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Listed 100 (total found 107) sub titles with search on: Homeric world for destination: "ARGOS Ancient city ARGOLIS".

Homeric world (107)


Greece in Homer

Homer mentions Phthia by the name "Hellas" (Od. 4.726 & 816), while he refers to Greece by the name "Hellas and mid-Argos" (Od. 1.344).

"Phemios," she cried,(Penelope), "you know many another feat of gods and heroes, such as poets love to celebrate. Sing the suitors some one of these, and let them drink their wine in silence, but cease this sad tale, for it breaks my sorrowful heart, and reminds me of my lost husband for whom I have grief [penthos] ever without ceasing, and whose name [kleos] was great over all Hellas and middle Argos." (Hom. Od. 1.337-344)
  This passage has been recently discussed by Mr. Bury B. in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. xv. pp. 217-238, with especial reference to the words an' Hellada kai meson Argos. These words are generally understood as a poetical or traditional periphrasis for the whole of Greece, -Hellas (a part of Thessaly) representing the north and Argos the Peloponnesus. Mr. Bury points out that, if this is so, the offer here made by Menelaus is a strange one. Telemachus has just entreated to be allowed to return home at once. How could Menelaus, who has himself been dwelling on the duty of speeding the parting guest, suddenly propose to be his companion on so long a tour? In seeking for a solution of this difficulty, Mr. Bury is led to examine afresh the old question (Thuc.1. 3) of the different uses of the names Hellas and Hellenes. Among other results he arrives at the conclusion that, just as in the Iliad the names Hellas and Achaioi are closely associated in Thessaly, so the name Hellas at a somewhat later time was applied to the 'Achaia' of history, the north coastland of the Poloponnesus. If then this is the sense of the term in the passage before us, Menelaus does not invite Telemachus to go with him all over Greece, but only to make a detour through Argolis and Achaia--countries then under the dominion of the Atridae.
  It is impossible here to discuss Mr. Bury's history of the name Hellas: but a word may be said regarding its application to the Odyssey. In the first place, the difficulty with which he begins is surely not insuperable. Granting that Telemachus was not likely to accept the invitation, it may be that ancient manners required some such speech from the host -the muthoi aganoi promised by Pisistratus (l. 53). And the main purpose of Telemachus, the quest of news of his father, though not again mentioned here, must be supposed present to the minds of both. Moreover, the difficulty is not one that is very much diminished by Mr. Bury's interpretation. For surely it lies (poetically at least) not so much in the length of the proposed journey as in the fact of such an expedition being proposed at that moment. Again, the phrase an' Hellada kai meson Argos is (or became) a piece of Epic commonplace. In Od.1. 344(=4. 726, 816) tou kleos euru kath' Hellada kai meson Argos it seems to mean Greece generally. Moreover, it is plainly a variation of the line Argos es hippoboton kai Achaiida kalligunaika, which is also of a traditional type. The meaning of these phrases no doubt changed with time and circumstances; but it must always have been wide and conventional. It is hard to believe that Menelaus would use them to describe a route which he particularly wished to represent as a definite and limited one.
  The phrase meson Argos is not to be pressed: cp. Il.6. 224 Argei messoi. There is nothing to connect it with a distinction between Argos in the narrower sense of the Argive plain and in the wider sense in which it includes a large part (if not the whole) of Peloponnesus.

Nations & tribes

Danaans, Danaoi, Danai

They were the inhabitants of the territory of Argos, but in Homer, this word, like the word "Argives", apllies to all the Greeks in general, who participated in the Trojan War (Il. 1.42, 56, Od. 11.559 etc.).

Danai (Danaoi). A name originally belonging to the Argives, as being, according to the common opinion, the subjects of Danaus. In consequence, however, of the warlike character of the race, and the high renown acquired by them, Homer uses the name Danai as a general appellation for the Greeks, when that of Hellenes was still confined to a narrower range.

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


Homer mentions that Achaeans dwelt in Argos (Il. 5.414).

Achaei (Achaioi), one of the four races into which the Hellenes are usually divided. In the heroic age they are found in that part of Thessaly in which Phthia and Hellas were situated, and also in the eastern part of Peloponnesus, more especially in Argos and Sparta. Argos was frequently called the Achaean Argos (Argos Achaiikon, Hom. Il. ix. 141) to distinguish it from the Pelasgian Argos in Thessaly; but Sparta is generally mentioned as the head-quarters of the Achaean race in Peloponnesus. Thessaly and Peloponnesus were thus the two chief abodes of this people; but there were various traditions respecting their origin, and a difference of opinion existed among the ancients, whether the Thessalian or the Peloponnesian Achaeans were the more ancient. They were usually represented as descendants of Achaeus, the son of Xuthus and Creusa, and consequently the brother of Ion and grandson of Hellen. Pausanias (vii. 1) related that Achaeus went back to Thessaly, and recovered the dominions of which his father, Xuthus, had been deprived; and then, in order to explain the existence of the Achaeans in Peloponnesus, he adds that Archander and Architeles, the sons of Achaeus, came back from Phthiotis to Argos, married the two daughters of Danaus, and acquired such influence at Argos and Sparta, that they called the people Achaeans after their father Achaeus. On the other hand, Strabo in one passage says, that Achaeus having fled from Attica, where his father Xuthus had settled, settled in Lacedaemon and gave to the inhabitants the name of Achaeans. In another passage, however, he relates, that Pelops brought with him into Peloponnesus the Phthiotan Achaeans, who settled in Laconia. It would be unprofitable to pursue further the variations in the legends; but we may safely believe that the Achaeans in Thessaly were more ancient than those in Peloponnesus, since all tradition points to Thessaly as the cradle of the Hellenic race. There is a totally different account, which represents the Achaeans as of Pelasgic origin. It is preserved by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (i. 17), who relates that Achaeus, Phthius, and Pelasgus were sons of Poseidon and Larissa; and that they migrated from Peloponnesus to Thessaly, where they divided the country into three parts, called after them Achaia, Phthiotis and Pelasgiotis. A modern writer is disposed to accept this tradition so far, as to assign a Pelasgic origin to the Achaeans, though he regards the Phthiotan Achaeans as more ancient than their brethren in the Peloponnesus.The only fact known in the earliest history of the people, which we can admit with certainty, is their existence as the predominant race in the south of Thessaly, and on the eastern side of Peloponnesus. They are represented by Homer as a brave and warlike people, and so distinguished were they that he usually calls the Greeks in general Achaeans or Panachaeans (Panachaioi Il. ii. 404, vii. 73, &c.). In the same manner Peloponnesus, and sometimes the whole of Greece, is called by the poet the Achaean land. (Achaiis gaia, Hom. Il. i. 254, Od. xiii. 249.) On the conquest of Peloponnesus by the Dorians, 80 years after the Trojan war, the Achaeans were driven out of Argos and Laconia, and those who remained behind were reduced to the condition of a conquered people. Most of the expelled Achaeans, led by Tisamenus, the son of Orestes, proceeded to the land on the northern coast of Peloponnesus, which was called simply Aegialus (Aigialos) or the Coast, and was inhabited by Ionians. The latter were defeated by the Achaeans and crossed over to Attica and Asia Minor, leaving their country to their conquerors, from whom it was henceforth called Achaia. (Strab. p. 383; Pans. vii. 1; Pol. ii. 41; comp. Herod. i. 145.) The further history of the Achaeans is given under Achaia. The Achaeans founded several colonies, of which the most celebrated were Croton and Sybaris.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Gods & demigods

Hera of Argos

Hera of Argos, and Athena of Alalkomene (Il. 4.8) .. "My own three favorite cities," answered Hera, "are Argos, Sparta, and Mycenae. (Il. 4.51)
Information about Hera is found at Heraeum , where the Sanctuary of the Godess


He was a son of Zeus by Alcmene (Il. 14.323, 18.118).

Hera delayed the birth of Heracles by guile, so that he did not rule over the people that dwelt round about, as Zeus had promised by oath the power to the son of Alcmene. On the other hand, Hera accelerated the birth of Eurystheus, so that he took the power and not Heracles (Il. 19.98-125).

Heracles undertook an expedition against Troy in order to take vengeance on Laomedon, who refused to reward him for the saviour of his daughter Hesione. He slew Laomedon and all his sons except Priam (Il. 20.145 etc., 5.642).

Heracles (Herakles), and in Latin Hercules, the most celebrated of all the heroes of antiquity. The traditions about him are not only the richest in substance, but also the most widely spread; for we find them not only in all the countries round the Mediterranean, but his wondrous deeds were known in the most distant countries of the ancient world. The difficulty of presenting a complete view of these traditions was felt even by the ancients (Diod. iv. 8); and in order to give a general survey, we must divide the subject, mentioning first the Greek legends and their gradual development, next the Roman legends, and lastly those of the East (Egypt, Phoenicia).
  The traditions about Heracles appear in their national purity down to the time of Herodotus; for although there may be some foreign ingredients, yet the whole character of the hero, his armour, his exploits, and the scenes of his action, are all essentially Greek. But the poets of the time of Herodotus and of the subsequent periods introduced considerable alterations, which were probably derived from the east or Egypt, for every nation of antiquity as well as of modern times had or has some traditions of heroes of superhuman strength and power. Now while in the earliest Greek legends Heracles is a purely human hero, as the conqueror of men and cities, he afterwards appears as the subduer of monstrous animals, and is connected in a variety of ways with astronomical phaenomena. According to Homer (Il. xviii. 118), Heracles was the son of Zeus by Alcmene of Thebes in Boeotia, and the favourite of his father (Il. xiv. 250, 323, xix. 98, Od. xi. 266, 620, xxi. 25, 36). His stepfather was Amphitryon (Il. v. 392, Od. xi. 269; Hes. Scut. Herc. 165). Amphitryon was the son of Alcaeus, the son of Perseus, and Alcmene was a grand-daughter of Perseus. Hence Heracles belonged to the family of Perseus. The story of his birth runs thus. Amphitryon, after having slain Electryon, was expelled from Argos, and went with his wife Alcmene to Thebes, where he was received and purified by his uncle Creon. Alcmene was yet a maiden, in accordance with a vow which Amphitryon had been obliged to make to Electryon, and Alcmene continued to refuse him the rights of a husband, until he should have avenged the death of her brothers on the Taphians. While Amphitryon was absent from Thebes, Zeus one night, to which he gave the duration of three other nights, visited Alcmene, and assuming the appearance of Amphitryon, and relating to her how her brothers had been avenged, he begot by her the hero Heracles, the great bulwark of gods and men (Respecting the various modifications of this story see Apollod. ii. 4.7; Hygin. Fab. 29; Hes. Scut. 3.5; Pind. Isth. vii. 5, Nem. x. 19; Schol. ad Hom. Od. xi. 266). The day on which Heracles was to be born, Zeus boasted of his becoming the father of a man who was to rule over the heroic race of Perseus. Hera prevailed upon him to confirm by an oath that the descendant of Perseus born that day should be the ruler. When this was done she hastened to Argos, and there caused the wife of Sthenelus to give birth to Eurystheus, whereas, by keeping away the Eileithyiae, she delayed the confinement of Alcmene, and thus robbed Heracles of the empire which Zeus had intended for him. Zeus was enraged at the imposition practised upon him, but could not violate his oath. Alcmene brought into the world two boys, Heracles, the son of Zeus, and Iphicles, the son of Amphitryon, who was one night younger than Heracles (Hom. Il. xix. 95; Hes. Scnt. 1--56, 80; Apollod. ii. 4). Zeus, in his desire not to leave Heracles the victim of Hera's jealousy, made her promise, that if Heracles executed twelve great works in the service of Eurystheus, he should become immortal (Diod. iv. 9). Respecting the place of his birth traditions did not agree; for although the majority of poets and mythographers relate that he was born at Thebes, Diodorus (iv. 10) says that Amphitryon was not expelled from Tiryns till after the birth of Heracles, and Euripides (Herc. Fur. 18) describes Argos as the native country of the hero.
  Nearly all the stories about the childhood and youth of Heracles, down to the time when he entered the service of Eurystheus, seem to be inventions of a later age: at least in the Homeric poems and in Hesiod we only find the general remarks that he grew strong in body and mind, that in the confidence in his own power he defied even the immortal gods, and wounded Hera and Ares, and that under the protection of Zeus and Athena he escaped the dangers which Hera prepared for him. But according to Pindar (Nem. i. 49), and other subsequent writers, Heracles was only a few months old when Hera sent two serpents into the apartment where Heracles and his brother Iphicles were sleeping, but the former killed the serpents with his own hands (Comp. Theocrit. xxiv.1; Apollod. ii. 4.8). Heracles was brought up at Thebes, but the detail of his infant life is again related with various modifications in the different traditions. It is said that Alcmene, from fear of Hera, exposed her son in a field near Thebes, hence called the field of Heracles; here he was found by Hera and Athena, and the former was prevailed upon by the latter to put him to her breast, and she then carried him back to his mother (Diod. iv. 9; Paus. ix. 25.2). Others said that Hermes carried the newly-born child to Olympus, and put him to the breast of Hera while she was asleep, but as she awoke, she pushed him away, and the milk thus spilled produced the Milky Way (Eratosth. Catast. 44; Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. in fin). As the hero grew up, he was instructed by Amphitryon in riding in a chariot, by Autolycus in wrestling, by Eurytus in archery, by Castor in fighting with heavy armour, and by Linus in singing and playing the lyre (See the different statements in Theocrit. xxiv. 114, 103, 108; Schol. ad Theocrit. xiii. 9, 56; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 49). Linus was killed by his pupil with the lyre, because he had censured him (Apollod. ii. 4.9; Diod. iii. 66; Aelian, V. H. iii. 32). Being charged with murder, IIeracles exculpated himself by saying that the deed was done in self-defence; and Amphitryon, in order to prevent similar occurrences, sent him to attend to his cattle. In this manner he spent his life till his eighteenth year. His height was four cubits, fire beamed from his eyes, and he never wearied in practising shooting and hurling his javelin. To this period of his life belongs the beautiful fable about Heracles before two roads, invented by the sophist Prodicus, which may be read in Xenoph. Mem. ii. 1, and Cic de Off. i. 32. Pindar (Isth. iv. 53) calls him small of stature, but of indomitable courage. His first great adventure, which happened while he was still watching the oxen of his father, is his fight against and victory over the lion of Cythaeron. This animal made great havoc among the flocks of Amphitryon and Thespius (or Thestius), king of Thespiae, and Heracles promised to deliver the country of the monster. Thespius, who had fifty daughters, rewarded Heracles by making him his guest so long as the chase lasted, and gave up his daughters to him, each for one night (Apollod. ii. 4.10; comp. Hygin. Fab. 162; Diod. iv. 29; Athen. xiii. p. 556). Heracles slew the lion, and henceforth wore its skin as his ordinary garment, and its mouth and head as his helmet; others related that the lion's skin of Heracles was taken from the Nemean lion. On his return to Thebes, he met the envoys of king Erginus of Orchomenos, who were going to fetch the annual tribute of one hundred oxen, which they had compelled the Thebans to pay. Heracles, in his patriotic indignation, cut off the noses and ears of the envoys, and thus sent them back to Erginus. The latter thereupon marched against Thebes; but Heracles, who received a suit of armour from Athena, defeated and killed the enemy, and compelled the Orchomenians to pay double the tribute which they had formerly received from the Thebans. In this battle against Erginus Heracles lost his father Amphitryon, though the tragedians make him survive the campaign (Apollod. ii. 4.11; Diod. iv. 10; Paus. ix. 37. 2; Theocrit. xvi. 105; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 41). According to some accounts, Erginus did not fall in the tattle, but coneluded peace with Heracles. But the gorious manner in which Heracles had delivered his country procured him immortal fame among the Thebans, and Creon rewarded him with the hand of his eldest daughter, Megara, by whom he became the father of several children, the number and names of whom are stated differently by the different writers (Apollod. ii. 4.11, 7.8; Hygin. Fab. 32; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 995; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 38; Schol. ad Pind. Isthm. iii. 104). The gods, on the other hand, made him presents of arms: Hermes gave him a sword, Apollo a bow and arrows, Hephaestus a golden coat of mail, and Athena a peplus, and he cut for himself a club in the neighbourhood of Nemea, while, according to others, the club was of brass, and the gift of Hephaestus (Apollon. Rhod. i. 1196; Diod. iv. 14). After the battle with the Minyans, Hera visited Heracles with madness, in which he killed his own children by Megara and two of Iphicles. In his grief he sentenced himself to exile, and went to Thestius, who purified him (Apollod. ii. 4.12). Other traditions place this madness at a later time, and relate the circumstances differently (Eurip. Herc. Fur. 1000; Paus. ix. 11.1; Hygin. Fab. 32; Schol. ad Pind. Isthm. iii. 104). He then consulted the oracle of Delphi as to where he should settle. The Pythia first called him by the name of Heracles--for hitherto his name had been Alcides or Alcaeus,--and ordered him to live at Tiryns, to serve Eurystheus for the space of twelve years, after which he should become immortal. Heracles accordingly went to Tiryns, and did as he was bid by Eurystheus.
  The accounts of the twelve labours of Heracles are found only in the later writers, for Homer and Hesiod do not mention them. Homer only knows that Heracles during his life on earth was exposed to infinite dangers and sufferings through the hatred of Hera, that he was subject to Eurystheus, who imposed upon him many and difficult tasks, but Homer mentions only one, viz. that he was ordered to bring Cerberus from the lower world (Il. viii. 363, xv. 639, Od. xi. 617). The Iliad further alludes to his fight with a seamonster, and his expedition to Troy, to fetch the horses which Laomedon had refused him (v. 638, xx. 145). On his return from Troy, he was cast, through the influence of Hera, on the coast of Cos, but Zeus punished Hera, and carried Heracles safely to Argos (xiv. 249, xv 18). Afterwards Heracles made war against the Pylians, and destroyed the whole family of their king Neleus, with the exception of Nestor. He destroyed many towns, and carried off Astyoche from Ephyra, by whom he became the father of Tlepolemus (v. 395, ii. 657; comp. Od xxi. 14; Soph. Trach. 239). Hesiod mentions several of the feats of Heracles distinctly, but knows nothing of their number twelve. The selection of these twelve from the great number of feats ascribed to Heracles is probably the work of the Alexandrines. They are enumerated in Euripides (Here. Fur.), Apollodorus, Diodorus Siculus, and the Greek Anthology (ii. 651), though none of them can be considered to have arranged them in any thing like a chronological order.

