Home -> History -> Diodorus Siculus -> BOOK IV-VI – Greece and Europe
Introduction on the myths recounted by the historians (chap. 1).
On Dionysus, Priapus, Hermaphroditus, and the Muses (ch. 2-7).
On Heracles and the twelve Labours, and the other deeds of his up to the time of his deification (ch. 8-39).
On the Argonauts and Medea and the daughters of Pelias (ch. 40-56).
On the descendants of Heracles (ch. 57-58).
On the Theseus and his labours (ch. 59-63).
On The Seven against Thebes (ch. 64-65).
On the Epigoni1 of The Seven against Thebes (ch. 66-67).
On Neleus and his descendants (chap. 68).
On the Lapiths and Centaurs (ch. 69-70).
On Asclepius and his descendants (chap. 71).
On the daughters of Asopus and the sons born to Aeacus (chap. 72).
On Pelops, Tantalus, Oenomaus, and Niobê (ch. 73-74).
On Dardanus and his descendant as far as Priam (chap. 75).
On Daedalus, the Minotaur, and the campaign of Minos against the king Cocalus (ch. 76-80).
On Aristaeus, Daphnis, Eryx, and Orion (ch. 81-85).
1 1 I am not unaware of the fact that those who compile the narratives of ancient mythology labour under many disadvantages in their composition. For, in the first place, the antiquity of the events they have to record, since it makes record difficult, is a cause of much perplexity to those who would compose an account of them; and again, inasmuch as any pronouncement they may make of the dates of events does not admit of the strictest kind of proof or disproof, a feeling of contempt for the narration is aroused in the mind of those who read it; furthermore, the variety and the multitude of the heroes, demi-gods, and men in general whose genealogies must be set down make their recital a difficult thing to achieve; but the greatest and most disconcerting obstacle of all consists in the fact that those who have recorded the deeds and myths of the earliest times are in disagreement among themselves. 2 For these reasons the writers of greatest reputation among the later historians have stood aloof from the narration of the ancient mythology because of its difficulty, and have undertaken to record only the more recent events. 3 Ephorus of Cymê, for instance, a pupil of Isocrates, when he undertook to write his universal history, passed over the tales of the old mythology and commenced his history with a narration of the events which took place after the Return of the Heracleidae. Likewise Callisthenes and Theopompus, who were contemporaries of Ephorus, held aloof from the old myths. 4 We, however, holding the opposite opinion to theirs, have shouldered the labour which such a record involves and have expended all the care within our power upon the ancient legends. For very great and most numerous deeds have been performed by the heroes and demi-gods and by many good men likewise, who, because of the benefits they conferred which have been shared by all men, have been honoured by succeeding generations with sacrifices which in some cases are like those offered to the gods, in other cases like such as are paid to heroes, and of one and all the appropriate praises have been sung by the voice of history for all time.
5 Now in the three preceding Books we have recorded the deeds of mythological times which are found among other nations and what their histories relate about the gods, also the topography of the land in every case and the wild beasts and other animals which are found among them, and, speaking generally, we have described everything which was worthy of mention and was marvellous to relate; and in the present Book we shall set forth what the Greeks in their histories of the ancient periods tell about their most renowned heroes and demi-gods and, in general, about all who have performed any notable exploit in war, and likewise about such also as in time of peace have made some useful discovery or enacted some good law contributing to man’s social life. 6 And we shall begin with Dionysus because he not only belongs to a very ancient time but also conferred very great benefactions upon the race of men.
We have stated in the previous Books that certain barbarian peoples claim for themselves the birthplace of this god. The Egyptians, for example, say that the god who among them bears the name Osiris is the one whom the Greeks call Dionysus. 7 And this god, as their myths relate, visited all the inhabited world, was the discoverer of wine, taught mankind how to cultivate the vine, and because of this benefaction of his received the gift of immortality with the approval of all. But the Indians likewise declare that this god was born among them, and that after he had ingeniously discovered how to cultivate the vine he shared the benefit which wine imparts with human beings throughout the inhabited world. But for our part, since we have spoken of these matters in detail, we shall at this point recount what the Greeks have to say about this god.
2 1 The Greek account of Dionysus runs like this: Cadmus, the son of Agenor, was sent forth from Phoenicia by the king to seek out Europê, under orders either to bring him the maiden or never to come back to Phoenicia. After Cadmus had traversed a wide territory without being able to find her, he despaired of ever returning to his home; and when he had arrived in Boeotia, in obedience to the oracle which he had received he founded the city of Thebes. Here he made his home and marrying Harmonia, the daughter of Aphroditê, he begat by her Semelê, Ino, Autonoê, Agavê, and Polydorus. 2 Semelê was loved by Zeus because of her beauty, but since he had his intercourse with her secretly and without speech she thought that the god despised her; consequently she made the request of him that he come to her embraces in the same manner as in his approaches to Hera. 3 Accordingly, Zeus visited her in a way befitting a god, accompanied by thunder and lightning, revealing himself to her as he embraced her; but Semelê, who was pregnant and unable to endure the majesty of the divine presence, brought forth the babe untimely and was herself slain by the fire. Thereupon Zeus, taking up the child, handed it over to the care of Hermes, and ordered him to take it to the cave in Nysa, which lay between Phoenicia and the Nile, where he should deliver it to the nymphs that they should rear it and with great solicitude bestow upon it the best of care. 4 Consequently, since Dionysus was reared in Nysa, he received the name he bears from Zeus and Nysa. And Homer bears witness to this in his Hymns, when he says:
There is a certain Nysa, mountain high,
With forests thick, in Phoenicê afar,
Close to Aegyptus’ streams.
5 After he had received his rearing by the nymphs in Nysa, they say, he made the discovery of wine and taught mankind how to cultivate the vine. And as he visited the inhabited world almost in its entirety, he brought much land under cultivation and in return for this received most high honours at the hands of all men. He also discovered the drink made out of barley and called by some zythos, the bouquet of which is not much inferior to that of wine. The preparation of this drink he taught to those peoples whose country was unsuited to the cultivation of the vine. 6 He also led about with himself an army composed not only of men but of women as well, and punished such men as were unjust and impious. In Boeotia, out of gratitude to the land of his birth, he freed all the cities and founded a city whose name signified independence, which he called Eleutherae.
3 1 Then he made a campaign into India, whence he returned to Boeotia in the third year, bringing with him a notable quantity of booty, and he was the first man ever to celebrate a triumph seated on an Indian elephant. 2 And the Boeotians and other Greeks and the Thracians, in memory of the campaign in India, have established sacrifices every other year to Dionysus, and believe that at that time the god reveals himself to human beings. 3 Consequently in many Greek cities every other year Bacchic bands of women gather, and it is lawful for the maidens to carry the thyrsus and to join in the frenzied revelry, crying out “Euai!” and honouring the god; while the matrons, forming in groups, offer sacrifices to the god and celebrate his mysteries and, in general, extol with hymns the presence of Dionysus, in this manner acting the part of the Maenads who, as history records, were of old the companions of the god. 4 He also punished here and there throughout all the inhabited world many men who were thought to be impious, the most renowned among the number being Pentheus and Lycurgus. And since the discovery of wine and the gift of it to human beings were the source of such great satisfaction to them, both because of the pleasure which derives from the drinking of it and because of the greater vigour which comes to the bodies of those who partake of it, it is the custom, they say, when unmixed wine is served during a meal to greet it with the words, “To the Good Deity!” but when the cup is passed around after the meal diluted with water, to cry out, “To Zeus Saviour!” For the drinking of unmixed wine results in a state of madness, but when it is mixed with the rain from Zeus the delight and pleasure continue, but the ill effect of madness and stupor is avoided. 5 And, in general, the myths relate that the gods who receive the greatest approval at the hands of human beings are those who excelled in their benefactions by reason of their discovery of good things, namely, Dionysus and Demeter, the former because he was the discoverer of the most pleasing drink, the latter because she gave to the race of men the most excellent of the dry foods.
4 1 Some writers of myths, however, relate that there was a second Dionysus who was much earlier in time than the one we have just mentioned. For according to them there was born of Zeus and Persephonê a Dionysus who is called by some Sabazius and whose birth and sacrifices and honours are celebrated at night and in secret, because of the disgrace resulting from the intercourse of the sexes. 2 They state also that he excelled in sagacity and was the first to attempt the yoking of oxen and by their aid to effect the sowing of the seed, this being the reason why they also represent him as wearing a horn.
But the Dionysus who was born of Semelê in more recent times, they say, was a man who was effeminate in body and altogether delicate; in beauty, however, he far excelled all other men and was addicted to indulgence in the delights of love, and on his campaigns he led about with himself a multitude of women who were armed with lances which were shaped like thyrsi. 3 They say also that when he went abroad he was accompanied by the Muses, who were maidens that had received an unusually excellent education, and that by their songs and dancing and other talents in which they had been instructed these maidens delighted the heart of the god. They also add that he was accompanied on his campaigns by a personal attendant and caretaker, Seilenus, who was his adviser and instructor in the most excellent pursuits and contributed greatly to the high achievements and fame of Dionysus. 4 And in the battles which took place during his wars he arrayed himself in arms suitable for war and in the skins of panthers, but in assemblages and at festive gatherings in time of peace he wore garments which were bright-coloured and luxurious in their effeminacy. Furthermore, in order to ward off the headaches which every man gets from drinking too much wine he bound about his head, they report, a band , which was the reason for his receiving the name Mitrephorus; and it was this head-band, they say, that in later times led to the introduction of the diadem for kings. 5 He was also called Dimetor, they relate, because the two Dionysi were born of one father, but of two mothers. The younger one also inherited the deeds of the older, and so the men of later times, being unaware of the truth and being deceived because of the identity of their names thought there had been but one Dionysus.
6 The narthex is also associated with Dionysus for the following reason. When wine was first discovered, the mixing of water with it had not as yet been devised and the wine was drunk unmixed; but when friends gathered together and enjoyed good cheer, the revellers, filling themselves to abundance with the unmixed wine, became like madmen and used their wooden staves to strike one another. 7 Consequently, since some of them were wounded and some died of wounds inflicted in vital spots, Dionysus was offended at such happenings, and though he did not decide that they should refrain from drinking the unmixed wine in abundance, because the drink gave such pleasure, he ordered them hereafter to carry a narthex and not a wooden staff.
5 1 Many epithets, so we are informed, have been given him by men, who have found the occasions from which they arose in the practices and customs which have become associated with him. So, for instance, he has been called Baccheius from Bacchic bands of women who accompanied him, Lenaeus from the custom of treading the clusters of grapes in a wine-tub (lenos), and Bromius from the thunder (bromos) which attended his birth; likewise for a similar reason he has been called Pyrigenes (“Born-of Fire”). 2 Thriambus is a name that has been given him, they say, because he was the first of those of whom we have a record to have celebrated a triumph (thriambos) upon entering his native land after his campaign, this having been done when he returned from India with great booty. It is on a similar basis that the other appellations or epithets have been given to him, but we feel that it would be a long task to tell of them and inappropriate to the history which we are writing.
He was thought to have two forms, men say, because there were two Dionysi, the ancient one having a long beard because all men in early times wore long beards, the younger one being youthful and effeminate and young, as we have mentioned before. 3 Certain writers say, however, that it was because men who become drunk get into two states, being either joyous or sullen, that the god has been called “two-formed.” Satyrs also, it is reported, were carried about by him in his company and afforded the god greatest delight and pleasure in connection with their dancings and their goat-songs. 4 And, in general, the Muses who bestowed benefits and delights through the advantages which their education gave them, and the Satyrs by the use of the devices which contribute to mirth, made the life of Dionysus happy and agreeable. There is general agreement also, they say, that he was the inventor of thymelic contests, and that he introduced places where the spectators could witness the shows and organized musical concerts; furthermore, he freed from any forced contribution to the state those who had cultivated any sort of musical skill during his campaigns, and it is for these reasons that later generations have formed musical associations of the artists of Dionysus and have relieved of taxes the followers of this profession.
As for Dionysus and the myths which are related about him we shall rest content with what has been said, since we are aiming at due proportion in our account.
6 1 We shall at this point discuss Priapus and the myths related about him, realizing that an account of him is appropriate in connection with the history of Dionysus. Now the ancients record in their myths that Priapus was the son of Dionysus and Aphroditê and they present a plausible argument for this lineage; for men when under the influence of wine find the members of their bodies tense and inclined to the pleasures of love. 2 But certain writers say that when the ancients wished to speak in their myths of the sexual organ of males they called it Priapus. Some, however, relate that the generative member, since it is the cause of the reproduction of human beings and of their continued existence through all time, became the object of immortal honour. 3 But Egyptians in their myths about Priapus say that in ancient times the Titans formed a conspiracy against Osiris and slew him, and then, taking his body and dividing it into equal parts among themselves, they slipped them secretly out of the house, but this organ alone they threw into the river, since no one of them was willing to take it with him. But Isis tracked down the murder of her husband, and after slaying the Titans and fashioning the several pieces of his body into the shape of a human figure, she gave them to the priests with orders that they pay Osiris the honours of a god, but since the only member she was unable to recover was the organ of sex she commanded them to pay to it the honours of a god and to set it up in their temples in an erect position. Now this is the myth about the birth of Priapus and the honour paid to him, as it is given by the ancient Egyptians.
4 This god is also called by some Ithyphallus, by others Tychon. Honours are accorded him not only in the city, in the temples, but also throughout the countryside, where men set up his statue to watch over their vineyards and gardens, and introduce him as one who punishes any who cast a spell over some fair thing which they possess. And in the sacred rites, not only of Dionysus but of practically all other gods as well, this god receives honour to some extent, being introduced in the sacrifices to the accompaniment of laughter and sport.
5 A birth like that of Priapus is ascribed by some writers of myths to Hermaphroditus, as he has been called, who was born of Hermes and Aphroditê and received a name which is a combination of those of both his parents. Some say that this Hermaphroditus is a god and appears at certain times among men, and that he is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman, in that he has a body which is beautiful and delicate like that of a woman, but has the masculine quality and vigour of a man. But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good. But let this be enough for us on such matters.
7 1 As for the Muses, since we have referred to them in connection with the deeds of Dionysus, it may be appropriate to give the facts about them in summary. For the majority of the writers of myths and those who enjoy the greatest reputation say that they were daughters of Zeus and Mnemosynê; but a few poets, among whose number is Alcman, state that they were daughters of Uranus and Gê. 2 Writers similarly disagree also concerning the number of the Muses; for some say that they are three, and others that they are nine, but the number nine has prevailed since it rests upon the authority of the most distinguished men, such as Homer and Hesiod and others like them. Homer, for instance, writes:
The Muses, nine in all, replying each
To each with voices sweet;
and Hesiod even gives their names when he writes:
Cleio, Euterpê, and Thaleia, Melpomenê,
Terpsichorê and Erato, and Polymnia, Urania,
Calliopê too, of them all the most comely.
