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This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History

Diodorus Siculus

published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1939

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. III) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History

Book IV, 59‑85 (end)

 p3  59 1 But since we have set forth the facts concerning Heracles and his descendants, it will be appropriate in this connexion to speak of Theseus, since he emulated the Labours of Heracles. Theseus, then, was born of Aethra, the daughter of Pittheus, and Poseidon, and was reared in Troezen at the home of Pittheus, his mother's father, and after he had found and taken up the tokens1 which, as the myths relate, had been placed by Aegeus beneath a certain rock, he came to Athens. And taking the road along the coast, as men say, since he emulated the high achievements of Heracles, he set about performing Labours which would bring him both approbation and fame. 2 The first, then, whom he slew was he who was called Corynetes,2 who carried a corynê, as it was called, or club, which was the weapon with which he fought, and with it killed  p5 any who passed by, and the second was Sinis3 who made his home on the Isthmus. 3 Sinis, it should be explained, used to bend over two pines, fasten one arm to each of them, and then suddenly release the pines, the result being that bodies were pulled asunder by the force of the pines and the unfortunate victims met a death of great vengeance.4a 4 For his third deed he slew the wild sow which had its haunts about Crommyon, a beast which excelled in both ferocity and size and was killing many human beings. Then he punished Sceiron who made his home in the rocks of Megaris which are called after him the Sceironian Rocks. This man, namely, made it his practice to compel those who passed by to wash his feet at a precipitous place, and then, suddenly giving them a kick, he would roll them down the crags into the sea at a place called Chelonê. 5 And near Eleusis he slew Cercyon, who wrestled with those who passed by and killed whomever he could defeat. After this he put to death Procrustes, as he was called, who dwelt in what was known as Corydallus in Attica; this man compelled the travellers who passed by to lie down upon a bed, and if any were too long for the bed he cut off the parts of their body which protruded, while in the case of such as were too short for it he stretched (prokrouein) their legs, this being the reason why he was given the name Procrustes. 6 After successfully accomplishing the deeds which we have mentioned, Theseus came to Athens and by means of the tokens caused Aegeus to recognize him. Then he grappled with the  p7 Marathonian bull which Heracles in the performance of one of his Labours had brought from Crete to the Peloponnesus, and mastering the animal he brought it to Athens; this bull Aegeus received from him and sacrificed to Apollo.

60 1 It remains for us now to speak of the Minotaur which was slain by Theseus, in order that we may complete our account of the deeds of Theseus. But we must revert to earlier times and set forth the facts which are interwoven with this performance, in order that the whole narrative may be clear.

2 Tectamus, the son of Dorus, the son of Hellen, the son of Deucalion, sailed to Crete with Aeolians and Pelasgians and became king of the island, and marrying the daughter of Cretheus he begat Asteirus. And during the time when he was king in Crete Zeus, as they say, carried off Europê from Phoenicia, and carrying her across to Crete upon the back of a bull, he lay with her there and begat three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. 3 After this Asterius, the king of Crete, took Europê to wife; and since he was without children by her he adopted the sons of Zeus and left them at his death to succeed to the kingdom. As for these children, Rhadamanthys gave the Cretans their laws, and Minos, succeeding to the throne and marrying Itonê, the daughter of Lyctius, begat Lycastus, who in turn succeeded to the supreme power and marrying Idê, the daughter of Corybas, begat the second Minos, who, as some writers record, was the son of Zeus. This Minos was the first Greek to create a powerful naval force and to become master of the sea. 4 And marrying Pasiphaê, the daughter of Helius and Cretê, he begat Deucalion and Catreus and Androgeos and Ariadnê  p9 and had other, natural, children more in number than these. As for the sons of Minos, Androgeos came to Athens at the time of the Panathenaic festival, while Aegeus was king, and defeating all the contestants in the games he became a close friend of the sons of Pallas. 5 Thereupon Aegeus, viewing with suspicion the friendship which Androgeos had formed, since he feared that Minos might lend his aid to the sons of Pallas and take from him the supreme power, plotted against the life of Androgeos. Consequently, when the latter was on his way to Thebes in order to attend a festival there, Aegeus caused him to be treacherously slain by certain natives of the region in the neighbourhood of Oenoê in Attica.

61 1 Minos, when he learned of the fate which had befallen his son, came to Athens and demanded satisfaction for the murder of Androgeos. And when no one paid any attention to him, he declared war against the Athenians and uttered imprecations to Zeus, calling down drought and famine throughout the state of the Athenians. And when drought quickly prevailed about Attica and Greece and the crops were destroyed, the heads of the communities gathered together and inquired of the god what steps they could take to rid themselves of their present evils. The god made answer to them that they should go to Aeacus, the son of Zeus and Aeginê, the daughter of Asopus, and ask him to off up prayers on their behalf. 2 And when they had done as they had been commanded, among the rest of the Greeks, the drought was broken, but among the Athenians alone it continued; wherefore the Athenians were compelled to make inquiry of the god how they  p11 might be rid of their present evils. Thereupon the god made answer that they could do so if they would render to Minos such satisfaction for the murder of Androgeos as he might demand. 3 The Athenians obeyed the order of the god, and Minos commanded them that they should give seven youths and as many maidens every nine years to the Minotaur for him to devour, for as long a time as the monster should live. And when the Athenians gave them, the inhabitants of Attica were rid of their evils and Minos ceased warring on Athens.

At the expiration of nine years Minos came again to Attica accompanied by a great fleet and demanded and received the fourteen young people. 4 Now Theseus was one of those who were to set forth, and Aegeus made the agreement with the captain of the vessel that, if Theseus should overcome the Minotaur, they should sail back with their sails white, but if he died, they should be black, just as they had been accustomed to do on the previous occasion. When they had landed in Crete, Ariadnê, the daughter of Minos, became enamoured of Theseus, who was unusually handsome, and Theseus, after conversing with her and securing her assistance, both slew the Minotaur and got safely away, since he had learned from her the way out of the labyrinth. 5 In making his way back to his native land he carried off Ariadnê and sailed out unobserved during the night, after which he put in at the island which at that time was called Dia, but is now called Naxos.

At this same time, the myths relate, Dionysus showed himself on the island, and because of the beauty of Ariadnê he took the maiden away from Theseus and kept her as his lawful wife, loving her  p13 exceedingly. Indeed, after her death he considered her worthy of immortal honours because of the affection he had for her, and placed among the stars of heaven the "Crown of Ariadnê." 6 But Theseus, they say, being vexed exceedingly because the maiden had been taken from him, and forgetting because of his grief the command of Aegeus, came to port in Attica with the black sails. 7 And of Aegeus, we are told, witnessing the return of the ship and thinking that his son was dead, performed an act which was at the same time heroic and a calamity; for he ascended the acropolis and then, because he was disgusted with life by reason of his excessive grief, cast himself down from the height. 8 After Aegeus had died, Theseus, succeeding to the kingship, ruled over the masses in accordance with the laws and performed many deeds which contributed to the aggrandisement of his native land. The most notable thing which he accomplished was the incorporation of the demes, which were small in size but many in number, into the city of Athens; 9 since from that time on the Athenians were filled with pride by reason of the importance of their state and aspired to the leadership of the Greeks. But for our part, now that we have set forth these facts at sufficient length, we shall record what remains to be said about Theseus.