...the twelve labours of Heracles... (see below). According to Apollodorus, Eurystheus originally required only ten, and commanded him to perform two more, because he was dissatisfied with two of them; but Diodorus represents twelve as the original number required. Along with these labours (athloi), the ancients relate a considerable number of other feats (parerga) which he performed without being commanded by Eurystheus; some of them are interwoven with the twelve Athloi, and others belong to a later period. Those of the former kind have already been noticed above; and we now proceed to mention the principal parerga of the second class. After the accomplishment of the twelve labours, and being released from the servitude of Eurystheus, he returned to Thebes. He there gave Megara in marriage to Iolaus; for, as he had lost the children whom he had by her, he looked upon his connection with her as displeasing to the gods (Paus. x. 29), and went to Oechalia. According to some traditions, Heracles, after his return from Hades, was seized with madness, in which he killed both Megara and her children. This madness was a calamity sent to him by Hera, because he had slain Lycus, king of Thebes, who, in the belief that Heracles would not return from Hades, had attempted to murder Megara and her children (Hygin. Fab. 32; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 38). Eurytus, king of Oechalia, an excellent archer, and the teacher of Heracles in his art, had promised his daughter Iole to the man who should excel him and his sons in using the bow. Heracles engaged in the contest with them, and succeeded, but Eurytus refused abiding by his promise, saying, that he would not give his daughter to a man who had murdered Ills own children. Iphitus, the son of Eurytus, endeavoured to persuade his father, but in vain. Soon after this the oxen of Eurytus were carried off, and it was suspected that Heracles was the offender. Iphitus again defended Heracles, went to him and requested his assistance in searching after the oxen. Heracles agreed; but when the two had arrived at Tiryns, Heracles, in a fit of madness, threw his friend down from the wall, and killed him. Deiphobus of Amyclae, indeed, purified Heracles from this murder, but he was, nevertheless, attacked by a severe illness. Heracles then repaired to Delphi to obtain a remedy, but the Pythia refused to answer his questions. A struggle between Heracles and Apollo ensued, and the combatants were not separated till Zeus sent a flash of lightning between them. Heracles now obtained the oracle that he should be restored to health, if he would sell himself, would serve three years for wages, and surrender his wages to Eurytus, as an atonement for the murder of Iphitus (Apollod. ii. 6.1, 2; Diod. iv. 31, &c.; Hom. Il. ii. 730, Od. xxi. 22, &c.; Soph. Trach. 273, &c.). Heracles was sold to Omphale, queen of Lydia, and widow of Tmolus. Late writers, especially the Roman poets, describe Heracles, during his stay with Omphale, as indulging at times in an effeminate life: he span wool, it is said, and sometimes lie put on the garments of a woman, while Omphale wore his lion's skin; but, according to Apollodorus and Diodorus, he nevertheless performed several great feats (Ov. Fast. ii. 305, Heroid. ix. 53; Senec. Hippol. 317, Herc. Fur. 464; Lucian, Dial. Deor. xiii. 2; Apollod. ii. 6. Β§ 3; Diod. iv. 31, &c.) Among these, we mention his chaining the Cercopes, his killing Syleus and his daughter in Aulis, his defeat of the plundering Idones, his killing a serpent on the river Sygaris, and his throwing the blood-thirsty Lytierses into the Maeander (Comp. Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 14; Schol. ad Theocrit. x. 41; Athen. x.). He further gave to the island of Doliche the name of Icaria, as he buried in it the body of Icarus, which had been washed on shore by the waves. He also undertook an expedition to Colchis, which brought him in connection with the Argonauts (Apollod. i. 9.16; Herod. vii. 193; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 1289; Anton. Lib. 26); he took part in the Calydonian hunt, and met Theseus on his landing from Troezene on the Corinthian isthmus. An expedition to India, which was mentioned in some traditions, may likewise be inserted in this place (Philostr. Vit. Apoll. iii. 4, 6; Arrian, Ind. 8, 9).
  When the period of his servitude and his illness had passed away, he undertook an expedition against Troy, with 18 ships and a band of heroes. On his landing, he entrusted the fleet to Oicles, and with his other companions made an attack upon the city. Laomedon in the mean time made an attack upon the ships, and slew Oicles, but was compelled to retreat into the city, where he was besieged. Telamon was the first who forced his way into the city, which roused the jealousy of Heracles to such a degree that lie determined to kill him; but Telamon quickly collected a heap of stones, and pretended that he was building an altar to Heracles kallinikos or alexikakos. This soothed the anger of the hero; and after the sons of Laomedon had fallen, Heracles gave to Telamon Hesione, as a reward for his bravery (Hom. Il. v. 641, &c., xiv. 251, xx. 145, &c.; Apollod. ii. 6.4; Diod. iv. 32, 49; Eurip. Troad. 802, &c.).
  On his return from Troy, Hera sent a storm to impede his voyage, which compelled him to land in the island of Cos. The Meropes, the inhabitants of the island, took him for a pirate, and received him with a shower of stones; but during the night he took possession of the island, and killed the king, Eurypylus. Heracles himself was wounded by Chalcodon, but was saved by Zeus. After he had ravaged Cos, he went, by the command of Athena, to Phlegra, and fought against the Gigantes (Apollod. ii. 7. Β§ 1; Hom. Il. xiv. 250, &c.; Pind. Nem. iv. 40). Respecting his fight against the giants, who were, according to an oracle, to be conquered by a mortal, see especially Eurip. Herc. Fur. 177, &c., 852, 1190, &c., 1272. Among the giants defeated by him we find mention of Alcyoneus, a name borne by two among them. (Pind. Nem. iv. 43, Isthm. vi. 47.)
  Soon after his return to Argos, Heracles marched against Augeas to chastise him for his breach of promise (see above), and then proceeded to Pylos, which he took, and killed Periclymenus, a son of Neleus. He then advanced against Lacedaemon, to punish the sons of Hippocoon, for having assisted Neleus and slain Oeonus, the son of Licymnius (Paus. iii. 15.2, ii. 18.6; Apollod. ii. 7.3; Diod. iv. 33). Heracles took Lacedaemon, and assigned the government of it to Tyndarens. On his return to Tegea, he became, by Auge, the father of Telephus, and then proceeded to Calydon, where he demanded Deianeira, the daughter of Oeneus, for his wife. The adventures which now follow are of minor importance, such as the expedition against the Dryopians, and the assistance he gave to Aegimius, king of the Dorians, against the Lapithae; but as these events led to his catastrophe, it is necessary to subjoin a sketch of them.
  Heracles had been married to Deianeira for nearly three years, when, at a repast in the house of Oeneus, he killed, by an accident, the boy Eunomus, the son of Architeles. The father of the boy pardoned the murder, as it had not been committed intentionally; but Heracles, in accordance with the law, went into exile with his wife Deianeira. On their road they came to the river Euenus, across which the centaur Nessus used to carry travellers for a small sum of money. Heracles himself forded the river, and gave Deianeira to Nessus to carry her across. Nessus attempted to outrage her: Heracles heard her screaming, and as the centaur brought her to the other side, Heracles shot an arrow into his heart. The dying centaur called out to Deianeira to take his blood with her, as it was a sure means for preserving the love of her husband (Apollod. ii. 7.6; Diod. iv. 36; Soph. Trach. 555, &c.; Ov. Met. ix. 201, &c.; Senec. Herc. Oct. 496, &c.; Paus. x. 38.1). From the river Euenus, Heracles now proceeded through the country of the Dryopes, where he showed himself worthy of the epithet "the voracious", which is so often given to him, especially bv late writers, for in his hunger he took one of the oxen of Theiodamas, and consumed it all. At last he arrived in Trachis, where he was kindly received by Ceyx, and conquered the Dryopes. He then assisted Aegimius, king of the Dorians, against the Lapithae, and without accepting a portion of the country which was offered to him as a reward. Laogoras, the king of the Dryopes, and his children, were slain. As Heracles proceeded to Iton, in Thessaly, he was challenged to single combat by Cycnus, a son of Ares and Pelopia (Hesiod. Scut. Her. 58, &c.); but Cycnus was slain. King Amyntor of Ormenion refused to allow Heracles to pass through his dominions, but had to pay for his presumption with his life (Apollod. ii. 7.7; Diod. iv. 36, &c.).
  Heracles now returned to Trachis, and there collected an army to take vengeance on Eurytus of Oechalia. Apollodorus and Diodorus agree in making Heracles spend the last years of his life at Trachis, but Sophocles represents the matter in a very different light, for, according to him, Heracles was absent from Trachis upwards of fifteen months without Deianeira knowing where he was. During that period he was staying with Omphale in Lydia; and without returning home, he proceeded from Lydia at once to Oechalia, to gain possession of Iole, whom he loved (Soph. Track. 44, &c.; 248, &c., 351, &c.) With the assistance of his allies, Heracles took the town of Oechalia, and slew Eurytus and his sons, but carried his daughter Iole with him as a prisoner. On his return home he landed at Cenaeum, a promontory of Euboea, and erected an altar to Zeus Cenaeus, and sent his companion, Lichas, to Trachis to fetch him a white garment, which he intended to use during the sacrifice. Deiancira, who heard from Lichas respecting Iole, began to fear lost she should supplant her in the affection of her husband, to prevent which she steeped the white garment he had demanded in the preparation she had made from the blood of Nessus. Scarcely had the garment become warm on the body of Heracles, when the poison which was contained in the ointment, and had come into it from the poisoned arrow with which Heracles had killed Nessus, penetrated into all parts of his body, and caused him the most fearful pains. Heracles seized Lichas by his feet, and threw him into the sea. He wrenched off his garment, but it stuck to his flesh, and with it he tore whole pieces from his body. In this state he was conveyed to Trachis. Deianeira, on seeing what she had unwittingly done, hung herself; and Heracles commanded Hyllus, his eldest son, by Deianeira, to marry Iole as soon as he should arrive at the age of manhood. He then ascended Mount Oeta, raised a pile of wood, ascended, and ordered it to be set on fire. No one ventured to obey him, until at length Poeas the shepherd, who passed by, was prevailed upon to comply with the desire of the suffering hero. When the pile was burning, a cloud came down from heaven, and amid peals of thunder carried him into Olympus, where he was honoured with immortality, became reconciled with Hera, and married her daughter Hebe, by whom he became the father of Alexiares and Anicetus (Hom. Od. xi. 600, &c.; Hes. Theog. 949, &c.; Soph. Trach. l. c., Philoct. 802; Apollod. ii. 7.7; Diod. iv. 38; Ov. Met. ix. 155, &c.; Herod. vii. 198; Conon, Narrat. 17; Paus. iii. 18.7; Pind. Nem. i. in fin., x. 31, &c., Isthm. iv. 55, &c.; Vir. Aen. viii. 300, and many other writers).
  The wives and children of Heracles are enumerated by Apollodorus (ii. 7.8), but we must refer the reader to the separate articles. We may, however, observe that among the very great number of his children, there are no daughters, and that Euripides is the only writer who mentions Macaria as a daughter of Heracles by Deianeira. We must also pass over the long series of his surnames, and proceed to give an account of his worship in Greece. Immediately after the apotheosis of Heracles, his friends who were present at the termination of his earthly career offered sacrifices to him as a hero; and Menoetius established at Opus the worship of Heracles as a hero. This example was followed by the Thebans, until at length Heracles was worshipped throughout Greece as a divinity (Diod. iv. 39; Eurip. Herc. Fur. 1331); but he, Dionysus and Pan, were regarded as the youngest gods, and his worship was practised in two ways, for he was worshipped both as a god and as a hero (Herod. ii. 44, 145). One of the most ancient temples of Heracles in Greece was that at Bura, in Achaia, where he had a peculiar oracle (Paus. vii. 25.6; Plut. de Malign. Herod. 31). In the neighbourhood of Thermopylae, where Athena, to please him, had called forth the hot spring, there was an altar of Heracles, surnamed melampugos (Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 1047; Herod. vii. 176); and it should be observed that hot springs in general were sacred to Heracles (Diod. v. 3; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. xii. 25; Liv. xxii. 1; Strab. pp. 60, 172, 425, 428). In Phocis he had a temple under the name of misolunes; and as at Rome, women were not allowed to take part in his worship, probably on account of his having been poisoned by Deianeira (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 57, de Pyth. Orac. 20; Macrob. Sat. i. 12). But temples and sanctuaries of Heracles existed in all parts of Greece, especially in those inhabited by the Dorians. The sacrifices offered to him consisted principally of bulls, boars, rams and lambs (Diod. iv. 39; Paus. ii. 10.1). Respecting the festivals celebrated in his honour, see Heracleia.
  The worship of Hercules at Rome and in Italy requires a separate consideration. His worship there is connected by late, especially Roman writers, with the hero's expedition to fetch the oxen of Geryones; and the principal points are, that Hercules in the West abolished human sacrifices among the Sabines, established the worship of fire, and slew Cacus, a robber, who had stolen eight of his oxen (Dionys. i. 14) The aborigines, and especially Evander, honoured the hero with divine worship. (Serv. ad Aen. viii. 51, 269.) Hercules, in return, feasted the people, and presented the king with lands, requesting that sacrifices should be offered to him every year, according to Greek rites. Two distinguished families, the Potitii and Pinarii, were instructed in these Greek rites, and appointed hereditary managers of the festival. But Hercules made a distinction between these two families, which continued to exist for a long time after; for, as Pinarius arrived too late at the repast, the god punished him by declaring that lie and his descendants should be excluded for ever from the sacrificial feast. Thus the custom arose for the Pinarii to act the part of servants at the feast. (Diod. iv. 21; Dionys. i. 39, &c.; Liv. i. 40, v. 34; Nepos, Hann. 3; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 18; Ov. Fast. i. 581). The Fabia gens traced its origin to Hercules, and Fauna and Acca Laurentia are called mistresses of Hercules. In this manner the Romans connected their earliest legends with Hercules (Macrob. Sat. i. 10; August. de Civ. Dei, vi. 7). It should be observed that in the Italian traditions the hero bore the name of Recaranus, and this Recaranus was afterwards identified with the Greek Heracles. He had two temples at Rome, one was a small round temple of Hercules Victor, or Hercules Triumphalis, between the river and the Circus Maximus, in the forum boarium, and contained a statue, which was dressed in the triumphal robes whenever a general celebrated a triumph. In front of this statue was the ara maxima, on which, after a triumph, the tenth of the booty was deposited for distribution among the citizens (Liv. x. 23; Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 7, 16; Macrob. Sat. iii. 6; Tacit. Ann. xii. 24; Serv. ad Aen. xii. 24; Athen. v. 65; comp. Dionys. i. 40). The second temple stood near the porta trigemina, and contained a bronze statue and the altar on which Hercules himself was believed to have once offered a sacrifice (Dionys. i. 39, 40; Plut. Quaest. Rom. 60; Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 12, 45). Here the city praetor offered every year a young cow, which was consumed by the people within the sanctuary. The Roman Hercules was regarded as the giver of health (Lydus, de Mens. p. 92), and his priests were called by a Sabine name Cupenci (Serv. ad Aen. xii. 539). At Rome he was further connected with the Muses, whence he is called Musagetes, and was represented with a lyre, of which there is no trace in Greece. The identity of the Italian with the Greek Heracles is attested not only by the resenmblalce in the traditions and the mode of worship, but by the distinct belief of the Romans themselves. The Greek colonies had introduced his worship into Italy, and it was thence carried to Rome, into Gaul, Spain, arid even Germany (Tac. Germ. 2). But it is, nevertheless, in the highest degree probable that the Greek mythus was engrafted upon, or supplied the place of that about the Italian Recaranus or Garanus.
  The works of art in which Heracles was represented were extremely numerous, and of the greatest variety, for he was represented at all the various stages of his life, from the cradle to his death; but whether he appears as a child, a youth, a struggling hero, or as the immortal inhabitant of Olympus, his character is always that of heroic strength and energy. Specimens of every kind are still extant. In the works of the archaic style he appeared as a man with heavy armour (Paus. iii. 15.7), but he is usually represented armed with a club, a Scythian bow, and a lion's skin. His head and eyes are small in proportion to the other parts of his body; his hair is short, bristly, and curly, his neck short, fat, and resembling that of a bull; the lower part of his forehead projects, and his expression is grave and serious; his shoulders, arms, breast, and legs display the highest physical strength, and the strong muscles suggest the unceasing and extraordinary exertions by which his life is characterised. The representations of Heracles by Myron and Parrhasius approached nearest to the ideal which was at length produced by Lysippus. The socalled Farnesian Heracles, of which the torso still exists, is the work of Glycon, in imitation of one by Lysippus. It is the finest representation of the hero that has come down to us: he is resting, leaning on his right arm, while the left one is reclining on his head, and the whole figure is a most exquisite combination of peculiar softness with the greatest strength.
The mythus of Heracles, as it has come down to us, has unquestionably been developed on Grecian soil; his name is Greek, and the substance of the fables also is of genuine Greek growth: the foreign additions which at a later age may have been incorporated with the Greek mythus can easily be recognised and separated from it. It is further clear that real historical elements are interwoven with the fables. The best treatises on the mythus of Heracles are those of Buttmann (Mythologus), and C. O. Muller (Dorians), both of whom regard the hero as a purely Greek character, though the former considers him as entirely a poetical creation, and the latter believes that the whole mythus arose from the proud consciousness of power which is innate in every man, by means of which he is able to raise himself to an equality with the immortal gods, notwithstanding all the obstacles that may be placed in his way.
  Before we conclude, we must add a few remarks respecting the Heracles of the East, and of the Celtic and Germanic nations. The ancients themselves expressly mention several heroes of the name of Heracles, who occur among the principal nations of the ancient world. Diodorus, e.g. (iii. 73, comp. i. 24, v. 64, 76) speaks of three, the most ancient of whom was the Egyptian, a son f Zeus, the second a Cretan, and one of the Idacan Dactyls, and the third or youngest was Heracles the son of Zeus by Alcmena, who lived shortly before the Trojan war, and to whom the feats of the earlier ones were ascribed. Cicero (de Nat. Deor. iii. 16) counts six heroes of this name, and he likewise makes the last and youngest the son of Zeus and Alcmena. Varro (ap. Serv. ad Aen. viii. 564) is said to have reckoned up forty-four heroes of this name, while Servius assumes only four, viz. the Tirynthian, the Argive, the Theban, and the Libyan Heracles. Herodotus (ii. 42, &c.) tells us that he made inquiries respecting Heracles: the Egyptian he found to be decidedly older than the Greek one; but the Egyptians referred him to Phoenicia as the original source of the traditions. The Egyptian Heracles, who is mentioned by many other writers besides Herodotus and Diodorus, is said to have been called by his Egyptian name Som or Dsom, or, according to others, Chon (Etym. M. s. v. Chon), and, according to Pausanias (x. 17.2), Maceris. According to Diodorus (i. 24), Som was a son of Amon (Zeus); but Cicero calls him a son of Nilus, while, according to Ptolemaeus Hephaestion, Heracles himself was originally called Nilus. This Egyptian Heracles was placed by the Egyptians in the second of the series of the evolutions of their gods (Diod. l. c.; Herod. ii. 43, 145, iii. 73; Tac. Ann. ii. 6). The Thebans placed him 17,000 years before king Amasis, and, according to Diodorus, 10,000 years before the Trojan war; whereas Macrobius (Sat. i. 20) states that he had no beginning at all. The Greek Heracles, according to Diodorus, became the heir of all the feats and exploits of his elder Egyptian namesake. The 'Egyptian Heracles, however, is also mentioned in the second classof the kings; so that the original divinity, by a process of anthropomorphism, appears as a man, and in this capacity he bears great resemblance to the Greek hero (Diod. i. 17, 24, iii. 73). This may, indeed, be a mere reflex of the Greek traditions, but the statement that Osiris, previous to his great expedition, entrusted Heracles with the government of Egypt, seems to be a genuine Egyptian legend. The other stories related about the Egyptian Heracles are of a mysterious nature, and unintelligible, but the great veneration in which he was held is attested by several authorities (Herod. ii. 113; Diod. v. 76; Tac. Ann. ii. 60; Macrob. Sat. i. 20).
  Further traces of the worship of Heracles appear in Thasus, where Herodotus (ii. 44) found a temple, said to have been built by the Phoenicians sent out in search of Europa, five generations previous to the time of the Greek Heracles. He was worshipped there principally in the character of a saviour (soter, Paus. v. 25.7, vi. 11.2).
  The Cretan Heracles, one of the Idaean Dactyls, was believed to have founded the temple of Zeus at Olympia (Paus. v. 13.5), but to have originally come from Egypt (Diod. iv. 18). The traditions about him resemble those of the Greek Heracles (Diod. v. 76; Paus. ix. 27.5); but it is said that he lived at a much earlier period than the Greek hero, and that the latter only imitated him. Eusebius states that his name was Diodas, and Hieronymus makes it Desanaus. He was worshipped with funeral sacrifices, and was regarded as a magician, like other ancient daemones of Crete (Cic. de Nat. Deor. iii. 16; Diod. v. 64).