3 To each of the Muses men assign her special aptitude for one of the branches of the liberal arts, such as poetry, song, pantomimic dancing, the round dance with music, the study of the stars, and the other liberal arts. They are also believed to be virgins, as most writers of myths say, because men consider that the high attainment which is reached through education is pure and uncontaminated. 4 Men have given the Muses their name from the word muein, which signifies the teaching of those things which are noble and expedient and are not known by the uneducated. For the name of each Muse, they say, men have found a reason appropriate to her: Cleio is so named because the praise which poets sing in their encomia bestows great glory (kleos) upon those who are praised; Euterpê, because she gives to those who hear her sing delight (terpein) in the blessings which education bestows; Thaleia, because men whose praises have been sung in poems flourish (thallein) through long periods of time; Melpomenê, from the chanting (melodia) by which she charms the souls of her listeners; Terpsichorê, because she delights (terpein) her disciples with the good things which come from education; Erato, because she makes those who are instructed by her men who are desired and worthy to be loved; Polymnia, because by her great (polle) praises (humnesis) she bring distinction to writers whose works have won for them immortal fame; Urania, because men who have been instructed of her she raises aloft to heaven (ouranos), for it is a fact that imagination and the power of thought lift men’s souls to heavenly heights; Calliopê, because of her beautiful (kale) voice (ops), that is, by reason of the exceeding beauty of her language she wins the approbation of her auditors.
But since we have spoken sufficiently on these matters we shall turn our discussion to the deeds of Heracles.
8 1 I am not unaware that many difficulties beset those who undertake to give an account of the ancient myths, and especially is this true with respect to the myths about Heracles. For as regards the magnitude of the deeds which he accomplished it is generally agreed that Heracles has been handed down as one who surpassed all men of whom memory from the beginning of time has brought down an account; consequently it is a difficult attainment to report each one of his deeds in a worthy manner and to present a record which shall be on a level with labours so great, the magnitude of which won for him the prize of immortality. 2 Furthermore, since in the eyes of many men the very early age and astonishing nature of the facts which are related make the myths incredible, a writer is under the necessity either of omitting the greatest deeds and so detracting somewhat from the fame of the god, or of recounting them all and in so doing making the history of them incredible. 3 For some readers set up an unfair standard and require in the accounts of the ancient myths the same exactness as in the events of our own time, and using their own life as a standard they pass judgment on those deeds the magnitude of which throw them open to doubt, and estimate the might of Heracles by the weakness of the men of our day, with the result that the exceeding magnitude of his deeds makes the account of them incredible. 4 For, speaking generally, when the histories of myths are concerned, a man should by no means scrutinize the truth with so sharp an eye. In the theatres, for instance, though we are persuaded there have existed no Centaurs who are composed of two different kinds of bodies nor any Geryones with three bodies, we yet look with favour upon such products of the myth as these, and by our applause we enhance the honour of the god. 5 And strange it would be that Heracles, while yet among mortal men, should by his own labours have brought under cultivation the inhabited world, and that human beings should nevertheless forget the benefactions which he rendered them generally and slander the commendation he receives for the noblest deeds, and strange that our ancestors should have unanimously accorded immortality to him because of his exceedingly great attainments, and that we should nevertheless fail to cherish and maintain for the god the pious devotion which has been handed down to us from our fathers. However, we shall leave such considerations and relate his deeds from the beginning, basing our account on those of the most ancient poets and writers of myths.
9 1 This, then, is the story as it has been given us: Perseus was the son of Danaê, the daughter of Acrisius, and Zeus. Now Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus, lay with him and bore Electryon, and then Eurydicê, the daughter of Pelops, married him and gave birth to Alcmenê, who in turn was wooed by Zeus, who deceived her, and bore Heracles. 2 Consequently the sources of his descent, in their entirety, lead back, as is claimed, through both his parents to the greatest of the gods, in the manner we have shown. The prowess which was found in him was not only to be seen in his deeds, but was also recognized even before his birth. For when Zeus lay with Alcmenê he made the night three times its normal length and by the magnitude of the time expended on the procreation he presaged the exceptional might of the child which would be begotten. 3 And, in general, he did not effect this union from the desire of love, as he did in the case of other women, but rather only for the sake of procreation. Consequently, desiring to give legality to his embraces, he did not choose to offer violence to Alcmenê, and yet he could not hope to persuade her because of her chastity; and so, deciding to use deception, he deceived Alcmenê by assuming in every respect the shape of Amphitryon.
4 When the natural time of pregnancy had passed, Zeus, whose mind was fixed upon the birth of Heracles, announced in advance in the presence of all the gods that it was his intention to make the child who should be born that day king over the descendants of Perseus; whereupon Hera, who was filled with jealousy, using as her helper Eileithyia her daughter, checked the birth-pains of Alcmenê and brought Eurystheus forth to the light before his full time. 5 Zeus, however, though he had been outgeneralled, wished both to fulfill his promise and to take thought for the future fame of Heracles; consequently, they say, he persuaded Hera to agree that Eurystheus should be king as he had promised, but that Heracles should serve Eurystheus and perform twelve Labours, these to be whatever Eurystheus should prescribe, and that after he had done so he should receive the gift of immortality. 6 After Alcmenê had brought forth the babe, fearful of Hera’s jealousy she exposed it at a place which to this time is called after him the Field of Heracles. Now at this very time Athena, approaching the spot in the company of Hera and being amazed at the natural vigour of the child, persuaded Hera to offer it the breast. But when the boy tugged upon her breast with greater violence than would be expected at his age, Hera was unable to endure the pain and cast the babe from her, whereupon Athena took it to its mother and urged her to rear it. 7 And anyone may well be surprised at the unexpected turn of the affair; for the mother whose duty it was to love her own offspring was trying to destroy it, while she who cherished towards it a stepmother’s hatred, in ignorance saved the life of one who was her natural enemy.
10 1 After this Hera sent two serpents to destroy the babe, but the boy, instead of being terrified, gripped the neck of a serpent in each hand and strangled them both. Consequently the inhabitants of Argos, on learning of what had taken place, gave him the name Heracles because he had gained glory (kleos) by the aid of Hera, although he had formerly been called Alcaeus. Other children are given their names by their parents, this one alone gained his name by his valour.
2 After this time Amphitryon was banished from Tiryns and changed his residence to Thebes; and Heracles, in his rearing and education and especially in the thorough instruction which he received in physical exercises, came to be the first by far in bodily strength among all the rest and famed for nobility of spirit. Indeed, while he was still a youth in age he first of all restored the freedom of Thebes, returning in this way to the city, as though it were the place of his birth, the gratitude which he owed it. 3 For though the Thebans had been made subject to Erginus, the king of the Minyans, and were paying him a fixed yearly tribute, Heracles was not dismayed at the superior power of these overlords but had the courage to accomplish a deed of fame. Indeed, when the agents of the Minyans appeared to require the tribute and were insolent in their exactions, Heracles mutilated them and then expelled them from the city. 4 Erginus then demanded that the guilty party be handed over to him, and Creon, the king of the Thebans, dismayed at the great power of Erginus, was prepared to deliver the man who was responsible for the crime complained of. Heracles, however, persuading the young men of his age to strike for the freedom of their fatherland, took out of the temples the suits of armour which had been affixed to their walls, dedicated to the gods by their forefathers as spoil from their wars; for there was not to be found in the city any arms in the hands of a private citizen, the Minyans having stripped the city of its arms in order that the inhabitants of Thebes might not entertain any thought of revolting from them. 5 And when Heracles learned that Erginus, the king of the Minyans, was advancing with troops against the city he went out to meet him in a certain narrow place, whereby he rendered the multitude of the hostile force of no avail, killed Erginus himself, and slew practically all the men who had accompanied him. Then appearing unawares before the city of the Orchomenians and slipping in at their gates he both burned the palace of the Minyans and razed the city to the ground.
6 After this deed had been noised about throughout the whole of Greece and all men were filled with wonder at the unexpected happening, Creon the king, admiring the high achievement of the young man, united his daughter Megara in marriage to him and entrusted him with the affairs of the city as though he were his lawful son; but Eurystheus, who was ruler of Argolis, viewing with suspicion the growing power of Heracles, summoned him to his side and commanded him to perform Labours. 7 And when Heracles ignored the summons Zeus despatched word to him to enter the service of Eurystheus; whereupon Heracles journeyed to Delphi, and on inquiring of the god regarding the matter he received a reply which stated that the gods had decided that he should perform twelve Labours at the command of Eurystheus and that upon their conclusion he should receive the gift of immortality.
11 1 At such a turn of affairs Heracles fell into despondency of no ordinary kind; for he felt that servitude to an inferior was a thing which his high achievements did not deserve, and yet he saw that it would be hurtful to himself and impossible not to obey Zeus, who was his father as well. While he was thus greatly at a loss, Hera sent upon him a frenzy, and in his vexation of soul he fell into a madness. As the affliction grew on him he lost his mind and tried to slay Iolaüs, and when Iolaüs made his escape but his own children by Megara were near by, he shot his bow and killed them under the impression that they were enemies of his. 2 When he finally recovered from his madness and recognized the mistake he had made through a misapprehension, he was plunged in grief over the magnitude of the calamity. And while all extended him sympathy and joined in his grief, for a long whole he stayed inactive at home, avoiding any association or meeting with men; at last, however, time assuaged his grief, and making up his mind to undergo the dangers he made his appearance at the court of Eurystheus.
3 The first Labour which he undertook was the slaying of the lion in Nemea. This was a beast of enormous size, which could not be wounded by iron or bronze or stone and required the compulsion of the human hand for his subduing. It passed the larger part of its time between Mycenae and Nemea, in the neighbourhood of a mountain which was called Tretus from a peculiarity which it possessed; for it had a cleft at its base which extended clean through it and in which the beast was accustomed to lurk. 4 Heracles came to the region and attacked the lion, and when the beast retreated into the cleft, after closing up the other opening he followed in after it and grappled with it, and winding his arms about its neck choked it to death. The skin of the lion he put about himself, and since he could cover his whole body with it because of its great size, he had in it a protection against the perils which were to follow.
5 The second Labour which he undertook was the slaying of the Lernaean hydra, springing from whose single body were fashioned a hundred necks, each bearing the head of a serpent. And when one head was cut off, the place where it was severed put forth two others; for this reason it was considered to be invincible, and with good reason, since the part of it which was subdued sent forth a two-fold assistance in its place. 6 Against a thing so difficult to manage as this Heracles devised an ingenious scheme and commanded Iolaüs to sear with a burning brand the part which had been severed, in order to check the flow of the blood. So when he had subdued the animal by this means he dipped the heads of his arrows in the venom, in order that when the missile should be shot the wound which the point made might be incurable.
12 1 The third Command which he received was the bringing back alive of the Erymanthian boar which lived on Mount Lampeia in Arcadia. This Command was thought to be exceedingly difficult, since it required of the man who fought such a beast that he possess such a superiority over it as to catch precisely the proper moment in the very heat of the encounter. For should he let it loose while it still retained its strength he would be in danger from its tushes, and should he attack it more violently than was proper, then he would have killed it and so the Labour would remain unfulfilled. 2 However, when it came to the struggle he kept so careful an eye on the proper balance that he brought back the boar alive to Eurystheus; and when the king saw him carrying the boar on his shoulders, he was terrified and hid himself in a bronze vessel.
3 About the time that Heracles was performing these Labours, there was a struggle between him and the Centaurs, as they are called, the reason being as follows. Pholus was a Centaur, from whom the neighbouring mountain came to be called Pholoê, and receiving Heracles with the courtesies due to a guest he opened for him a jar of wine which had been buried in the earth. This jar, the writers of myths relate, had of old been left with a certain Centaur by Dionysus, who had given him orders only to open it when Heracles should come to that place. And so, four generations after that time, when Heracles was being entertained as a guest, Pholus recalled the orders of Dionysus. 4 Now when the jar had been opened and the sweet odour of the wine, because of its great age and strength, came to the Centaurs dwelling near there, it came to pass that they were driven mad; consequently they rushed in a body to the dwelling of Pholus and set about plundering him of the wine in a terrifying manner. 5 At this Pholus hid himself in fear, but Heracles, to their surprise, grappled with those who were employing such violence. He had indeed to struggle with beings who were gods on their mother’s side, who possessed the swiftness of horses, who had the strength of two bodies, and enjoyed in addition the experience and wisdom of men. The Centaurs advanced upon him, some with pine trees which they had plucked up together with the roots, others with great rocks, some with burning firebrands, and still others with axes such as are used to slaughter oxen. 6 But he withstood them without sign of fear and maintained a battle which was worthy of his former exploits. The Centaurs were aided in their struggle by their mother Nephelê, who sent down a heavy rain, by which she gave no trouble to those who had four legs, but for him who was supported upon two made the footing slippery. Despite all this Heracles maintained an astonishing struggle with those who enjoyed such advantages as these, slew the larger part of them, and forced the survivors to flee. 7 Of the Centaurs which were killed the most renowned were Daphnis, Argeius, Amphion, also Hippotion, Oreius, Isoples, Melanchaetes, and Thereus, Doupon, and Phrixus. As for those who escaped the peril by flight, every one of them later received a fitting punishment: Homadus, for instance, was killed in Arcadia when he was attempting to violate Alcyonê, the sister of Eurystheus. And for this feat it came to pass that Heracles was marvelled at exceedingly; for though he had private grounds for hating his enemy, yet because he pitied her who was being outraged, he determined to be superior to others in humanity.
8 A peculiar thing also happened in the case of him who was called Pholus, the friend of Heracles. While he was burying the fallen Centaurs, since they were his kindred, and was extracting an arrow from one of them, he was wounded by the barb, and since the wound could not be healed he came to his death. Heracles gave him a magnificent funeral and buried him at the foot of the mountain, which serves better than a gravestone to preserve his glory; for Pholoê makes known the identity of the buried man by bearing his name and no inscription is needed. Likewise Heracles unwittingly by a shot from his bow killed the Centaur Cheiron, who was admired for his knowledge of healing. But as for the Centaurs let what we have said suffice.
13 1 The next Command which Heracles received was the bringing back of the hart which had golden horns and excelled in swiftness of foot. In the performance of this Labour his sagacity stood him in not less stead than his strength of body. For some say that he captured it by the use of nets, others that he tracked it down and mastered it while it was asleep, and some that he wore it out by running it down. One thing is certain, that he accomplished this Labour by sagacity of mind, without the use of force and without running any perils.
2 Heracles then received a Command to drive the birds out of the Stymphalian Lake, and he easily accomplished the Labour by means of a device of art and by ingenuity. The lake abounded, it would appear, with a multitude of birds without telling, which destroyed the fruits of the country roundabout. Now it was not possible to master the animals by force because of the exceptional multitude of them, and so the deed called for ingenuity in cleverly discovering some device. Consequently he fashioned a bronze rattle whereby he made a terrible noise and frightened the animals away, and furthermore, by maintaining a continual din, he easily forced them to abandon their siege of the place and cleansed the lake of them.
3 Upon the performance of this Labour he received a Command from Eurystheus to cleanse the stables of Augeas, and to do this without the assistance of any other man. These stables contained an enormous mass of dung which had accumulated over a great period, and it was a spirit of insult which induced Eurystheus to lay upon him the command to clean out this dung. Heracles declined as unworthy of him to carry this out upon his shoulders, in order to avoid the disgrace which would follow upon the insulting command; and so, turning the course of the Alpheius river, as it is called, into the stables and cleansing them by means of the stream, he accomplished Labour in a single day, and without suffering any insult. Surely, then, we may well marvel at the ingenuity of Heracles; for he accomplished the ignoble task involved in the Command without incurring any disgrace or submitting to something which would render him unworthy of immortality.
4 The next Labour which Heracles undertook was to bring back from Crete the bull of which, they say, Pasiphaê had been enamoured, and sailing to the island he secured the aid of Minos the king and brought it back to Peloponnesus, having voyaged upon its back over so wide an expanse of sea.