62 1 Deucalion, the eldest of the sons of Minos, while he was ruler of Crete, formed an alliance with the Athenians and united his own sister Phaedra in marriage to Theseus. After the marriage Theseus sent his son Hippolytus, who had been born to him by the Amazon,5 to Troezen to be reared among the brothers of Aethra,6 and by Phaedra he begat Acamas  p15 and Demophon. 2 A short time after this Hippolytus returned to Athens for the celebration of the mysteries, and Phaedra, becoming enamoured of him because of his beauty, at that time, after he had returned to Troezen, erected a temple of Aphroditê beside the acropolis at the place whence one can look across and see Troezen,7 but at a later time, when she was stopping together with Theseus at the home of Pittheus, she asked Hippolytus to lie with her. Upon his refusal to do so Phaedra, they say, was vexed, and on her return to Athens she told Theseus that Hippolytus had proposed lying with her. 3 And since Theseus had his doubts about the accusation, he sent for Hippolytus in order to put him to the test, whereupon Phaedra, fearing the result of the examination, hanged herself; as for Hippolytus, who was driving a chariot when he heard of the accusation, he was so distraught in spirit that the horses got out of control and ran away with him,8 and in the event the chariot was smashed to bits and the youth, becoming entangled in the leathern thongs, was dragged along till he died. 4 Hippolytus, then, since he had ended his life because of his chastity, received at the hands of the Troezenians honours equal to those offered to the gods, but Theseus, when after these happenings he was overpowered by a rival faction and banished from his native land, met his death on foreign soil.9 The Athenians, however, repenting of what they had done, brought back his bones and accorded him honours equal to those offered to the gods, and they set aside in Athens a sacred precinct which enjoyed the right of sanctuary and was called after him the Theseum.

 p17  63 1 Since we have duly set forth the story of Theseus, we shall discuss in turn the rape of Helen and the wooing of Persephonê by Peirithoüs; for these deeds are interwoven with the affairs of Theseus. Peirithoüs, we are told, the son of Ixion, when his wife Hippodameia died leaving behind her a son Polypoetes, came to visit Theseus at Athens. 2 And finding on his arrival that Phaedra, the wife of Theseus, was dead, he persuaded him to seize and carry off Helen, the daughter of Leda and Zeus, who was only ten years of age, but excelled all women in beauty. When they arrived in Lacedaemon with a number of companions and had found a favourable occasion, they assisted each other in seizing Helen and carrying her off to Athens. 3 Thereupon they agreed among themselves to cast lots, and the one who had drawn the lot was to marry Helen and aid the other in getting another woman as wife, and in so doing to endure any danger. When they had exchanged oaths to this effect they cast lots, and it turned out that by the lot Theseus won her. Theseus, then, got the maiden for his own in the manner we have described; but since the Athenians were displeased at what had taken place, Theseus in fear of them got Helen off safely to Aphidna, one of the cities of Attica. With her he stationed his mother Aethra and the bravest men among his friends to serve as guardians of the maiden. 4 Peirithoüs now decided to seek the hand of Persephonê in marriage, and when he asked Theseus to make the journey with him Theseus at first endeavoured to dissuade him and to turn him away from such a  p19 deed as being impious; but since Peirithoüs firmly insisted upon it Theseus was bound by the oaths to join with him in the deed. And when they had at last made their way below to the regions of Hades, it came to pass that because of the impiety of their act they were both put in chains, and although Theseus was later let go by reason of the favour with which Heracles regarded him, Peirithoüs because of the impiety remained in Hades, enduring everlasting punishment; but some writers of myths say that both of them never returned.10 5 While this was taking place, they say that Helen's brothers, the Dioscori, came up in arms against Aphidna, and taking the city razed it to the ground, and that they brought back Helen, who was still a virgin, to Lacedaemon and along with her, to serve as a slave, Aethra, the mother of Theseus.

64 1 Since we have spoken on these matters at sufficient length, we shall now give the account of The Seven against Thebes, taking up the original causes of the war. Laïus, the king of Thebes, married Jocastê, the daughter of Creon, and since he was childless for some time he inquired of the god regarding his begetting of children. The Pythian priestess made reply that it would not be to his interest that children should be born to him, since the son who should be begotten of him would be the murderer of his father and would bring great misfortunes upon all the house; but Laïus forgot the oracle and begat a son, and he exposed the babe after he had pierced its ankles through with a piece of iron, this being the reason why it was later given the name Oedipus.11 2 But the household slaves who  p21 took the infant were unwilling to expose it, and gave it as a present to the wife of Polybus, since she could bear no children. Later, after the boy had attained to manhood, Laïus, decided to inquire of the god regarding the babe which had been exposed, and Oedipus likewise, having learned from someone of the substitution which had been made in his case,12 set about to inquire of the Pythian priestess who were his true parents. In Phocis these two met face to face, and when Laïus in a disdainful manner ordered Oedipus to make way for him, the latter in anger slew Laïus, not knowing that he was his father.

3 At this very time, the myths go on to say, a sphinx, a beast of double form,13 had come to Thebes and was propounding a riddle to anyone who might be able to solve it, and many were being slain by her because of their inability to do so. And although a generous reward was offered to the man who should solve it, that he should marry Jocastê and be king of Thebes, yet no man was able to comprehend what was propounded except Oedipus, who alone solved the riddle. What had been propounded by the sphinx was this: What is it that is at the same time a biped, a triped, and a quadruped?14 4 And while all the rest were perplexed, Oedipus declared that the animal proposed in the riddle was "man," since as an infant he is a quadruped, when grown a biped, and in old age a triped, using, because of his infirmity, a staff. At this answer the sphinx, in  p23 accordance with the oracle which the myth recounts, threw herself down a precipice, and Oedipus then married the woman who, unknown to himself, was his mother, and begat two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, and two daughters, Antigonê and Ismenê.

65 1 When the sons had attained to manhood, they go on to say, and the impious deeds of the family became known, Oedipus, because of the disgrace, was compelled by his sons to remain always in retirement, and the young men, taking over the throne, agreed together that they should reign in alternate years. Eteocles, being the elder, was the first to reign, and upon the termination of the period he did not wish to give over the kingship. 2 But Polyneices demanded of him the throne as they had agreed, and when his brother would not comply with his demand he fled to Argos to king Adrastus.

At the same time that this was taking place Tydeus, they say, the son of Oeneus, who had slain his cousins Alcathoüs and Lycopeus in Calydon, fled from Aetolia to Argos. 3 Adrastus received both the fugitives kindly, and in obedience to a certain oracle joined his daughters in marriage to them, Argeia to Polyneices, and Deïpylê to Tydeus. And since the young men were held in high esteem and enjoyed the king's favour to a great degree, Adrastus, they say, as a mark of his good-will promised to restore both Polyneices and Tydeus to their native lands. 4 And having decided to restore Polyneices first, he sent Tydeus as an envoy to Eteocles in Thebes to negotiate the return. But while Tydeus was on his way thither, we are told, he was set upon from ambush by fifty men sent by Eteocles, but he slew every man of them and got through to Argos, to  p25 the astonishment of all, whereupon Adrastus, when he learned what had taken place, made preparations for the consequent campaign against Eteocles, having persuaded Capaneus and Hippomedon and Parthenopaeus, the son of Atalantê, the daughter of Schoeneus, to be his allies in the war. 5 Polyneices also endeavoured to persuade the seer Amphiaraüs to take part with him in the campaign against Thebes; and when the latter, because he knew in advance that he would perish if he should take part in the campaign, would not for that reason consent to do so, Polyneices, they say, gave the golden necklace which, as the myth relates, had once been given by Aphroditê as a present to Harmonia, to the wife of Amphiaraüs, in order that she might persuade her husband to join the others as their ally.

