Homeric world MAKEDONIA EAST & THRACE (Region) GREECE - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Homeric world (28)

Ancient myths

The death of King Lycurgus of Edonians

  Dionysus discovered the vine, and being driven mad by Hera he roamed about Egypt and Syria. At first he was received by Proteus, king of Egypt, but afterwards he arrived at Cybela in Phrygia. And there, after he had been purified by Rhea and learned the rites of initiation, he received from her the costume and hastened through Thrace against the Indians. But Lycurgus, son of Dryas, was king of the Edonians, who dwell beside the river Strymon, and he was the first who insulted and expelled him. Dionysus took refuge in the sea with Thetis, daughter of Nereus, and the Bacchanals were taken prisoners together with the multitude of Satyrs that attended him. But afterwards the Bacchanals were suddenly released, and Dionysus drove Lycurgus mad. And in his madness he struck his son Dryas dead with an axe, imagining that he was lopping a branch of a vine, and when he had cut off his son's extremities, he recovered his senses. But the land remaining barren, the god declared oracularly that it would bear fruit if Lycurgus were put to death. On hearing that, the Edonians led him to Mount Pangaeum and bound him, and there by the will of Dionysus he died, destroyed by horses.
For the story of the hostility of Lycurgus to Dionysus, see Hom. Il. 6.129ff., with the Scholia; Soph. Ant. 955ff.; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 273; Hyginus, Fab. 132; Serv. Verg. A. 3.14; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini, ed. Bode, i. p. 39 (First Vatican Mythographer 122). According to Sophocles, it would seem that Lycurgus suffered nothing worse at the hands of his subjects than imprisonment in a cave, where his frenzy gradually subsided. According to Hyginus, Servius, and the First Vatican Mythographer, the furious king, in attempting to cut down the vines, lopped off one of his own feet or even both his legs. It appears to be a common belief that a woodman who cuts a sacred tree with an axe wounds himself in so doing. It is said that when the missionary Jerome of Prague was preaching to the heathen Lithuanians and persuading them to cut down their sacred woods, one of the converts, moved by his exhortation, struck at an ancient oak with an axe, but wounded himself in the legs and fell to the ground. The accident to this zealous convert closely resembles the one which is said to have befallen the Edonian king in a similar attempt on the sacred vine.
Commentary on Hom. Il. 6.129ff
The legend of Lykoergos is one of a series which tell of the introduction of the orgiastic worship of Dionysos, the opposition it encountered, and the punishment inflicted on those who withstood it. The cult was of the nature of a mystic and spiritual revival, and passed into Greece from Thrace. In the present passage it is at home, for Lykoergos was king of the Edones, Soph. Ant.955.This great religious movement spread over Greece apparently in the 7th cent. From its nature it cannot but have aroused the bitterest antagonism among the established authorities. It is highly probable that it absorbed, and in form was coloured by, more or less related popular village customs springing from a primitive nature and vegetation worship, but that in this more spiritual form it was essentially foreign there can be little doubt. Other forms of the legend occur in Thebes (Pentheus), Patrae ( Paus.vii. 18. 3), Orchomenos (Minyadae), Argos (Proitidae).

Ancient towns


ISMAROS (Ancient city) RODOPI
Ismarus was in the land of the Cicones close to the sea and was sacked by Odysseus (Od. 9.40). Near the city there was a wooded grove of Phoebus Apollo, where the priest Maro lived, who had given to Odysseus a goatskin of wine, which the latter gave to the Cyclops Polyphemus (Il. 9. 198).



KIKONES (Ancient country) GREECE
Leader of the Cicones (Il. 17.73).



IDONIS (Ancient area) GREECE
He was the father of the king of Thrace Lycurgus (Il. 6.130).

(Druas). Father of the Thracian king Lycurgus, who is hence called Dryantides.


ISMAROS (Ancient city) RODOPI
He was the father of Maro (Od. 9.197).


He was the son of Euanthes and priest of Apollo at Ismarus (Od. 9.197).

Perseus Project

Iasion or Iasus

According to Apollodorus, he was the son of Electra by Zeus and brother of Dardanus (Apollod. 3,12,1), who loved Demeter but was slain by Zeus with a thunderbolt (Od. 5.125).

Iasion or Iasius (Iasion or Iasios). Son of Zeus and Electra, beloved by Demeter, who, in a thrice-ploughed field (tripolos), became by him the mother of Pluto or Plutus in Crete. He was slain by Zeus with a thunderbolt. From Iasion came the patronymic Iasides, a name given to Palinurus, as a descendant of Atlas.

