[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

This webpage reproduces part of the
Homerica
as published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1914

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

p481 The Epic Cycle

The War of the Titans

1.

The Epic Cycle begins with the fabled union of Heaven and Earth, by which they make three hundred-handed sons and three Cyclopes to be born to him.

2.

According to the writer of the War of the Titans Heaven was the son of Aether.

3.

Eumelus says that Aegaeon was the son of Earth and Sea and, having his dwelling in the sea, was an ally of the Titans.

4.

The poet of the War of the Titans, whether Eumelus of Corinth or Arctinus, writes thus in his second book: "Upon the shield were dumb fish afloat, with golden faces, swimming and sporting through the heavenly water."

5.

Eumelus somewhere introduces Zeus dancing: he says — "In the midst of them danced the Father of men and gods."

p483 6.

The author of the War of the Giants says that Cronos took the shape of a horse and lay with Philyra, the daughter of Ocean. Through this cause Cheiron was born a centaur: his wife was Chariclo.

7.

Theolytus says that he (Heracles) sailed across the sea in a cauldron;1 but the first to give this story is the author of the War of the Titans.

8.

The author of the War of the Titans says that the apples (of the Hesperides) were guarded . . .

The Story of Oedipus

1.

. . . the Story of Oedipus by Cinaethon in six thousand six hundred verses.

2.

Judging by Homer I do not believe that Oedipus had children by Iocasta: his sons were born of Euryganeia as the writer of the Epic called the Story of Oedipus clearly shows.

3.

The authors of the Story of Oedipus (say) of the Sphinx: "But furthermore (she killed) noble Haemon, the dear son of blameless Creon, the comeliest and loveliest of boys."

p485 The Thebaid

1.

Homer travelled about reciting his Epics, first the Thebaid, in seven thousand verses, which begins: "Sing, goddess, of parched Argos, whence lords . . ."

2.

"Then the heaven-born hero, golden-haired Polyneices, first set beside Oedipus a rich table of silver which once belonged to Cadmus the divinely wise: next he filled a fine golden cup with sweet wine. But when Oedipus perceived these treasures of his father, great misery fell on his heart, and he straightway called down bitter curses there in the presence of both his sons. And the avenging Fury of the gods failed not to hear him as he prayed that they might never divide their father's goods in loving brotherhood, but that war and fighting might be ever the portion of them both."

3.

"And when Oedipus noticed the haunch2 he threw it on the ground and said: 'Oh! Oh! my sons have sent this mocking me . . .' So he prayed to Zeus the king and the other deathless gods that each might fall by his brother's hand and go down into the house of Hades."

4.

Adrastus fled from Thebes "wearing miserable garments, and took black-maned Areion3 with him."

p487 5.

"But when the seven dead had received their last rites in Thebes, the Son of Talaüsº lamented and spoke thus among them: 'Woe is me, for I miss the bright eye of my host, a good seer and a stout spearman alike.' "

6.

Oeneus married Periboes the daughter of Hipponoüs. The author of the Thebais says that when Olenus had been stormed, Oeneus received her as a prize.

7.

Near the spring is the tomb of Asphodicus. This Asphodicus killed Parthenopaeus the son of Talaus in the battle against the Argives, as the Thebans say; though that part of the Thebais which tells of the death of Parthenopaeus says that it was Periclymenus who killed him.

The Epigoni

1.

Next (Homer composed) the Epigoni in seven thousand verses, beginning, "And now, Muses, let us begin to sing of younger men."

2.

Teumesia. Those who have written on Theban affairs have given a full account of the Teumesian fox.4 p489They relate that the creature was sent by the gods to punish the descendants of Cadmus, and that the Thebans therefore excluded those of the house of Cadmus from the kingship. But (he says) a certain Cephalus, the son of Deïon, an Athenian, who owned a hound which no beast ever escaped, had accidentally killed his wife Procris, and being purified of the homicide by the Cadmeans, hunted the fox with his hound, and when they had overtaken it both hound and fox were turned into stones near Teumessus. These writers have taken the story from the Epic Cycle.

