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Listed 68 sub titles with search on: Homeric world for destination: "MYCENAE Mycenean palace ARGOLIS".


Homeric world (68)

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

Homer places the city, which was the seat of Agamemnon, "in a nook of horse-pasturing Argos" (Od. 3.263). Mycene participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.569). The poet calls it "broad-wayed" (Il. 4.52), "rich in gold" (Il. 7.180, 11.46), "well-built citadel" (Il. 2.569) and one of the three dearest cities of Hera - the other two were Argos and Sparta (Il. 4.51).


Exercitus (stratos), army. The earliest notices which we possess of the military art among the Greeks are those contained in the Homeric poems. The unsettled state of society in the first ages of Greece led to the early and general cultivation of the art of arms, which were habitually worn for defence, even when aggressive warfare was not intended (Thuc. i. 6). But the Homeric poems contain an exhibition of combined military operations in their earliest stage. Warlike undertakings before the time described in them can have been little else than predatory inroads (boelasiai, Il. xi. 672). A collection of warriors exhibiting less of organisation and discipline than we see depicted in the Grecian troops before Troy, would hardly deserve the name of an army. The organisation which we see there, such as it was, arose, not from any studied, formative system, but naturally out of the imperfect constitution of society in that age. Every freeman in those times was of course a soldier; but when all the members of a family were not needed to go upon an expedition under the command of their chieftain or king, those who were to go seem to have been selected by lot (Il. xxiv. 400). As the confederated states, which are represented as taking part in the Trojan war, are united by scarcely any other bond than their participation in a common object, the different bodies of troops, led by their respective chieftains, are far from being united by a common discipline under the command-in-chief of Agamemnon. A common epithet for allies is called from afar (telekleitoi, Il. v. 491, vi. 111). Each body obeys its own leader, and follows him to the conflict, or remains inactive, according as he chooses to mingle in the fight or not. Authority and obedience are regulated much more by the nature of the circumstances, or by the relative personal distinction of the chieftains, than by any law of military discipline. Gifts (dora) were given to them at the end of service; and such may be considered as the beginning of pay being given to soldiers (Il. xvii. 225). Agamemnon sometimes urges the chieftains to engage, not by commands, but by taunts (Il. iv. 338 ff., 368 ff.). Accordingly, nothing like the tactics or strategy of a regularly disciplined army is to be traced in the Homeric descriptions of battles. Each chieftain with his body of troops acts for himself, without reference to the movements of the rest, except as these furnish occasion for a vigorous attack, or, when hard pressed, call for assistance from the common feeling of brotherhood in arms. The wide interval which in the Homeric age separated the noble or chieftain from the common freeman, appears in as marked a manner in military as in civil affairs. The former is distinguished by that superior skill and prowess in the use of his arms, which would naturally result from the constant practice of warlike exercises, for which his station gave him the leisure and the means. A single hero is able to put to flight a whole troop of common soldiers. The account of a battle consists almost entirely of descriptions of the single combats of the chiefs on both sides; and the fortune of the day, when not overruled by the intervention of the gods, is decided by the individual valour of these heroes. While the mass of the common soldiers were on foot, the chiefs rode in chariots, which usually contained two, one to drive (heniochos) and one to fight (paraibates). In these they advanced against the antagonists whom they singled out for encounter, sometimes hurling their spears from their chariots, but more commonly alighting, as they drew near, and fighting on foot, making use of the chariot for pursuit or flight. The Greeks did not, like the ancient Britons and several nations of the East, use the chariot itself as an instrument of warfare. Cavalry was unknown at that time to the Greeks, and horsemanship but very rarely practised; the hippees of Homer are the chieftains who ride in chariots. These chiefs are drawn up in the front of the battle array (Il. iv. 297, 505, promachoi, promachesthai); and frequently the foot-soldiers seem to have done nothing but watch the single combats of their leaders, forming in two opposite, parallel lines, between which the more important single combats are fought. How they got the chariots out of the way when the foot-soldiers came to close quarters (as in Il. iv. 427 ff.) is not described.
  Though so little account is usually made of the common soldiers (prulees, Il. xi. 49, xii. 77), Homer occasionally lays considerable stress on their orderly and compact array; the Atreidae are honourably distinguished by the epithet kosmetore laon (Il. i. 15). Nestor and Menestheus were also skilled in marshalling an army (Il. ii. 553, iv. 293 ff.). The troops were naturally drawn up in separate bodies according to their different nations. It would appear to be rather a restoration of the old arrangement than a new classification, when Nestor (Il. ii. 362) recommends Agamemnon to draw the troops up by tribes and phratries. Arranged in these natural divisions, the foot-soldiers were drawn up in densely compacted bodies (pukinai phalanges)--shield close to shield, helmet to helmet, man to man (Il. xiii. 130, xvi. 212 ff.). In these masses, though not usually commencing the attack, they frequently offer a powerful resistance, even to distinguished heroes (as Hector, Il. xiii. 145 ff., comp. xvii. 267, 354 ff., xiii. 339), the dense array of their spears forming a barrier not easily broken through. The signal for advance or retreat was not given by instruments of any kind, but by the voice of the leader. A loud voice was consequently an important matter, and the epithet boen agathos is common. The soldiers advanced and engaged in battle with loud shouting (alaletos, Il. iv. 436, xiv. 393). The trumpet, however, was not absolutely unknown (Il. xviii. 219). Respecting the armour, offensive and defensive, (see Arma) no engines for besieging are found. There were in the army, besides the hoplites, light-armed troops, archers and slingers (Il. xiii. 767).
  Under the king or chieftain who commands his separate contingent we commonly find subordinate chiefs, who command smaller divisions. It is difficult to say whether it is altogether accidental or not, that these are frequently five in number. Thus the Myrmidons of Achilles are divided into five stiches, each of 500 men. Five chiefs command the Boeotians; and the whole Trojan army is formed in five divisions, each under three leaders. (Il. iv. 295 ff., xvi. 171-197, ii. 494, 495, xii. 87-104.) The term phalanx is applied either to the whole army (as Il. vi. 6), or to these smaller divisions and subdivisions, which are also called stiches and purgoi (Il. xi. 90, iv. 333).
  When an enemy was slain, it was the universal practice to stop and strip off his arms, which were carefully preserved by the victor as trophies. The division of the booty generally was arranged by the leader of the troop, for whom a portion was set aside as an honorary present (geras, Il. i. 118, 368, 392). The recovery of the dead bodies of the slain was in the Homeric age, as in all later times, a point of the greatest importance, and frequently either led to a fierce contest (Il. xvi. 756 ff.), or was effected by the payment of a heavy ransom (Il. xxiv. 502)...

GTP.gr remark: Above is a very small extract of a long and interesting text, covering army, from the URL below.


