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    Posted: 15-Mar-2012 at 07:45



[1] The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus' son, Achilles, that destructive wrath which brought countless woes upon the Achaeans, and sent forth to Hades many valiant souls of heroes, and made them themselves spoil for dogs and every bird; thus the plan of Zeus came to fulfillment, from the time when first they parted in strife Atreus' son, king of men, and brilliant Achilles.

[8] Who then of the gods was it that brought these two together to contend? The son of Leto and Zeus; for he in anger against the king roused throughout the host an evil pestilence, and the people began to perish, because upon the priest Chryses the son of Atreus had wrought dishonour. For he had come to the swift ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, bearing ransom past counting; and in his hands he held the wreaths of Apollo who strikes from afar, on a staff of gold; and he implored all the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, the marshallers of the people: Sons of Atreus, and other well-greaved Achaeans, to you may the gods who have homes upon Olympus grant that you sack the city of Priam, and return safe to your homes; but my dear child release to me, and accept the ransom out of reverence for the son of Zeus, Apollo who strikes from afar.

[22] Then all the rest of the Achaeans shouted assent, to reverence the priest and accept the glorious ransom, yet the thing did not please the heart of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, but he sent him away harshly, and laid upon him a stern command: "Let me not find you, old man, by the hollow ships, either tarrying now or coming back later, lest your staff and the wreath of the god not protect you. Her I will not set free. Sooner shall old age come upon her in our house, in Argos, far from her native land, as she walks to and fro before the loom and serves my bed. But go, do not anger me, that you may return the safer."

[33] So he spoke, and the old man was seized with fear and obeyed his word. He went forth in silence along the shore of the loud-resounding sea, and earnestly then, when he had gone apart, the old man prayed to the lord Apollo, whom fair-haired Leto bore: "Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stand over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rule mightily over Tenedos, Sminthian god, if ever I roofed over a temple to your pleasing, or if ever I burned to you fat thigh-pieces of bulls and goats, fulfill this prayer for me: let the Danaans pay for my tears by your arrows."

[43] So he spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him. Down from the peaks of Olympus he strode, angered at heart, bearing on his shoulders his bow and covered quiver. The arrows rattled on the shoulders of the angry god as he moved, and his coming was like the night. Then he sat down apart from the ships and let fly an arrow: terrible was the twang of the silver bow. The mules he assailed first and the swift dogs, but then on the men themselves he let fly his stinging shafts, and struck; and constantly the pyres of the dead burned thick.

[53] For nine days the missiles of the god ranged among the host, but on the tenth Achilles called the people to assembly, for the goddess, white-armed Hera, had put it in his heart, since she pitied the Danaans, when she saw them dying. When they were assembled and gathered together, among them arose and spoke swift-footed Achilles: "Son of Atreus, now I think we shall return home, beaten back again, should we even escape death, if war and pestilence alike are to ravage the Achaeans. But come, let us ask some seer or priest, or some reader of dreams—for a dream too is from Zeus—who might say why Phoebus Apollo is so angry, whether he finds fault with a vow or a hecatomb; in hope that he may accept the savour of lambs and unblemished goats, and be willing to ward off the pestilence from us."

[68] When he had thus spoken he sat down, and among them arose Calchas son of Thestor, far the best of bird-diviners, who knew the things that were, and that were to be, and that had been before, and who had guided the ships of the Achaeans to Ilios by his own prophetic powers which Phoebus Apollo had bestowed upon him. He with good intent addressed the gathering, and spoke among them: "Achilles, dear to Zeus, you bid me declare the wrath of Apollo, the lord who strikes from afar. Therefore I will speak; but take thought and swear that you will readily defend me with word and with might of hand; for I think I shall anger a man who rules mightily over all the Argives, and whom the Achaeans obey. For mightier is a king, when he is angry at a lesser man. Even if he swallows down his wrath for that day, yet afterwards he cherishes resentment in his heart till he brings it to fulfillment. Say then, if you will keep me safe."

[84] In answer to him spoke swift-footed Achilles: "Take heart, and speak out whatever oracle you know; for by Apollo, dear to Zeus, to whom you, Calchas, pray when you reveal oracles to the Danaans, no one, while I live and have sight on the earth, shall lay heavy hands on you beside the hollow ships, no one of the whole host of the Danaans, not even if you name Agamemnon, who now claims to be far the best of the Achaeans."

[92] Then the blameless seer took heart, and spoke: "It is not then because of a vow that he finds fault, nor because of a hecatomb, but because of the priest whom Agamemnon dishonoured, and did not release his daughter nor accept the ransom. For this cause the god who strikes from afar has given woes and will still give them. He will not drive off from the Danaans the loathsome pestilence, until we give back to her dear father the bright-eyed maiden, unbought, unransomed, and lead a sacred hecatomb to Chryse. Then we might appease and persuade him."

[101] When he had thus spoken he sat down, and among them arose the warrior, son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon, deeply troubled. With rage his black heart was wholly filled, and his eyes were like blazing fire. To Calchas first of all he spoke, and his look threatened evil: "Prophet of evil, never yet have you spoken to me a pleasant thing; ever is evil dear to your heart to prophesy, but a word of good you have never yet spoken, nor brought to pass. And now among the Danaans you claim in prophecy that for this reason the god who strikes from afar brings woes upon them, that I would not accept the glorious ransom for the girl, the daughter of Chryses, since I much prefer to keep her in my home. For certainly I prefer her to Clytemnestra, my wedded wife, since she is not inferior to her, either in form or in stature, or in mind, or in any handiwork. Yet even so will I give her back, if that is better; I would rather the people be safe than perish. But provide me with a prize of honour forthwith, lest I alone of the Argives be without one, since that would not be proper. For you all see this, that my prize goes elsewhere."

[121] In answer to him spoke swift-footed brilliant Achilles: "Most glorious son of Atreus, most covetous of all, how shall the great-hearted Achaeans give you a prize? We know nothing of a hoard of wealth in common store, but whatever we took by pillage from the cities has been apportioned, and it is not seemly to gather these things back from the army. But give back the girl to the god, and we Achaeans will recompense you three and fourfold, if ever Zeus grants us to sack the well-walled city of Troy."

[130] In answer to him spoke lord Agamemnon: "Do not thus, mighty though you are, godlike Achilles, seek to deceive me with your wit; for you will not get by me nor persuade me. Are you willing, so that your yourself may keep your prize, for me to sit here idly in want, while you order me to give her back? No, if the great-hearted Achaeans give me a prize, suiting it to my mind, so that it will be worth just as much—but if they do not, I myself will come and take your prize, or that of Aias, or that of Odysseus I will seize and bear away. Angry will he be, to whomever I come. But these things we will consider hereafter. Let us now drag a black ship to the shining sea, and quickly gather suitable rowers into it, and place on board a hecatomb, and embark on it the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses herself. Let one prudent man be its commander, either Aias, or Idomeneus, or brilliant Odysseus, or you, son of Peleus, of all men most extreme, so that on our behalf you may propitiate the god who strikes from afar by offering sacrifice."

[147] Glaring from beneath his brows spoke to him swift-footed Achilles: "Ah me, clothed in shamelessness, thinking of profit, how shall any man of the Achaeans obey your words with a ready heart either to go on a journey or to fight against men with force? It was not on account of the Trojan spearmen that I came here to fight, since they have done no wrong to me. Never have they driven off my cattle or my horses, nor ever in deep-soiled Phthia, nurse of men, did they lay waste the harvest, for many things lie between us—shadowy mountains and sounding sea. But you, shameless one, we followed, so that you might rejoice, seeking to win recompense for Menelaus and for yourself, dog-face, from the Trojans. This you disregard, and take no heed of. And now you threaten that you will yourself take my prize away from me, for which I toiled so much, which the sons of the Achaeans gave to me. Never have I prize like yours, whenever the Achaeans sack a well-inhabited citadel of the Trojans. The brunt of furious battle do my hands undertake, but if ever an apportionment comes, your prize is far greater, while small but dear is the reward I take to my ships, when I have worn myself out in the fighting. Now I will go back to Phthia, since it is far better to return home with my beaked ships, nor do I intend while I am here dishonoured to pile up riches and wealth for you."

[172] Then the king of men, Agamemnon, answered him: "Flee then, if your heart urges you; I do not beg you to remain for my sake. With me are others who will honour me, and above all Zeus, the lord of counsel.  Most hateful to me are you of all the kings that Zeus nurtures, for always strife is dear to you, and wars and battles. If you are very strong, it was a god, I think, who gave you this gift. Go home with your ships and your companions and lord it over the Myrmidons; for you I care not, nor take heed of your wrath. But I will threaten you thus: as Phoebus Apollo takes from me the daughter of Chryses, her with my ship and my companions I will send back, but I will myself come to your tent and take the fair-cheeked Briseis, your prize, so that you will understand how much mightier I am than you, and another may shrink from declaring himself my equal and likening himself to me to my face."

[187] So he spoke. Grief came upon the son of Peleus, and within his shaggy breast his heart was divided, whether he should draw his sharp sword from beside his thigh, and break up the assembly, and slay the son of Atreus, or stay his anger and curb his spirit. While he pondered this in mind and heart, and was drawing from its sheath his great sword, Athene came from heaven. The white-armed goddess Hera had sent her forth,  for in her heart she loved and cared for both men alike. She stood behind him, and seized the son of Peleus by his fair hair, appearing to him alone. No one of the others saw her. Achilles was seized with wonder, and turned around, and immediately recognized Pallas Athene. Terribly her eyes shone.Then he addressed her with winged words, and said: "Why now, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, have you come? Is it so that you might see the arrogance of Agamemnon, son of Atreus? One thing I will tell you, and I think this will be brought to pass: through his own excessive pride shall he presently lose his life."

[206] Him then the goddess, bright-eyed Athene, answered: "I have come from heaven to stay your anger, if you will obey, The goddess white-armed Hera sent me forth, for in her heart she loves and cares for both of you. But come, cease from strife, and do not grasp the sword with your hand. With words indeed taunt him, telling him how it shall be. For thus will I speak, and this thing shall truly be brought to pass. Hereafter three times as many glorious gifts shall be yours on account of this arrogance. But refrain, and obey us."

[215] In answer to her spoke swift-footed Achilles: "It is necessary, goddess, to observe the words of you two, however angered a man be in his heart, for is it better so. Whoever obeys the gods, to him do they gladly give ear."

[219] He spoke, and stayed his heavy hand on the silver hilt, and back into its sheath thrust the great sword, and did not disobey the word of Athene. She returned to Olympus to the palace of aegis-bearing Zeus, to join the company of the other gods.

[222] But the son of Peleus again addressed with violent words the son of Atreus, and in no way ceased from his wrath: "Heavy with wine, with the face of a dog but the heart of a deer, never have you had courage to arm for battle along with your people, or go forth to an ambush with the chiefs of the Achaeans. That seems to you even as death. Indeed it is far better throughout the wide camp of the Achaeans to deprive of his prize whoever speaks contrary to you. People-devouring king, since you rule over nobodies; else, son of Atreus, this would be your last piece of insolence. But I will speak out to you, and will swear thereto a mighty oath: by this staff, that shall never more put forth leaves or shoots since first it left its stump among the mountains, nor shall it again grow green, for the bronze has stripped it on all sides of leaves and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans carry it in their hands when they act as judges, those who guard the ordinances that come from Zeus; and this shall be for you a mighty oath. Surely some day a longing for Achilles will come upon the sons of the Achaeans one and all, and on that day you will not be able to help them at all, for all your grief, when many shall fall dying before man-slaying Hector. But you will gnaw the heart within you, in anger that you did no honour to the best of the Achaeans."

[245] So spoke the son of Peleus, and down to the earth he dashed the staff studded with golden nails, and himself sat down, while over against him the son of Atreus continued to vent his wrath. Then among them arose Nestor, sweet of speech, the clear-voiced orator of the Pylians, from whose tongue flowed speech sweeter than honey. Two generations of mortal men had passed away in his lifetime, who had been born and reared with him before in sacred Pylos, and he was king among the third. He with good intent addressed the gathering and spoke among them: "Comrades, great grief has come upon the land of Achaea. Truly would Priam and the sons of Priam rejoice, and the rest of the Trojans would be most glad at heart, were they to hear all this of you two quarrelling, you who are chief among the Danaans in counsel and chief in war. Listen to me, for you are both younger than I. In earlier times I moved among men more warlike than you, and never did they despise me. Such warriors have I never since seen, nor shall I see, as Peirithous was and Dryas, shepherd of the people, and Caeneus and Exadius and godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus, son of Aegeus, a man like the immortals. Mightiest were these of men reared upon the earth; mightiest were they, and with the mightiest they fought, the mountain-dwelling centaurs, and they destroyed them terribly. With these men I had fellowship, when I came from Pylos, from a distant land far away; for they themselves called me. And I fought on my own; with those men could no one fight of the mortals now upon the earth. Yes, and they listened to my counsel, and obeyed my words. So also should you obey, since to obey is better. Neither do you, mighty though you are, take away the girl, but let her be, as the sons of the Achaeans first gave her to him as a prize; nor do you, son of Peleus, be minded to strive with a king, might against might, for it is no common honour that is the portion of a sceptre-holding king, to whom Zeus gives glory. If you are a stronger fighter, and a goddess mother bore you, yet he is the mightier, since he is king over more. Son of Atreus, check your rage. Indeed, I beg you to let go your anger against Achilles, who is for all the Achaeans a mighty bulwark in evil war."

[285] In answer to him spoke lord Agamemnon: "All these things, old man, to be sure, you have spoken as is right. But this man wishes to be above all others; over all he wishes to rule and over all to be king, and to all to give orders; in this, I think, there is someone who will not obey. If the gods who exist for ever made him a spearman, do they therefore license him to keep uttering insults?"

[292] Brilliant Achilles broke in upon him and replied: Surely I would be called cowardly and of no account, if I am to yield to you in every matter that you say. On others lay these commands, but do not give orders to me, for I do not think I shall obey you any longer. And another thing I will tell you, and take it to heart: with my hands I will not fight for the girl's sake either with you nor with any other, since you are taking away what you have given. But of all else that is mine by my swift black ship, nothing will you take or carry away against my will. Come, just try, so that these too may know: forthwith will your dark blood flow forth about my spear."

[303] So when the two had made an end of contending with violent words, they rose, and broke up the gathering beside the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went his way to his huts and his balanced ships together with the son of Menoetius, and with his men; but the son of Atreus launched a swift ship on the sea, and chose for it twenty rowers, and drove on board a hecatomb for the god, and brought the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses and set her in the ship; and Odysseus of many wiles went on board to take command.

[312] So these embarked and sailed over the watery ways; but the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves. And they purified themselves, and cast the defilement into the sea, and offered to Apollo perfect hecatombs of bulls and goats by the shore of the barren sea; and the savour thereof went up to heaven, eddying amid the smoke. Thus were they busied throughout the camp; but Agamemnon did not cease from the strife with which he had first threatened Achilles, but called to Talthybius and Eurybates, who were his heralds and ready squires: "Go to the hut of Achilles, Peleus' son, and take by the hand the fair-cheeked Briseis, and lead her hither; and if he give her not, I will myself go with a larger company and take her; that will be even the worse for him."

[325] So saying he sent them forth, and laid upon them a stern command. Unwilling went the two along the shore of the barren sea, and came to the tents and the ships of the Myrmidons. Him they found sitting beside his tent and his black ship; and Achilles was not glad at sight of them. The two, seized with dread and in awe of the king, stood, and spoke no word to him, nor made question; but he knew in his heart, and spoke: "Hail, heralds, messengers of Zeus and men, draw near. It is not you who are guilty in my sight, but Agamemnon,  who sent you forth for the sake of the girl, Briseis. But come, Patroclus, sprung from Zeus, bring forth the girl, and give her to them to lead away. However, let these two themselves be witnesses before the blessed gods and mortal men, and before him, that ruthless king, if hereafter there shall be need of me to ward off shameful ruin from the host. Truly he rages with baneful mind, and knows not at all to look both before and after, that his Achaeans might wage war in safety beside their ships."

[345] So he spoke, and Patroclus obeyed his dear comrade, and led forth from the hut the fair-cheeked Briseis, and gave her to them to lead away. So the two went back beside the ships of the Achaeans, and with them, all unwilling, went the woman. But Achilles burst into tears, and withdrew apart from his comrades, and sat down on the shore of the grey sea, looking forth over the wine-dark deep. Earnestly he prayed to his dear mother with hands outstretched: "Mother, since you bore me, though to so brief a span of life, honour surely ought the Olympian to have given into my hands, Zeus who thunders on high; but now he has honoured me not a bit. Truly the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon has dishonoured me: for he has taken and keeps my prize through his own arrogant act. So he spoke, weeping, and his lady mother heard him, as she sat in the depths of the sea beside the old man, her father.

