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Now Eteocles and Polynices made a compact with each other concerning the kingdom and resolved that each should rule alternately for a year at a time.1 Some say that Polynices was the first to rule, and that after a year he handed over the kingdom to Eteocles; but some say that Eteocles was the first to rule, and would not hand over the kingdom. So, being banished from Thebes, Polynices came to Argos, taking with him the necklace and the robe.2 The king of Argos was Adrastus, son of Talaus; and Polynices went up to his palace by night and engaged in a fight with Tydeus, son of Oeneus, who had fled from Calydon.3 At the sudden outcry Adrastus appeared and parted them, and remembering the words of a certain seer who told him to yoke his daughters in marriage to a boar and a lion,4 he accepted them both as bridegrooms, because they had on their shields, the one the forepart of a boar, and the other the forepart of a lion.5 And Tydeus married Deipyle, and Polynices married Argia6; and Adrastus promised that he would restore them both to their native lands. And first he was eager to march against Thebes, and he mustered the chiefs. [2]

But Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, being a seer and foreseeing that all who joined in the expedition except Adrastus were destined to perish, shrank from it himself and discouraged the rest. However, Polynices went to Iphis, son of Alector, and begged to know how Amphiaraus could be compelled to go to the war. He answered that it could be done if Eriphyle got the necklace.7 Now Amphiaraus had forbidden Eriphyle to accept gifts from Polynices; but Polynices gave her the necklace and begged her to persuade Amphiaraus to go to the war; for the decision lay with her, because once, when a difference arose between him and Adrastus, he had made it up with him and sworn to let Eriphyle decide any future dispute he might have with Adrastus.8 Accordingly, when war was to be made on Thebes, and the measure was advocated by Adrastus and opposed by Amphiaraus, Eriphyle accepted the necklace and persuaded him to march with Adrastus. Thus forced to go to the war, Amphiaraus laid his commands on his sons, that, when they were grown up, they should slay their mother and march against Thebes. [3]

Having mustered an army with seven leaders, Adrastus hastened to wage war on Thebes. The leaders were these9: Adrastus, son of Talaus; Amphiaraus, son of Oicles; Capaneus, son of Hipponous; Hippomedon, son of Aristomachus, but some say of Talaus. These came from Argos; but Polynices, son of Oedipus, came from Thebes; Tydeus, son of Oeneus, was an Aetolian; Parthenopaeus, son of Melanion, was an Arcadian. Some, however, do not reckon Tydeus and Polynices among them, but include Eteoclus, son of Iphis,10 and Mecisteus11 in the list of the seven. [4]

Having come to Nemea, of which Lycurgus was king, they sought for water; and Hypsipyle showed them the way to a spring, leaving behind an infant boy Opheltes, whom she nursed, a child of Eurydice and Lycurgus.12 For the Lemnian women, afterwards learning that Thoas had been saved alive,13 put him to death and sold Hypsipyle into slavery; wherefore she served in the house of Lycurgus as a purchased bondwoman. But while she showed the spring, the abandoned boy was killed by a serpent. When Adrastus and his party appeared on the scene, they slew the serpent and buried the boy; but Amphiaraus told them that the sign foreboded the future, and they called the boy Archemorus.14 They celebrated the Nemean games in his honor; and Adrastus won the horse race, Eteoclus the footrace, Tydeus the boxing match, Amphiaraus the leaping and quoit-throwing match, Laodocus the javelin-throwing match, Polynices the wrestling match, and Parthenopaeus the archery match. [5]

When they came to Cithaeron, they sent Tydeus to tell Eteocles in advance that he must cede the kingdom to Polynices, as they had agreed among themselves. As Eteocles paid no heed to the message, Tydeus, by way of putting the Thebans to the proof, challenged them to single combat and was victorious in every encounter; and though the Thebans set fifty armed men to lie in wait for him as he went away, he slew them all but Maeon, and then came to the camp.15 [6]