14 1 After the performance of this Labour Heracles established the Olympic Games, having selected for so great a festival the most beautiful of places, which was the plain lying along the banks of the Alpheius river, where he dedicated these Games to Zeus the Father. And he stipulated that the prize in them should be only a crown, since he himself had conferred benefits upon the race of men without receiving any monetary reward. 2 All the contests were won by him without opposition by anyone else, since no one was bold enough to contend with him because of his exceeding prowess. And yet the contests are very different one from another, since it is hard for a boxer or one who enters for the “Pankration” to defeat a man who runs the “stadion,” and equally difficult for the man who wins first place in the light contests to wear down those who excel in the heavy. Consequently it was fitting that of all Games the Olympic should be the one most honoured, since they were instituted by a noble man.
3 It would also not be right to overlook the gifts which were bestowed upon Heracles by the gods because of his high achievements. For instance, when he returned from the wars to devote himself to both relaxations and festivals, as well as to feasts and contests, each one of the gods honoured him with appropriate gifts; Athena with a robe, Hephaestus with a war-club and coat of mail, these two gods vying with one another in accordance with the arts they practised, the one with an eye to the enjoyment and delight afforded in times of peace, the other looking to his safety amid the perils of war. As for the other gods, Poseidon presented him with horses, Hermes with a sword, Apollo gave him a bow and arrows and taught him their use, and Demeter instituted the Lesser Mysteries in honour of Heracles, that she might purify him of the guilt he had incurred in the slaughter of the Centaurs.
4 A peculiar thing also came to pass in connection with the birth of this god. The first mortal woman, for instance, with whom Zeus lay was Niobê, the daughter of Phoroneus, and the last was Alcmenê, who, as the writers of myths state in their genealogies, was the sixteenth lineal descendant from Niobê. It appears, then, that Zeus began to beget human beings with the ancestors of Alcmenê and ceased with her; that is, he stopped with her his intercourse with mortal women since he had no hope that he would beget in after times one who would be worthy of his former children and was unwilling to have the better followed by the worse.
15 1 After this, when the Giants about Pallenê chose to begin the war against the immortals, Heracles fought on the side of the gods, and slaying many of the Sons of Earth he received the highest approbation. For Zeus gave the name of “Olympian” only to those gods who had fought by his side, in order that the courageous, by being adorned by so honourable a title, might be distinguished by this designation from the coward; and of those who were born of mortal women he considered only Dionysus and Heracles worthy of this name, not only because they had Zeus for their father, but also because they had avowed the same plan of life as he and conferred great benefits upon the life of men.
2 And Zeus, when Prometheus had taken fire and given it to men, put him in chains and set an eagle at his side which devoured his liver. But when Heracles saw him suffering such punishment because of the benefit which he had conferred upon men, he killed the eagle with an arrow, and then persuading Zeus to cease from his anger he rescued him who had been the benefactor of all.
3 The next Labour which Heracles undertook was the bringing back of the horses of Diomedes, the Thracian. The feeding-troughs of these horses were of brass because the steeds were so savage, and they were fastened by iron chains because of their strength, and the food they ate was not the natural produce of the soil but they tore apart the limbs of strangers and so got their food from the ill lot of hapless men. Heracles, in order to control them, threw to them their master Diomedes, and when he had satisfied the hunger of the animals by means of the flesh of the man who had taught them to violate human law in this fashion, he had them under his control. 4 And when the horses were brought to Eurystheus he consecrated them to Hera, and in fact their breed continued down to the reign of Alexander of Macedon.
When this Labour was finished Heracles sailed forth with Jason as a member of the expedition to the Colchi to get the golden fleece. But we shall give a detailed account of these matters in connection with the expedition of the Argonauts.
16 1 Heracles then received a Command to bring back the girdle of Hippolytê the Amazon and so made the expedition against the Amazons. Accordingly he sailed into the Pontus, which was named by him Euxeinus, and continuing to the mouth of the Thermodon River he encamped near the city of Themiscyra, in which was situated the palace of the Amazons. 2 And first of all he demanded of them the girdle which he had been commanded to get; but when they would pay no heed to him, he joined battle with them. Now the general mass of the Amazons were arrayed against the main body of the followers of Heracles, but the most honoured of the women were drawn up opposite Heracles himself and put up a stubborn battle. The first, for instance, to join battle with him was Aella, who had been given this name because of her swiftness, but she found her opponent more agile than herself. The second, Philippis, encountering a mortal blow at the very first conflict, was slain. Then he joined battle with Prothoê, who, they said, had been victorious seven times over the opponents whom she had challenged to battle. When she fell, the fourth whom he overcame was known as Eriboea. She had boasted that because of the manly bravery which she displayed in contests of war she had no need of anyone to help her, but she found her claim was false when she encountered her better. 3 The next, Celaeno, Eurybia, and Phoebê, who were companions of Artemis in the hunt and whose spears found their mark invariably, did not even graze the single target, but in that fight they were one and all cut down as they stood shoulder to shoulder with each other. After them Deïaneira, Asteria and Marpê, and Tecmessa and Alcippê were overcome. The last-named had taken a vow to remain a maiden, and the vow she kept, but her life she could not preserve. The commander of the Amazons, Melanippê, who was also greatly admired for her manly courage, now lost her supremacy. 4 And Heracles, after thus killing the most renowned of the Amazons, and forcing the remaining multitude to turn in flight, cut down the greater number of them, so that the race of them was utterly exterminated. As for the captives, he gave Antiopê as a gift to Theseus and set Melanippê free, accepting her girdle as her ransom.
17 1 Eurystheus then enjoined upon him as a tenth Labour the bringing back of the cattle of Geryones, which pastured in the parts of Iberia which slope towards the ocean. And Heracles, realizing that this task called for preparation on a large scale and involved great hardships, gathered a notable armament and a multitude of soldiers such as would be adequate for this expedition. 2 For it had been noised abroad throughout all the inhabited world that Chrysaor, who received this appellation because of his wealth, was king over the whole of Iberia, and that he had three sons to fight at his side, who excelled in both strength of body and the deeds of courage which they displayed in contests of war; it was known, furthermore, that each of these sons had at his disposal great forces which were recruited from warlike tribes. It was because of these reports that Eurystheus, thinking any expedition against these men would be too difficult to succeed, had assigned to Heracles the Labour just described. 3 But Heracles met the perils with the same bold spirit which he had displayed in the deeds which he had performed up to this time. His forces he gathered and brought to Crete, having decided to make his departure from that place; for this island is especially well situated for expeditions against any part of the inhabited world. Before his departure he was magnificently honoured by the natives, and wishing to show his gratitude to the Cretans he cleansed the island of the wild beasts which infested it. And this is the reason why in later times not a single wild animal, such as a bear, or wolf, or serpent, or any similar beast, was to be found on the island. This deed he accomplished for the glory of the island, which, the myths relate, was both the birthplace and the early home of Zeus.
4 Setting sail, then, from Crete, Heracles put in at Libya, and first of all he challenged to a fight Antaeus, whose fame was noised abroad because of his strength of body and his skill in wrestling, and because he was wont to put to death all strangers whom he had defeated in wrestling, and grappling with him Heracles slew the giant. Following up this great deed he subdued Libya, which was full of wild animals, and large parts of the adjoining desert, and brought it all under cultivation, so that the whole land was filled with ploughed fields and such plantings in general as bear fruit, much of it being devoted to vineyards and much to olive orchards; and, speaking generally, Libya, which before that time had been uninhabitable because of the multitude of the wild beasts which infested the whole land, was brought under cultivation by him and made inferior to no other country in point of prosperity. 5 He likewise punished with death such men as defied the law or arrogant rulers and gave prosperity to the cities. And the myths relate that he hated every kind of wild beast and lawless men and warred upon them because of the Greek that it had been his lot that while yet an infant the serpents made an attempt on his life, and that when he came to man’s estate he became subject to the power of an arrogant and unjust despot who laid upon him these Labours.
18 1 After Heracles had slain Antaeus he passed into Egypt and put to death Busiris, the king of the land, who made it his practice to kill the strangers who visited that country. Then he made his way through the waterless part of Libya, and coming upon a land which was well watered and fruitful he founded a city of marvellous size, which was called Hecatompylon, giving it this name because of the multitude of its gates. And the prosperity of this city continued until comparatively recent times, when the Carthaginians made an expedition against it with notable forces under the command of able generals and made themselves its masters. 2 And after Heracles had visited a large part of Libya he arrived at the ocean near Gadeira, where he set up pillars on each of the two continents. His fleet accompanied him along the coast and on it he crossed over into Iberia. And finding there the sons of Chrysaor encamped at some distance from one another with three great armies, he challenged each of the leaders to single combat and slew them all, and then after subduing Iberia he drove off the celebrated herds of cattle. 3 He then traversed the country of the Iberians, and since he had received honours at the hands of a certain king of the natives, a man who excelled in piety and justice, he left with the king a portion of the cattle as a present. The king accepted them, but dedicated them all to Heracles and made it his practice each year to sacrifice to Heracles the fairest bull of the herd; and it came to pass that the kine are still maintained in Iberia and continue to be sacred to Heracles down to our own time.
4 But since we have mentioned the pillars of Heracles, we deem it to be appropriate to set forth the facts concerning them. When Heracles arrived at the farthest points of the continents of Libya and Europe which lie upon the ocean, he decided to set up these pillars to commemorate his campaign. And since he wished to leave upon the ocean a monument which would be had in everlasting remembrance, he built out both the promontories, they say, to a great distance; 5 consequently, whereas before that time a great space had stood between them, he now narrowed the passage, in order that by making it shallow and narrow he might prevent the great sea-monsters from passing out of the ocean into the inner sea, and that at the same time the fame of their builder might be held in everlasting remembrance by reason of the magnitude of the structures. Some authorities, however, say just the opposite, namely, that the two continents were originally joined and that he cut a passage between them, and that by opening the passage he brought it about that the ocean was mingled with our sea. On this question, however, it will be possible for every man to think as he may please.
6 A thing very much like this he had already done in Greece. For instance, in the region which is called Tempê, where the country is like a plain and was largely covered with marshes, he cut a channel through the territory which bordered on it, and carrying off through this ditch all the water of the marsh he caused the plains to appear which are now in Thessaly along the Peneius river. 7 But in Boeotia he did just the opposite and damming the stream which flowed near the Minyan city of Orchomenus he turned the country into a lake and caused the ruin of that whole region. But what he did in Thessaly was to confer a benefit upon the Greeks, whereas in Boeotia he was exacting punishment from those who dwelt in Minyan territory, because they had enslaved the Thebans.
19 1 Heracles, then, delivered over the kingdom of the Iberians to the noblest men among the natives and, on his part, took his army and passing into Celtica and traversing the length and breadth of it he put an end to the lawlessness and murdering of strangers to which the people had become addicted; and since a great multitude men from every tribe flocked to his army of their own accord, he founded a great city which was named Alesia after the “wandering” (alê) on his campaign. 2 But he also mingled among the citizens of the city many natives, and since these surpassed the others in multitude, it came to pass that the inhabitants as a whole were barbarized. The Celts up to the present time hold this city in honour, looking upon it as the hearth and mother-city of all Celtica. And for the entire period from the days of Heracles this city remained free and was never sacked until our own time; but at last Gaius Caesar, who has been pronounced a god because of the magnitude of his deeds, took it by storm and made it and the other Celts subjects of the Romans. 3 Heracles then made his way from Celtica to Italy, and as he traversed the mountain pass through the Alps he made a highway out of the route, which was rough and almost impassable, with the result that it can now be crossed by armies and baggage-trains. 4 The barbarians who had inhabited this mountain region had been accustomed to butcher and to plunder such armies as passed through when they came to the difficult portions of the way, but he subdued them all, slew those that were the leaders in lawlessness of this kind, and made the journey safe for succeeding generations. And after crossing the Alps he passed through the level plain of what is now called Galatia and made his way through Liguria.
20 1 The Ligurians who dwell in this land possess a soil which is stony and altogether wretched, and, in return for the labours and exceedingly great hardships of the natives, produces only scanty crops which are wrung from it. Consequently the inhabitants are of small bulk and are kept vigorous by their constant exercise; for since they are far removed from the care-free life which accompanies luxury, they are light in their movements and excel in vigour when it comes to contests of war. 2 In general, the inhabitants of the region round about are inured to continuous work, and since the land requires much labour for its cultivation, the Ligurians have become accustomed to require the women to share in the hardships which the cultivation involves. And since both the men and the women work side by side for hire, it came to pass that a strange and surprising thing took place in our day in connection with a certain woman. 3 She was with child, and while working for hire in company with the men she was seized by the labour-pains in the midst of her work and quietly withdrew into a thicket; here she gave birth to the child, and then, after covering it with leaves, she hid the babe there and herself rejoined the labourers, continuing to endure the same hardship as that in which they were engaged and giving no hint of what had happened. And when the babe wailed and the occurrence became known, the overseer could in no wise persuade her to stop her work; and indeed she did not desist from the hardship until her employer took pity upon her, paid her the wages due her, and set her free from work.
21 1 After Heracles had passed through the lands of the Ligurians and of the Tyrrhenians he came to the river Tiber and pitched his camp at the site where Rome now stands. But this city was founded many generations afterwards by Romulus, the son of Ares, and at this time certain people of the vicinity had their homes on the Palatine Hill, as it is now called, and formed an altogether inconsiderable city. 2 Here some of the notable men, among them Cacius and Pinarius, welcomed Heracles with marked acts of hospitality and honoured him with pleasing gifts; and memorials of these men abide in Rome to the present day. For, of the nobles of our time, the gens which bears the name Pinarii still exists among the Romans, being regarded as very ancient, and as for Cacius, there is a passage on the Palatine which leads downward, furnished with a stairway of stone, and is called after him the “Steps of Cacius,” and it lies near the original house of Cacius. 3 Now Heracles received with favour the good-will shown him by the dwellers on the Palatine and foretold to them that, after he had passed into the circle of the gods, it would come to pass that whatever men should make a vow to dedicate to Heracles a tithe of their goods would lead a more happy and prosperous life. And in fact this custom did arise in later times and has persisted to our own day; 4 for many Romans, and not only those of moderate fortunes but some even of great wealth, who have taken a vow to dedicate a tenth to Heracles and have thereafter become happy and prosperous, have presented him with a tenth of their possessions, which came to four thousand talents. Lucullus, for instance, who was perhaps the wealthiest Roman of his day, had his estate appraised and then offered a full tenth of it to the god, thus providing continuous feastings and expensive ones withal. Furthermore, the Romans have built to this god a notable temple on the bank of the Tiber, with the purpose of performing in it the sacrifices from the proceeds of the tithe.
5 Heracles then moved on from the Tiber, and as he passed down the coast of what now bears the name of Italy he came to the Cumaean Plain. Here, the myths relate, there were men of outstanding strength the fame of whom had gone abroad for lawlessness and they were called Giants. This plain was called Phlegraean (“fiery”) from the mountain which of old spouted forth a huge fire as Aetna did in Sicily; at this time, however, the mountain is called Vesuvius and shows many signs of the fire which once raged in those ancient times. 6 Now the Giants, according to the account, on learning that Heracles was at hand, gathered in full force and drew themselves up in battle-order against him. The struggle which took place was a wonderful one, in view of both the strength and the courage of the Giants, but Heracles, they say, with the help of the gods who fought on his side, gained the upper hand in the battle, slew most of the Giants, and brought the land under cultivation. The myths record that the Giants were sons of the earth because of the exceedingly great size of their bodies. With regard, then, to the Giants who were slain in Phlegra, this is the account of certain writers of myths, who have been followed by the historian Timaeus also.