Iasion, also called Iasius, was, according to some, a son of Zeus and Electra, the daughter of Atlas, and a brother of Dardanus (Apollod. iii. 12.1; Serv. ad Aen. i. 384; Hes. Theog. 970; Ov. Amor. iii. 10, 25); but others called him a son of Corythus and Electra, of Zeus and the nymph Hemera, or of Ilithyius, or of Minos and the nymph Pyronia (Schol. ad Theocrit. iii. 30; Serv. ad Aen. iii. 167; Eustath. ad Hom; Hygin. Fab. 270). At the wedding of his sister Harmonia, Demeter fell in love with him, and in a thrice-ploughed field (tripolos) she became by him the mother of Pluton or Plutus in Crete, in consequence of which Zeus killed him with a flash of lightning (Hom. Od. v. 125, &c.; Hes. Theog. 969, &c.; Apollod. l. c.; Diod. v. 49, 77; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 29; Conon, Narrat. 21). According to Servius (ad Aen. iii. 167), Iasion was slain by Dardanus, and according to Hyginus (Fab. 250) he was killed by his own horses, whereas others represent him as living to an advanced age as the husband of Demeter (Ov. Met. ix. 421, &c.). In some traditions Eetion is mentioned as the only brother of Dardanus (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 916; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 219), whence some critics have inferred that Iasion and Eetion are only two names for the same person. A further tradition states that Iasion and Dardanus, being driven from their home by a flood, went from Italy, Crete, or Arcadia, to Samothrace, whither he carried the Palladium, and where Zeus himself instructed him in the mysteries of Demeter (Serv. ad Aen. iii. 15, 167, vii. 207; Dionys. i. 61; Diod. v. 48; Strab. vii.; Conon, l. c.; Steph. Byz. s. v. Dardanos). According to Eustathius (ad Hom.), Iasion, being inspired by Demeter and Cora, travelled about in Sicily and many other countries, and every where taught the people the mysteries of Demeter.

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


Samothrace / Samos

An island in the Aegean Sea near the Thracian coast opposite the mouth of the Evros river. Homer calls it Samothrace (Il. 13.12) and Samos (Il. 24.78 & 753).



IDONIS (Ancient area) GREECE
He was the son of Dryas, who was blinded by the gods as a punishment, because he assailed Dionysus, when the latter passed from the Mt. Nysa and fled for refuge to Thetis. After that, he did not live long (Il. 6.130 etc.).
Apollodorus refers to Lycurgus as well (Apollod. 3,5,1).

Lycurgus, (Lukourgos). A king of Thrace, who, when Bacchus was passing through his country, assailed him so furiously that the god was obliged to take refuge with Thetis. Bacchus avenged himself by driving Lycurgus mad, and the latter thereupon killed his own son Dryas with a blow of an axe, taking him for a vine-branch. The land became, in consequence, sterile; and his subjects, having been informed by an oracle that it would not regain its fertility until the monarch was put to death, bound Lycurgus, and left him on Mount Pangaeus, where he was destroyed by wild horses.

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 the leader of the city of Cabesus and ally of Troy (Il. 13.363 & 772).


KIKONES (Ancient country) GREECE
Father of Troezenus


The son of Ceos and father of Euphymus (Il. 2.847).

Perseus Project




Place-names according to Homer

Nysa / Nysion

IDONIS (Ancient area) GREECE
A mountain, where, according to mythology, Dionysus was brought up by the Nymphs (Il. 6.133). At first, it was an imaginary place, but afterwards many mountains and cities of the same name are cited.

The legendary scene of the nurture of Dionysus (Bacchus), who was therefore called Nysaeus, Nysius, Nyseius, Nyseus, Nysigena, etc. Hence the name was applied to several places sacred to that god:
as (1) in India, at the northwest corner of the Punjab, near the confluence of the rivers Cophen and Choaspes.
(2) Nyssa, a city of Caria, on the southern slope of Mount Messogis, famous for its wine.
(3) A city of Cappadocia, near the Halys, the bishopric of St. Gregory of Nyssa.
(4) A town in Aethiopia near Meroe
(5) A village on the slopes of Helicon, in Boeotia.

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

Trojan Allies


A Thracian city, where Othryoneus ruled (Il. 13.363).


KIKONES (Ancient country) GREECE
The Cicones participated in the Trojan War as allies of the Trojans under the leadership of Euphemus, son of Troezenus (Il. 2.843, Od. 9.39, 23.310).

Trojan leaders in the War


He was son of Troezenus and led the Cicones in the Trojan War (Il. 2.846).

Euphemus (3): Perseus Encyclopedia

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