  In India, also, we find a Heracles, who was called by the unintelligible name Dirsaner (Plin. H. N. vi. 16, 22; Hesych. s.v. Dorsaner). The later Greeks believed that he was their own hero, who had visited India, and related that in India he became the father of many sons and daughters by Pandaea, and the ancestral hero of the Indian kings (Arrian, Ind. 8, 9; Diod. ii. 39, xvii. 85, 96; Philostr. Vit. Apoll. iii. 46)
  The Phoenician Heracles, whom the Egyptians considered to be more ancient than their own, was probably identical with the Egyptian or Libyan Heracles. See the learned disquisition in Movers (Die Phoenicier, p. 415, &c.) He was worshipped in all the Phoenician colonies, such as Carthage and Gades, down to the time of Constantine, and it is said that children were sacrificed to him (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5).
  The Celtic and Germanic Heracles has already been noticed above, as the founder of Alesia, Nemausus, and the author of the Celtic race. We become acquainted with him in the accounts of the expedition of the Greek Heracles to Geryones (Herod. i. 7, ii. 45, 91, 113, iv. 82; Pind. Ol. iii. 11, &c.; Tacit. Germ. 3, 9). We must either suppose that the Greek Heracles was identified with native heroes of those northern countries, or that the notions about Heracles had been introduced there from the East.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Heracles (Herakles: Latin, Hercules). Heracles is not only one of the oldest heroes in the Greek mythology, but the most famous of all. Indeed, the traditions of similar heroes in other Greek tribes, and in other nations, especially in the East, were transferred to Heracles; so that the scene of his achievements, which is, in the Homeric poems, confined on the whole to Greece, became almost coextensive with the known world; and the story of Heracles was the richest and most comprehensive of all the heroic myths.
    Heracles was born in Thebes, and was the son of Zeus by Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon, whose form the god assumed while he was absent in the war against the Teleboi. On the day which he should have been born, Zeus announced to the gods that a descendant of Perseus was about to see the light, who would hold sway over all the Perseidae. Here cunningly induced her consort to confirm his words with an oath. She hated the unborn son as the son of her rival, and hence in her capacity as the goddess of childbirth caused the queen of Sthenelus of Mycenae, a descendant of Perseus, to give birth prematurely to Eurystheus, while she postponed the birth of Heracles for seven days. Hence it was that Heracles, with his gigantic strength, came into the service of the weaker Eurystheus. Here pursued him with her hatred during the whole of his natural life. He and his twin brother Iphicles, the son of Amphitryon, were hardly born, when the goddess sent two serpents to their cradle to destroy them. Heracles seized them and strangled them. The child grew up to be a strong youth, and was taught by Amphitryon to drive a chariot, by Autolycus to wrestle, by Eurytus to shoot with the bow, and by Castor to use the weapons of war. Chiron instructed him in the sciences, Rhadamanthus in virtue and wisdom, Eumolpus (or according to another account, Linus) in music. When Linus attempted to chastise him, Heracles struck him dead with his lute. Amphitryon, accordingly, alarmed at his untamable temper, sent him to tend his flocks on Mount Cithaeron.
    It was at this time, according to the Sophist Prodicus, that the event occurred which occasioned the fable of the "Choice of Heracles". Heracles was meditating in solitude as to the path of life which he should choose, when two tall women appeared before him--the one called Pleasure, the other called Virtue. Pleasure promised him a life of enjoyment, Virtue a life of toil crowned by glory. He decided for Virtue. After destroying the savage lion of Cithaeron, he returned, in his eighteenth year, to Thebes, and freed the city from the tribute which it had been forced to pay to Erginus of Orchomenus, whose heralds he deprived of their ears and noses. Creon, king of Thebes, gave him, in gratitude, his daughter Megara as wife. But it was not long before the Delphic oracle commanded him to enter the service of Eurystheus, king of Mycenae and Tiryns, and perform twelve tasks which he should impose upon him. This was the humiliation which Here had in store for him. The oracle promised him, at the same time, that he should win eternal glory, and in deed immortality, and change his present name Alcaeus (from his paternal grandfather) or Alcides (from alke, "strength") for Heracles ("renowned through Here"). Nevertheless, he fell into a fit of madness, in which he shot down the three children whom Megara had borne him. When healed of his insanity, he entered into the service of Eurystheus.
    The older story says nothing of the exact number (twelve) of the labours (athloi) of Heracles. The number was apparently invented by the poet Pisander of Rhodes, who may have had in his eye the contests of the Phoenician god Melkart with the twelve hostile beasts of the Zodiac. It was also Pisander who first armed the hero with the club, and the skin taken from the lion of Cithaeron or Nemea. Heracles was previously represented as carrying bow and arrows, and the weapons of a Homeric hero.
    The twelve labours of Heracles were as follows: (1) The contest with the invulnerable lion of Nemea, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Heracles drove it into its cavern and strangled it in his arms. With the impenetrable hide, on which nothing could make any impression but the beast's own claws, he clothed himself, the jaws covering his head. (2) The hydra or water-snake of Lerna, also a child of Typhon and Echidna. This monster lived in the marsh of Lerna, near Argos, and was so poisonous that its very breath was fatal. It had nine heads, one of which was immortal. Heracles scared it out of its lair with burning arrows, and cut off its head; but for every head cut off two new ones arose. At length Iolaus, the charioteer of Heracles and son of his brother Iphicles, seared the wounds with burning brands. Upon the immortal head he laid a heavy mass of rock. He anointed his arrows with the monster's gall, so that henceforth the wounds they inflicted were incurable. Eurystheus refused to accept this as a genuine victory, alleging the assistance offered by Iolaus. (3) The boar of Erymanthus, which infested Arcadia. Heracles had been commanded to bring it alive to Mycenae, so he chased it into an expanse of snow, tired it out, and caught it in a noose. The mere sight of the beast threw Eurystheus into such a panic that he slunk away into a tub underground and bid the hero, in future, to show the proof of his achievements outside the city gates. (4) The hind of Mount Cerynea, between Arcadia and Achaia. Another account localizes the event on Mount Maenalus, and speaks of the Maenalian hind. Its horns were of gold and its hoofs of brass, and it had been dedicated to Artemis by the Pleiad Taygete. Heracles was to take the hind alive. He followed her for a whole year up to the source of the Ister in the country of the Hyperboreans. At length she returned to Arcadia, where he wounded her with an arrow on the banks of the Ladon, and so caught her. (5) The birds that infested the lake of Stymphalus, in Arcadia. These were man-eating monsters, with claws, wings, and beaks of brass, and feathers that they shot out like arrows. Heracles scared them with a brazen rattle, and succeeded in killing part, and driving away the rest, which settled on the island of Aretias in the Black Sea, to be frightened away, after a hard fight, by the Argonauts. (6) Heracles was commanded to bring home for Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus, the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. After many adventures he landed at Themiscyra, and found the queen ready to give up the girdle of her own accord. But Here spread a rumour among the Amazons that their queen was in danger, and a fierce battle took place, in which Heracles slew Hippolyte and many of her followers. On his return he slew, in the neighbourhood of Troy, a sea-monster, to whose fury King Laomedon had offered up his daughter Hesione. Laomedon refused to give Heracles the reward he had promised, whereupon the latter, who was hastening to return to Mycenae, threatened him with future vengeance. (7) The farm-yard of Augeas, king of Elis, in which lay the dung of three thousand cattle, was to be cleared in a day. Heracles completed the task by turning the rivers Alpheus and Peneus into the yard. Augeas now contended that Heracles was only acting on the commission of Eurystheus, and on this pretext refused him his promised reward. Heracles slew him afterwards with all his sons, and thereupon founded the Olympian Games. (8) A mad bull had been sent up from the sea by Poseidon to ravage the island of Crete, in revenge for the disobedience of Minos. Heracles was to bring him to Mycenae alive. He caught the bull, crossed the sea on his back, threw him over his neck and carried him to Mycenae, where he let him go. The animal wandered all through the Peloponnesus and ended by infesting the neighbourhood of Marathon, where he was at length slain by Theseus. (9) Diomedes, a son of Ares, and king of the Bistones in Thrace, had some mares which he used to feed on the flesh of the strangers landing in the country. After a severe struggle, Heracles overcame the king, threw his body to the mares, and took them off to Mycenae, where Eurystheus let them go. (10) The oxen of Geryones, the son of Chrysaor and the ocean nymph Callirrhoe. Geryones was a giant with three bodies and mighty wings, who dwelt on the island of Erythea, in the farthest West, on the borders of the Ocean stream. He had a herd of red cattle, which were watched by the shepherd Eurytion and his two-headed dog Orthrus, the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. In quest of these cattle, Heracles, with many adventures, passed through Europe and Libya. On the boundary of both continents he set up, in memory of his arrival, the two pillars which bear his name, and at length reached the Ocean stream. Oppressed by the rays of the neighbouring sun, he aimed his bow at the Sungod, who marvelled at his courage, and gave him his golden bowl to cross the Ocean in. Arrived at Erythea, Heracles slew the shepherd and his dog, and drove off the cattle. Menoetius, who tended the herds of Hades in the neigbourhood, brought news to Geryones of what had happened. Geryones hurried in pursuit, but after a fierce contest fell before the arrows of Heracles. The hero returned with the cattle through Iberia, Gaul, Liguria, Italy, and Sicily, meeting everywhere with new adventures, and leaving behind him tokens of his presence. At the mouth of the Rhone he had a dreadful struggle with the Ligyes; his arrows were exhausted, and he had sunk in weariness upon his knee, when Zeus rained a shower of innumerable stones from heaven, with which he prevailed over his enemies. The place was ever after a stony desert plain, and was identified with the Campus Lapidosus near Massilia (Marseilles). Heracles had made the circuit of the Adriatic and was just nearing Greece, when Here sent a gadfly and scattered the herd. With much toil he wandered through the mountains of Thrace as far as the Hellespont, but then only succeeded in getting together a part of the cattle. After a dangerous adventure with the giant Alcyoneus, he succeeded at length in returning to Mycenae, where Eurystheus offered up the cattle to Here. (11) The golden apples of the Hesperides. Heracles was ignorant where the gardens of the Hesperides were to be found in which the apples grew. He accordingly repaired to the nymphs who dwelt by the Eridanus, on whose counsel he surprised Nereus, the omniscient god of the sea, and compelled him to give an answer. On this he journeyed through Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia, where he slew Antaeus, Busiris, and Emathion. He then crossed to Asia, passed through the Caucasus, where he set Prometheus free, and on through the land of the Hyperboreans till he found Atlas. Following the counsel of Prometheus, he sent Atlas to bring the apples, and in his absence bore the heavens for him on his shoulders. Atlas returned with them, but declined to take his burden upon his shoulders again, promising to carry the apples to Eurystheus himself. Heracles consented, and asked Atlas to take the burden only a moment, while he adjusted a cushion for his head; he then hurried off with his prize. Another account represents Heracles as slaying the serpent Ladon, who guarded the tree, and plucking the apples himself. Eurystheus presented him with the apples; he dedicated them to Athene, who restored them to their place. (12) Last he brought the dog Cerberus up from the lower world. This was the heaviest task of all. Conducted by Hermes and Athene, he descended into Hades at the promontory of Taenarum. In Hades he set Theseus free, and induced the prince of the infernal regions to let him take the dog to the realms of day, if only he could do so without using his weapons. Heracles bound the beast by the mere strength of arm, and carried him to Eurystheus, and took him back again into Hades. While in the upper world the dog, in his disgust, spat upon the ground, causing the poisonous herb aconite to spring up.
    His tasks were now ended, and he returned to Thebes. His first wife, Megara, he wedded to his faithful friend Iolaus, and then journeyed into Oechalia to King Eurytus, whose daughter Iole he meant to woo. The king's son Iphitus favoured his suit, but Eurytus rejected it with contempt. Soon after this Autolycus stole some of Eurytus's cattle, and he accused Heracles of the robbery. Meanwhile, Heracles had rescued Alcestis, the wife of Admetus, from death. Iphitus met Heracles, begged him to help him in looking for the stolen cattle, and accompanied him to Tiryns. Here, after hospitably entertaining him, Heracles threw him, in a fit of madness, from the battlements of his stronghold. A heavy sickness was sent on him for this murder, and Heracles prayed to the god of Delphi to heal him. Apollo rejected him, whereupon Heracles attempted to carry away the tripod. A conflict ensued, when Zeus parted the combatants with his lightning. The oracle bade Heracles to hire himself out for three years for three talents, and pay the money to Eurytus. Hermes put him into the service of Omphale, queen of Lydia, daughter of Iardanus, and widow of Tmolus. Heracles was degraded to female drudgery, was clothed in soft raiment and set to spin wool, while the queen assumed the lion skin and the club. The time of service over, he undertook an expedition of vengeance against Laomedon of Troy. He landed on the coast of the Troad with eighteen ships, manned by the boldest of heroes, such as Telamon, Peleus, and Oicles. Laomedon succeeded in surprising the guard by the ships and in slaying Oicles. But the city was stormed, Telamon being the first to climb the wall, and Laomedon, with all his sons except Podarces, was slain by the arrows of Heracles. On his return Here sent a tempest upon him. On the island of Cos he had a hard conflict to undergo with Eurytion, the son of Poseidon, and his sons. Heracles was at first wounded and forced to fly, but prevailed at length with the help of Zeus.
    After this Athene summoned the hero to the battle of the gods with the giants, who were not to be vanquished without his aid. Then Heracles returned to the Peloponnesus, and took vengeance on Augeas and on Neleus of Pylos, who had refused to purify him for the murder of Iphitus. In the battle with the Pylians he went so far as to wound Hades, who had come up to their assistance. Hippocoon of Sparta and his numerous sons he slew in revenge for their murder of Oeonus, a son of his maternal uncle Licymnius. In this contest his ally was King Cepheus of Tegea, by whose sister Auge he was father of Telephus. Cepheus with his twenty sons were left dead on the field.
    Heracles now won as his wife Deianira, the daughter of Oeneus of Calydon. He remained a long time with his father-in-law, and at length, with his wife and his son Hyllus, he passed on into Trachis to the hospitality of his friend Ceyx. At the ford of the river Evenus he encountered the Centaur Nessus, who had the right of carrying travellers across. Nessus remained behind and attempted to do violence to Deianira, upon which Heracles shot him through with his poisoned arrows. The dying Centaur gave some of his infected blood to Deianira, telling her that, should her husband be unfaithful, it would be a means of restoring him. Heracles had a stubborn contest with Theodamas, the king of the Dryopes, killed him, and took his son Hylas away. He then reached Trachis, and was received with the friendliest welcome by King Ceyx. Next he started to fight with Cycnus, who had challenged him to single combat; and afterwards, at the request of Aegimius, prince of the Dorians, undertook a war against the Lapithae, and an expedition of revenge against Eurytus of Oechalia. He stormed the fortress, slew Eurytus with his sons, and carried off Iole, who had formerly been denied him, as his prisoner. He was about to offer a sacrifice to his father Zeus on Mount Cenaeum, when Deianira, jealous of Iole, sent him a robe stained with the blood of Nessus. It had hardly grown warm upon his body when the dreadful poison began to devour his flesh. Wild with anguish, he hurled Lichas, who brought him the robe, into the sea, where he was changed into a tall cliff. In the attempt to tear off the robe, he only tore off pieces of his flesh. Apollo bade him be carried to the top of Oeta, where he had a great funeral pyre built up for him. This he ascended; then he gave Iole to his son Hyllus to be his wife, and bade Poeas, the father of Philoctetes, to kindle the pyre. According to another story, it was Philoctetes himself, whom Heracles presented with his bow and poisoned arrows, who performed this office. The flames had hardly started up, when a cloud descended from the sky with thunder and lightning, and carried the son of Zeus up to heaven, where he was welcomed as one of the immortals. Here was reconciled to him, and he was wedded to her daughter Hebe, the goddess of eternal youth. Their children were Alexiares ("Averter of the Curse") and Anicetus ("the Invincible"), the names merely personifying two of the main qualities for which the hero was worshipped.
    About the end of Heracles nothing is said in the Iliad but that he, the best-loved of Zeus's sons, did not escape death, but was overcome by fate, and by the heavy wrath of Here. In the Odyssey his ghost, in form like black night, walks in the lower world with his bow bent and his arrows ready, while the hero himself dwells among the immortals, the husband of Hebe. For the lives of his children, and the end of Eurystheus, see Hyllus.
    Heracles was worshipped partly as a hero, to whom men brought the ordinary libations and offerings, and partly as an Olympian deity, an immortal among the immortals. Immediately after his apotheosis his friends offered sacrifice to him at the place of burning, and his worship spread from thence through all the tribes of Hellas. Diomus the son of Colyttus, an Athenian, is said to have been the first who paid him the honours of an immortal. It was he who founded the gymnasium called Cynosarges, near the city. This gymnasium, the sanctuary at Marathon, and the temple at Athens were the three most venerable shrines of Heracles in Attica. Diomus gave his name to the Diomeia, a merry festival held in Athens in honour of Heracles. Feasts to Heracles (Herakleia), with athletic contests, were celebrated in many places. He was the hero of labour and struggle, and the patron deity of the gymnasium and the palaestra. From early times he was regarded as having instituted the Olympic Games; as the founder of the Olympic sanctuaries and the Olympic truce, the planter of the shady groves, and the first competitor and victor in the contests. During his earthly life he had been a helper of gods and men, and had set the earth free from monsters and rascals. Accordingly he was invoked in all the perils of life as the saviour (soter) and the averter of evil (alexikakos). Men prayed for his protection against locusts, flies, and noxious serpents. He was a wanderer, and had travelled over the whole world; therefore he was called on as the guide on marches and journeys (hegemonios). In another character he was the glorious conqueror (kallinikos) who, after his toils are over, enjoys his rest with wine, feasting, and music. Indeed, the fable represents him as having, in his hours of repose, given as striking proofs of inexhaustible bodily power as in his struggles and contests. Men liked to think of him as an enormous eater, capable of devouring a whole ox; as a lusty boon companion, fond of delighting himself and others by playing the lyre. In Rome, as Hercules, he was coupled with the Muses, and, like Apollo elsewhere, was worshipped as Mousagetes (Hercules Musarum), or master of the Muses. After his labours he was supposed to have been fond of hot baths (thermai) which were accordingly deemed sacred to him. Among trees, the wild olive and white poplar were consecrated to him; the poplar he was believed to have brought from distant countries to Olympia.
    Owing to the influence of the Greek colonies in Italy, the worship of Heracles was widely diffused among the Italian tribes. It attached itself to local legends and religion; the conqueror of Cacus, for instance, was originally not Heracles, but a powerful shepherd called Garanos. Again, Heracles came to be identified with the ancient Italian deity Sancus or Dius Fidius, and was regarded as the god of happiness in home and field, industry and war, as well as of truth and honour. His altar was the Ara Maxima in the cattle-market (Forum Boarium), which he was believed to have erected himself. Here they dedicated to him a tithe of their gains in war and peace, ratified solemn treaties, and invoked his name to witness their oaths. He had many shrines and sacrifices in Rome, corresponding to his various titles, Victor (Conqueror), Invictus (Unconquered), Custos (Guardian), Defensor (Defender), and others. His rites were always performed in Greek fashion, with the head covered. It was in his temple that soldiers and gladiators were accustomed to hang up their arms when their service was over. In the stonequarries the labourers had their Hercules Saxarius (Hercules of the Stone). He was called the father of Latinus, the ancestor of the Latins, and to him the Roman gens of the Fabii traced their origin. The ancient family of the Potitii were said to have been commissioned by the god in person to provide, with the assistance of the Pinarii, for his sacrifices at the Ara Maxima. In B.C. 310 the Potitii gave the service into the hands of the servi publici. Before a year had passed [p. 794] the flourishing family had become completely extinct.
    In works of art Heracles is represented as the ideal of manly strength, with full, well knit, and muscular limbs, serious expression, a curling beard, short neck, and a head small in proportion to the limbs. His equipment is generally the club and the lion's skin. The type appears to have been mainly fixed by Lysippus. The Farnese Hercules, by the Athenian Glycon, is probably a copy of one by Lysippus. Heracles is portrayed in repose, leaning on his club, which is covered with the lion's skin. The Heracles of the Athenian Apollonius, now only a torso, is equally celebrated.