22 1 From the Phlegraean Plain Heracles went down to the sea, where he constructed works about the lake which bears the name Lake of Avernus and is held sacred to Persephonê. Now this lake lies between Misenum and Dicaearcheia near the hot waters, and is about five stades in circumference and of incredible depth; for its water is very pure and has to the eye a dark blue colour because of its very great depth. 2 And the myths record that in ancient times there had been on its shores an oracle of the dead which, they say, was destroyed in later days. Lake Avernus once had an opening into the sea, but Heracles is said to have filled up the outlet and constructed the road which runs at this time along the sea and is called after him the “Way of Heracles.”
3 These, then, are the deeds of Heracles in the regions mentioned above. And moving on from there he came to a certain rock in the country of the people of Poseidonia, where the myths relate that a peculiar and marvellous thing once took place. There was, that is, among the natives of the region a certain hunter, the fame of whom had gone abroad because of his brave exploits in hunting. On former occasions it had been his practice to dedicate to Artemis the heads and feet of the animals he secured and to nail them to the trees, but once, when he had overpowered a huge wild boar, he said, as though in contempt of the goddess, “The head of the beast I dedicate to myself,” and bearing out this words he hung the head on a tree, and then, the atmosphere being very warm, at midday he fell asleep. And while he was thus asleep the thong broke, and the head fell down of itself upon the sleeper and killed him. 4 And in truth there is no reason why anyone should marvel at this happening, for many actual occurrences are recorded which illustrate the vengeance this goddess takes upon the impious. But in the case of Heracles his piety was such that the opposite happened to him. 5 For when he had arrived at the border between Rheginê and Locris and lay down to rest after his wearying journey, they say that he was disturbed by the crickets and that he prayed to the gods that the creatures which were disturbing him might disappear; whereupon the gods granted his petition, and not only did his prayer cause the insects to disappear for the moment, but in all later times as well not a cricket has ever been seen in the land.
6 When Heracles arrived at the strait where the sea is narrowest, he had the cattle taken over into Sicily, but as for himself, he took hold of the horn of a bull and swam across the passage, the distance between the shores being thirteen stades, as Timaeus says.
23 1 Upon his arrival in Sicily Heracles desired to make the circuit of the entire island and so set out from Pelorias in the direction of Eryx. While passing along the coast of the island, the myths relate, the Nymphs caused warm baths to gush forth so that he might refresh himself after the toil sustained in his journeying. There are two of these, called respectively Himeraea and Egestaea, each of them having its name from the place where the baths are. 2 As Heracles approached the region of Eryx, he was challenged to a wrestling match by Eryx, who was the son of Aphroditê and Butas, who was then king of that country. The contest of the rivals carried with it a penalty, whereby Eryx was to surrender his land and Heracles the cattle. Now at first Eryx was displeased at such terms, maintaining that the cattle were of far less value as compared with the land; but when Heracles in answer to his arguments showed that if he lost the cattle he would likewise lose his immortality, Eryx agreed to the terms, and wrestling with him was defeated and lost his land. 3 Heracles turned the land over to the natives of the region, agreeing with them that they should gather the fruits of it until one of his descendants should appear among them and demand it back; and this actually came to pass. For in fact many generations later Dorieus the Lacedaemonian came to Sicily, and taking back the land founded the city of Heracleia. Since the city grew rapidly, the Carthaginians, being jealous of it and also afraid that it would grow stronger than Carthage and take from the Phoenicians their sovereignty, came up against it with a great army, took it by storm, and razed it to the ground. But this affair we shall discuss in detail in connection with the period in which it falls.
4 While Heracles was making the circuit of Sicily at this time he came to the city which is now Syracuse, and on learning what the myth relates about the Rape of Corê he offered sacrifices to the goddesses on a magnificent scale, and after dedicating to her the fairest bull of his herd and casting it in the spring Cyanê he commanded the natives to sacrifice each year to Corê and to conduct at Cyanê a festive gathering and a sacrifice in splendid fashion. 5 He then passed with his cattle through the interior of the island, and when the native Sicani opposed him in great force, he overcame them in a notable battle and slew many of their number, among whom, certain writers of myths relate, were also some distinguished generals who receive the honours accorded to heroes even to this day, such as Leucaspis, Pediacrates, Buphonas, Glychatas, Bytaeas, and Crytidas.
24 1 After this Heracles, as he passed through the plain of Leontini, marvelled at the beauty of the land, and to show his affection for the men who honoured him he left behind him there imperishable memorials of his presence. And it came to pass that a peculiar thing took place near the city of Agyrium. Here he was honoured on equal terms with the Olympian gods by festivals and splendid sacrifices, and though before this time he had accepted no sacrifice, he then gave his consent for the first time, since the deity was giving intimations to him of his coming immortality. 2 For instance, there was a road not far from the city which was all of rock, and yet the cattle left their tracks in it as if in a waxy substance. Since, then, this same thing happened in the case of Heracles as well and his tenth Labour was likewise coming to an end, he considered that he was already to a degree participating in immortality and so accepted the annual sacrifices which were offered him by the people of the city. 3 Consequently, as a mark of his gratitude to the people who had found favour with him, he built before the city a lake, four stades in circumference, which he ordained should be called by his name; and he likewise gave his name to the moulds of the tracks which the cattle had left in the rock and dedicated to the hero Geryones a sacred precinct which is honoured to this day by the people of that region. 4 To Iolaüs, his nephew, who was his companion on the expedition, he likewise dedicated a notable sacred precinct, and ordained that annual honours and sacrifices will be offered to him, as is done even to this day; for all the inhabitants of this city let the hair of their heads grow from their birth in honour of Iolaüs, until they have obtained good omens in costly sacrifices and have rendered the god propitious. 5 And such a holiness and majesty pervade the sacred precinct that the boys who fail to perform the customary rites lose their power of speech and become like dead men. But so soon as anyone of them who is suffering from this malady takes a vow that he will pay the sacrifice and vouchsafes to the god a pledge to that effect, at once, they say, he is restored to health. 6 Now the inhabitants, in pursuance of these rites, call the gate, at which they come into the presence of the god and offer him these sacrifices, “The Heracleian,” and every year with the utmost zeal they hold games which include gymnastic contests and horse-races. And since the whole populace, both free men and slaves, united in approbation of the god they have commanded their servants, as they do honour to him apart from the rest, to gather in bands and when they come together to hold banquets and perform sacrifices to the god.
7 Heracles then crossed over into Italy with the cattle and proceeded along the coast; there he slew Lacinius as he was attempting to steal some of the cattle, and to Croton, whom he killed by accident, he accorded a magnificent funeral and erected for him a tomb; and he foretold to the natives of the place that also in after times a famous city would arise which should bear the name of the man who had died.
25 1 But when Heracles had made the circuit of the Adriatic, and had journeyed around the gulf on foot, he came to Epirus, whence he made his way to Peloponnesus. And now that he had performed the tenth Labour he received a Command from Eurystheus to bring Cerberus up from Hades to the light of day. And assuming that it would be to his advantage for the accomplishment of this Labour, he went to Athens and took part in the Eleusinian Mysteries, Musaeus, the son of Orpheus, being at that time in charge of the initiatory rites.
2 Since we have mentioned Orpheus it will not be inappropriate for us in passing to speak briefly about him. He was the son of Oeagrus, a Thracian by birth, and in culture and song-music and poesy he far surpassed all men of whom we have a record; for he composed a poem which was an object of wonder and excelled in its melody when it was sung. And his fame grew to such a degree that men believed that with his music he held a spell over both the wild beasts and the trees. 3 And after he had devoted his entire time to his education and had learned whatever the myths had to say about the gods, he journeyed to Egypt, where he further increased his knowledge and so became the greatest man among the Greeks both for his knowledge of the gods and for their rites, as well as for his poems and songs. 4 He also took part in the expedition of the Argonauts, and because of the love he held for his wife he dared the amazing deed of descending into Hades, where he entranced Persephonê by his melodious song and persuaded her to assist him in his desires and to allow him to bring up his dead wife from Hades, in this exploit resembling Dionysus; for the myths relate that Dionysus brought up his mother Semelê from Hades, and that, sharing with her his own immortality, he changed her name to Thyonê.
But now that we have discussed Orpheus, we shall return to Heracles.
26 1 Heracles, then, according to the myths which have come down to us, descended into the realm of Hades, and being welcomed like a brother by Persephonê brought Theseus and Peirithoüs back to the upper world after freeing them from their bonds. This he accomplished by the favour of Persephonê, and receiving the dog Cerberus in chains he carried him away to the amazement of all and exhibited him to men.
2 The last Labour which Heracles undertook was the bringing back of the golden apples of the Hesperides, and so he again sailed to Libya. With regard to these apples there is disagreement among the writers of myths, and some say that there were golden apples in certain gardens of the Hesperides in Libya, where they were guarded without ceasing by a most formidable dragon, whereas others assert that the Hesperides possessed flocks of sheep which excelled in beauty and were therefore called for their beauty, as the poets might do, “golden apples,” just as Aphroditê is called “golden” because of her loveliness. 3 There are some, however, who say that it was because the sheep had a peculiar colour like gold that they got this designation, and that Dracon (“dragon”) was the name of the shepherd of the sheep, a man who excelled in strength of body and courage, who guarded the sheep and slew any who might dare to carry them off. But with regard to such matters it will be every man’s privilege to form such opinions as accord with his own belief. 4 At any rate Heracles slew the guardian of the apples, and after he had duly brought them to Eurystheus and had in this wise finished his Labours he waited to receive the gift of immortality, even as Apollo had prophesied to him.
27 1 But we must not fail to mention what the myths relate about Atlas and about the race of the Hesperides. The account runs like this: In the country known as Hesperitis there were two brothers whose fame was known abroad, Hesperus and Atlas. These brothers possessed flocks of sheep which excelled in beauty and were in colour of a golden yellow, this being the reason why the poets, in speaking of these sheep as mela, called them golden mela. 2 Now Hesperus begat a daughter named Hesperis, whom he gave in marriage to his brother and after whom the land was given the name Hesperitis; and Atlas begat by her seven daughters, who were named after their father Atlantides, and after their mother, Hesperides. And since these Atlantides excelled in beauty and chastity, Busiris the king of the Egyptians, the account says, was seized with desire to get the maidens into his power; and consequently he dispatched pirates by sea with orders to seize the girls and deliver them into his hands.
3 About this time Heracles, while engaged in the performance of his last Labour, slew in Libya Antaeus, who was compelling all strangers to wrestle with him, and upon Busiris in Egypt, who was sacrificing to Zeus the strangers who visited his country, he inflicted the punishment which he deserved. After this Heracles sailed up the Nile into Ethiopia, where he slew Emathion, the king of the Ethiopians, who made battle with him unprovoked, and then returned to the completion of his last Labour. 4 Meanwhile the pirates had seized the girls while they were playing in a certain garden and carried them off, and fleeing swiftly to their ships had sailed away with them. Heracles came upon the pirates as they were taking their meal on a certain strand, and learning from the maidens what had taken place he slew the pirates to a man and brought the girls back to Atlas their father; and in return Atlas was so grateful to Heracles for his kindly deed that he not only gladly gave him such assistance as his Labour called for, but he also instructed him quite freely in the knowledge of astrology. 5 For Atlas had worked out the science of astrology to a degree surpassing others and had ingeniously discovered the spherical nature of the stars, and for that reason was generally believed to be bearing the entire firmament upon his shoulders. Similarly in the case of Heracles, when he had brought to the Greeks the doctrine of the sphere, he gained great fame, as if he had taken over the burden of the firmament which Atlas had borne, since men intimated in this enigmatic way what had actually taken place.
28 1 While Heracles was busied with the matters just described, the Amazons, they say, of whom there were some still left in the region of the Thermodon river, gathered in a body and set out to get revenge upon the Greeks for what Heracles had done in his campaign against them. They were especially eager to punish the Athenians because Theseus had made a slave of Antiopê, the leader of the Amazons, or, as others write, of Hippolytê. 2 The Scythians had joined forces with the Amazons, and so it came about that a notable army had been assembled, with which the leaders of the Amazons crossed the Cimmerian Bosporus and advanced through Thrace. Finally they traversed a large part of Europe and came to Attica, where they pitched their camp in what is at present called after them “the Amazoneum.” 3 When Theseus learned of the oncoming of the Amazons he came to the aid of the forces of his citizens, bringing with him the Amazon Antiopê, by whom he already had a son Hippolytus. Theseus joined battle with the Amazons, and since the Athenians surpassed them in bravery, he gained the victory, and of the Amazons who opposed him, some he slew at the time and the rest he drove out of Attica. 4 And it came to pass that Antiopê, who was fighting at the side of her husband Theseus, distinguished herself in the battle and died fighting heroically. The Amazons who survived renounced their ancestral soil, and returned with the Scythians into Scythia and made their homes among that people.
But we have spoken enough about the Amazons, and shall return to the deeds of Heracles.
29 1 After Heracles had performed his Labours, the god revealed to him that it would be well if, before he passed into the company of the gods, he should despatch a colony to Sardinia and make the sons who had been born to him by the daughters of Thespius the leaders of the settlement, and so he decided to send his nephew Iolaüs with the boys, since they were still quite young. 2 Now it seems to us indispensable that we should speak first of the birth of the boys, in order that we may be able to set forth more clearly what is to be said about the colony.
Thespius was by birth a distinguished man of Athens and son of Erechtheus, and he was king of the land which bears his name and begot by his wives, of whom he had a great number, fifty daughters. 3 And when Heracles was still a boy, but already of extraordinary strength of body, the king strongly desired that his daughters should be bear children by him. Consequently he invited Heracles to a sacrifice, and after entertaining him in brilliant fashion he sent his daughters one by one in to him; and Heracles lay with them all, brought them all with child, and so became the father of fifty sons. These sons all took the same name after the daughters of Thespius, and when they had arrived at manhood Heracles decided to send them to Sardinia to found a colony, as the oracle had commanded. 4 And since the expedition was under the general command of Iolaüs, who had accompanied Heracles on practically all of his campaigns, the latter entrusted him with the care of the Thespiadae and the planting of the colony. Of the fifty boys, two continued to dwell in Thebes, their descendants, they say, being honoured even to the present day, and seven in Thespiae, where they are called demouchi, and where their descendants, they say, were the chief men of the city until recent times. 5 All the other Thespiadae and many more who wished to join in the founding of the colony Iolaüs took with him and sailed away to Sardinia. Here he overcame the natives in battle and divided the fairest part of the island into allotments, especially the land which was a level plain and is called to this day Iolaeium. 6 When he had brought the land under cultivation and planted it with fruit-bearing trees he made of the island an object of contention; for instance, it gained such fame for the abundance of its fruits that at a later time the Carthaginians, when they had grown powerful, desired the island and faced many struggles and perils for possession of it. But we shall write of these matters in connection with the period to which they belong.
30 1 At the time we are considering, Iolaüs established the colony, and summoning Daedalus from Sicily he built through him many great works which stand to this day and are called “Daedaleia” after their builder. He also had large and expensive gymnasia constructed and established courts of justice and the other institutions which contribute to the prosperity of a state. 2 Furthermore, Iolaüs named the folk of the colony Iolaeis, calling them after himself, the Thespiadae consenting to this and granting to him this honour as to a father. In fact his regard for them led them to entertain such a kindly feeling towards him that they bestowed upon him as a title the appellation usually given to the progenitor of a people; consequently those who in later times off sacrifices to this god address him as “Father Iolaüs,” as the Persians do when they address Cyrus.