Having armed themselves, the Argives approached the walls16; and as there were seven gates, Adrastus was stationed at the Homoloidian gate, Capaneus at the Ogygian, Amphiaraus at the Proetidian, Hippomedon at the Oncaidian, Polynices at the Hypsistan,17 Parthenopaeus at the Electran, and Tydeus at the Crenidian.18 Eteocles on his side armed the Thebans, and having appointed leaders to match those of the enemy in number, he put the battle in array, and resorted to divination to learn how they might overcome the foe. [7] Now there was among the Thebans a soothsayer, Tiresias, son of Everes and a nymph Chariclo, of the family of Udaeus, the Spartan,19 and he had lost the sight of his eyes. Different stories are told about his blindness and his power of soothsaying. For some say that he was blinded by the gods because he revealed their secrets to men. But Pherecydes says that he was blinded by Athena20; for Chariclo was dear to Athena ... and Tiresias saw the goddess stark naked, and she covered his eyes with her hands, and so rendered him sightless. And when Chariclo asked her to restore his sight, she could not do so, but by cleansing his ears she caused him to understand every note of birds; and she gave him a staff of cornel-wood,21 wherewith he walked like those who see. But Hesiod says that he beheld snakes copulating on Cyllene, and that having wounded them he was turned from a man into a woman, but that on observing the same snakes copulating again, he became a man.22 Hence, when Hera and Zeus disputed whether the pleasures of love are felt more by women or by men, they referred to him for a decision. He said that if the pleasures of love be reckoned at ten, men enjoy one and women nine. Wherefore Hera blinded him, but Zeus bestowed on him the art of soothsaying.“ The saying of Tiresias to Zeus and Hera.
Of ten parts a man enjoys one only;
But a woman enjoys the full ten parts in her heart.
23 ” He also lived to a great age.

So when the Thebans sought counsel of him, he said that they should be victorious if Menoeceus, son of Creon, would offer himself freely as a sacrifice to Ares. On hearing that, Menoeceus, son of Creon, slew himself before the gates.24 But a battle having taken place, the Cadmeans were chased in a crowd as far as the walls, and Capaneus, seizing a ladder, was climbing up it to the walls, when Zeus smote him with a thunderbolt.25 [8] When that befell, the Argives turned to flee. And as many fell, Eteocles and Polynices, by the resolution of both armies, fought a single combat for the kingdom, and slew each other.26 In another fierce battle the sons of Astacus did doughty deeds; for Ismarus slew Hippomedon,27 Leades slew Eteoclus, and Amphidicus slew Parthenopaeus. But Euripides says that Parthenopaeus was slain by Periclymenus, son of Poseidon.28 And Melanippus, the remaining one of the sons of Astacus, wounded Tydeus in the belly. As he lay half dead, Athena brought a medicine which she had begged of Zeus, and by which she intended to make him immortal. But Amphiaraus hated Tydeus for thwarting him by persuading the Argives to march to Thebes; so when he perceived the intention of the goddess he cut off the head of Melanippus and gave it to Tydeus, who, wounded though he was, had killed him. And Tydeus split open the head and gulped up the brains. But when Athena saw that, in disgust she grudged and withheld the intended benefit.29 Amphiaraus fled beside the river Ismenus, and before Periclymenus could wound him in the back, Zeus cleft the earth by throwing a thunderbolt, and Amphiaraus vanished with his chariot and his charioteer Baton, or, as some say, Elato;30 and Zeus made him immortal. Adrastus alone was saved by his horse Arion. That horse Poseidon begot on Demeter, when in the likeness of a Fury she consorted with him.31

1 That is, they were to reign in alternate years. Compare Eur. Ph. 69ff.; Eur. Ph. 473ff.; Diod. 4.65.1; Zenobius, Cent. i.30; Hyginus, Fab. 67; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 48ff. (First Vatican Mythographer 152). In this and the sequel Zenobius, Cent. i.30 closely follows Apollodorus and probably copied from him.

2 That is, the necklace and the robe which Cadmus had given to Harmonia at their marriage. See above, Apollod. 3.4.2.

3 See above Apollod. 1.8.5.

4 Adrastus received the oracle from Apollo. See Eur. Ph. 408ff.; Eur. Supp. 132ff. In these passages the poet describes the nocturnal brawl between the two exiled princes at the gate of the palace, and their reconciliation by Adrastus. Compare Zenobius, Cent. i.30; Hyginus, Fab. 69; and the elaborate description of Statius, Theb. i.370ff. The words of the oracle given to Adrastus are quoted by the Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 409. According to one interpretation the boar on the shield of Tydeus referred to the Calydonian boar, while the lion on the shield of Polynices referred to the lion-faced sphinx. Others preferred to suppose that the two chieftains were clad in the skins of a boar and a lion respectively. See Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 409; Hyginus, Fab. 69.