6 At the time in question Amphiaraüs, we are told, was at variance with Adrastus, striving for the kingship, and the two came to an agreement among themselves whereby they committed the decision of the matter at issue between them to Eriphylê, the wife of Amphiaraüs and sister of Adrastus. When Eriphylê awarded the victory to Adrastus and, with regard to the campaign against Thebes, gave it as her opinion that it should be undertaken, Amphiaraüs, believing that his wife had betrayed him, did agree to take part in the campaign, but left orders with his son Alcmaeon that after his death he should slay Eriphylê. 7 Alcmaeon, therefore, at a later time slew his mother according to his father's injunction, and because he was conscious of the pollution he had incurred he was driven to madness. But Adrastus and Polyneices and Tydeus, adding to their number four leaders, Amphiaraüs,  p27 Capaneus, Hippomedon, and Parthenopaeus, the son of Atalantê the daughter of Schoeneus, set out against Thebes, accompanied by a notable army. 8 After this Eteocles and Polyneices slew each other, Capaneus died while impetuously ascending the wall by a scaling-ladder, and as for Amphiaraüs, the earth opened and he together with his chariot fell into the opening and disappeared from sight. 9 When the rest of the leaders, with the exception of Adrastus, had likewise perished and many soldiers had fallen, the Thebans refused to allow the removal of the dead and so Adrastus left them unburied and returned to Argos. So the bodies of those who had fallen at the foot of the Cadmeia15 remained unburied and no one had the courage to inter them, but the Athenians, who excelled all others in uprightness, honoured with funeral rites all who had fallen at the foot of the Cadmeia.16

66 1 As for The Seven against Thebes, such, then, was the outcome of their campaign. But their sons, who were known as Epigoni,17 being intent upon avenging the death of their fathers, decided to make common cause in a campaign against Thebes, having received an oracle from Apollo that they should make war upon this city, and with Alcmaeon, the son of Amphiaraüs, as their supreme commander. 2 Alcmaeon, after they had chosen him to be their commander, inquired of the god concerning the campaign against Thebes and also concerning the punishment of his mother Eriphylê. 3 And Apollo  p29 replied that he should perform both these deeds, not only because Eriphylê had accepted the golden necklace in return for working the destruction of his father, but also because she had received a robe as a reward for securing the death of her son. For Aphroditê, as we are told, in ancient times had given both the necklace and a robe as presents to Harmonia, the daughter of Cadmus, and Eriphylê had accepted both of them, receiving the necklace from Polyneices and the robe from Thersandrus, the son of Polyneices, who had given it to her in order to induce her to persuade her son to make the campaign against Thebes. Alcmaeon, accordingly, gathered soldiers, not only from Argos but from the neighbouring cities as well, and so had a notable army as he set out on the campaign against Thebes. 4 The Thebans drew themselves up against him and a mighty battle took place in which Alcmaeon and his allies were victorious; and the Thebans, since they had been worsted in the battle and had lost many of their citizens, found their hopes shattered. And since they were not strong enough to offer further resistance, they consulted the seer Teiresias, who advised them to flee from the city, for only in this way, he said, could they save their lives. 5 Consequently the Cadmeans left the city, as the seer had counselled them to do, and gathered for refuge by month in a place in Boeotia called Tilphossaeum. Thereupon the Epigoni took the city and sacked it, and capturing Daphnê, the daughter of Teiresias, they dedicated her, in accordance with a certain vow, to the service of the temple at Delphi as an offering to the god of the first-fruits of the booty. 6 This maiden possessed no less knowledge  p31 of prophecy than her father, and in the course of her stay at Delphi she developed her skill to a far greater degree; moreover, by virtue of the employment of a marvellous natural gift, she also wrote oracular responses of every sort, excelling in their composition; and indeed it was from her poetry, they say, that the poet Homer took many verses which he appropriated as his own and with them adorned his own poesy. And since she was often like one inspired when she delivered oracles, they say that she was also called Sibylla, for to be inspired in one's tongue is expressed by the word sibyllainein.

67 1 The Epigoni, after they had made their campaign renowned, returned to their native lands, bearing with them great booty. Of the Cadmeans who fled in a body to Tilphossaeum, Teiresias died there, and the Cadmeans buried him in state and accorded him honours equal to those offered to the gods; but as for themselves, they left the city and marched against the Dorians; and having conquered them in battle they drove out of their native lands the inhabitants of that country18 and they themselves settled there for some time, some of them remaining there permanently and others returning to Thebes when Creon, the son of Menoeceus, was king. But those who had been expelled from their native lands returned at some later period to Doris and made their homes in Erineus, Cytinium, and Boeum.

2 Before the period in which these things took place, Boeotus, the son of Arnê and Poseidon, came into the land which was then called Aeolis but is now called Thessaly, and gave to his followers the name of Boeotians. But concerning these inhabitants of Aeolis, we must revert to earlier times and give a  p33 detailed account of them. 3 In the times before that which we are discussing the rest of the sons of Aeolus, who was the son of Hellen, who was the son of Deucalion, settled in the regions we have mentioned, but Mimas remained behind and ruled as king of Aeolis. Hippotes, who was born of Mimas, begat Aeolus by Melanippê, and Arnê, who was the daughter of Aeolus, bore Boeotus by Poseidon. 4 But Aeolus, not believing that it was Poseidon who had lain with Arnê and holding her to blame for her downfall, handed her over to a stranger from Metapontium who happened to be sojourning there at the time, with orders to carry her off to Metapontium. And after the stranger had done as he was ordered, Arnê, while living in Metapontium, gave birth to Aeolus and Boeotus, whom the Metapontian, being childless, in obedience to a certain oracle adopted as his own sons. 5 When the boys had attained to manhood, a civil discord arose in Metapontium and they seized the kingship by violence. Later, however, a quarrel took place between Arnê and Autolytê, the wife of the Metapontian, and the young men took the side of their mother and slew Autolytê. But the Metapontian was indignant at this deed, and so they got boats ready and taking Arnê with them set out to sea accompanied by many friends. 6 Now Aeolus took possession of the islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea which are called after him "Aeolian" and founded a city to which he gave the name Lipara;19 but Boeotus sailed home to Aeolus, the father of Arnê, by whom he was adopted and in succession to him he took over the kingship of Aeolis; and the land  p35 he named Arnê after his mother, but the inhabitants Boeotians after himself. 7 And Itonus, the son of Boeotus, begat four sons, Hippalcimus, Electryon, Archilycus, and Alegenor. Of these sons Hippalcimus begat Penelos, Electryon begat Leïtus, Alegenor begat Clonius, and Archilycus begat Prothoënor and Arcesilaüs, who were the leaders of all the Boeotians in the expedition against Troy.

68 1 Now that we have examined these matters we shall endeavour to set forth the facts concerning Salmoneus and Tyro and their descendants as far as Nestor, who took part in the campaign against Troy. Salmoneus was a son of Aeolus, who was the son of Hellen, who was the son of Deucalion, and setting out from Aeolis with a number of Aeolians he founded a city in Eleia on the banks of the river Alpheius and called it Salmonia after his own name. And marrying Alcidicê, the daughter of Aleus, he begat by her a daughter, her who was given the name Tyro, a maiden of surpassing beauty. 2 When his wife Alcidicê died Salmoneus took for a second wife Sidero, as she was called, who treated Tyro unkindly, as a step-mother would. Afterwards Salmoneus, being an overbearing man and impious, came to be hated by his subjects and because of his impiety was slain by Zeus with a bolt of lightning. 3 As for Tyro, who was still a virgin when this took place, Poseidon lay with her and begat two sons, Pelias and Neleus. Then Tyro married Cretheus and bore Amythaon and Pheres and Aeson. But at the death of Cretheus a strife over the kingship arose between Pelias and Neleus. Of these two Pelias came to be king over Iolcus and the neighbouring  p37 districts, but Neleus, taking with him Melampous and Bias, the sons of Amythaon and Aglaïa, and certain other Achaeans of Phthiotis and Aeolians, made a campaign into the Peloponnesus. 4 Melampous, who was a seer, healed the women of Argos of the madness which the wrath of Dionysus had brought upon them, and in return for this benefaction he received from the king of the Argives, Anaxagoras the son of Megapenthes, two-thirds of the kingdom; and he made his home in Argos and shared the kingship with Bias his brother. 5 And marrying Iphianeira, the daughter of Megapenthes, he begat Antiphates and Manto, and also Bias and Pronoê; and of Antiphates and of Zeuxippê, the daughter of Hippocoön, the children were Oecles and Amphalces, and to Oecles and Hypermnestra, the daughter of Thespius, were born Iphianeira, Polyboea, and Amphiaraüs. 6 Now Melampous and Bias and their descendants shared in the kingship in Argos, as we have stated, but Neleus, when he had arrived in Messenê together with his companions, founded the city of Pylus, the natives of the region giving him the site. And while king of this city he married Chloris, the daughter of Amphion the Theban, and begat twelve sons, the oldest of whom was Periclymenus and the youngest the Nestor who engaged in the expedition against Troy.