3 After this Iolaüs, on his return to Greece, sailed over to Sicily and spent a considerable time on that island. And at this time several of those who were visiting the island in his company remained in Sicily because of the beauty of the land, and uniting with the Sicani they settled in the island, being especially honoured by the natives. Iolaüs also received a great welcome, and since he conferred benefits upon many men he was honoured in many of the cities with sacred precincts and with such distinctions as are accorded to heroes. 4 And a peculiar and astonishing thing came to pass in connection with this colony in Sardinia. For the god had told them in an oracle that all who joined in this colony and their descendants should continually remain free men for evermore, and the event in their case has continued to be in harmony with the oracle even to our own times. 5 For the people of the colony in the long course of time came to be barbarized, since the barbarians who took part in the colony above them outnumbered them, and so they removed into the mountainous part of the island and made their home in the rough and barren regions and there, accustoming themselves to live on milk and meat and raising large flocks and herds, they had no need of grain. They also built themselves underground dwellings, and by spending their lives in such dug-out homes they avoided the perils which wars entail. 6 As a consequence both the Carthaginians in former days and the Romans later, despite the many wars which they waged with this people, did not attain their design.
As regards Iolaüs, then, and the Thespiadae and the colony which was sent to Sardinia, we shall rest satisfied with what has been said, and we shall continue the story of Heracles from the point at which our account left off.
31 1 After Heracles had completed his Labours he gave his own wife Megara in marriage to Iolaüs, being apprehensive of begetting any children by her because of the calamity which had befallen their other offspring, and sought another wife by whom he might have children without apprehension. Consequently he wooed Iolê, the daughter of Eurytus who was ruler of Oechalia. 2 But Eurytus was hesitant because of the ill fortune which had come in the case of Megara and replied that he would deliberate concerning the marriage. Since Heracles had met with a refusal to his suit, because of the dishonour which had been shown him he now drove off the mares of Eurytus. 3 But Iphitus, the son of Eurytus, harboured suspicions of what had been done and came to Tiryns in search of the horses, whereupon Heracles, taking him up on a lofty tower of the castle, asked him to see were they were by chance grazing anywhere; and when Iphitus was unable to discover them, he claimed that Iphitus had falsely accused him of the theft and threw him down headlong from the tower.
4 Because of his murder of Iphitus Heracles was attacked by a disease, and coming to Neleus at Pylus he besought him to purify him of the blood-guilt. Thereupon Neleus took counsel with his sons and found that all of them, with the exception of Nestor who was the youngest, agreed in advising him that he should not undertake the rite of purification. 5 Heracles then went to Deïphobus, the son of Hippolytus, and prevailing upon him was given the rite of purification, but being still unable to rid himself of the disease he inquired of Apollo how to heal it. Apollo gave him the answer that he would easily rid himself of the disease if he should be sold as a slave and honourably pay over the purchase price of himself to the sons of Iphitus, and so, being now under constraint to obey the oracle, he sailed over to Asia in company with some of his friends. There he willingly submitted to be sold by one of his friends and became the slave of Omphalê, the daughter of Iardanus, who was still unmarried and was queen of the people who were called at that time Maeonians, but now Lydians. 6 The man who had sold Heracles paid over the purchase price to the sons of Iphitus, as the oracle had commanded, and Heracles, healed now of the disease and serving Omphalê as her slave, began to mete out punishment upon the robbers who infested the land. 7 As for the Cercopes, for instance, as they are called, who were robbing and committing many evil acts, some of them he put to death and others he took captive and delivered in chains to Omphalê. Syleus, who was seizing any strangers who passed by and was forcing to hoe his vineyards, he slew by a blow with his own hoe; and from the Itoni, who had been plundering a large part of the land of Omphalê, he took away their booty, and the city which they had made the base of their raids he sacked, and enslaving its inhabitants razed it to the ground. 8 Omphalê was pleased with the courage Heracles displayed, and on learning who he was and who had been his parents she marvelled at his valour, set him free, and marrying him bore him Lamus. Already before this, while he was yet a slave, there had been born to Heracles by a slave a son Cleodaeus.
32 1 After this Heracles, returning to Peloponnesus, made war against Ilium, since he had a ground of complaint against its king, Laomedon. For when Heracles was on the expedition with Jason to get the golden fleece and had slain the sea-monster, Laomedon had withheld from him the mares which he had agreed to give him and of which we shall give a detailed account a little later in connection with the Argonauts. 2 At that time Heracles had not had the leisure, since he was engaged upon the expedition of Jason, but later he found an opportunity and made war upon Troy with eighteen ships of war, as some say, but, as Homer writes, with six in all, when he introduces Heracles’ son Tlepolemus as saying:
Aye, what a man, they say, was Heracles
In might, my father he, steadfast, with heart
Of lion, who once came here to carry off
The mares of King Laomedon, with but
Six ships and scantier men, yet sacked he then
The city of proud Ilium, and made
Her streets bereft.
3 When Heracles, then, had landed on the coast of the Troad, he advanced in person with his select troops against the city and left in command of the ships Oecles, the son of Amphiaraus. And since the presence of the enemy had not been expected, it proved impossible for Laomedon, on account of the exigencies of the moment, to collect a passable army, but gathering as many soldiers as he could he advanced with them against the ships, in the hope that if he could burn them he could bring an end to the war. Oecles came out to meet him, but when he, the general, fell, the rest succeeded in making good their flight to the ships and in putting out to sea from the land. 4 Laomedon then withdrew and joining combat with the troops of Heracles near the city he was slain himself and most of the soldiers with him. Heracles then took the city by storm and after slaughtering many of its inhabitants in the action he gave the kingdom of the Iliadae to Priam because of his sense of justice; 5 for Priam was the only one of the sons of Laomedon who had opposed his father and had counselled him to give the mares back to Heracles, as he had promised to do. And Heracles crowned Telamon with the meed of valour by bestowing upon him Hesionê the daughter of Laomedon, for in the siege he had been the first to force his way into the city, while Heracles was assaulting the strongest section of the wall of the acropolis.
33 1 After this Heracles returned to Peloponnesus and set out against Augeas, since the latter had defrauded him of his reward. It came to a battle between him and the Eleans, but on this occasion he had no success and so returned to Olenus to Dexamenus. The latter’s daughter Hippolytê was being joined in marriage to Azan, and when Heracles, as he sat at the wedding feast, observed the Centaur Eurytion acting in an insulting manner towards Hippolytê and endeavouring to do violence to her, he slew him. 2 When Heracles returned to Tiryns, Eurystheus charged him with plotting to seize the kingdom and commanded that he and Alcmenê and Iphicles and Iolaüs should depart from Tiryns. Consequently he was forced to go into exile along with these just mentioned and made his dwelling in Pheneus in Arcadia. 3 This city he took for his headquarters, and learning once that a sacred procession had been sent forth from Elis to the Isthmus in honour of Poseidon and that Eurytus, the son of Augeas, was at the head of it, he fell unexpectedly upon Eurytus and killed him near Cleonae, where a temple of Heracles still stands. 4 After this he made war upon Elis and slew Augeas its king, and taking the city by storm he recalled Phyleus, the son of Augeas, and gave the kingdom into his hands; for the son had been exiled by his father at the time when he had served as arbitrator between his father and Heracles in the matter of the reward and had given the decision to Heracles.
5 After this Hippocoön exiled from Sparta his brother Tyndareüs, and the sons of Hippocoön, twenty in number, put to death Oeonus who was the son of Licymnius and a friend of Heracles; whereupon Heracles was angered and set out against them, and being victorious in a great battle he made a slaughter of every man of them. Then, taking Sparta by storm he restored Tyndareüs, who was the father of the Dioscori, to his kingdom and bestowed upon him the kingdom on the ground that it was his by right of war, commanding him to keep it safe for Heracles’ own descendants. 6 There fell in the battle but a very few of the comrades of Heracles, though among them were famous men, such as Iphiclus and Cepheus and seventeen sons of Cepheus, since only three of his twenty sons came out alive; whereas of the opponents Hippocoön himself fell, and ten sons along with him, and vast numbers of the rest of the Spartans. 7 From this campaign Heracles returned into Arcadia, and as he stopped at the home of Aleos the king he lay secretly with his daughter Augê, brought her with child, and went back to Stymphalus. 8 Aleos was ignorant of what had taken place, but when the bulk of the child in the womb betrayed the violation of his daughter he inquired who had violated her. And when Augê disclosed that it was Heracles who had done violence to her, he would not believe what she had said, but gave her into the hands of Nauplius his friend with orders to drown her in the sea. 9 But as Augê was being led off to Nauplia and was near Mount Parthenium, she felt herself overcome by the birth-pains and withdrew into a near-by thicket as if to perform a certain necessary act; here she gave birth to a male child, and hiding the babe in some bushes she left it there. After doing this Augê went back to Nauplius, and when she had arrived at the harbour of Nauplia in Argolis she was saved from death in an unexpected manner. 10 Nauplius, that is, decided not to drown her, as he had been ordered, but to make a gift of her to some Carians who were setting out for Asia; and these men took Augê to Asia and gave her to Teuthras the king of Mysia. 11 As for the babe that had been left on Parthenium by Augê, certain herdsmen belonging to Corythus the king came upon it as it was getting its food from the teat of a hind and brought it as a gift to their master. Corythus received the child gladly, raised him as if he were his own son, and named him Telephus after the hind (elaphos) which had suckled it. After Telephus had come to manhood, being seized with the desire to learn who his mother was, he went to Delphi and received the reply to sail to Mysia to Teuthras the king. 12 Here he discovered his mother, and when it was known who his father was he received the heartiest welcome. And since Teuthras had no male children he joined his daughter Argiopê in marriage to Telephus and named him his successor to the kingdom.
34 1 In the fifth year after Heracles had changed his residence to Pheneus, being grieved over the death of Oeonus, the son of Licymnius, and of Iphiclus his brother, he removed of his free will from Arcadia and all Peloponnesus. There withdrew with him a great many people of Arcadia and he went to Calydon in Aetolia and made his home there. And since he had neither legitimate children nor a lawful wife, he married Deïaneira, the daughter of Oeneus, Meleager being now dead. In this connection it would not, in our opinion, be inappropriate for us to digress briefly and to speak of the reversal of fortune which befel Meleager.
2 The facts are these: Once when Oeneus had an excellent crop of grain, he offered sacrifices to the other gods, but neglected Artemis alone; and angered at him for this the goddess sent forth against him the famous Calydonian boar, a creature of enormous size. 3 This animal harried the neighbouring land and damaged the farms; whereupon Meleager, the son of Oeneus, being then in the bloom of youth and excelling in strength and in courage, took along with himself many of the bravest men and set out to hunt the beast. Meleager was the first to plunge his javelin into it and by general agreement was accorded the reward of valour, which consisted of the skin of the animal. 4 But Atalantê, the daughter of Schoeneus, participated in the hunt, and since Meleager was enamoured of her, he relinquished in her favour the skin and the praise for the greatest bravery. The sons of Thestius, however, who had also joined in the hunt, were angered at what he had done, since he had honoured a stranger woman above them and set kinship aside. Consequently, setting at naught the award which Meleager had made, they lay in wait for Atalantê, and falling upon her as she returned to Arcadia took from her the skin. 5 Meleager, however, was deeply incensed both because of the love which he bore Atalantê and because of the dishonour shown her, and espoused the cause of Atalantê. And first of all he urged the robbers to return to the woman the meed of valour which he had given her; and when they paid no heed to him he slew them, although they were brothers of Althaea. Consequently Althaea, overcome with anguish at the slaying of the men of her own blood, uttered a curse in which she demanded the death of Meleager; and the immortals, so the account runs, gave heed to her and made an end of his life.
6 But certain writers of myths give the following account: — At the time of the birth of Meleager the Fates stood over Althaea in her sleep and said to her that her son Meleager would die at the moment when the brand in the fire had been consumed. Consequently, when she had given birth, she believed that the safety of her child depended upon the preservation of the brand and so she guarded the brand with every care. 7 Afterward, however, being deeply incensed at the murder of her brothers, she burned the brand and so made herself the cause of the death of Meleager; but as time went on she grieved more and more over what she had done and finally made an end of her life by hanging.
35 1 At the time that these things were taking place, the myth continues, Hipponoüs in Olenus, angered at his daughter Periboea because she claimed that she was with child by Ares, sent her away into Aetolia to Oeneus with orders for him to do away with him at the first opportunity. 2 Oeneus, however, who had recently lost son and wife, was unwilling to slay Periboea, but married her instead and begat a son Tydeus. Such, then, is the way the story runs of Meleager and Althaea and Oeneus.
3 But Heracles, desiring to do a service to the Calydonians, diverted the river Acheloüs, and making another bed for it he recovered a large amount of fruitful land which was now irrigated by this stream. 4 Consequently certain poets, as we are told, have made this deed into a myth; for they have introduced Heracles as joining battle with Acheloüs, the river assuming the form of a bull, and as breaking off in the struggle one of his horns, which he gave to the Aetolians. This they call the “Horn of Amaltheia,” and represent it as filled with a great quantity of every kind of autumn fruit, such as grapes and apples and the like, the poets signifying in this obscure manner by the horn of Acheloüs the stream which ran through the canal, and by the apples and pomegranates and grapes the fruitful land which was watered by the river and the multitude of its fruit-bearing plants. Moreover, they say that the phrase “Amaltheia’s Horn” is used as of a quality incapable of being softened (a-malakistia), whereby is indicated the tense vigour of the man who built the work.
36 1 Heracles took the field with the Calydonians against the Thesprotians, captured the city of Ephyra by storm, and slew Phyleus the king of the Thesprotians. 2 And taking prisoner the daughter of Phyleus he lay with her and begat Tlepolemus. Three years after his marriage to Deïaneira Heracles was dining in the home of Oeneus and Eurynomus, the son of Architeles, who was still a lad in years, was serving him, and when the boy made some slip in the service Heracles gave him a blow with his fist, and striking him too hard he unintentionally killed the lad. 3 Overcome with grief at this misfortune he went again into voluntary exile from Calydonia along with his wife Deïaneira and Hyllus, his son by her, who was still a boy in years. And when in his journeying he arrived at the Euenus river he found there the Centaur Nessus who was conveying travellers across the river for a fee. 4 Nessus carried Deïaneira carry first, and becoming enamoured of her because of her beauty he tried to assault her. But when she called to her husband for help Heracles shot the Centaur with an arrow, and Nessus, struck even while he was having intercourse with her and because of the sharpness of the blow being at once on the point of death, told Deianeira that he would give her a love-charm to the end that Heracles should never desire to approach any other woman. 5 He urged her, accordingly, to take the seed which had fallen from him and, mixing it with olive oil and the blood which was dripping from the barb of the arrow, to anoint with this the shirt of Heracles. This counsel, then, Nessus gave Deïaneira and at once breathed his last. And she put the seed, as Nessus had enjoined upon her, into a jar and dipped in it the barb of the arrow and kept it all unknown to Heracles. And he, after crossing the river, came to Ceÿx, the king of Trachis, and made his dwelling with him, having with him the Arcadians who always accompanied him on his campaigns.