[357] And speedily she came forth from the grey sea like a mist, and sat down before him, as he wept, and she stroked him with her hand, and spoke to him, and called him by name: "My child, why do you weep? What sorrow has come upon your heart? Speak out; hide it not in your mind, that we both may know."

[364] Then with heavy moaning spoke swift-footed Achilles to her: "You know. Why then should I tell the tale to you who knows all? We went forth to Thebe, the sacred city of Eetion, and laid it waste, and brought here all the spoil. This the sons of the Achaeans divided properly among themselves, but for the son of Atreus they chose out the fair-cheeked daughter of Chryses. However, Chryses, priest of Apollo, who strikes from afar, came to the swift ships of the bronze-clad Achaeans, to free his daughter, bearing ransom past counting, and in his hands he held the wreaths of Apollo who strikes from afar, on a staff of gold, and he implored all the Achaeans, but most of all the two sons of Atreus, marshallers of the people. Then all the rest of the Achaeans shouted assent, to reverence the priest and accept the glorious ransom; yet the thing did not please the heart of Agamemnon, son of Atreus, but he sent him away harshly, and laid upon him a stern command. So the old man went back again in anger; and Apollo heard his prayer, for he was very dear to him, and sent against the Argives an evil shaft. Then the people began to die thick and fast, and the shafts of the god ranged everywhere throughout the wide camp of the Achaeans. But to us the prophet with sure knowledge declared the oracles of the god who strikes from afar."

[386] "Forthwith, then, I first bade propitiate the god, but thereafter anger seized the son of Atreus, and straightway he arose and spoke a threatening word, which now has come to pass. For the quick-glancing Achaeans are taking the maiden in a swift ship to Chryse, and are bearing gifts to the god; while the other woman the heralds have just now taken from my tent and led away, the daughter of Briseus, whom the sons of the Achaeans gave me. But, you, if you are able, guard your own son; go to Olympus and make prayer to Zeus, if ever you have gladdened his heart by word or deed. For often I have heard you glorying in the halls of my father, and declaring that you alone among the immortals warded off shameful ruin from the son of Cronos, lord of the dark clouds, on the day when the other Olympians wished to put him in bonds, even Hera and Poseidon and Pallas Athene. But you came, goddess, and freed him from his bonds, when you had quickly called to high Olympus him of the hundred hands, whom the gods call Briareus, but all men Aegaeon; for he is mightier than his father. He sat down by the side of the son of Cronos, exulting in his glory, and the blessed gods were seized with fear of him, and did not bind Zeus. Bring this now to his remembrance, and sit by his side, and clasp his knees, in hope that he might perhaps wish to succour the Trojans, and for those others, the Achaeans, to pen them in among the sterns of their ships and around the sea as they are slain, so that they may all have profit of their king, and that the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon may know his blindness in that he did no honour to the best of the Achaeans."

[413] Then Thetis answered him as she wept: "Ah me, my child, why did I rear you, cursed in my child-bearing? Would that it had been your lot to remain by your ships without tears and without grief, since your span of life is brief and endures no long time; but now you are doomed to a speedy death and are laden with sorrow above all men; therefore to an evil fate I bore you in our halls. Yet in order to tell this your word to Zeus who delights in the thunderbolt I will myself go to snowy Olympus, in hope that he may be persuaded. But remain by your swift, sea-faring ships, and continue your wrath against the Achaeans, and refrain utterly from battle; for Zeus went yesterday to Oceanus, to the blameless Ethiopians for a feast, and all the gods followed with him; but on the twelfth day he will come back again to Olympus, and then will I go to the house of Zeus with threshold of bronze, and will clasp his knees in prayer, and I think I shall win him."

[428] So saying, she went her way and left him where he was, angry at heart for the fair-girdled woman's sake, whom they had taken from him by force though he was unwilling; and meanwhile Odysseus came to Chryse bringing the holy hecatomb. When they had arrived within the deep harbour, they furled the sail, and stowed it in the black ship, and the mast they lowered by the forestays and brought it to the crutch with speed, and rowed her with oars to the place of anchorage. Then they cast out the mooring-stones and made fast the stern cables, and themselves went forth upon the shore of the sea. They brought forth the hecatomb for Apollo, who strikes from afar, and forth stepped also the daughter of Chryses from the sea-faring ship. Her then did Odysseus of many wiles lead to the altar, and place in the arms of her dear father, saying to him: "Chryses, Agamemnon, king of men, sent me forth to bring to you your daughter, and to offer to Phoebus a holy hecatomb on the Danaans' behalf, that therewith we may propitiate the lord, who has now brought upon the Argives woeful lamentation."

[446] So saying he placed her in his arms, and he joyfully took his dear child; but they made haste to set in array for the god the holy hecatomb around the well-built altar, and then they washed their hands and took up the barley grains. Then Chryses lifted up his hands, and prayed aloud for them: "Hear me, god of the silver bow, who stands over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rules mightily over Tenedos. As before you heard me when I prayed—to me you did honour, and mightily smote the host of the Achaeans—even so now fulfill me this my desire: ward off now from the Danaans the loathly pestilence."

[457] So he spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him. Then, when they had prayed, and had sprinkled the barley grains, they first drew back the victims' heads, and cut their throats, and flayed them, and cut out the thighs and covered them with a double layer of fat, and laid raw flesh thereon. And the old man burned them on stakes of wood, and made libation over them of gleaming wine; and beside him the young men held in their hands the five-pronged forks. But when the thigh-pieces were wholly burned, and they had tasted the entrails, they cut up the rest and spitted it, and roasted it carefully, and drew all off the spits. Then, when they had ceased from their labour and had made ready the meal, they feasted, nor did their hearts lack anything of the equal feast. But when they had put from them the desire for food and drink, the youths filled the bowls brim full of drink and served out to all, first pouring drops for libation into the cups. So the whole day long they sought to appease the god with song, singing the beautiful paean, the sons of the Achaeans, hymning the god who works from afar; and his heart was glad, as he heard.

[475] But when the sun set and darkness came on, they lay down to rest by the stern cables of the ship, and as soon as early rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, then they set sail for the wide camp of the Achaeans. And Apollo, who works from afar, sent them a favouring wind, and they set up the mast and spread the white sail. So the wind filled the belly of the sail, and the dark wave sang loudly about the stem of the ship, as she went, and she sped over the wave, accomplishing her way. But when they came to the wide camp of the Achaeans, they drew the black ship up on the shore, high upon the sands, and set in line the long props beneath, and themselves scattered among the tents and ships. But he in his wrath sat beside his swift-faring ships, the Zeus-sprung son of Peleus, swift-footed Achilles. Never did he go forth to the place of gathering, where men win glory, nor ever to war, but wasted away his own heart, as he tarried where he was; and he longed for the war-cry and the battle.

[493] Now when the twelfth morning thereafter had come, then into Olympus came the gods who are for ever, all in one company, and Zeus led the way. And Thetis did not forget the behest of her son, but rose up from the wave of the sea, and at early morning went up to great heaven and Olympus. There she found the far-seeing son of Cronos sitting apart from the rest upon the topmost peak of many-ridged Olympus. So she sat down before him, and clasped his knees with her left hand, while with her right she touched him beneath the chin, and she spoke in prayer to king Zeus, son of Cronos: "Father Zeus, if ever amid the immortals I gave you aid by word or deed, grant me this prayer: do honour to my son, who is doomed to a speedy death beyond all other men; yet now Agamemnon, king of men, has dishonoured him, for he has taken and keeps his prize by his own arrogant act. But honour him, Olympian Zeus, lord of counsel; and give might to the Trojans, until the Achaeans do honour to my son, and magnify him with recompense."

[511] So she spoke; but Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, spoke no word to her, but sat a long time in silence. Yet Thetis, even as she had clasped his knees, so held to him, clinging close, and questioned him again a second time: "Give me your infallible promise, and bow your head to it, or else deny me, for there is nothing to make you afraid; so that I may know well  how far I among all the gods am honoured the least."

[517] Then, greatly troubled, Zeus, the cloud-gatherer spoke to her: "Surely this will be sorry work, since you will set me on to engage in strife with Hera, when she shall anger me with taunting words. Even now she always upbraids me among the immortal gods, and declares that I give aid to the Trojans in battle. But for the present, depart again, lest Hera note something; and I will take thought for these things to bring all to pass. Come, I will bow my head to you, that thou may be certain, for this from me is the surest token among the immortals; no word of mine may be recalled, nor is false, nor unfulfilled, to which I bow my head."

[528] The son of Cronos spoke, and bowed his dark brow in assent, and the ambrosial locks waved from the king's immortal head; and he made great Olympus quake.

[531] When the two had taken counsel together in this way, they parted; she leapt straightway into the deep sea from gleaming Olympus, and Zeus went to his own palace. All the gods together rose from their seats before the face of their father; no one dared to await his coming, but they all rose up before him. So he sat down there upon his throne; but Hera saw, and failed not to note how silver-footed Thetis, daughter of the old man of the sea, had taken counsel with him. Forthwith then she spoke to Zeus, son of Cronos, with mocking words: "Who of the gods, crafty one, has now again taken counsel with you? Always is it your pleasure to hold aloof from me, and to give judgments which you have pondered in secret, nor have you ever brought yourself with a ready heart to declare to me the matter which you devise."

[544] In answer to her spoke the father of men and gods: "Hera, do not hope to know all my words: ard will they prove for you, though you are my wife. Whatever it is fitting for you to hear, this none other shall know before you, whether of gods or men; but what I wish to devise apart from the gods, of all this do not in any way inquire nor ask."

[551] In answer to him spoke the ox-eyed lady Hera: "Most dread son of Cronos, what a word you have said! Truly, in the past I have not been accustomed to inquire nor ask you, but at your ease you devise all things whatever you wish. But now I have wondrous dread at heart, lest silver-footed Thetis, daughter of the old man of the sea, have beguiled you; for at early dawn she sat by you and clasped your knees. To her, I think, you bowed your head in sure token that you will honour Achilles, and bring many to death beside the ships of the Achaeans."

[560] Then in answer to her spoke Zeus, the cloud-gatherer: "Strange one, you are always suspecting, and I do not escape you; yet you shall be able to accomplish nothing, but shall be even further from my heart; and that shall be the worse for you. If this thing is as you say, then it must be pleasing to me. Sit down in silence, and obey my word, lest all the gods that are in Olympus avail you not against my drawing near, when I put forth upon you my irresistible hands."

[568] He spoke, and ox-eyed lady Hera was seized with fear, and sat down in silence, curbing her heart. Then troubled were the gods of heaven throughout the palace of Zeus, and among them Hephaestus, the famed craftsman, was first to speak, doing pleasure to his dear mother, white-armed Hera: "Surely this will be sorry work, that is no longer bearable, if you two are to wrangle thus for mortals' sakes, and set the gods in tumult; neither will there be any joy in the excellent feast, since worse things prevail. And I give counsel to my mother, wise though she be herself, to do pleasure to our dear father Zeus, that the father upbraid her not again, and bring confusion upon our feast. What if the Olympian, the lord of the lightning, were minded to dash us from our seats! for he is mightiest far. But address him with gentle words; so shall the Olympian forthwith be gracious to us."

[584] So saying, he sprang up and placed in his dear mother's hand the double cup, and spoke to her: "Be patient, my mother, and endure for all your grief, lest, dear as you are to me, my eyes see you stricken, and then I shall in no way be able to succour you for all my sorrow; for a hard foe is the Olympian to meet in strife. On a time before this, when I was striving to save you, he caught me by the foot and hurled me from the heavenly threshold; the whole day long I was carried headlong, and at sunset I fell in Lemnos, and but little life was in me. There the Sintian folk quickly tended me for my fall."

[595] So he spoke, and the goddess, white-armed Hera, smiled, and smiling took in her hand the cup from her son. Then he poured wine for all the other gods from left to right, drawing forth sweet nectar from the bowl. And unquenchable laughter arose among the blessed gods, as they saw Hephaestus puffing through the palace.

[601] Thus the whole day long till the setting of the sun they feasted, nor did their heart lack anything of the equal feast, nor of the beauteous lyre, that Apollo held, nor yet of the Muses, who sang, replying one to the other with sweet voices.

[605] But when the bright light of the sun was set, they went each to his own house to take their rest, where for each one a palace had been built with cunning skill by the famed Hephaestus, the limping god; and Zeus, the Olympian, lord of the lightning, went to his couch, where of old he took his rest, whenever sweet sleep came upon him. There went he up and slept, and beside him lay Hera of the golden throne.


BOOK 1 Quarrel of Achilles

BOOK 2 Rallying of the Troops 
& The Catalogue of Ships

BOOK 3 Duel Paris & Menelaus

BOOK 4 Battlefield

BOOK 5 Battlefield
& Diomedes Wounding Gods

BOOK 6 Battlefield
& Hector & Andromache

BOOK 7 Battlefield
& Duel of Hector & Ajax

BOOK 8 Battlefield
& Gods Barred from Battle

BOOK 9 Embassy to Achilles

BOOK 10 Night-time Foray

BOOK 11 Battlefield

BOOK 12 Battlefield

BOOK 13 Battlefield

BOOK 14 Battlefield
& The Beguiling of Zeus

BOOK 15 Battefield:
The Burning of the Ships

BOOK 16 Battlefield:
Deaths of Sarpedon & Patroclus

BOOK 17 Battlefield:
Fight for Body of Patroclus

BOOK 18 Armour of Achilles

BOOK 19 Battlefield
& Reconciliation of Achilles

BOOK 20 Battle of the Gods

BOOK 21 Battlefield:
Routing of the Trojans

BOOK 22 Battlefield:
Death of Hector

BOOK 23 Funeral Games

BOOK 24 Ransom of Hector

What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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[1] Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea, seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades. Yet even so he saved not his comrades, though he desired it sore, for through their own blind folly they perished—fools, who devoured the kine of Helios Hyperion; but he took from them the day of their returning. Of these things, goddess, daughter of Zeus, beginning where thou wilt, tell thou even unto us.

[11] Now all the rest, as many as had escaped sheer destruction, were at home, safe from both war and sea, but Odysseus alone, filled with longing for his return and for his wife, did the queenly nymph Calypso, that bright goddess, keep back in her hollow caves, yearning that he should be her husband. But when, as the seasons revolved, the year came in which the gods had ordained that he should return home to Ithaca, not even there was he free from toils, even among his own folk. And all the gods pitied him save Poseidon; but he continued to rage unceasingly against godlike Odysseus until at length he reached his own land. Howbeit Poseidon had gone among the far-off Ethiopians—the Ethiopians who dwell sundered in twain, the farthermost of men, some where Hyperion sets and some where he rises, there to receive a hecatomb of bulls and rams, and there he was taking his joy, sitting at the feast; but the other gods were gathered together in the halls of Olympian Zeus.

[28] Among them the father of gods and men was first to speak, for in his heart he thought of noble Aegisthus, whom far-famed Orestes, Agamemnon's son, had slain. Thinking on him he spoke among the immortals, and said: “Look you now, how ready mortals are to blame the gods. It is from us, they say, that evils come, but they even of themselves, through their own blind folly, have sorrows beyond that which is ordained. Even as now Aegisthus, beyond that which was ordained, took to himself the wedded wife of the son of Atreus, and slew him on his return, though well he knew of sheer destruction, seeing that we spake to him before, sending Hermes, the keen-sighted Argeiphontes, that he should neither slay the man nor woo his wife; for from Orestes shall come vengeance for the son of Atreus when once he has come to manhood and longs for his own land. So Hermes spoke, but for all his good intent he prevailed not upon the heart of Aegisthus; and now he has paid the full price of all.”

[44] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Father of us all, thou son of Cronos, high above all lords, aye, verily that man lies low in a destruction that is his due; so, too, may any other also be destroyed who does such deeds. But my heart is torn for wise Odysseus, hapless man, who far from his friends has long been suffering woes in a sea-girt isle, where is the navel of the sea. 'Tis a wooded isle, and therein dwells a goddess, daughter of Atlas of baneful mind, who knows the depths of every sea, and himself holds the tall pillars which keep earth and heaven apart. His daughter it is that keeps back that wretched, sorrowing man; and ever with soft and wheedling words she beguiles him that he may forget Ithaca. But Odysseus, in his longing to see were it but the smoke leaping up from his own land, yearns to die. Yet thy heart doth not regard it, Olympian. Did not Odysseus beside the ships of the Argives offer thee sacrifice without stint in the broad land of Troy? Wherefore then didst thou conceive such wrath against him, O Zeus?”

