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4 - 1 Introduction.

4.1.1 I am not unaware o 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 min 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.

4.1.2 For these reasons the writers of greatest reputation among the later historians have stood aloof from the narration of ancient mythology because of its difficulty, and have undertaken to record only the more recent events.

4.1.3 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.

4.1.4 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 generation 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.

4.1.5 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 marvelous 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. 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.


4.1.6 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 he name Osiris is the one whom the Greeks call Dionysus.  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.


4.2.1 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.

4.2.2 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.

4.2.3 Accordingly, Zeus visited her in a way befitting a god, accompanied by thundering 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,4 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.

4.2.4 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,6 when he says: 

There is a certain Nysa, mountain high, with forests thick,
In Phoenicê afar, close to Aegyptus’ streams.


4.2.5 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.

4.2.6 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.7

4.3.1 Then he made a campaign into India, whence he returned to Boeotia in the third year,8 bringing with him a notable quantity of booty, and he was the first man ever to celebrate a triumph seated on an Indian elephant.

4.3.2 And the Boeotian and other Greeks and the Thracians, in memory of the campaign in India, have established sacrifices every other year9 to Dionysus, and believe that at that time the god reveals himself to human beings.

4.3.3 Consequently in many Greek cities every other year10 Bacchis 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 Maenads11 who, as history records, were of old the companions of the god.

4.3.4 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 o 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!” 12 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.

4.3.5 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 excellent13 of the dry foods.

4.4.1 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. They state also that he excelled in sagacity and was the fist 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.

4.4.2 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.14

4.4.3 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.

4.4.4 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 (mitra), which was the reason for his receiving the name Mitrephorus15; and it was this head-band, they say, that in later times led to the introduction of the diadem for kings.

4.4.5 He was also called Dimetor,16 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.

4.4.6 The narthex17 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 revelers, filling themselves to abundance with the unmixed wine, became like madmen and used their wooden staves to strike one another.

4.4.7 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.

4.5.1 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 the 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 ahs been called Pyrigenes (“Born-of-Fire”).

4.5.2 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 he 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 Dionysoi, 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.18

4.5.3 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 great delight and pleasure in connection with their dancings and their goat-songs.19

4.5.4 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 thymelic20 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 Dionysus21 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.

4 - 5 PRIAPUS.

4.6.1 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 linage; for men when under the influence of wine find the members of their bodies tense and inclined to the pleasures of love.

4.6.2 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.

4.6.3 But the Egyptians in their myths about Priapus i.e. the Egyptian god Min 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.22 Gut 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,23 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.24 Now this is the myth about the birth of Priapus and the honour paid to him, as it is given by the ancient Egyptians.

4.6.4 This god Greek Priapus 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.


4.6.5 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 ahs a body which is beautiful and delicate like that of a woman, but hast he masculine quality and vigour of man. But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do they have the quality of presaging the figure, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good. But let his be enough for us on such matters.

4 - 7 THE MUSES.

4.7.1 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 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, sate that they were daughters of Uranus and Gê.

4.7.2 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;25

and Hesiod26 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.

4.7.3 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.

4.7.4 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.27 For the name of each Muse, they say, men have fond 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,28 because the 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 brings 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 winds the approbation of her auditors.

But since we have spoken sufficiently on these matters we shall turn our discussion to the deeds of Heracles.29


4.8.1 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 that 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 ahs 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.

4.8.2 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.

4.8.3 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.

4.8.4 For, speaking generally, when the histories of myths are concerned, a man should be no means scrutinize the truth with so sharp an eye. In the theatres, for instance, though we hare 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 myths as these, and by our applause we enhance the honour of the god.

4.8.5 And strange it would be indeed 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 e rendered them generally and slander the commendation he received 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 myth.


4.9.1 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.

4.9.2 Consequently the sources of this descent, in their entirety, lead back, as is claimed, through both his parents to the greatest of the gods,30 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. 

4.9.3 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.

4.9.4 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 Eileithyia31 her daughter, checked the birth-pains of Alcmenê and brought Eurystheus32 forth to the light before his full time.

4.9.5 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 Eursytheus should prescribe, and that after he had done so he should receive the gift of immortality.

4.9.6 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.

4.9.7 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.

4.10.1 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,33 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.


4.10.2 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 his nobility of spirit. Indeed, while he was still a youth34 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.

4.10.3 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 mutilated35 them and then expelled them from the city. 

4.10.4 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. 

4.10.5 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 o 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 burned the palace of the Minyans and razed the city to the ground.


4.10.6 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 Eursytheus, who was ruler of Argolis, viewing with suspicion the growing power of Heracles, summoned him to his side and commanded him to perform Labours.

4.10.7 And when Heracles ignored the summons Zeus dispatched 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.

4.11.1 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.

4.11.2 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 while 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.


4.11.3 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 Tretus36 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.

4.11.4 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.


4.11.5 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.

4.11.6 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.


4.12.1 The third Command which he received was the bringing back alive of the Erymanthian boar which lived on Mount Lampeia37 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 rushes, and should he attack it more violently than was proper, then he would have killed it and so the Labour would remain unfulfilled.

4.12.2 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.


4.12.3 About this 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 the 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 generation after that time, when Heracles was being entertained as a guest, Pholus recalled the orders of Dionysus.

4.12.4 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.

4.12.5 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.

4.12.6 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,38 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.

4.12.7 Of the Centaurs which were killed the most renowned were Daphnis, Argeius, Amphion, also Hippotion, Oreius, Isoples, Malanchaetes, 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 marveled at exceedingly; for though he had private grounds for hating his enemy,39 yet because he pitied her who was being outraged, he determined to be superior to others in humanity.

4.12.8 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 the for the Centaurs let what we have said suffice.


4.13.1 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 his sagacity of mind, without the use of force and without running any perils.


4.13.2 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 round-about. 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.


4.13.3 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 b means of the stream, he accomplished the 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.


4.13.4 The next Labour which Heracles undertook was to bring back from Crete the bull40 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 the Peloponnesus, having voyaged upon its back over so wide an expanse of sea.


4.14.1 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 he prize in them should be only a crown, since he himself had conferred benefits upon the race of men without receiving any monetary reward. 

4.14.2 All the contests were won by himself 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” 41 to defeat a man who runs the “stadion,” 42 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.

4.14.3 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 on 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 afford 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 Mysteries43 in honour of Heracles, that she might purify him of the guilt he had incurred in the slaughter of the Centaurs.

4.14.4 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 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 this 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.


4.15.1 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.


4.15.2 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 hi 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.


4.15.3 The next Labour which Heracles undertook was the bringing back of the horses of Diomedes, the Thracian. The feeding-troughs of those 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.

4.15.4 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.44


4.16.1 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,45 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. 

4.16.2 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 he 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,46 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 s he fell, the fourth whom he overcame was known as Eriboea. She had boasted that because of the manly bravery which she displayed in contest of war she had no need of anyone to help her, but she found her claim was false when she encountered her better.

4.16.3 Then 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 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.

4.16.4 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 he 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.


4.17.1 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 involving great hardships, gathered a notable armament and a multitude of soldiers such as would be adequate for this expedition.

4.17.2 For it had bee noised abroad throughout all the inhabited world that Chrysaor,47 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 forced 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.


4.17.3 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 an 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.


4.17.4 Setting sail, then, from Crete, Heracles put in at Libya, and first of all he challenged to a fight Antaeus,48whose 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.

4.17.5 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 fact that it had been his lot what 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 Laboures.


4.18.1 After Heracles had slain Antaeus he passed into Egypt and put to death Busiris,49 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 marvelous size, which was called Hecatompylon,50 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.


4.18.2 And after Heracles had visited a large part of Libya he arrived at the ocean near Gadeira,51 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.

4.18.3 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 a 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.


4.18.4 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. 

4.18.5 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; 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 narrow52 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 cult 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 everyman to think as he may please.


4.18.6 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 no in Thessaly along the Peneius river.

4.18.7 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 lake53 and caused the ruin of that whole region. But what he did in Thessaly was to confer a benefit upon the Greeks, whereas Boeotia he was exacting punishment from those who dwelt in Minyan territory, because they had enslaved the Thebans.


4.19.1 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 of men from every tribe flocked to his army of their own accord, he founded ad great city which was named Alesia after the “wandering” (alê) on his campaign.

4.19.2 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 had 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.54


4.19.3 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.

4.19.4 The barbarians who inhabited this mountain region had been accustomed to butcher and to plunder such armies as passed though 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 Galatia55 and made his way through Liguria.


4.20.1 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 contest of war.

4.20.2 In general, the inhabitants of the region round about are inured to continuous work, and since the land required 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.

4.20.3 She was with child, and while working for hire in company with the men she was seized by 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.56


4.21.1 After Heracles had passed through the lands of the Ligurians and of the Tyrrhenians57 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.

4.21.2 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 exits among the Romans, being regarded as very ancient, and as for Cacius, thee is a passage on the Palatine which leads downward, furnished with a stairway of stone, and is called after him the “Steps of Cacius,” 58 and it lies near the original house of Cacius.

4.21.3 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.

4.21.4 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. Luculllus, 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.

4.21.5 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 one raged in those ancient times.


4.21.6 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.

4.21.7 The myths record that the Giants were son of the earth because of the exceedingly great size of their bodies. With regard, then, to the Giants who wee slain in Phlegra, this is the account of certain writers of myths, who have been followed by the historian Timaeus59 also.


4.22.1 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 Dicaearcheia60 near the hot waters,61 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.

4.22.2 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 he road which runs at this time along the sea and is called after him the “Way of Heracles.”

4.22.3 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,62 where the myths relate that a peculiar and marvelous 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 his 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.

4.22.4 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.

4.22.5 But in the case of Heracles his piety was such that the opposite happened to him. For when he had arrived at the border between Rheginê and Locris63 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 no only did his prayer cause the insects to disappear for the moment, but in all late times as well not a cricket has ever been seen in the land.

4.22.6 When Heracles arrived at the strait64 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.


4.23.1 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.65 While passing along the coast of the island, the myths relate, the Nymphs caused warm baths66 to gush forth so that he might refresh himself after the toil sustained in journeying. There are two of these, called respectively Himeraea and Egestaea, each of them having its name from the place where the baths are.

4.23.2 As Heracles approached the region of Eryx,67 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 to 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. 

4.23.3 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 Dorieus68 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.69


4.23.4 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 goddesses70 on a magnificent scale, and after dedicating to her the fairest bull of his heard and casting it in the spring Cyanê71 he commanded the natives to sacrifice each year to Corê and to conduct at Cyanê a festive gathering and a sacrifice in splendid fashion.

4.23.5 He then passed with his cattle through the interior of the island, 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,72 Buphonas, Glychatas, Bytaeas, and Crytidas.


4.24.1 After this Heracles, as he passed through the plain of Leontini, marveled 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.73 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.

4.24.2 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 case of Heracles as well74 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.

4.24.3 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 precint which is honoured to this day by the people of that region.

4.24.4 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 should 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.

4.24.5 And such a holiness and majesty pervade the sacred precinct that he 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.

4.24.6 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, unite 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.


4.24.7 Heracles then crossed over into Italy with the cattle and proceeded along the coast; thee 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.


4.25.1 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.

4 - 43 ORPHEUS

4.25.2 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 son-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.

4.25.3 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 fro his knowledge of the gods and for their rites, as well as for his poems and songs. 

4.25.4 He also took part in the expedition of the Argonauts, and because of the love 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.


4.26.1 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.


4.26.2 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,” 75 just as Aphroditê is called “golden” because of her loveliness.

4.26.3 There are some, however, who say that it was because the sheep had a peculiar colour like gold that they god 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 try 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.

4.26.4 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.


4.27.1 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. Thse 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.

4.27.2 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 the 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.

4.27.3 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 had made battle with him unprovoked, and then returned to the completion of his last Labour.

4.27.4 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.

4.27.5 For Atlas had worked out the science of astrology to a degree surpassing others had had ingeniously discovered the spherical nature of the stars,76 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, wince men intimated in this enigmatic way what had actually taken place.


4.28.1 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.

4.28.2 The Scythians had joined forced 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 Bosporus77 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.” 78

4.28.3 When Theseus learned of the oncoming of the Amazons he came to thee 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.

4.28.4 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 se have spoken enough about he Amazons, and shall return to the deeds of Heracles.


4.29.1 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 dispatch 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.

4.29.2 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 name79 and begot by his wives, of whom he had a great number, fifty daughters.

4.29.3 And when Heracles was still a boy, but already of extraordinary strength of body, the king strongly desired that his daughters should 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,80brought them all with child, and so became the father of fifty sons. These son all took the same name after the daughters of Thespius,81 and when they had arrived at manhood Heracles decided to send them to Sardinia to found a colony, as the oracle had commanded.


4.29.4 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,82 and where their descendants, they say, were the chief men of the city until recent times.

4.29.5 All the other Thespiadae and many more who wished to join 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.

4.29.6 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.83

4.30.1 At the time we are considering, Iolaüs established the colony, and summoning Daedalus from Sicily he built though 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.

4.30.2 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 offer sacrifices to this god address him as “Father Iolaüs,” as the Persians do when they address Cyrus.

4.30.3 After this Iolaüs, on his return to Greece, sailed over to Sicily and spent 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.

4.30.4 And a peculiar and astonishing thing came to pass in connection with this colony in Sardinia. For the god84had told them in an oracle that all who joined in this colony and their descendants should continually remain free men for evermore, and the vent in their case has continued to be in harmony with the oracle even to our own times.

4.30.5 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 about 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 dug-out homes they avoided the perils which wars entail.

4.30.6 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.85

As regards Iolaüs, then, and the Thespiadae and the colony which was sent ot 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.


4.31.1 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.86

4.31.2 Consequently he wooed Iolê, the daughter of Eurytus who was ruler of Oechalia. 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.


4.31.3 But Iphitus, the son of Eurytus, harboured suspicion 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 whether 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.

4.31.4 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.

4.31.5 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 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.


4.31.6 The man who had sold Heracles paid over the purchase price to the son 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.

4.31.7 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 forcing them 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 was sacked, and enslaving its inhabitants razed it to the ground.

4.31.8 Omphalê was pleased with the courage Heracles displayed, and on learning who he was and who had been his parents she marveled 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.


4.32.1 After this Heracles, returning to the 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.87

4.32.2 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 saying88:

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.

4.32.3 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. 

4.32.4 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.

4.32.5 For Priam was the only one of the sons of Laomedon who had opposed his father and had counseled 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.


4.33.1 After his Heracles returned to the Peloponnesus and set out against Aegeas, since the latter had defrauded him of his reward.89 It came to a battle between him and the Eleans, but on this occasion he had no success and so returned to Olenus90 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.

4.33.2 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.

4.33.3 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.

4.33.4 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.


4.33.5 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.

4.33.6 There fell in the battle but a very few 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.


4.33.7 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.

4.33.8 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.

4.33.9 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.

4.33.10 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.


4.33.11 As for the babe that had been left on Parthenium by Augê, certain herdsmen belonging to Corythus the king came upon it s 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.

4.33.12 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.


4.34.1 In the fifth year after Heracles had changed his residence to Pheneus, being grieved over the death of Oeonus, the son of Licynmius, 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 befell Meleager.


4.34.2 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.

4.34.3 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.

4.34.4 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 son 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.

4.34.5 Meleager, however, was deeply incensed both because of the love which he bore Atalantê and because of the dishonour shown her; and when they paid no heed to him he slew them, although they were brothers of Althaea.91 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.

4.34.6 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.

4.34.7 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.

4.35.1 At the time that these things were taking place, the myth continues, Hipponoüs in Olenus, angered at his daughter Periboaea because she claimed that she was with child by Ares, sent her away into Aetolia to Oeneus with orders for him do away with her at the first opportunity. 

4.35.2 Oeneus, however, who had recently lost his 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.


4.35.3 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 and which was now irrigated by this stream.

4.35.4 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 he work.92


4.36.1 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. And taking prisoner the daughter of Phyleus he lay with her and begat Tlepolemus.


4.36.2 Three years after his marriage to Deïaneira Heracles was dining in the home of Oeneus and Eurynomus, and the son of Architeles, who was still 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.

4.36.3 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.

4.36.4 Nessus carried Deïaneira across 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 Deïaneira that he would give her a love-charm to the end that Heracles should never desire to approach any other woman.

4.36.5 He urged her, accordingly, to take the seed which had fallen from him and, mixing ti with olive oil and the blood which was dripping from the barb of the arrow, to anoint with this the shirt of Heracles.93 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.


4.37.1 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.

4.37.2 By Deïaneira he became the father of two sons, younger than Hyllus, Gleneus and Hodites. 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, Ainê, Hermionê, and Eïon.


4.37.3 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 form the land which was in dispute.


4.37.4 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 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.