37 1 After this, when Phylas, the king of the Dryopes, had in the eyes of men committed an act of impiety against the temple of Delphi, Heracles took the field against him in company with the inhabitants of Melis, slew the king of the Dryopes, drove the rest of them out of the land, and gave it to the people of Melis; and the daughter of Phylas he took captive and lying with her begat a son Antiochus. By Deïaneira he became the father of two sons, younger than Hyllus, Gleneus and Hodites. 2 Of the Dryopes who had been driven from their land some passed over into Euboea and founded there the city Carystus, others sailed to the island of Cyprus, where they mixed with the natives of the island and made their home, while the rest of the Dryopes took refuge with Eurystheus and won his aid because of the enmity which he bore to Heracles; and with the aid of Eurystheus they founded three cities in Peloponnesus, Asinê, Hermionê, and Eïon.
3 After the removal of the Dryopes from their land a war arose between the Dorieis who inhabit the land called Hestiaeotis, whose king was Aegimius, and the Lapithae dwelling about Mount Olympus, whose king was Coronus, the son of Caeneus. And since the Lapithae greatly excelled in the number of their forces, the Dorieis turned to Heracles for aid and implored him to join with them, promising him a third part of the land of Doris and of the kingship, and when they had won him over they made common cause in the campaign against the Lapithae. Heracles had with him the Arcadians who accompanied him on his campaigns, and mastering the Lapithae with their aid he slew king Coronus himself, and massacring most of the rest he compelled them to withdraw from the land which was in dispute. 4 After accomplishing these deeds he entrusted to Aegimius the third part of the land, which was his share, with orders that he keep it in trust in favour of Heracles’ descendants. He now returned to Trachis, and upon being challenged to combat by Cycnus, the son of Ares, he slew the man; and as he was leaving the territory of Itonus and was making his way through Pelasgiotis he fell in with Ormenius the king and asked of him the hand of his daughter Astydameia. When Ormenius refused him because he already had for lawful wife Deïaneira, the daughter of Oeneus, Heracles took the field against him, captured his city, and slew the king who would not obey him, and taking captive Astydameia he lay with her and begat a son Ctesippus. 5 After finishing this exploit he set out to Oechalia to take the field against the sons of Eurytus because he had been refused in his suit for the hand of Iolê. The Arcadians again fought on his side and he captured the city and slew the sons of Eurytus, who were Toxeus, Molion, and Clytius. And taking Iolê captive he departed from Euboea to the promontory which is called Cenaeum.
38 1 At Cenaeon Heracles, wishing to perform a sacrifice, dispatched his attendant Lichas to Deïaneira his wife, commanding him to ask her for the shirt and robe which he customarily wore in the celebration of sacrifices. But when Deïaneira learned from Lichas of the love which Heracles had for Iolê, she wished him to have a greater affection for herself and so anointed the shirt with the love-charm which had been given her by the Centaur, whose intention was to bring about the death of Heracles. 2 Lichas, then, in ignorance of these matters, brought back the garments for the sacrifice; and Heracles put on the shirt which had been anointed, and as the strength of the toxic drug began slowly to work he met with the most terrible calamity. For the arrow’s barb had carried the poison of the adder, and when the shirt for this reason, as it became heated, attacked the flesh of the body, Heracles was seized with such anguish that he slew Lichas, who had been his servant, and then, disbanding his army, returned to Trachis.
3 As Heracles continued to suffer more and more from his malady he dispatched Licymnius and Iolaüs to Delphi to inquire of Apollo what he must do to heal the malady, but Deïaneira was so stricken by the magnitude of Heracles’ misfortune that, being conscious of her error, she ended her life by hanging herself. The god gave the reply that Heracles should be taken, and with him his armour and weapons of war, unto Oetê and that they should build a huge pyre near him; what remained to be done, he said, would rest with Zeus. 4 Now when Iolaüs had carried out these orders and had withdrawn to a distance to see what would take place, Heracles, having abandoned hope for himself, ascended the pyre and asked each one who came up to him to put torch to the pyre. And when no one had the courage to obey him Philoctetes alone was prevailed upon; and he, having received in return for his compliance the gift of the bow and arrows of Heracles, lighted the pyre. And immediately lightning also fell from the heavens and the pyre was wholly consumed. 5 After this, when the companions of Iolaüs came to gather up the bones of Heracles and found not a single bone anywhere, they assumed that, in accordance with the words of the oracle, he had passed from among men into the company of the gods.
39 1 These men, therefore, performed the offerings to the dead as to a hero, and after throwing up a great mound of earth returned to Trachis. Following their example Menoetius, the son of Actor and a friend of Heracles, sacrificed a boar and a bull and a ram to him as to a hero and commanded that each year in Opus Heracles should receive the sacrifices and honours of a hero. Much the same thing was likewise done by the Thebans, but the Athenians were the first of all other men to honour Heracles with sacrifices like as to a god, and by holding up as an example for all other men to follow their own reverence for the god they induced the Greeks first of all, and after them all men throughout the inhabited world, to honour Heracles as a god.
2 We should add to what has been said about Heracles, that after his apotheosis Zeus persuaded Hera to adopt him as her son and henceforth for all time to cherish him with a mother’s love, and this adoption, they say, took place in the following manner. Hera lay upon a bed, and drawing Heracles close to her body then let him fall through her garments to the ground, imitating in this way the actual birth; and this ceremony is observed to this day by the barbarians whenever they wish to adopt a son. 3 Hera, the myths relate, after she had adopted Heracles in this fashion, joined him in marriage to Hebê, regarding whom the poet speaks in the “Necyïa”:
I saw the shade of Heracles, but for
Himself he takes delight of feasts among
Th’ immortal gods and for his wife he hath
The shapely-ankled Hebê.
4 They report of Heracles further that Zeus enrolled him among the twelve gods but that he would not accept this honour; for it was impossible for him thus to be enrolled unless one of the twelve gods were first cast out; hence in his eyes it would be monstrous for him to accept an honour which involved depriving another god of his honour.
Now on the subject of Heracles if we have dwelt over-long, we have at least omitted nothing from the myths which are related concerning him.
40 1 As for the Argonauts, since Heracles joined them in their campaign, it may be appropriate to speak of them in this connection.
This is the account which is given: — Jason was the son of Aeson and the nephew through his father of Pelias, the king of the Thessalians, and excelling as he did above those of his years in strength of body and nobility of spirit he was eager to accomplish a deed worthy of memory. 2 And since he observed that of the men of former times Perseus and certain others had gained glory which was held in everlasting remembrance from the campaigns which they had waged in foreign lands and the hazard attending the labours they had performed, he was eager to follow the examples they had set. As a consequence he revealed his undertaking to the king and quickly received his approval. It was not so much that Pelias was eager to bring distinction to the youth that he hoped that in the hazardous expeditions he would lose his life; 3 for he himself had been deprived by nature of any male children and was fearful that his brother, with his son to aid him, would make an attempt upon the kingdom. Hiding, however, this suspicion and promising to supply everything which would be needed for the expedition, he urged Jason to undertake an exploit by sailing to Colchis after the renowned golden-fleeced skin of the ram. 4 The Pontus at that time was inhabited on all its shores by nations which were barbarous and altogether fierce and was called “Axenos,” since the natives were in the habit of slaying the strangers who landed on its shores. 5 Jason, who was eager for glory, recognizing that the labour was difficult of accomplishment and yet not altogether impossible, and concluding that for this very reason the greater renown would attach to himself, made ready everything needed for the undertaking.
41 1 First of all, in the vicinity of Mount Pelion he built a ship which far surpassed in its size and in its equipment in general any vessel known in those days, since the men of that time put to sea on rafts or in very small boats. Consequently those who saw the ship at the time were greatly astonished, and when the report was noised about throughout Greece both of the exploit of the enterprise of building the ship, no small number of the youths of prominence were eager to take part in the expedition. 2 Jason, then, after he had launched the ship and fitted it out in brilliant fashion with everything which would astonish the mind, picked out the most renowned chieftains from those who were eager to share his plan, with the result that the whole number of those in his company amounted to fifty-four. Of these the most famous were Castor and Polydeuces, Heracles and Telamon, Orpheus and Atalantê the daughter of Schoeneus, and the sons of Thespius, and the leader himself who was setting out on the voyage to Colchis. 3 The vessel was called Argo after Argus, as some writers of myths record, who was the master-builder of the ship and went along on the voyage in order to repair the parts of the vessel as they were strained from time to time, but, as some say, after its exceeding great swiftness, since the ancients called what is swift Argos. Now after the chieftains had gathered together they chose Heracles to be their general, preferring him because of his courage.
42 1 After they had sailed from Iolcus, the account continues, and had gone past Athos and Samothrace, they encountered a storm and were carried to Sigeium in the Troad. When they disembarked there, it is said, they discovered a maiden bound in chains upon the shore, the reason for it being as follows. 2 Poseidon, as the story runs, became angry with Laomedon the king of Troy in connection with the building of its walls, according to the mythical story, and sent forth from the sea a monster to ravage the land. By this monster those who made their living by the seashore and the farmers who tilled the land contiguous to the sea were being surprised and carried off. Furthermore, a pestilence fell upon the people and a total destruction of their crops, so that all the inhabitants were at their wits’ end because of the magnitude of what had befallen them. 3 Consequently the common crowd gathered together into an assembly and sought for a deliverance from their misfortunes, and the king, it is said, dispatched a mission to Apollo to inquire of the god respecting what had befallen them. When the oracle, then, became known, which told that the cause was the anger of Poseidon and that only then would it cease when the Trojans should of their free will select by lot one of their children and deliver him to the monster for his food, although all the children submitted to the lot, it fell upon the king’s daughter Hesionê. 4 Consequently Laomedon was constrained by necessity to deliver the maiden and to leave her, bound in chains, upon the shore. 5 Here Heracles, when he had disembarked with the Argonauts and learned from the girl of her sudden change of fortune, rent asunder the chains which were about her body and going up to the city made an offer to the king to slay the monster. 6 When Laomedon accepted the proposal and promised to give him as his reward his invincible mares, Heracles, they say, did slay the monster and Hesionê was given the choice either to leave her home with her saviour or to remain in her native land with her parents. The girl, then, chose to spend her life with the stranger, not merely because she preferred the benefaction she had received to the ties of kinship, but also because she feared that a monster might again appear and she be exposed by citizens to the same fate as that from which she had just escaped. 7 As for Heracles, after he had been splendidly honoured with gifts and the appropriate tokens of hospitality, he left Hesionê and the mares in keeping with Laomedon, having arranged that after he had returned from Colchis, he should receive them again; he then set sail with all haste in the company of the Argonauts to accomplish the labour which lay before them.
43 1 But there came on a great storm and the chieftains had given up hope of being saved, when Orpheus, they say, who was the only one on shipboard who had ever been initiated in the mysteries of the deities of Samothrace, offered to these deities the prayers for their salvation. 2 And immediately the wind died down and two stars fell over the heads of the Dioscori, and the whole company was amazed at the marvel which had taken place and concluded that they had been rescued from their perils by an act of Providence of the gods. For this reason, the story of this reversal of fortune for the Argonauts has been handed down to succeeding generations, and sailors when caught in storms always direct their prayers to the deities of Samothrace and attribute the appearance of the two stars to the epiphany of the Dioscori.
3 At that time, however, the tale continues, when the storm had abated, the chieftains landed in Thrace on the country which was ruled by Phineus. Here they came upon two youths who by way of punishment had been shut within a burial vault where they were being subjected to continual blows of the whip; these were sons of Phineus and Cleopatra, who men said was born of Oreithyïa, the daughter of Erechtheus, and Boreas, and had unjustly been subjected to such a punishment because of the unscrupulousness and lying accusations of their mother-in law. 4 For Phineus had married Idaea, the daughter of Dardanus the king of the Scythians, and yielding to her every desire out of his love for her he had believed her charge that his sons by an earlier marriage had insolently offered violence to their mother-in law out of a desire to please their mother. 5 And when Heracles and his friends unexpectedly appeared, the youths who were suffering these tortures, they say, made supplication to the chieftains as they would to gods, and setting forth the causes of their father’s unlawful conduct implored that they be delivered from their unfortunate lot.
44 1 Phineus, however, the account continues, met the strangers with bitter words and ordered them not to busy themselves with his affairs; for no father, he said, exacts punishment of his sons of his free will, unless they have overcome, by the magnitude of their crimes, the natural love which parents bear towards their children. 2 Thereupon the young men, who were known as Boreadae and were of the company which sailed with Heracles, since they were brothers of Cleopatra, and because of their kinship with the young men, were the first, it is said, to rush to their aid, and they tore apart the chains which encircled them and slew such barbarians as offered resistance. 3 And when Phineus hastened to join battle with them and the Thracian multitude ran together, Heracles, they say, who performed the mightiest deeds of them all, slew Phineus himself and no small number of the rest, and finally capturing the royal palace led Cleopatra forth from out the prison, and restored to the sons of Phineus their ancestral rule. But when the sons wished to put their stepmother to death under torture, Heracles persuaded them to renounce such a vengeance, and so the sons, sending her to her father in Scythia, urged that she be punished for her wicked treatment of them. 4 And this was done; the Scythian condemned his daughter to death, and the sons of Cleopatra gained in this way among the Thracians a reputation for equitable dealing.
I am not unaware that certain writers of myths say that the sons of Phineus were blinded by their father and that Phineus suffered the like fate at the hands of Boreas. 5 Likewise certain writers have passed down the account that Heracles, when he went ashore once in Asia to get water, was left behind in the country by the Argonauts. But, as a general thing, we find that the ancient myths do not give us a simple and consistent story; 6 consequently it would occasion no surprise if we find, when we put the ancient accounts together, that in some details they are not in agreement with those given by every poet and historian.
At any rate, according to these ancient accounts, the sons of Phineus turned over the kingdom to their mother Cleopatra and joined with the chieftains in the expedition. 7 And after they had set sail from Thrace and had entered the Pontus, they put in at the Tauric Chersonese, being ignorant of the savage ways of the native people. For it is customary among the barbarians who inhabit this land to sacrifice to Artemis Tauropolus the strangers who put in there, and it is among them, they say, that at a later time Iphigeneia became a priestess of this goddess and sacrificed to her those who were taken captive.
45 1 Since it is the task of history to inquire into the reasons for this slaying of strangers, we must discuss these reasons briefly, especially since the digression on this subject will be appropriate in connection with the deeds of the Argonauts. We are told, that is, that Helius had two sons, Aeëtes and Perses, Aeëtes being king of Colchis and the other king of the Tauric Chersonese, and that both of them were exceedingly cruel. 2 And Perses had a daughter Hecatê, who surpassed her father in boldness and lawlessness; she was also fond of hunting, and with she had no luck she would turn her arrows upon human beings instead of the beasts. 3 Being likewise ingenious in the mixing of deadly poisons she discovered the drug called aconite and tried out the strength of each poison by mixing it in the food given to the strangers. 4 And since she possessed great experience in such matters she first of all poisoned her father and so succeeded to the throne, and then, founding a temple of Artemis and commanding that strangers who landed there should be sacrificed to the goddess, she became known far and wide for her cruelty. 5 After this she married Aeëtes and bore two daughters, Circê and Medea, and a son Aegialeus.