As regards the ancestors of Nestor, then, we shall be satisfied with what has been said, since we are aiming at due proportion in our account.

69 1 We shall now discuss in turn the Lapiths and  p39 Centaurs. To Oceanus and Tethys, so the myths relate, were born a number of sons who gave their names to rivers, and among them was Peneius, from whom the river Peneius in Thessaly later got its name. He lay with the nymph named Creüsa and begat as children Hypseus and Stilbê, and with the latter Apollo lay and begat Lapithes and Centaurus. 2 Of these two, Lapithes made his home about the Peneius river and ruled over these regions, and marrying Orsinomê, the daughter of Eurynomus, he begat two sons, Phorbas and Periphas. And these sons became kings in this region and all the peoples there were called "Lapiths" after Lapithes. As for the sons of Lapithes, Phorbas went to Olenus, from which city Alector, the king of Eleia, summoned him to come to his aid, since he stood in fear of the overlordship of Pelops, and he gave him a share of the kingship of Elis; 3 and to Phorbas were born two sons, Aegeus and Actor, who received the kingship over the Eleans. The other son of Lapithes, namely, Periphas, married Astyaguia, the daughter of Hypseus, and begat eight sons, the oldest of whom was Antion, who lay with Perimela, the daughter of Amythaon, and begat Ixion. He, the story goes, having promised that he would give many gifts of wooing to Eïoneus, married Dia, the daughter of Eïoneus, by whom he begat Peirithoüs. 4 But when afterward Ixion would not pay over the gifts of wooing to his wife, Eïoneus took as security for these his mares. Ixion thereupon summoned Eïoneus to come to him, assuring that he would comply in every respect, but when Eïoneus arrived he cast him into a pit which he had filled with fire. Because of the enormity of this crime no man, we are informed,  p41 was willing to purify him of the murder. The myths recount, however, that in the end he was purified by Zeus, but that he became enamoured of Hera and had the temerity to make advances to her. 5 Thereupon, men say, Zeus formed a figure of Hera out of a cloud and sent it to him, and Ixion, lying with the cloud (Nephelê) begat the Centaurs, as they are called, which have the shapes of men. But the myths relate that in the end Ixion, because of the enormity of his misdeeds, was bound by Zeus upon a wheel and after death had to suffer punishment for all eternity.

70 1 The Centaurs, according to some writers, were reared by Nymphs on Mt. Pelion, and when they had attained to manhood they consorted with mares and brought into being the Hippocentaurs, as they are called, which are creatures of double form; but others say that it was the Centaurs born of Ixion and Nephelê who were called Hippocentaurs, because they were the first to essay the riding of horses, and that they were then made into a fictitious myth, to the effect that they were of double form. 2 We are also told that they demanded of Peirithoüs, on the ground of kinship,20 their share of their father's kingdom, and that when Peirithoüs would not yield it to them they made war on both him and the Lapiths. 3 At a later time, the account goes on to say, when they had made up their differences, Peirithoüs married Hippodameia, the daughter of Butes, and invited both Theseus and the Centaurs to the wedding. The Centaurs, however, becoming drunken assaulted the female guests and lay with them by  p43 violence, whereupon both Theseus and the Lapiths, incensed by such a display of lawlessness, slew not a few of them and drove the rest out of the city. 4 Because of this the Centaurs gathered all their forces, made a campaign against the Lapiths, and slew many of them, the survivors fleeing into Mt. Pholoê in Arcadia and ultimately escaping from there to Cape Malea, where they made their home. And the Centaurs, elated by these successes, made Mt. Pholoê the base of their operations, plundered the Greeks who passed by, and slew many of their neighbours.21

71 1 Now that we have examined these matters we shall endeavour to set forth the facts concerning Asclepius and his descendants. This, then, is what the myths relate: Asclepius was the son of Apollo and Coronis, and since he excelled in natural ability and sagacity of mind, he devoted himself to the science of healing and made many discoveries which contribute to the health of mankind. And so far did he advance along the road of fame that, to the amazement of all, he healed many sick whose lives had been despaired of, and for this reason it was believed that he had brought back to life many who had died. 2 Consequently, the myth goes on to say, Hades brought accusation against Asclepius, charging him before Zeus of acting to the detriment of his own province, for, he said, the number of the dead was steadily diminishing, now that men were being healed by Asclepius. 3 So Zeus, in indignation,  p45 slew Asclepius with his thunderbolt, but Apollo, indignant at the slaying of Asclepius, murdered the Cyclopes who had forged the thunderbolt for Zeus; but at the death of the Cyclopes Zeus was again indignant and laid a command upon Apollo that he should serve as a labourer for a human being and that this should be the punishment he should receive from him for his crimes. 4 To Asclepius, we are told further, sons were born, Machaon and Podaleirius, who also developed the healing art and accompanied Agamemnon in the expedition against Troy. Throughout the course of the war they were of great service to the Greeks, healing most skilfully the wounded, and because of these benefactions they attained to great fame among the Greeks; furthermore, they were granted exemption from the perils of battles and from the other obligations of citizenship,22 because of the very great service which they offered by their healing.

Now as regards Asclepius and his sons we shall be satisfied with what has been said.

72 1 We shall now recount the story of the daughters of Asopus and of the sons who were born to Aeacus. According to the myths there were born to Oceanus and Tethys a number of children who gave their names to rivers, and among their number were Peneius and Asopus. Now Peneius made his home in what is now Thessaly and called after himself the river which bears his name; but Asopus made his home in Phlius, where he married Metopê, the daughter of Ladon, to whom were born two sons,  p47 Pelagus and Ismenus, and twelve daughters, Corcyra and Salamis, also Aegina, Peirenê, and Cleonê, then Thebê, Tanagra, Thespeia, and Asopis, also Sinopê, and finally Ornia and Chalcis. 2 One of his sons, Ismenus, came to Boeotia and settled near the river which received its name from him; but as for the daughters, Sinopê was seized by Apollo and carried off to the place where now stands the city of Sinopê, which was named after her, and to her and Apollo was born a son Syrus, who became king of the Syrians, who were named after him. 3 Corcyra was carried off by Poseidon to the island which was named Corcyra after her; and to her and Poseidon was born Phaeax, from whom the Phaeacians afterwards received the name they bear. 4 To Phaeax was born Alcinoüs, who brought about the return of Odysseus to Ithaca.23 Salamis was seized by Poseidon and taken to the island which was named Salamis after her; and she lay with Poseidon and bore Cychreus, who became king of this island and acquired fame by reason of his slaying a snake of huge size which was destroying the inhabitants of the island. 5 Aegina was seized by Zeus and taken off by him from Phlius to the island which was named Aegina after her, and lying with Zeus on this island she gave birth to Aeacus, who became its king.

6 To Aeacus sons were born, Peleus and Telamon. Of these, Peleus, while hurling a discus, accidentally slew Phocus, who was his brother by the same father although born of another mother. Because of this slaying Peleus was banished by his father and  p49 fled to Phthia in what is now called Thessaly, where he was purified by Actor the king of the country and succeeded to the kingship, Actor being childless. To Peleus and Thetis was born Achilleus, who accompanied Agamemnon in the expedition against Troy. 7 Telamon, being also a fugitive from Aegina, went to Salamis and marrying Glaucê, the daughter of Cychreus, the king of the Salaminians, he became king of the island. When his wife Glaucê died he married Eriboea of Athens, the daughter of Alcathus, by whom he begat Ajax, who served in the expedition against Troy.

