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Mythology (28)

Historic figures

Eleius

(after Aetolus) The kingdom of the Epeans fell to Eleius, the son of Eurycyda, daughter of Endymion and, believe the tale who will, of Poseidon. It was Eleius who gave the inhabitants their present name of Eleans in place of Epeans. Eleius had a son Augeas (Paus. 5.1.8)


Eleius, a son of Tantalus, from whom the country of Elis was believed to have received its name. (Steph. Byz. s. v. Elis.)


Ancient myths

Endymion & Selene

Endymion, (Endumion). In Greek mythology, the beautiful son of Aethlius (or, according to another story, of Zeus) and Calyce, daughter of Aeolus, king of Elis, father of Epeus, Aetolus, and Paeon, the first of whom won the government of the country by conquering in a race which his father had set on foot. He was loved by Selene, the moon-goddess, by whom he had fifty daughters. They were supposed to symbolize the fifty lunar months which intervened between the Olympic Games. His grave was at Olympia. Another story made him a shepherd or hunter on Mount Latmos in Caria. Zeus bestowed on him eternal youth and eternal life in the form of unbroken slumber. Selene descended every night from heaven to visit and embrace the beautiful sleeper in his grotto. The usual story, however, makes Selene to have thrown him into a sleep so that she might kiss and caress him without his knowledge. A beautiful statue in the British Museum represents Endymion, and the legend inspired Keats to write one of the most exquisite poems in English literature.

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



Endymion (Endumion), a youth distinguished for his beauty, and renowned in ancient story by the perpetual sleep in which he spent his life. Some traditions about Endymion refer us to Elis, and others to Caria, and others again are a combination of the two. According to the first set of legends, he was a son of Aethlius and Calyce,or of Zeus and Calyce, and succeeded Aethlius in the kingdom of Elis (Paus. v. 1.2). Others again say that he expelled Clymenus from the kingdom of Elis, and introduced into the country Aeolian settlers from Thessaly (Apollod. i. 7.5, &c.; Paus. v. 8.1). Conon (Narrat 14) calls him a son of Zeus and Protogencia, and Hyginus (Fab. 271) a son of Aetolus. He is said to have been married to Asterodia, Chromia, Hyperippe, Neis, or Iphianassa; and Aetolus, Paeon, Epeius. Eurydice, and Naxus are called his children. He was, however, especially beloved by Selene, by whom he had fifty daughters (Paus. v. 1.2). He caused his sons to engage in the race-course at Olympia, and promised to the victor the succession in his kingdom, and Epeius conquered his brothers, and succeeded Endymion as king of Elis. He was believed to be buried at Olympia, which also contained a statue of his in the treasury of the Metapontians (Paus. vi. 19.8, 20.6). According to a tradition, believed at Heracleia in Caria, Endymion had come from Elis to mount Latmus in Caria, whence he is called the Latmian (Latmius; Paus. v. 1. ยง 4; Ov. Ars Am. iii. 83, Trist. ii. 299). He is described by the poets either as a king, a shepherd, or a hunter (Theocrit. iii. 49, xx. 37 with the Scholiast), and while he was slumbering in a cave of mount Latmus, Selene came down to him, kissed, and lay by his side (Comp. Apollon. Rhod. iv. 57). There also he had, in later times, a sanctuary, and his tomb was shewn in a cave of mount Latmus (Paus. v. 1.4; Strab. xiv.). His eternal sleep on Latmus is assigned to different causes in ancient story. Some said that Zeus had granted him a request, and that Endymion begged for immortality, eternal sleep, and everlasting youth (Apollod. i. 7.5.); others relate that he was received among the gods of Olympus, but as he there fell in love with Hera, Zeus, in his anger, punished him by throwing him into eternal sleep on mount Latmus (Schol. ad Theocrit. iii. 49). Others, lastly, state that Selene, charmed with his surpassing beauty, sent him to sleep, that she might be able to kiss him without being observed by him (Cic. Tuscal. i. 38). The stories of the fair sleeper, Endymion, the darling of Selene, are unquestionably poetical fictions, in which sleep is personified. His name and all his attributes confirm this opinion : Endymion signifies a being that gently comes over one; he is called a king, because he has power over all living creatures; a shepherd, because he slumbered in the cool caves of mount Latmus, that is, "the mount of oblivion". Nothing can be more beautiful, lastly, than the notion, that he is kissed by the soft rays of the moon (Comp. Plat. Phaed.; Ov. Am. i. 13. 43). There is a beautiful statue of a sleeping Endymion in the British Museum.