6 Although Circê also, it is said, devoted herself to the devising of all kinds of drugs and discovered roots of all manner of natures and potencies such as are difficult to credit, yet, notwithstanding that she was taught by her mother Hecatê about not a few drugs, she discovered by her own study a far greater number, so that she left to the other woman no superiority whatever in the matter of devising uses of drugs. 7 She was given in marriage to the king of the Sarmatians, whom some call Scythians, and first she poisoned her husband and after that, succeeding to the throne, she committed many cruel and violent acts against her subjects. 8 For this reason she was deposed from her throne and, according to some writers of myths, fled to the ocean, where she seized a desert island, and there established herself with the women who had fled with her, though according to some historians she left the Pontus and settled in Italy on a promontory which to this day bears after her the name Circaeum.
46 1 Concerning Medea this story is related: — From her mother and sister she learned all the powers which drugs possess, but her purpose in using them was exactly the opposite. For she made a practice of rescuing from their perils the strangers who came to their shores, sometimes demanding from her father by entreaty and coaxing that the lives be spared of those who were to die, and sometimes herself releasing from prison and then devising plans for the safety of the unfortunate men. For Aeëtes, partly because of his own natural cruelty and partly because he was under the influence of his wife Hecatê, had given his approval to the custom of slaying strangers. 2 But since Medea as time went on opposed the purpose of her parents more and more, Aeëtes, they say, suspecting his daughter of plotting against him consigned her to free custody; Medea, however, made her escape and fled for refuge to a sacred precinct of Helius on the shore of the sea. 3 This happened at the very time when the Argonauts arrived from the Tauric Chersonese and landed by night in Colchis at the precinct. There they came upon Medea, as she wandered along the shore, and learning from her of the custom of slaying strangers they praised the maiden for her kindly spirit, and then, revealing to her their own project, they learned in turn from her of the danger which threatened her from her father because of the reverence which she showed to strangers. 4 Since they now recognized that it was to their mutual advantage, Medea promised to co-operate with them until they should perform the labour which lay before them, while Jason gave her his pledge under oath that he would marry her and keep her as his life’s companion as long as he lived. 5 After this the Argonauts left guards to watch the ship and set off by night with Medea to get the golden fleece, concerning which it may be proper for us to give a detailed account, in order that nothing which belongs to the history which we have undertaken may remain unknown.
47 1 Phrixus, the son of Athamas, the myths relate, because of his stepmother’s plots against him, took his sister Hellê and fled with her from Greece. And while they were making the passage from Europe to Asia, as a kind of Providence of the gods directed, on the back of a ram, whose fleece was of gold, the maiden fell into the sea, which was named after her Hellespont, but Phrixus continued on into the Pontus and was carried to Colchis, where, as some oracle had commanded, he sacrificed the ram and hung up its fleece as a dedicatory offering in the temple of Ares. 2 After this, while Aeëtes was king of Colchis, an oracle became known, to the effect that he was to come to the end of his life whenever strangers should land there and carry off the golden fleece. For this reason and because of his own cruelty as well, Aeëtes ordained that strangers should be offered up in sacrifice, in order that, the report of the cruelty of the Colchi having been spread abroad to every part of the world, no stranger should have the courage to set foot on the land. He also threw a wall about the precinct and stationed there many guardians, these being men of the Tauric Chersonese, and it is because of these guards that the Greeks invented monstrous myths. 3 For instance, the report was spread abroad that there were fire-breathing bulls (tauroi) round about the precinct and that a sleepless dragon (drakon) guarded the fleece, the identity of the names having led to the transfer from the men who were Taurians to the cattle because of their strength and the cruelty shown in the murder of strangers having been made into the myth of the bulls breathing fire; and similarly the name of the guardian who watched over the sacred precinct, which was Dracon, has been transferred by the poets to the monstrous and fear-inspiring beast, the dragon. 4 Also the account of Phrixus underwent a similar working into a myth. For, as some men say, he made his voyage upon a ship which bore the head of a ram upon its bow, and Hellê, being troubled with sea-sickness, while leaning far over the side of the boat for this reason, fell into the sea. 5 Some say, however, that the king of the Scythians, who was a son-in law of Aeëtes, was visiting among the Colchi at the very time when, as it happened, Phrixus and his attendant were taken captive, and conceiving a passion for the boy he received him from Aeëtes as a gift, loved him like a son of his own loins, and left his kingdom to him. The attendant, however, whose name was Crius (ram), was sacrificed to the gods, and when his body had been flayed the skin was nailed up on the temple, in keeping with a certain custom. 6 And when later an oracle was delivered to Aeëtes to the effect that he was to die whenever strangers would sail to his land and carry off the skin of Crius, the king, they say, built a wall about the precinct and stationed a guard over it; furthermore, he gilded the skin in order that by reason of its brilliant appearance the soldiers should consider it worthy of the most careful guarding. As for these matters, however, it rests with my readers to judge each in accordance with his own predilections.
48 1 Medea, we are told, led the way for the Argonauts to the sacred precinct of Ares, which was seventy stades distant from the city which was called Sybaris and contained the palace of the rulers of the Colchi. And approaching the gates, which were kept closed at night, she addressed the guards in the Tauric speech. 2 And when the soldiers readily opened the gates to her as being the king’s daughter, the Argonauts, they say, rushing in with drawn swords slew many of the barbarians and drove the rest, who were struck with terror by the unexpected happening, out of the precinct, and then, taking with them the fleece, made for the ship with all speed. 3 Medea likewise, assisting the Argonauts, slew with poisons the dragon which, according to the myths, never slept as it lay coiled about the fleece in the precinct, and made her way with Jason down to the sea. 4 The Tauri who had escaped by flight reported to the king the attack which had been made upon them, and Aeëtes, they say, took with him the soldiers who guarded his person, set out in pursuit of the Greeks, and came upon them near the sea. Joining battle on the first contact with them, he slew one of the Argonauts, Iphitus, the brother of that Eurystheus who had the Labours upon Heracles, but soon, when he enveloped the rest of them with the multitude of his followers and pressed too hotly into the fray, he was slain by Meleager. 5 The moment the king fell, the Greeks took courage, and the Colchi turned in flight and the larger part of them were slain in the pursuit. There were wounded among the chieftains Jason, Laërtes, Atalantê, and the sons of Thespius, as they are called. However they were all healed in a few days, they say, by Medea by means of roots and certain herbs, and the Argonauts, after securing provisions for themselves, set out to sea, and they had already reached the middle of the Pontic sea when they ran into a storm which put them in the greatest peril. 6 But when Orpheus, as on the former occasion, offered up prayers to the deities of Samothrace, the winds ceased and there appeared near the ship Glaucus the Sea-god, as he is called. The god accompanied the ship in its voyage without ceasing for two days and nights and foretold to Heracles his Labours and immortality, and to the Tyndaridae that they should be called Dioscori (“Sons of Zeus”) and receive at the hands of all mankind honour like that offered to the gods. 7 And, in general, he addressed all the Argonauts by name and told them that because of the prayers of Orpheus he had appeared in accordance with a Providence of the gods and was showing forth to them what was destined to take place; and he counselled them, accordingly, that so soon as they touched land they should pay their vows to the gods through the intervention of whom they had twice already been saved.
49 1 After this, the account continues, Glaucus sank back beneath the deep, and the Argonauts, arriving at the mouth of the Pontus, put in to the land, the king of the country being at that time Byzas, after whom the city of Byzantium was named. 2 There they set up altars, and when they had paid their vows to the gods they sanctified the place, which is even to this day held in honour by the sailors who pass by. 3 After this they put out to sea, and after sailing through the Propontis and Hellespont they landed at the Troad. Here, when Heracles dispatched to the city his brother Iphiclus and Telamon to demand back both the mares and Hesionê, Laomedon, it is said, threw the ambassadors into prison and planned to lay an ambush for the other Argonauts and encompass their death. He had the rest of his sons as willing aids in the deed, but Priam alone opposed it; for he declared that Laomedon should observe justice in his dealings with the strangers and should deliver to them both his sister and the mares which had been promised. 4 But when no one paid any heed to Priam, he brought two swords to the prison, they say, and gave them secretly to Telamon and his companions, and by disclosing the plan of his father he became the cause of their deliverance. 5 For immediately Telamon and his companions slew such of the guards as offered resistance, and fleeing to the sea gave the Argonauts a full account of what had happened. Accordingly, these got ready for battle and went out to meet the forces which were pouring out of the city with the king. 6 There was a sharp battle, but their courage gave the chieftains the upper hand, and Heracles, the myths report, performed the bravest feats of them all; for he slew Laomedon, and taking the city at the first assault he punished those who were parties with the king to the plot, but to Priam, because of the spirit of justice he had shown, he gave the kingship, entered into a league of friendship with him, and then sailed away in company with the Argonauts. 7 But certain of the ancient poets have handed down the account that Heracles took Troy, not with the aid of the Argonauts, but on a campaign of his own with six ships, in order to get the mares; and Homer also adds his witness to this version in the following lines:
Aye, what a man, they say, was Heracles
In might, my father he, steadfast, with heart
Of lion, who once came here to carry off
The mares of King Laomedon, with but
Six ships and scantier men, yet sacked he then
The city of proud Ilium, and made
Her streets bereft.
8 But the Argonauts, they say, set forth from the road and arrived at Samothrace, where they again paid their vows to the great gods and dedicated in the sacred precinct the bowls which are preserved there even to this day.
50 1 While the return of the chieftains was as yet not known in Thessaly, a rumour, they say, went the rounds there that all the companions of Jason in the expedition had perished in the region of Pontus. Consequently Pelias, thinking that an occasion was now come to do away with all who were waiting for the throne, forced the father of Jason to drink the blood of a bull, and murdered his brother Promachus, who was still a mere lad in years. 2 But Amphinomê, his mother, they say, when on the point of being slain, performed a manly deed and one worthy of mention; for fleeing to the hearth of the king she pronounced a curse against him, to the effect that he might suffer the fate which his impious deeds merited, and then, striking her own breast with a sword, she ended her life heroically. 3 But as for Pelias, when he had utterly destroyed in this fashion all the relatives of Jason, he speedily received the punishment befitting his impious deeds. For Jason, who had sailed that night into a road-stead which lay not far from Iolcus and yet was not in sight of the dwellers in the city, learned from one of the country-folk of the misfortunes which had befallen his kinsmen. 4 Now all the chieftains stood ready to lend Jason their aid and to face any peril on his behalf, but they fell into dispute over how they should make the attack; some, for instance, advised that they force their way at once into the city and fall upon the king while he was not expecting them, but certain others declared that each one of them should gather soldiers from his own birthplace and then raise a general war; since it was impossible, they maintained, for fifty-three men to overcome a king who controlled an army and important cities. 5 While they were in this perplexity Medea, it is said, promised to slay Pelias all alone by means of cunning to deliver to the chieftains the royal palace without their running any risk. 6 And when they all expressed astonishment at her statement and sought to learn what sort of a scheme she had in mind, she said that she had brought with her many drugs of marvellous potency which had been discovered by her mother Hecatê and by her sister Circê; and though before this time she had never used them to destroy human beings, on this occasion she would by means of them easily wreak vengeance upon men who were deserving of punishment. 7 Then, after disclosing beforehand to the chieftains the detailed plans of the attack she would make, she promised them that she would give them a signal from the palace during the day by means of smoke, during the night by fire, in the direction of the look-out which stood high above the sea.
51 1 Then Medea, the tale goes on, fashioning a hollow image of Artemis secreted in it drugs of diverse natures, and as for herself, she anointed her hair with certain potent ointments and made it grey, and filled her face and body so full of wrinkles that all who looked upon her thought that she was surely an old woman. And finally, taking with her the statue of the goddess which had been so made as to strike with terror the superstitious populace and move it to fear of the gods, at daybreak she entered the city. 2 She acted like one inspired, and as the multitude rushed together along the streets she summoned the whole people to receive the goddess with reverence, telling them that the goddess had come to them from the Hyperboreans to bring good luck to both the whole city and the king. 3 And while all the inhabitants were rendering obeisance to the goddess and honouring her with sacrifices, and the whole city, in a word, was, along with Medea herself, acting like people inspired, she entered the palace, and there she threw Pelias into such a state of superstitious fear and, by her magic arts, so terrified his daughters that they believed that the goddess was actually there in person to bring prosperity to the house of the king. 4 For she declared that Artemis, riding through the air upon a chariot drawn by dragons, had flown in the air over many parts of the inhabited earth and had chosen out the realm of the most pious king in all the world for the establishment of her own worship and for honours which should be for ever and ever; and that the goddess had commanded her not only to divest Pelias, by means of certain powers which she possessed, of his old age and make his body entirely young, but also to bestow upon him many other gifts, to the end that his life should be blessed and pleasing to the gods.
5 The king was filled with amazement at these astonishing proposals, but Medea, we are informed, promised him that then and there, in the case of her own body, she would furnish the proof of what she had said. Then she told one of the daughters of Pelias to bring pure water, and when the maiden at once carried out her request, she shut herself up, they say, in a small chamber and washing thoroughly her whole body she made it clean of the potent influences of the drugs. Being restored, then, to her former condition, and showing herself to the king, she amazed those who gazed upon her, and they thought that a kind of Providence of the gods had transformed her old age into a maiden’s youth and striking beauty. 6 Also, by means of certain drugs, Medea caused shapes of the dragons to appear, which she declared had brought the goddess through the air from the Hyperboreans to make her stay with Pelias. And since the deeds which Medea had performed appeared to be too great for mortal nature, and the king saw fit to regard her with great approval and, in a word, believed that she was telling the truth, she now, they say, in private conversation with Pelias urged him to order his daughters to co-operate with her and to do whatever she might command them; for it was fitting, she said, that the king’s body should receive the favour which the gods were according to him through the hands, not of servants, but of his own children. 7 Consequently Pelias gave explicit directions to his daughters to do everything that Medea might command them with respect to the body of their father, and the maidens were quite ready to carry out her orders.
52 1 Medea then, the story relates, when night had come and Pelias had fallen asleep, informed the daughters that it was required that the body of Pelias be boiled in a cauldron. But when the maidens received the proposal with hostility, she devised a second proof that what she said could be believed. For there was a ram full of years which was kept in their home, and she announced to the maidens that she would first boil it and thus make it into a lamb again. 2 When they agreed to this, we are told that Medea severed it apart limb by limb, boiled the ram’s body, and then, working a deception by means of certain drugs, she drew out of the cauldron an image which looked like a lamb. Thereupon the maidens were astounded, and were so convinced that they had received all possible proofs that she could do what she was promising that they carried out her orders. All the rest of them beat their father to death, but Alcestis alone, because of her great piety, would not lay hands upon him who had begotten her.
3 After Pelias had been slain in this way, Medea, they say, took no part in cutting the body to pieces or in boiling it, but pretending that she must first offer prayers to the moon, she caused the maidens to ascend with lamps to the highest part of the roof of the palace, while she herself took much time repeating a long prayer in the Colchian speech, thus affording an interval to those who were to make the attack. 4 Consequently the Argonauts, when from their look-out they made out the fire, believing that the slaying of the king had been accomplished, hastened to the city on the run, and passing inside the walls entered the palace with drawn swords and slew such guards as offered opposition. The daughters of Pelias, who had only at that moment descended from the roof to attend to the boiling of their father, when they saw to their surprise both Jason and the chieftains in the palace, were filled with dismay at how had befallen them; for it was not within their power to avenge themselves on Medea, nor could they by deceit make amends for the abominable act which they had done. 5 Consequently the daughters, it is related, were about to make an end of their lives, but Jason, taking pity upon their distress, restrained them, and exhorting them to be of good courage, showed them that it was not from evil design that they had done wrong but it was against their will and because of deception that they had suffered this misfortune.