3.

The authors of the Thebaïs say that Manto the daughter of Teiresias was sent to Delphi by the Epigoni as a first fruit of their spoil, and that in accordance with an oracle of Apollo she went out and met Rhaecius, the son of Lebes, a Mycenaean by race. This man she married — for the oracle also contained the command that she should marry whomsoever she might meet — and coming to Colophon, was there much cast down and wept over the destruction of her country.

The Cypria

1.

This5 is continued by the epic called Cypria which is current in eleven books. Its contents are as follows.

Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan war. Strife arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of Peleus and starts a dispute between p491Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as to which of them is fairest. The three are led by Hermes at the command of Zeus to Alexandrus6 on Mount Ida for his decision, and Alexandrus, lured by his promised marriage with Helen, decides in favour of Aphrodite.

Then Alexandrus builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and Helenus foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite orders Aeneas to sail with him, while Cassandra prophesies as to what will happen afterwards. Alexandrus next lands in Lacedaemon and is entertained by the sons of Tyndareus, and afterwards by Menelaus in Sparta, where in the course of a feast he gives gifts to Helen.

After this, Menelaus sets sail for Crete, ordering Helen to furnish the guests with all they require until they depart. Meanwhile, Aphrodite brings Helen and Alexandrus together, and they, after their union, put very great treasures on board and sail away by night. Hera stirs up a storm against them and they are carried to Sidon, where Alexandrus takes the city. From there he sailed to Troy and celebrated his marriage with Helen.

In the meantime Castor and Polydeuces, while stealing the cattle of Idas and Lynceus, were caught in the act, and Castor was killed by Idas, and Lynceus and Idas by Polydeuces. Zeus gave them immortality every other day.

Iris next informs Menelaus of what has happened at his home. Menelaus returns and plans an expedition against Ilium with his brother, and then goes on p493to Nestor. Nestor in a digression tells him how Epopeus was utterly destroyed after seducing the daughter of Lycus, and the story of Oedipus, the madness of Heracles, and the story of Theseus and Ariadne. Then they travel over Hellas and gather the leaders, detecting Odysseus when he pretends to be mad, not wishing to join the expedition, by seizing his son Telemachus for punishment at the suggestion of Palamedes.

All the leaders then meet together at Aulis and sacrifice. The incident of the serpent and the sparrows7 takes place before them, and Calchas foretells what is going to befall. After this, they put out to sea, and reach Teuthrania and sack it, taking it for Ilium. Telephus comes out to the rescue and kills Thersander the son of Polyneices, and is himself wounded by Achilles. As they put out from Mysia a storm comes on them and scatters them, and Achilles first puts in at Scyros and marries Deïdameia, the daughter of Lycomedes, and then heals Telephus, who had been led by an oracle to go to Argos, so that he might be their guide on the voyage to Ilium.

When the expedition had mustered a second time at Aulis, Agamemnon, while at the chase, shot a stag and boasted that he surpassed even Artemis. At this the goddess was so angry that she sent stormy winds and prevented them from sailing. Calchas then told them of the anger of the goddess and bade them sacrifice Iphigeneia to Artemis. This they attempt to do, sending to fetch Iphigeneia as though p495for marriage with Achilles. Artemis, however, snatched her away and transported her to the Tauri, making her immortal, and putting a stag in place of the girl upon the altar.