4.37.5 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.


4.38.1 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.

4.38.2 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,94 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.

4.38.3 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.

4.38.4 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 too put torch to the pyre. And when no one had courage to obey him Philoctetes alone was prevailed upon; and he, having received in return for his compliance the gift of the blow and arrows of Heracles, lighted the pyre. And immediately lightning also fell from the heavens and the pyre was wholly consumed.

4.38.5 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.

4.39.1 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.


4.39.2 We should add to what has been said about Heracles, that after his apotheosis Zeus persuaded Hera to adopt him s 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.

4.39.3 Hera, the myths relate, after she had adopted Heracles in this fashion, joined him in marriage to Hebê, regarding hom the poet speaks in the “Necyïa” 95:

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.

4.39.4 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.


4.40.1 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.

4.40.2 And since he observed that 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 as that he hoped that in the hazardous expeditions he would lose his life.

4.40.3 For he himself had been deprived by nature of any male children and was fearful of 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.

4.40.4 The Pontus at that time was inhabited on all its shores by nations which were barbarous and altogether fierce and was called “Axenos,” 96since the natives were in the habit of slaying the strangers who landed on its shores.

4.40.5 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.


4.41.1 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 and of the enterprise of building the ship, no small number of the youths of prominence were eager to take part in the expedition.

4.41.2 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.

4.41.3 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.


4.42.1 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.

4.42.2 Poseidon, as the story runs, became angry with Laomedon the king of Troy in connection with the building of its walls,97 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.

4.42.3 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 regarding 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 own 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.

4.42.4 Consequently Laomedon was constrained by necessity to deliver the maiden and to leave her, bound in chains, upon the shore.

4.42.5 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.

4.42.6 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 the citizens to the same fate as that from which she had just escaped.

4.42.7 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.


4.43.1 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 ship-board who had ever been initiated in the mysteries of the deities of Samothrace,98 offered to these deities the prayers for their salvation.

4.43.2 And immediately the wind died down and two stars fell over the heads of the Dioscori,99 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 stars100 to the epiphany of the Dioscori.


4.43.3 At that time, however, the tale continues, when the storm had abated, the chieftains landed in Thrace on the country which was ruled over 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.

4.43.4 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.

4.43.4 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.

4.44.1 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.

4.44.2 Thereupon the young men, who were known as Boreadae101 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.

4.44.3 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.

4.44.4 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 son of Phineus were blinded by their father and that Phineus suffered the like fate at the hands of Boreas.

4.44.5 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.

4.44.6 Consequently it should 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 the chieftains in the expedition.


4.44.7 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 stranger 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.

4.45.1 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.

4.45.2 And Perses had a daughter Hecatê, who surpassed her father in boldness and lawlessness; she was also fond of hunting, and when she had no luck she would turn her arrows upon human beings instead of the beasts. Being likewise ingenious in the mixing of deadly poisons she discovered the drug called aconite102 and tired out the strength of each poison by mixing it in the food given to the strangers. 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.

4.45.3 After this she married Aeëtes and bore two daughters, Circê and Medea, and a son Aegialeus.
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 no 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.

4.45.4 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.

4.45.5 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.103


4.46.1 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 them from prison and then devising plans for the safety of the unfortunate men. For Aeëtes, party 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.

4.46.2 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 custody104; Medea, however made her escape and fled for refuge to a sacred precinct of Helius on the shore of the sea.


4.46.3 This happened at the very time when the Argonauts arrived from the Tauric Chersonese and landed by night in Colchis at this 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.

4.46.4 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 so long as he lived.

4.46.5 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.


4.47.1 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,105 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.

4.47.2 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 he 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.

4.47.3 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.

4.47.4 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 a sea-sickness, while leaning far over the side of the boat for this reason, fell into the sea.

4.47.5 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 boy106 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 upon on the temple, in keeping with a certain custom.

4.47.6 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 guardian. As for these matters, however, it rests with my readers to judge each in accordance with his own predilections.


4.48.1 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.

4.48.2 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.

4.48.3 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.

4.48.4 The Tauri who had escaped by flight reported to the kin 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 Eurystheus who had laid the Labours upon Heracles, but soon, when he enveloped the rest of them with the multitude of his followers and pressed to hotly into the fray, he was slain by Meleager.

4.48.5 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 provision 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.


4.48.6 But when Orpheus, as on the former occasion,107 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 night 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.

4.48.7 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 counseled 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.

4.49.1 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.

4.49.2 There they set up altars, and when they had paid their vows to the gods they sanctified the place,108 which is even to this day held in honour by the sailors who pass by.


4.49.3 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.

4.49.4 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.

4.49.5 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.

4.49.6 There was a sharp battle, but their courage gave the chieftains the upper hand, and Heracles, the myths report, performed the bravest feasts 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 in to a league of friendship with him, and then sailed away in company with the Argonauts.

4.49.7 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 lines109:

Aye, what a man, they say, was Heracles in might, my father he, steadfast, with heart of lion, who once came here to carry of 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.

4.49.8 But the Argonauts, they say, set forth from the Troad 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.


4.50.1 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 the Pontus. Consequently Pelias, thinking that an occasion was now come to do away with all who were waiting for the throne,110 forced the father of Jason to drink the blood of a bull,111 and murdered his brother Promachus, who was still a mere lad in years.

4.50.2 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.

4.50.3 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 roadstead 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.

4.50.4 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.

4.50.5 While they were in this perplexity Medea, it is said, promised to slay Pelias all alone by means of cunning and to deliver to the chieftains the royal palace without their running any risk.

4.50.6 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 marvelous 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.

4.50.7 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.

4.51.1 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 o 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.

4.51.2 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 he goddess had come to them from the Hyperboreans to bring good luck to both the whole city and the king.

4.51.3 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.

4.51.4 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 power 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.

4.51.5 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 cried 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 kin, 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.

4.51.6 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.

4.51.7 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.

4.52.1 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.

4.52.2 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.

4.52.3 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.

4.52.4 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 what 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.

4.52.5 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 the misfortune.

4.53.1 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.

4.53.2 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.

4.53.3 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.


4.53.4 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.

4.53.5 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 beside the river he made sacred to the greatest of the gods and called it Olympia after his appellation. When he had instituted horse-raced 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.

4.53.6 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.

4.53.7 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.


4.54.1 But we have now recounted all the myths which are told about this god,112 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.

4.54.2 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.

4.54.3 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.113

4.54.4 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. 

4.54.5 Thereupon Medea was driven out of the city, and being allowed by Creon but one day to make the preparations for her exile,114 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 if it, but as for Glaucê and Creon, the fire hemmed them in on all sides and they were consumed by it.

4.54.6 Certain historians, however, say that the son 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.115

4.54.7 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 from 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 agreements116 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.

4.55.1 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.117The 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 recorded to heroes.

4.55.2 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.

4.55.3 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.118


4.55.4 Now as for Medea, they say, on finding upon her arrival in Thebes that Heracles was possessed of a frenzy of madness and had slain his sons,119 she restored him to health by means of drugs. But since Eurystheus was pressing Heracles with his commands,120 she despaired of receiving any aid from him at the moment and sought refuge in Athens with Aegeus, the son of Pandion.

4.55.5 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.

4.55.6 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.


4.55.7 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.

4.56.1 Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvelous 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 who 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, ahd 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.

4.56.2 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.


4.56.3 Not a few both of the ancient historians and of the later ones as well, one of whom is Timaeus,121 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 river122 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,123 keeping the land on the left, and when they had arrived near Gadeira (Cadiz) they sailed into our sea.124

4.56.4 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.

4.56.5 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 Aethaleia125 they named its harbour, which is the fairest of any in those regions, Argoön126 after their ship, and such ahs remained its name to this day.

4.56.6 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 Phormia127 in Italy the harbour Aeëtes, which is now known as Caeëtes.128Furthermore 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 o 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.129

4.56.7 We must not leave unrefuted the account of those who state that the Argonauts sailed up the river Ister130river as far as its sources and then, by its arm which flows in the opposite direction, descended to the Adriatic Gulf.

4.56.8 For time has refuted those who assumed that he 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.131


4.57.1 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.

4.57.2 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 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.

4.57.3 Consequently he served notice upon Ceÿx, the king, to banish both the Heracleidae and the sons of Licymnius,132 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.

4.57.4 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 companion in the flight in the city of Tricorythus, which is one of the cities of what is called the Tetrapolis.133

4.57.5 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.

4.57.6 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.134

4.58.1 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.

4.58.2 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. 

4.58.3 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.135

4.58.4 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.

4.58.5 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 the Peloponnesus. Their deeds we shall record when we have come to those times.136

4.58.6 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 him137 made their home among the Dorians.


4.58.7 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 hi residence to Rhodes. The island was inhabited at that time by Greeks who had been planted there by Triopas, the son of Phorbas.

4.58.8 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.


4.59.1 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 tokens138 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 out performing Labours which would bring him both approbation and fame.


4.59.2 The first, then, whom he slew was he who was called Corynetes,139who carried a korynê, 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 Sinis140 who made his home on the Isthmus.

4.59.3 Sinis, it should be explained, use to bend over two pines, fasten one arm to each of them, and then suddenly release the pines, the result being that the bodies were pulled asunder by the force of the pines and the unfortunate victims met a death of great vengeance.141

4.59.4 For his third deed he slew the wild sow which ad 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 (Turtle).

4.59.5 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 travelers who passed by to lie down upon a bed, and if any were too long for the bed he cut of the parts of their body which protruded, while in the case of such as were too shot for it he stretched (prokrouein) their legs, this being the reason why he was given the name Procrustes.

4.59.6 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.

4.60.1 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.


4.60.2 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 Asterius. And during the time when he was king in Crete Zeus, as they say, carried Europê from Phoenicia, and carrying her across to Crete upon the back of a bull, he lay with her and begat three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon.


4.60.3 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.

4.60.4 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 be became a close friend of the sons of Pallas.

4.60.5 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.

4.61.1 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 offer up prayers on their behalf.

4.61.2 And when they had done as they had been commanded, Aeacus finished offering the prayers and thereupon, 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.

4.61.3 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 ride 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.


4.61.4 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.

4.61.5 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.”

4.61.6 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.

4.61.7 And Aegeus, we are told, witnessing the return of the sip 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 the height.


4.61.8 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 aggrandizement of his native land. 

4.61.9 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; 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.


4.62.1 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,142 to Troezen to be reared among the brothers of Aethra,143and by Phaedra he begat Acamas and Demophon.

4.62.2 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 on can look across and see Troezen,144 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.

4.62.3 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,145 and in the event the chariot was smashed to bits and the youth, becoming entangled in the leather thongs, was dragged along till he died.

4.62.4 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.146 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.


4.63.1 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. 

4.63.2 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.

4.63.3 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.


4.63.4 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.147


4.63.5 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.


4.64.1 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.148

4.64.2 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 ad been made in his case,149 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.


4.64.3 At this very time, the myths go on to say, a sphinx, a beast of double form,150 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?151

4.64.4 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.


4.65.1 When the sons had attained to manhood, they go on to say, and the impious deeds of the family became known, Oedipus, because of the disgrace, was compelled by his sons to remain always in retirement, and the young men, taking over the throne, agreed together that they should reign in alternate years. Eteocles, being the elder, was the first to reign, and upon the termination of the period he did not wish to give over the kingship.

4.65.2 But Polyneices demanded of him the throne as they had agreed, and when his brother would not comply with his demand he fled to Argos to king Adrastus.

At the same time that this was taking place Tydeus, they say, the son of Oeneus, who had slain his cousins Alcathoüs and Lycopeus in Calydon, fled from Aetolia to Argos.

4.65.3 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.

4.65.4 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 safe 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.

4.65.5 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.

4.65.6 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 wit his son Alcmaeon that after his death he should slay Eriphylê.

4.65.7 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. 

4.65.8 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 which his chariot fell into the opening and disappeared from sight.

4.65.9 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 Cadmeia152 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.153


4.66.1 As for The Seven against Thebes, such, then, was the outcome of their campaign. But their sons, who were known as Epigoni,154 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.

4.66.2 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.

4.66.3 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 the tale is 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.

4.66.4 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.


4.66.5 Consequently the Cadmeans left the city, as the seer had counseled them to do, and gathered for refuge by night 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.

4.66.6 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 virtual of the employment of a marvelous 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.

4.67.1 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 country155 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.


4.67.2 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.

4.67.3 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.

4.67.4 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 as 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.

4.67.5 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.

4.67.6 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 Lipara156; 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.

4.67.7 And Itonus, the son of Boeotus, begat four sons, Hippalcimus, Electryon, Archilycus, and Alegenor. Of these sons Hippalcimus begat Peneleos, Electryon begat Leïtus, Algenor begat Clonius, and Archilycus begat Prothoënor and Arcesilaüs, who were the leaders of all the Boeotians in the expedition against Troy.


4.68.1 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 settling 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.

4.68.2 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.

4.68.3 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.


4.68.4 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.

4.68.5 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.

4 - 107 NELEUS

4.68.6 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.

4 - 108 LAPITHES

4.69.1 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.

4.69.2 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 wento 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; and to Phorbas were born two sons, Aegeus and Actor, who received the kingship over the Eleans.

4 - 109 IXION

4.69.3 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.

4.69.4 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 him 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. 

4.69.5 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.


4.70.1 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 thy 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.

4.70.2 We are also told that they demanded of Peirithoüs, on the ground of kinship,157 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.

4.70.3 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.

4.70.4 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.158


4.71.1 Now that we have examined these matters we shall endeavour to set forth the facts concerning Asclepius and his descendants. This, then, is what he 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.

4.71.2 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.

4.71.3 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 fro him for his crimes.

4.71.4 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 skillfully 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,159 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.


4.72.1 We shall now recount the story of the daughters of Asopus and of he 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, Pelasgus and Ismenus, and twelve daughters, Corcyra and Salamis, also Aegina, Peirenê, ad Cleonê, then Thebê, Tanagra, Thespeia, and Asopis, also Sinopê, and finally Ornia and Chalcis.

4.72.2 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.

4.72.3 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. To Phaeax was born Alcinoüs, who brought about the return of Odysseus to Ithaca.160

4.72.4 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.

4.72.5 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.


4.72.6 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.

4.72.7 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.


4.73.1 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, and begat Oenomaüs.

4.73.2 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.

4.73.3 And so, since there were many suitors for the girl’s hand, he proposed a contest for any who wished to 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,161 and the starting of the horses he arranged as follows:

4.73.4 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.

4.73.5 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.

4.73.6 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.” 162

4 - 115 TANTALUS

4.74.1 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.

4.74.2 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. 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.

4 - 116 NIOBE

4.74.3 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.163 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.


4.74.4 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.

4.75.1 The first to rule as king over the land of Troy was Teucrus, the son of the river-god Scamadrus and a nymph of Mt. Ida164; 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.

4.75.2 To him a son Erichthonius was born, who far excelled in good fortune and in wealth. Of him the poet Homer165 writes: 

The wealthiest was he of mortal men; three thousand mares he had that grazed throughout his marshy pastures.

4.75.3 To Erichthonius was born a son Tros, who called the people of the land Trojans, after his own name. To Tros were born three sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymedes. Ilus founded in a plain a city which was the most renowned among the cities in the Troad, giving it after himself the name Ilium.

4.75.4 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,166 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.

4.75.5 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.


4.75.6 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.

4.76.1 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.

4.76.2 In the carving of his statues he so far excelled all other men that later generations invented the story about him that he 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.

4.76.3 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 attached to the sides.

4.76.4 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.

4.76.5 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.

4.76.6 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.

4.76.7 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.167


4.77.1 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 Pasiphaë, 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.

4.77.2 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.

4.77.3 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.

4.77.4 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.168


4.77.5 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.

4.77.6 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.

4.77.7 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.

4.77.8 Thereupon Daedalus, despairing of making his escape by any boat, fashioned with amazing ingenuity wings which were cleverly designed and marvelously 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.

4.77.9 As for Icarus, because of the ignorance of youth he made his flight to 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, marvelous 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.


4.78.1 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 tot his day. For instance, near Megaris he ingeniously built a kolumbethra,169 as men have named it, from which a great river, called the Alabon, empties into the sea which is not far distant from it.

4.78.2 Also in the present territory of Acragas on the Camicus170 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 would 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.

4.78.3 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.

4.78.4 Also at Eryx, where a rock rose sheer to an extraordinary heighy 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.

4.78.5 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.


4.79.1 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.

4.79.2 But Cocalus invited Minos to a conference, and after promising to meet all his demands he brought him to his home as his 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.

4.79.3 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.171 Here Minos received honours over many generations, the inhabitants of the region offering sacrifices there in the belief that the shrine was Aphroditê’s.

4.79.4 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 Theron172 was lord over the people of Acragas.