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

The Labors of Hercules

The goddess Hera, determined to make trouble for Hercules, made him lose his mind. In a confused and angry state, he killed his own wife and children.
When he awakened from his "temporary insanity," Hercules was shocked and upset by what he'd done. He prayed to the god Apollo for guidance, and the god's oracle told him he would have to serve Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae, for twelve years, in punishment for the murders.
As part of his sentence, Hercules had to perform twelve Labors, feats so difficult that they seemed impossible. Fortunately, Hercules had the help of Hermes and Athena, sympathetic deities who showed up when he really needed help. By the end of these Labors, Hercules was, without a doubt, Greece's greatest hero.
His struggles made Hercules the perfect embodiment of an idea the Greeks called pathos, the experience of virtuous struggle and suffering which would lead to fame and, in Hercules' case, immortality.
Labor 1: The Nemean Lion (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientNemea )
Labor 2: The Lernean Hydra (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientLerna )
Labor 3: The Hind of Ceryneia (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientCeryneia )
Labor 4: The Erymanthean Boar (see http://www.gtp.gr/ErymanthusMountain )
Labor 5: The Augean Stables (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientEphyra-Elis )
Labor 6: The Stymphalian Birds (see http://www.gtp.gr/StymphaliaLake )
Labor 7: The Cretan Bull (see http://www.gtp.gr/Cnossus )
Labor 8: The Horses of Diomedes (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientAbdera )
Labor 9: The Belt of Hippolyte (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientThemiscyra )
Labor 10: Geryon's Cattle (see http://www.gtp.gr/AncientErytheia )
Labor 11: The Apples of the Hesperides (see http://www.gtp.gr/HesperidesLand )
Labor 12: Cerberus (see http://www.gtp.gr/CapeTainaron )

This text is cited July 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Alcmene (Alkmene), a daughter of Electryon, king of Messene, by Anaxo, the daughter of Alcaeus (Apollod. ii. 4.5). According to other accounts her mother was called Lysidice (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. vii. 49; Plut. Thes. 7), or Eurydice (Diod. iv. 9). The poet Asius represented Alcmene as a daughter of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle (Paus. v. 17.4). Apollodorus mentions ten brothers of Alcmene, who, with the exception of one, Licymnius, fell in a contest with the sons of Pterelaus, who had carried off the cattle of Electryon. Electryon, on setting out to avenge the death of his sons, left his kingdom and his daughter Alcmene to Amphitryon, who, unintentionally, killed Electryon. Sthenelus thereupon expelled Amphitryon, who, together with Alcmene and Licymnius, went to Thebes. Alcmene declared that she would marry him who should avenge the death of her brothers. Amphitryon undertook the task, and invited Creon of Thebes to assist him.
  During his absence, Zeus, in the disguise of Amphitryon, visited Alcmene, and, pretending to be her husband, related to her in what way he had avenged the death of her brothers (Apollod. ii. 4.6--8; Ov. Amor. i. 13. 45; Diod. iv. 9; Hygin. Fab. 29; Lucian, Dialog. Deor. 10). When Amphitryon himself returned on the next day and wanted to give an account of his achievements, she was surprised at the repetition, but Teiresias solved the mystery. Alcmene became the mother of Heracles by Zeus, and of Iphicles by Amphitryon. Hera, jealous of Alcmene, delayed the birth of Heracles for seven days, that Eurystheus might be born first, and thus be entitled to greater rights, according to a vow of Zeus himself (Hom. Il. xix. 95; Ov. Met. ix. 273; Diod. l. c).   After the death of Amphitryon, Alcmene married Rhadamanthys, a son of Zeus, at Ocaleia in Boeotia (Apollod. ii. 4.11). After Heracles was raised to the rank of a god, Alcmene and his sons, in dread of Eurystheus fled to Trachis, and thence to Athens, and when Hyllus had cut off the head of Eurystheus, Alcmene satisfied her revenge by picking the eyes out of the head (Apollod. ii. 8.1).
  The accounts of her death are very discrepant. According to Pausanias (i. 41.1), she died in Megaris, on her way from Argos to Thebes, and as the sons of Heracles disagreed as to whether she was to be carried to Argos or to Thebes, she was buried in the place where she had died at the command of an oracle. According to Plutarch (De Gen. Socr. p. 578), her tomb and that of Rhadamanthys were at Haliartus in Boeotia, and hers was opened by Agesilaus, for the purpose of carrying her remains to Sparta. According to Pherecydes (Cap. Anton. Lib. 33), she lived with her sons, after the death of Eurystheus, at Thebes, and died there at an advanced age. When the sons of Heracles wished to bury her, Zeus sent Hermes to take her body away, and to carry it to the islands of the blessed, and give her in marriage there to Rhadamanthys. Hermes accordingly took her out of her coffin, and put into it a stone so heavy that the Heraclids could not move it from the spot. When, on opening the coffin, they found the stone, they erected it in a grove near Thebes, which in later times contained the sanctuary of Alcmene (Paus. ix. 16.4). At Athens, too, she was worshipped as a heroine, and an altar was erected to her in the temple of Heracles (Cynosarges, Paus. i. 19.3). She was represented on the chest of Cypselus (Paus. v. 1 8.1), and epic as swell as tragic poets made frequent use of her story, though no poem of the kind is now extant (Hes. Scut. Herc. init.; Paus. v. 17.4, 18.1).

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

Heracles & Megara

Megara was the daughter of the king of Thebes Creon and was the wife of Heracles (Od. 11.268).
(see ancient Thebes )

Heracles & Deianeira

Hercules married a second wife, Deianira, the daughter of king Oeneus of Calydon and Althaea (see more at ancient Calydon )

Deianeira, A daughter of Althaea by Oeneus, Dionysus, or Dexamenus (Apollod. i. 8.1; Hygin. Fab. 31, 33), and a sister of Meleager. When Meleager died, his sisters lamented his death at his grave; Artemis in her anger touched them with her staff, and changed them into birds, with the exception of Deianeira and Gorge, who were allowed, by the solicitation of Dionysus, to retain their human forms. (Antonin. Lib. 2.) Subsequently Achelous and Heracles, who both loved Deianeira, fought for the possession of her. She became the wife of Heracles, and afterwards unwittingly caused his death, whereupon she hung herself. (Apollod. ii. 7.5, 6.7; Diod. iv. 34)

Heracles & Hebe

After Heracles died and ascended to the Mount Olympus, he married to Hebe, who was the daughter of Zeus by Here and was worshipped as the goddess of eternal youth (Od. 11.603). Hebe, before the abduction of Ganymedes, was also the cup-bearer and handmaiden of the gods (Il. 4.2, 5.722, 905).