Arma, Armatura (hopla, Hom. entea, teuchea), , armour. Homer describes in various passages the entire suit of armour of some of his greatest warriors, viz. of Achilles, Patroclus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Paris (11. iii. 328-339, iv. 132-138, xi. 15-45, xvi. 30-142, xix. 364-391); and we observe that it consisted of the same portions which were used by the Greek soldiers ever after. Moreover, the order of putting them on is always the same. The heavy-armed warrior, having already a tunic around his body, and preparing for combat, puts on,--first, his greaves (knemides, ocreae); secondly, his cuirass (thorax, lorica), to which belonged the mitre underneath, and the zone (zone, zoster, (cingulum) above; thirdly, his sword (xiphos, ensis, gladius) hung on the left side of his body by means of a belt which passed over the right shoulder; fourthly, the large round shield (skkos, aspis, clipeus, scutum), supported in the same manner; fifthly, his helmet (korus, kunee, cassis, galea) ; sixthly and lastly, he took his spear (enchos, doru, hasta), or, in many cases, two spears (doure duo). The form and use of these portions are describ ed in separate articles under their Latin names. The foregoing woodcut exhibits them all in the form of a Greek warrior attired for battle, as shown in Hope's Costume of the Ancients (i. 70).
  Those who were defended in the manner which has now been represented, are called by Homer aspistai, from their great shield (aspis); also alchemachoi, because they fought hand to hand with their adversaries; but much more commonly promachoi, because they occupied the front of the army: and it is to be observed that these terms, especially the last, were honourable titles, the expense of a complete suit of armour (panoplie, Herod. i. 60) being of itself sufficient to prove the wealth and rank of the wearer, while his place on the field was no less indicative of strength and bravery.
  In later times, the heavy-armed soldiers were called hoplitai, because the term hopla more especially denoted the defensive armour, the shield and thorax. By wearing these they were distinguished from the light-armed, whom Herodotus (ix. 62, 63), for the reason just mentioned, calls anoploi, and who are also denominated psiloi, and gumnoi, gumnetai, or gumnetes. Instead of being defended by the shield and thorax, their bodies had a much slighter covering, sometimes consisting of skins, and sometimes of leather or cloth; and instead of the sword and lance, they commonly fought with darts, stones, bows and arrows, or slings.
  Besides the heavy-and light-armed soldiers, the hoplitai and psiloi, who in general bore towards one another the intimate relation now explained, another description of men, the peltastai, sometimes formed a part of the Greek army after the Persian wars, and regularly after the expedition of the Ten Thousand. Instead of the large round shield, they carried a smaller one called the pelte, and in other respects their armour was much lighter than that of the hoplites. The weapon on which they principally depended was the spear.
The Roman soldiers had different kinds of arms and armour; but an account of the arms of the different kinds of troops cannot be separated from a description of the troops of a Roman army, and the reader is therefore referred to Exercitus ( =army). The following cut represents two heavy-armed Roman soldiers, and is taken from the reliefs on Trajan's Column. On comparing it with that of the Greek hoplite in the other cut, we perceive that the several parts of the armour correspond, excepting only that the Roman soldier wears a dagger (machaira, pugio) on his right side instead of a sword on his left, and, instead of greaves (which were abandoned in imperial times) upon his legs, has femoralia and caligae. All the essential parts of the Roman heavy armour (lorica, ensis, clipeus, galea, hasta) are mentioned together in an epigram of Martial (ix. 57); and all except the spear in a well-known passage (Eph. vi. 14-17) of St. Paul, whose enumeration exactly coincides with the figures on the Arch of Severus, and who makes mention not only of greaves, but of shoes or sandals for the feet.
  The soft or flexible parts of the heavy armour were made of cloth or leather. The metal principally used in their formation was that compound of copper and tin which we call bronze, or more properly bell-metal (Aes = cooper, chalkos). Hence the names for this metal (chalkos, aes) are often used to mean armour, and the light reflected from the arms of a warrior is called auge chalkeie by Homer, and lux aena by Virgil (Aen. ii. 470). Instead of copper, iron afterwards came to be very extensively used in the manufacture of arms, although articles made of it are much more rarely discovered, because iron is by exposure to air and moisture exceedingly liable to corrosion and decay. Gold and silver, and tin unmixed with copper, were also used, more especially to enrich and adorn the armour.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Currus (harma), a chariot, a car. These terms are especially applied to the two-wheeled cars used in battle and in racing. They differed from the carpentum in being open overhead, and from the cisium in being closed in front. The plural harmata is generally used to signify the chariot and all its appurtenances-pole, yoke, reins, e.t.c. --excluding the horse. The words harma (Il. xxiv. 440), harmata (Od. iii. 492), and diphros (ib. 481) are also employed for the light cars used on journeys. They frequently had, bound on to the body, a basket, peirins (Od. xv. 131), which must have been capacious to hold the presents Telemachus got from Menelaus (Od. xv. 102-105). Doubtless Telemachus and Pisistratus sat on this peirins, as it was unlikely that they would stand for a whole two days' journey (Od. iii. 487, 497;). The most essential parts in the construction of the currus were:
1. The antyx (antux) or rim. Either on three sides of the chariot or only in front there was a curved (hence ankulon, kampulon harma, Il. v. 231, vi. 39) barrier (epidiphrias, Il. x. 475; periphragma, Poll. i. 142), sometimes of light wood, sometimes of leather or metal (cf. for the latter Il. xxiii. 503). It was generally a sort of trellis-work made by interlacing strips of the material used; hence probably diphros euplekes or euplektos (Il. xxiii. 436, 335). In different chariots this barrier was of different heights: sometimes it did not come up to the knee, sometimes it rose to near the waist, but in the Greek war-chariot it was seldom, if ever, higher. Warriors in a chariot are mentioned as being wounded in the stomach (Il. xiii. 398). Round the top of this barrier was the curved rim (antux), which was generally raised above the trellis-work barrier by bars. A variety of technical names belonging to these bars are to be found in Poll. i. 143. The two antuges of Hera's chariot (doiai de peridromoi antuges eisi, Il. v. 728) are to be explained either of a double rim, one rising above the other, or of a rim at both sides of the chariot. The former perhaps suits the sense of peri- ( all round, in opposition to amphi-, on both sides ) better than the latter. The antux often served to fasten the reins to (Il. v. 262). As the antux was curved, a pliant wood was required for it; and Homer (Il. xxi. 37) mentions the wild fig-tree as so used. The term antux is sometimes applied to the whole chariot (Soph. El. 746).
2. The axle, usually made of oak (pheginos axon, Hom. Il. v. 838, imitated by Virgil, faginus axis, Georg. iii. 172), and sometimes also of ilex, ash, or elm (Plin. H. N. xvi.229). It was of iron or brass in the chariots of the gods (Il. v. 723; xiii. 30). The extremities were called akraxonia (Poll. i. 145) or chnoai and sometimes ended in the head of an animal. The iron plates on the axle round which the wheels revolved were called heurai (Poll. i. 145). The axle was about seven feet long.
3. The wheels (kukla, trochoi, rotae) revolved upon the axle, as in modern carriages. They consisted of
  (a) spokes (knemai, radii), usually four in number, but in the chariot of Hera there were eight (oktaknema, Il. v. 723). With tips of iron (aetoi, Poll. i. 145) at each end on the outer side, they were fixed in
  (b) a felloe (itus), consisting of four or more arcs, hapsides (Hesiod, Op. 426; sotra, Poll. i. 144), which of course had to be of flexible wood (Il. iv. 482-486; xxi. 37), heat being used to assist in producing the curvature (Theocr. xxv. 247-251), bound on the outside by
  (c) an iron tire (epissotron, Il. xxiii. 519; epissotra, Il. v. 725; canthus, Pers. v. 71). In Hera's chariot the tire was of bronze and the felloe gold (Il. v. 725). On the inner side they were fixed in
  (d) the nave (plemne, II. v. 726; chnoe, Aesch. Theb. 153; modiolus, Plin. H. N. ix. § 8).
  There are several technical terms for the different parts of the nave (Poll. i. 145). The external ring of iron into which the spokes fitted was called thorax or plemnodeton. The internal ring round the hole through which the axle passed was garnon or destron. What was probably a flat ring prevented the wheels slipping off, and was called paraxonion, epibolos, embolos: it was itself kept in its place by the linchpin (embolodetes). The wheels were not more than thirty inches in diameter: this appears to rest on Hesiod, Op. 426, where Proclus and Tzetzes take hamaxa as the wheel.
4. The body of the chariot, diphros, also called huperteria by Poll. i. 144, though in Homer that word appears to mean the upper part shaped like a cart. All efforts were made to lessen the weight of the chariot, and we have evidence that they were very light. They drive over heaps of arms and corpses (Il. xi. 534), and even across ditches (Il. viii. 179); and Diomede thinks of carrying a chariot on his shoulders (Il. x. 505). It consisted of some kind of interlaced straps of leather (himantosis, tonos, Poll. i. 142). In Hera's chariot they were of gold and silver cords (Il. v. 727). Doubtless this was bound around to a narrow frame of some rigid substance, wood or iron; and it is to this perhaps that the epithets protopages, kolletos, which are applied to the diphros (Il. v. 193; xix. 395), refer. Possibly this framework at the back of the chariot, which was always cut straight, is what Pollux (i. 144) means by pterna (to de pro pou tonou hou proton epibainousin hoi anabainontes, pterna); though Guhl and Koner (p. 305) say it is the boards which were placed over the straps and on which the charioteers stood. If we allow a foot on each side of the axle for the wheels, the breadth of the diphros would be about five feet.