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


Endymion, on Pausanias:
  The first to rule in this land, they say, was Aethlius, who was the son of Zeus and of Protogeneia, the daughter of Deucalion, and the father of Endymion. The Moon, they say, fell in love with this Endymion and bore him fifty daughters. Others with greater probability say that Endymion took a wife Asterodia--others say she was Cromia, the daughter of Itonus, the son of Amphictyon; others again, Hyperippe, the daughter of Arcas--but all agree that Endymion begat Paeon, Epeius, Aetolus, and also a daughter Eurycyda. Endymion set his sons to run a race at Olympia for the throne; Epeius won, and obtained the kingdom, and his subjects were then named Epeans for the first time.(Paus. 5.1.4)
...Later on there (at Olympia) came (they say) from Crete Clymenus, the son of Cardys, about fifty years after the flood came upon the Greeks in the time of Deucalion. He was descended from Heracles of Ida; he held the games at Olympia and set up an altar in honor of Heracles, his ancestor, and the other Curetes, giving to Heracles the surname of Parastates (Assistant). And Endymion, the son of Aethlius, deposed Clymenus, and set his sons a race in Olympia with the kingdom as the prize. (Paus. 5.8.1)
... At the end of the stadium (at Olympia), where is the starting-place for the runners, there is, the Eleans say, the tomb of Endymion. (Paus. 6.20.9)

Endymion, on Apollodorus:
Calyce and Aethlius had a son Endymion who led Aeolians from Thessaly and founded Elis. But some say that he was a son of Zeus. As he was of surpassing beauty, the Moon fell in love with him, and Zeus allowed him to choose what he would, and he chose to sleep for ever, remaining deathless and ageless.
Endymion had by a Naiad nymph or, as some say, by Iphianassa, a son Aetolus, who slew Apis, son of Phoroneus, and fled to the Curetian country. There he killed his hosts, Dorus and Laodocus and Polypoetes, the sons of Phthia and Apollo, and called the country Aetolia after himself.( Apollod. 1.7.5-6)


Selene. The Greek goddess of the moon, daughter of the Titan Hyperion and Theia, sister of Helios and Eos. She was described as a beautiful woman with long wings and golden diadem, from which she shed a mild light, riding in a car drawn by two white horses or mules or cows. The horns of the latter symbolized the crescent moon. In later times she was identified with Artemis (or else with Hecate and Persephone), as was Helios with Phoebus Apollo, and therefore was herself called Phoebe. After this she was also regarded as a huntress and archer, recognizable by her crescent as the goddess of the moon. She was worshipped on the days of the new and full moon. She bore to Zeus a daughter, Pandia, worshipped at Athens with her father at the festival of Pandia. On her love for Endymion, see Endymion. The Romans called her Luna, and had two temples to her at Rome--one on the Aventine and one on the Palatine.

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


Kings

Aethlius & Calyce


Aethlius (Aethlios), the first king of Elis (Paus. v. 1.2). He was a son of Zeus and Protogeneia, the daughter of Deucalion (Apollod. i. 7.2; Hygin. Fab. 155), and was married to Calyce, by whom he begot Endymion. According to some accounts Endymion was himself a son of Zeus and first king of Elis (Apollod. i. 7. 5). Other traditions again made Aethlius a son of Aeolus, who was called by the name of Zeus (Paus. v. 8.1).