Next they sail as far as Tenedos: and while they are feasting, Philoctetes is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos because of the stench of his sore. Here, too, Achilles quarrels with Agamemnon because he is invited late. Then the Greeks tried to land at Ilium, but the Trojans prevent them, and Protesilaus is killed by Hector. Achilles then kills Cycnus, the son of Poseidon, and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks take up their dead and send envoys to the Trojans demanding the surrender of Helen and the treasure with her. The Trojans refusing, they first assault the city, and then go out and lay waste the country and cities round about. After this, Achilles desires to see Helen, and Aphrodite and Thetis contrive a meeting between them. The Achaeans next desire to return home, but are restrained by Achilles, who afterwards drives off the cattle of Aeneas, and sacks Lyrnessus and Pedasus and many of the neighbouring cities, and kills Troïlus. Patroclus carries away Lycaon to Lemnos and sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils Achilles receives Briseïs as a prize, and Agamemnon Chryseïs. Then follows the death of Palamedes, the plan of Zeus to relieve the Trojans by detaching Achilles from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue of the Trojan allies.

p497 2.

Stasinus composed the Cypria which the more part say was Homer's work and by him given to Stasinus as a dowry with money besides.

3.

"There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though wide-dispersed, oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of Zeus came to pass."

4.

The author of the Cypria says that Thetis, to please Hera, avoided union with Zeus, at which he was enraged and swore that she should be the wife of a mortal.

5

For at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the gods gathered together on Pelion to feast and brought Peleus gifts. Cheiron gave him a stout ashen shaft which he had cut for a spear, and Athena, it is said, polished it, and Hephaestus fitted it with a head. The story is given by the author of the Cypria.

6.

The author of the Cypria, whether Hegesias or Stasinus, mentions flowers used for garlands. The p499poet, whoever he was, writes as follows in his first book: "She clothed herself with garments which the Graces and Hours had made for her and dyed in flowers of spring — such flowers as the Seasons wear — in crocus and hyacinth and flourishing violet and the rose's lovely bloom, so sweet and delicious, and heavenly buds, the flowers of the narcissus and lily. In such perfumed garments is Aphrodite clothed at all seasons. * * * Then laugher-loving Aphrodite and her handmaidens wove sweet-smelling crowns of flowers of the earth and put them upon their heads — the bright-coiffed goddesses, the Nymphs and Graces, and golden Aphrodite too, while they sang sweetly on the mount of many-fountained Ida."

7.

"Castor was mortal, and the fate of death was destined for him; but Polydeuces, scion of Ares, was immortal."

8.

"And after them she bare a third child, Helen, a marvel to men. Rich-tressed Nemesis once gave her birth when she had been joined in love with Zeus the king of the gods by harsh violence. For Nemesis tried to escape him and liked not to lie in love with her father Zeus the Son of Cronos; for shame and indignation vexed her heart: therefore she fled him over the land and fruitless dark water. But p501Zeus ever pursued and longed in his heart to catch her. Now she took the form of a fish and sped over the waves of the loud-roaring sea, and now over Ocean's stream and the furthest bounds of Earth, and now she sped over the furrowed land, always turning into such dread creatures as the dry land nurtures, that she might escape him."

9.

The writer8 of the Cyprian histories says that (Helen's third child was) Pleisthenes and that she took him with her to Cyprus, and that the child she bore Alexandrus was Aganus.

10.

For it is said in the Cypria that Alexandrus came with Helen to Ilium from Sparta in three days, enjoying a favourable wind and calm sea.

11.

For Helen had been previously carried off by Theseus, and it was in consequence of this earlier rape that Aphidna, a town in Attica, was sacked and Castor was wounded in the right thigh by Aphidnus who was king at that time. Then the Dioscuri, failing to find Theseus, sacked Athens. The story is in the Cyclic writers.

Hereas relates that Alycus was killed by Theseus himself near Aphidna, and quotes the following verses in evidence:

"In spacious Aphidna Theseus slew him in battle long ago for rich-haired Helen's sake."

p503 12.

"Straightway Lynceus, trusting in his swift feet, made for Taygetus. He climbed its highest peak and looked throughout the whole isle of Pelops, son of Tantalus; and soon the glorious hero with his dread eyes saw horse-taming Castor and athlete Polydeuces both hidden within a hollow oak."

(Stasinus?) writes that Castor was killed by a spear shot by Idas the son of Aphareus.