Hebe. Daughter of Zeus and Here, and goddess of eternal youth. She was represented as the handmaiden of the gods, for whom she pours out their nectar, and the consort of Heracles after his apotheosis. She was worshipped with Heracles in Sicyon and Phlius, especially under the name Ganymede or Dia. She was represented as freeing men from chains and bonds, and her rites were celebrated with unrestrained merriment. The Romans identified Hebe with Iuventas, the personification of youthful manhood. As representing the eternal youth of the Roman State, Iuventas had a chapel on the Capitol in the front court of the Temple of Minerva, and in later times a temple of her own in the city. It was to Iupiter and Iuventas that boys offered prayer on the Capitol when they put on the toga virilis, putting a piece of money into their treasury.

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

Hebe, the personification of youth, is described as a daughter of Zeus and Hera (Apollod. i. 3.1), and is, according to the Iliad (iv. 2), the minister of the gods, who fills their cups with nectar; she assists Hera in putting the horses to her chariot (v. 722); and she bathes and dresses her brother Ares (v. 905). According to the Odyssey (xi. 603; comp. Hes. Theog. 950), she was married to Heracles after his apotheosis. Later traditions, however, describe her as having become by Heracles the mother of two sons, Alexiares and Anticetus (Apollod. ii. 7.7), and as a divinity who had it in her power to make persons of an advanced age young again (Ov. Met. ix. 400, &c.). She was worshipped at Athens, where she had an altar in the Cynosarges, near one of Heracles (Paus. i. 19.3). Under the name of the female Ganymedes (Ganymeda) or Dia, she was worshipped in a sacred grove at Sicyon and Phlius. (Paus. ii. 13.3; Strab. viii.)
  At Rome the goddess was worshipped under the corresponding name of Juventas, and that at a very early time, for her chapel on the Capitol existed before the temple of Jupiter was built there; and she, as well as Terminus, is said to have opposed the consecration of the temple of Jupiter (Liv. v. 54). Another temple of Juventas, in the Circus Maximus, was vowed by the consul M. Livius, after the defeat of Hasdrubal, in B. C. 207, and was consecrated 16 years afterwards (Liv. xxxvi. 36 ; comp. xxi. 62; Dionys. iv. 15, where a temple of Juventas is mentioned as early as the reign of Servius Tullius; August. de Civ. Dei, iv. 23; Plin. H. N. xxix. 4, 14, xxxv. 36, 22).

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

Heracles (Tragedy by Euripides)

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

Trachiniae (Tragedy by Sophocles)

Editor’s Information:
The story of Deianira and Hercules became the subject of one of Sophocles' tragic plays, Trachiniae (The Women of Trachis), of which the e-text(s) is (are) found in Greece (ancient country) under the category Ancient Greek Writings.


Linus, the personification of a dirge

Linus (Linos), the personification of a dirge or lamentation, and therefore described as a son of Apollo by a Muse (Calliope, or by Psamathe or Chalciope, Apollod. i. 3.2; Paus. i. 43.7, ii. 19.7; Eustath. ad Hom), or of Amphimarus by Urania (Paus. ix. 29.3). Respecting his mother Psamathe, the story runs thus:
  When she had given birth to Linus she exposed the child. He was found by shepherds, who brought him up, but the child was afterwards torn to pieces by dogs. Psamathe's grief at the occurrence betrayed her misfortune to her father, who condemned her to death. Apollo, in his indignation at the father's cruelty, visited Argos with a plague, and when his oracle was consulted about the means of averting the plague, he answered that the Argives must propitiate Psamathe and Linus. This was attempted by means of sacrifices, and matrons and virgins sang dirges which were called linoi, and the month in which this solemnity was celebrated was called arneios, and the festival itself arnis, because Linus had grown up among lambs. The pestilence, however, did not cease until Crotopus quitted Argos and settled at Tripodisium, in Megaris (Conon. Narrat. 19; Paus. i. 43. Β§ 7; Athen. iii. p. 99).
  According to a Boeotian tradition Linus was killed by Apollo, because he had ventured upon a musical contest with the god (Paus. ix. 29.3; Eustath. ad Hom.), and near Mount Helicon his image stood in a hollow rock, formed in the shape of a grotto; and every year before sacrifices were offered to the Muses, a funeral sacrifice was offered to him, and dirges (linoi) were sung in his honour. His tomb was claimed both by the city of Argos and by Thebes (Paus. l. c., comp. ii. 19.7); but after the battle of Chaeroneia, Philip of Macedonia was said to have carried away the remains of Linus from Thebes to Macedonia. Subsequently, however, the king was induced by a dream to send the remains back to Thebes. Chalcis in Euboea likewise boasted of possessing the tomb of Linus, the inscription of which is preserved by Diogenes Laertius (Prooem. 4; comp. Suid. s. v. Linos).
  Being regarded as a son of Apollo and a Muse, he is said to have received from his father the three-stringed lute, and is himself called the inventor of new melodies, of dirges (Drenoi), and of songs in general. Hesiod (ap. Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 330) even calls him pantoies sophies dedaekos. It is probably owing to the difficulty of reconciling the different mythuses about Linus, that the Thebans (Paus. ix. 29) thought it necessary to distinguish between an earlier and later Linus; the latter is said to have instructed Heracles in music, but to have been killed by the hero (comp. Apollod. ii. 4.9; Theocrit. xxiv. 103; Diodor. iii. 67; Athen. iv). In the time of the Alexandrine grammarians people even went so far as to look upon Linus as an historical personage, and to consider him, like Musaeus, Orpheus, and others, as the author of apocryphal works (Diodor. iii. 66), in which he described the exploits of Dionysus; Diogenes Laertius (Prooem. 3), who calls him a son of Hermes and Urania, ascribes to him several poetical productions, such as a cosmogony on the course of the sun and moon, on the generation of animals and fruits, and the like.
  The principal places in Greece which are the scenes of the legends about Linus are Argos and Thebes, and the legends themselves bear a strong resemblance to those about Hyacynthus, Narcissus, Glaucus, Adonis, Maneros, and others, all of whom are conceived as handsome and lovely youths, and either as princes or as shepherds. They are the favourites of the gods; and in the midst of the enjoyment of their happy youth, they are carried off by a sudden or violent death; but their remembrance is kept alive by men, who celebrate their memory in dirges and appropriate rites, and seek the vanished youths generally about the middle of summer, but in vain. The feeling which seems to have given rise to the stories about these personages, who form a distinct class by themselves in Greek mythology, is deeply felt grief at the catastrophes observable in nature, which dies away under the influence of the burning sun (Apollo) soon after it has developed all its fairest beauties. Those popular dirges, therefore, originally the expression of grief at the premature death of nature through the heat of the sun, were transformed into lamentations of the deaths of youths, and were sung on certain religious occasions. They were afterwards considered to have been the productions of the very same youths whose momory was celebrated in them. The whole class of songs of this kind was called Drenoi oiktoi, and the most celebrated and popular among them was the linos, which appears to have been popular even in the days of Homer (il. xviii. 569, with the Schol).
  Pamphos, the Athenian, and Sappho, sang of Linus under the name of Oetolinus (oitos Linou, i. e. the death of Linus, Paus. ix. 29.3); and the tragic poets, in mournful choral odes, often use the form ailinos (Aeschyl. Agam. 121; Soph. Ajax, 627 ; Eurip. Phoen. 1535, Orest. 1380), which is a compound of at, the interjection, and Line. As regards the etymology of Linus, Welcker regards it as formed from the mournful interjection, li, while others, on the analogy of Hyacinthus and Narcissus, consider Linus to have originally been the name of a flower (a species of narcissus). (Phot. Lex. p. 224, ed. Pors.; Eustath. ad Hom.; compare in general Ambrosch, De Lino, Berlin, 1829, 4to; Welcker, Kleine Schriften, i. p. 8; E. v. Lasaulx, Ueber die Linosklage, Wiirzburg, 1842, 4to.)

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

This is the hymn for a slain youth (said to typify the departure of early summer), Thammuz, Atys, Hylas, or Linus; the Semitic refrain ai lenu, "alas for us," becomes the Greek ailinos, from which comes the name Linus.
  The Greek Linus corresponds to Adonis, the Syrian Tammuz (cf. Ezek. viii. 14 'the women weeping for Tammuz?), the Lydian Atys, the Mysian Hylas; cf. H.'s remark 'his name varies from tribe to tribe'. All these were conceived of as beautiful young men, beloved of the goddess, and perishing untimely. The story is said to be a sun-myth (Sayce, s.v. 'Tammuz' in Hastings's Dictionary). Frazer, however (G. B. ii. 115 seq.), with more probability, says it represents 'the death and resurrection of vegetation'. For the connexion of the reaper's song with the myth cf. ib. pp. 253-8. If Frazer is right in explaining the story of Osiris (ii. 137 seq.) in the same way, it is only natural that Linus-Maneros should have been introduced into the Osiris myth (cf. Plut. I. et O. c. 17). For Adonis worship, which was especially a female cult, cf. Theocr. Id. 15 and Milton, P. L. i. 446 seq., of Tammuz
         Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured
         The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
         In amorous ditties all a summer's day.
  Linus, who was worshipped in Argos, was said to be the son of Urania, killed by Apollo from jealousy of his voice (Paus. ix. 29. 6-7); but there are other versions of the story. The name is as old as Homer (Il. xviii. 570), who makes it a reaper's song. In Hesiod (fr. 132) it has a wider extension; he says of aoidoi:
        pantes men threnousin en eilapinais te chorois te,
        archomenoi de Linon kai legontes kaleousi.
  It is said to be the Eastern cry, 'woe unto us,' raised at the festival; the Greeks first borrowed this as ailinon (cf. Soph. Aj. 627), and then, by a mistaken etymology, interpreted it as 'alas for Linus'.

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

Argos was the capital of Argolis and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. It participated in the Trojan War under the leadership of Diomedes, son of Tydeus (Il. 4.52, 2.559).

Territories - Kingdoms

Diomedes' dominion at the Trojan War

The men of Argos, again, and those who held the walls of Tiryns, with Hermione, and Asine upon the gulf; Trozen, Eionae, and the vineyard lands of Epidaurus; the Achaean youths, moreover, who came from Aegina and Mases; these were led by Diomedes of the loud battle-cry, and Sthenelos son of famed Kapaneus. With them in command was Euryalos, son of king Mekisteus, son of Talaos; but Diomedes was chief over them all. With these there came eighty ships.

Greek leaders in the Trojan War

Diomedes & Aegialea

The leader of Argives with 80 ships in the Trojan war, one of the Epigoni, son of Tydeus, husband of Aegialeia, the daughter of Adrastus (Il. 23.470, 5.412, 2.567).

Diomedes. A son of Tydeus and Deipyle, the husband of Aegialeia, and the successor of Adrastus in the kingdom of Argos, though he was descended from an Aetolian family (Apollod. i. 8.5). The Homeric tradition about him is as follows: His father Tydeus fell in the expedition against Thebes, while Diomedes was yet a boy (II. vi. 222); but he himself afterwards was one of the Epigoni who took Thebes (II. iv. 405; comp. Paus. ii. 20.4). Diomedes went to Troy with Sthenelus and Euryalus, carrying with him in eighty ships warriors from Argos, Tiryns, Hermione, Asine, Troezene, Eionae, Epidaurus, Aegina, and Mases (ii. 559). In the army of the Greeks before Troy, Diomedes was, next to Achilles, the bravest among the heroes; and, like Achilles and Odysseus, he enjoyed the special protection of Athena, who assisted him in all dangerous moments (v. 826, vi. 98, x. 240, xi. 312; comp. Virg. Aen. i. 96). He fought with the most distinguished among the Trojans, such as Hector and Aeneias (viii. 110, v. 310), and even with the gods who espoused the cause of the Trojans. He thus wounded Aphrodite, and drove her from the field of battle (v. 335, 440), and Ares himself was likewise wounded by him (v. 837). Diomedes was wounded by Pandareus, whom, however, he afterwards slew with many other Trojans (v. 97). In the attack of the Trojans on the Greek camp. he and Odysseus offered a brave resistance, but Diomedes was wounded and returned to tile ships (xi. 320). He wore a cuirass made by Hephaestus, but sometimes also a lion's skin (viii. 195, x. 177). At the funeral games of Patroclus he conquered in the chariot-race, and received a woman and a tripod as his prize (xxiii. 373). He also conquered the Telamonian Ajax in single combat, and won the sword which Achilles had offered as the prize (xxiii. 811). He is described in the Iliad in general as brave in war and wise in council (ix. 53), in battle furious like a mountain torrent, and the terror of the Trojans, whom he chases before him, as a lion chases goats (v. 87, xi. 382). He is strong like a god (v. 884), and the Trojan women during their sacrifice to Athena pray to her to break his spear and to make him fall (vi. 306). He himself knows no fear, and refuses his consent when Agamemnon proposes to take to flight, and he declares that, if all flee, he and his friend Sthenelus will stay and fight till Troy shall fill (ix. 32, comp. vii. 398, viii. 151: Philostr. Her. 4).
  The story of Diomedes, like those of other heroes of the Trojan time, has received various additions and embellishments from the hands of later writers, of which we shall notice the principal ones. After the expedition of the Epigoni he is mentioned among the suitors of Helen (Hygin. Fab. 81; Apollod. iii. 10.8), and his love of Helen induced him to join the Greeks in their expedition against Troy with 30 ships (Hygin. Fab. 97). Being a relative of Thersites, who was slain by Achilles, he did not permit the body of the Amazon Penthesileia to be honourably buried, but dragged her by the feet into the river Scamander (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 993 ; Dict. Cret. iv. 3). Philoctetes was persuaded by Diomedes and Odysseus to join the Greeks against Troy (Soph. Philoct. 570; Hygin. Fab. 102). Diomedes conspired with Odysseus against Palamedes, and under the pretence of having discovered a hidden treasure, they let him down into a well and there stoned him to death (Dict. Cret. ii. 15; comp. Paus. x. 31.1). After the death of Paris, Diomedes and Odysseus were sent into the city of Troy to negotiate for peace (Dict. Cret. v. 4), but he was afterwards one of the Greeks concealed in the wooden horse (Hygin. Fab. 108). When he and Odysseus had arrived in the arx of Troy by a subterraneous passage, they slew the guards and carried away the palladium (Virg. Aen. ii. 163), as it was believed that Ilium could not be taken so long as the palladium was within its walls. When, during the night, the two heroes were returning to the camp with their precious booty, and Odysseus was walking behind him, Diomedes saw by the shadow of his companion that he was drawing his sword in order to kill him, and thus to secure to himself alone the honour of having taken the palladium. Diomedes, however, turned round, seized the sword of Odysseus, tied his hands, and thus drove him along before him to the camp (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 822). Diomedes, according to some, carried the palladium with him to Argos, where it remained until Ergiaeus, one of his descendants, took it away with the assistance of the Laconian Leagrus, who conveyed it to Sparta (Plut. Quaest. Graec. 48). According to others, Diomedes was robbed of the palladium by Demophon in Attica, where he landed one night on his return from Troy, without knowing where he was (Paus. ii. 28.9). A third tradition stated, that Diomedes restored the palladium and the remains of Anchises to Aeneias, because he was informed by an oracle, that he should be exposed to unceasing sufferings unless lie restored the sacred image to the Trojans (Serv. ad Aen. ii. 166, iii. 407, iv, 427, v. 81).
  On his return from Troy, he had like other heroes to suffer much from the enmity of Aphrodite, but Athena still continued to protect him. He was first thrown by a storm on the coast of Lycia, where lie was to be sacrificed to Ares by king Lycus; but Callirrhoe, the king's daughter, took pity upon him, and assisted him in escaping (Plut. Parall. Gr. et Rom. 23). On his arrival in Argos lie met with an evil reception which had been prepared for him either by Aphrodite or Nauplius, for his wife Aegialeia was living in adultery with Hippolytus, or according to others, with Cometes or Cyllabarus (Dict. Cret. vi. 2; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 609; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 9). He therefore quitted Argos either of his own accord, or he was expelled by the adulterers (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 602), and went to Aetolia. His going to Aetolia and the subsequent recovery of Argos are placed in some traditions immediately after the war of the Epigoni, and Diomedes is said to have gone with Alcmaeon to assist his grandfather Oeneus in Aetolia against his enemies. During the absence of Diomedes, Agamemnon took possession of Argos; but when the expedition against Troy was resolved upon, Agamemnon from fear invited Diomedes and Alcmaeon back to Argos, and asked them to take part in the projected expedition. Diomedes alone accepted the proposal, and thus recovered Argos (Strab. vii, x; comp. Hygin. Fab. 175; Apollod. i. 8.6; Paus. ii. 25.2). According to another set of traditions, Diomedes did not go to Aetolia till after his return from Troy, when he was expelled from Argos, and it is said that he went first to Corinth; but being informed there of the distress of Oeneus, he hastened to Aetolia to assist him. Diomedes conquered and slew the enemies of his grandfather, and then took up his residence in Aetolia (Dict. Cret. vi. 2). Other writers make him attempt to return to Argos, but on his way home a storm threw him on the coast of Daunia in Italy. Daunus, the king of the country, received him kindly, and solicited his assistance in a war against the Messapians. He promised in return to give him a tract of land and the hand of his daughter Euippe. Diomedes defeated the Messapians, and distributed their territory among the Dorians who had accompanied him In Italy. Diomedes gave up his hostility against the Trojans, and even assisted them against Turnus (Paus. i. 11; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 9). He died in Daunia at an advanced age, and was buried in one of the islands off cape Garganus, which were called after him the Diomedean islands. Subsequently, when Daunus too had died, the Dorians were conquered by the Illyrians, but were metamorphosed by Zeus into birds (Anton. Lib. 37; comp. Tzetz. ad Lyc. 602, 618). According to Tzetzes, Diomedes was murdered by Daunus, whereas according to others he returned to Argos, or disappeared in one of the Diomedean islands, or in the country of the Heneti (Strab. vi. p. 284). A number of towns in the eastern part of Italy, such as Beneventum, Aequumtuticum, Argos Hippion (afterwards Argyripa or Arpi), Venusia or Aphrodisia, Canusium, Venafrum, Salapia, Spina, Sipus, Garganum, and Brundusium, were believed to have been founded by Diomedes (Serv. ad Aen viii. 9, xi. 246; Strab. vi. pp. 283, 284; Plin-H. N. iii. 20; Justin, xii. 2). The worship and service of gods and heroes was spread by Diomedes far and wide: in and near Argos he caused temples of Athena to be built (Plut. de Flum. 18; Paus. ii. 24.2); his armour was preserved in a temple of Athena at Luceria in Apulia, and a gold chain of his was shown in a temple of Artemis in Peucetia. At Troezene he had founded a temple of Apollo Epibaterius, and instituted the Pythian games there. He himself was subsequently worshipped as a divine being, especially in Italy, where statues of him existed at Argyripa, Metapontum, Thurii, and other places (Schol. ad Pind. Nem. x. 12 ; Scylax, Peripl. p. 6; comp. Strab. v. p. 214).
  There are traces in Greece also of the worship of Diomedes, for it is said that he was placed among the gods together with the Dioscuri, and that Athena conferred upon him the immortality which had been intended for his father Tydeus. It has been conjectured that Diomedes is an ancient Pelasgian name of some divinity, who was afterwards confounded with the hero Diomedes, so that the worship of the god was transferred to the hero (Bockh, Explicat. ad Pind. Nem. x.). Diomedes was represented in a painting on the acropolis of Athens in the act of carrying away the Palladium from Troy (Paus. i. 22.6), and Polygnotus had painted him in the Lesche at Delphi (x. 25.2, 10.2).

