12); Pind. I. 5.34(44); Hdt. 8.46; Strab. 8.6.16; Hyginus, Fab. 52. Another old name for Aegina was Oenopia. See Pind. N. 8.21(45); Ov. Met. 7.472ff.

8 As to the transformation of the ants into men see Hesiod, quoted by the Scholiast on Pind. N. 3.13(21); and by Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 176; Scholiast on Hom. Il. i.180; Strab. 8.6.16; Hyginus, Fab. 52; Ov. Met. 7.614ff.; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 23, 142 (First Vatican Mythographer 67; Second Vatican Mythographer 204). The fable is clearly based on the false etymology which derived the name Myrmidons from μύρμηκες, “ants.” Strab. 8.6.16 attempted to rationalize the myth.

9 Compare Plut. Thes. 10; Paus. 2.29.9; Scholiast on Eur. Andr. 687. According to another account, Endeis, the mother of Telamon and Peleus, was a daughter of Chiron. See Scholiast on Pind. N. 5.7(12); Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.14; Hyginus, Fab. 14.

10 This account of the parentage of Telamon, for which we have the authority of the old writer Pherecydes (about 480 B.C.), is probably earlier than the one which represents him as a son of Aeacus. According to it, Telamon was a native, not of Aegina, but of Salamis, his mother Glauce being a daughter of Cychreus, king of Salamis (as to whom see below, Apollod. 3.12.7). It is certain that the later life of Telamon was associated with Salamis, where, according to one account (Diod. 4.72.7), he married Glauce, daughter of Cychreus, king of Salamis, the very woman whom the other and perhaps later version of the legend represented as his mother. See Jebb, Sophocles, Ajax (Cambridge, 1896), Introduction, Section 4, pp. xviiff.

11 Compare Hes. Th. 1003ff.; Pind. N. 5.12(21); Scholiast on Eur. Andr. 687, who mentions the transformation of the sea-nymph into a seal. The children of Phocus settled in Phocis and gave their name to the country. See Paus. 2.29.2, Paus. 10.1.1, Paus. 10.30.4. Thus we have an instance of a Greek people, the Phocians, who traced their name and their lineage to an animal ancestress. But it would be rash to infer that the seal was the totem of the Phocians. There is no evidence that they regarded the seal with any superstitious respect, though the people of Phocaea, in Asia Minor, who were Phocians by descent (Paus. 7.3.10), put the figure of a seal on their earliest coins. But this was probably no more than a punning badge, like the rose of Rhodes and the wild celery (σέλινον) of Selinus. See George Macdonald, Coin Types (Glasgow, 1905), pp. 17, 41, 50.

12 Compare Isoc. 9.14ff.; Diod. 4.61.1ff.; Paus. 2.29.7ff.; Clement of Alexandria, Strom. vi.3.28, p. 753; Scholiast on Pind. N. 5.9(17). Tradition ran that a prolonged drought had withered up the fruits of the earth all over Greece, and that Aeacus, as the son of the sky-god Zeus, was deemed the person most naturally fitted to obtain from his heavenly father the rain so urgently needed by the parched earth and the dying corn. So the Greeks sent envoys to him to request that he would intercede with Zeus to save the crops and the people. “ Complying with their petition, Aeacus ascended the Hellenic mountain and stretching out pure hands to heaven he called on the common god, and prayed him to take pity on afflicted Greece. And even while he prayed a loud clap of thunder pealed, and all the surrounding sky was overcast, and furious and continuous showers of rain burst out and flooded the whole land. Thus was exuberant fertility procured for the fruits of the earth by the prayers of Aeacus” (Clement of Alexandria, Strom. vi.3.28, p. 753). In gratitude for this timely answer to his prayers Aeacus is said to have built a sanctuary of Zeus on Mount Panhellenius in AeginaPaus. 2.30.4). No place could well be more appropriate for a temple of the rain-god; for the sharp peak of Mount Panhellenius, the highest mountain of Aegina, is a conspicuous landmark viewed from all the neighbouring coasts of the gulf, and in antiquity a cloud settling on the mountain was regarded as a sign of rain (Theophrastus, De signis tempestat. i.24). According to Apollodorus, the cause of the dearth had been a crime of Pelops, who had treacherously murdered Stymphalus, king of Arcadia, and scattered the fragments of his mangled body abroad. This crime seems not to be mentioned by any other ancient writer; but Diodorus Siculus in like manner traces the calamity to a treacherous murder. He says (Diod. 4.61.1) that to punish the Athenians for the assassination of his son Androgeus, the Cretan king Minos prayed to Zeus that Athens might be afflicted with drought and famine, and that these evils soon spread over Attica and Greece. Similarly Alcmaeon's matricide was believed to have entailed a failure of the crops. See above, Apollod. 3.7.5 with the note.