[63] Then Zeus, the cloud-gatherer, answered her and said: “My child, what a word has escaped the barrier of thy teeth? How should I, then, forget godlike Odysseus, who is beyond all mortals in wisdom, and beyond all has paid sacrifice to the immortal gods, who hold broad heaven? Nay, it is Poseidon, the earth-enfolder, who is ever filled with stubborn wrath because of the Cyclops, whom Odysseus blinded of his eye—even the godlike Polyphemus, whose might is greatest among all the Cyclopes; and the nymph Thoosa bore him, daughter of Phorcys who rules over the unresting sea; for in the hollow caves she lay with Poseidon. From that time forth Poseidon, the earth-shaker, does not indeed slay Odysseus, but makes him a wanderer from his native land. But come, let us who are here all take thought of his return, that he may come home; and Poseidon will let go his anger, for he will in no wise be able, against all the immortal gods and in their despite, to contend alone.”

The Blinding
of Polyphemus

[80] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Father of us all, thou son of Cronos, high above all lords, if indeed this is now well pleasing to the blessed gods, that the wise Odysseus should return to his own home, let us send forth Hermes, the messenger, Argeiphontes, to the isle Ogygia, that with all speed he may declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, even the return of Odysseus of the steadfast heart, that he may come home. But, as for me, I will go to Ithaca, that I may the more arouse his son, and set courage in his heart to call to an assembly the long-haired Achaeans, and speak out his word to all the wooers, who are ever slaying his thronging sheep and his sleek kine of shambling gait. And I will guide him to Sparta and to sandy Pylos, to seek tidings of the return of his dear father, if haply he may hear of it, that good report may be his among men.”

[96] So she spoke, and bound beneath her feet her beautiful sandals, immortal, golden, which were wont to bear her both over the waters of the sea and over the boundless land swift as the blasts of the wind. And she took her mighty spear, tipped with sharp bronze, heavy and huge and strong, wherewith she vanquishes the ranks of men—of warriors, with whom she is wroth, she, the daughter of the mighty sire. Then she went darting down from the heights of Olympus, and took her stand in the land of Ithaca at the outer gate of Odysseus, on the threshold of the court. In her hand she held the spear of bronze, and she was in the likeness of a stranger, Mentes, the leader of the Taphians. There she found the proud wooers. They were taking their pleasure at draughts in front of the doors, sitting on the hides of oxen which they themselves had slain; and of the heralds and busy squires, some were mixing wine and water for them in bowls, others again were washing the tables with porous sponges and setting them forth, while still others were portioning out meats in abundance. Her the godlike Telemachus was far the first to see, for he was sitting among the wooers, sad at heart, seeing in thought his noble father, should he perchance come from somewhere and make a scattering of the wooers in the palace, and himself win honor and rule over his own house. As he thought of these things, sitting among the wooers, he beheld Athena, and he went straight to the outer door; for in his heart he counted it shame that a stranger should stand long at the gates. So, drawing near, he clasped her right hand, and took from her the spear of bronze; and he spoke, and addressed her with winged words: “Hail, stranger; in our house thou shalt find entertainment and then, when thou hast tasted food, thou shalt tell of what thou hast need.”

[125] So saying, he led the way, and Pallas Athena followed. And when they were within the lofty house, he bore the spear and set it against a tall pillar in a polished spear-rack, where were set many spears besides, even those of Odysseus of the steadfast heart. Athena herself he led and seated on a chair, spreading a linen cloth beneath—a beautiful chair, richly-wrought, and below was a footstool for the feet. Beside it he placed for himself an inlaid seat, apart from the others, the wooers, lest the stranger, vexed by their din, should loathe the meal, seeing that he was in the company of overweening men; and also that he might ask him about his father that was gone. Then a handmaid brought water for the hands in a fair pitcher of gold, and poured it over a silver basin for them to wash, and beside them drew up a polished table. And the grave housewife brought and set before them bread, and therewith dainties in abundance, giving freely of her store. And a carver lifted up and placed before them platters of all manner of meats, and set by them golden goblets, while a herald ever walked to and fro pouring them wine. Then in came the proud wooers, and thereafter sat them down in rows on chairs and high seats. Heralds poured water over their hands, and maid-servants heaped by them bread in baskets, and youths filled the bowls brim full of drink; and they put forth their hands to the good cheer lying ready before them. Now after the wooers had put from them the desire of food and drink, their hearts turned to other things, to song and to dance; for these things are the crown of a feast. And a herald put the beautiful lyre in the hands of Phemius, who sang perforce among the wooers; and he struck the chords in prelude to his sweet lay.

[156] But Telemachus spoke to flashing-eyed Athena, holding his head close, that the others might not hear: “Dear stranger, wilt thou be wroth with me for the word that I shall say? These men care for things like these, the lyre and song, full easily, seeing that without atonement they devour the livelihood of another, of a man whose white bones, it may be, rot in the rain as they lie upon the mainland, or the wave rolls them in the sea. Were they to see him returned to Ithaca, they would all pray to be swifter of foot, rather than richer in gold and in raiment. But now he has thus perished by an evil doom, nor for us is there any comfort, no, not though any one of men upon the earth should say that he will come; gone is the day of his returning. But come, tell me this, and declare it truly. Who art thou among men, and from whence? Where is thy city and where thy parents? On what manner of ship didst thou come, and how did sailors bring thee to Ithaca? Who did they declare themselves to be? For nowise, methinks, didst thou come hither on foot. And tell me this also truly, that I may know full well, whether this is thy first coming hither, or whether thou art indeed a friend of my father's house. For many were the men who came to our house as strangers, since he, too, had gone to and fro among men.”

The Goddess
Pallas Athena

[178] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Therefore of a truth will I frankly tell thee all. I declare that I am Mentes, the son of wise Anchialus, and I am lord over the oar-loving Taphians. And now have I put in here, as thou seest, with ship and crew, while sailing over the wine-dark sea to men of strange speech, on my way to Temese for copper; and I bear with me shining iron. My ship lies yonder beside the fields away from the city, in the harbor of Rheithron, under woody Neion. Friends of one another do we declare ourselves to be, even as our fathers were, friends from of old. Nay, if thou wilt, go and ask the old warrior Laertes, who, they say, comes no more to the city, but afar in the fields suffers woes attended by an aged woman as his handmaid, who sets before him food and drink, after weariness has laid hold of his limbs, as he creeps along the slope of his vineyard plot.

[194] "And now am I come, for of a truth men said that he, thy father, was among his people; but lo, the gods are thwarting him of his return. For not yet has goodly Odysseus perished on the earth, but still, I ween, he lives and is held back on the broad sea in a sea-girt isle, and cruel men keep him, a savage folk, that constrain him, haply sore against his will. Nay, I will now prophesy to thee, as the immortals put it in my heart, and as I think it shall be brought to pass, though I am in no wise a soothsayer, nor one versed in the signs of birds. Not much longer shall he be absent from his dear native land, no, not though bonds of iron hold him. He will contrive a way to return, for he is a man of many devices. But come, tell me this and declare it truly, whether indeed, tall as thou art, thou art the son of Odysseus himself. Wondrously like his are thy head and beautiful eyes; for full often did we consort with one another before he embarked for the land of Troy, whither others, too, the bravest of the Argives, went in their hollow ships. But since that day neither have I seen Odysseus, nor he me.”

[213] Then wise Telemachus answered her: “Therefore of a truth, stranger, will I frankly tell thee all. My mother says that I am his child; but I know not, for never yet did any man of himself know his own parentage. Ah, would that I had been the son of some blest man, whom old age overtook among his own possessions. But now of him who was the most ill-fated of mortal men they say that I am sprung, since thou askest me of this.”

[221] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Surely, then, no nameless lineage have the gods appointed for thee in time to come, seeing that Penelope bore thee such as thou art. But come, tell me this and declare it truly. What feast, what throng is this? What need hast thou of it? Is it a drinking bout, or a wedding feast? For this plainly is no meal to which each brings his portion, with such outrage and overweening do they seem to me to be feasting in thy halls. Angered would a man be at seeing all these shameful acts, any man of sense who should come among them.”

[230] Then wise Telemachus answered her: “Stranger, since indeed thou dost ask and question me of this, our house once bade fair to be rich and honorable, so long as that man was still among his people. But now the gods have willed otherwise in their evil devising, seeing that they have caused him to pass from sight as they have no other man. For I should not so grieve for his death, if he had been slain among his comrades in the land of the Trojans, or had died in the arms of his friends, when he had wound up the skein of war. Then would the whole host of the Achaeans have made him a tomb, and for his son, too, he would have won great glory in days to come. But as it is, the spirits of the storm have swept him away and left no tidings: he is gone out of sight, out of hearing, and for me he has left anguish and weeping; nor do I in any wise mourn and wail for him alone, seeing that the gods have brought upon me other sore troubles. For all the princes who hold sway over the islands—Dulichium and Same and wooded Zacynthus— and those who lord it over rocky Ithaca, all these woo my mother and lay waste my house. And she neither refuses the hateful marriage, nor is she able to make an end; but they with feasting consume my substance: ere long they will bring me, too, to ruin.”

[252] Then, stirred to anger, Pallas Athena spoke to him: “Out on it! Thou hast of a truth sore need of Odysseus that is gone, that he might put forth his hands upon the shameless wooers. Would that he might come now and take his stand at the outer gate of the house, with helmet and shield and two spears, such a man as he was when I first saw him in our house drinking and making merry, on his way back from Ephyre, from the house of Ilus, son of Mermerus. For thither, too, went Odysseus in his swift ship in search of a deadly drug, that he might have wherewith to smear his bronze-tipped arrows; yet Ilus gave it not to him, for he stood in awe of the gods that are forever; but my father gave it, for he held him strangely dear. Would, I say, that in such strength Odysseus might come amongst the wooers; then should they all find swift destruction and bitterness in their wooing. Yet these things verily lie on the knees of the gods, whether he shall return and wreak vengeance in his halls, or whether he shall not; but for thyself, I bid thee take thought how thou mayest thrust forth the wooers from the hall. Come now, give ear, and hearken to my words. On the morrow call to an assembly the Achaean lords, and speak out thy word to all, and let the gods be thy witnesses. As for the wooers, bid them scatter, each to his own; and for thy mother, if her heart bids her marry, let her go back to the hall of her mighty father, and there they will prepare a wedding feast, and make ready the gifts full many—aye, all that should follow after a well-loved daughter. And to thyself will I give wise counsel, if thou wilt hearken.

[280] "Man with twenty rowers the best ship thou hast, and go to seek tidings of thy father, that has long been gone, if haply any mortal may tell thee, or thou mayest hear a voice from Zeus, which oftenest brings tidings to men. First go to Pylos and question goodly Nestor, and from thence to Sparta to fair-haired Menelaus; for he was the last to reach home of the brazen-coated Achaeans. If so be thou shalt hear that thy father is alive and coming home, then verily, though thou art sore afflicted, thou couldst endure for yet a year. But if thou shalt hear that he is dead and gone, then return to thy dear native land and heap up a mound for him, and over it pay funeral rites, full many as is due, and give thy mother to a husband. Then when thou hast done all this and brought it to an end, thereafter take thought in mind and heart how thou mayest slay the wooers in thy halls whether by guile or openly; for it beseems thee not to practise childish ways, since thou art no longer of such an age. Or hast thou not heard what fame the goodly Orestes won among all mankind when he slew his father's murderer, the guileful Aegisthus, for that he slew his glorious father? Thou too, my friend, for I see that thou art comely and tall, be thou valiant, that many an one of men yet to be born may praise thee. But now I will go down to my swift ship and my comrades, who, methinks, are chafing much at waiting for me. For thyself, give heed and have regard to my words.”

[306] Then wise Telemachus answered her: “Stranger, in truth thou speakest these things with kindly thought, as a father to his son, and never will I forget them. But come now, tarry, eager though thou art to be gone, in order that when thou hast bathed and satisfied thy heart to the full, thou mayest go to thy ship glad in spirit, and bearing a gift costly and very beautiful, which shall be to thee an heirloom from me, even such a gift as dear friends give to friends.”

[314] Then the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, answered him: “Stay me now no longer, when I am eager to be gone, and whatsoever gift thy heart bids thee give me, give it when I come back, to bear to my home, choosing a right beautiful one; it shall bring thee its worth in return.”

[319] So spoke the goddess, flashing-eyed Athena, and departed, flying upward as a bird; and in his heart she put strength and courage, and made him think of his father even more than aforetime. And in his mind he marked her and marvelled, for he deemed that she was a god; and straightway he went among the wooers, a godlike man.

[325] For them the famous minstrel was singing, and they sat in silence listening; and he sang of the return of the Achaeans—the woeful return from Troy which Pallas Athena laid upon them. And from her upper chamber the daughter of Icarius, wise Penelope, heard his wondrous song, and she went down the high stairway from her chamber, not alone, for two handmaids attended her. Now when the fair lady had come to the wooers, she stood by the door-post of the well-built hall, holding before her face her shining veil; and a faithful handmaid stood on either side of her. Then she burst into tears, and spoke to the divine minstrel: “Phemius, many other things thou knowest to charm mortals, deeds of men and gods which minstrels make famous. Sing them one of these, as thou sittest here, and let them drink their wine in silence. But cease from this woeful song which ever harrows the heart in my breast, for upon me above all women has come a sorrow not to be forgotten. So dear a head do I ever remember with longing, even my husband, whose fame is wide through Hellas and mid-Argos.”

[345] Then wise Telemachus answered her: “My mother, why dost thou begrudge the good minstrel to give pleasure in whatever way his heart is moved? It is not minstrels that are to blame, but Zeus, I ween, is to blame, who gives to men that live by toil, to each one as he will. With this man no one can be wroth if he sings of the evil doom of the Danaans; for men praise that song the most which comes the newest to their ears. For thyself, let thy heart and soul endure to listen; for not Odysseus alone lost in Troy the day of his return, but many others likewise perished. Nay, go to thy chamber, and busy thyself with thine own tasks, the loom and the distaff, and bid thy handmaids ply their tasks; but speech shall be for men, for all, but most of all for me; since mine is the authority in the house.”

[360] She then, seized with wonder, went back to her chamber, for she laid to heart the wise saying of her son. Up to her upper chamber she went with her handmaids, and then bewailed Odysseus, her dear husband until flashing-eyed Athena cast sweet sleep upon her eyelids.

[365] But the wooers broke into uproar throughout the shadowy halls, and all prayed, each that he might lie by her side. And among them wise Telemachus was the first to speak: “Wooers of my mother, overweening in your insolence, for the present let us make merry with feasting, but let there be no brawling; for this is a goodly thing, to listen to a minstrel such as this man is, like to the gods in voice. But in the morning let us go to the assembly and take our seats, one and all, that I may declare my word to you outright that you depart from these halls. Prepare you other feasts, eating your own substance and changing from house to house. But if this seems in your eyes to be a better and more profitable thing, that one man's livelihood should be ruined without atonement, waste ye it. But I will call upon the gods that are forever, if haply Zeus may grant that deeds of requital may be wrought. Without atonement, then, should ye perish within my halls.”

[381] So he spoke, and they all bit their lips and marvelled at Telemachus, for that he spoke boldly. Then Antinous, son of Eupeithes, answered him: “Telemachus, verily the gods themselves are teaching thee to be a man of vaunting tongue, and to speak with boldness. May the son of Cronos never make thee king in sea-girt Ithaca, which thing is by birth thy heritage.”

[388] Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Antinous, wilt thou be wroth with me for the word that I shall say? Even this should I be glad to accept from the hand of Zeus. Thinkest thou indeed that this is the worst fate among men? Nay, it is no bad thing to be a king. Straightway one's house grows rich and oneself is held in greater honor. However, there are other kings of the Achaeans full many in seagirt Ithaca, both young and old. One of these haply may have this place, since goodly Odysseus is dead. But I will be lord of our own house and of the slaves that goodly Odysseus won for me.”

[399] Then Eurymachus, son of Polybus, answered him: “Telemachus, this matter verily lies on the knees of the gods, who of the Achaeans shall be king in sea-girt Ithaca; but as for thy possessions, thou mayest keep them thyself, and be lord in thine own house. Never may that man come who by violence and against thy will shall wrest thy possessions from thee, while men yet live in Ithaca. But I am fain, good sir, to ask thee of the stranger, whence this man comes. Of what land does he declare himself to be? Where are his kinsmen and his native fields? Does he bring some tidings of thy father's coming, or came he hither in furtherance of some matter of his own? How he started up, and was straightway gone! Nor did he wait to be known; and yet he seemed no base man to look upon.”

[412] Then wise Telemachus answered him: “Eurymachus, surely my father's home-coming is lost and gone. No longer do I put trust in tidings, whencesoever they may come, nor reck I of any prophecy which my mother haply may learn of a seer, when she has called him to the hall. But this stranger is a friend of my father's house from Taphos. He declares that he is Mentes, son of wise Anchialus, and he is lord over the oar-loving Taphians.” So spoke Telemachus, but in his heart he knew the immortal goddess.