5 As to the devices which the Greeks painted on their shields, as these are described by ancient writers or depicted in vase-paintings, see G. H. Chase, “The Shield Devices of the Greeks,” HSCP, vol. xiii. pp. 61-127. From the evidence collected in this essay (pp. 98, 112ff.) it appears that both the boar and the lion are common devices on shields in vase-paintings.

6 Compare Diod. 4.65.3; Scholiast on Eur. Ph. 409; Hyginus, Fab. 69; Statius, Theb. ii.201ff.

7 For the story of the treachery of Eriphyle to her husband Amphiaraus, see also Diod. 4.65.5ff.; Paus. 5.17.7ff.; Paus. 9.41.2; Scholiast on Hom. Od. 11.326 (who refers to Asclepiades as his authority); Hyginus, Fab. 73; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 49 (First Vatican Mythographer 152). The story is alluded to but not told by Hom. Od. 11.326ff.; Hom. Od. 15.247; Soph. Elec. 836ff.), and Hor. Carm. 3.16.11-13. Sophocles wrote a tragedy Eriphyle, which was perhaps the same as his Epigoni. See The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, vol. i. pp. 129ff.

8 Compare Diod. 4.65.6; Scholiast on Hom. Od. xi.326; Scholiast on Pind. N. 9.13(30). As the sister of Adrastus (see above, Apollod. 1.9.13) and the wife of Amphiaraus, the traitress Eriphyle might naturally seem well qualified to act as arbiter between them.

9 For lists of the seven champions who marched against Thebes, see Aesch. Seven 375ff.; Soph. OC 1309ff.; Eur. Ph. 1090ff. and Eur. Supp. 857ff.; Diod. 4.65.7; Hyginus, Fab. 70.

10 The place of Eteocles among the Seven Champions is recognized by Aesch. Seven 458ff., Soph. OC 1316, and Euripides in one play (Eur. Supp. 871ff.), but not in another (Eur. Ph. 1090ff.); and he is omitted by Hyginus, Fab. 70. His right to rank among the Seven seems to have been acknowledged by the Argives themselves, since they included his portrait in a group of statuary representing the Champions which they dedicated at Delphi. See Paus. 10.10.3.

11 Brother of Adrastus. See Apollod. 1.9.13.

12 As to the meeting of the Seven Champions with Hypsipyle at Nemea, the death of Opheltes, and the institution of the Nemean games, see Scholiast on Pind. N., Arg. pp. 424ff. ed. Boeckh; Bacch. 8.10ff. [9], ed. Jebb; Clement of Alexandria, Protrept. ii.34, p. 29, ed. Potter, with the Scholiast; Hyginus, Fab. 74, 273; Statius, Theb. iv.646-vi.; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. iv.717; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode. vol. i. p. 123 (Second Vatican Mythographer 141). The institution of the Nemean games in honour of Opheltes or Archemorus was noticed by Aeschylus in a lost play. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), p. 49. The judges at the Nemean games wore dark-coloured robes in mourning, it is said, for Opheltes (Scholiast on Pind. N., Arg. p. 425, ed. Boeckh); and the crown of parsley bestowed on the victor is reported to have been chosen for the same sad reason (Serv. Verg. Ecl. 6.68). However, according to another account, the crowns at Nemea were originally made of olive, but the material was changed to parsley after the disasters of the Persian war (Scholiast on Pind. N., Arg. p. 425). The grave of Opheltes was at Nemea, enclosed by a stone wall; and there were altars within the enclosure (Paus. 2.15.3). Euripides wrote a tragedy Hypsipyle, of which many fragments have recently been discovered in Egyptian papyri. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 594ff.; A. S. Hunt, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta Papyracea nuper reperta (Oxford, no date, no pagination). In one of these fragments (col. iv.27ff.) it is said that Lycurgus was chosen from all Asopia to be the warder (Κληδοῦχος) of the local Zeus. There were officials bearing the same title (κλειδοῦχοι) at OlympiaDittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum 1021, vol. ii. p. 168) in DelosDittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, vol. i. p. 252, No. 170), and in the worship of Aesculapius at AthensE. S. Roberts and E. A. Gardner, Introduction to Greek Epigraphy, Part ii. p. 410, No. 157). The duty from which they took their title was to keep the keys of the temple. A fine relief in the Palazzo Spada at Rome represents the serpent coiled round the dead body of the child Opheltes and attacked by two of the heroes, while in the background Hypsipyle is seen retreating, with her hands held up in horror and her pitcher lying at her feet. See W. H. Roscher, Lexikon der griech. und röm. Mythologie, i.473; Baumeister, Denkmaler des klassichen Altertums, i.113, fig. 119. The death of Opheltes or Archemorus is also the subject of a fine vase-painting, which shows the dead boy lying on a bier and attended by two women, one of whom is about to crown him with a wreath of myrtle, while the other holds an umbrella over his head to prevent, it has been suggested, the sun's rays from being defiled by falling on a corpse. Amongst the figures in the painting, which are identified by inscriptions, is seen the mother Eurydice standing in her palace between the suppliant Hypsipyle on one side and the dignified Amphiaraus on the other. See E. Gerhard, “Archemoros,” Gesammelte Abhandlungen (Berlin, 1866- 1868) i.5ff., with Abbildungen, taf. i.; K. Friederichs, Praxiteles und die Niobegruppe (Leipzig, 1855), pp. 123ff.; Baumeister, op. cit. i.114, fig. 120.

