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Listed 19 sub titles with search on: Homeric world for destination: "TIRYNS Mycenean palace ARGOLIS".


Homeric world (19)

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

Tiryns participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Cataogue of Ships. Homer calls it "famed for its walls" (Il. 2.559), as it was well fortified with the Cyclopean walls.


Kings

Perseus & Andromeda

A son of Zeus by Danae, the daughter of Acrisius (Il. 14.319). Perseus slew Medusa and rescued Andromeda, who became his wife. (All information about Perseus, Andromeda and Danae at Serifos Island )


Amphitryon & Alcmene

Amphitryon was the son of Alcaeus, king of Tiryns, and Hipponoe, grandson of Perseus and husband of Alcmena, with whom he had Iphicles. Alcmena was also the mother of Heracles by Zeus (Il. 5.392, 14.323, 19.98, Od. 11.266 & 270). Amphitryon subjected along with Cephalus the Teleboans (Taphians) (Paus. 1,37,6)..


Amphitryon. Heracle's stepfather and prince of Tiryns, son of Alcaios.
  Amphitryon killed king Electryon of Mycenae by accident at the war against the Taphiae (or Teleboans), and his uncle Sthenelos used this as an excuse to chase him away. He fled to Thebes together with Electryon's daughter Alcmene, who promised to marry whoever revenged her brothers who had been killed in the same war their father had been killed in.
  Amphitryon went after the Taphian king Pterelaos, son of Poseidon, but found that the god had made his son immortal. Poseidon had given Pterelaos a golden hair, that made him immortal as long as it grew on his head. Pterelaos' daughter Comaiho fell in love with Amphitryon, and pulled out the golden hair of her father's head, killing him, but also herself.
  On his return to Thebes, he found that Alcmene was not surprised to see him. When he asked why she said he had already visited her the night before and that he had told her of his adventures already. It turned out that Zeus had taken Amphitryon's shape, and visited Alcmene. As a result of this, Alcmene gave birth to two sons: Heracles by Zeus and Iphicles by Amphitryon.

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


Amphitryon (Amphitruon), a son of Alcaeus by Hipponome, the daughter of Menoeceus (Apollod. ii. 4.5). Pausanias (viii. 14.2) calls his mother Laonome. While Electryon, the brother of Alcaeus, was reigning at Mycenae, the sons of Pterelaus together with the Taphians invaded his territory, demanded the surrender of the kingdom, and drove away his oxen. The sons of Electryon entered upon a contest with the sons of Pterelaus, but the combatants on both sides all fell, so that Electryon had only one son, Licymnius, left, and Pterelaus likewise only one, Eueres. The Taphians, however, escaped with the oxen, which they entrusted to Polyxenus, king of the Eleans. Thence they were afterwards brought back to Mycenae by Amphitryon after he had paid a ransom. Electryon now resolved upon avenging the death of his sons, and to make war upon the Taphians. During his absence he entrusted his kingdom and his daughter Alcmene to Amphitryon, on condition that he should not marry her till after his return from the war. Amphitryon now restored to Electryon the oxen he had brought back to Mycenae; one of them turned wild, and as Amphitryon attempted to strike it with his club, he accidentally hit the head of Electryon and killed him on the spot. Sthenelus, the brother of Electryon, availed himself of this opportunity for the purpose of expelling Amphitryon, who together with Alcmene and Licymnius went to Thebes. Here he was purified by Creon, his uncle. In order to win the land of Alcmene, Amphitryon prepared to avenge the death of Alcmene's brothers on the Taphians (Teleboans), and requested Creon to assist him in his enterprise, which the latter promised on condition that Amphitryon should deliver the Cadmean country from a wild fox which was making great havoc there. But as it was decreed by fate that this fox should not be overtaken by any one, Amphitryon went to Cephalus of Athens, who possessed a famous dog, which, according to another decree of fate, overtook every animal it pursued. Cephalus was induced to lend Amphitryon his dog on condition that he should receive a part of the spoils of the expedition against the Taphians. Now when the dog was hunting the fox, Fate got out of its dilemma by Zeus changing the two animals into stone. Assisted by Cephalus, Panopeus, Heleius, and Creon, Amphitryon now attacked and ravaged the islands of the Taphians, but could not subdue them so long as Pterelaus lived. This chief had on his head one golden hair, the gift of Poseidon, which rendered him immortal. His daughter Comaetho, who was in love with Amphitryon, cut off this hair, and after Pterelaus had died in consequence, Amphitryon took possession of the islands; and having put to death Comaetho, and given the islands to Cephalus and Heleius, he returned to Thebes with his spoils, out of which he dedicated a tripod to Apollo Ismenius (Apollod. ii. 4.6, 7; Paus. ix. 10.4; Herod. v. 9). Respecting the amour of Zeus with Alcmene during the absence of Amphitryon see Alcmene. Amphitryon fell in a war against Erginus, king of the Minyans, in which he and Heracles delivered Thebes from the tribute which the city had to pay to Erginus as an atonement for the murder of Clymenus (Apollod. ii. 4.8). His tomb was shewn at Thebes in the time of Pausanias (i. 41.1; compare Hom. Od. xi. 266; Hes. Scut. Herc. init.; Diod. iv. 9; Hygin. Fab. 29, 244). Aeschylus and Sophocles wrote each a tragedy of the name of Amphitryon, which are now lost. We still possess a comedy of Plautus, the " Amphitruo," the subject of which is a ludicrous representation of the visit of Zeus to Alcmene in the disguise of her lover Amphitryon.