5. The pole (rhumos, temo), made of wood and polished (Il. xxiv. 271). From representations of chariots, we find the pole sometimes as it were a continuation of the flooring of the diphros, sometimes fastened into the axle, sometimes above it. It is found fastened by two forked stays (sterigma, hupostates, furca, Plut. Cor. Plut. Cor. 24). These were either projecting from the axle, or, as is more probable, at the inner end of the pole. The pole was sometimes straight for some distance from its point of fastening, and curved rapidly upwards at its extremity (prote peza, akrorrumion), or else was in its whole length quite straight and inclined at an angle: in any case the top of the pole was on a level with the necks of the horses. The extremity of the pole at times ended in the head of a bird, a ram, or the like. Towards the extremity of the pole the yoke was fastened about a pin (hestor) fixed in the pole. There was frequently a fastening running from the top of the pole to the antux, in order to divide the traction-force on two points. For details as to the yoke and its fastening, see Jugum (=zygos); and for the reins, see Frenum (+chalinos, bridle).
  All the parts now enumerated are seen in an ancient chariot preserved in the Vatican, a representation of which is given in the preceding woodcut. (see image in the URL below).
  Carriages with two or even three poles were used by the Lydians (Aesch. Pers. 47). The Greeks and Romans, on the other hand, appear never to have used more than one pole and one yoke, and the currus thus constructed was commonly drawn by two horses, which were attached to it by their necks, and therefore called dizuges hippoi (Hom. Il. v. 195, x. 473), sunoris (Xen. Hell. i. 2, § 1), gemini jugales (Verg. Aen. vii. 280), equi bijuges (Georg. iii. 91). We occasionally find in Homer that only one horse was used (Il. ii. 390; xxii. 22; xxiii. 517), and it must have been fastened by traces; but a pair of horses is much the most frequent. They drew the car by means of the yoke and its collars (lepadna); for they were not fastened to the chariot by traces. Thus in the Iliad, when the pole breaks (vi. 38 if., xvi. 360), the horses simply run on with the yoke and front part of the broken pole, and the car is left behind; again, when the yoke breaks and the horses run to different sides, they do not upset the chariot, as they would do if they had been fastened by traces (Il. xxiii. 392 ff.). In this latter passage, however, it seems most probable that the shock which could throw Eumelus out with such violence must have upset the light chariot. Besides the yoke horses, there was sometimes a pareoros (Il. xvi. 471), seiraios (Soph. El. 722), seiraphoros (Aesch. Ag. 842), funalis equus (Stat. Theb. vi. 462), funarius (Isid. Orig. xviii. 33), which was fastened by a trace affixed to the antux, if we may judge from vase-pictures and as the word seiraphoros would lead us to infer. But the main work of traction was done by the yoke horses (cf. Aesch. Ag. 1679). Helbig (op. cit. p. 91) thinks that they were fastened to the yoke or to one of the yoke-horses; yet he holds (p. 106, note 6) that traces were used in the case of a team of four horses. At any rate the fastenings of the pareoros were called pareoriai (Il. xvi. 152). These outriggers had often riders like our postilions. A team of four horses is mentioned three times in Homer (Il. viii. 185, xi. 699; Od. xiii. 81), but the passages are not by any means sufficient to prove a general use of four horses, and they seem to refer to the Olympic games. In the above cut we also observe traces passing between the two antuges, and proceeding from the front of the chariot on each side of the middle horse. These probably assisted in attaching the third, or extra horse.
  The Latin name for a chariot and pair was bigae (Verg. Aen. ii. 272, v. 721; Plin. H. N. vii.202, et alibi); in later: Latin also biga (Tac. Hist. i. 86; Plin. xxxix.89; Stat. Silv. i. 2, 45, et alibi). When a third horse was added, it was called triga (Dig. 21, 1, 38,14) or trigae (Isidor. Orig. xviii. 36); and by the same analogy a chariot and four was called quadrigae (Verg. Georg. i. 512, Aen. vi. 535; Cic. Div. ii. 7. 0, 144, et alibi), in later Latin quadriga (Gell. xix. 8, 17 ; Suet. Vit. 17, et alibi); in Greek, tetraoria or gethrippos. Four horses were the largest number usually employed, but we also read of a chariot drawn by six horses, called sejugis (Orelli, Inscr. 2593, 6179), but more usually in the plural sejuges (Liv. xxxviii. 35, 4; Plin. H. N. xxxiv.19; Apul. Flor. p. 356, No. 16), also sejugae (Isid. Orig. xviii. 36), like bigae and quadrigae; of a chariot drawn by eight horses; and of one drawn by ten horses, which was the number driven by Nero in the Olympic games (Suet. Ner. 24). In all cases the horses were driven abreast.
  As the works of ancient art, especially fictile vases, abound in representations of quadrigae, numerous instances may be observed, in which the two middle horses (ho mesos dexios kai ho mesos aristeros, Schol. in Aristoph. Nub. 122) are yoked together as in the bigae; and, as the, two lateral ones (ho dexioseiros, ho aristeros seiraios, dexterior, sinisterior funalis equus, Suet. Tib. 6; and cf. Jebb on Soph. El. 721) have collars (leradna) equally with the yoke-horses, we may presume that from the top of these proceeded the ropes which were tied to the rim of the car, and by which the trace-horses assisted to draw it. The first figure in the following woodcut is the chariot of Aurora, as painted on a vase found at Canosa.The reins of the two middle horses pass through rings at the extremities of the yoke. All the particulars which have been mentioned are still more distinctly seen in the second figure, taken from a terra-cotta at Vienna. It represents a chariot over-thrown in passing the goal at the circus. The charioteer having fallen backwards, the pole and yoke are thrown upwards into the air; the two trace-horses have fallen on their knees, and the two yoke-horses are prancing on their hind legs.
  If we may rely on the evidence of numerous works of art, the currus was sometimes drawn by four horses without either yoke or pole; for we see two of them diverging to the right hand and two to the left, as in the cameo in the royal collection of Berlin, which exhibits Apollo surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. If the ancients really drove the quadrigae thus harnessed, we can only suppose the charioteer to have checked its speed by pulling up the horses, and leaning with his whole body back-wards, so as to make the bottom of the car at its hindermost border scrape the ground, an act and an attitude which seem not unfrequently to be intended in antique representations.
  The currus, like the cisium, was adapted to carry two persons, and on this account was called in Greek diphros. One of the two was of course the driver. He was called heniochos, because he held the reins, and his companion paraibates, from going by his side or near him. Though in all respects superior, the paraibates was often obliged to place himself behind the heniochos. He is so represented in the bigae at p. 129, and in the Iliad (xix. 397) Achilles himself stands behind his charioteer, Automedon. On the other hand, a personage of the highest rank may drive his own carriage, and then an inferior may be his paraibates, as when Nestor conveys Machaon (par de Machaon baine, Il. xi. 512, 517), and Hera, holding the reins and whip, conveys Athena, who is in full armour (v. 720-775). In such cases a kindness, or even a compliment, was conferred by the driver upon him whom he conveyed, as when Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, himself holding the reins, made Plato his paraibates. (Aelian, V. H. iv. 18.)
  Chariots were frequently employed on the field of battle not only by the Asiatic nations, but also by the Greeks in the heroic age. The aristees, i. e. the nobility, or men of rank, who wore complete suits of armour, all took their chariots with them, and in an engagement placed themselves in front. In the Homeric battles we find that the horseman, who for the purpose of using his weapons, and in consequence of the weight of his armour, is under the necessity of taking the place of paraibates (see above the woodcut of the triga), often assails or challenges a distant foe from the chariot; but that, when he encounters his adversary in close combat, they both dismount, springing from their chariots to the ground, and leaving them to the care of the heniochoi. (Il. iii. 29, xiii. 537, xvii. 480-483, 500-502; Hes. Scut. Herc. 370-372.) As soon as the hero had finished the trial of his strength with his opponent, he returned to his chariot, one of the chief uses of which was to rescue him from danger.
  In later times the chariots were chiefly employed in the public games. The usual form of those used in the Grecian public games appears on the coins of victors, as in the annexed coin of Hieron II. of Syracuse. Those used in the Roman games of the Circus are figured under Circus (=greek hippodromos). Their form was the same, except that they were more elegantly decorated. They had no antuges, but were raised in front. They had low wheels, quite at the back, and there was no space to stand in behind the wheels. Chariots were not much used by the Romans. The ancient Italians never fought from chariots. When such appear, they are either in representations of Greek events or are triumphal cars. In a Roman triumph the general ascended to the Capitol in a chariot adorned with ivory (currus eburnos, Ov. Trist. iv. 2, 63) or gold (aureos, Hor. Epod. ix. 22), which was cylindrical, with sides very much higher than the Greek chariots. An example may be seen in the cuts under Triumphus (=thriamnos, triumph) which in a measure exemplify what Zonaras says (vii. 21): to de harma es purgon peripherous tropon exeirgasto. The utmost skill of the painter and the sculptor was employed to enhance its beauty and splendour. More particularly the extremities of the axle, of the pole, and of the yoke, were highly wrought in the form of animals' heads. Wreaths of laurel were sometimes hung round it (currum laurigerum, Claudian, de Laud. Stil. iii. 20, Tert. Cons. Honor. 130), and were also fixed to the heads of the four snow-white horses. (Mart. vii. 8, 8.) The car was elevated so that he who triumphed might be the most conspicuous person in the procession, and for the same reason he was obliged to stand erect (in curru stantis eburno, Ovid, Pont. iii. 4, 35). The triumphal car had in general no pole, the horses being led by men who were stationed at their heads.
  Chariots executed in terra-cotta (quadrigae fictiles, Plin. H. N. xxviii.16), in bronze, or in marble, an example of which last is shown in the following woodcut from an ancient chariot in the Vatican, were among the most beautiful ornaments of temples and other public edifices. No pains were spared in their decoration; and Pliny informs us (e.g. H. N. xxxiv.86) that some of the most eminent artists were employed upon them. In numerous instances they were designed to perpetuate the fame of those who had conquered in the chariot-race (Pans. vi. 10, 6). As the emblem of victory, the quadriga was sometimes adopted by the Romans to grace the triumphal arch by being placed on its summit; and even in the private houses of great families, chariots were displayed as the indications of rank, or the memorials of conquest and of triumph. (Juv. viii. 3.)