13 See above, Apollod. 1.9.17.

14 That is, “beginner of doom”; hence “ominous,” “foreboding.” The name is so interpreted by Bacch. 8.14, ed. Jebb, σᾶμα μέλλοντος φόνου, by the Scholiast on Pind. N., Arg. pp. 424ff. ed. Boeckh, and by Lactantius Placidus in his commentary on Statius, Theb. iv 717.

15 For the embassy of Tydeus to Thebes and its sequel, see Hom. Il. 4.382-398; Hom. Il. 5.802-808, with the Scholiast on Hom. Il. 4.376; Diod. 4.65.4; Statius, Theb. ii.307ff.

16 The siege of Thebes by the Argive army under the Seven Champions is the subject of two extant Greek tragedies, the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus, and the Phoenissae of Euripides. In both of them the attack on the seven gates by the Seven Champions is described. See the Aesch. Seven 375ff.; Eur. Ph. 105ff.; Eur. Ph. 1090ff. The siege is also the theme of Statius's long-winded and bombastic epic, the Thebaid . Compare also Diod. 4.65.7-9; Paus. 1.39.2; Paus. 2.20.5; Paus. 8.25.4; Paus. 10.10.3; Hyginus, Fab. 69, 70. The war was also the subject of two lost poems of the same name, the Thebaid of Callinus, an early elegiac poet, and the Thebaid of Antimachus, a contemporary of Plato. See Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. G. Kinkel, pp. 9ff., 275ff. As to the seven gates of Thebes, see Paus. 9.8.4-7, with Frazer, commentary (vol. iv. pp. 35ff.). The ancients were not entirely agreed as to the names of the gates.

17 That is, “the Highest Gate.”

18 That is, “the Fountain Gate.”

19 That is, one of the Sparti, the men who sprang from the dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus. See above Apollod. 3.4.1.

20 The blinding of Tiresias by Athena is described by Callimachus in his hymn, The Baths of Pallas. He tells how the nymph Chariclo, mother of Tiresias, was the favourite attendant of Athena, who carried her with her wherever she went, often mounting the nymph in her own car. One summer day, when the heat and stillness of noon reigned in the mountains, the goddess and the nymph had stripped and were enjoying a cool plunge in the fair-flowing spring of Hippocrene on Mount Helicon. But the youthful Tiresias, roaming the hills with his dogs, came to slake his thirst at the bubbling spring and saw what it was not lawful to see. The goddess cried out in anger, and at once the eyes of the intruder were quenched in darkness. His mother, the nymph, reproached the goddess with blinding her son, but Athena explained that she had not done so, but that the laws of the gods inflicted the penalty of blindness on anyone who beheld an immortal without his or her consent. To console the youth for the loss of his sight the goddess promised to bestow on him the gifts of prophecy and divination, long life, and after death the retention of his mental powers undimmed in the world below. See Callimachus, Baths of Pallas 57-133. In this account Callimachus probably followed Pherecydes, who, as we learn from the present passage of Apollodorus, assigned the same cause for the blindness of Tiresias. It is said that Erymanthus, son of Apollo, was blinded because he saw Aphrodite bathing. See Ptolemy Hephaest., Nov. Hist. i. in Westermann's Mythographi Graeci, p. 183.