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

Aegiale or Aegialeia (Aigiale or Aigialeia), a daughter of Adrastus and Amphithea, or of Aegialeus the son of Adrastus, whence she bears the surname of Adrastine (Hom.Il. v. 412; Apollod. i. 8.6, 9.13). She was married to Diomedes, who, on his return from Troy, found her living in adultery with Cometes (Eustath, ad Il. v). The hero attributed this misfortune to the anger of Aphrodite, whom he had wounded in the war against Troy, but when Aegiale went so far as to threaten his life he fled to Italy (Schol. ad Lycophr. 610; Ov. Met. xiv. 476). According to Dictys Cretensis (vi. 2), Aegiale, like Clytemnestra, had been seduced to her criminal conduct by a treacherous report, that Diomedes was returning with a Trojan woman who lived with him as his wife, and on his arrival at Argos Aegiale expelled him. In Ovid (Ibis, 349) she is described as the type of a bad wife.

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


He succeeded Iphius to the throne and became the 29th king of Argos (1193 B.C.).

He was the son of Capaneus by Evande and shared the kingdom of Argos with Adrastus and Oicles. (Il. 2.564, 4.367, 9.48, 23.511)

Sthenelus. A son of Capaneus and Evadue, belonged to the family of the Anaxagoridae in Argos. and was the father of Cylarabes (Hom Il. v. 109; Paus. ii. 18.4, 22. 8, 30); but, according to others, his son's name was Comeres (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 603, 1093 ; Serv. ad Aen. xi. 269). He was one of the Epigoni, by whom Thebes was taken (Hom. Il. iv. 405; Apollod. iii. 7.2), and commanded the Argives under Diomedes, in the Trojan war, being the faithful friend and companion of Diomedes (Hom. Il. ii. 564, iv. 367, xxiii. 511; Philostr. Her. 4 ; Hygin. Fab. 175). He was one of the Greeks concealed in the wooden horse (Hygin. Fab. 108), and at the distribution of the booty, lie was said to have received an image of a three-eyed Zeus, which was in aftertimes shown at Argos (Paus. ii. 45.5, viii. 46.2). His own statue and tomb also were believed to exist at Argos (ii. 20.4, 22. in fin.; comp. Horat. Carm. i. 15. 23, iv. 9. 20; Stat. Achill. i. 469).

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


He was the son of Mecisteus, son of Talaus (Hom. Il. 2.565, 6.20, 23.680).

Euryalus (Eurualos). A son of Mecisteus, is mentioned by Apollodorus (i. 9.16) among the Argonauts, and was one of the Epigoni who took and destroyed Thebes (Paus. ii. 20.4; Apollod. iii. 7.2). He was a brave warrior, and at the funeral games of Oedipus he conquered all his competitors (Hom. Il. xxiii. 608) with the exception of Epeius, who excelled him in wrestling. He accompanied Diomedes to Troy, where he was one of the bravest heroes, and slew several Trojans (Il. ii. 565, vi. 20; Pans. ii. 30.9). In the painting of Polygnotus at Delphi, he was represented as being wounded; and there was also a statue of him at Delphi, which stood between those of Diomedes and Aegialeus (Paus. x. 10.2, 25.2).

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

Greek heroes of the Trojan War


A comrade of Sthenelus (Il. 5.325).


Basileus (rex, king)


Monarchia, a general name for any form of government in which the supreme functions of political administration are in the hands of a single person. The term monarchia is applied to such governments, whether they are hereditary or elective, legal or usurped. If all the officials and ministers of the ruler are merely his deputies, appointed and removable by him, then the term monarchia strictly applies. Aristotle (Pol. iii. 15, 2,= p. 1287) calls this pambasileia. This form of monarchy did not belong to Greek states except as a consequence of revolution, when some citizen usurped this power for himself, and sometimes transmitted it. Monarchy of the more constitutional kind, as described in Homer, probably existed throughout Greece at the time of the Dorian conquest, and gradually disappeared, appeared, as in each state the weak or violent rule stirred up successful opposition of the people. In Argos, however, it lasted to the time of the invasion of Xerxes (Herod. vii. 149), but disappeared before the Peloponnesian War. In Sparta it remained in a peculiar form. In its commonest application, it is equivalent busileia, whether absolute or limited. But the rule of an aesymnetes or a tyrant would equally be called a monarchia. (Arist. Pol. iii. 16, iv. 8 = pp. 1286, 1294;--Plato, Polit. p. 291, C, E; p. 302, D, E.) Hence Plutarch uses it to express the Latin dictatura. Aristotle defines four sorts of basileia: firstly, the kingship of the heroic period, when the obedience was voluntary, but the power of the kings strictly defined, the king being general, judge, and supreme religious functionary; secondly, the non-Greek, which was a hereditary despotic rule of a constitutional character; thirdly, the Asymneteia, as it is called, an elective tyranny; and, fourthly, the Laconian, which may be broadly defined as a hereditary generalship for life. (Arist. Pol. iii. 14, Welldon's translation.) It is by a somewhat rhetorical use of the word that it is applied now and then to the demos. (Eurip. Suppl. 352; Arist. Pol. iv. 4.)


Danaus (Danaos). A son of Belus and Anchinoe, and brother of Aegyptus. Belus assigned the country of Libya to Danaus, while to Aegyptus he gave Arabia. Aegyptus conquered the country of the Melampodes and named it from himself. By many wives he became the father of fifty sons. Danaus had by several wives an equal number of daughters. Dissension arising between him and the sons of Aegyptus, they aimed at depriving him of his kingdom; and, fearing their violence, he built, with the aid of Athene, a fifty-oared vessel, the first that ever was made, in which he embarked with his daughters and fled over the sea. He first landed on the isle of Rhodes, where he set up a statue of the Lindian Athene; but, not caring to remain in that island, he proceeded to Argos; where Gelanor, who at that time ruled over the country, cheerfully resigned the government to the stranger who had brought thither civilization and the arts. The people took the name of their new monarch, and were called Danai (Danaoi).
    The country of Argos being at this time extremely deficient in pure and wholesome water (see Inachus), Danaus sent forth his daughters in quest of some. As Amymone, one of them, was engaged in the search, she was rescued by Poseidon from the intended violence of a satyr, and the god revealed to her a fountain called after her name and the most famous among the streams that contributed to form the Lernaean lake or marsh. The sons of Aegyptus came now to Argolis and entreated their uncle to bury past enmity in oblivion, and to give them their cousins in marriage. Danaus, retaining a perfect recollection of the injuries they had done him and distrustful of their promises, consented to bestow upon them his daughters, whom he divided among them by lot; but on the wedding-day he armed the hands of the brides with daggers, and enjoined upon them to slay in the night their unsuspecting bridegrooms. All but Hypermnestra obeyed the cruel orders of their father; and cutting off the heads of their husbands, they flung them into Lerna, and buried their bodies with all due rites outside of the town. At the command of Zeus, Hermes and Athene purified them from the guilt of their deed. Hypermnestra had spared Lynceus for the delicate regard which he had shown to her modesty. Her father, at first, in his anger at her disobedience, put her into close confinement. Relenting, however, after some time, he gave his consent to her union with Lynceus, and proclaimed gymnastic games, in which the victors were to receive his other daughters as the prizes. It was said, however, that the crime of the Danaides did not pass without due punshment in the lower world, where they were condemned to pour water forever into a perforated vessel.

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

Danaus (Danaos), a son of Belus and Anchinoe, and a grandson of Poseidon and Libya. He was brother of Aegyptus, and farther of fifty daughters, and the mythical ancestor of the Danai (Apollod. ii. 1,4). According to the common story he was a native of Chemnis, in the Thebais in Upper Egypt, and migrated from thence into Greece (Herod. ii. 91). Belus had given Danaus Libya, while Aegyptus had obtained Arabia. Danaiis had reason to think that the sons of his brother were plotting against him, and fear or the advice of an oracle (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 37), induced him to build a large ship and to embark with his daughters. On his flight he first landed at Rhodes, where he set up an image of Athena Lindia. According to the story in Herodotus, a temple of Athena was built at Lindus by the daughters of Danaus, and according to Strabo (xiv. p. 654) Tlepolemus built the towns of Lindus, Ialysus and Cameirus, and called them thus after the names of three Danaides. From Rhodes Danaus and his daughters sailed to Peloponnesus, and landed at a place near Lerna, which was afterwards called from this event Apobathmi (Paus. ii. 38.4). At Argos a dispute arose between Danaus and Gelanor about the government, and after many discussions the people deferred the decision of the question to the next day. At its dawn a wolf rushed among the cattle and killed one of the oxen. This occurrence was to the Argives an event which seemed to announce to them in what manner the dispute should terminate, and Danaiis was accordingly made king of Argos. Out of gratitude he now built a sanctuary of Apollo Lycius, who, as he believed, had sent the wolf (Paus. ii. 19.3. Comp. Serv. ad Aen. iv. 377, who relates a different story). Danaus also erected two wooden statues of Zeus and Artemis, and dedicated his shield in the sanctuary of Hera (Paus. ii. 19.6; Hygin. Fab. 170). He is further said to have built the acropolis of Argos and to have provided the place with water by digging wells (Strab. i. p. 23, viii. p. 371; Eustath. ad Hom) The sons of Aegyptus in the mean time had followed their uncle to Argos; they assured him of their peaceful sentiments and sued for the hands of his daughters. Danaus still mistrusted them and remembered the cause of his flight from his country; however he gave them his daughters and distributed them among his nephews by lot. But all the brides, with the exception of Hypermnestra murdered their husbands by the command of their father. In aftertimes the Argives were called Danai. Whether Danaus died a natural death, or whether he was killed by Lynceus, his son-in-law, is a point on which the various traditions are not agreed, but he is said to have been buried at Argos, and his tomb in the agora of Argos was shown there as late as the time of Pausanias (ii. 20.4; Strab. viii). Statues of Danaus, Hypermnestra and Lynceus were seen at Delphi by Pausanias (x. 10.2).

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

Herse. The wife of Danaus and mother of Hippodice and Adiante. (Apollod. ii. 1.5)

Wells were invented by Danaus,who came from Egypt into that part of Greece which had been previously known as Argos Dipsion.
Danaus is said to have migrated from Egypt into Greece about 1485 B.C. He may have introduced wells into Greece, but they had, long before his time, been employed in Egypt and in other countries. The term "Dipsion," "thirsting," which it appears had been applied to the district of Argos, may seem to render it probable, that, before the arrival of Danaus, the inhabitants had not adopted any artificial means of supplying themselves with water. But this country, we are told, is naturally well supplied with water.


He was the son of Amythaon and Eidomene, brother of Bias father of Antiphates and Mantius and notorious soothsayer from Pylos. He travelled to Phylace in Thessaly in order to take the oxen of Iphicles, so that his brother could marry Pero, the daughter of Neleus. There, he was captured for a year and was released, when he had told Iphicles all the oracles. Afterwards, he returned to Pylos, where he avenged Neleus for the injustice against the Amythaonides (= descendants of Amythaon), gave Pero to his brother and left to Argos (Od. 11.287 etc. 15.225 etc.), where he became the 21st king and shared the kingdom with Anaxagoras and Bias.