13 In some late Greek verses, inscribed on the tomb of a religious sceptic at Rome, Aeacus is spoken of as the warder or key-holder (κλειδοῦχος) of the infernal regions; but in the same breath the poet assures us that these regions, with all their inmates, were mere fables, and that of the dead there remained no more than the bones and ashes. See Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, vol. iii. p. 933, No. 6298; G. Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca ex lapidibus conlecta 646. Elsewhere Pluto himself was represented in art holding in his hand the key of Hades. See Paus. 5.20.3. According to Isoc. 9.15, Aeacus enjoyed the greatest honours after death, sitting as assessor with Pluto and Proserpine. Plato represents him as judging the dead along with Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Triptolemus (Plat. Apol. 41a), it being his special duty to try the souls of those who came from Europe, while his colleague Rhadamanthys dealt with those that came from AsiaGorgias 79, p. 524A); apparently no provision was made for African ghosts. Lucian depicts Aeacus playing a less dignified part in the lower world as a sort of ticket-collector or customhouse officer (τελώνης), whose business it was to examine the ghostly passengers on landing from the ferryboat, count them, and see that they had paid the fare. See Lucian, Cataplus 4; Charon 2. Elsewhere he speaks of Aeacus as keeping the gate of Hades (Lucian, Dialog. Mort. xx.1).

14 As to the murder of Phocus and the exile of Peleus and Telamon, see Diod. 4.72.6ff. (who represents the death as accidental); Paus. 2.29.9ff.; Scholiast on Pind. N. 5.14(25); Scholiast on Eur. Andr. 687 (quoting verses from the Alcmaeonis); Scholiast on Hom. Il. xvi.14; Ant. Lib. 38; Plut. Parallela 25; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 175 (vol. i. pp. 444, 447, ed. Muller); Hyginus, Fab. 14; Ov. Met. 11.266ff.; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. ii.113, vii.344, xi.281. Tradition differed on several points as to the murder. According to Apollodorus and Plutarch the murderer was Telamon; but according to what seems to have been the more generally accepted view he was Peleus. (So Diodorus, Pausanias, the Scholiast on Homer, one of the Scholiast on Eur. Andr. 687, Ovid, and in one passage Lactantius Placidus). If Pherecydes was right in denying any relationship between Telamon and Peleus, and in representing Telamon as a Salaminian rather than an Aeginetan (see above), it becomes probable that in the original tradition Peleus, not Telamon, was described as the murderer of Phocus. Another version of the story was that both brothers had a hand in the murder, Telamon having banged him on the head with a quoit, while Peleus finished him off with the stroke of an axe in the middle of his back. This was the account given by the anonymous author of the old epic Alcmaeonis; and the same division of labour between the brothers was recognized by the Scholiast on Pindar and Tzetzes, though according to them the quoit was handled by Peleus and the cold steel by Telamon. Other writers (Antoninus Liberalis and Hyginus) lay the murder at the door of both brothers without parcelling the guilt out exactly between them. There seems to be a general agreement that the crime was committed, or the accident happened, in the course of a match at quoits; but Dorotheus (quoted by Plut. Parallela 25) alleged that the murder was perpetrated by Telamon at a boar hunt, and this view seems to have been accepted by Lactantius Placidus in one place (Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. ii.113), though in other places (Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. vii.344 and xi.281) he speaks as if the brothers were equally guilty. But perhaps this version of the story originated in a confusion of the murder of Phocus with the subsequent homicide of Eurytion, which is said to have taken place at a boar-hunt, whether the hunting of the Calydonian boar or another. See below, Apollod. 3.13.2 with the note. According to Pausanias the exiled Telamon afterwards returned and stood his trial, pleading his cause from the deck of a ship, because his father would not suffer him to set foot in the island. But being judged guilty by his stern sire he sailed away, to return to his native land no more. It may have been this verdict, delivered against his own son, which raised the reputation of Aeacus for rigid justice to the highest pitch, and won for him a place on the bench beside Minos and Rhadamanthys in the world of shades.

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