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


Alcmena. The daughter of Electryon and Anaxo and granddaughter of Perseus. She was married to her cousin and uncle Amphitryon, king of Thebes.
  Alcmena was seduced by Zeus, who had taken the shape of her husband, and who would never again sleep with a mortal woman. She gave birth to two sons, Iphicles and Heracles, and when her husband was told by Tiresias that Zeus was the father of the latter, he never again slept with his wife for fear of the god's jealousy.
  Hera was of course insane with jealousy of her husband's infidelity, and as a punishment she prolonged Alcmena's labor, and also sent snakes to the children, which were killed by the already strong baby Heracles. When her husband had died, Alcmena joined Heracles.
  He and his brother were just about to try to conquer Tiryns, but they failed and went from there. Alcmena, however, stayed, and looked after some of her grandchildren. She was still there when Heracles died.
  After her famous son's death she was forced to flee from Tiryns with her grandchildren, and so ended up in Athens. There Theseus' son Demophon ruled, and he protected the woman. The king of Tiryns demanded that Demophon expel Alcmena, but the Athenian king refused and war broke out. This resulted in the death of the king of Tiryns, and when Demophon brought his head to Alcmena, she gouged out his eyes with her hairpins.
  Alcmena died in Thebes when she was very old. Zeus, who had no forgotten her, replaced her body with a stone, and took her to the Island of the Blessed. There, she was young again, and married to Rhadamanthus.
  When Heracle's children, the Heraclids, discovered that Alcmena's body had been replaced by a stone in the coffin they took it to Thebes where Alcmena was worshipped. She was also worshipped in Athens.

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


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.) 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 June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Electryone (Elektruone). A patronymic given to Alcmene, daughter of Electryon.



Proetus & Antea or Stheneboea

Proetus was the son of Abas and king of Tiryns (Il. 6.157).
Antea was the daughter of Iobatus or Amphianax and wife of Proetus (Il. 6.160).


