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Mythology (3)



Father of Phineus



   Son of Agenor, and king of Salmydessus in Thrace. He was first married to Cleopatra , the daughter of Boreas and Orithyia, by whom he had two children, Oryithus (Oarthus) and Crambis; but their names are different in the different legends: Ovid calls them Polydectus and Polydorus. Afterwards he was married to Idaea (some call her Dia, Eurytia, or Idothea), by whom he again had two sons, Thynus and Mariandynus.    Phineus was a blind soothsayer, who had received his prophetic powers from Apollo; but the cause of his blindness is not the same in all accounts. He is most celebrated on account of his being tormented by the Harpies, who were sent by the gods to punish him on account of his cruelty towards his sons by the first marriage. His second wife falsely accused them of having made an attempt upon her virtue, whereupon Phineus put out their eyes, or, according to others, exposed them to be devoured by wild beasts, or ordered them to be half buried in the earth, and then to be scourged. Therefore the gods struck him with blindness and sent the Harpies to torment him. Whenever a meal was placed before Phineus, the Harpies darted down from the air and carried it off; later writers add that they either devoured the food themselves or rendered it unfit to be eaten. When the Argonauts visited Thrace, Phineus promised to instruct them respecting their voyage, if they would deliver him from the monsters. This was done by Zetes and Calais, the sons of Boreas, and brothers of Cleopatra. Phineus now explained to the Argonauts the further course they had to take, and especially cautioned them against the Symplegades. According to another story the Argonauts, on their arrival at Thrace, found the sons of Phineus half buried, and demanded their liberation, which Phineus refused. A battle thereupon ensued, in which Phineus was slain by Heracles. The latter also delivered Cleopatra from her confinement, and restored the kingdom to the sons of Phineus; and on their advice he also sent the second wife of Phineus back to her father, who ordered her to be put to death. Some traditions, lastly, state that Phineus was killed by Boreas, or that he was carried off by the Harpies into the country of the Bistones or Milchessians. Those accounts in which Phineus is stated to have put out the eyes of his sons add that they had their sight restored to them by the sons of Boreas, or by Asclepius.

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

Phineus : Various WebPages

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