73 1 Now that we have examined these matters we shall endeavour to set forth the facts concerning Pelops and Tantalus and Oenomaüs, but to do so we must revert to earlier times and give in summary the whole story from the beginning. The account runs like this: In the city of Pisa in the Peloponnesus Ares lay with Harpinê, the daughter of Asopus, 2 and begat Oenomaüs, who, in turn, begat a daughter, an only child, and named her Hippodameia. And once when he consulted an oracle about the end of his life the god replied to him that he should die whenever his daughter Hippodameia should marry. Consequently, we are told, he proceeded cautiously regarding the marriage of his daughter and decided to see that she was kept a virgin, assuming that only in this way could he escape from the danger which her marriage would entail. 3 And so, since there were many suitors for the girl's hand, he proposed a contest for any who wished of the marry her, the conditions being that the defeated suitor must die, but whoever should win would have the girl in marriage. The contest he set was a chariot-race from Pisa to  p51 the altar of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth,24 and the starting of the horses he arranged as follows: 4 Oenomaüs was to be sacrificing a ram to Zeus, when the suitor should set out, driving a chariot drawn by four horses; then, when the sacrifice had been completed, Oenomaüs was to begin the race and make after the suitor, having a spear and Myrtilus as his driver, and if he should succeed in overtaking the chariot which he was pursuing he was to smite the suitor with the spear and slay him. By employing this method he kept overtaking the suitors as they appeared, his horses being swift, and was slaying them in great numbers. 5 But when Pelops, the son of Tantalus, came to Pisa and looked upon Hippodameia, he set his heart upon marrying her, and by corrupting Myrtilus, the charioteer of Oenomaüs, and thus securing his co-operation toward winning the victory, he was the first to arrive at the altar of Poseidon on the Isthmus. 6 And Oenomaüs, believing that the oracle had been fulfilled, was so disheartened by grief that he removed himself from life. In this way, then, Pelops got Hippodameia for his wife and succeeded to the sovereignty of Pisa, and increasing steadily in power by reason of his courage and his wisdom, he won over to himself the larger number of those who dwelt in the Peloponnesus and called the land after his own name "Peloponnesus."25

74 1 And since we have made mention of Pelops, we must also relate the story concerning his father Tantalus, in order that we may omit nothing which  p53 deserves to be made known. Tantalus was a son of Zeus, and he possessed surpassing wealth and renown, dwelling in that part of Asia which is now called Paphlagonia. And because of his noble descent from Zeus his father he became, as men say, a very especial friend of the gods. 2 At a later time, however, he did not bear as a human being should the good fortune which came to him, and being admitted to the common table of the gods and to all their intimate talk as well, he made known to men happenings among the immortals which were not to be divulged. 3 For this reason he was chastened while yet in this life and after his death, as the myths relate, was condemned to eternal punishment by being rated in Hades among the impious. To him were born a son Pelops and a daughter Niobê, and Niobê became the mother of seven sons and an equal number of daughters, maids of exceeding beauty. And since she gave herself haughty airs over the number of her children, she frequently declared in boastful way that she was more blest in her children than was Leto.26 At this, so the myths tell us, Leto in anger commanded Apollo to slay with his arrows the sons of Niobê and Artemis the daughters. And when these two hearkened to the command of their mother and slew with their arrows the children of Niobê at the same time, it came to pass that immediately, almost in a single moment, that woman was both blest with children and childless. 4 But since Tantalus, after he had incurred the enmity of the gods, was driven out of Paphlagonia by Ilus, the son of Tros, we must also set forth all that relates to Ilus and his ancestors.

75 1 The first to rule as king over the land of Troy  p55 was Teucrus, the son of the river-god Scamandrus and a nymph of Mt. Ida;27 he was a distinguished man and caused the people of the land to be called Teucrians, after his own name. To Teucrus was born a daughter Bateia, whom Dardanus, the son of Zeus, married, and when Dardanus succeeded to the throne he called the people of the land Dardanians after his own name, and founding a city on the shore of the sea he called it also Dardanus after himself. 2 To him a son Erichthonius was born, who far excelled in good fortune and in wealth. Of him the poet Homer28 writes:

The wealthiest was he of mortal men;

Three thousand mares he had that grazed throughout

His marshy pastures.

3 To Erichthonius was born a son Tros, who called the people of the land Trojans, after his own name. To Tros were born three sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymedes. Ilus founded in a plain a city which was the most renowned among the cities in the Troad, giving it after himself the name Ilium. 4 And to Ilus was born a son Laomedon, who begat Tithonus and Priam; and Tithonus, after making a campaign against those parts of Asia which lay to the east of him and pushing as far as Ethiopia,29 begat by Eos, as the myths relate, Memnon, who came to the aid of the Trojans and was slain by Achilleus, whereas Priam married Hecabê and begat, in addition to a number of other sons, Hector, who won very great distinction in the Trojan War. 5 Assaracus became king of the Dardanians and begat Capys, whose  p57 son was Anchises, who by Aphroditê begat Aeneas, the most renowned man among the Trojans. And Ganymedes, who excelled all men in beauty, was snatched up by the gods to serve as the cupbearer of Zeus.

6 But now that we have examined these matters we shall endeavour to set forth what relates to Daedalus, the Minotaur, and the expedition of Minos into Sicily against King Cocalus.

76 1 Daedalus was an Athenian by birth and was known as one of the clan named Erechthids, since he was the son of Metion, the son of Eupalamus, the son of Erechtheus. In natural ability he towered far above all other men and cultivated the building art, the making of statues, and the working of stone. He was also the inventor of many devices which contributed to the advancement of his art and built works in many regions of the inhabited world which arouse the wonder of men. 2 In the carving of his statues he so far excelled all other men that later generations invented the story about him that the statues of his making were quite like their living models; they could see, they said, and walk and, in a word, preserved so well the characteristics of the entire body that the beholder thought that the image made by him was a being endowed with life. 3 And since he was the first to represent the open eye and to fashion the legs separated in a stride and the arms and hands as extended, it was a natural thing that he should have received the admiration of mankind; for the artists before his time had carved their statues with the eyes closed and the arms and hands hanging and attached to the sides.

4 But though Daedalus was an object of admiration  p59 because of his technical skill, yet he had to flee from his native land, since he had been condemned for murder for the following reason. Talos, a son of the sister of Daedalus, was receiving his education in the home of Daedalus, while he was still a lad in years. 5 But being more gifted than his teacher he invented the potter's wheel, and then, when once he had come by chance upon a jawbone of a snake and with it had sawn through a small piece of wood, he tried to imitate the jaggedness of the serpent's teeth. Consequently he fashioned a saw out of iron, by means of which he would saw the lumber which he used in his work, and for this accomplishment he gained the reputation of having discovered a device which would be of great service to the art of building. He likewise discovered also the tool for describing a circle and certain other cunningly contrived devices whereby he gained for himself great fame. 6 But Daedalus, becoming jealous of the youth and feeling that his fame was going to rise far above that of his teacher, treacherously slew the youth. And being detected in the act of burying him, he was asked what he was burying, whereupon he replied, "I am inhuming a snake." Here a man may well wonder at the strange happening, that the same animal that led to the thought of devising the saw should also have been the means through which the murder came to be discovered. 7 And Daedalus, having been accused and adjudged guilty of murder by the court of the Areopagites, at first fled to one of the demes of Attica, the inhabitants of which, we are told, were named after him Daedalidae.30

77 1 Afterwards Daedalus made his escape out of Attica to Crete, where, being admired because of the  p61 fame of his art, he became a friend of Minos who was king there. Now according to the myth which has been handed down to us Pasiphaê, the wife of Minos, became enamoured of the bull, and Daedalus, by fashioning a contrivance in the shape of a cow, assisted Pasiphaê to gratify her passion. 2 In explanation of this the myths offer the following account: Before this time it had been the custom of Minos annually to dedicate to Poseidon the fairest bull born in his herds and to sacrifice it to the god; but at the time in question there was born a bull of extraordinary beauty and he sacrificed another from among those which were inferior, whereupon Poseidon, becoming angry at Minos, caused his wife Pasiphaê to become enamoured of the bull. 3 And by means of the ingenuity of Daedalus Pasiphaê had intercourse with the bull and gave birth to the Minotaur, famed in the myth. This creature, they say, was of double form, the upper parts of the body as far as the shoulders being those of a bull and the remaining parts those of a man. 4 As a place in which to keep this monstrous thing Daedalus, the story goes, built a labyrinth, the passage-ways of which were so winding that those unfamiliar with them had difficulty in making their way out; in this labyrinth the Minotaur was maintained and here it devoured the seven youths and seven maidens which were sent to it from Athens, as we have already related.31

5 But Daedalus, they say, on learning that Minos had made threats against him because he had fashioned the cow, became fearful of the anger of the king and departed from Crete, Pasiphaê helping him and providing a vessel for his escape. 6 With him  p63 fled also his son Icarus and they put in at a certain island which lay in the open sea. But when Icarus was disembarking onto the island in a reckless manner, he fell into the sea and perished, and in memory of him the sea was named the Icarian and the island was called Icaria. Daedalus, however, sailing away from this island, landed in Sicily near the territory over which Cocalus reigned as king, who courteously received Daedalus and because of his genius and his renown made him his close friend.