Proetus, (Proitos). Son of Abas and Ocale, and twin-brother of Acrisius. In the dispute between the two brothers for the kingdom of Argos Proetus was expelled, whereupon he fled to Iobatos, in Lycia, and married Antea or Stheneboea, the daughter of the latter. With the assistance of Iobates, Proetus was restored to his kingdom, and took Tiryns, which was now fortified by the Cyclopes. Acrisius then shared his kingdom with his brother, surrendering to him Tiryns, Midea, and the coast of Argolis. By his wife, Proetus became the father of three daughters, Lysippe, Iphinoe, and Iphianassa, who are often mentioned under the general name of Proetides. When these daughters arrived at the age of maturity, they were stricken with madness, the cause of which is differently explained. Some say that it was a punishment inflicted upon them by Dionysus, because they had despised his worship; others relate that they were driven mad by Here, because they presumed to consider themselves more handsome than the goddess, or because they had stolen some of the gold of her statue. The frenzy spread to the other women of Argos; till at length Proetus agreed to divide his kingdom between Melampus and his brother Bias , upon the former promising that he would cure the women of their madness. Melampus then chose the most robust among the young men, gave chase to the mad women, amid shouting and dancing, and drove them as far as Sicyon. During this pursuit, Iphinoe died, but the two other daughters were cured by Melampus by means of purifications, and were then married to Melampus and Bias. The place where the cure was effected upon his daughters is not the same in all traditions, some mentioning the well Anigros, others the fountain Clitor in Arcadia, or Lusi in Arcadia. Besides these daughters, Proetus had a son, Megapenthes. When Bellerophon came to Proetus to be purified of a murder which he had committed, the wife of Proetus fell in love with him; but, as Bellerophon declined her advances, she charged him before Proetus with having made improper proposals to her. Proetus then sent Bellerophon to Iobates in Lycia, with a letter desiring the latter to murder Bellerophon. According to Ovid Acrisius was expelled from his kingdom by Proetus; and Perseus, the grandson of Acrisius, avenged his grandfather by turning Proetus into stone by means of the head of Medusa.

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


Proetus (Proitos) A son of Abas and Ocaleia, and a twin-brother of Acrisius. In the dispute between the two brothers for the kingdom of Argos, Proetus was defeated and expelled (Paus. ii. 25.6). The cause of this quarrel is traced by some to the conduct of Proetus towards Danai, the daughter of Acrisius (Apollod. ii. 4.1), and Ovid (Met. v. 238) represents Acrisius as expelled by Proetus, and Perseus, the grandson of Acrisius, avenges his grandfather by changing Proetus into a block of stone, by means of the head of Medusa. But according to the common tradition, Proetus, when expelled from Argos, fled to Jobates or Amphianax in Lycia, and married his daughter Anteia or Stheneboea (Hom. Il vi. 160; Eustath. ad Hom.; comp. Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vi. 48). Jobates, thereupon, restored Proetus to his kingdom by armed force. Tirynth was taken and fortified by the Cyclopes (Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 953; Paus. ii. 16.4), and Acrisius then shared his kingdom with his brother, surrendering to him Tirynth, i. e. the Heraeum, Midea and the coast of Argolis (Paus. ii. 16.2). By his wife Proetus became the father of three daughters, Lysippe, Iphinoe, and Iphianassa (Servius, l. c., calls the two last Hipponoe and Cyrianassa, and Aelian, V.H. iii. 42, mentions only two daughters, Elege and Celaene). When these daughters arrived at the age of maturity, they were stricken with madness, the cause of which is differently stated by different authors; some say that it was a punishment inflicted upon them by Dionysus, because they had despised his worship (Apollod. l. c. ; Diod. iv. 68), and according to others, by Hera, because they presumed to consider themselves more handsome than the goddess, or because they had stolen some of the gold of her statue (Serv. ad Virg. Ecl. vi. 48). In this state of madness they wandered through Peloponnesus. Melampus promised to cure them, if Proetus would give him one third of his kingdom. As Proetus refused to accept these terms, the madness of his daughters not only increased, but was communicated to the other Argive women also, so that they murdered their own children and ran about in a state of frenzy. Proetus then declared himself willing to listen to the proposal of Melampus; but the latter now also demanded for his brother Bias an equal share of the kingdom of Argos. Proetus consented (Herod. ix. 34; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. ix. 30), and Melampus having chosen the most robust among the young men, gave chase to the mad women, amid shouting and dancing, and drove them as far as Sicyon. During this pursuit, Iphinoe, one of the daughters of Proetus, died, but the two others were cured by Melampus by means of purifications, and were then married to Melampus and Bias. There was a tradition that Proetus had founded a sanctuary of Hera, between Sicyon and Titane, and one of Apollo at Sicyon (Paus. ii. 7.7, 12.1). The place where the cure was effected upon his daughters is not the same in all traditions, some mentioning the well Anigros (Strab. viii.), others the well Cleitor in Arcadia (Ov. Met. xv. 325), or Lusi in Arcadia (Paus. viii. 18.3). Some even state that the Proetides were cured by Asclepius. (Pind. Pyth. iii. 96.)
  Besides these daughters, Proetus had a son, Megapenthes (Apollod. ii. 2.2). When Bellerophontes came to Proetus to be purified of a murder which he had committed, the wife of Proetus fell in love with him, and invited him to come to her : but, as Bellerophontes refused to comply with her desire, she charged him before Proetus with having made improper proposals to her. Proetus then sent Bellerophontes to Jobates in Lycia, with a letter in which Jobates was desired to murder Bellerophontes. (Hom. Il. vi. 157; Apollod. ii. 3.1; Tzetz. ad Lyc. 17)