4.79.5 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 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 Engyum173 after the spring which flowed forth within the city.

4.79.6 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.

4.79.7 And growing steadily stronger all the while they built a temple to the Mothers174 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.


4.80.1 The account which the myths preserve of the Mothers runs like this: They nurtured Zeus of old without the knowledge of his Cronus, in return for which Zeus translated them into the heavens and designated them as a constellation which he named the Bears.

4.80.2 And Aratus175 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.

4.80.3 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,176 but certain of the neighbouring peoples also glorify these goddesses with magnificent sacrifices and every other kind of honour.

4.80.4 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.

4.80.5 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,177 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.

4.80.6 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 thousand head of sacred cattle and vast holdings of land, so that they were the recipients of great revenues.


4.81.1 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,178 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.

4.81.2 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 ("Shepherd"), Aristaeus, and Agreus ("Hunter"). He learned from the Nymphs how to curdle milk,179 to make bee-hives, and to cultivate olive-trees, and was the first to instruct men in these matters. 

4.81.3 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 - 125 ACTAEON

4.81.4 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.

4.81.5 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 gods which were accustomed to prey upon the other wild beasts.


4.82.1 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.

4.82.2 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.

4.82.3 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 name180 and is thought to bring destruction upon mankind, and by so doing was responsible for saving the lives of the rest.181


4.82.4 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,182 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. Here he begat two sons, Charmus and Callicarpus.

4.82.5 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.

4.82.6 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.


4.83.1 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 point183 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.

4.83.2 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.

4.83.3 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.

4.83.4 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.

4.83.5 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 aggrandizement with such expressions of gratitude and honours as they owed to her.

4.83.6 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.

4.83.7 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.

4 - 129 DAPHNIS

4.84.1 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 nature 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.

4.84.2 Consequently the area once supported a Carthaginian army when it was facing starvation, the mountains supplying 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.

4.84.3 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.

4.84.4 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 that 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.

4 - 130 ORION

4.85.1 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,184 but now Messenê, he built certain works, and among them he formed the harbour by throwing up a mole and made the Actê,185 as it is called.

4.85.2 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.186

4.85.3 The ancient mythographers, that is, say that Sicily was originally a peninsular, 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 waves of the sea on its two sides and so a gap (rhegma) was made (anarhegnusthai), and for this reason the spot was named Rhegion, and the city187 which was founded many years later received the same appellation as the place.

4.85.4 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, sine the sea now separated the mainland from the island.

4.85.5 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 immortal remembrance.

4.85.6 And he is also mentioned by the poet Homer188 in his “Necuia” 189 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 of bronze.

4.85.7 Likewise, to show forth also his great size, whereas he had spoken before of the Aloiadae,190 that at nine years of age they were nine cubits in breadth and an equal number of fathoms in height, he adds:191

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,192 at sufficient length about the heroes and demigods, at this point we shall close the present book.

5 - Introduction

5.1.1 It should be the special care of historians, when they compose their words, to give attention to everything which may be of utility, and especially to the arrangement of the varied material they present. This eye to arrangement, for instance, is not only of great help to persons in the disposition of their private affairs1 if they would preserve and increase their property, but also, when men come to writing history, it offers them not a few advantages.

5.1.2 Some historians indeed, although they are worthy objects of praise in the matter of style and in the breadth of experience2 derived from the events which they record, have nevertheless fallen short in respect of the way in which they have handled the matter of arrangement, with the result that, whereas the effort and care which they expended receive the approbation of their readers, yet the order which they gave to the material they have recorded is the object of just censure. 

5.1.3 Timaeus, for example, bestowed, it is true, the greatest attention upon the precision of his chronology and had due regard for the breadth of knowledge gained through experience, but he is criticized with good reason for his untimely and lengthy censures, and because of the excess to which he went in censuring he has been given by some men the name Epitmaeus or Censurer.

5.1.4 Ephorus, on the other hand, in the universal history which he composed has achieved success, not alone in the style of his composition, but also as regards the arrangement of his work; for each one of his Books is so constructed as to embrace events which fall under a single topic.3 Consequently we also have given our preference to this method of handling our material, and, in so far as it is possible, are adhering to this general principle.


And since we have given this Book the title “On the Islands,” 4 in accordance with this heading the first island we shall speak about will be Sicily, since it is both the richest of the islands and holds first place in respect of the great age of the myths related concerning it.

5.2.1 The island in ancient times was called, after its shape, Trinacria,5 then Sicania after the Sicani who made their home there, and finally it has been given the name Sicily after the Siceli who crossed over in a body to it from Italy.

5.2.2 Its circumference is some four thousand three hundred and sixty stades; for of its three sides, that extending from Pelorias to Lilybaeum is one thousand seven hundred stades, that from Lilybaeum to Pachynus in the territory of Syracuse is one thousand seven hundred stades, and the remaining side is one thousand one hundred and forty stades.6


5.2.3 The Siceliotae who dwell in the island have received the tradition from their ancestors, the report having ever been handed down successively from earliest time by one generation to the next, that the island is sacred to Demeter and Corê; although there are certain poets who recount the myth that at the marriage of Pluton and Persephonê Zeus gave this island as a wedding present7 to the bride.

5.2.4 That the ancient inhabitants of Sicily, the Sicani, were indigenous, is stated by the best authorities among historians, and also that the goddesses we have mentioned made their first appearance on this island, and that it was the first, because of the fertility of the soil, to bring forth the fruit of the corn, facts to which the most renowned of the poets also bears witness when he writes:8

But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e’en untilled, both wheat and barley, yea,
And vines, which yield such wine as fine grapes give,
And rain of Zeus gives increase unto them.

5.2.5 Indeed, in the plain of the Leontini, we are told, and throughout many other parts of Sicily the wheat men call “wild” grows even to this day. And, speaking generally, before the corn was discovered,9 if one were to raise the question, what manner of land it was of the inhabited earth where the fruits we have mentioned appeared for the firs time, the meed of honour may reasonably be accorded to the richest land; and in keeping with what we have stated, it is also to be observed that the goddesses who made this discovery are those who receive the highest honours among the Siceliotae.

5.3.1 Again, the fact that the Rape of Corê took place in Sicily is, men say, proof most evident that the goddesses made this island their favourite retreat because it was cherished by them before all others.

5.3.2 And the Rape of Corê, the myth relates, took place in the meadows in the territory of Enna. The spot lies near the city, a place of striking beauty for its violets and every other kind of flower and worthy of the goddess. And the story is told that, because of the sweet odour of the flowers growing there, trained hunting dogs are unable to hold the trail, because their natural sense of smell is balked. And the meadow we have mentioned is level in the centre and well watered throughout, but on its periphery it rises high and falls off with precipitous cliffs on every side. And it is conceived of as lying in the very centre of the island, which is the reason why certain writers call it the navel of Sicily.

5.3.3 Near to it also are sacred groves, surrounded by marshy flats, and a huge grotto which contains a chasm which leads down into the earth and opens to the north, and through it, the myth relates, Pluton, coming out with his chariot, effected the Rape of Corê. And the violets, we are told, and the rest of the flowers which supply the sweet odour continue to boom, to one’s amazement, throughout the entire year, and so the whole aspect of the place is one of flowers and delight.

5.3.4 And both Athena and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Corê and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other, and each one of them received for her portion a territory, Athena receiving hers in the region of Himera, where the Nymphs, to please Athena, caused the springs of warm water10 to gush forth on the occasion of the visit of Heracles to the island, and the natives consecrated a city to her and a plot of ground which to this day is called Athena’s.

5.3.5 And Artemis received from the gods the island at Syracuse which was named after her, by both the oracles and men, Ortygia.11 On this island likewise these Nymphs, to please Artemis, caused a great fountain to gush forth to which was given the name Arethusa.

5.3.6 And not only in ancient times did this fountain contain large fish in great numbers, but also in our own day we find these fish still there, considered to be holy and not to be touched by men; and on many occasions, when certain men have eaten them amid stress of war, the deity has shown a striking sign and has visited with great sufferings such as dared to take them for food. Of these matters we shall give an exact account in connection with the appropriate period of time.12

5.4.1 Like the two goddesses whom we have mentioned Corê, we are told, received as her portion the meadows round about Enna; but a great fountain was made sacred to her in the territory of Syracuse and given the name Cyanê or “Azure Fount.”

5.4.2 For the myth relates that it was near Syracuse that Pluton effected the Rape of Corê and took her away in his chariot, and that after cleaving the earth asunder he himself descended into Hades, taking along with him the bride whom he had seized, and that he caused the fountain named Cyanê to gush forth, near which the Syracusans each year hold a notable festive gathering; and private individuals offer the lesser victims, but when the ceremony is on behalf of the community, bulls are plunged in the pool, this manner of sacrifice having been commanded by Heracles on the occasion when he made the circuit of all Sicily, while driving off the cattle of Geryones.13

5.4.3 After the Rape of Corê, the myth goes on to recount, Demeter, being unable to find her daughter, kindled torches in the craters of Mt. Aetna and visited many parts of the inhabited world, and upon the men who received her with the greatest favour she conferred benefactions, rewarding them with the gift of the fruit of the wheat.

5.4.4 And since a more kindly welcome was extended the goddess by the Athenians than by any other people, they were the first after the Siceliotae14 to be given the fruit of the wheat; and in return for this gift the citizens of that city in assembly honoured the goddess above all others with the establishment both of most notable sacrifices and of the mysteries of Eleusis, which, by reason of their very great antiquity and sanctity, have come to be famous among all mankind. From the Athenians many peoples received a portion of the gracious gift of the corn, and they in turn, sharing the gift of the seed with their neighbours, in this way caused all the inhabited world to abound with it.

5.4.5 And the inhabitants of Sicily, since by reason of the intimate relationship of Demeter and Corê with them they were the first to share in the corn after its discovery, instituted to each one of the goddesses sacrifices and festive gatherings, which they named after them, and by the time chosen for these made acknowledgment of the gifts which had been conferred upon them.

5.4.6 In the case of Corê, for instance, they established the celebration of her return at about the time when the fruit of the corn was found to come to maturity, and they celebrate this sacrifice and festive gathering with such strictness of observance and such zeal as we should reasonably expect those men to show who are returning thanks for having been selected before all mankind for the greatest possible gift;

5.4.7 but in the case of Demeter, they preferred that time for the sacrifice when the sowing of the corn is first begun, and for a period of ten days they hold a festive gathering which bears the name of this goddess and is most magnificent by reason of the brilliance of their preparation for it, while in the observance of it they imitate the ancient manner of life. And it is their custom during these days to indulge in coarse language as they associate one with another, the reason being that by such coarseness the goddess, grieved though she was at the Rape of Corê, burst into laughter.

5.5.1 That the Rape of Corê took place in the manner we have described is attested by many ancient historians and poets. Carcinus15 the tragic poet, for instance, who often visited in Syracuse and witnessed the zeal which the inhabitants displayed in the sacrifices and festive gatherings for both Demeter and Corê, ahs the following verses16in his writings:

Demeter’s daughter, her whom none may name, by secret schemings Pluton, men say, stole, and then he dropped into earth’s depths, whose light is darkness. Longing for the vanished girl her mother searched and visited all lands in turn. And Sicily’s land by Aetna’s crags was filled with streams of fire which no man could approach, and groaned throughout its length; in grief over the maiden now the folk, beloved of Zeus, was perishing without the corn. Hence honour they these goddesses e’en now.

5.5.2 But we should not omit to mention the very great benefaction which Demeter conferred upon mankind; for beside the fact that she was the discoverer of corn, she also taught mankind how to prepare it for food and introduced laws by obedience to which men became accustomed to the practice of justice, this being the reason we are told, why she has been given the epithet Thesmophoros, or Lawgiver.17

5.5.3 Surely a benefaction greater than these discoveries of hers one could not find; for they embrace both living and living honourably. However, as for the myths which are current among the Siceliotae, we shall be satisfied with what has been said.


5.6.1 We must now write briefly about the Sicani who were the first inhabitants of Sicily, in view of the fact that certain historians are not in agreement about this people. Philistus,18 for instance, says that they removed from Iberia and settled the island, having got the name they bore from a certain river in Iberia named Sicanus, but Timaeus adduces proof of the ignorance of this historian and correctly declares that they were indigenous; and inasmuch as the evidences he offers of the antiquity of this people are many, we think that there is no need for us to recount them.

5.6.2 The Sicani, then, originally made their homes in villages, building their settlements upon the strongest hills because of the pirates; for thy had not yet been brought under the single rule of a king, but in each settlement there was one man who was lord.

5.6.3 And at first they made their home in every part of the island and secured their food by tilling the land; but at a later time, when Aetna sent up volcanic eruptions in an increasing number of places and a great torrent of lava was poured forth over the land, it came to pass that a great stretch of the country was ruined. And since the fire kept consuming a large area of the land during an increasing number of years, in fear they left the eastern parts of Sicily and removed to the western. And last of all, many generations later, the people of the Siceli crossed over in a body from Italy into Sicily and made their home in the land which had been abandoned by the Sicani.

5.6.4 And since the Siceli steadily grew more avaricious and kept ravaging the land which bordered on theirs, frequent wars arose between them and the Sicani, until at last they struck covenants and set up boundaries, upon which they agreed, for the territory. With regard to the Sicani we shall give a detailed account in connection with the appropriate period of time.19

5.6.5 The colonies of the Greeks – and notable ones they were – were the last to be made in Sicily, and their cities were founded on the sea. All the inhabitants mingled with one another, and since the Greeks came to the island in great numbers, the natives learned their speech, and then, having been brought up in the Greek ways of life, they lost in the end their barbarian speech as well as their name, all of them being called Siceliotae.20


5.7.1 But since we have spoken about these matters at sufficient length we shall turn our discussion to the islands known as the Aeolides.21 These islands are seven in number and bear the following names: Strongylê, Euonymus, Didymê, Phoenicodes, Ericodes, Hiera Hephaestu,22 and Lipara,23 on which is situated a city of the same name. 

5.7.2 They lie between Sicily and Italy in a straight line from the Strait, extending from east to west. They are about one hundred and fifty stades distant from Sicily and are all of about the same size, and the largest one of them is about one hundred and fifty stades in circumference.

5.7.3 All of them have experienced great volcanic eruptions, and the resulting craters and openings may be seen to this day. On Strongylê and Hiera even at the present time there are sent forth from the open mouths great exhalations accompanied by an enormous roaring, and sand and a multitude of red-hot stones are erupted, as may also be seen taking place on Aetna.

5.7.4 The reason is, as some say, that passages lead under the earth from these islands to Aetna and are connected with the openings at both ends of them, and this is why the craters on these islands usually alternate in activity with those of Aetna.


5.7.5 We are told that the islands of Aeolus24 were uninhabited in ancient times, but that later Liparus, as he was called, the son of Auson the king, was overcome by his brothers who rebelled against him, and securing some warships and soldiers he fled from Italy to the island, which received the name Lipara after him; on it he founded the city which bears his name and brought under cultivation the other islands mentioned before.

5.7.6 And when Liparus had already come to old age, Aeolus, the son of Hippotes, came to Lipara with certain companions and married Cyanê, the daughter of Liparus; and after he had formed a government in which his followers and the natives shared equally he became king over the island. To Liparus, who had a longing for Italy, Aeolus gave his aid in securing for him the regions about Surrentum, where he became king and, after winning great esteem, ended his days; and after he had been accorded a magnificent funeral he received at the hands of the natives honours equal to those offered to the heroes.

5.7.7 This is the Aeolus to whom the myth relates, Odysseus came in the course of his wanderings.25 He was, they say, pious and just and kindly as well in his treatment of strangers; furthermore, he introduced sea-farers to the use of sails and had learned, by long observation of what the fire26 foretold, to predict with accuracy the local winds,27this being the reason why the myth has referred to him as the “keeper of the winds”;28 and it was because of his very great piety that he was called a friend of the Gods.


5.8.1 To Aeolus, we are told, sons were born to the number of six, Astyochus, Xuthus, and Androcles, and Pheraemon, Jocastus, and Agathyrnus, and they every one received great approbation both because of the fame of their father and because of their own high achievements. Of their number Jocastus held fast to Italy and was king of the coast as far as the regions about Rhegium, but Pheraemon and Androcles were lords over Sicily from the Strait as far as the regions about Lilybaeum. Of this country the parts to the east were inhabited by Siceli and those to the west by Sicani.

5.8.2 These two peoples quarrelled with each other, but they rendered obedience of their own free will to the sons of Aeolus we have mentioned, both because of the piety of their father Aeolus, which was famed afar, and because of the fair-dealing of the sons themselves. Xuthus was king over the land in the neighbourhood of Leontini, which is known after him as Xuthia to this day. Agathyrnus, becoming king of the land now called Agathyrnitis, founded a city which was called after him Agathyrnus; and Astyochus secured the lordship over Lipara.