[421] Now the wooers turned to the dance and to gladsome song, and made them merry, and waited till evening should come; and as they made merry dark evening came upon them. Then they went, each man to his house, to take their rest. But Telemachus, where his chamber was built in the beautiful court, high, in a place of wide outlook, thither went to his bed, pondering many things in mind; and with him, bearing blazing torches, went true-hearted Eurycleia, daughter of Ops, son of Peisenor. Her long ago Laertes had bought with his wealth, when she was in her first youth, and gave for her the price of twenty oxen; and he honored her even as he honored his faithful wife in his halls, but he never lay with her in love, for he shunned the wrath of his wife. She it was who bore for Telemachus the blazing torches; for she of all the handmaids loved him most, and had nursed him when he was a child. He opened the doors of the well-built chamber, sat down on the bed, and took off his soft tunic and laid it in the wise old woman's hands. And she folded and smoothed the tunic and hung it on a peg beside the corded bedstead, and then went forth from the chamber, drawing the door to by its silver handle, and driving the bolt home with the thong. So there, the night through, wrapped in a fleece of wool, he pondered in his mind upon the journey which Athena had shewn him.


Athena & Telemachus
Penelope & the Suitors

Departure of Telemachus

The Tale of Nestor :
Returns from Troy

The Tale of Menelaos :
Returns from Troy

Odysseus & Calypso
The Raft of Odysseus

Odysseus & Naucicaa

Odysseus & Arete

Games & Feasting of
the Phaeacians

The Tale of Odysseus :
Lotus-Eaters, Cyclops

The Tale of Odysseus :
Aeolus, Laestrygones, Circe

The Tale of Odysseus :
The Underworld

The Tale of Odysseus :
Sirens, Scylla, Helius

The Return to Ithaca

Odysseus & Eumaeus

Return of Telemachus
Odyseus & Eumaeus cont.

Odysseus & Telemchachus

Odysseus the Beggar

Odysseus the Beggar

Odysseus & Penelope

Contest of the Suitors

Contest of the Suitors

Slaying of the Suitors

Odysseus & Penelope

The Ghosts of the Dead
Odysseus & his Father

What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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[1] ((lacuna)) . . . For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn2; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus. ((lacuna)) . . .

[10] [Zeus speaking:] " . . . and men will lay up for her3many offerings in her shrines. And as these things are three,4 so shall mortals ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three years."
The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his immortal head, and he made great Olympus reel. So spake wise Zeus and ordained it with a nod.

[17] Be favourable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women! we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so, farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call Thyone.


[1] I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess -- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.

[4] Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters of Oceanus and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to please the Host of Many, to be a snare for the bloom-like girl -- a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred blooms and is smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven above and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy; but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her -- the Son of Cronos, He who has many names.5

[19] He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. Then she cried out shrilly with her voice, calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and excellent. But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios, Hyperion's bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of Cronos. But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal men. So he, that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of Many and Host of Many, was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on his immortal chariot -- his own brother's child and all unwilling.

[33] And so long as she, the goddess, yet beheld earth and starry heaven and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and the rays of the sun, and still hoped to see her dear mother and the tribes of the eternal gods, so long hope calmed her great heart for all her trouble ((lacuna)) . . . and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea rang with her immortal voice: and her queenly mother heard her.

[40] Bitter pain seized her heart, and she rent the covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands: her dark cloak she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild-bird, over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child. But no one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal men; and of the birds of omen none came with true news for her. Then for nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia and the sweet draught of nectar, nor sprinkled her body with water. But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hecate, with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her news: "Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of good gifts, what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart? For I heard her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was. But I tell you truly and shortly all I know."

[59] So, then, said Hecate. And the daughter of rich-haired Rhea answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding flaming torches in her hands. So they came to Helios, who is watchman of both gods and men, and stood in front of his horses: and the bright goddess enquired of him: "Helios, do you at least regard me, goddess as I am, if ever by word or deed of mine I have cheered your heart and spirit. Through the fruitless air I heard the thrilling cry of my daughter whom I bare, sweet scion of my body and lovely in form, as of one seized violently; though with my eyes I saw nothing. But you -- for with your beams you look down from the bright upper air Over all the earth and sea -- tell me truly of my dear child, if you have seen her anywhere, what god or mortal man has violently seized her against her will and mine, and so made off."

[74] So said she. And the Son of Hyperion answered her: "Queen Demeter, daughter of rich-haired Rhea, I will tell you the truth; for I greatly reverence and pity you in your grief for your trim-ankled daughter. None other of the deathless gods is to blame, but only cloud-gathering Zeus who gave her to Hades, her father's brother, to be called his buxom wife. And Hades seized her and took her loudly crying in his chariot down to his realm of mist and gloom. Yet, goddess, cease your loud lament and keep not vain anger unrelentingly: Aidoneus, the Ruler of Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also, for honour, he has that third share which he received when division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those among whom he dwells." So he spake, and called to his horses: and at his chiding they quickly whirled the swift chariot along, like long-winged birds.

[90] But grief yet more terrible and savage came into the heart of Demeter, and thereafter she was so angered with the dark-clouded Son of Cronos that she avoided the gathering of the gods and high Olympus, and went to the towns and rich fields of men, disfiguring her form a long while. And no one of men or deep-bosomed women knew her when they saw her, until she came to the house of wise Celeus who then was lord of fragrant Eleusis. Vexed in her dear heart, she sat near the wayside by the Maiden Well, from which the women of the place were used to draw water, in a shady place over which grew an olive shrub. And she was like an ancient woman who is cut off from childbearing and the gifts of garland-loving Aphrodite, like the nurses of king's children who deal justice, or like the house-keepers in their echoing halls. There the daughters of Celeus, son of Eleusis, saw her, as they were coming for easy-drawn water, to carry it in pitchers of bronze to their dear father's house: four were they and like goddesses in the flower of their girlhood, Callidice and Cleisidice and lovely Demo and Callithoe who was the eldest of them all. They knew her not, -- for the gods are not easily discerned by mortals -- but standing near by her spoke winged words:
[113] "Old mother, whence and who are you of folk born long ago? Why are you gone away from the city and do not draw near the houses? For there in the shady halls are women of just such age as you, and others younger; and they would welcome you both by word and by deed."

[118] Thus they said. And she, that queen among goddesses answered them saying: "Hail, dear children, whosoever you are of woman-kind. I will tell you my story; for it is not unseemly that I should tell you truly what you ask. Doso is my name, for my stately mother gave it me. And now I am come from Crete over the sea's wide back, -- not willingly; but pirates brought be thence by force of strength against my liking. Afterwards they put in with their swift craft to Thoricus, and there the women landed on the shore in full throng and the men likewise, and they began to make ready a meal by the stern-cables of the ship. But my heart craved not pleasant food, and I fled secretly across the dark country and escaped by masters, that they should not take me unpurchased across the sea, there to win a price for me. And so I wandered and am come here: and I know not at all what land this is or what people are in it. But may all those who dwell on Olympus give you husbands and birth of children as parents desire, so you take pity on me, maidens, and show me this clearly that I may learn, dear children, to the house of what man and woman I may go, to work for them cheerfully at such tasks as belong to a woman of my age. Well could I nurse a new born child, holding him in my arms, or keep house, or spread my masters' bed in a recess of the well-built chamber, or teach the women their work."

[145] So said the goddess. And straightway the unwed maiden Callidice, goodliest in form of the daughters of Celeus, answered her and said: "Mother, what the gods send us, we mortals bear perforce, although we suffer; for they are much stronger than we. But now I will teach you clearly, telling you the names of men who have great power and honour here and are chief among the people, guarding our city's coif of towers by their wisdom and true judgements: there is wise Triptolemus and Dioclus and Polyxeinus and blameless Eumolpus and Dolichus and our own brave father. All these have wives who manage in the house, and no one of them, so soon as she has seen you, would dishonour you and turn you from the house, but they will welcome you; for indeed you are godlike. But if you will, stay here; and we will go to our father's house and tell Metaneira, our deep-bosomed mother, all this matter fully, that she may bid you rather come to our home than search after the houses of others. She has an only son, late-born, who is being nursed in our well-built house, a child of many prayers and welcome: if you could bring him up until he reached the full measure of youth, any one of womankind who should see you would straightway envy you, such gifts would our mother give for his upbringing."

[169] So she spake: and the goddess bowed her head in assent. And they filled their shining vessels with water and carried them off rejoicing. Quickly they came to their father's great house and straightway told their mother according as they had heard and seen. Then she bade them go with all speed and invite the stranger to come for a measureless hire. As hinds or heifers in spring time, when sated with pasture, bound about a meadow, so they, holding up the folds of their lovely garments, darted down the hollow path, and their hair like a crocus flower streamed about their shoulders. And they found the good goddess near the wayside where they had left her before, and led her to the house of their dear father. And she walked behind, distressed in her dear heart, with her head veiled and wearing a dark cloak which waved about the slender feet of the goddess.

[184] Soon they came to the house of heaven-nurtured Celeus and went through the portico to where their queenly mother sat by a pillar of the close-fitted roof, holding her son, a tender scion, in her bosom. And the girls ran to her. But the goddess walked to the threshold: and her head reached the roof and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance. Then awe and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneira, and she rose up from her couch before Demeter, and bade her be seated. But Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of perfect gifts, would not sit upon the bright couch, but stayed silent with lovely eyes cast down until careful Iambe placed a jointed seat for her and threw over it a silvery fleece. Then she sat down and held her veil in her hands before her face. A long time she sat upon the stool6 without speaking because of her sorrow, and greeted no one by word or by sign, but rested, never smiling, and tasting neither food nor drink, because she pined with longing for her deep-bosomed daughter, until careful Iambe -- who pleased her moods in aftertime also -- moved the holy lady with many a quip and jest to smile and laugh and cheer her heart. Then Metaneira filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her; but she refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give her to drink. And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the goddess as she bade. So the great queen Deo received it to observe the sacrament7 ((lacuna)) . . .

[212] And of them all, well-girded Metaneira first began to speak: "Hail, lady! For I think you are not meanly but nobly born; truly dignity and grace are conspicuous upon your eyes as in the eyes of kings that deal justice. Yet we mortals bear perforce what the gods send us, though we be grieved; for a yoke is set upon our necks. But now, since you are come here, you shall have what I can bestow: and nurse me this child whom the gods gave me in my old age and beyond my hope, a son much prayed for. If you should bring him up until he reach the full measure of youth, any one of womankind that sees you will straightway envy you, so great reward would I give for his upbringing."

[224] Then rich-haired Demeter answered her: "And to you, also, lady, all hail, and may the gods give you good! Gladly will I take the boy to my breast, as you bid me, and will nurse him. Never, I ween, through any heedlessness of his nurse shall witchcraft hurt him nor yet the Undercutter8: for I know a charm far stronger than the Woodcutter, and I know an excellent safeguard against woeful witchcraft."

[231] When she had so spoken, she took the child in her fragrant bosom with her divine hands: and his mother was glad in her heart. So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon, wise Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare. And the child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor nourished at the breast: for by day rich-crowned Demeter would anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god and breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her bosom. But at night she would hide him like a brand in the heard of the fire, unknown to his dear parents. And it wrought great wonder in these that he grew beyond his age; for he was like the gods face to face. And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night from her sweet-smelling chamber and spied. But she wailed and smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered winged words: "Demophoon, my son, the strange woman buries you deep in fire and works grief and bitter sorrow for me."

[250] Thus she spoke, mourning. And the bright goddess, lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her. So with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and cast him from her to the ground; for she was terribly angry in her heart. Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira: "Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you. For now in your heedlessness you have wrought folly past healing; for -- be witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx -- I would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days and would have bestowed on him everlasting honour, but now he can in no way escape death and the fates. Yet shall unfailing honour always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in my arms. But, as the years move round and when he is in his prime, the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread strife with one another continually. Lo! I am that Demeter who has share of honour and is the greatest help and cause of joy to the undying gods and mortal men. But now, let all the people build be a great temple and an altar below it and beneath the city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus. And I myself will teach my rites, that hereafter you may reverently perform them and so win the favour of my heart."

[275] When she had so said, the goddess changed her stature and her looks, thrusting old age away from her: beauty spread round about her and a lovely fragrance was wafted from her sweet-smelling robes, and from the divine body of the goddess a light shone afar, while golden tresses spread down over her shoulders, so that the strong house was filled with brightness as with lightning. And so she went out from the palace.

[281] And straightway Metaneira's knees were loosed and she remained speechless for a long while and did not remember to take up her late-born son from the ground. But his sisters heard his pitiful wailing and sprang down from their well-spread beds: one of them took up the child in her arms and laid him in her bosom, while another revived the fire, and a third rushed with soft feet to bring their mother from her fragrant chamber. And they gathered about the struggling child and washed him, embracing him lovingly; but he was not comforted, because nurses and handmaids much less skilful were holding him now.

[292] All night long they sought to appease the glorious goddess, quaking with fear. But, as soon as dawn began to show, they told powerful Celeus all things without fail, as the lovely-crowned goddess Demeter charged them. So Celeus called the countless people to an assembly and bade them make a goodly temple for rich-haired Demeter and an altar upon the rising hillock. And they obeyed him right speedily and harkened to his voice, doing as he commanded. As for the child, he grew like an immortal being.

[301] Now when they had finished building and had drawn back from their toil, they went every man to his house. But golden-haired Demeter sat there apart from all the blessed gods and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter. Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid. In the fields the oxen drew many a curved plough in vain, and much white barley was cast upon the land without avail. So she would have destroyed the whole race of man with cruel famine and have robbed them who dwell on Olympus of their glorious right of gifts and sacrifices, had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart. First he sent golden-winged Iris to call rich-haired Demeter, lovely in form. So he commanded. And she obeyed the dark-clouded Son of Cronos, and sped with swift feet across the space between. She came to the stronghold of fragrant Eleusis, and there finding dark-cloaked Demeter in her temple, spake to her and uttered winged words: "Demeter, father Zeus, whose wisdom is everlasting, calls you to come join the tribes of the eternal gods: come therefore, and let not the message I bring from Zeus pass unobeyed."

[324] Thus said Iris imploring her. But Demeter's heart was not moved. Then again the father sent forth all the blessed and eternal gods besides: and they came, one after the other, and kept calling her and offering many very beautiful gifts and whatever right she might be pleased to choose among the deathless gods. Yet no one was able to persuade her mind and will, so wrath was she in her heart; but she stubbornly rejected all their words: for she vowed that she would never set foot on fragrant Olympus nor let fruit spring out of the ground, until she beheld with her eyes her own fair-faced daughter.

[334] Now when all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer heard this, he sent the Slayer of Argus whose wand is of gold to Erebus, so that having won over Hades with soft words, he might lead forth chaste Persephone to the light from the misty gloom to join the gods, and that her mother might see her with her eyes and cease from her anger. And Hermes obeyed, and leaving the house of Olympus, straightway sprang down with speed to the hidden places of the earth. And he found the lord Hades in his house seated upon a couch, and his shy mate with him, much reluctant, because she yearned for her mother. But she was afar off, brooding on her fell design because of the deeds of the blessed gods. And the strong Slayer of Argus drew near and said:
[347] "Dark-haired Hades, ruler over the departed, father Zeus bids me bring noble Persephone forth from Erebus unto the gods, that her mother may see her with her eyes and cease from her dread anger with the immortals; for now she plans an awful deed, to destroy the weakly tribes of earthborn men by keeping seed hidden beneath the earth, and so she makes an end of the honours of the undying gods. For she keeps fearful anger and does not consort with the gods, but sits aloof in her fragrant temple, dwelling in the rocky hold of Eleusis."

[357] So he said. And Aidoneus, ruler over the dead, smiled grimly and obeyed the behest of Zeus the king. For he straightway urged wise Persephone, saying: "Go now, Persephone, to your dark-robed mother, go, and feel kindly in your heart towards me: be not so exceedingly cast down; for I shall be no unfitting husband for you among the deathless gods, that am own brother to father Zeus. And while you are here, you shall rule all that lives and moves and shall have the greatest rights among the deathless gods: those who defraud you and do not appease your power with offerings, reverently performing rites and paying fit gifts, shall be punished for evermore."

[370] When he said this, wise Persephone was filled with joy and hastily sprang up for gladness. But he on his part secretly gave her sweet pomegranate seed to eat, taking care for himself that she might not remain continually with grave, dark-robed Demeter. Then Aidoneus the Ruler of Many openly got ready his deathless horses beneath the golden chariot. And she mounted on the chariot, and the strong Slayer of Argos took reins and whip in his dear hands and drove forth from the hall, the horses speeding readily. Swiftly they traversed their long course, and neither the sea nor river-waters nor grassy glens nor mountain-peaks checked the career of the immortal horses, but they clave the deep air above them as they went. And Hermes brought them to the place where rich-crowned Demeter was staying and checked them before her fragrant temple.