7 But certain writers of myths have the following account: Daedalus remained a while longer in Crete, being kept hidden by Pasiphaê, and king Minos, desiring to wreak vengeance upon him and yet being unable to find him, caused all the boats which were on the island to be searched and announced that he would give a great sum of money to the man who should discover Daedalus. 8 Thereupon Daedalus, despairing of making his escape by any boat, fashioned with amazing ingenuity wings which were cleverly designed and marvellously fitted together with wax; and fastening these on his son's body and his own he spread them out for flight, to the astonishment of all, and made his escape over the open sea which lies near the island of Crete. 9 As for Icarus, because of the ignorance of youth he made his flight too far aloft and fell into the sea when the wax which held the wings together was melted by the sun, whereas Daedalus, by flying close to the sea and repeatedly wetting the wings, made his way in safety, marvellous to relate, to Sicily. Now as for these matters, even though the myth is a tale of marvel, we none the less have thought it best not to leave it unmentioned.

 p65  78 1 Daedalus spent a considerable time with Cocalus and the Sicani, being greatly admired for his very great skill in his art. And on this island he constructed certain works which stand even to this day. For instance, near Megaris he ingeniously built a kolumbethra,32 as men have named it, from which a great river, called the Alabon, empties into the sea which is not far distant from it. 2 Also in the present territory of Acragas on the Camicus33 river, as it is called, he built a city which lay upon a rock and was the strongest of any in Sicily and altogether impregnable to any attack by force; for the ascent to it he made narrow and winding, building it in so ingenious a manner that it could be defended by three or four men. Consequently Cocalus built in this city the royal residence, and storing his treasures there he had them in a city which the inventiveness of its designer had made impregnable. 3 A third construction of his, in the territory of Selinus, was a grotto where he so successfully expelled the steam caused by the fire which burned in it that those who frequented the grotto got into a perspiration imperceptibly because of the gentle action of the heat, and gradually, and actually with pleasure to themselves, they cured the infirmities of their bodies without experiencing any annoyance from the heat. 4 Also at Eryx, where a rock rose sheer to an extraordinary height and the narrow space, where the temple of Aphroditê lay, made it necessary to build it on the precipitous tip of the rock, he constructed a wall  p67 upon the very crag, by this means extending in an astonishing manner the overhanging ledge of the crag. 5 Moreover, for the Aphroditê of Mt. Eryx, they say, he ingeniously constructed a golden ram, working it with exceeding care and making it the perfect image of an actual ram. Many other works as well, men say, he ingeniously constructed throughout Sicily, but they have perished because of the long time which has elapsed.

79 1 Minos, the king of the Cretans, who was at that time the master of the seas, when he learned that Daedalus had fled to Sicily, decided to make a campaign against that island. After preparing a notable naval force he sailed forth from Crete and landed at a place in the territory of Acragas which was called after him Minoa. Here he disembarked his troops and sending messengers to King Cocalus he demanded Daedalus of him for punishment. 2 But Cocalus invited Minos to a conference, and after promising to meet all his demands he brought him to his home as a guest. And when Minos was bathing Cocalus kept him too long in the hot water and thus slew him; the body he gave back to the Cretans, explaining his death on the ground that he had slipped in the bath and by falling into the hot water had met his end. 3 Thereupon the comrades of Minos buried the body of the king with magnificent ceremonies, and constructing a tomb of two storeys, in the part of it which was hidden underground they placed the bones, and in that which lay open to gaze they made a shrine of Aphroditê.34 Here Minos received honours over many generations, the inhabitants  p69 of the region offering sacrifices there in the belief that the shrine was Aphroditê's; but in more recent times, after the city of the Acragantini had been founded and it became known that the bones had been placed there, it came to pass that the tomb was dismantled and the bones were given back to the Cretans, this being done when Theron35 was lord over the people of Acragas.

5 However, the Cretans of Sicily, after the death of Minos, fell into factious strife, since they had no ruler, and, since their ships had been burned by the Sicani serving under Cocalus, they gave up any hope they had had of returning to their native land; and deciding to make their home in Sicily, a part of them established on that island a city to which they gave the name Minoa after their king, and others, after wandering about through the interior of the island, seized a place which was naturally strong and founded a city to which they gave the name Engyum36 after the spring which flowed forth within the city. 6 And at a later time, after the capture of Troy, when Meriones the Cretan came to shore in Sicily, they welcomed, because of their kinship to them, the Cretans who landed with him and shared with them their citizenship; and using as their base a well-fortified city and having subdued certain of the neighbouring peoples, they secured for themselves a fairly large territory. 7 And growing steadily stronger all the while they built a temple to the Mothers37 and accorded these goddesses unusual honours, adorning their temple with many votive offerings. The cult of these goddesses, so men say, they moved from their  p71 home in Crete, since the Cretans also hold these goddesses in special honour.

80 1 The account which the myths preserve of the Mothers runs like this: They nurtured Zeus of old without the knowledge of his father Cronus, in return for which Zeus translated them into the heavens and designated them as a constellation which he named the Bears.b 2 And Aratus38 agrees with this account when he states in his poem on the stars:

Turned backwards then upon their shoulders are

The Bears; if true it be that they from Crete

Into the heavens mounted by the will

Of mighty Zeus, for that when he was babe

In fragrant Dicton near th' Idaean mount

They set him in a cave and nurtured him

A year, the while Curetes Dictaean

Practised deceit on Cronus.

3 There is no reason why we should omit to mention the sanctity of these goddesses and the renown which they enjoy among mankind. They are honoured, indeed, not only by the inhabitants of this city,39 but certain of the neighbouring peoples also glorify these goddesses with magnificent sacrifices and every other kind of honour. 4 Some cities were indeed commanded by oracles from the Pythian god to honour the goddesses, being assured that in this way the lives of their private citizens would be blessed with good fortune and their cities would flourish. And in the end the renown of the goddesses advanced to such a degree that the inhabitants of this region have continued to honour them with many votive offerings in silver and gold down to the time of the writing of this history. 5 For instance, a temple was  p73 built there for them which not only excels in size but also occasions wonder by reason of the expense incurred in its construction; for since the people had no suitable stone in their own territory they brought it from their neighbours, the inhabitants of Agyrium,40 though the cities were nearly one hundred stades apart and the road by which they had to transport the blocks were rough and altogether hard to traverse. For this reason they constructed wagons with four wheels and transported the stone by the use of one hundred span of oxen. 6 Indeed, because of the vast quantity of the sacred properties of the temple they were so plentifully supplied with means that, by reason of their abundant prosperity, they took no account of the expense; for only a short time before our day the goddesses possessed three hundred head of sacred cattle and vast holdings of land, so that they were the recipients of great revenues.

81 1 But now that we have discoursed upon these matters at sufficient length, we shall next undertake to write about Aristaeus. Aristaeus was the son of Apollo and Cyrenê, the daughter of Hypseus the son of Peneius, and the manner of his birth is given by certain writers of myths as follows: Apollo became enamoured of a maiden by the name of Cyrenê,41 who was reared in the neighbourhood of Mt. Pelion and was of surpassing beauty, and he carried her off from there to that part of the land of Libya where in later times he founded a city and named it, after her, Cyrenê. 2 Now Apollo begat by Cyrenê in that land a son Aristaeus and gave him while yet a babe into the hands of the Nymphs to nurture, and the latter  p75 bestowed upon him three different names, calling him, that is, Nomius, Aristaeus, and Agreus. He learned from the Nymphs how to curdle milk,42 to make bee-hives, and to cultivate olive-trees, and was the first to instruct men in these matters. 3 And because of the advantage which came to them from these discoveries the men who had received his benefactions rendered to Aristaeus honours equal to those offered to the gods, even as they had done in the case of Dionysus.