5.8.3 All these men followed the example which their father had set for both piety and justice and hence were accorded great approbation. Their descendants succeeded to their thrones over many generations, but in the end the kings of the house of Aeolus were overthrown throughout Sicily.

5.9.1 - 5.41.4 Not included here. Most of the content of this book is geographical rather than mythological.


5.41.4 29 On the farthest bounds of Arabia the Blest, where the ocean washes it, there lie opposite it a number of islands, of which there are three which merit a mention in history, one of them bearing the name of Hiera, or Sacred, on which it is not allowed to bury the dead, and another lying near it, seven stades distant, to which they take the bodies of the dead whom they see fit to inter.30 Now Hiera has no share in any other fruit, but it produces frankincense in such abundance as to suffice for the honours paid to the gods throughout the entire inhabited world; and it possesses also exceptional quantity of myrrh an every variety of all the other kinds of incense of highly fragrant odour.

5.41.5 The nature of frankincense and the preparing of it is like this: In size it is a small tree, and in appearance it resembles the white Egyptian Acacia,31 its leaves are like those of the willow, as it is called, the bloom it bears is in colour like gold, and the frankincense which comes from it oozes forth in drops like tears.

5.41.6 But the myrrh-tree is like the mastich-tree, although its leaves are more slender and grow thicker. It oozes myrrh when the earth is dug away from the roots, and if it is planted in fertile soil this take place twice a year, in spring and in summer; the myrrh of the spring is red, because of the dew, but that of the summer is white. They also gather the fruit of the Christ’s thorn,32 which they use both for meat and for drink and as a drug for the cure of dysentery.

5.42.1 The land of Hiera is divided among its inhabitants, and the king takes for himself the best land and likewise a tithe of the fruits which the island produces. The width of the island is reputed to be about two hundred stades.

5.42.2 And the inhabitants of the island are known as Panchaeans, and these men take the frankincense and myrrh across to the mainland and sell it to Arab merchants, from whom others in turn purchase wares of this kind and convey them to Phoenicia and Coele-Syria and Egypt, and in the end merchants convey them from these countries throughout all the inhabited world.

5.42.3 And there is yet another large island, thirty stades distant from the one we have mentioned, lying out in the ocean to the east and many stades in length; for men say that from its promontory which extends toward the east one can descry India, misty because of its great distance.33

5.42.4 As for Panchaea itself,34 the island possesses many things which are deserving to be recorded by history. It is inhabited by men who were sprung from the soil itself, called Panchaeans, and the foreigners there are Oceanites and Indians and Scythians and Cretans.

5.42.5 There is also a notable city on the island, called Panara, which enjoys unusual felicity; its citizens are called “suppliants of Zeus Triphylius,” 35 and they are the only inhabitants of the land of Panchaea who live under laws of their own making and have no king over them. Each year they elect three chief magistrates; these men have no authority over capital crimes, but render judgment in all other matters; and the weightiest affairs they refer of their own accord to the priests.

5.43.1 Some sixty stades distant from the city of Panara is the temple of Zeus Triphylius, which lies out on a level plain and is especially admired for its antiquity, the costliness of its construction, and its favourable situation. Thus, the plain lying around the temple is thickly covered with trees of every kind, not only such as bear fruit, but those also which possess the power of pleasing the eye; for the plain abounds with cypresses of enormous size and plane-trees and sweet-bay and myrtle, sine the region is full of springs of water.

5.43.2 Indeed, close to the sacred precinct there bursts forth from the earth a spring of sweet water of such size that it gives rise to a river on which boats may sail. And since the water is led off from the river to many parts of the plain and irrigates them, throughout the entire area of the plain there grow continuous forests of lofty trees, wherein a multitude of men pass their time in the summer season and a multitude of birds make their nests, birds of every kind and of various hues, which greatly delight the ear by their song; therein also is every kind of garden and many meadows with varied plants and flowers, so that there is a divine majesty in the prospect which makes the place appear worthy of the gods of the country.

5.43.3 And there were palm trees there with mighty trunks, conspicuous for the fruits they bore, and many varieties of nut-bearing trees, which provide the natives of the place with the most abundant subsistence. And in addition to what we have mentioned, grape-vines were found there in great number and of every variety, which were trained to climb high and were variously intertwined so that they presented a pleasing sight and provided an enjoyment of the season without further ado.

5.44.1 The temple was a striking structure of white marble, two plethora in length and the width proportionate to the length; it was supported by large and thick columns and decorated at intervals with reliefs of ingenious design; and there were also remarkable statues of the gods, exceptional in skill of execution and admired by men for their massiveness.

5.44.2 Around about the temple the priests who served the gods had their dwellings, and the management of everything pertaining to the sacred precinct was in their hands.

5.44.3 Leading from the temple an avenue had been constructed, four stades in length and a plethrum in width. On each side of the avenue are great bronze vessels which rest upon square bases, and at the end of the avenue the river we mentioned above has its sources, which pour forth in a turbulent stream. The water of the stream is exceedingly clear and sweet and the use of it is most conductive to the health of the body; and the river bears the name “Water of the Sun.”

5.44.4 The entire spring is surrounded by an expensive stone quay, which extends along each side of it four stades, and no man except the priests may set foot upon the place up to the edge of the quay.

5.44.5 The plain lying below the temple has been made sacred to the gods, for a distance of two hundred stades, and the revenues which are derived from it are used to support the sacrifices. Beyond the above-mentioned plain there is a lofty mountain which has been made sacred to the gods and is called the “Throne of Uranus” and also “Triphylian Olympus.”

5.44.6 For the myth relates that in ancient times, when Uranus was king of the inhabited earth, he took pleasure in tarrying in that place and in surveying from its lofty top both the heavens and the stars therein, and that at a later time it came to be called Triphylian Olympus because the men who dwelt about it were composed of three peoples; these namely, were known as Panchaeans, Oceanites, and Doians, who were expelled at a later time by Ammon.

5.44.7 For Ammon, men say, not only drove this nation into exile but also totally destroyed their cities, razing to the ground both Doia and Asterusia. And once year, we are told, the priests hold a sacrifice in this mountain with great solemnity.

5.45.1 Beyond this mountain and throughout the rest of the land of Panchaeitis, the account continues, there is found a multitude of beasts of every description; for the land possesses many elephants and lions and leopards and gazelles and an unusual number of other wild animals which differ in their aspect and are of marvellous ferocity.

5.45.2 This island also contains three notable cities, Hyracia, Dalis, and Oceanis. The whole country, moreover, is fruitful and possesses in particular a multitude of vines of every variety.

5.45.3 The men are warlike and use chariots in battle after the ancient manner. The entire body politic of the Panchaeans is divided into three castes: The first caste among them is that of the priests, to whom are assigned the artisans, the second consists of the farmers, and the third is that of the soldiers, to whom are added the herdsmen.

5.43.4 The priests served as the leaders in all things, rendering the decisions in legal disputes and possessing the final authority in all other affairs which concerned the community; and the farmers, who are engaged in the tilling of the soil, bring the fruits into the common store, and the man among them who is thought to have practised the best farming receives a special reward when the fruits are portioned out, the priests deciding who has been first, who second, and so in order to the tenth, this being done in order to spur on the rest.

5.43.5 In the same manner the herdsmen also turn both the sacrificial animals and all others into the treasury of the state with all precision, some by number and some by weight. For, speaking generally, there is not a thing except a home and a garden which a man may possess for his own, but all the products and the revenues are taken over by the priests, who portion out with justice to each man his share, and to the priests alone is given two-fold.

5.43.6 The clothing of the Panchaeans is soft, because the wool of the sheep of the land is distinguished above all other for its softness; and they wear ornaments of gold, not only the women but the men as well, with collars of twisted gold about their necks, bracelets on their wrists, and rings hanging from their ears after the manner of the Persians. The same kind of shoes are worn by both sexes,36 and they re worked in more varied colours than is usual.

5.46.1 The soldiers receive a pay which is apportioned to them and in return protect the land by means of forts and posts fixed at intervals; for there is one section of the country which is infested with robber bands, composed of bold and lawless men who lie in wait for the farmers and war upon them.

5.46.2 And as for the priests, they far excel the rest in luxury and in every other refinement and elegance of their manner of life; so, for instance, their robes are of linen and exceptionally sheer and soft, and at times they wear garments woven of the softest wool; furthermore, their headdress is interwoven with gold, their foot-gear consists of sandals which are of varied colours and ingeniously worked, and they wear the same gold ornaments as do the women, with the exception of the earrings. The first duties of the priests are concerned with the services paid to the gods and with the hymns and praises which are accorded them, and in them they recite in song the achievements of the gods one after another and the benefactions they have bestowed upon mankind.

5.46.3 According to the myth which the priests give, the gods had their origin in Crete, and were led by Zeus to Panchaea at the time when he sojourned among men and was king of the inhabited earth. In proof of this they cite their language, pointing out that most of the things they have about them still retain their Cretan names; and they add that the kinship which they have with the Cretans and the kindly regard they feel towards them are traditions they received from their ancestors, since this report is ever handed down from one generation to another. And it has been their practice, in corroboration of these claims, to point to inscriptions which, they said, were made by Zeus during the time he still sojourned among men and founded the temple.

5.64.4 The land possesses rich mines of gold, silver, copper, tin, and iron, but none of these metals is allowed to be taken from the island; nor may the priests for any reason whatsoever set foot outside the hallowed land, and if one of them does so, whoever meets him is authorized to slay him.

5.64.5 There are many great dedications of gold and of silver which have been made to the gods, since time has amassed the multitude of such offerings.

5.64.6 The doorways of the temples are objects of wonder in their construction, being worked in silver and gold and ivory and citrus-wood. And there is the couch of the god, which is six cubits long and four wide and is entirely of gold and skilfully constructed in every detail of its workmanship.

5.64.7 Similar to it both in size and in costliness in general is the table of the god which stands near the couch. And on the centre of the couch stands a large gold stele which carries letters which the Egyptians call sacred,37 and the inscription recounts the deeds both of Uranus and of Zeus; and to them there were added by Hermes the deeds also of Artemis and of Apollo.38
As regards the islands, then, which lie in the ocean opposite Arabia, we shall rest content with what has been said.


5.47.1 We shall now give an account of the islands which lie in the neighbourhood of Greece and in the Aegean Sea, beginning with Samothrace. This island, according to some, was called Samos in ancient times, but when the island now known as Samos came to be settled, because the names were the same, the ancient Samos came to be called Samothrace from the land of Thrace which lies opposite it.

5.47.2 It was settled by men who were sprung from the soil itself; consequently no tradition has been handed down regarding who were the first men and leaders on the island. But some say that in ancient days it was called Saonnesus1 and that it received the name of Samothrace because of the settlers who emigrated to it from both Samos and Thrace.

5.47.3 The first and original inhabitants used an ancient language which was peculiar to them and of which many words are preserved to this day in the ritual of their sacrifices. And the Samothracians have a story that, before the floods which befell other peoples, a great one took place among them, in the course of which the outlet2 at the Cyanean Rocks was first rent asunder and then the Hellespont.

5.47.4 For the Pontus, which had at the time the form of a lake, was so swollen by the rivers which flow into it, that, because of the great flood which had poured into it, its waters burst forth violently into the Hellespont and flooded a large part of the coast of Asia3 and made no small amount of the level part of the island of Samothrace into a sea; and this is the reason, we are told, why in later times fishermen have now and then brought up in their nets the stone capitals of columns, since even cities were covered by the inundation.

5.47.5 The inhabitants who had been caught by the flood, the account continues, ran up to the higher regions of the island; and when the sea kept rising higher and higher, they prayed to the native gods, and since their lives were spared, to commemorate their rescue they set up boundary stones about the entire circuit of the island and dedicated altars upon which they offer sacrifices even to the present day. For these reasons it is patent that they inhabited Samothrace before the flood.


5 - 9 SAON

5.48.1 After the events we have described one of the inhabitants of the island, a certain Saon, who was a son, as some say, of Zeus and Nymphê, but, according to others, of Hermes and Rhenê, gathered into one body the peoples who were dwelling in scattered habitations and established laws for them; and he was given the name Saon after the island, but the multitude of the people he distributed among give tribes which he named after his sons.


5.48.2 And while the Samothracians were living under a government of this kind, they say that there were born in that land to Zeus and Electra, who was one of the Atlantides, Dardanus and Iasion and Harmonia.

5.48.3 Of these children Dardanus, who was a man who entertained great designs and was the first to make his way across to Asia in a make-shift boat, founded at the outset a city called Dardanus, organized the kingdom which lay about the city which was called Troy at a later time, and called the peoples Dardanians after himself. They say also that he ruled over many nations throughout Asia and that the Dardani who dwell beyond Thrace were colonists sent forth by him.

5.48.4 But Zeus desired that the other4 of his two sons might also attain to honour, and so he instructed him in the initiatory rites of the mysteries, which had existed on the island since ancient times but was at that time, so to speak, put in his hands; it is not lawful, however, for any but the initiated to hear about the mysteries.

5.48.5 And Iasion is reputed to have been the first to initiate strangers into them and by this means to bring the initiatory rite to high esteem. And after this Cadmus, the son of Agenor, came in the course of his quest for Europê to the Samothracians, and after participating in the initiation he married Harmonia, who was the sister of Iasion and not, as the Greeks recount in their mythologies, the daughter of Ares.

5.49.1 This wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia was the first, we are told, for which the gods provided the marriage-feast, and Demeter, becoming enamoured of Iasion, presented him with the fruit of the corn, Hermes gave a lyre, Athena the renowned necklace and a robe and a flute, and Electra the sacred rites of the Great Mother of the Gods, as she is called, together with cymbals and kettledrums and the instruments of her ritual; and Apollo played upon the lyre and the Muses upon their flutes, and the rest of the gods spoke them fair and gave the pair their aid in the celebration of the wedding.

5.49.2 After this Cadmus, they say, in accordance with the oracle he had received, founded Thebes in Boeotia, while Iasion married Cybelê and begat Corybas. And after Iasion had been removed into the circle of the gods, Dardanus and Cybelê and Corybas conveyed to Asia the sacred rites of the Mother of the Gods and removed with them to Phrygia.

5.49.3 Thereupon Cybelê, joining herself to the first Olympus, begat Alcê and called the goddess Cybelê after herself; and Corybas gave the name of Corybantes to all who, in celebrating the rites of his mother, acted like men possessed, and married Thebê, the daughter of Cilix.

5.49.4 In like manner he also transferred the flute from Samothrace to Phrygia and to Lyrnessus the lyre which Hermes gave and which at a later time Achilles took for himself when he sacked that city. To Iasion and Demeter, according to the story the myths relate, was born Plutus or Wealth, but the reference is, as a matter of fact, to the wealth of the corn, which was presented to Iasion because of Demeter’s association with him at the time of the wedding of Harmonia.

5.49.5 Now the details of the initiatory rite are guarded among the matters not to be divulged and are communicated to the initiates alone; but the fame has travelled wide of how these gods5 appear to mankind and bring unexpected aid to those initiates of their who call upon them in the midst of perils.

5.49.6 The claim is also made that men who have taken part in the mysteries become both more pious and more just and better in every respect than they were before. And this is the reason, we are told, why the most famous both of the ancient heroes and of the demi-gods were eagerly desirous of taking part in the initiatory rite; and in fact Jason and the Dioscuri,6 and Heracles and Orpheus as well, after their initiation attained success in all the campaigns they undertook, because these gods appeared to them.

5 - 11 BUTES

5.50.1 Since we have set forth the facts concerning Samothrace, we shall now, in accordance with our plan, discuss Naxos. This island was first called Strongylê and its first settlers were men from Thrace, the reason for their coming being somewhat as follows.

5.50.2 The myth relates that two sons, Butes and Lycurgus, were born to Boreas, but not by the same mother; and Butes, who was the younger, formed a plot against his brother, and on being discovered he received no punishment from Lycurgus beyond that he was ordered by Lycurgus to gather ships and, together with his accomplices in the plot, to see out another land in which to make his home.

5.50.3 Consequently Butes, together with the Thracians who were implicated with him, set forth, and making his way through the islands of Cyclades he seized the island of Strongylê, where he made his home and proceeded to plunder many of those who sailed past the island. And since they had no women they sailed here and there and seized them from the land.7

5.50.4 Now some of the islands of the Cyclades had no inhabitants whatsoever and others were sparsely settled; consequently they sailed further, and having been repulsed once from Euboea, they sailed to Thessaly, where Butes and his companions, upon landing, came upon the female devotees of Dionysus as they were celebrating the orgies of the god near Drius, as it is called, in Achaea Phthiotis.