13.

"Menelaus, know that the gods made wine the best thing for mortal man to scatter cares."

14.

Either he follows Homer who spoke of the three daughters of Agamemnon, or — like the writer of the Cypria — he makes them four, (distinguishing) Iphigeneia and Iphianassa.

15.

"So they feasted all day long, taking nothing from their own houses; for Agamemnon, king of men, provided for them."

16.

"I never thought to enrage so terribly the stout heart of Achilles, for very well I loved him."

p505 17.

The poet of the Cypria says that the wife of Protesilaus — who, when the Hellenes reached the Trojan shore, first dared to land — was called Polydora, and was the daughter of Meleager, the son of Oeneus.

18.

Some relate that Chryseïs was taken from Hypoplacian9 Thebes, and that she had not taken refuge there nor gone there to sacrifice to Artemis, as the author of the Cypria states, but was simply a fellow townswoman of Andromache.

19.

I know, because I have read it in the epic Cypria, that Palamedes was drowned when he had gone out fishing, and that it was Diomedes and Odysseus who caused his death.

20.

"That it is Zeus who has done this, and brought all these things to pass, you do not like to say; for where fear is, there too is shame."

21.

"By him she conceived and bare the Gorgons, fearful monsters who lived in Sarpedon, a rocky island in deep-eddying Ocean us."

p507 22.

Again, Stasinus says:

"He is a simple man who kills the father and lets the children live."

The Aethiopis

1.

The Cypria, described in the preceding book, has its sequel in the Iliad of Homer, which is followed in turn by the five books of the Aethiopis, the work of Arctinus of Miletus. Their contents are as follows: The Amazon Penthesileia, the daughter of Ares and of Thracian race, comes to aid the Trojans, and after showing great prowess, is killed by Achilles and buried by the Trojans. Achilles then slays Thersites for abusing and reviling him for his supposed love for Penthesileia. As a result a dispute arises amongst the Achaeans over the killing of Thersites, and Achilles sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from bloodshed.

Then Memnon, the son of Eos, wearing armour made by Hephaestus, comes to help the Trojans, and Thetis tells her son about Memnon. A battle takes place in which Antilochus is slain by Memnon and Memnon by Achilles. Eos then obtains of Zeus and bestows upon her son immortality; but Achilles routs the Trojans, and, rushing into the city with p509them, is killed by Paris and Apollo. A great struggle for the body then follows, Aias taking up the body and carrying it to the ships, while Odysseus drives off the Trojans behind. The Achaeans then bury Antilochus and lay out the body of Achilles, while Thetis, arriving with the Muses and her sisters, bewails her son, whom she afterwards catches away from the pyre and transports to the White Island. After this, the Achaeans pile him a cairn and hold games in his honour. Lastly a dispute arises between Odysseus and Aias over the arms of Achilles.

2.

Some read: "Thus they performed the burial of Hector. Then came the Amazon, the daughter of great-souled Ares the slayer of men."

3.

The author of the Aethiopis says that Aias killed himself about dawn.

The Little Iliad

1.

Next comes the Little Iliad in four books by Lesches of Mitylene: its contents are as follows. The adjudging of the arms of Achilles takes place, and Odysseus, by the contriving of Athena, gains them. Aias then becomes mad and destroys the herd of the Achaeans and kills himself. Next Odysseus lies in wait and catches Helenus, who p511prophesies as to the taking of Troy, and Diomede accordingly brings Philoctetes from Lemnos. Philoctetes is healed by Machaon, fights in single combat with Alexandrus and kills him: the dead body is outraged by Menelaus, but the Trojans recover and bury it. After this Deïphobus marries Helen, Odysseus brings Neoptolemus from Scyros and gives him his father's arms, and the ghost of Achilles appears to him.