53 1 Jason now, we are informed, promising all his kindred in general that he would conduct himself honourably and magnanimously, summoned the people to an assembly. And after defending himself for what he had done and explaining that he had only taken vengeance on men who had wronged him first, inflicting a less severe punishment on them than the evils he himself had suffered, he bestowed upon Acastus, the son of Pelias, the ancestral kingdom, and as for the daughters of the king, he said that he considered it right that he himself should assume the responsibility for them. 2 And ultimately he fulfilled his promise, they say, by joining them all in marriage after a time to the most renowned men. Alcestis, for instance, the eldest he gave in marriage to Admetus of Thessaly, the son of Pheres, Amphinomê to Andraemon, the brother of Leonteus, Euadnê to Canes, who was the son of Cephalus and king at that time of the Phocians. These marriages he arranged at a later period; but at the time in question, sailing together with the chieftains to the Isthmus of Peloponnesus, he performed a sacrifice to Poseidon and also dedicated to the god the ship Argo. 3 And since he received a great welcome at the court of Creon, the king of the Corinthians, he became a citizen of that city and spent the rest of his days in Corinth.
4 When the Argonauts were on the point of separating and departing to their native lands, Heracles, they say, proposed to the chieftains that, in view of the unexpected turns fortune takes, they should exchange oaths among one another to fight at the side of anyone of their number who should call for aid; and that, furthermore, they should choose out the most excellent place in Greece, there to institute games and a festival for the whole race, and should dedicate the games to the greatest of the gods, Olympian Zeus. 5 After the chieftains had taken their oath concerning the alliance and had entrusted Heracles with the management of the games, he, they say, picked the place for the festival on the bank of the Alpheius river in the land of the Eleans. Accordingly, this place besides the river he made sacred to the greatest of the gods and called it Olympia after his appellation. When he had instituted horse-races and gymnastic contests, he fixed the rules governing the events and then dispatched sacred commissioners to announce to the cities the spectacle of the games. 6 And although Heracles had won no moderate degree of fame because of the high esteem in which he was held by the Argonauts throughout their expedition, to this was now added the glory of having founded the festival at Olympia, so that he was the most renowned man among all the Greeks and, known as he was in almost every state, there were many who sought his friendship and who were eager to share with him in every danger. 7 And since he was an object of admiration because of his bravery and his skill as a general, he gathered a most powerful army and visited all the inhabited world, conferring his benefactions upon the race of men, and it was in return for these that with general approval he received the gift of immortality. But the poets, following their custom of giving a tale of wonder, have recounted the myth that Heracles, single-handed and without the aid of armed forces, performed the Labours which are on the lips of all.
54 1 But we have now recounted all the myths which are told about this god, and at this time must add what remains to be said about Jason. The account runs like this: — Jason made his home in Corinth and living with Medea as his wife for ten years he begat children by her, the two oldest, Thessalus and Alcimenes, being twins, and the third, Tisandrus, being much younger than the other two. 2 Now during this period, we are informed, Medea was highly approved by her husband, because she not only excelled in beauty but was adorned with modesty and every other virtue; but afterward, as time more and more diminished her natural comeliness, Jason, it is said, became enamoured of Glaucê, Creon’s daughter, and sought the maiden’s hand in marriage. 3 After her father had given his consent and had set a day for the marriage, Jason, they say, at first tried to persuade Medea to withdraw from their wedlock of her free-will; for, he told her, he desired to marry the maiden, not because he felt his relations with Medea were beneath him, but because he was eager to establish a kinship between the king’s house and his children. 4 But when his wife was angered and called upon the gods who had been the witnesses of their vows, they say that Jason, disdaining the vows, married the daughter of the king. 5 Thereupon Medea was driven out of the city, and being allowed by Creon but one day to make the preparations for her exile, she entered the palace by night, having altered her appearance by means of drugs, and set fire to the building by applying to it a little root which had been discovered by her sister Circê and had the property that when it was kindled it was hard to put out. Now when the palace suddenly burst into flames, Jason quickly made his way out of it, but as for Glaucê and Creon, the fire hemmed them in on all sides and they were consumed by it. 6 Certain historians, however, say that the sons of Medea brought to the bride gifts which had been anointed with poisons, and that when Glaucê took them and put them about her body both she herself met her end and her father, when he ran to help her and embraced her body, likewise perished.
7 Although Medea had been successful in her first undertakings, yet she did not refrain, so we are told, from taking her revenge upon Jason. For she had come to such a state of rage and jealousy, yes, even of savageness, that, since he had escaped from the peril which threatened him at the same time as his bride, she determined, by the murder of the children of them both, to plunge him into the deepest misfortunes; for, except for the one son who made his escape with her, she slew the other sons and in company with her most faithful maids fled in the dead of night from Corinth and made her way safely to Heracles in Thebes. Her reason for doing so was that Heracles had acted as a mediator in connection with the agreements which had been entered into in the land of the Colchians and had promised to come to her aid if she should ever find them violated.
55 1 Meanwhile, they go on to say, in the opinion of everyone Jason, in losing children and wife, had suffered only what was just; consequently, being unable to endure the magnitude of the affliction, he put an end to his life. The Corinthians were greatly distressed at such a terrible reversal of fortune and were especially perplexed about the burial of the children. Accordingly, they dispatched messengers to Pytho to inquire of the god what should be done with the bodies of the children, and the Pythian priestess commanded them to bury the children in the sacred precinct of Hera and to pay them the honours which are accorded to heroes. 2 After the Corinthians had performed this command, Thessalus, they say, who had escaped being murdered by his mother, was reared as a youth in Corinth and then removed to Iolcus, which was the native land of Jason; and finding on his arrival that Acastus, the son of Pelias, had recently died, he took over the throne which belonged to him by inheritance and called the people who were subject to himself Thessalians after his own name. 3 I am not unaware that this is not the only explanation given of the name the Thessalians bear, but the fact is that the other accounts which have been handed down to us are likewise at variance with one another, and concerning these we shall speak on a more appropriate occasion.
4 Now as for Medea, he says, on finding upon her arrival in Thebes that Heracles was possessed of a frenzy of madness and had slain his sons, she restored him to health by means of drugs. But since Eurystheus was pressing Heracles with his commands, she despaired of receiving any aid from him at the moment and sought refuge in Athens with Aegeus, the son of Pandion. 5 Here, as some say, she married Aegeus and gave birth to Medus, who was later king of Media, but certain writers give the account that, when her person was demanded by Hippotes, the son of Creon, she was granted a trial and cleared of the charges he raised against her. 6 After this, when Theseus returned to Athens from Troezen, a charge of poisoning was brought against her and she was exiled from the city; but by the gift of Aegeus she received an escort to go with her to whatever country she might wish and she came to Phoenicia. 7 From there she journeyed into the interior regions of Asia and married a certain king of renown, to whom she bore a son Medus; and the son, succeeding to the throne after the death of the father, was greatly admired for his courage and named the people Medes after himself.
56 1 Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out; and some indeed, in their desire to win favour with the Athenians, say that she took that Medus whom she bore to Aegeus and got off safe to Colchis; and at that time Aeëtes, who had been forcibly driven from the throne by his brother Perses, had regained his kingdom, Medus, Medea’s son, having slain Perses; and that afterwards Medus, securing the command of an army, advanced over a large part of Asia which lies above the Pontus and secured possession of Media, which has been named after this Medus. 2 But since in our judgment it is unnecessary and would be tedious to record all the assertions which the writers of myths have made about Medea, we shall add only those items which have been passed over concerning the history of the Argonauts.
3 Not a few both of the ancient historians and of the later ones as well, one of whom is Timaeus, say that the Argonauts, after the seizure of the fleece, learning that the mouth of the Pontus had already been blockaded by the fleet of Aeëtes, performed an amazing exploit which is worthy of mention. They sailed, that is to say, up the Tanaïs river as far as its sources, and at a certain place they hauled the ship overland, and following in turn another river which flows into the ocean they sailed down it to the sea; then they made their course from the north to the west, keeping the land on their left, and when they had arrived near Gadeira (Cadiz) they sailed into our sea. 4 And the writers even offer proofs of these things, pointing out that the Celts who dwell along the ocean venerate the Dioscori above any of the gods, since they have a tradition handed down from ancient times that these gods appeared among them coming from the ocean. Moreover, the country which skirts the ocean bears, they say, not a few names which are derived from the Argonauts and the Dioscori. 5 And likewise the continent this side of Gadeira contains visible tokens of the return voyage of the Argonauts. So, for example, as they sailed about the Tyrrhenian Sea, when they put in at an island called Aethaleia they named its harbour, which is the fairest of any in those regions, Argoön after their ship, and such has remained its name to this day. 6 In like manner to what we have just narrated a harbour in Etruria eight hundred stades from Rome was named by them Telamon, and also at Phormia in Italy the harbour Aeëtes, which is now known as Caeëtes. Furthermore, when they were driven by winds to the Syrtes and had learned from Triton, who was king of Libya at that time, of the peculiar nature of the sea there, upon escaping safe out of the peril they presented him with the bronze tripod which was inscribed with ancient characters and stood until rather recent times among the people of Euhesperis.
7 We must not leave unrefuted the account of those who state that the Argonauts sailed up the Ister river as far as its sources and then, by its arm which flows in the opposite direction, descended to the Adriatic Gulf. 8 For time has refuted those who assumed that the Ister which empties by several mouths into the Pontus and the Ister which issues into the Adriatic flow from the same regions. As a matter of fact, when the Romans subdued the nation of the Istrians it was discovered that the latter river has its sources only forty stades from the sea. But the cause of the error on the part of the historians was, they say, the identity in name of the two rivers.
57 1 Since we have sufficiently elaborated the history of the Argonauts and the deeds accomplished by Heracles, it may be appropriate also to record, in accordance with the promise we made, the deeds of his sons.
2 Now after the deification of Heracles his sons made their home in Trachis at the court of Ceÿx the king. But later, when Hyllus and some of the others had attained to manhood, Eurystheus, being afraid lest, after they had all come of age, he might be driven from his kingdom at Mycenae, decided to send the Heracleidae into exile from the whole of Greece. 3 Consequently he served notice upon Ceÿx, the king, to banish both the Heracleidae and the sons of Licymnius, and Iolaüs as well and the band of Arcadians who had served with Heracles on his campaigns, adding that, if he should fail to do these things, he must submit to war. 4 But the Heracleidae and their friends, perceiving that they were of themselves not sufficient in number to carry on a war against Eurystheus, decided to leave Trachis of their own free will, and going about among the most important of the other cities they asked them to receive them as fellow-townsmen. When no other city had the courage to take them in, the Athenians alone of all, such being their inborn sense of justice, extended a welcome to the sons of Heracles, and they settled them and their companions in the flight in the city of Tricorythus, which is one of the cities of what is called the Tetrapolis. 5 And after some time, when all the sons of Heracles had attained to manhood and a spirit of pride sprang up in the young men because of the glory of descent from Heracles, Eurystheus, viewing with suspicion their growing power, came up against them with a great army. 6 But the Heracleidae, who had the aid of the Athenians, chose as their leader Iolaüs, the nephew of Heracles, and after entrusting to him and Theseus and Hyllus the direction of the war, they defeated Eurystheus in a pitched battle. In the course of the battle the larger part of the army of Eurystheus was slain and Eurystheus himself, when his chariot was wrecked in the flight, was killed by Hyllus, the son of Heracles; likewise the sons of Eurystheus perished in the battle to a man.
58 1 After these events all the Heracleidae, now that they had conquered Eurystheus in a battle whose fame was noised abroad and were well supplied with allies because of their success, embarked upon a campaign against Peloponnesus with Hyllus as their commander. 2 Atreus, after the death of Eurystheus, had taken over the kingship in Mycenae, and having added to his forces the Tegeatans and certain other peoples as allies, he went forth to meet the Heracleidae. 3 When the two armies were assembled at the Isthmus, Hyllus, Heracles’ son, challenged to single combat any one of the enemy who would face him, on the agreement that, if Hyllus should conquer his opponent, the Heracleidae should receive the kingdom of Eurystheus, but that, if Hyllus were defeated, the Heracleidae would not return to Peloponnesus for a period of fifty years. 4 Echemus, the king of the Tegeatans, came out to meet the challenge, and in the single combat which followed Hyllus was slain and the Heracleidae gave up, as they had promised, their effort to return and made their way back to Tricorythus. 5 Some time later Licymnius and his sons and Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, made their home in Argos, the Argives admitting them to citizenship of their own accord; but all the rest who had made their homes in Tricorythus, when the fifty-year period had expired, returned to Peloponnesus. Their deeds we shall record when we have come to those times.
6 Alcmenê returned to Thebes, and when some time later she vanished from sight she received divine honours at the hands of the Thebans. The rest of the Heracleidae, they say, came to Aegimius, the son of Dorus, and demanding back the land which their father had entrusted to him made their home among the Dorians. 7 But Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, while he dwelt in Argos, slew Licymnius, the son of Electryon, we are told, in a quarrel over a certain matter, and being exiled from Argos because of this murder changed his residence to Rhodes. This island was inhabited at that time by Greeks who had been planted there by Triopas, the son of Phorbas. 8 Accordingly, Tlepolemus, acting with the common consent of the natives, divided Rhodes into three parts and founded there three cities, Lindus, Ielysus (Ialysus), and Cameirus; and he became king over all the Rhodians, because of the fame of his father Heracles, and in later times took part with Agamemnon in the war against Troy.
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 tokens 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, who carried a corynê, as it was called, or club, which was the weapon with which he fought, and with it killed any who passed by, and the second was Sinis 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. • 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 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 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 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 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, to Troezen to be reared among the brothers of Aethra, and by Phaedra he begat Acamas 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, 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, 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. 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.
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 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. 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. 2 But the household slaves who 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, 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, 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? 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 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 kingshi 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 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, 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 Cadmeia 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.
66 1 As for The Seven against Thebes, such, then, was the outcome of their campaign. But their sons, who were known as Epigoni, 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 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 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 country 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 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; 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 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 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 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, 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, 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 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.
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, 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, 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, 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. 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 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 the altar of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth, 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.”
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 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. 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 was Teucrus, the son of the river-god Scamandrus and a nymph of Mt. Ida; 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 Homer 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 road, 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, 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 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 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.
77 1 Afterwards Daedalus made his escape out of Attica to Crete, where, being admired because of the 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.
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 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.
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, 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 Camicus 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 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. Here Minos received honours over many generations, the inhabitants 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 Theron 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 Engyum 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 Mothers 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 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. 2 And Aratus 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, 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 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, 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, 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 bestowed upon him three different names, calling him, that is, Nomius, Aristaeus, and Agreus. He learned from the Nymphs how to curdle milk, 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.
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 name and is thought to bring destruction upon mankind, and by so doing was responsible for saving the lives of the rest.
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, 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, 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 point 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 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 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 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, but now Messenê, he built certain works, and among them he formed the harbour by throwing up a mole and made the Actê, 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. 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 city 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 Hesiod states the very opposite, namely, that when the sea extended itself in between, Orion built out the headland which lies at Peloris 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 Homer in his “Necuia” when he says:
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
7 Likewise, to show forth also his great size, whereas he had spoken before of the Aloiadae, that at nine years of age they were nine cubits in breadth and an equal number of fathoms in height, he adds:
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, at sufficient length about the heroes and demigods, at this point we shall close the present Book.