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


Stheneboea (Stheneboia), called Antea by many writers, was a daughter of the Lycian king Iobates, and the wife of Proetus.


Anteia, a daughter of the Lycian king Iobates, and wife of Proetus of Argos, by whom she became the mother of Maera. (Apollod. ii. 2. ยง 1; Hom. Il. vi. 160; Eustath, ad Hom. p. 1688.) The Greek tragedians call the wife of Proetus Stheneboea. Respecting her love for Bellerophontes, see Bellerophontes at Ancient Corinth


Maera

Maera, a daughter of Proetus and Anteia, was one of the companions of Artemis, but was killed by her after she had become by Zeus the mother of Locrus; others, however, state that she died as a virgin. (Hom. Od. xi. 325; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1688.) She was represented by Polygnotus in the Lesche at Delphi. (Paus. x. 30. 2.)


Ancient myths

Cyclopes

Cyclopes (Kuklopes), that is, creatures with round or circular eyes. The tradition about these beings has undergone several changes and modifications in its development in Greek mythology, though some traces of their identity remain visible throughout. According to the ancient cosmogonies, the Cyclopes were the sons of Uranus and Ge; they belonged to the Titans, and were three in number, whose names were Arges, Steropes, and Brontes, and each of them had only one eye on his forehead. Together with the other Titans, they were cast by their father into Tartarus, but, instigated by their mother, they assisted Cronus in usurping the government. But Cronus again threw them into Tartarus, and as Zeus released them in his war against Cronus and the Titans, the Cyclopes provided Zeus with thunderbolts and lightning, Pluto with a helmet, and Poseidon with a trident (Apollod. i. 1; Hes. Theog. 503). Henceforth they remained the ministers of Zeus, but were afterwards killed by Apollo for having furnished Zeus with the thunderbolts to kill Asclepius (Apollod. iii. 10.4). According to others, however, it was not the Cyclopes themselves that were killed, but their sons. (Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest. 1.)
  In the Homeric poems the Cyclopes are a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race of shepherds, who lived in the south-western part of Sicily, and devoured human beings. They neglected agriculture, and the fruits of the field were reaped by them without labour. They had no laws or political institutions, and each lived with his wives and children in a cave of a mountain, and ruled over them with arbitrary power (Hom. Od. vi. 5, ix. 106, 190, 240, x. 200). Homer does not distinctly state that all of the Cyclopes were one-eyed, but Polyphemus, the principal among them, is described as having only one eye on his forehead (Od. i. 69, ix. 383) The Homeric Cyclopes are no longer the servants of Zeus, but they disregard him. (Od. ix. 275; comp. Virg. Aen. vi. 636 ; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 53.)
  A still later tradition regarded the Cyclopes as the assistants of Hephaestus. Volcanoes were the workshops of that god, and mount Aetna in Sicily and the neighbouring isles were accordingly considered as their abodes. As the assistants of Hephaestus they are no longer shepherds, but make the metal armour and ornaments for gods and heroes; they work with such might that Sicily and all the neighbouring islands resound with their hammering. Their number is, like that in the Homeric poems, no longer confined to three, but their residence is removed from the south-western to the eastern part of Sicily (Virg. Georg. iv. 170, Aen. viii. 433; Callim. Hymn. in Dian. 56; Eurip. Cycl. 599; Val. Flacc. ii. 420). Two of their names are the same as in the cosmogonic tradition, but new names also were invented, for we find one Cyclops bearing the name of Pyracmon, and another that of Acamas (Calim. Hymn. in Dian. 68; Virg. Aen. viii. 425; Val. Place. i. 583).
  The Cyclopes, who were regarded as skilful architects in later accounts, were a race of men who appear to be different from the Cyclopes whom we have considered hitherto, for they are described as a Thracian tribe, which derived its name from a king Cyclops. They were expelled from their homes in Thrace, and went to the Curetes (Crete) and to Lycia, Thence they followed Proetus to protect him, by the gigantic walls which they constructed, against Acrisius. The grand fortifications of Argos, Tiryns, and Mycenae, were in later times regarded as their works (Apollod. ii. 1.2; Strab. viii; Paus. ii. 16.4; Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 953). Such walls, commonly known by the name of Cyclopean walls, still exist in various parts of ancient Greece and Italy, and consist of unhewn polygones, which are sometimes 20 or 30 feet in breadth. The story of the Cyclopes having built them seems to be a mere invention, and admits neither of an historical nor geographical explanation. Homer, for instance, knows nothing of Cyclopean walls, and he calls Tiryns merely a polis teichioessa (Il. ii. 559). The Cyclopean walls were probably constructed by an ancient race of men -perhaps the Pelasgians- who occupied the countries in which they occur before the nations of which we have historical records; and later generations, being struck by their grandeur as much as ourselves, ascribed their building to a fabulous race of Cyclopes. Analogies to such a process of tradition are not wanting in modern countries; thus several walls in Germany, which were probably constructed by the Romans, are to this day called by the people Riesenmauer or Teufelsmauer.
  In works of art the Cyclopes are represented as sturdy men with one eye on their forehead, and the place which in other human beings is occupied by the eyes, is marked in figures of the Cyclopes by a line. According to the explanation of Plato (ap. Strab. xiii.), the Cyclopes were beings typical of the original condition of uncivilized men ; but this explanation is not satisfactory, and the cosmogonic Cyclopes at least must be regarded as personifications of certain powers manifested in nature, which is sufficiently indicated by their names.