Eurypylus the son of Telephus arrives to aid the Trojans, shows his prowess and is killed by Neoptolemus. The Trojans are now closely besieged, and Epeius, by Athena's instruction, builds the wooden horse. Odysseus disfigures himself and goes in to Ilium as a spy, and there being recognized by Helen, plots with her for the taking of the city; after killing certain of the Trojans, he returns to the ships. Next he carries the Palladium out of Troy with the help of Diomedes. Then after putting their best men in the wooden horse and burning their huts, the main body of the Hellenes sail to Tenedos. The Trojans, supposing their troubles over, destroy a part of their city wall and take the wooden horse into their city and feast as though they had conquered the Hellenes.

2.

"I sing of Ilium and Dardania, the land of fine horses, wherein the Danaï, followers of Ares, suffered many things."

p513 3.

The story runs as follows: Aias and Odysseus were quarrelling as to their achievements, says the poet of the Little Iliad, and Nestor advised the Hellenes to send some of their number to go to the foot of the walls and overhear what was said about the valour of the heroes named above. The eavesdroppers heard certain girls disputing, one of them saying that Aias was by far a better man than Odysseus and continuing as follows:

"For Aias took up and carried out of the strife the hero, Peleus' son: this great Odysseus cared not to do."

To this another replied by Athena's contrivance:

"Why, what is this you say? A thing against reason and untrue! . . . . Even a woman could carry a load once a man had put it on her shoulder; but she could not fight. For she would fail with fear if she should fight."

4.

The writer of the Little Iliad says that Aias was not buried in the usual way,10 but was simply buried in a coffin, because of the king's anger.

5.

The author of the Little Iliad says that Achilles after putting out to sea from the country of Telephus came to land there.

"The storm carried Achilles the son of Peleus to Scyros, and he came into an uneasy harbor there in the same night."

p515 6.

"About the spear-shaft was a hoop of flashing gold, and a point was fitted to it at either end."

7.

". . . The vine which the son of Cronos gave him as a recompense for his son. It bloomed richly with soft leaves of gold and grape clusters; Hephaestus wrought it and gave it to his father Zeus: and he bestowed it on Laomedon as a price for Ganymedes."

8.

The writer of the epic Little Iliad says that Machaon was killed by Eurypylus, the son of Telephus.

9.

"He disguised himself, and made himself like another person, a beggar, the like of whom was not by the ships of the Achaeans."

The Cyclic poet uses "beggar" as a substantive, and so means to say that when Odysseus had changed his clothes and put on rags, there was no one so good for nothing at the ships as Odysseus.

10.11

And Homer put forward the following verses as Lesches gives them:

"Muse, tell me of those things which neither happened before nor shall be hereafter."

p517 And Hesiod answered:

"But when horses with rattling hoofs wreck chariots, striving for victory about the tomb of Zeus."

And it is said that, because this reply was specially admired, Hesiod won the tripod (at the funeral games of Amphidamas).

11.

Sinon, as it had been arranged with him, secretly showed a signal-light to the Hellenes. Thus Lesches writes:—

"It was midnight, and the clear moon was rising."

12.

Meges is represented12 wounded in the arm just as Lescheos the son of Aeschylinus of Pyrrha describes in his Sack of Ilium where it is said that he was wounded in the battle which the Trojans fought in the night by Admetus, son of Augeias. Lycomedes too is in the picture with a wound in the wrist, and Lescheos says he was so wounded by Agenor . . . Lescheos also mentions Astynoüs, and here he is, fallen on one knee, while Neoptolemus strikes him with his sword . . . The same writer says that Helicaon was wounded in the night-battle, but was recognised by Odysseus and by him conducted alive out of the fight . . . Of them,13 Lescheos says that Eïon was killed by Neoptolemus, and Admetus by Philoctetes . . . He also says that Priam was not killed at the hearth of Zeus Herceius, but was dragged away from the altar and destroyed offhand by Neoptolemus at the doors of the house . . . Lescheos says that Axion was the son of Priam and p519was slain by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon. Agenor — according to the same poet — was butchered by Neoptolemus.