After this, they say, Aristaeus went to Boeotia, where he married one of the daughters of Cadmus, Autonoê, to whom was born Acteon, who, as the myths relate, was torn to pieces by his own dogs. 4 The reason for this bad turn of fortune of his, as some explain it, was that, presuming upon his dedication to Artemis of the first-fruits of his hunting, he purposed to consummate the marriage with Artemis at the temple of the goddess, but according to others, it was because he represented himself as superior to Artemis in skill as a hunter. 5 But it is not incredible that it was for both these reasons that the goddess became angry; for whether Acteon made an improper use of the spoils of his hunting to satisfy his own desire upon her who has no part in marriage, or whether he was so bold as to assert that as a hunter he was to be preferred above her before whom even gods withdraw from rivalry in the chase, all would agree that the goddess was justified in having become indignant at him. And, speaking generally, we may well believe that, when he had been changed into the form of one of the animals which he was wont to hunt, he was slain by the dogs which were accustomed to prey upon the other wild beasts.

 p77  82 1 As for Aristaeus, after the death of Acteon, we are told, he went to the oracle of his father, Apollo, who prophesied to him that he was to change his home to the island of Ceos and told him likewise of the honours which would be his among the Ceans. 2 To this island he sailed, but since a plague prevailed throughout Greece the sacrifice he offered there was on behalf of all the Greeks. And since the sacrifice was made at the time of the rising of the star Sirius, which is the period when the etesian winds customarily blow, the pestilential diseases, we are told, came to an end. 3 Now the man who ponders upon this event may reasonably marvel at the strange turn which fortune took; for the same man who saw his son done to death by the dogs likewise put an end to the influence of that star which, of all the stars of heaven, bears the same name43 and is thought to bring destruction upon mankind, and by so doing was responsible for saving the lives of the rest.44

4 We are further informed that Aristaeus left descendants behind on the island of Ceos and then returned to Libya, from where he set forth with the aid of his mother, a Nymph,45 and put ashore on the island of Sardinia. Here he made his home, and since he loved the island because of its beauty, he set out plantings in it and brought it under cultivation, whereas formerly it had lain waste. 5 And after this he visited other islands and spent some time in Sicily,  p79 where, because of the abundance of the fruits on the island and the multitude of flocks and herds which grazed there, he was eager to display to its inhabitants the benefactions which were his to bestow. Consequently among the inhabitants of Sicily, as men say, Aristaeus received especial honour as a god, in particular by those who harvested the fruit of the olive-tree. 6 And finally, as the myths relate, he visited Dionysus in Thrace and was initiated into his secret rites, and during his stay in the company of the god he learned from him much useful knowledge. And after dwelling some time in the neighbourhood of Mount Haemus he never was seen again of men, and became the recipient of immortal honours not only among the barbarians of that region but among the Greeks as well.

83 1 But as regards Aristaeus we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall next endeavour to set forth what relates to Daphnis and Eryx. This is what is told of them: Eryx was a son of Aphroditê and Butas, a certain native king of Sicily of very great fame, and he was admired by the natives because of his noble birth on his mother's side and became king over a part of the island. He also founded a notable city which bore his name; it was set upon a lofty place, and on the highest point46 within the city he established a shrine of his mother, which he embellished not only with a beautifully built temple, but also with the multitude of his dedications. 2 The goddess, both because of the reverence which the inhabitants of the region paid to her and because of the honour which she received from the son whom she had borne, displayed an exceptional love for the city, and for this reason she  p81 came to be called Erycinian Aphroditê. And a man may well be filled with wonder when he stops to sum up the fame which has gathered about this shrine; 3 all other sanctuaries have indeed enjoyed a flush of fame, but frequently sundry happenings have brought them low, whereas this is the only temple which, founded as it was at the beginning of time, not only has never failed to be the object of veneration but, on the contrary, has as time went on ever continued to enjoy great growth. 4 For after Eryx has bestowed upon it the honours we have described, Aeneas, the son of Aphroditê, when at a later time he was on his way to Italy and came to anchor off the island, embellished the sanctuary, since it was that of his own mother, with many votive offerings; after him the Sicanians paid honour to the goddess for many generations and kept continually embellishing it with both magnificent sacrifices and votive offerings; and after that time the Carthaginians, when they had become the masters of a part of Sicily, never failed to hold the goddess in special honour. And last of all the Romans, when they had subdued all Sicily, surpassed all people who had preceded them in the honours they paid to her. 5 And it was with good reason that they did so, for since they traced back their ancestry to her and for this reason were successful in their undertakings, they were but requiting her who was the cause of their aggrandisement with such expressions of gratitude and honours as they owed to her. 6 The consuls and praetors, for instance, who visit the island and all Romans who sojourn there clothed with any authority, whenever they come to Eryx, embellish the sanctuary with magnificent  p83 sacrifices and honours, and laying aside the austerity of their authority, they enter into sports and have conversation with women in a spirit of great gaiety, believing that only in this way will they make their presence there pleasing to the goddess. 7 Indeed the Roman senate has so zealously concerned itself with the honours of the goddess that it has decreed that the seventeen cities of Sicily which are most faithful to Rome shall pay a tax in gold to Aphroditê, and that two hundred soldiers shall serve as a guard of her shrine.

Now if we have dwelt over-long on the topic of Eryx, we have at least given an account of the goddess such as was rightly her due.

84 1 At this time we shall endeavour to set forth what the myths relate concerning Daphnis. There are in Sicily, namely, the Heraean Mountains, which, men say, are naturally well suited, by reason of the beauty and special character of the region round about, to relaxation and enjoyment in the summer season. For they possess many springs of exceptionally sweet water and are full of trees of every description. On them also is a multitude of great oak-trees which bear fruit of extraordinary size, since it is twice as large as any that grows in other lands. And they possess as well some of the cultivated fruits, which have sprung up of their own accord, since the vine is found there in profusion and tree-fruits in quantities beyond telling. 2 Consequently the area once supported a Carthaginian army when it was facing starvation, the mountains supplying many tens of thousands of soldiers with sources of food for their unfailing sustenance.

It was in this region, where there were glens filled  p85 with trees and meet for a god and a grove consecrated to the Nymphs, that, as the myths relate, he who was known as Daphnis was born, a son of Hermes and a Nymph, and he, because of the sweet bay (daphnê) which grew there in such profusion and so thick, was given the name Daphnis. 3 He was reared by Nymphs, and since he possessed very many herds of cattle and gave great attention to their care, he was for this reason called by the name Bucolus or "Neatherd." And being endowed with an unusual gift of song, he invented the bucolic or pastoral poem and the bucolic song which continues to be so popular throughout Sicily to the present day. 4 The myths add that Daphnis accompanied Artemis in her hunting, serving the goddess in an acceptable manner, and that with his shepherd's pipe and singing of pastoral songs he pleased her exceedingly. The story is also told the one of the Nymphs became enamoured of him and prophesied to him that if he lay with any other woman he would be deprived of his sight; and indeed, when once he had been made drunken by a daughter of a king and had lain with her, he was deprived of his sight in accordance with the prophecy delivered by the Nymph. As for Daphnis, then, let what we have said suffice.