Melampus (Melampous), a son of Amythaon by Eidomene, or according to others, by Aglaia or Plhodope (Apollod. i. 9.1; Diod. iv. 68; Schol. ad Theocrit. iii. 43), and a brother of Bias. He was looked upon by the ancients as the first mortal that had been endowed with prophetic powers, as the person that first practised the medical art, and established the worship of Dionysus in Greece (Apollod. ii. 2.2). He is said to have been married to Iphianassa (others call her Iphianeira or Cyrianassa - Diod. iv. 68; Serv. ad Virg. Ecloy. vi. 48), by whom he became the father of Mantius and Antiphates (Hom. Od. xv. 225). Apollodorus (i. 9.13) adds a son, Abas; and Diodorus calls his children Bias, Antiphates, Manto, and Pronoe (comp. Pans. vi. 17.4). Melampus at first dwelt with Neleus at Pylus, afterwards he resided for a time at Phylace, near Mount Othrys, with Phylacus and Iphiclus and at last ruled over a third of the territory of Argos (Hom. l. c.). At Aegosthena, in the north-western part of Megaris, he had a sanctuary and a statue, and an annual festival was there celebrated in his honour. (Paus. i. 44.8.)
  With regard to his having introduced the worship of Dionysus into Greece, Herodotus (ii. 49) thinks that Melampus became acquainted with the worship of the Egyptian Dionysus, through Cadmus and the Phoenicians, and his connection with the Dionysiac religion is often alluded to in the ancient writers. Thus, we are told, for example, that he taught the Greeks how to mix wine with water (Athen. ii. p. 45; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1816). Diodorus (i. 97) further adds that Melampus brought with him from Egypt the myths about Crones and the fight of the Titans.
  As regards his prophetic power, his residence at Phylace, and his ultimate rule over a portion of Argos, the following traditions were current in antiquity. When Melampus lived with Neleus, he dwelt outside the town of Pylos, and before his house there stood an oak tree containing a serpent's nest. The old serpents were killed by his servants, and burnt by Melampus himself, who reared the young ones. One day, when they had grown up, and Melampus was asleep, they approached from both sides and cleaned his ears with their tongues. Being thus roused from his sleep, he started up, and to his surprise perceived that he now understood the language of birds, and that with their assistance he could foretell the future. In addition to this he acquired the power of prophesying, from the victims that were offered to the gods, and, after having had an interview with Apollo on the banks of the Alpheius, he became a most renowned soothsayer (Apollod. i. 9.11; Eustath. ad Hom.).
  During his stay with Neleus it happened that his brother Bias was one of the suitors for the hand of Pero, the daughter of Neleus, and Neleus promised his daughter to the man who should bring to him as a gift for the maiden, the oxen of Iphiclus, which were guarded by a dog whom neither man nor animal could approach. Melampus undertook the task of procuring the oxen for his brother, although he knew that the thief would be caught and kept in imprisonment for one whole year, after which he was to come into possession of the oxen. Things turned out as he had said; Melampus was thrown into prison, and in his captivity he learned front the wood-worms that the building in which he was would soon break down. He accordingly demanded to be let out, and as Phylacus and Iphiclus became thus acquainted with his prophetic powers, they asked him in what manner Iphiclus, who had no children, was to become father. Melampus, on the suggestion of a vulture, advised Iphiclus to take the rust from the knife with which Phylacus had once cut his son, and drink it in water during ten days. This was done, and Iphiclus became the father of Podarces. Melampus now received the oxen as a reward for his good services, and drove them to Pylos; he thus gained Pero for his brother, and henceforth remained in Messenia (Apollod. i. 9.12; Paus. iv. 36.2; Schol. ad Theocrit. iii. 43).
  His dominion over Argos is said to have been acquired in the following manner. In the reign of Anaxagoras, king of Argos, the women of the kingdom were seized with madness, and roamed about the country in a frantic state. Melampus cured them of it, on condition that he and his brother Bias should receive an equal share with Anaxagoras in the kingdom of Argos (Paus. ii. 18.4; Diod. iv. 68). Others, however, give the following account. The daughters of Proetus, Iphinoe, Lysippe and Iphianassa, were seized with madness, either because they opposed the worship of Dionysus (Diod. l. c.; Apollod. i. 9.12), or because they boasted of equalling Hera in beauty, or because they had stolen the gold from the statue of the goddess (Serv. ad Viry. Ecl. vi. 48). Melampus promised to cure the women, if the king would give him one-third of his territory and one of his daughters in marriage. Proetus refused the proposal: but when the madness continued, and also seized the other Argive women, messengers came to Melampus to request his aid; but he now demanded two-thirds of the kingdom, one for himself, and the other for his brother. The demand was complied with, and with a band of youths, he pursued the women as far as Sicyon, with Bacchic shouts. Iphinoe died during the pursuit, but the surviving women were cured by purifications in a well, Anigrus, or in a temple of Artemis near Lusi, or in the town of Sicyon itself; and Melampus and Bias married the two daughters of Proetus (Apollod. ii. 2. § 2; Strab. viii; Ov. Met. xv. 322; Paus. ii. 7.8, viii. 18; Herod. ix. 34; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ix. 30).
  Another mythical personage of the same name occurs in Virgil (Aen. x. 320).

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

   Melampus, (Melampous). The son of Amythaon and of Idomene; brother of Bias, the oldest Greek seer, and ancester of the family of seers called Melampodidae. The brothers went with their uncle Neleus from Thessaly to Pylus in Messenia, where they dwelt in the country. Melampus owed his gift of soothsaying to some serpents, which he had saved from death and reared, and who in return cleansed his ears with their tongues when he slept; on awaking he understood the voices of birds, and thus learned what was secret. When Neleus would only give Bias his beautiful daughter Pero on condition that he first brought him the oxen of Iphiclus of Phylace in Thessaly, which were guarded by a watchful dog, Melampus offered to bring the oxen for his brother, though he knew beforehand that he would be imprisoned for a year. He was caught in the act of stealing them, and kept in strict confinement. From the talk of the worms in the woodwork of the roof he gathered that the house would soon fall to pieces. He thereupon demanded to be taken to another prison; and this was scarcely done when the house broke down. When, on account of this, Phylacus, father of Iphiclus, perceived his prophetic gifts, he promised him the oxen, if, by his art, he would find out some way of curing his son's childlessness. Melampus offered a bull to Zeus, cut it in pieces, and invited the birds to the meal. From these he heard that a certain vulture, that had not come, knew how it could be effected. This vulture was made to appear, and related that the defect in Iphiclus was the result of a sudden fright at seeing a bloody knife, with which his father had been castrating some goats; he had dug the knife into a tree, which had grown round about it; if he took some of the rust scraped off it, for ten days, he would be cured. Melampus found the knife, cured Iphiclus, obtained the oxen, and Bias received Pero for his wife.
    Afterwards he went to Argos, because, according to Homer, Neleus had committed a serious offence against him in his ab sence, for which he had taken revenge; while, according to the usual account, he had been asked by king Proetus to heal his daughter, stricken with madness for acting impiously towards Dionysus or Here. He had stipulated that his reward should be a third of the kingdom for himself, another for Bias; besides which Iphianassa became his wife, and Lysippe that of Bias, both being daughters of Proetus. A descendant of his son Antiphates was Oicles, who was a companion of Heracles in the expedition against Troy, and was slain in battle by Laomedon; he again was ancestor of the seer and hero Amphiaraus. Descendants of his other son Mantius were Cleitus, whom Eos, the goddess of dawn, carried off on account of his beauty, and Polypheides, whom, after the death of Amphiaraus, Apollo made the best of seers. The son of Polypheides was the seer Theoclymenus, who, flying from Argos on account of committing a murder, met Telemachus at Pylus, was led by him to Ithaca, and announced to Penelope the presence in Ithaca of Odysseus and to the suitors their approaching death. The seer Polyidus was also said to be a great-grandson of Melampus. At Argos Melampus was held to be the first priest of Dionysus, and originator of mysterious customs at festivals and at ceremonies of expiation.

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


Son of Melampus, father of Oicles, brother of Mantius (Od. 15.242). Perhaps, he reigned after his childless brother and was the 28th king of Argos, where he shared the kingdom with Pronax and Iphis.


He was a son of Melampus by Iphianassa, brother of Antiphates and father of Polypheides and Cleitus (Od. 15.242 etc.). He was the 25th king and shared the kingdom of Argos with Alector & Talaus.

Talaus & Lysianassa

Son of Bias and Pero, father of of Adrastus and of Parthenopaeus, shares kingdom of Argos with Alector & Mantius.

Talaus (Talaos), a son of Bias and Pero, and king of Argos. He was married to Lysimache (Eurynome, Hygin. Fab. 70, or Lysianassa, Paus. ii. 6.3), and was father of Adrastus, Parthenopaeus, Pronax, Mecisteus, Aristomachus, and Eriphyle (Apollod. i. 9.13; Pind. Nem. ix. 14). Hyginus mentions two other daughters of his. He also occurs among the Argonauts (Apollon. Rhod. ii. 118), and his tomb was shown at Argos (Paus. ii. 21.2). Being a great grandson of Cretheus, Antimachus in a fragment preserved in Pausanias (viii. 25.5) calls him Cretheiades. His own sons, Adrastus and Mecisteus, are sometimes called Talaionides, as in Hom. Il. ii. 566; Pind. Ol. vi. 24.

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

Adrastus & Amphithea

Adrastus, son of Talaus and husband of Amphithea, succeeded his brother Pronax to the throne as the 30th king of Argos and shared the kingdom with Sthenelus and Oecleus. Afterwards, he left Argos and took refuge in Sicyon, where he succeeded Polybus to the throne (Paus. 2,6,6). He gave one of his daughters as wife to Tydeus, father of Diomedes (Il. 2.572, 14.121).

Homer also mentions his horse, Arion, which had saved him during the siege of Thebes (Il. 23.346).

Adrastus (Adrastos), a son of Talaus, king of Argos, and of Lysimache (Apollod. i. 9.13). Pausanias (ii. 6.3) calls his mother Lysianassa, and Hyginus (Fab. 69) Eurynome (Comp. Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 423). During a feud between the most powerful houses in Argos, Talaus was slain by Amphiaraus, and Adrastus being expelled from his dominions fled to Polybus, then king of Sicyon. When Polybus died without heirs, Adrastus succeeded him on the throne of Sicyon, and during his reign he is said to have instituted the Nemean games (Hom. Il. ii. 572; Pind. Nem. ix. 30; Herod. v. 67; Paus. ii. 6.3). Afterwards, however, Adrastus became reconciled to Amphiaraus, gave him his sister Eriphyle in marriage, and returned to his kingdom of Argos. During the time he reigned there it happened that Tydeus of Calydon and Polynices of Thebes, both fugitives from their native countries, met at Argos near the palace of Adrastus, and came to words and from words to blows. On hearing the noise, Adrastus hastened to them and separated the combatants, in whom he immediately recognised the two men that had been promised to him by an oracle as the future husbands of two of his daughters; for one bore on his shield the figure of a boar, and the other that of a lion, and the oracle was, that one of his daughters was to marry a boar and the other a lion. Adrastus therefore gave his daughter Deipyle to Tydeus, and Argeia to Polynices, and at the same time promised to lead each of these princes back to his own country. Adrastus now prepared for war against Thebes, although Amphiaraus foretold that all who should engage in it should perish, with the exception of Adrastus (Apollod. iii. 6.1; Hygin. Fab. 69, 70).
  Thus arose the celebrated war of the " Seven against Thebes," in which Adrastus was joined by six other heroes, viz. Polynices, Tydeus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Hippomedon, and Parthenopaeus. Instead of Tydeus and Polynices other legends mention Eteoclos and Mecisteus. This war ended as unfortunately as Amphiaraus had predicted, and Adrastus alone was saved by the swiftness of his horse Areion, the gift of Heracles (Hom. Il. xxiii. 346; Paus. viii. 25.5; Apollod. iii. 6). Creon of Thebes refusing to allow the bodies of the six heroes to be buried, Adrastus went to Athens and implored the assistance of the Athenians. Theseus was persuaded to undertake an expedition against Thebes; he took the city and delivered up the bodies of the fallen heroes to their friends for burial (Apollod. iii. 7.1 Paus. ix. 9.1).
  Ten years after this Adrastus persuaded the seven sons of the heroes, who had fallen in the war against Thebes, to make a new attack upon that city, and Amphiaraus now declared that the gods approved of the undertaking, and promised success (Paus. ix. 9.2; Apollod. iii. 7.2). This war is celebrated in ancient story as the war of the Epigoni (Epigonoi). Thebes was taken and razed to the ground, after the greater part of its inhabitants had left the city on the advice of Tiresias (Apollod. iii. 7.2--4; Herod. v. 61; Strab. vii.). The only Argive hero that fell in this war, was Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus. After having built a temple of Nemesis in the neighbourhood of Thebes, he set out on his return home. But weighed down by old age and grief at the death of his son he died at Megara and was buried there (Paus. i. 43.1). After his death he was worshipped in several parts of Greece, as at Megara (Paus. l. c.), at Sicyon where his memory was celebrated in tragic choruses (Herod. v. 67), and in Attica (Paus. i. 30.4). The legends about Adrastus and the two wars against Thebes have furnished most ample materials for the epic as well as tragic poets of Greece (Paus. ix. 9. 3), and some works of art relating to the stories about Adrastus are mentioned in Pausanias. (iii. 18.7, x. 10.2).
  From Adrastus the female patronymic Adrastine was formed (Hom. Il. v. 412).

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

Adrastus (Adrastos). Son of Talaus of Argos. Being expelled from Argos by Amphiaraus, he fled to Polybus, king of Sicyon, whom he succeeded on the throne of Sicyon, and instituted the Nemean games. Afterwards he became reconciled to Amphiaraus, and returned to his kingdom of Argos. He married his two daughters Deipyle and Argia, the former to Tydeus of Calydon, and the latter to Polynices of Thebes, both fugitives from their native countries. He then prepared to restore Polynices to Thebes, who had been expelled by his brother Eteocles, although Amphiaraus foretold that all who should engage in the war would perish, with the exception of Adrastus. Thus arose the celebrated war of the "Seven against Thebes," in which Adrastus was joined by six other heroes, viz., Polynices, Tydeus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Hippomedon, and Parthenopaeus. This war ended as unfortunately as Amphiaraus had predicted, and Adrastus alone was saved by the swiftness of his horse Arion, the gift of Heracles. Ten years afterwards, Adrastus persuaded the six sons of the heroes who had fallen in the war to make a new attack upon Thebes, and Amphiaraus now promised success. This war is known as the war of the Epigoni (epigonoi), or descendants. Thebes was taken and razed to the ground. The only Argive hero that fell in this war was Aegialeus, the son of Adrastus: the latter died of grief at Megara on his return to Argos, and was buried in the former city. The legends about Adrastus and the two wars against Thebes furnished ample materials for the epic as well as tragic poets of Greece.

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


Demonassa, the mother of Aegialus by Adrastus. (Hygin. Fab. 71.)

Oicles & Hypermnestra

He was the son of Antiphates or of Mantius, father of Amphiaraus and 31st king of Argos. He shared the kingdom with Sthenelus and Adrastus (Od. 15.244).

Oicles (Oikles) or Oicleus (Oikleus). The son of Antiphates, grandson of Melampus and father of Amphiaraus, of Argos. He is also called a son of Amphiaraus, or a son of Mantius, the brother of Antiphates. Oicles accompanied Heracles on his expedition against Laomedon of Troy, and was there slain in battle. According to other traditions, he returned home from the expedition, and dwelt in Arcadia, where he was visited by his grandson Alcmaeon , and where his tomb was shown.

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

Hupermnestra, a daughter of Thestius and Eurythemis, and the witie of Oicles, by whom she became the mother of Amphhiaraus Her tomb was shown at Argos. (Apollod. i. 7.10; Paus. ii. 21. 2.) One of the daughters of Danaus was likewise called Hypermnestra.


He was a son of Talaus, brother of Adrastus and father of Euryalus (Il. 2.566)
Pausanias mentions that he took part in the funeral games of Oedipus at Thebes (Paus. 1,28,7).

Mecisteus, (Mekisteus). A son of Talaus and Lysimache, brother of Adrastus, and father of Euryalus of Thebes (Hom. Il. ii. 566; Apollod. iii. 6.3).

Amphiaraus & Eriphyle

Amphiaraus, king of Argos, was the son of Oicles and husband of Eriphyle, sister of Adrastus, and father of Alcmaeon and Amphilochus. He was an Argonaut and participated in the hunt of the Calydonian boar. His wife urged him to participate in the expedition of the Seven against Thebes and as he was leaving, he commanded his son Alcmaeon to kill her (Od. 11.326, 15.244 etc.). There was a statue representing Amphiaraus at Cerameicus.