13.

"Menelaus at least, when he caught a glimpse somehow of the breasts of Helen unclad, cast away his sword, methinks." Lesches the Pyrrhaean also has the same account in his Little Iliad.

Concerning Aethra Lesches relates that when Ilium was taken she stole out of the city and came to the Hellenic camp, where she was recognised by the sons of Theseus; and that Demophon asked her of Agamemnon. Agamemnon wished to grant him this favour, but he would not do so until Helen consented. And when he sent a herald, Helen granted his request.

14.

"Then the bright son of bold Achilles led the wife of Hector to the hollow ships; but her son he snatched from the bosom of his rich-haired nurse and seized him by the foot and cast him from a tower. So when he had fallen bloody death and hard fate seized on Astyanax. And Neoptolemus chose out Andromache, Hector's well-girded wife, and the chiefs of all the Achaeans gave her to him to hold requiting him with a welcome prize. And he put Aeneas,14 the famous son of horse-taming Anchises, on board his sea-faring ships, a prize surpassing those of all the Danaäns."

p521 The Sack of Ilium

1.

Next come two books of the Sack of Ilium, by Arctinus of Miletus with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious of the wooden horse and standing round it debated what they ought to do. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks, others to burn it up, while others said they ought to dedicate it to Athena. At last this third opinion prevailed. Then they turned to mirth and feasting believing the war was at an end. But at this very time two serpents appeared and destroyed Laocoön and one of his two sons, a portent which so alarmed the followers of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida. Sinon then raised the fire-signal to the Achaeans, having previously got into the city by pretence. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in the wooden horse came out and fell upon their enemies, killing many and storming the city. Neoptolemus kills Priam who had fled to the altar of Zeus Herceius;15 Menelaus finds Helen and takes her to the ships, after killing Deïphobus and Aias the son of Ileus, while trying to drag Cassandra away by force, tears away with her the image of Athena. At this the Greeks are so enraged that they determine to stone Aias, who only escapes from the danger threatening him by taking refuge at the p523altar of Athena. The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena at the tomb of Achilles: Odysseus murders Astyanax; Neoptolemus takes Andromache as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided. Demophon and Acamas find Aethra and take her with them. Lastly the Greeks sail away and Athena plans to destroy them on the high seas.

2.

According to Arctinus, one Palladium was given to Dardanus by Zeus, and this was in Ilium until the city was taken. It was hidden in a secret place, and a copy was made resembling the original in all points and set up for all to see, in order to deceive those who might have designs against it. This copy the Achaeans took as a result of their plots.

3.

The Cyclic poet who composed the Sack says that Astyanax was also hurled from the city wall.

4.

For the followers of Acamas and Demophon took no share — it is said — of the spoils, but only Aethra, for whose sake, indeed, they came to Ilium with Menestheus to lead them. Lysimachus, however, says that the author of the Sack writes as follows:

"The lord Agamemnon gave gifts to the Sons of Theseus and to bold Menestheus, shepherd of hosts."

p525 5.

Some say that such praise as this16 does not apply to physicians generally, but only to Machaon: and some say that he only practised surgery, while Podaleirius treated sicknesses. Arctinus in the Sack of Ilium seems to be of this opinion when he says:

"For their father the famous Earth-Shaker gave both of them gifts, making each more glorious than the other. To the one he gave hands more light to draw or cut out missiles from the flesh and to heal all kinds of wounds; but in the heart of the other he put full and perfect knowledge to tell hidden diseases and cure desperate sicknesses. It was he who first noticed Aias' flashing eyes and clouded mind when he was enraged."

6.

"Iambus stood a little while astride with foot advanced, that so his strained limbs might get power and have a show of ready strength."

The Returns

1.