85 1 We shall now recount what the myths relate about Orion. The story runs like this: Orion, far surpassing in size and strength of body all the heroes of whom we have record, was a lover of the chase and the builder of mighty works by reason of his great strength and love of glory. In Sicily, for instance, for Zanclus, who was king at that time of the city which was called at that time after him Zanclê,47  p87 but now Messenê, he built certain works, and among them he formed the harbour by throwing up a mole and made the Actê,48 as it is called. 2 And since we have mentioned Messenê we think it will not be foreign to our purpose to add to what has been set forth thus far what men have written about the Strait.49 3 The ancient mythographers, that is, say that Sicily was originally a peninsula, and that afterward it became an island, the cause being somewhat as follows. The isthmus at its narrowest point was subjected to the dash of the waves of the sea on its two sides and so a gap (rhegma) was made (anarrhegnusthai), and for this reason the spot was named rhegion, and the city50 which was founded many years later received the same appellation as the place. 4 Some men say, however, that mighty earthquakes took place and the neck of what was the mainland was broken through, and in this way the Strait was formed, since the sea now separated the mainland from the island. 5 But the poet Hesiod51 states the very opposite, namely, that when the sea extended itself in between, Orion built out the headland which lies at Peloris52 and also erected there the sanctuary of Poseidon which is held in special honour by the natives; after he had finished these works he removed to Euboea and made his home there; and then, because of his fame, he was numbered among the stars of heaven and thus won for himself important remembrance. 6 And he is also mentioned by the poet Homer53 in his "Necuia"54 when he says:

 p89  And after him I marked Orion huge,

Driving wild beasts together o'er the mead

Of asphodel, the beasts that he himself

Had slain on lonely hills; and in his hands

He held a mace, ever unbroken, all

Of bronze.

7 Likewise, to show forth also his great size, whereas he had spoken before of the Aloiadae,55 that at nine years of age they were nine cubits in breadth and an equal number of fathoms in height, he adds:56

These were the tallest men that ever earth,

Giver of grain, did rear, and goodliest

By far, save for Orion, famed abroad.

But for our part, since we have spoken, in accordance with the plan which we announced at the beginning,57 at sufficient length about the heroes and demigods, at this point we shall close the present Book.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 According to Plutarch, Theseus, 3, when Aegeus suspected that Aethra, the daughter of Pittheus, was with child by him he left a sword and a pair of sandals under a great rock and commanded Aethra, if a son were born to her and if he were able to lift the rock, to send the youth to him with the tokens.

2 "Club-bearer."

3 Called also Pityocamptes ("Pine-bender"). Aristophanes, The Frogs, 996, makes Euripides build out of the myth a word of Aeschylean size, sarkasmopituokamptai ("flesh-tearing-pine-benders"), with which to describe two characters of Aeschylus.

4 Or "anguish"; cp. critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text, at μετὰ μεγάλης τιμωρίας τελεῦταν, reads:

Vogel suggests ταλαιπωρίας ("anguish").

5 Antiopê or Hippolytê; cp. chap. 28.

6 The mother of Theseus.

7 On the south-western slope of the Acropolis; cp. Judeich, Topographie von Athen2, 324.

8 Literally, "pulled him after them by the reins."

9 On the island of Scyros; cp. Plutarch, Theseus, 35.

10 But in chap. 26 Diodorus says that Heracles brought back from Hades both Theseus and Peirithoüs.

11 Swollen-footed.

12 i.e. that he was a supposititious child. He had been reared by Polybus and Meropê as their own son.

13 Ancient art usually represented the sphinx with a woman's head and bust on the body of a lioness.

14 Cp. Mathew Prior, "Two Riddles":

Tell me, what animal is that

Which has four feet at morning bright,

Has two at noon, and three at night.

15 The acropolis of Thebes.

16 According to Athenian tradition, Theseus made war upon Thebes in order to recover the bodies of the Seven and buried them in Eleusis. The Athenians took great pride in this achievement (cp. Herodotus, 9.27), it being made the theme of the Suppliants of Euripides and of the lost Eleusinians of Aeschylus.

17 "Afterborn"; one of the "Cyclic" epics told of their attack upon Thebes.

18 i.e. Doris.

19 In Book 5.7.5 Diodorus states that this city was named after Liparus.

20 Ixion was the father both of the Centaurs and of Peirithoüs.

21 The text of the preceding sentences has been suspected. Contrary to the accepted tradition Diodorus makes the Centaurs, not the Lapiths, victorious, and locates the ultimate home of the Lapiths, not of the Centaurs, on Cape Malea.

22 Literally, "liturgies." Diodorus throws back into mythological times the "liturgic" services of many Greek cities, which were performed in turn and at their own expense by wealthier citizens, such as the equipping and maintenance of a warship, the training of a chorus for dramatic performance or of a team of men from each tribe for the torch-race, and the like.

23 Cf. the Odyssey, 13.1 ff.

24 About eighty miles, as the crow flies, but there was no direct road between the two points.

25 "Island of Pelops."

26 Leto was the mother of Apollo and Artemis.

27 This nymph was later known by the name Idaea.

28 Iliad, 20.220‑21.

29 Perhaps Assyria is meant; cp. vol. 1, p422, note 2.

30 i.e. "descendants of Daedalus." A deme by this name is known in Attica; it was probably composed chiefly of craftsmen who claimed descent from Daedalus.

31 Cp. chap. 61.

32 "Swimming-bath"; probably a kind of reservoir, at least some contrivance to control the floods of the river.

33 In Strabo (6.2.6) "Camici" is called the "royal residence" of Cocalus; Camicus was the name of both a city and a river.

34 Just such a tomb as this, the upper storey serving as a temple, and the lower structure forming a sepulchre, has been found at Cnossus in Crete (see Sir Arthur Evans, The Palace of Minos, 4.959 ff.); the residence of the priest of the temple lay not far from the tomb. The discovery is striking evidence for the trustworthiness of many details of the old sagas.

35 Theron died in 472 B.C. after he had been tyrant of Acragas for sixteen years; cp. Book 11.53.

36 Called Engyium by Plutarch, Marcellus, 20, where there is an interesting instance of the awe which the inhabitants felt for the "Mothers" mentioned below.

37 The Sicilian counterpart of the Mother Rhea of the Cretans.

38 Phaenomena, 30‑35 (tr. by Mair in the L. C. L.).

39 i.e. Engyum.

40 The native city of Diodorus.

41 Cp. the account of Apollo and Cyrenê in Pindar, Pythian Odes, 9.5 ff.

42 i.e. to make cheese.

43 i.e. another name for Sirius was the "Dog-star."

44 i.e. he could not save his own son, but he saved everyone else.

45 The text is corrupt; in the preceding chapter it is stated that Aristaeus was reared by "the Nymphs" and there is no suggestion that his mother Cyrenê was a nymph. Diodorus may have written: "led (or persuaded) by Nymphê (or by a nymph), who was a friend of his mother, Aristaeus set forth, etc."

46 i.e. on Mount Eryx.

47 Thucydides (6.4.5) says that the Sicels gave it this name because the place was sickle-shaped; "for the Sicels call a sickle zanclon."

48 "Promontory."

49 The present Straits of Messina.

50 Rhegium.

51 Frg. 183 (Astronomia 18), Rzach.

52 The northeast tip of Sicily.

53 Odyssey, 11.572‑5.

54 This is the title which the ancients gave to the eleventh Book of the Odyssey, which contains the story of the descent of Odysseus into the underworld and of his meetings with the dead.

55 Otus and Ephialtes, the sons of Aloeus and Iphimedeia.

56 Odyssey, 11.309‑10.

57 Cp. chap. 1.5.

Thayer's Notes:

a A mode of torture and execution that we hear about here and there, but I only know of mythological or at best semi-legendary instances. Among Christian saints, at least two, Corona (3c) and Strato, are said to have been killed this way. Here is a depiction of the martyrdom of St. Corona from the church of S. Maria Assunta in Otricoli, Umbria:

[image ALT: A square painting, in a naïve style, of a woman in a flowing robe, each of her limbs attached to one of two trees on either side of her, tied at the tops and thus bending toward the middle. It is a depiction of the martyrdom of St. Corona in an oil painting in the church of S. Maria Assunta in Otricoli, Umbria (central Italy).]

If you know of a firm historical case, I'd appreciate hearing from you, naturally.

b See Allen's Star Names, p422.

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