[384] And when Demeter saw them, she rushed forth as does a Maenad down some thick-wooded mountain, while Persephone on the other side, when she saw her mother's sweet eyes, left the chariot and horses, and leaped down to run to her, and falling upon her neck, embraced her. But while Demeter was still holding her dear child in her arms, her heart suddenly misgave her for some snare, so that she feared greatly and ceased fondling her daughter and asked of her at once: "My child, tell me, surely you have not tasted any food while you were below? Speak out and hide nothing, but let us both know. For if you have not, you shall come back from loathly Hades and live with me and your father, the dark-clouded Son of Cronos and be honoured by all the deathless gods; but if you have tasted food, you must go back again beneath the secret places of the earth, there to dwell a third part of the seasons every year: yet for the two parts you shall be with me and the other deathless gods. But when the earth shall bloom with the fragrant flowers of spring in every kind, then from the realm of darkness and gloom thou shalt come up once more to be a wonder for gods and mortal men. And now tell me how he rapt you away to the realm of darkness and gloom, and by what trick did the strong Host of Many beguile you?"

[405] Then beautiful Persephone answered her thus: "Mother, I will tell you all without error. When luck-bringing Hermes came, swift messenger from my father the Son of Cronos and the other Sons of Heaven, bidding me come back from Erebus that you might see me with your eyes and so cease from your anger and fearful wrath against the gods, I sprang up at once for joy; but he secretly put in my mouth sweet food, a pomegranate seed, and forced me to taste against my will. Also I will tell how he rapt me away by the deep plan of my father the Son of Cronos and carried me off beneath the depths of the earth, and will relate the whole matter as you ask. All we were playing in a lovely meadow, Leucippe9and Phaeno and Electra and Ianthe, Melita also and Iache with Rhodea and Callirhoe and Melobosis and Tyche and Ocyrhoe, fair as a flower, Chryseis, Ianeira, Acaste and Admete and Rhodope and Pluto and charming Calypso; Styx too was there and Urania and lovely Galaxaura with Pallas who rouses battles and Artemis delighting in arrows: we were playing and gathering sweet flowers in our hands, soft crocuses mingled with irises and hyacinths, and rose-blooms and lilies, marvellous to see, and the narcissus which the wide earth caused to grow yellow as a crocus. That I plucked in my joy; but the earth parted beneath, and there the strong lord, the Host of Many, sprang forth and in his golden chariot he bore me away, all unwilling, beneath the earth: then I cried with a shrill cry. All this is true, sore though it grieves me to tell the tale."

[434] So did they turn, with hearts at one, greatly cheer each the other's soul and spirit with many an embrace: their heart had relief from their griefs while each took and gave back joyousness.

[438] Then bright-coiffed Hecate came near to them, and often did she embrace the daughter of holy Demeter: and from that time the lady Hecate was minister and companion to Persephone.

[441] And all-seeing Zeus sent a messenger to them, rich-haired Rhea, to bring dark-cloaked Demeter to join the families of the gods: and he promised to give her what right she should choose among the deathless gods and agreed that her daughter should go down for the third part of the circling year to darkness and gloom, but for the two parts should live with her mother and the other deathless gods. Thus he commanded. And the goddess did not disobey the message of Zeus; swiftly she rushed down from the peaks of Olympus and came to the plain of Rharus, rich, fertile corn-land once, but then in nowise fruitful, for it lay idle and utterly leafless, because the white grains was hidden by design of trim-ankled Demeter. But afterwards, as springtime waxed, it was soon to be waving with long ears of corn, and its rich furrows to be loaded with grain upon the ground, while others would already be bound in sheaves. There first she landed from the fruitless upper air: and glad were the goddesses to see each other and cheered in heart.

[459] Then bright-coiffed Rhea said to Demeter: "Come, my daughter; for far-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer calls you to join the families of the gods, and has promised to give you what rights you please among the deathless gods, and has agreed that for a third part of the circling year your daughter shall go down to darkness and gloom, but for the two parts shall be with you and the other deathless gods: so has he declared it shall be and has bowed his head in token. But come, my child, obey, and be not too angry unrelentingly with the dark-clouded Son of Cronos; but rather increase forthwith for men the fruit that gives them life."

[470] So spake Rhea. And rich-crowned Demeter did not refuse but straightway made fruit to spring up from the rich lands, so that the whole wide earth was laden with leaves and flowers. Then she went, and to the kings who deal justice, Triptolemus and Diocles, the horse-driver, and to doughty Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of the people, she showed the conduct of her rites and taught them all her mysteries, to Triptolemus and Polyxeinus and Diocles also, -- awful mysteries which no one may in any way transgress or pry into or utter, for deep awe of the gods checks the voice. Happy is he among men upon earth who has seen these mysteries; but he who is uninitiate and who has no part in them, never has lot of like good things once he is dead, down in the darkness and gloom.

[483] But when the bright goddess had taught them all, they went to Olympus to the gathering of the other gods. And there they dwell beside Zeus who delights in thunder, awful and reverend goddesses. Right blessed is he among men on earth whom they freely love: soon they do send Plutus as guest to his great house, Plutus who gives wealth to mortal men.

[490] And now, queen of the land of sweet Eleusis and sea-girt Paros and rocky Antron, lady, giver of good gifts, bringer of seasons, queen Deo, be gracious, you and your daughter all beauteous Persephone, and for my song grant me heart-cheering substance. And now I will remember you and another song also.



[1] I will remember and not be unmindful of Apollo who shoots afar. As he goes through the house of Zeus, the gods tremble before him and all spring up from their seats when he draws near, as he bends his bright bow. But Leto alone stays by the side of Zeus who delights in thunder; and then she unstrings his bow, and closes his quiver, and takes his archery from his strong shoulders in her hands and hangs them on a golden peg against a pillar of his father's house. Then she leads him to a seat and makes him sit: and the Father gives him nectar in a golden cup welcoming his dear son, while the other gods make him sit down there, and queenly Leto rejoices because she bare a mighty son and an archer. Rejoice, blessed Leto, for you bare glorious children, the lord Apollo and Artemis who delights in arrows; her in Ortygia, and him in rocky Delos, as you rested against the great mass of the Cynthian hill hard by a palm-tree by the streams of Inopus.

[19] How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight. Shall I sing how at the first Leto bare you to be the joy of men, as she rested against Mount Cynthus in that rocky isle, in sea-girt Delos -- while on either hand a dark wave rolled on landwards driven by shrill winds -- whence arising you rule over all mortal men?

[30] Among those who are in Crete, and in the township of Athens, and in the isle of Aegina and Euboea, famous for ships, in Aegae and Eiresiae and Peparethus near the sea, in Thracian Athos and Pelion's towering heights and Thracian Samos and the shady hills of Ida, in Scyros and Phocaea and the high hill of Autocane and fair-lying Imbros and smouldering Lemnos and rich Lesbos, home of Macar, the son of Aeolus, and Chios, brightest of all the isles that lie in the sea, and craggy Mimas and the heights of Corycus and gleaming Claros and the sheer hill of Aesagea and watered Samos and the steep heights of Mycale, in Miletus and Cos, the city of Meropian men, and steep Cnidos and windy Carpathos, in Naxos and Paros and rocky Rhenaea -- so far roamed Leto in travail with the god who shoots afar, to see if any land would be willing to make a dwelling for her son. But they greatly trembled and feared, and none, not even the richest of them, dared receive Phoebus, until queenly Leto set foot on Delos and uttered winged words and asked her:
[51] "Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son "Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple --; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich."

[62] So spake Leto. And Delos rejoiced and answered and said: "Leto, most glorious daughter of great Coeus, joyfully would I receive your child the far-shooting lord; for it is all too true that I am ill-spoken of among men, whereas thus I should become very greatly honoured. But this saying I fear, and I will not hide it from you, Leto. They say that Apollo will be one that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men all over the fruitful earth. Therefore, I greatly fear in heart and spirit that as soon as he sets the light of the sun, he will scorn this island -- for truly I have but a hard, rocky soil -- and overturn me and thrust me down with his feet in the depths of the sea; then will the great ocean wash deep above my head for ever, and he will go to another land such as will please him, there to make his temple and wooded groves. So, many-footed creatures of the sea will make their lairs in me and black seals their dwellings undisturbed, because I lack people. Yet if you will but dare to sware a great oath, goddess, that here first he will build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, then let him afterwards make temples and wooded groves amongst all men; for surely he will be greatly renowned."

[83] So said Delos. And Leto sware the great oath of the gods: "Now hear this, Earth and wide Heaven above, and dropping water of Styx (this is the strongest and most awful oath for the blessed gods), surely Phoebus shall have here his fragrant altar and precinct, and you he shall honour above all."

[89] Now when Leto had sworn and ended her oath, Delos was very glad at the birth of the far-shooting lord. But Leto was racked nine days and nine nights with pangs beyond wont. And there were with her all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and Rhea and Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite and the other deathless goddesses save white-armed Hera, who sat in the halls of cloud-gathering Zeus. Only Eilithyia, goddess of sore travail, had not heard of Leto's trouble, for she sat on the top of Olympus beneath golden clouds by white-armed Hera's contriving, who kept her close through envy, because Leto with the lovely tresses was soon to bear a son faultless and strong.

[102] But the goddesses sent out Iris from the well-set isle to bring Eilithyia, promising her a great necklace strung with golden threads, nine cubits long. And they bade Iris call her aside from white-armed Hera, lest she might afterwards turn her from coming with her words. When swift Iris, fleet of foot as the wind, had heard all this, she set to run; and quickly finishing all the distance she came to the home of the gods, sheer Olympus, and forthwith called Eilithyia out from the hall to the door and spoke winged words to her, telling her all as the goddesses who dwell on Olympus had bidden her. So she moved the heart of Eilithyia in her dear breast; and they went their way, like shy wild-doves in their going.

[115] And as soon as Eilithyia the goddess of sore travail set foot on Delos, the pains of birth seized Leto, and she longed to bring forth; so she cast her arms about a palm tree and kneeled on the soft meadow while the earth laughed for joy beneath. Then the child leaped forth to the light, and all the goddesses washed you purely and cleanly with sweet water, and swathed you in a white garment of fine texture, new-woven, and fastened a golden band about you.

[123] Now Leto did not give Apollo, bearer of the golden blade, her breast; but Themis duly poured nectar and ambrosia with her divine hands: and Leto was glad because she had borne a strong son and an archer. But as soon as you had tasted that divine heavenly food, O Phoebus, you could no longer then be held by golden cords nor confined with bands, but all their ends were undone. Forthwith Phoebus Apollo spoke out among the deathless goddesses: "The lyre and the curved bow shall ever be dear to me, and I will declare to men the unfailing will of Zeus."

[133] So said Phoebus, the long-haired god who shoots afar and began to walk upon the wide-pathed earth; and all goddesses were amazed at him. Then with gold all Delos was laden, beholding the child of Zeus and Leto, for joy because the god chose her above the islands and shore to make his dwelling in her: and she loved him yet more in her heart, and blossomed as does a mountain-top with woodland flowers.

[140] And you, O lord Apollo, god of the silver bow, shooting afar, now walked on craggy Cynthus, and now kept wandering about the island and the people in them. Many are your temples and wooded groves, and all peaks and towering bluffs of lofty mountains and rivers flowing to the sea are dear to you, Phoebus, yet in Delos do you most delight your heart; for there the long robed Ionians gather in your honour with their children and shy wives: mindful, they delight you with boxing and dancing and song, so often as they hold their gathering. A man would say that they were deathless and unageing if he should then come upon the Ionians so met together. For he would see the graces of them all, and would be pleased in heart gazing at the men and well-girded women with their swift ships and great wealth. And there is this great wonder besides -- and its renown shall never perish -- the girls of Delos, hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for when they have praised Apollo first, and also Leto and Artemis who delights in arrows, they sing a strain-telling of men and women of past days, and charm the tribes of men. Also they can imitate the tongues of all men and their clattering speech: each would say that he himself were singing, so close to truth is their sweet song.

[165] And now may Apollo be favourable and Artemis; and farewell all you maidens. Remember me in after time whenever any one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much, comes here and asks of you: "Whom think ye, girls, is the sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most delight?" Then answer, each and all, with one voice: "He is a blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios: his lays are evermore supreme." As for me, I will carry your renown as far as I roam over the earth to the well-placed this thing is true. And I will never cease to praise far-shooting Apollo, god of the silver bow, whom rich-haired Leto bare.


[179] O Lord, Lycia is yours and lovely Maeonia and Miletus, charming city by the sea, but over wave-girt Delos you greatly reign your own self.

[182] Leto's all-glorious son goes to rocky Pytho, playing upon his hollow lyre, clad in divine, perfumed garments; and at the touch of the golden key his lyre sings sweet. Thence, swift as thought, he speeds from earth to Olympus, to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Muses together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn the unending gifts the gods enjoy and the sufferings of men, all that they endure at the hands of the deathless gods, and how they live witless and helpless and cannot find healing for death or defence against old age. Meanwhile the rich-tressed Graces and cheerful Seasons dance with Harmonia and Hebe and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist. And among them sings one, not mean nor puny, but tall to look upon and enviable in mien, Artemis who delights in arrows, sister of Apollo. Among them sport Ares and the keen-eyed Slayer of Argus, while Apollo plays his lyre stepping high and featly and a radiance shines around him, the gleaming of his feet and close-woven vest. And they, even gold-tressed Leto and wise Zeus, rejoice in their great hearts as they watch their dear son playing among the undying gods.

[207] How then shall I sing of you -- though in all ways you are a worthy theme for song? Shall I sing of you as wooer and in the fields of love, how you went wooing the daughter of Azan along with god-like Ischys the son of well-horsed Elatius, or with Phorbas sprung from Triops, or with Ereutheus, or with Leucippus and the wife of Leucippus ((lacuna)) . . . you on foot, he with his chariot, yet he fell not short of Triops. Or shall I sing how at the first you went about the earth seeking a place of oracle for men, O far-shooting Apollo? To Pieria first you went down from Olympus and passed by sandy Lectus and Enienae and through the land of the Perrhaebi. Soon you came to Iolcus and set foot on Cenaeum in Euboea, famed for ships: you stood in the Lelantine plain, but it pleased not your heart to make a temple there and wooded groves. From there you crossed the Euripus, far-shooting Apollo, and went up the green, holy hills, going on to Mycalessus and grassy-bedded Teumessus, and so came to the wood-clad abode of Thebe; for as yet no man lived in holy Thebe, nor were there tracks or ways about Thebe's wheat-bearing plain as yet.

[229] And further still you went, O far-shooting Apollo, and came to Onchestus, Poseidon's bright grove: there the new-broken cold distressed with drawing the trim chariot gets spirit again, and the skilled driver springs from his car and goes on his way. Then the horses for a while rattle the empty car, being rid of guidance; and if they break the chariot in the woody grove, men look after the horses, but tilt the chariot and leave it there; for this was the rite from the very first. And the drivers pray to the lord of the shrine; but the chariot falls to the lot of the god.

[239] Further yet you went, O far-shooting Apollo, and reached next Cephissus' sweet stream which pours forth its sweet- flowing water from Lilaea, and crossing over it, O worker from afar, you passed many-towered Ocalea and reached grassy Haliartus.

[244] Then you went towards Telphusa: and there the pleasant place seemed fit for making a temple and wooded grove. You came very near and spoke to her: "Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot fail, giving answer in my rich temple."

[254] So said Phoebus Apollo, and laid out all the foundations throughout, wide and very long. But when Telphusa saw this, she was angry in heart and spoke, saying: "Lord Phoebus, worker from afar, I will speak a word of counsel to your heart, since you are minded to make here a glorious temple to be an oracle for men who will always bring hither perfect hecatombs for you; yet I will speak out, and do you lay up my words in your heart. The trampling of swift horses and the sound of mules watering at my sacred springs will always irk you, and men will like better to gaze at the well-made chariots and stamping, swift-footed horses than at your great temple and the many treasures that are within. But if you will be moved by me -- for you, lord, are stronger and mightier than I, and your strength is very great -- build at Crisa below the glades of Parnassus: there no bright chariot will clash, and there will be no noise of swift-footed horses near your well-built altar. But so the glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (`Hail-Healer'), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from the people dwelling round about." So said Telphusa, that she alone, and not the Far-Shooter, should have renown there; and she persuaded the Far-Shooter.

[277] Further yet you went, far-shooting Apollo, until you came to the town of the presumptuous Phlegyae who dwell on this earth in a lovely glade near the Cephisian lake, caring not for Zeus. And thence you went speeding swiftly to the mountain ridge, and came to Crisa beneath snowy Parnassus, a foothill turned towards the west: a cliff hangs over if from above, and a hollow, rugged glade runs under. There the lord Phoebus Apollo resolved to make his lovely temple, and thus he said: "In this place I am minded to build a glorious temple to be an oracle for men, and here they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both they who dwell in rich Peloponnesus and the men of Europe and from all the wave-washed isles, coming to question me. And I will deliver to them all counsel that cannot fail, answering them in my rich temple."