After the Sack of Ilium follow the Returns in five books by Agias of Troezen. Their contents are as follows. Athena causes a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from Troy. Agamemnon then stays on to appease the anger of Athena. Diomedes and Nestor put out to sea and p527get safely home. After them Menelaus sets out and reaches Egypt with five ships, the rest having been destroyed on the high seas. Those with Calchas, Leontes, and Polypoetes go by land to Colophon and bury Teiresias who died there. When Agamemnon and his followers were sailing away, the ghost of Achilles appeared and tried to prevent them by foretelling what should befall them. The storm at the rocks called Capherides is then described, with the end of Locrian Aias. Neoptolemus, warned by Thetis, journeys overland and, coming into Thrace, meets Odysseus at Maronea, and then finishes the rest of his journey after burying Phoenix who dies on the way. He himself is recognized by Peleus on reaching the Molossi. Then comes the murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, followed by the vengeance of Orestes and Pylades. Finally, Menelaus returns home.

2.

"Forthwith Medea made Aeson a sweet young boy and stripped his old age from him by her cunning skill, when she had made a brew of many herbs in her golden cauldrons."

3.

The story goes that Heracles was besieging Themiscyra on the Thermodon and could not take it; but Antiope, being in love with Theseus who was with Heracles on this expedition, betrayed the place. Hegias gives this account in his poem.

p529 4.

The Colophonian author of the Returns says that Telemachus afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus the son of Circe correspondingly married Penelope.

5.

"For gifts beguile men's minds and their deeds as well."

6.

The poetry of Homer and the Returns — for here too there is an account of Hades and the terrors there — know of no spirit named Eurynomus.

The writer of the Return of the Atreidae17 says that Tantalus came and lived with the gods, and was permitted to ask for whatever he desired. But the man was so immoderately given to pleasures that he asked for these and for a life like the life of the gods. At this Zeus was annoyed, but fulfilled his prayer because of his own promise; but to prevent him from enjoying any of the pleasures provided, and to keep him continually harassed, he hung a stone over his head which prevents him from ever reaching any of the pleasant things near by.

p531 The Telegony

1.

After the Returns comes the Odyssey of Homer, and then the Telegony in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the following matters. The suitors of Penelope are buried by their kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and Agamedes and Augeas then follows. He next sails back to Ithaca and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias, and then goes to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice, queen of the Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians, led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After the death of Callidice Polypoetes, the son of Odysseus, succeeds to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca. In the meantime Telegonus, while travelling in search of his father, lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly. Telegonus, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe makes them immortal, and Telegonus marries Penelope, and Telemachus Circe.

p533 2.

The author of the Telegony, a Cyrenaean, relates that Odysseus had by Calypso a son Telegonus or Teledamus, and by Penelope Telemachus and Acusilaus.

The Expedition of Amphiaraus18

Sitting there in the tanner's yard, Homer recited his poetry to them, the Expedition of Amphiaraus to Thebes and the Hymns to the Gods composed by him.

The Taking of Oechalia

1.

An account has there been given of Eurytus and his daughter Iole, for whose sake Heracles sacked Oechalia. Homer also seems to have written on this subject, as that historian shows who relates that Creophylus of Samos once had Homer for his guest and for a reward received the attribution of the poem which they call the Taking of Oechalia. Some however, assert the opposite; that Creophylus wrote the poem, and that Homer lent his name in return for his entertainment. And so Callimachus writes: "I am the work of that Samian who once received divine Homer in his house. I sing of Eurytus and all his woes and of golden-haired Ioleia, and am reputed one of Homer's works. Dear Heaven! how great an honour this for Creophylus!"

p535 2.

"Ragged garments, even those which now you see."

This verse (Odyssey XIV.343) we shall also find in the Taking of Oechalia.

3.

There is a disagreement as to the number of the sons of Eurytus. For Hesiod says Eurytus and Antioche had as many as four sons; but Creophylus says two.

4.

