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These with Jason as admiral put to sea and touched at Lemnos.1 At that time it chanced that Lemnos was bereft of men and ruled over by a queen, Hypsipyle, daughter of Thoas, the reason of which was as follows. The Lemnian women did not honor Aphrodite, and she visited them with a noisome smell; therefore their spouses took captive women from the neighboring country of Thrace and bedded with them. Thus dishonored, the Lemnian women murdered their fathers and husbands, but Hypsipyle alone saved her father Thoas by hiding him. So having put in to Lemnos, at that time ruled by women, the Argonauts had intercourse with the women, and Hypsipyle bedded with Jason and bore sons, Euneus and Nebrophonus.

1 As to the visit of the Argonauts to Lemnos, see Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.607ff.; Orphica, Argonautica 473ff.; Scholiast on Hom. Il. vii.468; Valerius Flaccus, Argon. ii.77ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 15. As to the massacre of the men of Lemnos by the women, see further Hdt. 6.138; Apostolius, Cent. x.65; Zenobius, Cent. iv.91; Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.609, 615. The visit of the Argonauts to Lemnos was the theme of plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles. See TGF (Nauck 2nd ed.), pp. 79, 215ff.; The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, ii.51ff. The Lemnian traditions have been interpreted as evidence of a former custom of gynocracy, or the rule of men by women, in the island. See J. J. Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht (Stuttgart, 1861), pp. 84ff. Every year the island of Lemnos was purified from the guilt of the massacre and sacrifices were offered to the dead. The ceremonies lasted nine days, during which all fires were extinguished in the island, and a new fire was brought by ship from Delos. If the vessel arrived before the sacrifices to the dead had been offered, it might not put in to shore or anchor, but had to cruise in the offing till they were completed. See Philostratus, Her. xx.24.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 4.145
    • Commentary on the Heroides of Ovid, HYPSIPYLE JASONI
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