[294] When he had said this, Phoebus Apollo laid out all the foundations throughout, wide and very long; and upon these the sons of Erginus, Trophonius and Agamedes, dear to the deathless gods, laid a footing of stone. And the countless tribes of men built the whole temple of wrought stones, to be sung of for ever.

[300] But near by was a sweet flowing spring, and there with his strong bow the lord, the son of Zeus, killed the bloated, great she-dragon, a fierce monster wont to do great mischief to men upon earth, to men themselves and to their thin- shanked sheep; for she was a very bloody plague. She it was who once received from gold-throned Hera and brought up fell, cruel Typhaon to be a plague to men. Once on a time Hera bare him because she was angry with father Zeus, when the Son of Cronos bare all-glorious Athena in his head. Thereupon queenly Hera was angry and spoke thus among the assembled gods:

[311] "Hear from me, all gods and goddesses, how cloud-gathering Zeus begins to dishonour me wantonly, when he has made me his true-hearted wife. See now, apart from me he has given birth to bright-eyed Athena who is foremost among all the blessed gods. But my son Hephaestus whom I bare was weakly among all the blessed gods and shrivelled of foot, a shame and disgrace to me in heaven, whom I myself took in my hands and cast out so that he fell in the great sea. But silver-shod Thetis the daughter of Nereus took and cared for him with her sisters: would that she had done other service to the blessed gods! O wicked one and crafty! What else will you now devise? How dared you by yourself give birth to bright-eyed Athena? Would not I have borne you a child -- I, who was at least called your wife among the undying gods who hold wide heaven. Beware now lest I devise some evil thing for you hereafter: yes, now I will contrive that a son be born me to be foremost among the undying gods -- and that without casting shame on the holy bond of wedlock between you and me. And I will not come to your bed, but will consort with the blessed gods far off from you."

[331] When she had so spoken, she went apart from the gods, being very angry. Then straightway large-eyed queenly Hera prayed, striking the ground flatwise with her hand, and speaking thus: "Hear now, I pray, Earth and wide Heaven above, and you Titan gods who dwell beneath the earth about great Tartarus, and from whom are sprung both gods and men! Harken you now to me, one and all, and grant that I may bear a child apart from Zeus, no wit lesser than him in strength -- nay, let him be as much stronger than Zeus as all-seeing Zeus than Cronos."

[340] Thus she cried and lashed the earth with her strong hand. Then the life-giving earth was moved: and when Hera saw it she was glad in heart, for she thought her prayer would be fulfilled. And thereafter she never came to the bed of wise Zeus for a full year, not to sit in her carved chair as aforetime to plan wise counsel for him, but stayed in her temples where many pray, and delighted in her offerings, large-eyed queenly Hera. But when the months and days were fulfilled and the seasons duly came on as the earth moved round, she bare one neither like the gods nor mortal men, fell, cruel Typhaon, to be a plague to men. Straightway large-eyed queenly Hera took him and bringing one evil thing to another such, gave him to the dragoness; and she received him. And this Typhaon used to work great mischief among the famous tribes of men. Whosoever met the dragoness, the day of doom would sweep him away, until the lord Apollo, who deals death from afar, shot a strong arrow at her. Then she, rent with bitter pangs, lay drawing great gasps for breath and rolling about that place. An awful noise swelled up unspeakable as she writhed continually this way and that amid the wood: and so she left her life, breathing it forth in blood.

[362] Then Phoebus Apollo boasted over her: "Now rot here upon the soil that feeds man! You at least shall live no more to be a fell bane to men who eat the fruit of the all-nourishing earth, and who will bring hither perfect hecatombs. Against cruel death neither Typhoeus shall avail you nor ill-famed Chimera, but here shall the Earth and shining Hyperion make you rot."

[370] Thus said Phoebus, exulting over her: and darkness covered her eyes. And the holy strength of Helios made her rot away there; wherefore the place is now called Pytho, and men call the lord Apollo by another name, Pythian; because on that spot the power of piercing Helios made the monster rot away.

[375] Then Phoebus Apollo saw that the sweet-flowing spring had beguiled him, and he started out in anger against Telphusa; and soon coming to her, he stood close by and spoke to her: "Telphusa, you were not, after all, to keep to yourself this lovely place by deceiving my mind, and pour forth your clear flowing water: here my renown shall also be and not yours alone?"

[382] Thus spoke the lord, far-working Apollo, and pushed over upon her a crag with a shower of rocks, hiding her streams: and he made himself an altar in a wooded grove very near the clear-flowing stream. In that place all men pray to the great one by the name Telphusian, because he humbled the stream of holy Telphusa.

[388] Then Phoebus Apollo pondered in his heart what men he should bring in to be his ministers in sacrifice and to serve him in rocky Pytho. And while he considered this, he became aware of a swift ship upon the wine-like sea in which were many men and goodly, Cretans from Cnossos,10 the city of Minos, they who do sacrifice to the prince and announce his decrees, whatsoever Phoebus Apollo, bearer of the golden blade, speaks in answer from his laurel tree below the dells of Parnassus. These men were sailing in their black ship for traffic and for profit to sandy Pylos and to the men of Pylos. But Phoebus Apollo met them: in the open sea he sprang upon their swift ship, like a dolphin in shape, and lay there, a great and awesome monster, and none of them gave heed so as to understand11; but they sought to cast the dolphin overboard. But he kept shaking the black ship every way and make the timbers quiver. So they sat silent in their craft for fear, and did not loose the sheets throughout the black, hollow ship, nor lowered the sail of their dark-prowed vessel, but as they had set it first of all with oxhide ropes, so they kept sailing on; for a rushing south wind hurried on the swift ship from behind. First they passed by Malea, and then along the Laconian coast they came to Taenarum, sea-garlanded town and country of Helios who gladdens men, where the thick- fleeced sheep of the lord Helios feed continually and occupy a glad-some country. There they wished to put their ship to shore, and land and comprehend the great marvel and see with their eyes whether the monster would remain upon the deck of the hollow ship, or spring back into the briny deep where fishes shoal. But the well-built ship would not obey the helm, but went on its way all along Peloponnesus: and the lord, far-working Apollo, guided it easily with the breath of the breeze. So the ship ran on its course and came to Arena and lovely Argyphea and Thryon, the ford of Alpheus, and well-placed Aepy and sandy Pylos and the men of Pylos; past Cruni it went and Chalcis and past Dyme and fair Elis, where the Epei rule. And at the time when she was making for Pherae, exulting in the breeze from Zeus, there appeared to them below the clouds the steep mountain of Ithaca, and Dulichium and Same and wooded Zacynthus. But when they were passed by all the coast of Peloponnesus, then, towards Crisa, that vast gulf began to heave in sight which through all its length cuts off the rich isle of Pelops. There came on them a strong, clear west-wind by ordinance of Zeus and blew from heaven vehemently, that with all speed the ship might finish coursing over the briny water of the sea. So they began again to voyage back towards the dawn and the sun: and the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, led them on until they reached far-seen Crisa, land of vines, and into haven: there the sea-coursing ship grounded on the sands.

[440] Then, like a star at noonday, the lord, far-working Apollo, leaped from the ship: flashes of fire flew from him thick and their brightness reached to heaven. He entered into his shrine between priceless tripods, and there made a flame to flare up bright, showing forth the splendour of his shafts, so that their radiance filled all Crisa, and the wives and well-girded daughters of the Crisaeans raised a cry at that outburst of Phoebus; for he cast great fear upon them all. From his shrine he sprang forth again, swift as a thought, to speed again to the ship, bearing the form of a man, brisk and sturdy, in the prime of his youth, while his broad shoulders were covered with his hair: and he spoke to the Cretans, uttering winged words:

[452] "Strangers, who are you? Whence come you sailing along the paths of the sea? Are you for traffic, or do you wander at random over the sea as pirates do who put their own lives to hazard and bring mischief to men of foreign parts as they roam? Why rest you so and are afraid, and do not go ashore nor stow the gear of your black ship? For that is the custom of men who live by bread, whenever they come to land in their dark ships from the main, spent with toil; at once desire for sweet food catches them about the heart."

[462] So speaking, he put courage in their hearts, and the master of the Cretans answered him and said: "Stranger -- though you are nothing like mortal men in shape or stature, but are as the deathless gods -- hail and all happiness to you, and may the gods give you good. Now tell me truly that I may surely know it: what country is this, and what land, and what men live herein? As for us, with thoughts set otherwards, we were sailing over the great sea to Pylos from Crete (for from there we declare that we are sprung), but now are come on shipboard to this place by no means willingly -- another way and other paths -- and gladly would we return. But one of the deathless gods brought us here against our will."

[474] Then far-working Apollo answered then and said: "Strangers who once dwelt about wooded Cnossos but now shall return no more each to his loved city and fair house and dear wife; here shall you keep my rich temple that is honoured by many men. I am the son of Zeus; Apollo is my name: but you I brought here over the wide gulf of the sea, meaning you no hurt; nay, here you shall keep my rich temple that is greatly honoured among men, and you shall know the plans of the deathless gods, and by their will you shall be honoured continually for all time. And now come, make haste and do as I say. First loose the sheets and lower the sail, and then draw the swift ship up upon the land. Take out your goods and the gear of the straight ship, and make an altar upon the beach of the sea: light fire upon it and make an offering of white meal. Next, stand side by side around the altar and pray: and in as much as at the first on the hazy sea I sprang upon the swift ship in the form of a dolphin, pray to me as Apollo Delphinius; also the altar itself shall be called Delphinius and overlooking12 for ever. Afterwards, sup beside your dark ship and pour an offering to the blessed gods who dwell on Olympus. But when you have put away craving for sweet food, come with me singing the hymn Ie Paean (Hail, Healer!), until you come to the place where you shall keep my rich temple."

[502] So said Apollo. And they readily harkened to him and obeyed him. First they unfastened the sheets and let down the sail and lowered the mast by the forestays upon the mast-rest. Then, landing upon the beach of the sea, they hauled up the ship from the water to dry land and fixed long stays under it. Also they made an altar upon the beach of the sea, and when they had lit a fire, made an offering of white meal, and prayed standing around the altar as Apollo had bidden them. Then they took their meal by the swift, black ship, and poured an offering to the blessed gods who dwell on Olympus. And when they had put away craving for drink and food, they started out with the lord Apollo, the son of Zeus, to lead them, holding a lyre in his hands, and playing sweetly as he stepped high and featly. So the Cretans followed him to Pytho, marching in time as they chanted the Ie Paean after the manner of the Cretan paean-singers and of those in whose hearts the heavenly Muse has put sweet-voiced song. With tireless feet they approached the ridge and straightway came to Parnassus and the lovely place where they were to dwell honoured by many men. There Apollo brought them and showed them his most holy sanctuary and rich temple.

[524] But their spirit was stirred in their dear breasts, and the master of the Cretans asked him, saying: "Lord, since you have brought us here far from our dear ones and our fatherland, -- for so it seemed good to your heart, -- tell us now how we shall live. That we would know of you. This land is not to be desired either for vineyards or for pastures so that we can live well thereon and also minister to men."

[531] Then Apollo, the son of Zeus, smiled upon them and said: "Foolish mortals and poor drudges are you, that you seek cares and hard toils and straits! Easily will I tell you a word and set it in your hearts. Though each one of you with knife in hand should slaughter sheep continually, yet would you always have abundant store, even all that the glorious tribes of men bring here for me. But guard you my temple and receive the tribes of men that gather to this place, and especially show mortal men my will, and do you keep righteousness in your heart. But if any shall be disobedient and pay no heed to my warning, of if there shall be any idle word or deed and outrage as is common among mortal men, then other men shall be your masters and with a strong hand shall make you subject for ever. All has been told you: do you keep it in your heart."

[545] And so, farewell, son of Zeus and Leto; but I will remember you and another hymn also.

1. ll. 1-9 are preserved by Diodorus Siculus iii. 66. 3; ll. 10-21 are extant only in M.
2. Dionysus, after his untimely birth from Semele, was sewn into the thigh of Zeus.
3. sc. Semele. Zeus is here speaking.
4. The reference is apparently to something in the body of the hymn, now lost.
5. The Greeks feared to name Pluto directly and mentioned him by one of many descriptive titles, such as "Host of Many": compare the Christian use of O Diabolos or our "Evil One."
6. Demeter chooses the lowlier seat, supposedly as being more suitable to her assumed condition, but really because in her sorrow she refuses all comforts.
7. An act of communion -- the drinking of the potion here described -- was one of the most important pieces of ritual in the Eleusinian mysteries, as commemorating the sorrows of the goddess.
8. Undercutter and Woodcutter are probably popular names (after the style of Hesiod's "Boneless One") for the worm thought to be the cause of teething and toothache.
9. The list of names is taken -- with five additions -- from Hesiod, Theogony 349 ff.: for their general significance see note on that passage.
10. Inscriptions show that there was a temple of Apollo Delphinius (cp. ii. 495-6) at Cnossus and a Cretan month bearing the same name.
11. sc. that the dolphin was really Apollo.
12. The epithets are transferred from the god to his altar "Overlooking" is especially an epithet of Zeus, as in Apollonius Rhodius ii. 1124.


HYMNS 1 - 3

1. To Dionysus
2. To Demeter
3. To Apollo


4. To Hermes

HYMNS 5 - 33

5. To Aphrodite
6. To Aphrodite
7. To Dionysus
8. To Ares
9. To Artemis
10. To Aphrodite
11. To Athena
12. To Hera
13. To Demeter
14. To the Mother of the Gods
15. To Heracles
16. To Asclepius
17. To the Dioscuri
18. To Hermes
19. To Pan
20. To Hephaestus
21. To Apollo
22. To Poseidon
23. To the Son of Cronus
24. To Hestia
25. To the Muses and Apollo
26. To Dionysus
27. To Artemis
28. To Athena
29. To Hestia
30. To Earth, Mother of All
31. To Helius
32. To Selene
33. To the Dioscuri

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Like all the so-called songs in this book, this poem is lyric only in spirit. It is not one of the actual songs sung at the Adonis festival, but, like the son in Theocritus XV, a conventional book-representation of them written for recitation. The suggestion here and there of refrain is intended primarily to aid the illusion, but also serves the purpose sometimes of paragraphing the poem. The poem belongs to the second part of the festival; it is the dirge proper. As in XV the wedding-song refers to the coming dirge, so here the dirge refers to the past wedding-song. The Lament for Adonis is generally believed to be the work of Bion.

[1] I cry woe for Adonis and say The beauteous Adonis is dead; and the Loves cry me woe again and say The beauteous Adonis is dead.

[3] Sleep no more, Cypris, beneath thy purple coverlet, but awake to thy misery; put on the sable robe and fall to beating thy breast, and tell it to the world, The beauteous Adonis is dead.

Woe I cry for Adonis and the Loves cry woe again.

[8] The beauteous Adonis lieth low in the hills, his thigh pierced with the tusk, the white with the white, and Cypris is sore vexed at the gentle passing of his breath; for the red blood drips down his snow-white flesh, and the eyes beneath his brow wax dim; the rose departs from his lip, and the kiss that Cypris shall never have so again, that kiss dies upon it and is gone. Cypris is fain enough now of the kiss of the dead; but Adonis, he knows not that she hath kissed him.

Woe I cry for Adonis and the Loves cry woe again.

[17] Cruel, O cruel the wound in the thigh of him, but greater the wound in the heart of her. Loud did wail his familiar hounds, and loud now weep the Nymphs of the hill; and Aphrodite, she unbraids her tresses and goes wandering distraught, unkempt, unslippered in the wild wood, and for all the briers may tear and rend her and cull her hallowed blood, she flies through the long glades shrieking amain, crying upon her Assyrian lord, calling upon the lad of her love. Meantime the red blood floated in a pool about his navel, his breast took on the purple that came of his thighs, and the paps thereof that had been as the snow waxed now incarnadine.

The Loves cry woe again saying “Woe for Cytherea.”

[29] Lost is her lovely lord, and with him lost her hallowed beauty. When Adonis yet lived Cypris was beautiful to see to, but when Adonis died her loveliness died also. With all the hills ‘tis Woe for Cypris and with the vales ‘tis Woe for Adonis; the rivers weep the sorrows of Aphrodite, the wells of the mountains shed tears for Adonis; the flowerets flush red for grief, and Cythera’s isle over every foothill and every glen of it sings pitifully Woe for Cytherea, the beauteous Adonis is dead, and Echo ever cries her back again, The beauteous Adonis is dead. Who would not have wept his woe over the dire tale of Cypris’ love?