Didymus contrasts the following account given by Creophylus, which is as follows: while Medea was living in Corinth, she poisoned Creon, who was ruler of the city at that time, and because she feared his friends and kinsfolk, fled to Athens. However, since her sons were too young to go along with her, she left them at the altar of Hera Acraea, thinking that their father would see to their safety. But the relatives of Creon killed them and spread the story that Medea had killed her own children as well as Creon.

The Phocais

While living with Thestorides, Homer composed the Lesser Iliad and the Phocais; though the Phocaeans say that he composed the latter among them.

p537 The Margites

1.

Pigres. A Carian of Halicarnassus and brother of Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, who distinguished herself in war . . . He also wrote the Margites attributed to Homer and the Battle of the Frogs and Mice.

2.

"There came to Colophon an old man and divine singer, a servant of the Muses and of far-shooting Apollo. In his dear hands he held a sweet-toned lyre."

3.

"He knew many things but knew all badly . . . The gods had taught him neither to dig nor to plough, nor any other skill; he failed in every craft."

4.

He refers to Margites, a man who, though well grown up, did not know whether it was his father or his mother who gave him birth, and would not lie with his wife, saying that he was p539afraid she might give a bad account of him to her mother.

5.

"The fox knows many a wile; but the hedge-hog's one trick19 can beat them all."

The Cercopes

Cercopes. These were two brothers living upon the earth who practised every kind of knavery. They were called Cercopes20 because of their cunning doings: one of them was named Passalus and the other Acmon. Their mother, a daughter of Memnon, seeing their tricks, told them to keep clear of Black-bottom, that is, of Heracles. These Cercopes were sons of Theia and Ocean, and are said to have been turned to stone for trying to deceive Zeus.

"Liars and cheats, skilled in deeds irremediable, accomplished knaves. Far over the world they roamed deceiving men as they wandered continually."


The Editor's Notes:

1 See the cylix reproduced by Gerhard, Abhandlungen, taf. 5, 4. Cp. Stesichorus, Frag. 3 (Smyth).

2 The haunch was regarded as a dishonourable portion.

3 The horse of Adrastus, offspring of Poseidon and Demeter, who had changed herself into a mare to escape Poseidon.

4 So called from Teumessus, a hill in Boeotia. For the derivation of Teumessus cp. Antimachus Thebais fr. 3 (Kinkel).

5 The preceding part of the Epic Cycle (?).

6 sc. Paris.

7 While the Greeks were sacrificing at Aulis, a serpent appeared and devoured eight young birds from their nest and lastly the mother of the brood. This was interpreted by Calchas to mean that the war would swallow up nine full years. Cp. Iliad II.299 ff.

8 i.e. Stasinus (or Hegesias: cp. fr. 6): the phrase "Cyprian histories" is equivalent to "The Cypria."

9 sc. the Asiatic Thebes at the foot of Mt. Placius.

10 sc. after cremation.

11 This fragment comes from a version of the Contest of Homer and Hesiod widely different from that now extant. The words "as Lesches gives them (says)" seem to indicate that the verse and a half assigned to Homer came from the Little Iliad. It is possible they may have introduced some unusually striking incident, such as the actual Fall of Troy.

12 i.e. in the paintings by Polygnotus at Delphi.

13 i.e. the dead bodies in the picture.

14 According to this version Aeneas was taken to Pharsalia. Better known are the Homeric account (according to which Aeneas founded a new dynasty at Troy), and the legends which make him seek a new home in Italy.

15 Zeus is so called because it was customary for an altar dedicated to him to be placed in the forecourt (ἔρκος) of a house. Cp. Homer, Odyssey XXII.334‑5.

16 sc. knowledge of both surgery and of drugs.

17 Identical with the Returns, in which the Sons of Atreus occupy the most prominent parts.

18 The Expedition of Amphiaraus, The Taking of Oechalia and The Phocais were not included in the Epic Cycle.

19 i.e. the fox knows many ways to baffle its foes, while the hedge-hog knows one only which is far more effectual.

20 i.e. "monkey-men."


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 22 Aug 09