21 According to the MSS., it was a blue staff. See Critical Note. As to the cornel-tree in ancient myth and fable, see C. Boetticher, Der Baumkultus der Hellenen (Berlin, 1856), pp. 130ff.

22 This curious story of the double change of sex experienced by Tiresias, with the cause of it, is told also by Phlegon, Mirabilia 4; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 683; Eustathius on Hom. Od. 10.492, p. 1665; Scholiast on Hom. Od. x.494; Ant. Lib. 17; Ov. Met. 3.316ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 75; Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. ii.95; Fulgentius, Mytholog. ii.8; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. pp. 5, 104, 169 (First Vatican Mythographer 16; Second Vatican Mythographer 84; Third Vatican Mythographer iv.8). Phlegon says that the story was told by Hesiod, Dicaearchus, Clitarchus, and Callimachus. He agrees with Apollodorus, Hyginus, Lactantius Placidus, and the Second Vatican Mythographer in laying the scene of the incident on Mount Cyllene in Arcadia; whereas Eustathius and Tzetzes lay it on Mount Cithaeron in Boeotia, which is more appropriate for a Theban seer. According to Eustathius and Tzetzes, it was by killing the female snake that Tiresias became a woman, and it was by afterwards killing the male snake that he was changed back into a man. According to Ovid, the seer remained a woman for seven years, and recovered his male sex in the eighth; the First Vatican Mythographer says that he recovered it after eight years; the Third Vatican Mythographer affirms that he recovered it in the seventh year. All the writers I have cited, except Antoninus Liberalis, record the verdict of Tiresias on the question submitted to him by Zeus and Hera, though they are not all agreed as to the precise mathematical proportion expressed in it. Further, they all, except Antoninus Liberalis, agree that the blindness of Tiresias was a punishment inflicted on him by Hera (Juno) because his answer to the question was displeasing to her. According to Phlegon, Hyginus, Lactantius Placidus, and the Second Vatican Mythographer the life of Tiresias was prolonged by Zeus (Jupiter) so as to last seven ordinary lives. The notion that it is unlucky to see snakes coupling appears to be widespread. In Southern India “the sight of two snakes coiled round each other in sexual congress is considered to portend some great evil” (E. Thurston, Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, Madras, 1906, p. 293). The Chins of Northeastern India think that “one of the worst omens that it is possible to see is two snakes copulating, and a man who sees this is not supposed to return to his house or to speak to anyone until the next sun has risen” (B. S. Carey and H. N. Tuck, The Chin Hills, vol. i. Rangoon, 1896, p. 199). “It is considered extremely unlucky for a Chin to come upon two snakes copulating, and to avoid ill-fortune he must remain outside the village that night, without eating cooked food; the next morning he may proceed to his house, but, on arrival there, must kill a fowl and, if within his means, hold a feast. If a man omits these precautions and is found out, he is liable to pay compensation of a big mythun, a pig, one blanket, and one bead, whatever his means, to the first man he brings ill-luck to by talking to him. Before the British occupation, if the man, for any reason, could not pay the compensation, the other might make a slave of him, by claiming a pig whenever one of his daughters married” (W. R. Head, Haka Chin Customs, Rangoon, 1917, p. 44). In the Himalayas certain religious ceremonies are prescribed when a person has seen snakes coupling (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1884, pt. i. p. 101; the nature of the ceremonies is not described). In Timorlaut, one of the East Indian Islands, it is deemed an omen of great misfortune if a man dreams that he sees snakes coupling (J. G. F. Riedel, De sluik- en kroesharige rassen tusschen Selebes en Papua, The Hague, 1886, p. 285). Similarly in Southern India there prevails “a superstitious belief that, if a person sees two crows engaged in sexual congress, he will die unless one of his relations sheds tears. To avert this catastrophe, false news as to the death are sent by the post or telegraph, and subsequently corrected by a letter or telegram announcing that the individual is alive” (E. Thurston, op. cit. p. 278). A similar belief as to the dire effect of seeing crows coupling, and a similar mode of averting the calamity, are reported in the Central Provinces of IndiaM. R. Pedlow, “Superstitions among Hindoos in the Central Provinces,” The Indian Antiquary, xxix. Bombay, 1900, p. 88).