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Territories - Kingdoms

Territory of Agamemnon

Many people were under the rule of Agamemnon (Il. 2.577, 2 588), that participated in the Trojan War with 100 ships (Il. 2.576). Cities listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships are: 1. Mycenae, 2. Cleonae, 3. Orneiae, 4. Sicyon, 5. Araethyrea, 6. Corinth, 7. Hyperesia, 8. Gonoessa, 9. Pellene, 10. Aegium, 11. Helice.
The kingdom of Agamemnon was called Argos and its capital was Mycenae (Il. 1.30, 2.108).


Greek leaders in the Trojan War

Agamemnon & Clytaemnestra

Agamemnon was the king of Mycenae, son of Atreus, leader of the Myceneans in the Trojan War and brother of Menelaus.
His wife was Clytaemnestra, daughter of Tyndareus by Leda and sister of Helen (Il. 1.113, Od. 3.264). During his absence, she deceived him with Aegisthus, who became her husband and organized with her aid the murder of Agamemnon. Orestes took revenge of his death by killing his mother and Aegisthus (Od. 1.300, 11.409 etc., 24.198).


Agamemnon. A son of Pleisthenes and grandson of Atreus, king of Mycenae, in whose house Agamemnon and Menelaus were educated after the death of their father. (Apollod. iii. 2.2; Schol. ad Eurip. Or. 5; Schol. ad Iliad. ii. 249.) Homer and several other writers call him a son of Atreus, grandson of Pelops, and great-grandson of Tantalus. (Hom. Il. xi. 131; Eurip. Helen. 396; Tzetz. ad Lycophr. 147; Hygin. Fab. 97.) His mother was, according to most accounts, Aerope; but some call Eriphyle the wife of Pleisthenes and the mother of Agamemnon. Besides his brother Menelaus, he had a sister, who is called Anaxibia, Cyndragora, or Astyocheia. (Schol. Eurip. Or. 5; Hygin. Fab. 17.) Agamemnon and Memelaus were brought up together with Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, in the house of Atreus. When they had grown to manhood, Atreus sent Agamemnon and Menelaus to seek Thyestes. They found him at Delphi, and carried him to Atreus, who threw him into a dungeon. Aegisthus was afterwards commanded to kill him but, recognising his father in him, he abstained from the cruel deed, slew Atreus, and after having expelled Agamemnon and Menelaus, he and his father occupied the kingdom of Mycenae. The two brothers wandered about for a time, and at last came to Sparta, where Agamemnon married Clytemnestra, the daughter of Tyndareus, by whom he became the father of Iphianassa (Iphigeneia), Chrysothemis, Laodice (Electra), and Orestes. (Hom. Il. ix. 145, with th e note of Eustath.; Lucret. i. 86.)
  The manner in which Agamemnon came to the kingdom of Mycenae is differently related. From Homer (Il. ii. 10; comp. Paus. ix. 40.6), it appears as if he had peaceably succeeded Thyestes, while, according to others (Aeschyl. Agam. 1605), he expelled Thyestes, and usurped his throne. After he had become king of Mycenae, he rendered Sicyon and its king subject to himself (Paus. ii. 6.4), and became the most powerful prince in Greece. A catalogue of his dominions is given in the Iliad. (ii. 569; comp. Strab. viii; Thucyd. i. 9.) When Homer (Il. ii. 108) attributes to Agamemnon the sovereignty over all Argos, the name Argos here signifies Peloponnessus, or the greater part of it, for the city of Argos was governed by Diomedes. (Il. ii. 559) Strabo (l. c.) has also shewn that the name Argos is sometimes used by the tragic poets as synonymous with Mycenae.
  When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was carried off by Paris, the son of Priam, Agamemnon and Menelaus called upon all the Greek chiefs for assistance against Troy. (Odyss. xxiv. 115.) The chiefs met at Argos in the palace of Diomedes, where Agamemnon was chosen their chief commander, either in consequence of his superior power (Eustath, ad Il. ii. 108; Thucyd. i. 9), or because he had gained the favour of the assembled chiefs by giving them rich presents. (Dictys, Cret. i. 15, 16.) After two years of preparation, the Greek army and fleet assembled in the port of Aulis in Boeotia. Agamemnon had previously consulted the oracle about the issue of the enterprise, and the answer given was, that Troy should fall at the time when the most distinguished among the Greeks should quarrel. (Od. viii. 80.) A similar prophecy was derived from a marvellous occurrence which happened while the Greeks were assembled at Aulis. Once when a sacrifice was offered under the boughs of a tree, a dragon crawled forth from under it, and devoured a nest on the tree containing eight young birds and their mother. Calchas interpreted the sign to indicate that the Greeks would have to fight against Troy for nine years, but that in the tenth the city would fall. (Il. ii. 303) An account of a different miracle portending the same thing is given by Aeschylus. (Ayam. 110)
  Another interesting incident happened while the Greeks were assembled at Aulis. Agamemnon, it is said, killed a stag which was sacred to Artemis, and in addition provoked tle anger of the goddess by irreverent words. She in return visited the Greek army with a pestilence, and produced a perfect calm, so that the Greeks were unable to leave the port. When the seers declared that the anger of the goddess could not be soothed unless Iphigeneia, the daughter of Agamemnon, were offered to her as an atoning sacrifice, Diomedes and Odysseus were sent to fetch her to the camp under the pretext that she was to be married to Achilles. She came; but at the moment when she was to be sacrificed, she was carried off by Artemis herself (according to others by Achilles) to Tauris, and another victim was substituted in her place. (Hygin. Fab. 98; Eurip. Iphig. Aul. 90, Iphig. Taur. 15; Sophocl. Elect. 565; Pind. Pyth. xi. 35; Ov. Met. xii. 31; Dict. Cret. i. 19; Schol. ad Lycophr. 183; Antonin. Lib. 27.) After this the calm ceased, and the army sailed to the coast of Troy. Agamemnon alone had one hundred ships, independent of sixty which he had lent to the Arcadians. (Il. ii. 576, 612.)
  In the tenth year of the siege of Troy -for it is in this year that the Iliad opens- we find Agamemnon involved in a quarrel with Achilles respecting the possession of Briseis, whom Achilles was obliged to give up to Agamemnon. Achilles withdrew from the field of battle, and the Greeks were visited by successive disasters. Zeus sent a dream to Agamemnon to persuade him to lead the Greeks to battle against the Trojans. (Il. ii. 8) The king, in order to try the Greeks, commanded them to return home, with which they readily complied, until their courage was revived by Odysseus, who persuaded them to prepare for battle. (Il. ii. 55) After a single combat between Paris and Menelaus, a battle followed, in which Agamemnon killed several of the Trojans. When Hector challenged the bravest of the Greeks, Agamemnon offered to fight with him, but in his stead Ajax was chosen by lot. Soon after this another battle took place, in which the Greeks were worsted (Il. viii.), and Agamemnon in despondence advised the Greeks to take to flight and return home. (Il. ix. 10.) But he was opposed by the other heroes. An attempt to conciliate Achilles failed, and Agamemnon assembled the chiefs in the night to deliberate about the measures to be adopted. (Il. x. 1) Odysseus and Diomedes were then sent out as spies, and on the day following the contest with the Trojans was renewed. Agamemnon himself was again one of the bravest, and slew many enemies with his own hand. At last, however, he was wounded by Coon and obliged to withdraw to his tent. (Il. xi. 250) Hector now advanced victoriously, and Agamemnon again advised the Greeks to save themselves by flight. (Il. xiv. 75) But Odysseus and Diomedes again resisted him, and the latter prevailed upon him to return to the battle which was going on near the ships. Poseidon also appeared to Agamemnon in the figure of an aged man, and inspired him with new courage. (Il. xiv. 125) The pressing danger of the Greeks at last induced Patroclus, the friend of Achilles, to take an energetic part in the battle, and his fall roused Achilles to new activity, and led to his reconciliation with Agamemnon. In the games at the funeral pyre of Patroclus, Agamemnon gained the first prize in throwing the spear. (Il. xxiii. 890)
  Agamemnon, although the chief commander of the Greeks, is not the hero of the Iliad, and in chivalrous spirit, bravery, and character, altogether inferior to Achilles. But he nevertheless rises above all the Greeks by his dignity, power, and majesty (Il. iii. 166), and his eyes and head are likened to those of Zeus, his girdle to that of Ares, and his breast to that of Poseidon. (Il. ii. 477) Agamemnon is among the Greek heroes what Zeus is among the gods of Olympus. This idea appears to have guided the Greek artists, for in several representations of Agamemnon still extant there is a remarkable resemblance to the representations of Zeus. The emblem of his power and majesty in Homer is a sceptre, the work of iiephaestus, which Zeus had once given to Hermes, and Hermes to Pelops, from whom it descended to Agamemnon. (Il. ii. 100; comp. Paus. ix. 40.6) His armour is described in the Iliad. (xi. 19)
  The remaining part of the story of Agamemnon is related in the Odyssey, and by several later writers. At the taking of Troy he received Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, as his prize (Od. xi. 421; Diet. Cret. v. 13), by whom, according to a tradition in Pausanias (ii. 16.5), he had two sons, Teledamus and Pelops. On his return home he was twice driven out of his course by storms, but at last landed in Argolis, in the dominion of Aegisthus, who had seduced Clytemnestra during the absence of her husband. He invited Agamemnon on his arrival to a repast, and had him and his companions treacherously murdered during the feast (Od. iii. 263), and Clytemnestra on the same occasion murdered Cassandra. (Od. xi. 400-422, xxiv. 96) Odysseus met the shade of Agamemnon in the lower world. (Od. xi. 387, xxiv. 20.) Menelaus erected a monument in honour of his brother on tle river Aegyptus. (Od. iv. 584.) Pausanias (ii. 16.5) states, that in his time a monument of Agamemnon was still extant at Mycenae.
  The tragic poets have variously modified the story of the murder of Agamemnon. Aeschylus (Agam. 1492) makes Clytemnestra alone murder Agamemnon: she threw a net over him while he was in the bath, and slew him with three strokes. Her motive is partly her jealousy of Cassandra, and partly her adulterous life with Aegisthus. According to Tzetzes (ad Lycophr. 1099), Aegisthus committed the murder with the assistance of Clytemnestra. Euripides (Or. 26) mentions a garment which Clytemnestra threw over him instead of a net, and both Sophocles (Elect. 530) and Euripides represent the sacrifice of Iphigeneia as the cause for which she murdered him. After the death of Agamemnon and Cassandra, their two sons were murdered upon their tomb by Aegisthus. (Paus. ii. 16.5) According to Pindar (Pyth. xi. 48) the murder of Agamemnon took place at Amyclae, in Laconica, and Pausanias (l. c.) states that the inhabitants of this place disputed with those of Mycenae the possession of the tomb of Cassandra (Paus. iii. 19.5).
  In later times statues of Agamemnon were erected in several parts of Greece, and he was worshipped as a hero at Amyclae and Olympia. (Paus. iii. 19.5, v. 25 5) He was represented on the pedestal of the celebrated Rhamnusian Nemesis (i. 33.7), and his fight with Coon on the chest of Cypselus. (v. 19.1) He was painted in the Lesche of Delphi, by Polygnotus. (x. 25.2; compare Plin. H. N. xxxv. 36.5; Quintil. ii. 13.13; Val. Max. viii. 11.6.) It should be remarked that several Latin poets mention a bastard son of Agamemnon, of the name of Halesus, to whom the foundation of the town of Falisci or Alesium is ascribed. (Ov. Fast. iv. 73; Amor. iii. 13. 31; comp. Serv. ad Aen. vii. 695; Sil. Ital. viii. 476.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Agamemnon. The son of Atreus and brother of Menelaus. Driven from Mycenae after the murder of Atreus by Thyestes, the two young princes fled to Sparta, where King Tyndareos gave them his daughters in marriage-Clytaemnestra to Agamemnon, and Helen to Menelaus. While the latter inherited his father-in-law's kingdom, Agamemnon not only drove his uncle out of Mycenae, but so extended his dominions that in the war against Troy for the recovery of Helen the chief command was intrusted to him, as the mightiest prince in Greece. He contributed one hundred ships manned with warriors, besides lending sixty to the Arcadians.In Homer he is one of the bravest fighters before Troy; yet, by arrogantly refusing to let Chryses, priest of Apollo, ransom his daughter Chryseis, who had fallen to Agamemnon as the prize of war, be brought a plague on the Grecian host, which he afterwards almost ruined by ruthlessly carrying off Briseis, the prize of Achilles, who henceforth sulked in his tents and refused to fight. After the fall of Troy, Agamemnon came home with his captive, the princess Cassandra; but at supper he and his comrades were murdered by his wife's lover, Aegisthus, while the queen herself killed Cassandra. Such is Homer's account; the tragic poets make Clytaemnestra, in revenge for her daughter's immolation, throw a net over Agamemnon while bathing, and kill him with the help of Aegisthus. In Homer his children are Iphianassa, Chrysothemis, Laodice, and Orestes; the later legend puts Iphigenia and Electra in the place of Iphianassa and Laodice. Agamemnon was worshipped as a hero. His name is the title of a play by Aeschylus.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Editor’s Information:
The e-text(s) of "Agamemnon", the tragedy written by Aeschylus, is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings .


Clytaemnestra (Klutaimnestra). A daughter of Tyndarus, king of Sparta, by Leda. She was born, together with her brother Castor, from one of the eggs which her mother brought forth after her amour with Zeus under the form of a swan. She married Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, and when this monarch went to the Trojan War, he left his wife and family, and all his affairs, to the care of his relation Aegisthus. But the latter proved unfaithful to his trust, corrupted Clytaemnestra, and usurped the throne. Agamemnon, on his return home, was murdered by his guilty wife, who was herself afterwards slain, along with Aegisthus, by Orestes, son of the deceased monarch. For a more detailed account, see the articles Agamemnon and Orestes.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Cited Sept. 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.



Greek heroes of the Trojan War

Periphetes

The son of Copreus from Mycenae, was slain by Hector (Il. 15.638).


Eurymedon

He was a charioteer of Agamemnon and son of Ptolemaeus, son of Peiraeus (Il. 4.228).


Eurymedon. A son of Ptolemaeus, and charioteer of Agamemnon; his tomb was shewn at Mycenae. (Hom. Il. iv. 228; Paus. ii. 16. § 5.) There are two more mythical personages of this name. (Hom. Od. vii. 58; Apollod. iii. 1. § 2.) Eurymedon signifies a being ruling far and wide, and occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Poseidon (Pind. Ol. viii. 31), Perseus (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1514), and Hermes. (Hesvch. s. v.)


Remarkable selections

Demodocus

Demodocus (Demodookos). The famous bard of the Odyssey, who according to the fashion of the heroic ages delighted the guests of king Alcinous during their repast by singing about the feats of the Greeks at Troy, of the love of Ares and Aphrodite, and of the wooden horse (Od. viii. 62, xiii. 27). He is also mentioned as the bard who advised Agamemnon to guard Clytaemnestra, and to expose Aegisthus in a desert island (Od. iii. 267; Eustath. ad Hom.). Eustathius describes him as a Laconian, and as a pupil of Automedes and Perimedes of Argos. He adds that he won the prize at the Pythian games and then followed Agamemnon to Mycenae. One story makes Odysseus recite Demodocus's song about the destruction of Troy during a contest in Tyrrhenia (Ptolem. Heph. 7). On the throne of Apollo at Amyclae, Demodocus was represented playing to the dance of the Phaeacians (Paus. iii. 18.7). Later writers, who look upon this mythical minstrel as an historical person, describe him as a native of Corcyra, and as an aged and blind singer (Ov. Ib. 272), who composed a poem on the destruction of Troy (Iliou porDesis), and on the marriage of Hephaestus and Aphrodite (Plut. de Mus. 3; Eudoc. p. 407; Phot. Bibl.). Plutarch (de Flurm. 18) refers even to the first book of an epic poem on the exploits of Heracles (Erakleia). But all such statements are fabulous; and if there existed any poems under his name, they were certainly forgeries.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Kings

Atreus & Aerope

Atreus was the son of Pelops and Hippodameia, brother of Thyestes, king of Mycenae, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus (Il. 2.106).
Aerope was his wife.


Atreus, a son of Pelops and Hippodameia, a grandson of Tantalus, and a brother of Thyestes and Nicippe. He was first married to Cleola, by whom he became the father of Pleisthenes; then to Aerope, the widow of his son Pleisthenes, who was the mother of Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Anaxibia, either by Pleisthenes or by Atreus; and lastly to Pelopia, the daughter of his brother Thyestes (Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 5; Soph. Aj. 1271; Hygin. Fab. 83; Serv. ad Aen. i. 462). The tragic fate of the house of Tantalus gave ample materials to the tragic poets of Greece, but the oftener the subjects were handled, the greater were the changes and modifications which the legends underwent; but the main points are collected in Hyginus.
  The story of Atreus begins with a crime, for he and his brother Thyestes were induced by their mother Hippodameia to kill their step-brother Chrysippus, the son of Pelops and the nymph Axioche or Danais (Hygin. Fab. 85; Schol. ad Hom. Il. ii. 104). According to the Scholiast on Thucydides (i. 9), who seems himself to justify the remark of his commentator, it was Pelops himself who killed Chrysippus. Atreus and Thyestes hereupon took to flight, dreading the consequences of their deed, or, according to the tradition of Thucydides, to escape the fate of Chrysippus. Sthenelus, king of Mycenae, and husband of their sister Nicippe (the Schol. on Thucvd. calls her Astydameia) invited them to come to Midea, which he assigned to them as their residence (Apollod. ii. 4.6) When afterwards Eurystheus, the son of Sthenelus, marched out against the Heracleids, he entrusted the government of Mycenae to his uncle Atreus; and after the fall of Eurystheus in Attica, Atreus became his successor in the kingdom of Mycenae. From this moment, crimes and calamities followed one another in rapid succession in the house of Tantalus.
  Thyestes seduced Aerope, the wife of Atreus, and robbed him also of the lamb with the golden fleece, the gift of Hermes (Eustath. ad Hom). For this crime, Thyestes was expelled from Mycenae by his brother; but from his place of exile he sent Pleisthenes, the son of Atreus, whom he had brought up as his own child, commanding him to kill Atreus. Atreus however slew the emissary, without knowing that he was his own son. This part of the story contains a manifest contradiction; for if Atreus killed Pleisthenes under these circumstances, his wife Aerope, whom Thyestes had seduced, cannot have been the widow of Pleisthenes (Hygin. Fab. 86; Schol. ad Hom. ii). In order to obtain an opportunity for taking revenge, Atreus feigned to be reconciled to Thyestes, and invited him to Mycenae. When the request was complied with, Atreus killed the two sons of Thyestes, Tantalus and Pleisthenes, and had their flesh prepared and placed it before Thyestes as a meal. After Thyestes had eaten some of it, Atreus ordered the arms and bones of the children to be brought in, and Thyestes, struck with horror at the sight, cursed the house of Tantalus and fled, and Helios turned away his face from the frightful scene (Aeschyl. Agam. 1598; Soph. Aj. 1266).
  The kingdom of Atreus was now visited by scarcity and famine, and the oracle, when consulted about the means of averting the calamity, advised Atreus to call back Thyestes. Atreus, who went out in search of him, came to king Thesprotus, and as he did not find him there, he married his third wife, Pelopia, the daughter of Thyestes, whom Atreus believed to be a daughter of Thesprotus. Pelopia was at the time with child by her own father, and after having given birth to a boy (Aegisthus), she exposed him. The child, however, was found by shepherds, and suckled by a goat; and Atreus, on hearing of his existence, sent for him and educated him as his own child. According to Aeschylus (Agam. 1605), Aegisthus, when yet a child, was banished with his father Thyestes from Mycenae, and did not return thither until he had grown up to manhood. Afterwards, when Agamemnon and Menelaus had grown up, Atreus sent them out in search of Thyestes. They found him at Delphi, and led him back to Mycenae. Here Atreus had him imprisoned, and sent Aegisthus to put him to death. But Aegisthus was recognised by his father; and returning to Atreus, he pretended to have killed Thyestes, and slew Atreus himself, who was just offering up a sacrifice on the sea-coast (Hygin. Fab. 88). The tomb of Atreus still existed in the time of Pausanias. (ii. 16.5).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Aerope. Daughter of king Catreus of Crete, and granddaughter of Minos. Catreus had been told that one of his children would kill him one day and so he made sure to get rid of them. His son Althaemenes and daughter Apemosyne left willingly, but Aerope and her sister Clymene were given to Nauplius to be sold abroad.
  Aerope was sold to Atreus' son Pleisthenes and they had three children: Agamemnon, Menelaos and Anaxibia. Because Pleisthenes was sickly, he died young, and so Atreus decided to marry his daughter-in-law and adopt his grandchildren. It was through these marriages that Aerope became the link between Crete and Mycenae.
  Atreus' brother Thyestes seduced Aerope, which was to lead to the famous curse of Atreus' house. Aerope was drowned for her adultery.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.