5.50.5 As Butes and his companions rushes at the women, these threw away the sacred objects, and some of them fled for safety to the sea, and others to the mountain called Drius; but Coronis, the myth continues, was seized by Butes and forced to lie with him. And she, in anger at the seizure and at the insolent treatment she had received, called upon Dionysus to lend her his aid. And the god struck Butes with madness, because of which he lost his mind and, throwing himself into a well, met his death.


5.50.6 But the rest of the Thracians seized some of the other women, the most renowned of whom were Iphimedeia, the wife of Aloeus, and Pancratis, her daughter, and taking these women along with them, they sailed off to Strongylê. And in place of Butes the Thracians made Agassamenus king of the island, and to him they united in marriage, Pancratis, the daughter of Aloeus, who was a woman of surpassing beauty;

5.50.7 For, before their choice fell on Agassamenus, the most renowned among their leaders, Sicelus and Hecetorus, had quarrelled over Pancratis and had slain each other. And Agassamenus appointed one of his friends his lieutenant and united Iphimedeia to him in marriage.

5.51.1 Aloeus dispatched his sons Otus and Ephialtes in search of his wife and daughter, and they, sailing to Strongylê, defeated the Thracians in battle and reduced the city.

5.51.2 Some time afterward Pancratis died, and Otus and Ephialtes essayed to take the island for their dwelling and to rule over the Thracians, and they changed the name of the island to Dia. But at a later time they quarrelled among themselves, and joining battle they slew many of the other combatants and then destroyed one another, and from that time on these two men have received at the hands of the natives the honours accorded to heroes.

5 - 13 NAXOS

5.51.3 The Thracians dwelt on the island for more than two hundred years and then were driven out of it by a succession of droughts. And after that the Carians removed to the island from Latmia, as it is now called, and made it their home; their king was Naxos, the son of Polemon, and he called the island Naxos after himself, in place of Dia. Naxos was an upright and famous man and left behind him a son Leucippus, whose son Smerdius became king of the island.


5.51.4 And it was during the reign of Smerdius that Theseus, on his voyage back from Crete together with Ariadnê, was entertained as a guest by the inhabitants of the island; and Theseus, seeing in a dream Dionysus threatening him if he would not forsake Ariadnê in favour of the god, left her behind him there in his fear and sailed away. And Dionysus led Ariadnê away by night to the mountain which is known as Drius; and first of all the god disappeared, and later Ariadnê also was never seen again.


5.52.1 The myth which the Naxians have to relate about Dionysus is life this:8 He was reared, they say, in their country, and for this reason the island has been most dear to him and is called by some Dionysias. 

5.52.2 For according to the myth which has been handed down to us, Zeus, on the occasion when Semelê had been slain by his lightning before the time for bearing the child, took the babe and sewed it up within his thigh, and when the appointed time came for its birth, wishing to keep the matter concealed from Hera, he took the babe from his thigh in what is now Naxos and gave it to the Nymphs of the island, Philia, Coronis, and Cleidê, to be reared. The reason Zeus slew Semelê with his lightning before she could give birth to her child was his desire that the babe should be born, not of a mortal woman but of two immortals, and thus should be immortal from its very birth.

5.52.3 And because of the kindness which the inhabitants of Naxos had shown to Dionysus in connection with his rearing they received marks of his gratitude; for the island increased in prosperity and fitted out notable naval forces, and the Naxians were the first to withdraw from the naval forces of Xerxes and to aid in the defeat at sea which the barbarian suffered,9 and they participated with distinction in the battle of Plataeae.10 Also the wine of the island possesses an excellence which is peculiarly its own and offers proof of the friendship which the god entertains for the island.11


5.53.1 As for the island which is called Symê and was uninhabited in ancient times, its first settlers were men who came together with Triops, under the leadership of Chthonius, the son of Poseidon and Symê, from whom the island received the name it bears.

5.53.2 At a later time its king was Nireus, the son of Charops and Aglaïa, an unusually handsome man who also took part with Agamemnon in the war against Troy both as ruler of the island as lord of a part of Cnidia. But after the period of the Trojan War Carians seized the island, during the time when they were rulers of the sea. At a later time, however, when droughts came, the Carians fled the island and made their home in Uranium, as it is called. Thereupon Symê continued to be uninhabited, until the expedition which the Lacedaemonians and the Argives made came to these parts, and at that time the island became settled in the following manner.

5.53.3 One of the companions of Hippotes, a certain Nausus by name, was a member of the colony, and taking those who had come too late to share in the allotment of the land he settled Symê, which was uninhabited at that time, and later, when certain other men, under the leadership of Xuthus, put in at the island, he gave them a share in the citizenship and in the land, and all of them in common settled the island. And we are told that both Cnidians and Rhodians were members of this colony.


5.54.1 Calydna and Nisyros were settled in ancient times by Carians, and after that Thettalus, the son of Heracles, took possession of both islands. And this explains why both Antiphus and Pheidippus,12 who were kings of the Coans, in the expedition against Troy led those who sailed from the two islands just mentioned.

5.54.2 And on the return from Troy four of Agamemnon’s ships were wrecked off Calydna, and the survivors mingled with the natives of the island and made their home there.

5.54.3 The ancient inhabitants of Nisyros were destroyed by earthquakes, and at a later time the Coans settled the island, as they had done in the case of Calydna; and after that, when an epidemic had carried away the population of the island, the Rhodians dispatched colonists to it.

5.54.4 As for Carpathos, its first inhabitants were certain men who joined with Minos in his campaigns at the time when he was the first of the Greeks to be master of the sea; and many generations later Iolcus, the son of Demeleon, an Argive by ancestry, in obedience to a certain oracle dispatched a colony to Carpathos.


5.55.1 The island which is called Rhodes was first inhabited by the people who were known as Telchines; these were children of Thalatta,13 as the mythical tradition tells us, and the myth relates that they, together with Capheira, the daughter of Oceanus, nurtured Poseidon, whom Rhea committed as a babe to their care.

5.55.2 And we are told that they were also the discoverers of certain arts and that they introduced other things which are useful for the life of mankind. They were also the first, men say, to fashion statues of the gods, and some of the ancient images of gods have been named after them; so, for example, among the Lindians there is an “Apollo Telchinius,” as it is called, among the Ialysians a Hera and Nymphae, both called “Telchinian,” and among the Cameirans a “Hera Telchinia.”

5.55.3 And men say that the Telchines were also wizards and could summon clouds and rain and hail at their will and likewise could even bring snow; these things, the accounts tell us, they could do even as could the Magi of Persia; and they could also change their natural shapes and were jealous of teaching their arts to others.

5.55.4 Poseidon, the myth continues, when he had grown to manhood, became enamoured of Halia, the sister of the Telchines, and lying with her he begat six male children and one daughter, called Rhodos, after whom the island was named.


5.55.5 And at this period in the eastern parts of the island there sprung up the Giants, as they were called; and at the time when Zeus is said to have subdued the Titans, he became enamoured of one of the nymphs, Himalia by name, and begat by her three sons, Spartaeus, Cronius, and Cytus.

5.55.6 And while these were still young men, Aphroditê, they say, as she was journeying from Cytherae to Cyprus and dropping anchor near Rhodes, was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon, who were arrogant and insolent men; whereupon the goddess, in her wrath, brought a madness upon them, and they lay with their mother against her will and committed many acts of violence upon the natives.

5.55.7 But when Poseidon learned of what had happened he buried his sons beneath the hearth, because of their shameful deed, and men called them the “Eastern Demons”; and Halia cast herself into the sea, and she was afterwards given the name of Leucothea and attained to immortal honour in the eyes of the natives.

5.56.1 At a later time, the myth continues, the Telchines, perceiving in advance the flood that was going to come, forsook the island and were scattered. Of their number Lycus went to Lycia and dedicated there beside the Xanthus river a temple of Apollo Lycius.

5.56.2 And when the flood came the rest of the inhabitants perished, – and since the waters, because of the abundant rains, overflowed the island, its level parts were turned into stagnant pools – but a few fled for refuge to the upper regions of the island and were saved, the sons of Zeus being among their number.


5.56.3 Helius,14 the myth tells us, becoming enamoured of Rhodos, named the island Rhodes after her and caused the water which had overflowed it to disappear. But the true explanation is that, while in the first forming of the world the island was still like mud and soft, the sun dried up the larger part of its wetness and filled the land with living creatures, and there came into being the Heliadae,15 who were named after him, seven in number, and other peoples who were, like them, sprung from the land itself.

5.56.4 In consequence of these events the island was considered to be sacred to Helius, and the Rhodians of later times made it their practice to honour Helius above all other gods, as the ancestor and founder from whom they were descended.

5.56.5 His seven sons were Ochimus, Cercaphus, Macar, Actis, Tenages, Triopas, and Candalus, and there was one daughter, Electryonê, who quit this life while still a maiden and attained at the hands of the Rhodians to honours like those accorded to the heroes. And when the Heliadae attained to manhood they were told by Helius that the first people to offer sacrifices to Athena would ever enjoy the presence of the goddess; and the same thing, we are told, was disclosed by him to the inhabitants of Attica.

5.56.6 Consequently, men say, the Heliadae, forgetting in their haste to put fire beneath the victims, nevertheless laid them on the altars at the time,16 whereas Cecrops, who was king at that time of the Athenians, performed the sacrifice over fire, but later than the Heliadae. 

5.56.7 This is the reason, men say, why the peculiar practice as regards the manner of sacrificing persists in Rhodes to this day, and why the goddess has her seat on the island.

Such then, is the account which certain writers of myths give about the antiquities of the Rhodians, one of them being Zenon,17 who has composed a history of the island.

5.57.1 The Heliadae, besides having shown themselves superior to all other men, likewise surpassed them in learning and especially in astrology; and they introduced many new practices in seamanship and established the division of the day into hours.


5.57.2 The most highly endowed of them by nature was Tenages, who was slain by his brothers because of their envy of him; but when their treacherous act became known, all who had had a hand in the murder took flight. Of their number Macar came to Lesbos, and Candalus to Cos; and Actis, sailing off to Egypt, founded there the city men call Heliopolis, naming it after his father; and it was from him that the Egyptians learned the laws of astrology.

5.57.3 But when at a later time there came a flood among the Greeks and the majority of mankind perished by reason of the abundance of rain, it came to pass that all written monuments were also destroyed in the same manner as mankind;

5.57.4 and this is the reason why the Egyptians, seizing the favourable occasion, appropriated themselves the knowledge of astrology, and why, since the Greeks, because of their ignorance, no longer laid any claim to writing, the belief prevailed that the Egyptians were the first men to effect the discover of the stars.

5.57.5 Likewise the Athenians, although they were the founders of the city in Egypt men call Saïs, suffered from the same ignorance because of the flood. And it was because of reasons such as these that many generations later men supposed that Cadmus, the son of Agenor, had been the first to bring the letters from Phoenicia to Greece; and after the time of Cadmus onwards the Greeks were believed to have kept making new discoveries in the science of writing, since a sort of general ignorance of the facts possessed by the Greeks.18


5.57.6 Triopas sailed to Caria and seized a promontory which was called Triopium after him. But the rest of the sons of Helius, since they had had no hand in the murder, remained behind in Rhodes and made their homes in the territory of Ialysus, where they founded the city of Achaea.

5.57.7 Ochimus, who was the oldest of them and their king, married Hegetoria, one of the Nymphs of that region, and begat by her a daughter Cydippê, whose name was afterwards changed to Cyrbia; and Cercaphus, another of the brothers, married Cyrbia and succeeded to the throne.

5.57.8 Upon the death of Cercaphus his three sons, Lindus, Ialysus, and Cameirus, succeeded to the supreme power; and during their lifetime there came a great deluge and Cyrbê was buried beneath the flood and laid waste, whereupon the three divided the land among themselves, and each of them founded a city which bore his name.


5.58.1 About this time Danaüs together with his daughters fled from Egypt, and when he put ashore at Lindus in Rhodes and received the kindly welcome of the inhabitants, he established there a temple of Athena and dedicated in it a statue of the goddess. Of the daughters of Danaüs three died during their stay in Lindus, but the rest sailed on to Argos together with their father Danaüs.

5.58.2 And a little after this time Cadmus, the son of Agenor, having been dispatched by the king to seek our Europê, put ashore at Rhodes. He had been severely buffeted by tempests during the voyage and had taken a vow to found a temple of Poseidon, and so, since he had come through with his life, he founded in the island a sacred precinct to this god and left there certain of the Phoenicians to serve as its overseers. These men mingled with the Ialysians and continued to live as fellow-citizens with them, and from them, we are told, the priests were drawn who succeeded to the priestly office by hereditary.

5.58.3 Now Cadmus honoured likewise Lindian Athena with votive offerings, one of which was a striking bronze cauldron worked after the ancient manner, and this carried an inscription in Phoenician letters, which, men say, were first brought from Phoenicia to Greece.

5 - 24 PHORBAS

5.58.4 Subsequent to these happenings, when the land of Rhodes brought forth huge serpents, it came to pass that the serpents caused the death of many of the natives; consequently the survivors dispatched men to Delos to inquire of the god how they might rid themselves of the evil.

5.58.5 And Apollo commanded them to receive Phorbas and his companions and to colonize together with them the island of Rhodes – Phorbas was a son of Lapithes and was tarrying in Thessaly together with a considerable number of men, seeking a land in which he might make his home – and the Rhodians summoned him as the oracle had commanded and gave him a share in the land. And Phorbas destroyed the serpents, and after he had freed the island of its fear he made his home in Rhodes; furthermore, since in other respects he proved himself a great and good man, after his death he was accorded honours like those offered to heroes.


5.59.1 At a later time than the events we have described Althaemenes, the son of Catreus the king of Crete, while inquiring of the oracle regarding certain other matters, received the reply that it was fated that he should slay his father by his own hand.

5.59.2 So wishing to avoid such an abominable act, he fled of his free will from Crete together with such as desired to sail away with him, these being a considerable company. Althaemenes, then, put ashore on Rhodes at Cameirus, and on Mount Atabyrus he founded a temple of Zeus who is called Zeus Atabyrius; and for this reason the temple is held in special honour even to this day, situated as it is upon a lofty peak from which one can descry Crete.

5.59.3 So Althaemenes with his companions made his home in Cameirus, being held in honour by the natives; but his father Catreus, having no male children at home and dearly loving Althaemenes, sailed to Rhodes, being resolved upon finding his son and bringing him back to Crete. And now the fated destiny prevailed: Catreus disembarked by night upon the land of Rhodes with a few followers, and when there arose a hand-to-hand conflict between them and the natives, Althaemenes, rushing out to aid them, hurled his spear, and struck in ignorance his father and killed him.

5.59.4 And when he realized what he had done, Althaemenes, being unable to bear his great affliction, shunned all meetings and association with mankind, and betook himself to unfrequented places and wandered about alone, until the grief put an end to his life; and at a later time he received at the hands of the Rhodians, as a certain oracle had commanded, the honours which are accorded to heroes.


5.59.5 Shortly before the Trojan War Tlepolemus,19 the son of Heracles, who was a fugitive because of the death of Licymnius, whom he had unwittingly slain, fled of his free will from Argos; and upon receiving an oracular response regarding where he should go to found a settlement, he put ashore at Rhodes together with a few people, and being kindly received by the inhabitants he made his home there.

5.59.6 And becoming king of the whole island he portioned out the land in equal allotments and continued in other respects as well to rule equitably. And in the end, when he was on the point of taking part with Agamemnon in the war against Ilium, he put the rule of Rhodes in hands of Butas, who had accompanied him in his flight from Argos, and he gained great fame for himself in the war and met his death in the Troad.


5.60.1 Since the affairs of Rhodes, as it happened, became interwoven with certain events occurring in the Cherronesus which lies opposite the island, I think it will not be foreign to my purpose to discuss the latter. The Cherronesus, as some men say, received in ancient times the name it bears from the fact that the natural shape of the region is that of an isthmus, but others have written that the name Cherronesus is give it from the man who once ruled over those parts.

5.60.2 The account runs like this: Not long after Cherronesus had ruled, five Curetes passed over to it from Crete, and these were descendants of those who had received Zeus from his mother Rhea and had nurtured him in the mountains of Idê in Crete.20

5.60.3 And sailing to the Cherronesus with a notable expedition they expelled the Carians who dwelt there, and settling down in the land themselves they divided it into five parts, each of them founding a city which he named after himself.

5 - 28 CYRNUS

5.60.4 Not long after this Inachus, the king of the Argives, since his daughter Io had disappeared, sent forth Cyrnus, one of his men in high command, fitting him out with a considerable fleet, and ordered him to hunt for Io in every region and not to return unless he had got possession of her.