[40] She saw, she marked his irresistible wound, she saw his thigh fading in a welter of blood, she lift her hands and put up the voice of lamentation saying “Stay, Adonis mine, stay, hapless Adonis, till I come at thee for the last time, till I clip thee about and mingle lip with lip. Awake Adonis, awake for a little while, and give me one latest kiss; kiss me all so long as ever the kiss be alive, till thou give up thy breath into my mouth and thy spirit pass into my heart, till I have drawn up all thy love; and that kiss of Adonis I will keep as it were he that gave it, now that thou fliest me, poor miserable, fliest me far and long, Adonis, and goest where is Acheron and the cruel sullen king, while I alas! live and am a God and may not go after thee. O Persephone, take thou my husband, take him if thou wilt; for thou art far stronger than I, and gettest to thy share all that is beautiful; but as for me, ‘tis all ill and for ever, ‘tis pain and grief without cloy, and I weep that my Adonis is dead and I fear me what thou wilt do. O dearest and sweetest and best, thou diest, and my dear love is sped like a dream; widowed no is Cytherea, the Loves are left idle in her bower, and the girdle of the Love-Lady is lost along with her beloved. O rash and overbold why didst go a-hunting? Wast thou so wooed1 to pit thee against a wild beast and thou so fair?” This was the wail of Cypris, and now the Loves cry her woe again, saying Woe for Cytherea, the beauteous Adonis is dead.

[64] The Paphian weeps and Adonis bleeds, drop for drop, and the blood and tears become flowers upon the ground. Of he blood comes the rose, and of the tears the windflower.

I cry woe for Adonis, the beauteous Adonis is dead.

[68] Mourn thy husband no more in the woods, sweet Cypris; the lonely leaves make no good lying for such as he: rather let Adonis have thy couch as in life so in death; for being dead, Cytherea, he is yet lovely, lovely in death as he were asleep. Lay him down in the soft coverlets wherein he used to slumber, upon that couch of solid gold whereon he used to pass the nights in sacred sleep with thee; for the very couch longs for Adonis, Adonis all dishevelled. Fling garlands also and flowers upon him; now that he is dead let them die too, let every flower die. Pour out upon him unguents of Syria, perfumes of Syria; perish now all perfumes, for he that was thy perfume is perished and gone.

[79] There he lies, the delicate Adonis, in purple wrappings, and the weeping Loves lift up their voices in lamentation; they have shorn their locks for Adonis’ sake. This flung upon him arrows, that a bow, this a feather, that a quiver. One hath done off Adonis’ shoe, others fetch water in a golden basin, another washes the thighs of him, and again another stands behind and fans him with his wings.

The Loves cry woe again saying “Woe for Cytherea.”

[87] The Wedding-God (Hymenaeus) hath put out every torch before the door, and scattered the bridal garland upon the ground; the burden of his song is no more “Ho for the Wedding;” there’s more of “Woe” and “Adonis” to it than ever there was of the wedding-cry. The Graces weep the son of Cinyras, saying one to another, The beauteous Adonis is dead, and when they cry woe ‘tis a shriller cry than ever the cry of thanksgiving. Nay, even the Fates weep and wail for Adonis, calling upon his name; and moreover they sing a spell upon him to bring him back again, but he payeth no heed to it; yet ‘tis not from lack of the will, but rather that the Maiden will not let him go.

[96] Give over thy wailing for to-day, Cytherea, and beat not now thy breast any more; thou needs wilt wail again and weep again, come another year.


This fragmentary shepherd-mime is probably to be ascribed to an imitator of Bion. At Myrson’s request, Lycidas sings him the tale of Achilles at Scyros.

Then prithee, Lycidas, wilt thou chant me some pretty lay of Sicily, some delightful sweetheart song of love such as the Cyclops sang to Galatea of the sea-beaches?

I myself should like to make some music, Myrson; so what shall it be?

The sweet and enviable love-tale of Scyros, Lycidas, the stolen kissed of the child of Peleus and the stolen espousal of the same, how a lad donned women’s weeds and played the knave with his outward seeming, and how in the women’s chamber the reckless Deïdameia found out Achilles among the daughters of Lycomedes.

LYCIDAS (sings)
Once on a day, and a woeful day for the wife2 that loved him well,
The neatherd stole fair Helen and bare her to Ida fell.
Sparta was wroth and roused to arms Achaea wide and far;
Mycenae, Elis, Sparta-land – 
No Greek but scorned at home to stand for all the woest of war.
Yes one lay hid the maids amid, Achilles was he hight;
Instead of arms he learnt to spin and with wan hand his rest to win,
His cheeks were snow-white freakt with red, he wore a kerchief on his head,
And woman-lightsome was his tread, all maiden to the sight.
Yet man was he in his heart, and man was he in his love;
From dawn to dark he’ld sit him by a maid yclept Deïdamy,
And oft would kill her hand, and oft would set her weaver’s beam aloft
And praise the web she wove.
Come dinner-time, he’d go to board that only maid beside,
And do his best of deed and word to win her for his bride;
“The other share both board and bed,” such wont his words to be,
“I sleep alone and you alone; though we be maidens free,
Maidens and fair maidens, we sleep on pallets two;
‘Tis that cruel crafty Nysa that is parting me and you . . . “


The remaining poems and fragments are preserved in quotations made by Stobaeus, with the exception of the last, which is quoted by the grammarian Orion (Anth. 5, 4).


Which will you have is sweetest, Myrson, spring, winter, autumn, or summer? which are you fainest should come? Summer, when all our labours are fulfilled, or sweet autumn when our hunger is least and lightest, or the winter when no man can work – for winter also hath delights for many with her warm firesides and leisure hours – or doth the pretty spring-time please you best? Say, where is the choice of your heart? To be sure, we have time and to spare for talking.

‘Tis unseemly for mortal men to judge of the works of Heaven, and all these four are sacred, and every one of them sweet. But since you ask me, Cleodamus, I will tell you which I hold to be sweeter than the rest. I will not have your summer, for then the sun burns me; I will not have your autumn, neither, for that time o’ year breeds disease; and as for your winter, he is intolerable; I cannot away with frost and snow. For my part, give me all the year round the dear delightful spring, when cold doth not chill nor sun burn. In the spring the world’s a-breeding, in the spring the world’s all sweet buds, and our days are as long as our nights and our nights as our days . . .


One day a fowler-lad was out after birds in a coppice, when he espied perching upon a box-tree bough the shy-retiring Love. Rejoicing that he had found what seemed him so fine a bird, he fits all his lime-rods together and lies in wait for that hipping-hopping quarry. But soon finding that there was no end to it, he flew into a rage, cast down his rods, and sought the old ploughman who had taught him his trade; and both told him what had happened and showed him where young Love did sit. At that the old man smiled and wagged his wise head, and answered: “Withhold they hand, my lad, and go not after this bird; flee him far; ‘tis evil game. Thou shalt not be happy so long as thou catch him not, but so sure as thou shalt come to the stature of a man, he that hoppeth and scapeth thee now will come suddenly of himself and light upon thy head.”


I dreamed and lo! the great Cyprian stood before me. Her fair hand did lead, with head hanging, the little silly Love, and she said to me: “Pray you, sweet Shepherd, take and teach me this child to sing and play,” and so was gone. So I fell to teaching master Love, fool that I was, as one willing to learn; and taught him all my lore of country-music, to with how Pan did invent the cross-flute and Athena the flute, Hermes the lyre and sweet Apollo the harp. But nay, the child would give no heed to aught I might say; rather would he be singing love-songs of his own, and taught me of the doings of his mother and the desires of Gods and men. And as for all the lore I had been teaching master Love, I clean forgot it, but the love-songs master Love taught me, I learnt them every one.


The Musses know no fear of the cruel Love; rather do their hearts befriend him greatly and their footsteps follow him close. And let one that hath not love in his soul sing a song, and they forthwith slink away and will not teach him; but if sweet music be made by him that hath, then fly they all unto him hot-foot. And if you ask me how I know that this is very truth, I tell you I may sing praise of any other, he be God or man, and my tongue will wag falteringly and refuse me her best; but if my music be of love and Lycidas, then my voice floweth from my lips rejoicing.


. . . I know not, and ‘tis unseemly to labour aught we wot not of. If my poor songs are good, I shall have fame out of such things as Fate hath bestowed upon me already – they will be enough; but if they are bad, what boots it me to go toiling on? If we men were given, be it of the Son of Cronus or of fickle Fate, two lives, the one for pleasuring and mirth and the other for toil, then perhaps might one do the toiling first and get the good things afterward. But seeing Heaven’s decree is, man shall live but once, and that for too brief a while to do all he would, then O how long shall we go thus miserably toiling and moiling, and how long shall we lavish our life upon getting and making, in the consuming desire for more wealth and yet more? Is it that we all forget that we are mortal and Fate hath allotted us so brief a span? . . .


Happy are lovers when their love is requited. Theseus, for all he found Hades at the last implacable, was happy because Perithoüs went with him; and happy Orestes among the cruel Inhosptables,3 because Pylades had chosen to share his wanderings; happy also lived Achilles Aeacid while his dear comrade4 was alive, and died happy, seeing he so avenged his dreadful fate.


Evening Star, which are the golden light of the lovely Child o’ the Foam,5 dear Evening Star, which art the holy jewel of the blue blue Night, even so much dimmer than the Moon as brighter than any other star that shines, hail, gentle friend, and while I go a-serenading my shepherd love shew me a light instead of the Moon, for that she being new but yesterday is too quickly set. I be no thief nor highwayman – ‘tis not for that I’m abroad at night – , but a lover; and lovers deserve all aid.


Gentle Dame of Cyprus, be’st thou child of Zeus, or child of the sea, pray tell me why wast so unkind alike unto Gods and men – nay, I’ll say more, why so hateful unto thyself, as to bring forth so great and universal a mischief as this Love, so cruel, so heartless, so all unlike in ways and looks? and wherefore also these wings and archeries that we may not escape him when he oppresseth us?


. . . When he beheld thy agony Phoebus was dumb. He sought every remedy, he had recourse to cunning arts, he anointed all the wound, anointed it with ambrosia and with nectar; but all remedies are powerless to heal the wounds of Fate . . .


. . . But I will go my way to yonder hillside, singing low to sand and shore my supplication of the cruel Galatea; for I will not give over my sweet hopes till I come unto uttermost old age . . .


. . . It is not well, friend, to got to a craftsman upon all matters, nor to resort unto another man in every business, but rather to make you a pipe yourself; and ‘faith, ‘tis not so hard, neither . . .


May Love call the Muses, and the Muses bring Love; and may the Muses ever give me song at my desire, dear melodious song, the sweetest physic in the world.6


. . . ‘Tis said a continual dripping will e’en wear a hollow in a stone . . .


. . . I pray you leave me not without some reward; for even Phoebus is paid for his music, and a meed maketh things better . . .


. . . The woman’s glory is her beauty, the man’s his strength . . .


. . . All things may be achieved if Heav’n will; all is possible, nay, all is very easy if the Blessed make it so . . .


1. “wooed” : mad.
2. “The wife that loved him well” : Oenonè, wife of Paris.
3. “Inhospitable” : the barbarous inhabitants of the shores of the Black Sea.
4. “his dear comrade” : Patroclus.
5. “Child o’ the Foam” : Aphrodite.
6. Better perhaps regarded as two fragments, the first ending “bring Love”; the following “and” is not in the Greek.


1. The Lament for Adonis
2. Myrson and Lycidas
3. From a Shepherd-Mine
4. Love and the Fowler
5. Love's Schooling
6. A Love Poem
7. The Poet's Philosophy of Life
8. Requited Love
9. To Hesperus
10. To Aphrodite
11. Of Hyacinthus
12. Galatea's Lover
13. Do It Yourself
14. Love and Son
15. Persistence
16. Worthy of his Hire
17. After their Kind
18. God Willing 

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Translated from Greek into Latin by Lucius Spetimius


Lucius Septimius sends greetings to Quintus Aradius Rufinus.

Dictys of Crete originally wrote his Journal of the Trojan War in the Phoenician alphabet, which Cadmus and Agenor1had spread throughout Greece. Dictys had served in the War with Idomeneus.

After many centuries the tomb of Dictys at Cnossos (formerly the seat of the Cretan king) collapsed with age.2Then shepherds, wandering near the ruins, stumbled upon a little box skilfully enclosed in tin. Thinking it was treasure, they soon broke it open, but brought to light, instead of gold or some other kind of wealth, books written on linden tablets. Their hopes thus frustrated, they took their find to Praxis,3 the owner of that place. Praxis had the books transliterated into the Attic alphabet (the language was Greek)4 and presented them to the Roman Emperor Nero.5 Nero rewarded him richly.

When these little books had by chance come into my hands, I, as a student of true history, was seized with the desire of making a free translation into Latin; I felt I had no special talent but wanted only to occupy my leisure time. I have preserved without abridgment the first five volumes which deal with the happenings of the War, but have reduced into one volume the others6 which are concerned with the Return of the Greeks. Thus, my Rufinus, I have sent them to you. Favor my work as it deserves, and in reading Dictys . . .

1. The Preface names only Cadmus. Dictys 5.17 names Cadmus and Danaus; here we must suppose that the author of the Letter has forgotten his own translation.
2. In the Preface an earthquake lays open the tomb.
3. Praxis is the Eupraxides of the Preface.
4. In the Preface the language is Phoenician instead of Greek.
5. In the Preface Eupraxides gives the books to Rutilius Rufus, the governor of Crete, and Rufus sees that they get to Nero.
6. The manuscripts, all of which give the number of abridged books as five, have been corrected to agree with the reports of Eudokia and Suidas that the total number of books was nine. See Preface, note 3.


Dictys, a native of Crete from the city of Cnossos and a contemporary of the Atridae,1knew the Phoenician language and alphabet, which Cadmus brought to Achaea.2 He accompanied the leaders Idomeneus and Meriones with the army that went against Troy. (Idomeneus and Meriones were the sons of Deucalion and Molus respectively.) They chose him to write down a history of this campaign. Accordingly, writing on linden tablets and using the Phoenician alphabet, he composed nine volumes3 about the whole war.

Time passed. In the thirteenth year of Nero’s reign an earthquake struck at Cnossos and, in the course of its devastation, laid open the tomb of Dictys in such a way that people, as they passed, could see the little box. And so shepherds who had seen it as they passed stole it from the tomb, thinking it was treasure. But when they opened it and found the linden tablets inscribed with characters unknown to them, they took this find to their master. Their master, whose name was Eupraxides, recognized the characters, and presented the books to Rutilius Rufus, who was at that time governor of the island. Since Rufus, when the books had been presented to him, thought they contained certain mysteries, he, along with Eupraxides himself, carried them to Nero.4

Nero, having received the tablets and having noticed that they were written in the Phoenician alphabet, ordered his Phoenician philologists to come and decipher whatever was written. When this had been done, since he realized that these were the records of an ancient man who had been at Troy, he had them translated into Greek; thus a more accurate text of the Trojan War was made known to all. Then he bestowed gifts and Roman citizenship upon Eupraxides, and sent him home.

The Greek Library, according to Nero’s command, acquired this history that Dictys had written, the contents of which the following text sets forth in order.

1. The Atridae are Agamemnon and Menelaus, who, however in Dictys, are not the real sons of Atreus, but of Plisthenes. See Dictys 1.1.
2. Achaea is the Roman province of Greece.
3. The manuscripts, all of which give the total number of books as six, have been corrected to agree with the reports of Eudokia and Suidas. See Letter, note 6.
4. This sentence might also be translated: “Rufus . . . sent them to Nero along with Eupraxides himself.”


[1] All the kings who were great-grandsons of Minos, the son of Jupiter, and who ruled over Greece, came to Crete to divide the wealth of Atreus. Atreus, the son of Minos,1when making his last will and testament, had left all his gold and silver, and even his herds, to them; for they were his grandsons, the sons of his daughters. Everything was to be equally divided among them, excepting only the rule of his cities and lands. This he bequeathed to Idomeneus, the son of Deucalion, and Meriones, the son of Molus.

Among those who came to Crete were Palamedes and Oeax, the sons of Clymene and Nauplius.

Also Menelaus and his older brother Agamemnon, the sons of Aerope and Plisthenes,2came to get their share. (They had a sister, Anaxibia, who at that time was married to Nestor.) People often thought that their father was Atreus, because when their real father, Plisthenes, died young without having made a name for himself, Atreus, pitying their plight, had taken them in and brought them up like princes.

In the division of Atreus’ property everyone, as befitted his rank, acquired a handsome inheritance.

[2] All the descendants of Europa (she was worshiped on Crete with the most elaborate ritual), on learning that the heirs of Atreus had landed, hastened to give them a friendly welcome. Escorting them to the temple, they entertained them lavishly with elegant banquets, offering, in accordance with their ancient customs, many sacrificial victims. Thus, day after day, the kings of Greece delighted in this entertainment. They were, however, even more impressed by the temple of Europa itself, so magnificent was the beauty of this structure, so rich its embellishments. Examining all its marvellous features, they called to mind how Europa’s father, Phoenix, and the noble matrons, had brought across form Sidon this thing and that.