Klymenos

Fifty years after Deucalion's flood they said that Clymenus, the son of Cardys, a descendant of the Idaean Heracles, came from Crete, and celebrated the festival; but that Endymion, the son of Aethlius, deprived Clymenus of the sovereignty, and offered the kingdom as a prize to his sons in the foot-race; that a generation after Endymion the festival was celebrated by Pelops to the honour of the Olympian Zeus;


Epeus (Epeios) & Anaxiroe

Endymion begat Paeon, Epeius, Aetolus, and also a daughter Eurycyda. Endymion set his sons to run a race at Olympia for the throne; Epeius won, and obtained the kingdom, and his subjects were then named Epeans for the first time. (Paus. 5.1.4)
Epeius married Anaxiroe, the daughter of Coronus, and begat a daughter Hyrmina, but no male issue. In the reign of Epeius the following events also occurred. Oenomaus was the son of Alxion (though poets proclaimed his father to be Ares, and the common report agrees with them ), but while lord of the land of Pisa he was put down by Pelops the Lydian, who crossed over from Asia. On the death of Oenomaus, Pelops took possession of the land of Pisa and its bordering country Olympia, separating it from the land of Epeius. The Eleans said that Pelops was the first to found a temple of' Hermes in Peloponnesus and to sacrifice to the god, his purpose being to avert the wrath of the god for the death of Myrtilus.(Paus. 5.1.6)


Aetolus I

Aetolus, who came to the throne after Epeius, was made to flee from Peloponnesus, because the children of Apis tried and convicted him of unintentional homicide. For Apis, the son of Jason, from Pallantium in Arcadia, was run over and killed by the chariot of Aetolus at the games held in honor of Azan. Aetolus, son of Endymion, gave to the dwellers around the Achelous their name, when he fled to this part of the mainland.(Paus. 5.1.8)
More about Aetolus see ancient Aetolia


Aetolus (Aitolos). A son of Endymion and the nymph Neis, or Iphianassa (Apollod. i. 7.6). According to Pausanias (v. i.2), his mother was called Asterodia, Chromia, or Hyperippe. He was married to Pronoe, by whom he had two sons, Pleuron and Calydon. His brothers were Paeon, Epeius, and others (Steph. Byz. s. v. Naxos; Conon. Narrat. 14; Schol. ad Pind. Ol. i. 28). His father compelled him and his two brothers Paeon and Epeius to decide by a contest at Olympia as to which of them was to succeed him in his kingdom of Elis. Epeius gained the victory, and occupied the throne after his father, and on his demise he was succeeded by Aetolus. During the funeral games which were celebrated in honour of Azan, he ran with his chariot over Apis, the son of Jason or Salmoneus, and killed him, whereupon he was expelled by the sons of Apis (Apollod. l. c.; Paus. v. 1.6; Strab. viii.). After leaving Peloponnesus, he went to the country of the Curetes, between the Achelous and the Corinthian gulf, where he slew Dorus, Laodocus, and Polypoetes, the sons of Helios and Phthia, and gave to the country the name of Aetolia (Apollod. Paus. ll. cc.). This story is only a mythical account of the colonisation of Aetolia. (Strab. x.)

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


Dius

King of Elis, before Dorians arrival (see below Oxylus)