Thyestes

Thyestes was a son of Pelops, father of Aegisthus and brother of Atreus, whom he succeeded to the thone of Mycenae (Il. 2.106, Od. 4.519).



Aegisthus

Aegisthus, son of Thyestes, organized the murder of Agamemnon and came to the throne of Mycenae. After some years, Orestes, son of Agamemnon, returned to Mycenae and killed Aegisthus and his mother, Clytaemnestra, who was an accomplice to the murder of her husband (Od. 1.35, 3.196, 4.519, 11.409).


Aegisthus (Aigisthos), a son of Thyestes, who unwittingly begot him by his own daughter Pelopia. Immediately after his birth he was exposed by his mother, but was found and saved by shepherds and suckled by a goat, whence his name Aegisthus (from aix; Hygin. Fab. 87, 88; Aelian, V. H. xii. 42). Subsequently he was searched after and found by Atreus, the brother of Thyestes, who had him educated as his own child, so that every body believed Aegisthus to be his son. In the night in which Pelopia had shared the bed of her father, she had taken from him his sword which she afterwards gave to Aegisthus. This sword became the means by which the incestuous intercourse between her and her father was discovered, whereupon she put an end to her own life. Atreus in his enmity towards his brother sent Aegisthus to kill him; but the sword which Aegisthus carried was the cause of the recognition between Thyestes and his son, and the latter returned and slew his uncle Atreus, while he was offering a sacrifice on the sea-coast. Aegisthus and his father now took possession of their lawful inheritance from which they had been expelled by Atreus (Hygin. l. c. and 252). Homer appears to know nothing of all these tragic occurrences, and we learn from him only that, after the death of Thyestes, Aegisthus ruled as king at Mycenae and took no part in the Trojan expedition (Od. iv. 518). While Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, was absent on his expedition against Troy, Aegisthus seduced Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon, and was so wicked as to offer up thanks to the gods for the success with which his criminal exertions were crowned (Hom. Od. iii. 263). In order not to be surprised by the return of Agamemnon, he sent out spies, and when Agamemnon came, Aegisthus invited him to a repast at which he had him treacherously murdered (Hom. Od. iv. 524; Paus. ii. 16.5) After this event Aegisthus reigned seven years longer over Mycenae, until in the eighth Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, returned home and avenged the death of his father by putting the adulterer to death.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Sthenelus

Son of Perseus, husband of Nicippe, father of Eurystheus, king of Mycenae and Tiryns (Il. 19.116).



Eurystheus & Antimache

He, the son of Sthenelus, last king of Mycenae and the descendant of Perseus, imposed on Heracles the 12 well-known tasks (Il. 15.693, 19.123 etc.). Hera accelerated his birth by two months so that he reigned instead of Heracles (see Il. 19.103 etc.).
It was said that Eurystheus was killed by Iolaus near the Scironian Rocks, where Pausanias saw his tomb (Paus. 1,44,10). Antimache, the daughter of Amphidamas, was his wife.



Orestes

He was the son of Agamemnon by Clytaemnestra and brother of Electra (Il. 9.142, Od. 11.458-462 etc.). After the murder of his father, which was organized by Aegisthus with the aid of Clytaemnestra, he left Mycenae and returned from Athens in the eighth year of the reign of Aegisthus and took revenge for the death of his father by slaying Aegisthus and his mother as well (Od. 3.307).


Orestes,the only son of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, and brother of Chrysothemis, Laodice (Electra), and Iphianassa (Iphigeneia; Hom. Il. ix. 142, 284; comp. Soph. Elect. 154; Eurip. Or. 23). According to the Homneric account, Agamemnon in his return from Troy was murdered by Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra before he had an opportunity of seeing him (Od. xi. 542). In the eighth year after his father's murder Orestes came from Athens to Mycenae and slew the murderer of his father, and at the same time solemnised the burial of Aegisthus and of his mother, and for the revenge he had taken he gained great fame among mortals (Od. i. 30, 298, iii. 306 iv. 546).
  This slender outline of the story of Orestes has been spun out and embellished in various ways by the tragic poets. Thus it is sail that at the murder of Agamemnon it was intended also to despatch Orestes, but that Electra secretly entrusted him to the slave who had the management of him. This slave carried the boy to Strophius, king in Phocis, who was married to Anaxibia, the sister of Agamemnon. According to some, Orestes was saved by his nurse Geilissa (Aeschyl. Choeph. 732) or by Arsinoe or Laodameia (Pilnd. Pyth. xi. 25, with the Schol.), who allowed Aegisthus to kill her own child, thinking that it was Orestes. In the house of Strophius, Orestes grew up together with the king's son Pylades, with whom he formed that close and intimate friendship which has almost become proverbial (Eurip. Orest. 804).
  Being frequently reminded by messengers of Electra of the necessity of avenging his father's death, he consulted the oracle of Delphi, which strengthened him in his plan. He therefore repaired in secret, and without being known to any one, to Argos (Soph. Elect. 11, 35, 296, 531, 1346; Eurip. Elect. 1245, Orest. 162). He pretended to be a messenger of Strophius, who had come to announce the death of Orestes, and brought the ashes of the deceased (Soph. Elect. 1110). After having visited his father's tomb, and sacrificed upon it a lock of his hair, he made himself known to his sister Electra, who was ill used by Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, and discussed his plan of revenge with her, which was speedily executed, for both Aegisthus and Cltaemnestra were slain by his hand in the palace (Soph. Elect. 1405; Aeschyl. Choeph. 931; comp. Eurip. Elect. 625, 671, 774, 969, 1165, who differs in several points from Sophocles). Immediately after the murder of his mother he was seized by madness; he perceived the Erinnyes of his mother and took to flight. Sophocles does not mention this as the immediate consequence of the deed, and the tragedy ends where Aegisthus is led to death; but, according to Euripides, Orestes not only becomes mad; but as the Argives, in their indignation, wanted to stone him and Electra to death, and as Menelaus refused to save them, Pylades and Orestes murdered Helena, and her body was removed by the gods. Orestes also threatened Menelaus to kill his daughter Hermione; but by the intervention of Apollo, the dispute was allayed, and Orestes betrothed himself to Hermione, and Pylades to Electra.
  But, according to the common account, Orestes fled from land to land, pursued by the Erinnyes of his mother. On the advice of Apollo, he took refuge with Athena at Athens. The goddess afforded him protection, and appointed the court of the Areiopagus to decide his fate. The Erinnyes brought forward their accusation, and Orestes made the command of the Delphic oracle his excuse. When the court voted, and was equally divided, Orestes was acquitted by the command of Athena (Aeschyl. Eumenides). He therefore dedicated an altar to Athena Areia (Paus. i. 28.5).
  According to another modification of the legend, Orestes consulted Apollo, how he could be delivered from his madness and incessant wandering. The god advised him to go to Tauris in Scythia, and thence to fetch the image of Artemis, which was (Eurip. Iph. Taur. 79, 968) believed to have there fallen from heaven, and to carry it to Athens (Comp. Paus. iii. 16.6), Orestes and Pylades accordingly went to Tauris, where Thoas was king, and on their arrival they were seized by the natives, in order to be sacrificed to Artemis, according to the custom of the country. But Iphigeneia, the priestess of Artemis, was the sister of Orestes, and, after having recognized each other, all three escaped with the statue of the goddess (Eurip. Iph. Taur. 800, 1327).
  After his return Orestes took possession of his father's kingdom at Mycenae, which had been usurped by Aletes or Menelaus; and when Cylarabes of Argos died without leaving any heir, Orestes also became king of Argos. The Lacedaemonians made him their king of their own accord, because they preferred him, the grandson of Tyndareus, to Nicostratus and Megapenthes, the sons of Menelaus by a slave. The Arcadians and Phocians increased his power by allying themselves with him (Paus. ii. 18.5, iii.4; Philostr. Her. 6; Pind. Pyth. xi. 24). He married Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus, and became by her the father of Tisamenus (Paus. ii. 18.5). He is said to have led colonists from Sparta to Aeolis, and the town of Argos Oresticnm in Epeirus is said to have been founded by him at the time when he wandered about in his madness (Strab. vii. p. 326, xiii. p. 582; Pind. Nem. xi. 42, with the Schol). In his reign the Dorians under Hyllus are said to have invaded Peloponnesus (Paus. viii. 5.1). He died of the bite of a snake in Arcadia (Schol. ad Eur. Or. 1640), and his body, in accordance with an oracle, was afterwards conveyed from Tegea to Sparta, and there buried (Paus. iii. 11.8). In a war between the Lacedaemonians and Tegeatans, a truce was concluded, and during tills truce the Lacedaemonian Lichas found the remains of Orestes at Tegea or Thyrea in the house of a blacksmith, and thence took them to Sparta, which according to an oracle could not gain the victory unless it possessed the remains of Orestes (Herod. i. 67; Paus. iii. 3.6, viii. 54.3). According to an Italian legend, Orestes brought the image of the Taurian Artemis to Aricia, whence it was carried in later times to Sparta; and Orestes himself was buried at Aricia, whence his remains were afterwards carried to Rome (Serv. ad Aen. ii. 116).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Orestes. The son of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra. On the assassination of Agamemnon, Orestes, then quite young, was saved from his father's fate by his sister Electra, who had him removed to the court of their uncle Strophius, king of Phocis. There he formed an intimate friendship with Pylades, the son of Strophius, and with him concerted the means, which he successfully adopted, of avenging his father's death by slaying his mother and Aegisthus. After the murder of Clytaemnestra, the Furies drove Orestes into insanity; and when the oracle at Delphi was consulted respecting the duration of his malady, an answer was given that Orestes would not be restored to a sane mind until he went to the Tauric Chersonesus, and brought away from that quarter the statue of Artemis to Argos. It was the custom in Taurica to sacrifice all strangers to this goddess, and Orestes and Pylades, having made the journey together, and having both been taken captive, were brought as victims to the altar of Artemis. Iphigenia, the sister of Orestes, who had been carried off by Artemis from Aulis when on the point of being immolated, was the priestess of the goddess among the Tauri. Perceiving the strangers to be Greeks, she offered to spare the life of one of them, provided he would carry a letter from her to Greece. This occasioned a memorable contest of friendship between them, which should sacrifice himself for the other, and it ended in Pylades' yielding to Orestes and agreeing to be the bearer of the letter. The letter was for Orestes, and a discovery was the consequence. Iphigenia, thereupon, on learning the object of their visit, contrived to aid them in carrying off the statue of Artemis, and all three arrived safe in Greece with the statue. After his return to the Peloponnesus, Orestes took possession of his father's kingdom at Mycenae, which had been usurped by Aletes or Menelaus. When Cylarabes of Argos died without leaving any heir, Orestes also became king of Argos. The Lacedaemonians likewise made him their king of their own accord, because they preferred him, the grandson of Tyndareus, to Nicostratus and Megapenthes, the sons of Menelaus by a slave. The Arcadians and Phocians increased his power by allying themselves with him. He married Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus, and became by her the father of Tisamenus. The story of his marriage with Hermione, who had previously been married to Neoptolemus, is related elsewhere. He died of the bite of a snake in Arcadia, and his body, in accordance with an oracle, was afterwards carried from Tega to Sparta, and there buried. His bones are said to have been found at a later time in a war between the Lacedaemonians and Tegaetans, and to have been conveyed to Sparta. According to one story, Orestes spent the time of his madness in Arcadia, where, in his frenzy, he gnawed off one of his fingers. The story of Orestes is the subject of an existing trilogy by Aeschylus (the Agamemnon, Choephoroe, and Eumenides), and is treated by Sophocles in his Electra and by Euripides in the remaining plays Electra, Orestes, and Iphigenia in Tauris.
    Such is the ordinary form of the legend of Orestes. The tragic writers, of course, introduced many variations. Thus it is said that when the Furies of his mother persecuted him, he fled to Delphi, whose god had urged him to commit the deed, and thence went to Athens, where he was acquitted by the court of Areopagus. Orestes had by Hermione two sons, Tisamenus and Penthilus, who were driven from their country by the Heraclidae.