Amphiaraus (Amphiaraos), a son of Oicles and Hypermnestra, the daughter of Thestius (Hom. Od. xv. 244; Apollod. i. 8.2; Hygin. Fab. 73; Paus. ii. 21.2.). On his father's side he was descended from the famous seer Melampus (Paus. vi. 17.4). Some traditions represented him as ason of Apollo by Hypermnestra, which, however, is merely a poetical expression to describe him as a seer and prophet (Hygin. Fab. 70). Amphiaraus is renowned in ancient story as a brave hero: he is mentioned among the hunters of the Calydonian boar, which he is said to have deprived of one eye, and also as one of the Argonauts (Apollod. i. 8.2, 9.16). For a time he reigned at Argos in common with Adrastus; but, in a feud which broke out between them, Adrastus took to flight. Afterwards, however, he became reconciled with Amphiaraus, and gave him his sister Eriphyle in marriage, by whom Amphiaraus became the father of Alcmaeon, Amphilochus, Eurydice, and Demonassa. On marrying Eriphyle, Amphiaraus had sworn, that he would abide by the decision of Eriphyle on any point in which he should differ in opinion from Adrastus. When, therefore, the latter called upon him to join the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, Amphiaraus, although he foresaw its unfortunate issue and at first refused to take any part in it, was nevertheless persuaded by his wife to join his friends, for Eriphyle had been enticed to induce her husband by the necklace of Harmonia which Polyneices had given her. Amphiaraus on leaving Argos enjoined his sons to avenge his death on their heartless mother (Apollod. iii. 6.2; Hygin. Fab. 73; Diod. iv. 65; Hom Od. xv. 247). On their way to Thebes the heroes instituted the Nemean games, and Amphiaraus won the victory in the chariot-race and in throwing the discus (Apollod. iii. 6.4). During the war against Thebes, Amphiaraus fought bravely (Pind. Ol. vi. 26), but still he could not suppress his anger at the whole undertaking, and when Tydeus, whom he regarded as the originator of the expedition, was severely wounded by Melanippus, and Athena was hastening to render him immortal, Amphiaraus cut off the head of Melanippus, who had in the mean time been slain, and gave Tydeus his brains to drink, and Athena, struck with horror at the sight, withdrew (Apollod. iii. 6.8). When Adrastus and Amphiaraus were the only heroes who survived, the latter was pursued by Periclymenus, and fled towards the river Ismenius. Here the earth opened before he was overtaken by his enemy, and swallowed up Amphiaraus together with his chariot, but Zeus made him immortal (Pind. Nem. ix. 57, Ol. vi. 21; Plut. Parall. 6; Cic. de Divin. i. 40). Henceforth Amphiaraus was worshipped as a hero, first at Oropus and afterwards in all Greece (Paus. i. 34.2; Liv. xlv. 27). He had a sanctuary at Argos (Paus. ii. 23.2), a statue at Athens (i. 8.3), and a heroum at Sparta. The departure of Amphiaraus from his home when he went to Thebes, was represented on the chest of Cypselus (Paus. v. 17.4). Respecting some extant works of art, of which Amphiaraus is the subject, see GrΌneisen, Die alt griechische Bronze des Tux'schen Kabinets in TΌbingen, Stuttg. and TΌbing.1835. The prophetic power, which Amphiaraus was believed to possess, was accounted for by his descent from Melampus or Apollo, though there was also a local tradition at Phlius, according to which he had acquired them in a night which he spent in the prophetic house (oikos mantikos) of Phlius. (Paus. ii. 13.6; comp. i. 34.3). He was, like all seers, a favourite of Zeus and Apollo (Hom. Od. xv. 245). Respecting the oracle of Amphiaraus see Dict. of Ant. s. v. Oraculum. It should be remarked here, that Virgil (Aen. vii. 671) mentions three Greek heroes as contemporaries of Aeneas, viz. Tiburtus, Catillus, and Coras, the first of whom was believed to be the founder of Tibur, and is described by Pliny (H. N. xvi. 87) as a son of Amphiaraus.

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

Amphiaraus (Amphiaraos). An Argive, the son of Oicles and Hypermnestra, great-grandson of the seer Melampus. In Homer he is a favourite of Zeus and Apollo, alike distinguished as a seer and a hero, who takes part in the Calydonian boar-hunt, in the voyage of the Argonauts, and in the expedition of the Seven against Thebes. Reconciled to Adrastus after a quarrel, and wedded to his sister Eriphyle, he agreed that any future differences between them should be settled by her. She, bribed by Polynices with the fatal necklace of his ancestress Harmonia, insisted on her husband joining the war against Thebes, though he foresaw that it would end fatally for him, and in departing charged his youthful sons Alcmaeon and Amphilochus to avenge his coming death.

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

Eriphyle (Eriphule). In Greek mythology, sister of Adrastus and wife of Amphiaraus. Bribed with a necklace by Polynices, she prevailed on her husband to take part in the war of the Seven against Thebes, in which he met his death. In revenge for this she was slain by her son Alcmaeon.


Alcmaeon was the son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle and brother of Amphilochus (Il. 15.248). He was the leader of the Epigoni against Thebes and murdered his mother, when he heard that she urged his father to participate in the expedition against Thebes, while she knew that he would be killed.

Alacmaeon (Alkmaion), a son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle, and brother of Amphilochus, Eurydice, and Demonassa (Apollod. iii. 7.2). His mother was induced by the necklace of Harmonia, which she received from Polyneices, to persuade her husband Amphiaraus to take part in the expedition against Thebes (Hom. Od. xv. 247). But before Amphiaraus set out, he enjoined his sons to kill their mother as soon as they should be grown up (Apollod. iii. 6.2; Hygin. Fab. 73). When the Epigoni prepared for a second expedition against Thebes, to avenge the death of their fathers, the oracle promised them success and victory, if they chose Alcmaeon their leader. He was at first disinclined to undertake the command, as he had not yet taken vengeance on his mother, according to the desire of his father. But she, who had now received from Thersander, the son of Polyneices, the peplus of Harmonia also, induced him to join the expedition. Alcmaeon distinguished himself greatly in it, and slew Laodamus, the son of Eteocles (Apollod. iii. 7.2; comp. Diod. iv. 66). When, after the fall of Thebes, he learnt the reason for which his mother had urged him on to take part in the expedition, he slew her on the advice of an oracle of Apollo, and, according to some traditions, in conjunction with his brother Amphilochus. For this deed he became mad, and was haunted by the Erinnyes. He first came to Oecleus in Arcadia, and thence went to Phegeus in Psophis, and being purified by the latter, he married his daughter Arsinoe or Alphesiboea (Paus. viii. 24.4), to whom he gave the necklace and peplus of Harmonia. But the country in which he now resided was visited by scarcity, in consequence of his being the murderer of his mother, and the oracle advised him to go to Achelous. According to Pausanias, he left Psophis because his madness did not yet cease. Pausanias and Thucydides (ii. 102; comp. Plut. De Exil. p. 602) further state, that the oracle commanded him to go to a country which had been formed subsequent to the murder of his mother, and was therefore under no curse. The country thus pointed out was a tract of land which had been recently formed at the mouth of the river Achelous. Apollodorus agrees with this account, but gives a detailed history of Alcmaeon's wanderings until he reached the mouth of Achelous, who gave him his daughter Calirrhoe in marriage. Calirrhoe had a desire to possess the necklace and peplus of Harmonia, and Alcmaeon, to gratify her wish, went to Psophis to get them from Phegeus, under the pretext that he intended to dedicate them at Delphi in order to be freed from his madness. Phegeus complied with his request, but when he heard that the treasures were fetched for Calirrhoe, he sent his sons Pronous and Agenor (Apollod. iii. 7.6) or, according to Pausanias (viii. 24.4), Temenus and Axion, after him, with the command to kill him. This was done, but the sons of Alcmaeon by Calirrhoe took bloody vengoance at the instigation of their mother (Apollod. Paus. ll. cc.; Ov. Met. ix. 407)
  The story about Alcmaeon furnished rich materials for the epic and tragic poets of Greece, and their Roman imitators. But none of these poems is now extant, and we only know from Apollodorus (iii. 7.7), that Euripides, in his tragedy " Alcmaeon," stated that after the fall of Thebes he married Manto, the daughter of Teiresias, and that he had two children by her, Amphilochus and Tisiphone, whom he gave to Creon, king of Corinth, to educate. The wife of Creon, jealous of the extraordinary beauty of Tisiphone, afterwards sold her as a slave, and Alcmaeon himself bought her, without knowing that she was his daughter (Diod. iv. 66; Paus. vii. 3.1, ix. 33.1). Alcmaeon after his death was worshipped as a hero, and at Thebes he seems to have had an altar, near the house of Pindar (Pyth. viii. 80), who calls him his neighbour and the guardian of his property, and also seems to suggest that prophetic powers were ascribed to him, as to his father Amphiaraus. At Psopllis his tomb was shown, surrounded with lofty and sacred cypresses (Paus. viii. 24.4). At Oropus, in Attica, where Amphiaraus and Amphilochus were worshipped, Alcmaeon enjoyed no such honours, because he was a matricide (Paus. i. 34.2). He was represented in a statue at Delphi, and on the chest of Cypselus (x. 10.2, v. 17.4).

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

Alcmaeon, (Alkmaion). A native of Argos and son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle. As his father, in departing on the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, had bound him and his brother Amphilochus, then mere boys, to avenge him on their faithless mother, Alcmaeon refused to take part in the second expedition, that of the Epigoni, till he had first fulfilled that filial duty; nevertheless his mother, bribed by Thersander with the garment of Harmonia, persuaded him to go. The real leader at the siege of Thebes, he slew the Theban king, Laodamas, and was the first to enter the conquered city. On returning home, he, at the bidding of the Delphian Apollo, avenged his father by slaying his mother, with, or according to some accounts, without, his brother's help; but immediately, like Orestes, he was set upon by the Furies, and wandered distracted, seeking purification and a new home. Phegeus, of the Arcadian Psophis, half purified him of his guilt, and gave him his daughter Arsinoe or Alphesiboea to wife, to whom he presented the jewels of Harmonia, which he had brought from Argos. But soon the crops failed in the land, and he fell into his distemper again, till, after many wanderings, he arrived at the mouth of the Achelous, and there, in an island that had floated up, he found the country promised by the god, which had not existed at the time of his dying mother's curse, and so he was completely cured. He married Achelous's daughter, Callirrhoe, by whom he had two sons, Acarnan and Amphoterus. Unable to withstand his wife's entreaties that she might have Harmonia's necklace and robe, he went to Phegeus in Arcadia, and begged those treasures of him, pretending that he would dedicate them at Delphi for the perfect healing of his madness. He obtained them; but Phegeus, on learning the truth, set his son to waylay him on the road, and rob him of his treasure and his life. Alcmaeon 's sons then avenged their father's death on his murderers. Alcmaeon received divine honours after death, and had a sanctuary at Thebes and a consecrated tomb at Psophis.

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

Wives of Alcmaeon:
Arsinoe (or Alphesiboea; daughter of Phegeus, receives the necklace and robe (of Harmonia) from her husband Alcmaeon, is carried by the sons of Phegeus to Tegea and given as a slave to Agapenor. Son by Alcmaeon: Clytias
Manto; daughter of Tiresias, mother of Amphilochus and Tisiphone by Alcmaeon, dedicated by the Argives to Apollo, mother of Mopsus by Apollo, sent by Apollo to Colophon, where she marries Rhacius. Children by Alcaeon: Amphilochus, Tisiphone
Callirrhoe; daughter of Achelous, married by Alcmaeon, covets the necklace and robe (of Harmonia), courted by Zeus, requests that her sons be suddenly fullgrown, her sons kill their father's murderers (the sons of Phegeus), slay Phegeus and his wife, and dedicate the necklace and robe at Delphi. Sons by Alcmaeon: Acarnan, Amphoterus.

Callirrhoe, adaughter of Achelous and wife of Alcmaeon, whom she induced to procure her the peplus and necklace of Harmonia, by which she caused her husband's death. Callirrhoe then requested Zeus, with whom she lived in close intimacy, to grant that her sons by Alcmaeon might grow up to manhood at once, in order that they might be able to avenge the death of their father. Zeus granted the request, and Amphoterus and Acarnan killed the murderers of their father, the sons of Phegeus, at Delphi, and afterwards Phegeus himself also. (Apollod. iii. 7.6)



He was a soothsayer, son of Polypheides and descendant of Melampus, who met withTelemachus in Pylos and followed him to Ithaca (Od. 15.256 etc.).

Theoclymenus (Theoklumenos). Son of the soothsayer Polyphides, grandson of Melampus. When a fugitive from Argos, for a murder which he had committed, he met with Telemachus in Pylus, who succoured him and brought him to Ithaca. By means of his inherited gift of prophecy, he here made known to Penelope the presence of Odysseus in the island, and warned the suitors of their fate.

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

Polyidus of Argos

Polyidus. A son of Coeranus, a grandson of Abas and a great-grandson of Melampus. He was, like his ancestor, a celebrated soothsayer at Corinth, and is described as the father of Euchenor, Astycrateia, and Manto. (Pind. Ol. xiii. 104; Hom. Il. xiii. 663, &c.; Paus. i. 43. § 5; Apollod. iii. 3. § 1.) When Alcathous had murdered his own son Callipolis at Megara, he was purified by Polyidus, who erected at Megara a sanctuary to Dicnysus, and a statue of the god, which was covered all over except the face. (Paus., Apollod. ll. cc. ; Hygin. Fab. 136.)

The story of the Cretan Glaucus and Polyidus
Glaucus, one of the sons of the Cretan king Minos by Pasiphae or Crete. When yet a boy, while he was playing at ball (Hygin. Fab 136), or while pursuing a mouse (Apollod. iii. 3. § 1), he fell into a cask full of honey, and died in it. Minos for a long time searched after his son in vain, and was at length informed by Apollo or the Curetes that the person who should devise the most appropriate comparison between a cow, which could assume three different colours, and any other object, should find the boy and restore him to his father. Minos assembled his soothsayers, but as none of them was able to do what was required, a stranger, Polyidus of Argos, solved the problem by likening the cow to a mulberry, which is at first white, then red, and in the end black. Polyidus, who knew nothing of the oracle, was thus compelled by his own wisdom to restore Glaucus to his father. By his prophetic powers he discovered that Glaucus had not perished in the sea, and being guided by an owl (glaux) and bees, he found him in the cask of honey. (Aelian, H. A. v. 2.) Minos now further demanded the restoration of his son to life. As Polyidus could not accomplish this, Minos, who attributed his refusal to obstinacy, ordered him to be entombed alive with the body of Glaucus. When Polyidus was thus shut up in the vault, he saw a serpent approaching the dead body, and killed the animal. Presently another serpent came, carrying a herb, with which it covered the dead serpent. The dead serpent was thereby restored to life, and when Polyidus covered the body of Glaucus with the same herb, the boy at once rose into life again. Both shouted for assistance from without; and when Minos heard of it, he had the tomb opened. In his delight at having recovered his child, he munificently rewarded Polyidus, and sent him back to his country. (Comp. Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 811; Palaephat. 27; Apollod. iii. 10.3; Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest.; Hygin. P. A. ii. 14; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 96.) The story of the Cretan Glaucus and Polyidus was a favourite subject with the ancient poets and artists; it was not only represented in mimic dances (Lucian, de Saltat. 49), but Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides made it the subject of separate dramatic compositions.

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


Capaneus & Evadne

Capaneus. He was the son of Hipponous & Laodice, father of Sthenelus (Il. 2.564), husband of Evande and one of the Seven against Thebes. He was killed by the thunderbolt of Zeus before the walls of Thebes because he boasted that he would set the city on fire even without the will of the gods.

Capaneus (Kapaneus), a son of Hipponous and Astynome or Laodice, tile daughter of Iphis (Hygin. Fab. 70; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 181; ad Pind. Nern. ix. 30). He was married to Euadne or laneira, who is also called a daughter of Iphis, and by whom he became the father of Sthenelus (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. vi. 46; Apollod. iii. 10.8). He was one of the seven heroes who marched from Argos against Thebes, where he had his station at the Ogygian or Electrian gate (Apollod. iii. 6.6; Aeschyl. Sept. c. Theb. 423; Paus. ix. 8.3). During the siege of Thebes, he was presumptuous enough to say, that even the fire of Zeus should not prevent his scaling the walls of the city; but when he was ascending the ladder, Zeus struck him with a flash of lightning (Comp. Eurip. Phoen. 1172; comp. Soph. Antig. 133; Apollod. iii. 6.7; Ov. Met. ix. 404). While his body was burning, his wife Euadne leaped into the flames and destroyed herself (Apollod. iii. 7.1; Eurip. Suppl. 983; Philostr. Icon. ii. 31; Ov. Ars Am. iii. 21; Hygin. Fab. 243). Capaneus is one of those heroes whom Asclepius was believed to have called back into life (Apollod. iii. 10.3). At Delphi there was a statue of Capaneus dedicated by the Argives (Paus. x.10.2).

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

Evadne. A daughter of Iphis or Iphicles of Argos, who slighted the addresses of Apollo, and married Capaneus, one of the seven chiefs who went against Thebes. When her husband had been struck with thunder by Zeus for his blasphemies and impiety, and his ashes had been separated from those of the rest of the Argives, she threw herself on his burning pile and perished in the flames.

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


He was a son of Mantius, brother of the seer Polypheides and grandson of Melampus (Od. 15.249).

A son of Mantius, carried off by Eos on account of his extraordinary beauty. (Hom. Od. xv. 250; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1780.)

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