Oxylus & Pieria

Amphimachus begat Eleius, and it was while Eleius was king in Elis that the assembly of the Dorian army under the sons of Aristomachus took place, with a view to returning to the Peloponnesus. To their kings was delivered this oracle, that they were to choose the ?one with three eyes? to lead them on their return. When they were at a loss as to the meaning of the oracle, they were met by a man driving a mule, which was blind of one eye. Cresphontes inferred that this was the man indicated by the oracle, and so the Dorians made him one of themselves. He urged them to descend upon the Peloponnesus in ships, and not to attempt to go across the Isthmus with a land army. Such was his advice, and at the same time he led them on the voyage from Naupactus to Molycrium. In return they agreed to give him at his request the land of Elis. The man was Oxylus, son of Haemon, the son of Thoas. This was the Thoas who helped the sons of Atreus to destroy the empire of Priam, and from Thoas to Aetolus the son of Endymion are six generations. There were ties of kindred between the Heracleidae and the kings of Aetolia; in particular the mothers of Thoas, the son of Andraemon, and of Hyllus, the son of Heracles, were sisters. It fell to the lot of Oxylus to be an outlaw from Aetolia. The story goes that as he was throwing the quoit he missed the mark and committed unintentional homicide. The man killed by the quoit, according to one account, was Thermius, the brother of Oxylus; according to another it was Alcidocus, the son of Scopius.
  The following story is also told of Oxylus. He suspected that, when the sons of Aristomachus saw that the land of Elis was a goodly one, and cultivated throughout, they would be no longer willing to give it to him. He accordingly led the Dorians through Arcadia and not through Elis. Oxylus was anxious to get the kingdom of Elis without a battle, but Dius would not give way; he proposed that, instead of their fighting a pitched battle with all their forces, a single soldier should be chosen from each army to fight as its champion. This proposal chanced to find favour with both sides, and the champions chosen were the Elean Degmenus, an archer, and Pyraechmes, a slinger, to represent the Aetolians. Pyraechmes won and Oxylus got the kingdom. He allowed the old inhabitants, the Epeans, to keep their possessions, except that he introduced among them Aetolian colonists, giving them a share in the land. He assigned privileges to Dius, and kept up after the ancient manner the honors paid to heroes, especially the worship of Augeas, to whom even at the present day hero-sacrifice is offered. He is also said to have induced to come into the city the dwellers in the villages near the wall, and by increasing the number of the inhabitants to have made Elis larger and generally more prosperous. There also came to him an oracle from Delphi, that he should bring in as co-founder "the descendant of Pelops." Oxylus made diligent search, and in his search he discovered Agorius, son of Damasius, son of Penthilus, son of Orestes. He brought Agorius himself from Helice in Achaia, and with him a small body of Achaeans. The wife of Oxylus they say was called Pieria, but beyond this nothing more about her is recorded. Oxylus is said to have had two sons, Aetolus and Laias. Aetolus died before his parents, who buried him in a tomb which they caused to be made right in the gate leading to Olympia and the sanctuary of Zeus. That they buried him thus was due to an oracle forbidding the corpse to be laid either without the city or within it. Right down to our own day the gymnasiarch sacrifices to Aetolus as to a hero every year. (Paus. 5.3.5 - 5.4.4)


Laias

After Oxylus the kingdom devolved on Laias, son of Oxylus. His descendants, however, I find did not reign, and so I pass them by, though I know who they were; my narrative must not descend to men of common rank.(Paus. 5.4.5)


Heroes

Eumantis

Eumantis, an Eleian of the house of the Iamidae, whom Cresphontes had brought to Messene. (Paus. 4.16.1)


Agorius

There also came to him an oracle from Delphi, that he should bring in as co-founder "the descendant of Pelops." Oxylus made diligent search, and in his search he discovered Agorius, son of Damasius, son of Penthilus, son of Orestes. He brought Agorius himself from Helice in Achaia, and with him a small body of Achaeans. (Paus. 5.4.3)


Iphitus

Later on Iphitus, of the line of Oxylus and contemporary with Lycurgus, who drew up the code of laws for the Lacedaemonians, arranged the games at Olympia and reestablished afresh the Olympic festival and truce, after an interruption of uncertain length. The reason for this interruption I will set forth when my narrative deals with Olympia. At this time Greece was grievously worn by internal strife and plague, and it occurred to Iphitus to ask the god at Delphi for deliverance from these evils. The story goes that the Pythian priestess ordained that Iphitus himself and the Eleans must renew the Olympic games. Iphitus also induced the Eleans to sacrifice to Heracles as to a god, whom hitherto they had looked upon as their enemy. The inscription at Olympia calls Iphitus the son of Haemon, but most of the Greeks say that his father was Praxonides and not Haemon, while the ancient records of Elis traced him to a father of the same name.(Paus. 5.4.5)