This is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Orestes, Euripides tragedy

Editor’s Information:
About Orestes, Euripides wrote the homonymous tragedy, of which the e-text(s) is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings.


Heroines

Mycene & Arestor

Mycene was the daughter of Inachus and wife of Arestor (Od. 2.120) and, according to myth, the city was named after her.


Arestor, the father of Argus Panoptes, the guardian of lo, who is therefore called Arestorides. (Apollod. ii. 1.3; Apollon. Rhod. i. 112; Ov. Met. i. 624.) According to Pausanias (ii. 16.3), Arestor was the husband of Mycene, the daughter of Inachus, from whom the town of Mycenae derived its name.



Iphigenia (Iphigeneia or Iphianassa)

Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra (Il. 9.145 & 287). She became priestess of Artemis in Tauris and afterwards in Brauron.


Iphigeneia, according to the most common tradition, a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra (Hygin. Fab. 98), but, according to others, a daughter of Theseus and Helena, and brought up by Clytaemnestra only as a fosterchild (Anton. Lib. 27; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 183).
  Agamemnon had once killed a stag in the grove of Artemis, or had boasted that the goddess herself could not hit better, or, according to another story, in the year in which Iphigeneia was born, he had vowed to sacrifice the most beautiful thing which that year might produce, but had afterwards neglected to fulfil his vow. Either of these circumstances is said to have been the cause of the calm which detained the Greek fleet in the port of Aulis, when the Greeks wanted to sail against Troy. The seer Calchas, or, according to others, the Delphic oracle, declared that the sacrifice of Iphigeneia was the only means of propitiating Artemis. Agamemnon at first resisted the command, but the entreaties of Menelaus at leagth prevailed upon him to give way, and he consented to Iphigeneia being fetched by Odysseus and Diomedes, under the pretext that she was to be married to Achilles. When Iphigeneia had arrived, and was on the point of being sacrificed, Artemis carried her in a cloud to Tauris, where she was made to serve the goddess as her priestess, while stag, or, according to others, a she-bear, a ball, or an old woman, was substituted in her place and sacrificed (Eurip. Iphig. Taur. 10--30 783, Iphig. Aul. 1540; Suid. s. v. Pentheros), According to Dictys Cretensis (i.19), Iphigeneia was saved in a peal of thander by the voice of Artemis and the interference of Achilles, who had been gained over by Clytaemnestra, and sent Iphigeneia to Scythia. Tzetzes (l. c.) even states that Achilles was actually married to her, and became by her the father of Pyrrhus.
  While Iphigeneia was serving Artemis as priestess in Tauris, her brother Orestes, on the advice of an oracle, formed the plan of fetching the image of Artemis in Tauris, which was believed once to have fallen from heaven, and of carrying it to Attica (Eurip. Iph. Taur. 79). When Orestes, accompanied by Pylades, arrived in Tauris, he was, according to the custom of the country, to be sacrificed in the temple of the goddess. But Iphigeneia recognised her brother, and fled with him and the statue of the goddess. Some say that Thoas, king of Tauris, was previously murdered by the fugitives (Hygin. Fab. 121; Serv. ad Aen. ii. 116). In the meantime Electra, another sister of Orestes, had heard that he had been sacrificed in Tauris by the priestess of Artemis, and, in order to ascertain the truth of the report, she travelled to Delphi, where she met Iphigeneia, and was informed that she had murdered Orestes. Electra therefore resolved on putting Iphigeneia's eyes out, but was prevented by the interference of Orestes, and a scene of recognition took place. All now returned to Mycenae; but Iphigeneia carried the statue of Artemis to the Attic town of Brauron near Marathon. She there died as priestess of the goddess.
  As a daughter of Theseus she was connected with the heroic families of Attica, and after her death the veils and most costly garments which had been worn by women who had died in childbirth were offered up to her (Eurip. Iph. Taur. 1464; Diod. iv. 44; Paus. i. 33). Pausanias (i. 43), however, speaks of her tomb and heroum at Megara, whereas other traditions stated that Iphigeneia had not died at all, but had been changed by Artemis into Hecate, or that she was endowed by the goddess with immortality and eternal youth, and under the name of Oreilochia she became the wife of Achilles in the island of Leuce (Anton. Lib. 27). The Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, maintained that the carved image of Artemis, which Iphigeneia and Orestes had carried away from Tauris, existed at Sparta, and was worshipped there in Limnacon under the name of Artemis Orthia (Paus. iii. 16).
  The worship of this goddess in Attica and Lacedaemon is of great importance. At Sparta her image was said to have been found in a bush, and to have thrown the beholders into a state of madness; and once, as at the celebration of her festival, a quarrel arose which ended in bloodshed, an oracle commanded that in future human sacrifices should be offered to her. Lycurgus, however, is said to have abolished these sacrifices, and to have introduced in their stead the scourging of youths (Paus. iii. 16.6; Dict. of Antiq. s. v. Diamastigosis). That in Attica, also, human sacrifices were offered to her, at least in early times, may be inferred from the fact of its being customary to sled some human blood in the worship instituted there in honour of Orestes (Eurip. Iph. Taur. 1446). Now, as regards the explanation of the mythus of Iphigeneia, we are informed by Pausanias (ii. 35.2) that Artemis had a temple at Hermione, under the surname of Iphigeneia; and the same author (vii. 26) and Herodotus (iv. 103) tell us, that the Taarians considered the goddess to whom they offered sacrifices, to be Iphigeneia, the daughter of Agamemnon. From these and other circumstances, it has been inferred that Iphigeneia was originally not only a priestess of Artemis, or a heroine, but an attribute of Artemis, or Artemis herself.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Iphigenia, Euripides' tragedies

Editor’s Information:
About Iphigenia, Euripides wrote the tragedies "Iphigenia at Aulis" and "Iphigenia in Tauris", of which the e-text(s) is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings.