5.60.5 And Cyrnus, after having wandered over many parts of the inhabited world without being able to find her, put ashore in Caria on the Cherronesus we are discussing; and despairing of ever returning to his house, he made his home in the Cherronesus, where, partly by persuasive means and partly by the use of force, he became king of a part of the land and founded a city which bore his name Cyrnus. And by administering affairs in popular fashion he enjoyed great favour among his fellow-citizens.

5 - 29 TRIOPAS

5.61.1 After this, the account continues, Triopas, one of the sons of Helius and Rhodos, who was a fugitive because of the murder of his brother Tenages, came to the Cherronesus. And after he had been purified there of the murder of his brother Tenages, came to the Cherronesus. And after he had been purified there of the murder by Melisseus the king, he sailed to Thessaly to give assistance as an ally to the sons of Deucalion, and with their aid he expelled from Thessaly the Pelasgians and took for his portion the plain which is called Dotium.

5.61.2 There he cut down the sacred grove of Demeter and used the wood to build a palace; and for this reason he incurred the hatred of the natives, whereupon he fled from Thessaly and put ashore, together with the peoples who sailed with him, in the territory of Cnidus, where he founded Triopium, as it was called after him.

5.61.3 And setting out from this place as his base he won for himself both the Cherronesus and a large part of neighbouring Caria. But as regards the ancestry of Triopas there is disagreement among many of the historians and poets; for some have recorded that he was the son of Canachê, the daughter of Aeolus, and Poseidon, but others that he was born of Lapithes, the son of Apollo, and Stilbê, the daughter of Peneius.


5.62.1 In Castabus, on the Cherronesus, there is a temple which is sacred to Hemithea, and there is no reason why we should omit to mention the strange occurrence which befell this goddess. Now many and various accounts have been handed down regarding her, but we shall recount that which has prevailed and is in accord with what the natives relate. To Staphylus and Chrysothemis were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoeo, and Parthenos by name. Apollo lay with Rhoeo and brought her with child; and her father, believing that her seduction was due to a man, was angered, and in his anger he shut up his daughter in a chest and cast her into the sea.

5.62.2 But the chest was washed up upon Delos, where she gave birth to a male child and called the babe Anius. And Rhoeo, who has been saved from death in this unexpected manner, laid the babe upon the altar of Apollo and prayed to the god to save its life if it was his child. Thereupon Apollo, the myth relates, concealed the child for the time, but afterwards he gave thought to its rearing, instructed it in divination, and conferred upon it certain great honours.

5.62.3 And the others sisters of the maiden who had been seduced, namely, Molpadia and Parthenos, while watching their father’s wine, a drink which had only recently been discovered among men, fell asleep; and while they were asleep some swine which they were keeping entered in and broke the jar which contained the wine and so destroyed the wine. And the maidens, when they learned what had happened, in fear of their father’s severity fled to the edge of the sea and hurled themselves down from some lofty rocks.

5.62.4 But Apollo, because of his affection for their sister, rescued the maidens and established them in the cities of the Cherronesus. The one named Parthenos, as the god brought it to pass, enjoyed honours and a sacred precinct in Bubastus of the Cherronesus, while Molpadia, who came to Castabus, was given the name Hemithea,21because the god had appeared to men, and she was honoured by all who dwelt in the Cherronesus.

5.62.5 And in the sacrifices which are held in her honour a mixture of honey and milk is used in the libations, because of the experience which she had had in connection with the wine, while anyone who has touched a hog or eaten of its flesh is not permitted to draw near the sacred precinct.

5.63.1 In later times the temple of Hemithea enjoyed so great a development that not only was it held in special honour by the inhabitants of the place and of neighbouring regions, but even peoples from afar came to it in their devotion and honoured it with costly sacrifices and notable dedications. And most important of all, when the Persians were the dominant power in Asia and were plundering all the temples of Greece,22 the precinct of Hemithea was the sole shrine on which they did not lay hands, and the robbers who were pillaging everything they met left this shrine alone entirely unplundered, and this they did despite the fact that it was unwalled and the pillaging of it would have entailed no danger.

5.63.2 And the reason which men advance for its continued development is the benefactions which the goddess confers upon all mankind alike; for she appears in visible shape in their sleep to those who are in suffering and gives them healing, and many who are in the grip of diseases for which no remedy is known are restored to health; furthermore, to women who are suffering in childbirth the goddess gives relief from the agony and perils of travail.

5.63.3 Consequently, since many have been saved in these ways from most ancient times, the sacred precinct is filled with votive offerings, nor are these protected by guards or by a strong wall, but by the habitual reverence of the people.

5 - 31 CRES

5.64.1 Now as regards Rhodes and the Cherronesus we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall at this point discuss Crete. The inhabitants of Crete claim that the oldest people of the island were those who are known as Eteocretans,23 who were sprung from the soil itself, and that their king, who was called Cres, was responsible for the greatest number of the most important discoveries made in the island which contributed to the improvement of the social life of mankind.


5.64.2 Also the greater number of the gods who, because of their benefactions to all men alike, have been accorded immortal honours, had their origin, so their myths relate, in their land; and of the tradition regarding these gods we shall now give a summary account, following the most reputable writers who have recorded the affairs of Crete.

5.64.3 The first of these gods of whom tradition has left a record made their home in Crete about Mt. Idê and were called Idaean Dactyli. These, according to one tradition, were one hundred in number, but others say that there were only ten to receive this name, corresponding in number to the fingers (dactyli) of the hands.

5.64.4 But some historians, and Ephorus is one of them, record that the Idaean Dactyli were in fact born on the Mt. Idê which is in Phrygia and passed over to Europe together with Mygdon; and since they were wizards, they practised charms and initiatory rites and mysteries, and in the course of a sojourn in Samothrace they amazed the natives of that island not a little by their skill in such matters. And it was at this time, we are further told, that Orpheus, who was endowed with an exceptional gift of poesy and song, also became a pupil of theirs, and he was subsequently the first to introduce initiatory rites and mysteries to the Greeks.

5.64.5 However this may be, the Idaean Dactyli of Crete, so tradition tells us, discovered both the use of fire and what the metals copper and iron are, as well as the means of working them, this being done in the territory of the city of Aptera at Berecynthus, as it is called;


5.64.6 and since they were looked upon as the originators of great blessings for the race of men, they were accorded immortal honours. And writers tell us that one of them was named Heracles, and excelling as he did in fame, he established the Olympic Games, and that the men of a later period thought, because the name was the same, that it was the son of Alcmenê who had founded the institution of the Olympic Games.

5.64.7 And evidences of this, they tell us, are found in the fact that many women even to this day take their incantations from this god and make amulets in his name, on the ground that he was a wizard and practised the art of initiatory rites; but they add that these things were indeed very far removed from the habits of the Heracles who was born of Alcmenê.


5.65.1 After the Idaean Dactyli, according to accounts we have, there were nine Curetes. Some writers of myths relate that these gods were born of the earth, but according to others, they were descended from the Idaean Dactyli. Their home they made in mountainous places which were thickly wooded and full of ravines, and which, in a word, provided a natural shelter and coverage, wince it had not yet been discovered how to built houses.

5.65.2 And since these Curetes excelled in wisdom they discovered may things which are of use to men generally; so, for instance, they were the first to gather sheep into flocks, to domesticate the several others kinds of animals which men fatten, and to discover the making of honey.

5.65.3 In the same manner they introduced the art of shooting with the bow and the ways of hunting animals, and they showed mankind how to live and associate together in a common life, and they were the originators of concord and, so to speak, of orderly behaviour.

5.65.4 The Curetes also invented swords and helmets and the war-dance, by means of which they raised a great alarum and deceived Cronus.24 And we are told that, when Rhea, the mother of Zeus, entrusted him to them unbeknown to Cronus his father, they took him under their care and saw to his nurture; but since we purpose to set forth this affair in detail, we must take up the account at a little earlier point.


5.66.1 The myth the Cretans relate runs like this: When the Curetes were young men, the Titans, as they are called, were still living. These Titans had their dwelling in the land about Cnosus, at the place where even to this day men point out foundations of a house of Rhea25 and a cypress grove which has been consecrated to her from ancient times.

5.66.2 The Titans numbered six men and five women, being born, as certain writers of myths relate, of Uranus and Gê, but according to others, of one of the Curetes and Titaea, from whom as their mother they derive the name they have.

5.66.3 The males were Cronus, Hyperion, Coeus, Iapetus, Crius, and Oceanus, and their sisters were Rhea, Themis, Mnemosynê, Phoebê, and Tethys. Each one of them was the discoverer of things of benefit to mankind, and because of the benefaction they conferred upon all men they were accorded honours and everlasting fame.

5 - 36 CRONUS

5.66.4 Cronus, since he was the eldest of the Titans, became king and caused all men who were his subjects to change from a rude way of living to civilized life, and for this reason he received great approbation and visited many regions of the inhabited earth. Among all he met he introduced justice and sincerity of soul, and this is why the tradition has come down to later generations that the men of Cronus’ time were good-hearted, altogether guileless, and blest with felicity.

5.66.5 His kingdom was strongest in the western regions, where indeed he enjoyed his greatest honour; consequently, down even to comparatively recent times, among the Romans and Carthaginians, while their city still stood, and other neighbouring peoples, notable festivals and sacrifices were celebrated in honour of this god and many places bore his name.26

5.66.6 And because of the exceptional obedience to laws no injustice was committed by any one at any time and all the subjects of the rule of Cronus lived a life of blessedness, in the unhindered enjoyment of every pleasure. To this the poet Hesiod also bears witness in the following words:27

And they who were of Cronus’ day, what time
He reigned in heav’n, lived like the gods, no care
In heart, remote and free from ills and toils
Severe, from grievous sicknesses and cares;
Old age lay not upon their limbs, but they,
Equal in strength of leg and arm, enjoyed
Endless delight of feasting far from ills,
And when death came, they sank in it as in
A sleep. And many other things were theirs:
Grain-giving earth, unploughed, bore for them fruit
Abundantly and without stint; and glad
Of heart they dwelt upon their tilth throughout
The earth, in midst of blessings manifold,
Rich in their flocks, loved by the blessed gods.

This then, is what the myths have to say about Cronus.


5.67.1 Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature.

5.67.2 To Coeus and Phoebê was born Leto, and to Iapetus was born Prometheus, of whom tradition tells us, as some writers of myths record, that he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, though the truth is that he was the discoverer of those things which give forth fire and from which it may be kindled.


5.67.3 Of the female Titans they say that Mnemosynê discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes.28 And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mnemê) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received.

5.67.4 Themis, the myths tell us, was the first to introduce divinations and sacrifices and the ordinances which concern the gods, and to instruct men in the ways of obedience to laws and of peace. Consequently men who preserve what is holy with respect to the gods and the laws of men are called "law-guardians” (thesmophulakes) and “law-givers” (thesmothetai),29 and we say that Apollo, at the moment when he is to return the oracular responses, is “issuing laws and ordinances” (themisteuein), in view of the fact that Themis was the discoveress of oracular responses.

5.67.5 And so these gods, by reason of the many benefactions which they conferred upon the life of man, were not only accorded immortal honours, but it was also believed that they were the first to make their home on Mount Olympus after they had been translated from among men.


5.68.1 To Cronus and Rhea, we are told, were born Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Of these, they say, Hestia discovered how to build houses, and because of this benefaction of hers practically all men have established her shrine in every home, according her honours and sacrifices. And Demeter, since the corn still grew wild together with the other plants and was still unknown to men, was the first to gather it in, to devise how to prepare and preserve it, and to instruct mankind how to sow it.

5.68.2 Now she had discovered the corn before she gave birth to her daughter Persephonê, but after the birth of her daughter and the rape of her by Pluton, she burned all the fruit of the corn, both because of her anger at Zeus and because of her grief over her daughter. After she had found Persephonê, however, she became reconciled with Zeus and gave Triptolemus the corn to sow, instructing him both to share the gift with men everywhere and to teach them everything concerned with the labour of sowing.

5.68.3 And some men say that it was she also who introduced laws, by obedience to which men have become accustomed to deal justly one with another, and that mankind has called this goddess Thesmophoros30 after the laws which she gave them. And since Demeter has been responsible for the greatest blessings to mankind, she has been accorded to most notable honours and sacrifices, and magnificent feasts and festivals as well, not only by the Greeks, but also by almost all barbarians who have partaken of this kind of food.

5.69.1 There is dispute about the discovery of the fruit of corn on the part of many peoples, who claim that they were the first among whom the goddess was seen and to whom she made known both the nature and use of the corn. The Egyptians, for example, say that Demeter and Isis are the same, and that she was the first to bring the seed to Egypt, since the river Nile waters the fields at the proper time and that land enjoys the most temperate seasons.

5.69.2 Also the Athenians, though they assert that the discovery of this fruit took place in their country, are nevertheless witnesses to its having been brought to Attica from some other region; for the place which originally received this gift they call Eleusis,31 from the fact that the seed of the corn came from others and was conveyed to them.

5.69.3 But the inhabitants of Sicily, dwelling as they do on an island which is sacred to Demeter and Corê, say that it is reasonable to believe that the gift of which we are speaking was made to them first, since the land they cultivate is the one the goddess holds most dear; for it would be strange indeed, they maintain, for the goddess to take for her own, so to speak, a land which is the most fertile known and yet to give it, the last of all, a share of her benefaction, as though it were nothing to her, especially since she has her dwelling there, all men agreeing that the Rape of Corê took place on this island. Moreover, this land is the best adapted for these fruits as the poet also says:32

But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e’en untilled, both wheat and barley.

This, then, is what the myths have to say about Demeter.


5.69.4 As for the rest of the gods who were born to Cronus and Rhea, the Cretans say that Poseidon was the first to concern himself with sea-faring and to fit out fleets, Cronus having given him the lordship in such matters; and this is why the tradition has been passed along to succeeding generations that he controls whatever is done on the sea, and why mariners honour him by means of sacrifices. Men further bestow upon Poseidon the distinction of having been the first to tame horses and to introduce the knowledge of horsemanship (hippikê), because of which he is called “Hippius.”

5.69.5 And of Hades it is said that he laid down the rules which are concerned with burials and funerals and the honours which are paid to the dead, no concern having been given to the dead before this time; and this is why tradition tells us that Hades is lord of the dead, since there were assigned to him in ancient times the first offices in such matters and the concern for them.


5.70.1 Regarding the birth of Zeus and the manner in which he came to be king, there is no agreement. Some say that he succeeded to the kingship after Cronus passed from among men into the company of the gods, not by overcoming his father with violence, but in the manner prescribed by custom and justly, having been judged worthy of that honour. But others recount a myth which runs as follows: There was delivered to Cronus an oracle regarding the birth of Zeus which stated that the son who would be born to him would wrest the kingship from him by force.

5.70.2 Consequently Cronus time and again did away with the children whom he begot; but Rhea, grieved as she was, and yet lacking the power to change her husband’s purpose, when she had given birth to Zeus, concealed him in Idê, as it is called, and, without the knowledge of Cronus, entrusted the rearing of him to the Curetes who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Mount Idê. The Curetes bore him off to a certain cave where they gave him over to the Nymphs, with the command that they should minister to his every need.

5.70.3 And the Nymphs nurtured the child on a mixture of honey and milk and gave him upbringing at the udder of the goat which was named Amaltheia. And many evidences o the birth and upbringing of this god remain to this day on the island.

5.70.4 For instance, when he was being carried away, while still an infant, by the Curetes, they say that the umbilical cord (omphalos) fell from him near the river known as Triton, and that this spot has been made sacred and has been called Omphalus after that incident, while in like manner the plain about it is known as Omphaleium. And on Mount Idê, where the god was nurtured, both the cave in which he spent his days has been made sacred to him, and the meadows round about it, which lie upon the ridges of the mountain., have in like manner been consecrated to him.

5.70.5 But the most astonishing of all that which the myth relates has to do with the bees, and we should not omit to mention it: The god, they say, wishing to preserve an immortal memorial of his close association with the bees, changed the colour of them, making it like copper with the gleam of gold, and since the region lay at a very great altitude, where fierce winds blew about it and heavy snows fell, he made the bees insensible to such things and unaffected by them, since they must range over the most wintry stretches.

5.70.6 To the goat (aeg-) which suckled him Zeus also accorded certain honours, and in particular took from it a surname, being called Aegiochus.33 And when he had attained to manhood he founded a city in Dicta, where indeed the myth states that he was born; in later times this city was abandoned, but some stone blocks of its foundations are still preserved.


5.71.1 Now Zeus, the myth goes on to say, surpassed all others in manly spirit and wisdom and justice and in the other virtues one and all, and, as a consequence, when he took over the kingly power from Cronus, he conferred benefactions of the greatest number and importance upon the life of mankind. He was the first of all, for instance, to lay down rules regarding acts of injustice and to teach men to deal justly one with another, to refrain from deeds of violence, and to settle their differences by appeals to men and to courts of justice. In short, he contributed in abundance to the practices which are concerned with obedience to law and with peace, prevailing upon good men by persuasion and intimidating evil men by threat of punishment and by their fear.


