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2.

But Catreus, son of Minos, had three daughters, Aerope, Clymene, and Apemosyne, and a son, Althaemenes.1 When Catreus inquired of the oracle how his life should end, the god said that he would die by the hand of one of his children. Now Catreus hid the oracles, but Althaemenes heard of them, and fearing to be his father's murderer, he set out from Crete with his sister Apemosyne, and put in at a place in Rhodes, and having taken possession of it he called it Cretinia. And having ascended the mountain called Atabyrium, he beheld the islands round about; and descrying Crete also and calling to mind the gods of his fathers he founded an altar of Atabyrian Zeus.2 But not long afterwards he became the murderer of his sister. For Hermes loved her, and as she fled from him and he could not catch her, because she excelled him in speed of foot, he spread fresh hides on the path, on which, returning from the spring, she slipped and so was deflowered. She revealed to her brother what had happened, but he, deeming the god a mere pretext, kicked her to death. [2] And Catreus gave Aerope and Clymene to Nauplius to sell into foreign lands; and of these two Aerope became the wife of Plisthenes, who begat Agamemnon and Menelaus; and Clymene became the wife of Nauplius, who became the father of Oeax and Palamedes. But afterwards in the grip of old age Catreus yearned to transmit the kingdom to his son Althaemenes, and went for that purpose to Rhodes. And having landed from the ship with the heroes at a desert place of the island, he was chased by the cowherds, who imagined that they were pirates on a raid. He told them the truth, but they could not hear him for the barking of the dogs, and while they pelted him Althaemenes arrived and killed him with the cast of a javelin, not knowing him to be Catreus. Afterwards when he learned the truth, he prayed and disappeared in a chasm.


1 The tragic story of the involuntary parricide of Althaemenes is similarly told by Diod. 5.59.1-4, who says that this murderer of his father and of his sister was afterwards worshipped as a hero in Rhodes.

2 As to Atabyrian Zeus and his sanctuary on Mount Atabyrium, Atabyrum, or Atabyris, the highest mountain in Rhodes, see Pind. O. 7.87(159)ff.; Polybius vii.27.7, ed. L. Dindorf; Appian, Mithridat. 26; Strab. 14.2.12; Diod. 5.59.2; Lactantius, Divin. Inst. i.22. Diodorus Siculus tells us that the sanctuary, crowning a lofty peak, was highly venerated down to his own time, and that the island of Crete was visible from it in the distance. Some rude remains of the temple, built of grey limestone, still exist on a summit a little lower than the highest. See H. F. Tozer, The Islands of the Aegean (Oxford, 1890), pp. 220ff.; Cecil Torr, Rhodes in Ancient Times, (Cambridge, 1885), pp. 1, 75. Atabyrian Zeus would seem to have been worshipped in the form of a bull; for it is said that there were bronze images of cattle on the mountain, which bellowed when some evil was about to befall the state, and small bronze figures of bulls are still sometimes found on the mountain. See Tzetzes, Chiliades iv.390ff.; Scholiast on Pind. O. 7.87(159); Cecil Torr, op. cit. p. 76, with plate 4. Further, we know from Greek inscriptions found in the island that there was a religious association which took its name of The Atabyriasts from the deity; and one of these inscriptions (No. 31) records a dedication of oxen or bulls (τοὺς βοῦς) to the god. See Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, Chalces, Carpathi, cum Saro Casi, ed. F. Hiller de Gaertringen (Berlin, 1895), Nos. 31, 161, 891. The oxen so dedicated were probably bronze images of the animals, such as are found in the island, though Dittenberger thought that they were live oxen destined for sacrifice. See his paper, De sacris Rhodiorum Commentatio altera (Halle, 1887), pp. viii.ff. The worship of Atabyrian Zeus may well have been of Phoenician origin, for we have seen that there was a Phoenician colony in Rhodes (see above, Apollod. 3.1.1 note), and the name Atabyrian is believed to be Semitic, equivalent to the Hebrew Tabor. See Encyclopaedia Biblica, s. v. “Tabor,” vol. iii. col. 4881ff. Compare A. B. Cook, Zeus, i.642ff.

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  • Cross-references to this page (3):
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), MONI´LE
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    • Strabo, Geography, 14.2.12
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