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


Cyclopes (Kuklopes). A fabulous race, of gigantic size, having but one eye, large and round, placed in the centre of their forehead, whence, according to the common account, their name was derived--from kuklos, "a circular opening", and ops, "an eye". Homer makes Odysseus, after having left the country of the Lotus-eaters (Lotophagi), to have sailed on westward, and to have come to that of the Cyclopes, who are described by him as a rude and lawless race, who neither planted nor sowed, but whose land was so fertile as to produce of itself wheat, barley, and vines. They had no social institutions, neither assemblies nor laws, but dwelt separately, each in his cave, on the tops of lofty mountains, and each, without regard to others, governed his own wife and children. The adventure of Odysseus with Polyphemus, one of this race, will be found under the latter title. Nothing is said by Homer respecting the size of the Cyclopes in general, but every effort is made to give an exaggerated idea of that of Polyphemus. Hence some have imagined that, according to the Homeric idea, the Cyclopes were not in general of such huge dimensions or cannibal habits as the poet assigns to Polyphemus himself; for the latter does not appear to have been of the ordinary Cyclops-race, but the son of Poseidon and a seanymph; and he is also said to have been the strongest of the Cyclopes ( Od.i. 70). Later poets, however, lost no time in supplying whatever the fable wanted in this respect, and hence Vergil describes the whole race as of gigantic stature and compares them to so many tall forest-trees ( Aen.iii. 680). It is not a little remarkable that neither in the description of the Cyclopes in general, nor of Polyphemus in particular, is there any notice taken of their being one-eyed; yet in the account of the blinding of the latter, it seems to be assumed as a thing well known. We may hence, perhaps, infer that Homer followed the usual derivation.
  Such is the Homeric account of the Cyclopes. In Hesiod, on the other hand (Theog. 139 foll.), we have what appears to be the earlier legend respecting these fabled beings, a circumstance which may tend to show that the Odyssey was composed by a poet later than Hesiod, and not by the author of the Iliad. In the Theogony of Hesiod the Cyclopes are only three in number--Brontes, Steropes, and Arges. They are the sons of Uranus and Gaea (Caelus and Terra), and their employment is to forge the thunderbolts for Zeus. They are said to be in every other respect like gods, excepting the one single eye in the middle of their foreheads, a circumstance from which Hesiod also, like Homer, deduces their general name (Theog. 144 foll.). In the individual names given by Hesiod we have evidently the germ of the whole fable. The Cyclopes are the energies of the sky--the thunder, the lightning, and the rapid march of the latter (Brontes, from bronte, "thunder"; Steropes, from sterope, "the lightning"; Arges, from arges, "rapid"). In accordance with this idea the term Kuklops (Cyclops) itself may be regarded as a simple, not a compound term, of the same class with molops, Kerkops, Kekrops, Pelops; and the word kuklos being the root, we may make the Cyclopes to be "the Whirlers", or, to designate them by a Latin name, Volvuli.