5.71.2 He also visited practically the entire inhabited earth, putting to death robbers and impious men and introducing equality and democracy; and it was in this connection, they say, that he slew the Giants and their followers, Mylinus in Crete and Typhon in Phrygia.

5.71.3 Before the battle against the Giants in Crete, we are told, Zeus sacrificed a bull to Helius and to Uranus and to Gê; and in connection with each of the rites there was revealed to him what was the will of the gods in the affair, the omens indicating the victory of the gods and a defection to them of the enemy. And the outcome of the war accorded with the omens; for Musaeus deserted to him from the enemy, for which he was accorded peculiar honours, and all who opposed them were cut down by the gods.


5.71.4 Zeus also had other wars against the Giants, we are told, in Macedonia near Pallenê and in Italy on the plain which of old was named Phlegraean (“fiery”) after the region about it which had been burned,34 but which in later times men called Cumaean.

5.71.5 Now the Giants were punished by Zeus because they had treated the rest of mankind in a lawless fashion and, confiding in their bodily superiority and strength, had enslaved their neighbours, and because they were also disobeying the rules of justice which he was laying down and were raising up war against those whom mankind considered to be gods because of the benefactions they were conferring upon men generally.

5.71.6 Zeus, then, we are told, not only totally eradicated the impious and evil-doers from among mankind, but he also distributed honours as they were merited among the noblest of the gods and heroes and men. And because of the magnitude of his benefactions and his superior power all men accorded to him as with one voice both the everlasting kingship which he possesses and his dwelling upon Mount Olympus.


5.72.1 And it was ordained, the myth continues, that sacrifices should be offered to Zeus surpassing those offered to all the other gods, and that, after he passed from earth into the heavens, a just belief should spring up in the souls of all who had received his benefactions that he is lord of all the phenomena of heaven, that is, both of rain and of thunder and of lightning and of everything else of that nature.

5.72.2 It is for this reason also that names have been given him: Zên,35 because in the opinion of mankind he is the cause of life (zên), bringing as he does the fruits to maturity by tempering the atmosphere; Father, because of the concern and goodwill he manifests toward all mankind, as well as because he is considered to be the first cause of the race of men; Most High and King, because of the preëminence of his rule; Good Counsellor and All-wise, because of the sagacity he manifests in the giving of wise counsel.


5.72.3 Athena, the myths relate, was likewise begotten of Zeus in Crete, at the sources of the river Triton, this being the reason why she has been given the name Tritogeneia.36 And there stands, even to this day, at these sources a temple which is sacred to this goddess, at the spot where the myth relates that her birth took place.


5.72.4 Men say also that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Cnosians, at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which tradition tells it was originally performed.


5.72.5 To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphroditê and the Graces, Eileithyia and her helper Artemis, the Hours, as they are called, Eunomia and Dikê and Eirenê, and Athena and the Muses, and the gods Hephaestus and Ares and Apollo, and Hermes and Dionysus and Heracles.

5.73.1 To each one of the deities we have named, the myth goes on to relate, Zeus imparted the knowledge of the things which he had discovered and was perfecting, and likewise assigned to them the honour of their discovery, wishing in this way to endow them with immortal fame among all mankind.


5.73.2 To Aphroditê was entrusted the youth of maidens, the years in which they are expected to marry, and the supervision of such matters as are observed even yet in connection with weddings, together with the sacrifices and drink-offerings which men perform to this goddess. Nevertheless, all men make their first sacrifices to Zeus the Perfecter and Hera the Perfectress, because they are the originators and discoverers of all things, as we have stated above.

5.73.3 To the Graces was given the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze, and the further privilege of being the first to bestow benefactions and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours37 such men as have performed good acts.


5.73.4 Eileithyia received care of expectant mothers and the alleviation of the travail of childbirth; and for this reason women when they are in perils of this nature call first of all upon this goddess.

5.73.5 And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos.38

5.73.6 And as for the Hours, as they are called, to each of them, according as her name indicates, was given the ordering and adornment of life, so as to serve to the greatest advantage of mankind; for there is nothing which is better able to build a life of felicity than obedience to law (Eunomia) and justice (Dikê) and peace (Eirenê).

5 - 51 ATHENA

5.73.7 To Athena men ascribe the gift to mankind of the domestication and cultivation of the olive-tree, as well as the preparation of its fruit; for before the birth of this goddess this kind of tree was found only along with the other wild woody growths, and this goddess is the source of the care and experience which men even to this day devote to these trees.

5.73.8 Furthermore, Athena introduced among mankind the making of clothing and carpentry and many of the devices which are used in the other arts; and she also was the discoverer of the making of pipes and of the music which they produce and, in a word, of many works of cunning device, from which she derives her name of Worker.

5 - 52 THE MUSES

5.74.1 To the Muses, we are further told, it was given by their father Zeus to discover the letters and to combine words in the way which is designated poetry. And in reply to those who say that the Syrians are the discoverers of the letters, the Phoenicians having learned them from the Syrians and then passed them on to the Greeks, and that these Phoenicians are those who sailed to Europe together with Cadmus and this is the reason why the Greeks call the letters “Phoenician,” men tell us, on the other hand, that the Phoenicians were not the first to make this discovery, but that they did no more than to change the forms of the letters, whereupon the majority of mankind made use of the way of writing them as the Phoenicians devised it, and so the letters received the designation we have mentioned above.39


5.74.2 Hephaestus, we are told, was the discoverer of every manner of working iron and copper and gold and silver and everything else which requires fire for working, and he also discovered all the other uses to be made of fire and turned them over both to the workers in the crafts and to all other men as well.

5.74.3 Consequently the workmen who are skilled in these crafts offer up prayers and sacrifices to this god before all others, and both they and all mankind as well call the fire “Hephaestus,” handing down in this way to eternal remembrance and honour the benefaction which was bestowed in the beginning upon man’s social life.

5.74.4 Ares, the myths record, was the first to make a suit of armour, to fit out soldiers with arms, and to introduce the battle’s fury of contest, slaying himself those who were disobedient to the gods.


5.74.5 And of Apollo men recount that he was the discoverer of the lyre and of the music which is got from it; that he introduced the knowledge of healing, which is brought about through the faculty of prophecy, whereby it was the practice in ancient times that the sick were healed;40 and as the discoverer of the bow he taught the people of the land41 all about the use of the bow, this being the reason why the art of archery is especially cultivated by the Cretans and the bow is called “Cretan.”

5.74.6 To Apollo and Coronis was born Asclepius, who learned from his father many matters which pertain to the healing art, and then went on to discover the art of surgery and the preparations of drugs and the strength to be found in roots, and, speaking generally, he introduced such advances into the healing art that he is honoured as if he were its source and founder.

5 - 55 HERMES

5.75.1 To Hermes men ascribe the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace, as they are used in wars, and negotiations and truces and also the herald’s wand, as a token of such matters, which is customarily borne by those who are carrying on conversations touching affairs of this kind and who, by means of it, are accorded safe conduct by the enemy; and this is the reason why he has been given the name “Hermes Koinos” because the benefit is common (koinê) to both the parties when they exchange peace in time of war.42

5.75.2 They also say that he was the first to devise measures and weights and the profits to be gained through merchandising, and how also to appropriate the property of others all unknown to them. Tradition also says that he is the herald of the gods and their most trusted messenger, because of his ability to express clearly (hermêneuein) each command that has been given him; and this is the reason why he has received the name he bears, not because he was the discoverer of words and of speech, as some men say, but because he has perfected, to a higher degree than all others, the art of the precise and clear statement of a message.

5.75.3 He also introduced wrestling-schools and invented the lyre out of a tortoise-shell after the contest in skill between Apollo and Marsyas, in which ,we are told, Apollo was victorious and thereupon exacted an excessive punishment of his defeated adversary, but he afterwards repented of this and, tearing the strings from the lyre, for a time had nothing to do with its music.43


5.75.4 As for Dionysus, the myths state that he discovered the vine and its cultivation, and also how to make wine and to store away many of the autumn fruits and thus to provide mankind with the use of them as food over a long time. This god was born in Crete, men say, of Zeus and Persephonê, and Orpheus has handed down the tradition in the initiatory rites that he was torn in pieces by the Titans. And the fact is that there have been several who bore the name Dionysus, regarding whom we have given a detailed account at greater length in connection with the more appropriate period of time.44

5.74.5 The Cretans, however, undertake to advance evidences that the god was born in their country, stating that he formed two islands near Crete in the Twin Gulfs, as they are called, and called them after himself Dionysiadae, a thing which he has done, they say, nowhere else in the inhabited earth.


5.76.1 Of Heracles the myths relate that he was sprung from Zeus many years before that Heracles who was born of Alcmenê. As for this son of Zeus, tradition has not given us the name of his mother, but only states that he far excelled all others in vigour of body, and that he visited the inhabited earth, inflicting punishment upon the unjust and destroying the wild beasts which were making the land uninhabitable; for men everywhere he won their freedom, while remaining himself unconquered and unwounded, and because of his good deeds he attained to immortal honour at the hands of mankind.

5.76.2 The Heracles who was born of Alcmenê was very much later, and, since he emulated the plan of life of the ancient Heracles, for the same reasons he attained to immortality, and, as time went on, he was though by men to be the same as the other Heracles because both bore the same name, and the deeds of the earlier Heracles were transferred to the later one, the majority of men being ignorant of the actual facts.45 And it is generally agreed that the most renowned deeds and honours which belong to the older god were concerned with Egypt, and that these, together with a city which he founded, are still known in that country.


5.76.3 Britomartis, who is also called Dictynna, the myths relate, was born at Caeno in Crete of Zeus and Carmê, the daughter of Eubulus who was the son of Demeter; she invented the nets (dictya) which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Dictynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Dictynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess; and the Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honour of this goddess.

5.76.4 But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Dictynna because she fled into some fishermen’s nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth; for it is not a probably story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods, nor is it right to ascribe such an impious deed to Minos, who tradition unanimously declares avowed just principles and strove to attain a manner of life which was approved by men.

5 - 59 PLUTUS

5.77.1 Plutus, we are told, was born in Cretan Tripolus to Demeter and Iasion, and there is a double account of his origin. For some men say that the earth, when it was sowed once by Iasion and given proper cultivation, brought forth such an abundance of fruits that those who saw this bestowed a special name upon the abundance of fruits when they appear and called it plutus (wealth); consequently it has become traditional among later generations to say that men who have acquired more than they actually need have plutus.

5.77.2 But there are some who recount the myth that a son was born to Demeter and Iasion whom they named Plutus, and that he was the first to introduce diligence into the life of man and the acquisition and safeguarding of property, all men up to that time having been neglectful of amassing and guarding diligently any store of property.


5.77.3 Such, then, are the myths which the Cretans recount of the gods who they claim were born in their land. They also assert that the honours accorded to the gods and their sacrifices and the initiatory rites observed in connection with the mysteries were handed down from Crete to the rest of men, and to support this they advance the following most weighty argument, as they conceive it: The initiatory rite which is celebrated by the Athenians in Eleusis, the most famous, one may venture, of them all, and that of Samothrace, and the one practised in Thrace among the Cicones, whence Orpheus came who introduced them – these are all handed down in the form of a mystery,46 whereas at Cnosus in Crete it has been the custom from ancient times that these initiatory rites should be handed down to all openly, and what is handed down among other peoples as not to be divulged, this the Cretans conceal from no one who may wish to inform himself upon such matters.

5.77.4 Indeed, the majority of the gods, the Cretans say, had their beginning in Crete and set out from there to visit many regions of the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the races of men and distributing among each of them the advantage which resulted from the discoveries they had made. Demeter, for example, crossed over into Attica and then removed from there to Sicily and afterwards to Egypt; and in these lands her choicest gift was that of the fruit of the corn and instructions in the sowing of it, whereupon she received great honours at the hands of those whom she had benefited.

5.77.5 Likewise Aphroditê made her seat in Sicily in the region of Eryx, among the islands near Cythera and in Paphos in Cyprus, and in Asia in Syria; and because of the manifestations of the goddess in their country and her extended sojourn among the inhabitants of the lands appropriated her to themselves, calling her, as the case might be, Erycinian Aphroditê, and Cytherian, and Paphian, and Syrian.47

5.77.6 And in the same manner Apollo revealed himself for the longest time in Delos and Lycia48 and Delphi, and Artemis in Ephesus and the Pontus and Persis and Crete; 

5.77.7 and the consequence has been that, either from the names of these regions or as a result of the deeds which they performed in each of them, Apollo has been called Delian and Lycian and Pythian, and Artemis has been called Ephesian and Cretan and Tauropolian and Persian, although both of them were born in Crete.

5.77.8 And this goddess is held in special honour among the Persians,49 and the barbarians hold mysteries which are performed among other peoples even down to this day in honour of the Persian Artemis. And similar myths are also recounted by the Cretans regarding other gods, but to draw up an account of them would be a long task for us, and it would not be easily grasped by our readers.

5 - 61 MINOS

5.78.1 Many generations after the birth of the gods, the Cretans go on to say, not a few heroes were to be found in Crete, the most renowned of whom were Minos and Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. These men, their myth states, were born of Zeus and Europê, the daughter of Agenor, who, men say, was brought across to Crete upon the back of a bull by the design of the gods.

5.78.2 Now Minos, by virtue of his being the eldest, became king of the island, and he founded on it not a few cities, the most renowned of which were the three, Cnosus in those parts of the island which look toward Asia, Phaestus on the seashore to the south, and Cydonia in the regions to the west facing the Peloponnesus.

5.78.3 And Minos established not a few laws for the Cretans, claiming that he had received them from his father Zeus when conversing with him in a certain cave. Furthermore, he came to possess a great naval power, and he subdued the majority of the islands and was the first man among the Greeks to be master of the sea.

5.78.4 And after he had gained great renown for his manly spirit and justice, he ended his life in Sicily in the course of his campaign against Cocalus, the details of which we have recounted in connection with our account of Daedalus, because of whom the campaign was made.50


5.79.1 Of Rhadamanthys the Cretans say that of all men he rendered the most just decisions and inflicted inexorable punishment upon robbers and impious men and all other malefactors. He came also to possess no small number of islands and a large part of the sea coast of Asia, all men delivering themselves into his hands of their free will because of his justice. Upon Erythrus, one of his sons, Rhadamanthys bestowed the kingship over the city which was named after him Erythrae, and to Oenopion, the son of Minos’ daughter Ariadnê, he gave Chios, we are told, although some writers of myths state that Oenopion was a son of Dionysus and learned from his father the art of making wine.

5.79.2 And to each one of his other generals, the Cretans say, he made a present of an island or a city Lemnos to Thoas, Cyrnus to Enyeus, Peparethos to Staphylus, Maroneia to Euanthes, Paros to Alcaeus, Delos to Anion, and to Andreus the island which was named after him Andros. Moreover, because of his very great justice, the myth has sprung up that he was appointed to be judge in Hades, where his decisions separate the good from the wicked. And the same honour has also been attained by Minos, because he ruled wholly in accordance with law and paid greatest heed to justice.


5.79.3 The third brother, Sarpedon, we are told, crossed over into Asia with an army and subdued the regions about Lycia. Euandrus, his son, succeeded him in the kingship in Lycia, and marrying Deïdameia, the daughter of Bellerophone, he begat that Sarpedon who took part in the expedition against Troy,51 although some writers have called him a son of Zeus.


5.79.4 Minos’ sons, they say, were Deucalion and Molus, and to Deucalion was born Idomeneus and to Molus was born Meriones. These two joined with Agamemnon in the expedition against Ilium with ninety ships, and when they had returned in safety to their fatherland they died and were accorded a notable burial and immortal honours. And the Cretans point out their tomb at Cnosus, which bears the following inscription:

Behold Idomeneus the Cnosian’s tomb, and by his side am I, Meriones, the son of Molus.

These two the Cretans hold in special honour as heroes of renown, offering up sacrifices to them and calling upon them to come to their aid in the perils which arise in war.


5.80.1 But now that we have examined these matters it remains for us to discuss the peoples who have become intermixed with the Cretans. That the first inhabitants of the island were known as Eteocretans and that they are considered to have sprung from the soil itself, we have stated before;52 and many generations after them Pelasgians, who were in movement by reason of their continuous expeditions and migrations, arrived at Crete and made their home in a part of the island.

5.80.2 The third people to cross over to the island, we are told, were Dorians, under the leadership of Tectamus53the son of Dorus; and the account states that the larger number of these Dorians was gathered from the regions about Olympus, but that a part of them consisted of Achaeans from Laconia, since Dorus had fixed the base of his expedition in the region about Cape Malea. And a fourth people to come to Crete and to become intermixed with the Cretans, we are told, was a heterogeneous collection of barbarians who in the course of time adopted the language of the native Greeks.