23 These lines are also quoted by Tzetzes (Scholiast on Lycophron 683) from a poem Melampodia; they are cited also by the Scholiast on Hom. Od. 10.494.

24 As to the voluntary sacrifice of Menoeceus, see Eur. Ph. 911ff.; Paus. 9.25.1; Cicero, Tusc. Disp. i.48.116; Hyginus, Fab. 68; Statius, Theb. 10.589ff.

25 As to the death of Capaneus, compare Aesch. Seven 423ff.; Eur. Ph. 1172ff.; Eur. Supp. 496ff.; Diod. 4.65.8; Hyginus, Fab. 71; Statius, Theb. x.827ff.

26 As to the single combat and death of Eteocles and Polynices, see Aesch. Seven 804ff.; Eur. Ph. 1356ff.; Diod. 4.65.8; Paus. 9.5.12; Hyginus, Fab. 71; Statius, Theb. xi.447-579.

27 According to Statius, Theb. ix.455-539, Hippomedon was overwhelmed by a cloud of Theban missiles after being nearly drowned in the river Ismenus.

28 As to the death of Parthenopaeus, see Eur. Ph. 1153ff. In the Thebaid , also, Periclymenus was represented as the slayer of Parthenopaeus. See Paus. 9.18.6.

29 Compare Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 1066; Scholiast on Pind. N. 10.7(12); Scholiast on Hom. Il. v.126. All these writers say that it was Amphiaraus, not Tydeus, who killed as well as decapitated Melanippus. Pausanias also (Paus. 9.18.1) represents Melanippus as slain by Amphiaraus. Hence Heyne was perhaps right in rejecting as an interpolation the words “who, wounded though he was, had killed him.” See the Critical Note. The story is told also by Statius, Theb. viii.717-767 in his usual diffuse style; but according to him it was Capaneus, not Amphiaraus, who slew and beheaded Melanippus and brought the gory head to Tydeus. The story of Tydeus's savagery is alluded to more than once by Ovid, Ibis 427ff., 515ff., that curious work in which the poet has distilled the whole range of ancient mythology for the purpose of commination. With this tradition of cannibalism on the field of battle we may compare the custom of the ancient Scythians, who regularly decapitated their enemies in battle and drank of the blood of the first man they slew (Hdt. 4.64). It has indeed been a common practice with savages to swallow some part of a slain foe in order with the blood, or flesh, or brains to acquire the dead man's valour. See for example L. A. Millet-Mureau, Voyage de la Perouse autour du Monde (Paris, 1797), ii.272 (as to the Californian Indians); Fay-Cooper Cole, The Wild Tribes of Davao District, Mindanao (Chicago, 1913), pp. 94, 189 (as to the Philippine Islanders). I have cited many more instances in Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, ii.148ff. The story of the brutality of Tydeus to Melanippus may contain a reminiscence of a similar custom. From the Scholiast on Hom. Il. v.126 we learn that the story was told by Pherecydes, whom Apollodorus may be following in the present passage. The grave of Melanippus was on the road from Thebes to ChalcisPaus. 9.18.1), but Clisthenes, tyrant of Sicyon, “fetched Melanippus” (ἐπηγάγετο τὸν μελάνιππον ) to Sicyon and dedicated a precinct to him in the Prytaneum or town-hall; moreover, he transferred to Melanippus the sacrifices and festal honours which till then had been offered to Adrastus, the foe of Melanippus. See Hdt. 5.67. It is probable that Clisthenes, in “fetching Melanippus,” transferred the hero's bones to the new shrine at Sicyon, following a common practice of the ancient Greeks, who were as anxious to secure the miraculous relics of heroes as modern Catholics are to secure the equally miraculous relics of saints. The most famous case of such a translation of holy bones was that of Orestes, whose remains were removed from Tegea to SpartaHdt. 1.67ff.). Pausanias mentions many instances of the practice. See the Index to my translation of Pausanias, s.v. “Bones,” vol. vi. p. 31. It was, no doubt, unusual to bury bones in the Prytaneum, where was the Common Hearth of the city (Pollux ix.40; Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, ii.467, lines 6, 73; Frazer, note on Paus. viii.53.9, vol. iv. pp. 441ff.); but at Mantinea there was a round building called the Common Hearth in which Antinoe, daughter of Cepheus, was said to be buried (Paus. 8.9.5); and the graves of not a few heroes and heroines were shown in Greek temples. See Clement of Alexandria, Protrept. iii.45, pp. 39ff., ed. Potter. The subject of relic worship in antiquity is exhaustively treated by Fr. Pfister, Der Reliquienkult im Altertum (Giessen, 1909-1912).