  When the thunder, the lightning, and the flame had been converted by poetry into oneeyed giants, and localized in the neighbourhood of volcanoes, it was an easy process to convert them into smiths, the assistants of Hephaestus (Callim. H. in Artem. 46 foll.; Georg.iv. 173; Aen.viii. 416 foll.). As they were now artists in one line, it gave no surprise to find them engaged in a task adapted to their huge strength--namely, that of rearing the massive walls of Tiryns, for which purpose they were brought by Proetus from Lycia (Schol. ad Eurip. Orest.955). Hence, too, the name "Cyclopean" is applied to this species of architecture, just as in Germany the remains of ancient Roman walls are popularly called "Riesenmauer" and "Tenfelsmauer". One theory refers the name Cyclops to the circular buildings constructed by the Pelasgi, of which we have so remarkable a specimen in what is called the Treasury of Atreus, at Mycenae. From the form of these buildings, resembling within a hollow cone or beehive, and the round opening at the top, the individuals who constructed them are thought to have derived their appellation. (Cf. Gell's Argolis, p. 34.) Those who make them to have dwelt in Sicily blend an old tradition with one of more recent date. This last probably took its rise when Aetna and the Lipari Islands were assigned to Hephaestus, by the popular belief of the day, as his workshops; which could only have happened when Aetna had become better known, and Mount Moschylus, in the isle of Lemnos, had ceased to be volcanic.
  A few remarks may fittingly be added here on the subject of the Cyclopean architecture. This style of building is frequently alluded to by the ancient writers. In fact, every architectural work of extraordinary magnitude, to the execution of which human labour appeared inadequate, was ascribed to the Cyclopes (Eurip. Iph. in Aul. 534; id. Herc. Fur. 15; id. Troad. 108; Strab.373; Herc. Fur. 996; Theb.iv. 151; Pausan. ii. 25). The general character of the Cyclopean style is immense blocks of stone, without cement, placed upon each other, sometimes irregularly and with smaller stones filling up the interstices, sometimes in regular and horizontal rows. The Cyclopean style is commonly divided into four eras. The first, or oldest, is that employed at Tiryns and Mycenae, consisting of blocks of various sizes, some of them very large, the interstices of which are, or were once, filled up with small stones. The second era is marked by polygonal stones, which nevertheless fit into each other with great nicety. Specimens exist at Delphi, Iulis, and at Cosa in Etruria. In this style there are no courses. The third era appears in the Phocian cities, and in some of Boeotia and Argolis. It is distinguished by the work being made in courses, and by the stones, though of unequal size, being of the same height. The fourth and youngest style presents horizontal courses of masonry, not always of the same height, but formed of stones which are all rectangular. This style is chiefly confined to Attica. The most reasonable opinion relative to the Cyclopean walls of antiquity is that which ascribes their erection to the ancient Pelasgi.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



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