Iphitus II

Iphitus, of the line of Oxylus and contemporary with Lycurgus, who drew up the code of laws for the Lacedaemonians, arranged the games at Olympia and reestablished afresh the Olympic festival and truce, after an interruption of uncertain length. The reason for this interruption I will set forth when my narrative deals with Olympia. At this time Greece was grievously worn by internal strife and plague, and it occurred to Iphitus to ask the god at Delphi for deliverance from these evils. The story goes that the Pythian priestess ordained that Iphitus himself and the Eleans must renew the Olympic games. Iphitus also induced the Eleans to sacrifice to Heracles as to a god, whom hitherto they had looked upon as their enemy. The inscription at Olympia calls Iphitus the son of Haemon, but most of the Greeks say that his father was Praxonides and not Haemon, while the ancient records of Elis traced him to a father of the same name.(Paus. 5.4.5)


Aetolus II

Oxylus is said to have had two sons, Aetolus and Laias. Aetolus died before his parents, who buried him in a tomb which they caused to be made right in the gate leading to Olympia and the sanctuary of Zeus. That they buried him thus was due to an oracle forbidding the corpse to be laid either without the city or within it. Right down to our own day the gymnasiarch sacrifices to Aetolus as to a hero every year.(Paus. 5.4.4)


Aetolus

Aetolus. A son of Oxylus and Pieria, and brother of Laias. He died at a tender age, and his parents were enjoined by an oracle to bury him neither within nor without the town of Elis. They accordingly buried him under the gate at which the road to Olympia commenced. The gymnasiarch of Elis used to offer an annual sacrifice on his tomb as late as the time of Pausanias. (v. 4.2)


Heroines

Asterodia

Others with greater probability say that Endymion took a wife Asterodia (Paus. 5.1.4)


Chromia

others say she (wife of Endymion) was Cromia, the daughter of Itonus, the son of Amphictyon; (Paus. 5.1.4)


Hyperippe

others again, (say that Endymion took a wife) Hyperippe, the daughter of Arcas (Paus. 5.1.4)


Eurycyda

Daughter of Endymion (Paus. 5.1,4)


Gods & demigods

Sosipolis

At the foot of Mount Cronius, on the north...is a sanctuary of Eileithyia, and in it Sosipolis, a native Elean deity, is worshipped. Now they surname Eileithyia Olympian, and choose a priestess for the goddess every year. The old woman who tends Sosipolis herself too by an Elean custom lives in chastity, bringing water for the god's bath and setting before him barley cakes kneaded with honey. In the front part of the temple, for it is built in two parts, is an altar of Eileithyia and an entrance for the public; in the inner Part Sosipolis is worshipped, and no one may enter it except the woman who tends the god, and she must wrap her head and face in a white veil. Maidens and matrons wait in the sanctuary of Eileithyia chanting a hymn; they burn all manner of incense to the god, but it is not the custom to pour libations of wine. An oath is taken by Sosipolis on the most important occasions. The story is that when the Arcadians had invaded the land of Elis, and the Eleans were set in array against them, a woman came to the Elean generals, holding a baby to her breast, who said that she was the mother of the child but that she gave him, because of dreams, to fight for the Eleans. The Elean officers believed that the woman was to be trusted, and placed the child before the army naked. When the Arcadians came on, the child turned at once into a snake. Thrown into disorder at the sight, the Arcadians turned and fled, and were attacked by the Eleans, who won a very famous victory, and so call the god Sosipolis. On the spot where after the battle the snake seemed to them to go into the ground they made the sanctuary. With him the Eleans resolved to worship Eileithyia also, because this goddess to help them brought her son forth unto men. The tomb of the Arcadians who were killed in the battle is on the hill across the Cladeus to the west. Near to the sanctuary of Eileithyia are the remains of the sanctuary of Heavenly Aphrodite, and there too they sacrifice upon the altars.

This extract is from: Pausanias. Description of Greece (ed. W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., & H.A. Ormerod, 1918). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.


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