30 Compare Pind. N. 9.24(59)ff.; Pind. N. 10.8(13); Eur. Supp. 925ff.; Diod. 4.65.8; Strab. 9.2.11; Paus. 1.34.2; Paus. 2.23.2; Paus. 9.8.3; Paus. 9.19.4; Statius, Theb. vii.789-823. The reference to Periclymenus clearly proves that Apollodorus had here in mind the first of these passages of Pindar. Pausanias repeatedly mentions Baton as the charioteer of Amphiaraus (Paus. 2.23.2; Paus. 5.17.8; Paus. 10.10.3). Amphiaraus was believed to be swallowed up alive, with his chariot and horses, and so to descend to the nether world. See Eur. Supp. 925ff.; Statius, Theb. viii.1ff.; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 49 (First Vatican Mythographer 152). Hence Sophocles speaks of him as reigning fully alive in Hades (Soph. Elec. 836ff.). Moreover, Amphiaraus was deified (Paus. 8.2.4; Cicero, De divinatione i.40.88), and as a god he had a famous oracle charmingly situated in a little glen near Oropus in Attica. See Paus. 1.34, with (Frazer, commentary on Paus., vol. ii. pp. 466ff.). The exact spot where Amphiaraus disappeared into the earth was shown not far from Thebes on the road to Potniae. It was a small enclosure with pillars in it. See Paus. 9.8.3. As the ground was split open by a thunderbolt to receive Amphiaraus (Pind. N. 9.24(59)ff.; Pind. N. 10.8(13)ff.), the enclosure with pillars in it was doubtless one of those little sanctuaries, marked off by a fence, which the Greeks always instituted on ground struck by lightning. See Frazer on Apollod. 3.7.1.

31 Arion, the swift steed of Adrastus, is mentioned by Homer, who alludes briefly to the divine parentage of the animal (Hom. Il. 22.346ff.), without giving particulars to the quaint and curious myth with which he was probably acquainted. That myth, one of the most savage of all the stories of ancient Greece, was revealed by later writers. See Paus. 8.25.4-10; Paus. 8.42.1-6; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 153; compare Scholiast on Hom. Il. 23.346. The story was told at two places in the highlands of Arcadia: one was Thelpusa in the beautiful vale of the Ladon: the other was Phigalia, where the shallow cave of the goddess mother of the horse was shown far down the face of a cliff in the wild romantic gorge of the Neda. The cave still exists, though the goddess is gone: it has been converted into a tiny chapel of Christ and St. John. See Frazer, commentary on Pausanias, vol. iv. pp. 406ff. According to Diod. 4.65.9 Adrastus returned to Argos. But Pausanias says (Paus. 1.43.1) that he died at Megara of old age and grief at his son's death, when he was leading back his beaten army from Thebes: Pausanias informs us also that Adrastus was worshipped, doubtless as a hero, by the Megarians, Hyginus, Fab. 242 tells a strange story that Adrastus and his son Hipponous threw themselves into the fire in obedience to an oracle of Apollo.

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    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 375
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 423
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 458
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 804
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.4.1
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.4.2
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.8.5
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.9.13
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 1.9.17
    • Bacchylides, Epinicians, 8
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1153
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1172
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 911
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 105
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1090
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1356
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 408
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 473
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 69
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    • Euripides, Suppliants, 871
    • Euripides, Suppliants, 496
    • Euripides, Suppliants, 925
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.67
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.64
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.67
    • Homer, Iliad, 5.802
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.326
    • Homer, Odyssey, 15.247
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.10.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.34.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.42.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.25.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.8.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.34
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.39.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.43.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.15.3
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.20.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.23.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.17.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.17.8
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.25.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.2.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 8.9.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.18.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.18.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.19.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.41.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.5.12
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.8.3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 9
    • Pindar, Nemean, 10
    • Sophocles, Electra, 836
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1309
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1316
    • Homer, Iliad, 22.346
    • Homer, Iliad, 4.382
    • Strabo, Geography, 9.2.11
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.316
    • Servius, Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil, 6.68
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