5.80.3 But after these events Minos and Rhadamanthys, when they had attained to power, gathered the peoples on the island into one union. And last of all, after the Return of the Heracleidae,54 Argives and Lacedaemonians sent forth colonies which they established on certain other islands and likewise took possession of Crete, and on these islands they colonized certain cities; with regard to these cities, however, we shall give a detailed account in connection with the period of time to which they belong.

5.80.4 And since the greatest number of writers who have written about Crete disagree among themselves, there should be no occasion for surprise if what we report should not agree with every one of them; we have, indeed, followed as our authorities those who give the more probably account and are the most trustworthy, in some matters depending upon Epimenides who as written about the gods, in other upon Dosiades, Sosicrates, and Laosthenidas.55

5 - 66 XANTHUS

5.81.1 Now that we have discussed the subject of Crete in sufficient length, we shall undertake at this point to speak about Lesbos. This island has been inhabited in ancient times by many peoples, since it has been the scene of many migrations. The first people to seize it, while it was still uninhabited, was the Pelasgians, and in the following manner:

5.81.2 Xanthus, the son of Triopas, who was king of the Pelasgians of Argos, seized a portion of Lycia, and, making his home there, at the outset he became king over the Pelasgians who had accompanied him; but later he crossed over to Lesbos, which was uninhabited, and divided the land among the folk, and he named the island, which had formerly been called Issa, Pelasgia after the people who had settled it.


5.81.3 And seven generations later, after the flood of Deucalion had taken place and much of mankind had perished, it came to pass that Lesbos was also laid desolate by the deluge of waters. And after these events Macareus came to the island, and, recognizing the beauty of the land, he made his home in it.

5.81.4 This Macareus was the son of Crinacus, the son of Zeus, as Hesiod and certain other poets state, and was a native of Olenus in what was then called Ias, but is now called Achaïa. The folk with him had been gathered from here and there, some being Ionians and the rest those who had streamed to him from every sort of people.

5.81.5 Now at first Macareus made his home in Lesbos, but later, as his power kept steadily increasing because of the fertility of the island and also of his own fairness and sense of justice, he won for himself the neighbouring islands and portioned out the land which was uninhabited.

5.81.6 And it was during this time that Lesbos, the son of Lapithes, the son of Aeolus, the son of Hippotes, in obedience to an oracle of Pytho, sailed with colonists to the island we are discussing, and, marrying Methyma, the daughter of Macareus, he made his home there with her; and when he became a man of renown, he named the island Lesbos after himself and called the folk Lesbians.

5.81.7 And there was born to Macareus, in addition to other daughters, Mytilenê and Methymna, from whom the cities in the island got their names. Moreover, Macareus, essaying to bring under his control the neighbouring islands, dispatched a colony to Chios first of all, entrusting the leadership of the colony to one of his own sons; 

5.81.8 and after this he dispatched another son, Cydrolaüs by name, to Samos, where he settled, and after portioning out the island in allotments to the colonists he became king over it. The third island he settled was Cos, and he appointed Neandrus to be its king; and then he dispatched Leucippus, together with a large body of colonists, to Rhodes, and the inhabitants of Rhodes received them gladly, because there was a lack of men among them, and they dwelt together as one people on the island.

5.82.1 The mainland opposite the islands, we find, had suffered great and terrible misfortunes, in those times, because of the floods. Thus, since the fruits were destroyed over a long period by reason of the deluge, there was a dearth of the necessities of life and a pestilence prevailed among the cities because of the corruption of the air.

5.82.2 The islands, on the other hand, since they were exposed to the breezes and supplied the inhabitants with wholesome air, and since they also enjoyed good crops, were filled with greater and greater abundance, and they quickly made the inhabitants object of envy. Consequently they have been give the name Islands of the Blessed, the abundance they enjoy of good things constituting the reason for the epithet.

5.82.3 But there are some who say that they were given the name Islands of the Blessed (macarioi) after Macareus, since his sons were the rulers over them. And, speaking generally, the islands we have mentioned have enjoyed a felicity far surpassing that of their neighbours, not only in ancient times but also in our own age;

5.82.4 for being as they are the finest all in richness of soil, excellence of location, and mildness of climate, it is with good reason that they are called, what in truth they are, “blessed.” As for Macareus himself, while he was king of Lesbos he issued a law which contributed much to the common good, and he called the law the “Lion,” giving it this name after the strength and courage of that beast.

5 - 68 TENNES

5.83.1 When a considerable time had elapsed after the settlement of Lesbos, the island known as Tenedos came to be inhabited in somewhat the following manner. Tennes was a son of Cycnus, who had been king of Colonê in the Troad, and was a man who had gained renown because of his high achievements.

5.83.2 Gathering together colonists and using as his base the mainland opposite to it, he seized an uninhabited island called Leucophrys; this island he portioned out in allotments among his followers, and he founded a city on it which he named Tenedos after himself.

5.83.3 And since he governed uprightly and conferred many benefactions upon the inhabitants, during his lifetime he was in high favour, and upon his death he was granted immortal honours; for they built for him a sacred precinct and honoured him with sacrifices as though he were a god, and these sacrifices they have continued to perform down to modern times.

5.83.4 But we must not omit to mention what the myths of the Tenedians have to tell about Tennes, the founder of the city. Cycnus his father, they say, giving credence to the unjust slanders of his wife, put his son Tennes in a chest and cast it into the sea; the chest was borne along by the waves and brought to shore on Tenedos, and since Tennes had been saved alive in this astonishing fashion by the providence of some one of the gods, he became king of the island, and becoming distinguished by reason of the justice he displayed and his other virtues, he was granted immortal honours. But it had happened, when his step-mother was slandering him, that a certain flute player had borne false witness against him, and so the Tenedians passed a law that no flute player should ever enter his sacred precinct.

5.83.5 And when Tennes was slain by Achilles in the course of the Trojan War, on the occasion when the Greeks sacked Tenedos, the Tenedians passed a law that no man should ever pronounce the name of Achilles in the sacred precinct of the founder of their city. Such, then, is the account which the myths give regarding Tenedos and its ancient inhabitants.


5.84.1 Since we have set forth the facts concerning the most notable islands, we shall now give an account of the smaller ones. While in ancient times the Cyclades were still uninhabited, Minos, the son of Zeus and Europê, who was king of Crete and possessed great forces both land and naval, was master of the sea and sent forth from Crete many colonies, and he settled the greater number of the Cyclades, portioning the islands out in allotments among the folk, and he seized no small part of the coast of Asia.56

5.84.2 And this circumstance explains why harbours on the islands as well as on the coast of Asia have the same designation as those of Crete, being called “Minoan.” The power of Minos advanced to great heights; and having his brother Rhadamanthys as co-ruler, he envied him because of his fame for righteousness, and wishing to get Rhadamanthys out of the way he sent him off to the farthest parts of his dominion.

5.84.3 Rhadamanthys went to the islands which lie off Ionia and Caria, spending his time upon them, and caused Erythrus to found the city which bears his name57 in Asia, while he established Oenopion, the son of Minos’ daughter Ariadnê, as lord of Chios.

5.84.4 Now these events took place before the Trojan War; and after Troy was taken the Carians steadily increased their power and became masters of he sea; and taking possession of the Cyclades, some of the islands they appropriated to themselves, expelling the Cretans who had their homes on them, but in some islands they settled jointly with the Cretans who had been the first to dwell there. And at a later time, when the power of the Greeks increased, the major number of the Cyclades came to be inhabited by them, and the Carians, who were non-Greeks, were driven out of them. But of these matters we shall give a detailed account in connection with the appropriate period of time.


6.1.1 The foregoing is told by Diodorus in the Third Book of his history.1And the same writer, in the sixth Book as well, confirms the same view regarding the gods, drawing from the writing of Euhemerus of Messenê,2and using the following words:

6.1.2 “As regards the gods, then, men of ancient times have handed down to later generations two different conceptions: Certain of the gods, they say, are eternal and imperishable, such as the sun and the moon and the other stars of the heavens, and the winds as well and whatever else possesses a nature similar to theirs; for of each of these the genesis and duration are from everlasting to everlasting. But the other gods, we are told, were terrestrial beings who attained to immortal honour and fame because of their benefactions to mankind, such as Heracles, Dionysus, Aristaeus, and the others who were like them.

6.1.3 “Regarding these terrestrial gods many and varying accounts have been handed down by the writers of history and of mythology; of the historians, Euhemerus, who composed the Sacred History, has written a special treatise about them, while, of the writers of myths, Homer and Hesiod and Orpheus and the others of their kind have invented rather monstrous stories about the gods. But for our part, we shall endeavour to run over briefly the accounts which both groups of writers have given, aiming at due proportion in our exposition.

6.1.4 “Now Euhemerus, who was a friend of King Cassander3 and was required by him to perform certain affairs of state and to make great journeys abroad, says that he travelled southward as far as the ocean; for setting sail from Arabia the Blest he voyaged through the ocean for a considerable number of days and was carried to the shore of some islands in the sea, one of which bore the name of Panchaea. On this island he saw the Panchaeans who dwell there, who excel in piety and honour the4 gods with the most magnificent sacrifices and with remarkable votive offerings of silver and god.

6.1.5 “The island is sacred to the gods, and there are a number of other objects on it which are admired both for their antiquity and for the great skill of their workmanship, regarding which severally we have written in the preceding Books.4

6.1.6 “There is also on the island, situated upon an exceedingly high hill, a sanctuary of Zeus Triphylius, which was established by him during the time when he was king of all the inhabited world and was still in the company of men.

6.1.7 “And in this temple there is a stele of gold on which is inscribed in summary, in the writing employed by the Panchaeans, the deeds of Uranus and Cronus and Zeus.

6.1.8 “Euhemerus goes on to say that Uranus was the first to be king, that he was an honourable man and beneficent, who was versed in the movement of the stars, and that he was also the first to honour the gods of the heavens with sacrifices, whence he was called Uranus or “Heaven.”

6.1.9 “There were born to him by his wife Hestia two sons, Titan and Cronus, and two daughters, Rhea and Demeter. Cronus became king after Uranus, and marrying Rhea he begat Zeus and Hera and Poseidon. And Zeus on succeeding to the kingship, married Hera and Demeter and Themis, and by them he had children, the Curetes by the first named, Persephonê by the second, and Athena by the third.

6.1.10 “And going to Babylon he was entertained by Belus, and after that he went to the island of Panchaea, which lies in the ocean, and here he set up an altar to Uranus, the founder of his family. From there he passed through Syria and came to Casius, who was ruler of Syria at that time, and who gave his name to Mt. Casius.5 And coming to Cilicia he conquered in battle Cilix, the governor of the region, and he visited very many other nations, all of which paid honour to him and publicly proclaimed him a god.”

6.1.11 After recounting what I have given and more to the same effect about the gods, as if about mortal men, Diodorus goes on to say: “Now regarding Euhemerus, who composed the Sacred History, we shall rest content with what has been said, and shall endeavour to run over briefly the myths which the Greeks recount concerning the gods, as they are given by Hesiod and Homer and Orpheus.” Thereupon Diodorus goes on to add the myths as the poets give them.
(Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica, 2. 2. 59B-61A.)

6.2 Regarding the gods, the most learned Diodorus also says in his writings that those gods whom men were wont to address as immortal, considering them to be so because of their beneficences, had indeed been born human beings; but that certain of them had acquired the appellations they have after the lands they conquered.
(Malalas, p. 54.)


6.3 Diodorus says, following the account preserved in the myths, that Xanthus and Balius6 were formerly Titans and had come to the aid of Zeus, Xanthus as a companion of Poseidon and Balius of Zeus; and in the battle7 they asked that their shape might be changed, since they were ashamed to be seen by their brethren the Titans, and their request was granted; and it was these horses which were given to Peleus. This explains, Diodorus says, why Xanthus is able to prophesy his death to Achilleus.
(Eustathius, Commentary on the Iliad, Book 19, p. 1190.)


6.4 Pherecydes records that Saturnus was the first, before all others, to wear a crown, and Diodorus relates that, after he had defeated the Titans, Jupiter was rewarded by the rest with this same distinction; the same writer gives even to Priapus fillets and to Ariadnê a wreath made of gold and precious stones from India, this wreath becoming also a distinction of Vulcan, and then of Liber, and later a constellation.8
(Tertullian, On the Crown, 13.)


6.5 Ninus’ brother, Picus,9 who was also called Zeus, became king of Italy, holding sway over the west for one hundred and twenty years. And he had many sons and daughters by the most comely women; for he assumed in some cases mysterious aspects when seducing them. And these women, when they were being debauched by him, looked upon him as a god. This same Picus, who was also called Zeus, had a son named Faunus, whom he also called Hermes for the name of the wandering star.10 And when Zeus was on the point of death he gave orders that his remains be laid away on the island of Crete; and his sons built him a temple there in which they laid him. This monument exists even to the present day, and it bears the inscription, “Here lies Picus whom men also call Zeus.” Diodorus, the most learned chronographer, ahs composed an account of this Picus.
(From the Chronicle of John of Antioch, in Cramer, Anecd. Paris. 2, p. 236.)


6.6.1 According to tradition, Castor and Polydeuces, who were also know as the Dioscuri, far surpassed all other men in valour and gained the greatest distinction in the campaign in which they took part with the Argonauts; and they have come to the aid of many who have stood in need of succour. And, speaking generally, their manly spirit and skill as generals, and their justice and piety as well, have won them fame among practically all men, since they make their appearance as helpers of those who fall into unexpected perils.11 Moreover, because of their exceptional valour they have been judged to be sons of Zeus, and when they departed from among mankind they attained to immortal honours.


6.6.2 Epopeus, the king of Sicyon, challenged the gods to battle and violated their sanctuaries and altars.

6.6.3 Sisyphus, we are told, excelled all other men in knavery and ingenuity, and by means of his skill in divination by inspection of victims he discovered everything that was to happen and foretold it to mankind.


6.6.4 Salmoneus was impious and arrogant and made it his practice to ridicule the divinity, and he declared that his achievements excelled those of Zeus. Consequently he used to make a tremendous noise by means of a machine he contrived and to imitate in this way peals of thunder, and he would celebrate neither sacrifices nor festivals.12

6.6.5 The same Salmoneus had a daughter named Tyro,13 who received this name by reason of the whiteness and softness of her body.
(Const. Exc. 2 (, pp. 210-11.)

6.7.1 For Salmoneus, being impious and arrogant, made it his practice to ridicule the divinity and to declare that his achievements excelled those of Zeus; consequently he used to make a tremendous noise by means of a machine he contrived, and by imitating claps of thunder he would declare that he had thundered more loudly than Zeus. Speaking generally, in his mockery of the gods he would celebrate neither sacrifices nor festivals in their honour, as the other rulers were accustomed to do.14

6.7.2 And there was born to him an only daughter, Tyro, to whom he thought this name was appropriate by reason of the softness of her body and the whiteness of her skin.

6.7.3 Poseidon became enamoured of this maiden because of her beauty, and lying with her he begat Pelias and Neleus. And Salmoneus, not believing that it was Poseidon who had taken her virginity, would not leave off ill-treating Tyro; but in the end he paid the penalty to the deity for his impiety, ending his life when struck by lightning from the hand of Zeus.

6 - 8 PELIAS

6.7.4 Of the sons born of Poseidon and Tyro, Pelias, when very young, was banished from his native land by Mimas, and going into exile together with his friends, he seized, with their aid, two islands, Sciathos and Peparethos; but at a later time, since Cheiron conferred benefactions upon him and shared his own country with him he departed from the islands we have mentioned, and became king of the city of Iolci.15 And thee were born to him a number of daughters who took their name from their father, being called the Peliades, regarding whom we shall rest content with what has been said.


6.8 Admetus was very dear to the gods because of his unusual righteousness and piety. His uprightness brought him such honour that once, when Apollo had offended17 Zeus, the command was given him that he should serve as a menial at the court of Admetus. And we are told that Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, who was the only one of his daughters who had no part in the impiety  practised upon their father, was given as wife to Admetus because of her piety.
Melampus was a man of exceptional piety and became a friend of Apollo.


6.9 Bellerophon, who was in exile because of a murder he had unwittingly committed, came to Proetus who exchanged hospitality with his father; and the wife of Proetus became enamoured of Bellerophon because of his beauty, and since she was unable to win him by persuasion she accused him to her husband of having offered violence to her. Now Proetus was unwilling to slay his guest, and so instead he sent him to Lycia, having a written message to Iobates the king, who was his father-in-law. Iobates received the letter and discovered that in it was written that he should slay Bellerophon with all speed; but, being unwilling to put him to death, he commanded him instead to go join combat with the fire-breathing Chimaera.