Iphigenia, film directed by Michael Cacoyannis


Iphigenia, opera by Franz Schubert

Text by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer (1787-1836), Set by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), D. 573 (1817), published 1829 as op. 98 no 3.


The Iphigenia Cycle, a music theatre piece

The Iphigenia plays were produced at the Penn State Hazleton Campus in April of 1998; the music was composed and arranged by Jeremy dePrisco.


Electra (= Laodice).

Laodice was the daughter of Agamemnon and sister of Iphigenia (= Iphianassa) (Il. 9.145 & 287). She is called Electra by the tragic poets.


Electra. A daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra, is also called Laodice (Eustath. ad Hom.). She was the sister of Iphigeneia, Chrysothemis, and Orestes. The conduct of her mother and Aegisthus threw her into grief and great suffering, and in consequence of it she became the accomplice of Orestes in the murder of his mother.
  Her story, according to Hyginus (Fab. 122), runs thus : On receiving the false report that Orestes and Pylades had been sacrificed to Artemis in Tauris, Aletes, the son of Aegisthus, assumed the government of Mycenae; but Electra, for the purpose of learning the particulars of her brother's death, went to Delphi. On the day she reached the place, Orestes and Iphigeneia likewise arrived there, but the same messenger wllo had before informed her of the death of Orestes, now added, that he had been sacrificed by Iphigeneia. Electra, enraged at this, snatched a firebrand from tile altar, with the intention of putting her sister's eyes out with it. But Orestes suddenly came to the spot, and made himself known to Electra. All being thus cleared up, they travelled together to Mycenae, where Orestes killed the usurper Aletes, and Electra married Pylades.
  The Attic tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, have used the story of Electra very freely: the most perfect, however, is that in the "Electra" of Sophocles. When Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, after the murder of Agamemnon, intended to kill young Orestes also, Electra saved him by sending him under the protection of a slave to king Strophius at Phanote in Phocis, who had the boy educated together with his own son Pylades. Electra, in the meantime, was ever thinking on taking revenge upon the murderers of her father, and when Orestes had grown up to manhood, she sent secret messages to him to remind him of his duty to avenge his father. At length, Orestes came with Pylades to Argos. A lock of hair which he had placed on the grave of his father, was a sign to Electra that her brother was near. Orestes soon after made himself known to her, and informed her that he was commanded by Apollo to avenge the death of his father. Both lamented their misfortunes, and Electra urged him to carry his design into effect. Orestes then agreed with her that lie and Pylades should go into the house of Clytaemnestra, as strangers from Phocis, and tell her that Orestes was dead. This was done accordingly, and Acgisthus and Clytaemnestra fell by the hand of Orestes, who gave Electra in marriage to his friend Pylades (Comp. Aeschyl. Eumenides, and Euripides, Orestes). She became by him the mother of Medon and Strophius. Her tomb was shewn in later times at Mycenae (Paus. ii. 16.5).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Electra (Elektra). One of the daughters of Agamemnon. Upon the murder of her father, after his return from Electra. Troy, Electra rescued her brother Orestes, then quite young, from the fury of Aegisthus, by despatching him to the court of her uncle Strophius, king of Phocis. There Orestes formed the well-known attachment for his cousin Pylades, which, in the end, led to the marriage of Electra with that prince. According to one account, Electra had previously been compelled, by Aegisthus, to become the wife of a Mycenean rustic, who, having regarded her merely as a sacred trust confided to him by the gods, restored her to Orestes on the return of that prince to Mycenae and on his accession to the throne of his ancestors. Electra became, by Pylades, the mother of two sons, Strophius and Medon. Her story has formed the basis of three extant plays, the Choephori of Aeschylus, and the Electra of Sophocles and Euripides.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Electra, Euripides' tragedies

Editor’s Information:
About Electra, Euripides wrote the homonymous tragedy, of which the e-text(s) is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings.


Chrysothemis

A daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra (Il. 9.145, 287).


Heroes

Copreus

He was the son of Pelops from Elis, father of Periphetes and messenger of Eurystheus (Il. 15.639 etc.).


Copreus (Kopreus),a son of Pelops and father of Periphetes. After having murdered Iphitus, he fled from Elis to Mycenae, where he was purified by Eurystheus, who employed him to inform Heracles of the labours he had to perform. (Hom. Il. xv. 639; Apollod. i. 5.1.) Euripides in his " Heracleidae" makes him the herald of Eurvstheus.


Thestor

Father of the soothsayer Calchas (Il. 1.69).


Thestor. A son of Idmon and Laothoe (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 139), though some ancients declare that Idmon (the knowing) was only a surname of Thestor. He was the father of Calchas, Theoclymenus, Leucippe, and Theonoe. (Hom. Il. i. 69; Hygin. Fab. 128.) His daughter Theonoe was carried off by pirates, and sold to king Icarus in Caria. Thestor, who went out in search of her, suffered shipwreck, and was taken as a prisoner to Caria. His other daughter Leucippe then consulted the Delphic oracle about her absent father and sister, and was directed to travel through all countries in the attire of a priest of Apollo. In this manner she came to Caria, where her own sister fell in love with her, and as the love was not returned, Theonoe ordered her to be killed. Thestor received the order to kill her, but when he was on the point of executing it, he recognised his children, and with presents from Icarus Thestor with his daughters returned home. (Hygin. Fab. 190.)


Ptolemaeus

The son of Peiraeus and father of the charioteer of Agamemnon Eurymedon (Il. 4.228).


Talthybius, Talthybios

Talthybius (Talthubios), The herald of Agumenmon at Troy. (Hom. Il. i. 320; Ov. Her. iii. 9.) He was worshipped as a hero at Sparta and Argos, where sacrifices also were offered to him. (Paus. iii. 12.6, vii. 23, in fin.; Herod. vii. 134.)


Seers

Calchas

He was a soothsayer (Il. 1.69, 2.300, 13.45), whom Agamemnon persuaded to follow him in Troy. Calchas foresaw that the Achaeans would not seize Troy, unless Achilles fought on their side and they took the bow of Heracles with them. He died of sorrow because he was defeated by Mopsus in a divination contest at Colophon.


Calchas (Kalchas), a son of Thestor of Mycenae or Megara, was the wisest soothsayer among the Greeks at Troy (Hom. Il. i. 69, xiii. 70). He foretold the Greeks the duration of the Trojan war, even before they sailed from Aulis, and while they were engaged in the war he explained to them the cause of the anger of Apollo (Il. ii. 322; Ov. Met. xii. 19; Hygin. Fab. 97; Pans. i. 43.1). An oracle had declared that Calchas should die if he should meet with a soothsayer superior to himself; and this came to pass at Claros, for Calchas met the famous soothsayer Mopsus in the grove of the Clarian Apollo, and was defeated by him in not being able to state the number of figs on a wild fig-tree, or the number of pigs which a sow was going to give birth to--things which Mopsus told with perfect accuracy. Hereupon, Calchas is said to have died with grief (Strab. xiv.; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 427, 980.) Another story about his death runs thus: a soothsayer saw Calchas planting some vines in the grove of Apollo near Grynium, and foretold him that he would never drink any of the wine produced by them. When the grapes had grown ripe and wine was made of them, Calchas invited the soothsayer among his other guests. Even at the moment when Calchas held the cup of wine in his hand, the soothsayer repeated his prophecy. This excited Calchas to such a fit of laughter, that he dropped the cup and choked (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vi. 72). A third tradition, lastly, states that, when Calchas disputed with Mopsus the administration of the oracle at Claros, he promised victory to Amphimachus, king of the Lycians, while Mopsus said that he would not be victorious. The latter prophecy was fulfilled; and Calchas, in his grief at this defeat, put an end to his life (Conon, Narrat. 6). Respecting the oracle of Calchas in Daunia, see Dict. of Ant. s. v. Oraculum.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Calchas (Kalchas). A celebrated soothsayer, son of Thestor. He had received from Apollo the knowledge of future events; and the Greeks, accordingly, on their departure for the Trojan War, nominated him their high-priest and prophet. Among the interpretations of events imputed to him, it is said that he predicted that Troy could not be taken without the aid of Achilles; and that, having observed a serpent, during a solemn sacrifice, glide from under an altar, ascend a tree, and devour nine young birds with their mother, and afterwards become itself changed into stone, he inferred that the siege of Troy would last ten years. He also foretold that the Grecian fleet, which was at that same time detained by contrary winds in the harbour of Aulis, would not be able to sail until Agamemnon should have sacrificed his own daughter Iphigenia. Calchas likewise advised Agamemnon, during the pestilence by which Apollo desolated the Grecian camp, to restore Chryseis to her father, as the only means of appeasing the god. He was consulted, indeed, on every affair of importance, and appears to have often determined, with Agamemnon and Odysseus, the import of the oracles which he expounded. His death is said to have happened as follows. After the taking of Troy, he accompanied Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus, to Colophon in Ionia. It had been predicted that he should not die until he found a prophet more skilful than himself: this he experienced in the person of Mopsus. He was unable to tell how many figs were on the branches of a certain fig-tree; and when Mopsus mentioned the exact number Calchas retired to the wood of Claros, sacred to Apollo, where he expired of grief and mortification. Calchas had the patronymic, Thestorides.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



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