[3] During the same time the home of Menelaus at Sparta welcomed Alexander the Phrygian,3 the son of Priam, who had come with Aeneas and other of his relatives. Alexander, taking advantage of Menelaus’ absence, committed a very foul crime. Falling desperately in love with Helen, the most beautiful woman in Greece, he carried her off, along with much wealth, and also Aethra and Clymene, being Menelaus’ relatives, attended on Helen.

A report of this crime came to Crete;4 but rumor, as commonly happens, spread over the island, making what Alexander had done seem worse than it was. People were even saying that King Menelaus’ home had been taken by storm and that his kingdom was conquered.

[4] On hearing this news, Menelaus was deeply upset by the abduction of his wife, but he was even more disturbed by the fact that the relatives we mentioned above had wronged him.5

Palamedes noticed that the king, being distraught with wrath and righteous indignation, had lost all power of reason. Accordingly, he rigged the ships and brought them to shore equipped with all their gear. Loading as much of Menelaus’ inheritance as time under the circumstances allowed, and briefly but appropriately offering his sympathy, he made the king go abroad. And thus, the winds blowing as they desired, they came to Sparta within a few days.

Agamemnon, Nestor, and all the rulers of Greece who were descendants of Pelops,6 having heard the news, had already gathered together at Sparta. On learning of Menelaus’ arrival, they all assembled together. First, through the barbarity of the deed demanded immediate vengeance, they decided to send envoys to Troy. Palamedes, Ulysses, and Menelaus were chosen to go, and instructed to complain of the crime and demand the return of Helen and the things that had been carried off.7

[5] These, on coming to Troy within a few days, did not find Alexander at home; for when he had sailed from Sparta, hastily and taking no thought of the weather, the winds had forced him to Cyprus. After obtaining some ships, he had then gone on to Phoenicia, where the king of the Sidonians received him kindly. But he treacherously slaughtered the king at night and, venting again that criminal lust he had shown at Sparta, pillaged the palace. He shamelessly ordered his men to seize everything the purpose of which was to show the royal magnificence, and carry it off to the ships. The Sidonians, however, who escaped the general destruction, raised a huge tumult, bewailing the fate of their ruler. All of their people rushed to the palace, and then, arming themselves as best they were able, rushed to the ships; for Alexander had already seized whatever he wanted and now as hastening to sail. A raging battle arose, and very many men fell on both sides. While the Sidonians fought fiercely in the cause of their murdered king, the Trojans strove with all their might to keep the booty they had gained. Two of their ships were fired; but finally, after a terrible struggle, they freed the others. And thus, having broken the strength of their foe, they escaped.

[6] Meanwhile, at Troy, one of the envoys, Palamedes (he was known as a skilful adviser and diplomat), prevailed upon Priam to let him speak at a meeting of the council. First, he made his complaint, describing the criminal way Alexander had broken the ties of mutual friendship. Next, he warned of the horrible conflict that Greece and Troy might have because of this act, citing, among other examples, the feud between Ilus and Pelops,8who for similar reasons had come to the point of committing their countries to war. And then, comparing the hazards of war with the blessings of peace, he said that he knew that most of the Trojans hated this barbarous crime; all would abandon those who were guilty, and the guilty would have to pay for their impious acts.

Palamedes wanted to finish his speech, but Priam interrupted and said: “I beseech you, Palamedes, to go more slowly. It seems unfair to attack a man who is absent, who, if he were present, might refute the criminal charges you are bringing against him.” Thus Priam ordered Palamedes to defer his complaint until Alexander arrived. He had noticed everyone who was present in the council being moved by Palamedes’ speech; though they were silent, nevertheless they showed by their faces that they were condemning the things Alexander had done. Palamedes was making his points with marvellous eloquence, and there was a certain indescribable force in the moving tone of his speech.

Then the council broke up for that day. The envoys went home with Antenor, happy to be his guests. He was a gracious host and a man who, more than anyone else, loved the good and the true.

[7] Several days having passed, Alexander came with the companions we mentioned above, and also with Helen. Upon his arrival, all the people showed their disgust at what he had done: some cursed the evil precedent he had set; others bewailed the injustice Menelaus had suffered. And finally, disgusted and angry, they raised a revolt.

Priam, alarmed by this turn of events, called together his sons and asked what course they advised. They answered unanimously that, no matter what happened, Helen should not be returned. They saw, no doubt, that if this were done, they would lose all the great wealth with which she had come. Furthermore, they had fallen in love with the beautiful women who had come with Helen and had already set their hearts on marrying this or that one. Being barbarians in language and morals, and impatient of weighing their actions or asking advice, they were driven astray by greed for booty and lust.

[8] Leaving his sons, Priam called together the elders. After reporting what his sons had decided, he asked each member to give his advice. This was the custom. But before anyone could state his opinion, the princes suddenly broke into the council and – never before had this happened – threatened all of the members: they had better not find anyone opposing their will.

Meanwhile all of the people were cursing and crying out against the crime Alexander had committed and against many other similar acts. This caused Alexander, who was reckless because of his lust, to surround himself with his brothers in arms and make an attack on the crowd; for he feared that something might happen to him at the hands of the people. Many were killed, but finally the slaughter was stopped by those who had been in the council, the nobles led by Antenor. Thus the people returned to their homes, their numbers not undiminished, frustrated as to their goals and held in contempt.

[9] On the following day King Priam, at the insistence of Hecuba, went to Helen. Greeting her kindly, he urged her to feel well disposed and asked who she was and what was her family.

She answered that she was Alexander’s relative and more closely akin to Priam and Hecuba than to the son of Plisthenes. She went through the whole list of her ancestors. Danaus and Agenor were her progenitors, respectively, of Priam’s line and of hers.9 The daughter of Danaus was Hesione,10 who had given birth to Electra by Atlas; Electra had given birth to Dardanus by Jupiter; and from Dardanus was descended Tros and, in order of succession, the other kings of Troy. As for Agenor, he had begotten Taygete; and she had given birth to Lacedaemon by Jupiter; Lacedaemon had begotten Amyclas, and he had begotten Argalus, the father of Oebalus; it was well known that Oebalus was the father of Tyndareus, and he, it seemed, was her father. She also recited the relation of her mother’s family with Hecuba, for the son of Agenor, Phoenix, was the ancestor both of Leda and of Hecuba’s father, Dymas.

After revealing her whole genealogy, she burst into tears and begged him not to return her. Now that the Trojans had made her welcome, and she had put her trust in them, they must not prove faithless. Everything Alexander had taken from Menelaus’ home belonged to her; nothing else had been taken.

It was by no means clear whey she preferred to look after her interests in this way. Was it because of her immodest love for Alexander, or because of her fear of the punishment her husband would exact for desertion?

[10] When Hecuba was informed of Helen’s attitude and of the relation between their families, she embraced her and did everything she could to prevent her being returned. But by this time Priam and most of the princes were saying that they could no longer put off the envoys or resist the will of the people. (Deiphobus was the only one who sided with Hecuba, for his judgment, like Alexander’s, had been corrupted by his lust for Helen.) Hecuba, however, persisted to intercede on Helen’s behalf and accosted Priam and all of her sons who were present. They found it impossible to pull her from Helen’s embrace and, therefore, finally decided to do as she wished. Thus by her influence as mother and wife she compromised the good of her country.

On the next day Menelaus, accompanied by the other envoys, came into the assembly. He demanded the return of his wife and the things Alexander had taken.

Then Priam, standing in the midst of the princes and calling for silence, said that Helen (who had come into public view for this purpose) should have the right to decide. When he asked her, “Do you want to go home?” her answer, so they reported, was “No.” She had not sailed, she said, unwillingly, for her marriage to Menelaus did not suit her. And so the princes left the assembly, exulting, with Helen.

[11] When they had gone, Ulysses, though he knew that nothing he said would make any difference, argued for argument’s sake. He reviewed everything Alexander had done and swore that the Greeks would soon be avenging these crimes. Next, Menelaus, full of wrath and scowling blackly, broke up the meeting with threats of destruction.

When Priam’s sons were told what had happened, they secretly swore to kidnap the envoys. They believed, quite rightly, that the envoys, having failed to accomplish their mission, would return to Greece and demand a full-scale war against Troy. Antenor, however, whose pious character we mentioned above, thwarted this plot. Going to Priam, he complained about the conspiracy: Priam’s sons were not plotting against the envoys but against himself, and this he would not endure. Soon afterwards he informed the envoys. Thus every precaution was taken; he gave them a guard and, at the first opportunity, sent them home unharmed.

[12] While this was happening at Troy, news of the abduction spread throughout Greece. All the descendants of Pelops foregathered and bound themselves with mutual oaths. If Helen was not returned along with the things Alexander had taken, they swore to make war against Priam.

The envoys, having returned to Sparta, told about Helen’s decision and described the hostile words and deeds of Priam and his sons against them. But they praised Antenor in the highest terms for the good faith he had shown. The members of the Greek council, having heard this report, decided to make preparations for war in their different regions and kingdoms. They chose Argos which was the realm of Diomedes, as a good place to meet and make plans for the war.

[13] When the time seemed best, Ajax the son of Telamon, who was known for his bravery no less than his hugeness, was the first to arrive, accompanied by Teucer, his brother. Soon afterwards Idomeneus and Meriones came, who were the closest of friends.

(I followed along with these. As to what happened earlier at Troy, I have tried to make my report as accurate as possible, Ulysses being my source. The account that follows, based as it is on my own observations, will meet, I hope, the highest critical standards.)

Also Nestor came to Argos, accompanied by Antilochus and Thrasymedes, his sons by Anaxibia. Then Peneleus came with his cousins Clonius and Arcesilaus; and these were followed by two other leaders of the Boeotians, Prothoenor and Leitus. Schdius and Epistrophus came from Phocis; Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, from Orchomenus. Then Diores and Meges, the sons of Phyleus, came; then Thoas, the son of Andraemon; Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon, from Ormenion; and then Leonteus.

[14] Next Achilles arrived, the son of Peleus and Thetis. (Thetis, so they say, was the daughter of Chiron.) Achilles was in the first years of his manhood, a noble youth and handsome. So great was his zeal for war that he was already known as the bravest champion alive. Nevertheless, it must be admitted, his character showed a certain ill-advised forcefulness, a certain savage impatience. He was accompanied by Patroclus, his close friend, and Phoenix, his guardian and teacher.

Then there were Tlepolemus, the son of Hercules; and after him, Phidippus and Antiphus, the grandsons of Hercules, wearing beautiful armor. After them came Protesilaus, the son of Iphiclus, with his brother Podarces. And Eumelus of Pherae was there. (Eumelus’ father, Admetus, had once prolonged his life by having his wife die for him.)11 Podalirius and Machaon came from Tricca; they, being sons of Aesculapius, had been summoned to serve as physicians. Then Philoctetes came, the son of Poeas, carrying the marvellous bow and arrows of Hercules, whom he had formerly served. (As reward for his service, Hercules, when departing to be with the gods, had given these weapons to him.)12 Then the handsome Nireus came. Menestheus came from Athens; Ajax, the son of Oileus, from Locris; Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, and Sthenelus, the son of Capaneus, from Argos, and with them was Euryalus, the son of Mecisteus; Thersander, the son of Polynices, came from Aetolia; and, last of all, Demophoon and Acamas. These were all the descendants of Pelops. They were followed by a great number of others, coming from various regions, some being retainers of kings, and others rulers themselves. It seems quite useless, however, to give a list of their names.

[15] When all had assembled at Argos, Diomedes supplied their needs and made them at home. Agamemnon distributed a great amount of gold he had brought from Mycenae, and thus increased their yearning for war. Then they decided unanimously to seal their alliance as follows:

Calchas the prophet, the son of Thestor, having ordered a hog brought into their midst, cut it in half and set the parts towards east and west. Then he commanded them all to draw their swords and pass through the victim. Thus, smearing their blades with the blood of the hog, and completing the other rites as required, they bound themselves to war against Priam. They swore to fight on until Troy and Priam’s whole kingdom was utterly destroyed. After taking this oath and purifying themselves with ablutions, they sacrificed many victims to Mars and Concord, seeking the aid of these gods.

[16] Then they decided to appoint a commander-in-chief. Accordingly, in the temple of the Argive Juno, everyone, having received a ballot, wrote (in Phoenician letters) the name of the man he thought would make the best leader. Agamemnon was chosen and thus, with the hearty approval of each and every one, he took upon himself the command of the forces. He deserved this position for two reasons: first, he was the brother of the man for whose sake they were fighting; and second, he was considered the wealthiest and most powerful king in Greece. Then they appointed Achilles, Ajax, and Phoenix to be the leaders in charge of the fleet; and gave Palamedes, Diomedes, and Ulysses joint command of the army-in-camp, that is, the routine duties of the day and the watches of the night. Having made these arrangements, the Greeks departed to their different kingdoms to get ready their forces and equipment for war.

Zeal for war inflamed all Greece during the following period. Within two years everything was ready; weapons for defense and offense, and horses and ships. The men had accelerated their work, some acting with natural zest, others to rival the glory their comrades were gaining. They felt, understandably enough, that their most important task was the construction of a great naval force; the many thousands of soldiers, when once they had been gathered from everywhere, must not be delayed for want of a fleet.

[17] Thus at the end of two years all the kings had equipped ships varying in number with the wealth and power of their kingdoms,13 and had sent them on to Aulis in Boeotia; this was the place they had chosen. Agamemnon assembled a fleet of 100 ships from Mycenae, in addition to 60 others from the various cities under his power; he put Agapenor in charge. Nestor equipped a fleet of 90 ships. Menelaus had 60 ships from all Lacedaemon; Menestheus 40 from Athens; Elephenor 40 from Euboea; Ajax, the son of Telamon, 12 from Salamis; Diomedes 80 from Argos; Ascalaphus and Ialmenus 30 from Orchomenus; Ajax, the son of Oileus, 40; Arcesilaus, Prothoenor, Peneleus, Leitus, and Clonius 50 from all of Boeotia; Schedius and Epistrophus 50 from Phocis; Thalpius and Diores, along with Amphimachus and Polyxenus, 40 from Elis and the other cities of this region; Thoas 40 from Aetolia; Meges 40 from Dulichium and the islands of the Echidnades; Idomeneus and Meriones 80 from all Crete; Ulysses 12 from Ithaca; Prothous 40 from Magnesia; Tlepolemus 9 from Rhodes and the other islands about; Eumelus 11 from Pherae; Achilles 50 from Pelasgian Argos; Nireus 3 from Syme; Podarces and Protesilaus 40 from Phylaca and the other places they controlled; Podalirus and Machaon 30; Philoctetes 7 from Methona and other cities; Eurypylus 40 from Ormenion; Guneus 22 from Perrhaebia; Leonteus and Polypoetes 40 from their regions; Phidippus and Antiphus 30 from the islands of Cos and Crapathus; Thersander (the son of Polynices, as we mentioned above) 50 from Thebes; Calchas 20 from Acarnania; Mopsus 20 from Colophon; and Epeus 30 from the islands of the Cyclades.

They filled their ships with large amounts of grain and other necessary goods. Agamemnon had of course ordered them to do this, that so huge a military force might not be harassed with lack of supplies.

[18] In addition to this huge armada, there were many horses and war chariots, their number being large, considering the lack of good pasture in Greece. The infantry, however, far outnumbered the cavalry. Also there were the many technical experts who were necessary to maintain and operate the ships.

During this time we were unable, either by bribery or by the influence of Phalis,14 the king of the Sidonians, to entice the Lycian Sarpedon to follow our alliance. Priam, by offering larger gifts (which afterwards were doubled), had already won his support for the Trojans.

It took five years for all the ships (which, as we have described above, were brought together from the various regions of Greece) to be equipped and readied. When, however, nothing except the soldier’s absence prevented us from sailing, all of our leaders, at the same time, as if at a given signal, came together at Aulis.

[19] While we were hastening to sail, Agamemnon (who, as we have said above, had been unanimously chosen commander-in-chief), having gone some way from the camp, noticed a she-goat grazing near a grove of Diana and, feeling no awe because of the place, struck it through with his spear. Soon afterwards, either because of heavenly wrath or atmospheric contamination, a plague began to attack us. Day after day it raged with greater and greater violence, destroying many thousands as it passed indiscriminately through herds and army, laying waste everything that stood in its way, there being no abatement, no end to death.

While our leaders were seeking some remedy, a certain woman,15 divinely inspired, revealed the reason for our affliction: the wrath of Diana; the goddess was exacting punishment from the army for the sacrilege of slaying the she-goat in which she especially delighted, nor would she relent until the perpetrator of this awful crime had made full atonement by sacrificing his oldest daughter. When this solution was brought to the army, all of our leaders approached Agamemnon. Begging and then threatening, they tried to make him offer the remedy quickly, but he obstinately and absolutely refused. And so they reviled him and finally stripped him of his command.

But in order that their huge army, being leaderless, might not become an undisciplined mob, they chose four men to share the command: Palamedes, Diomedes, Ajax the son of Telamon, and Idomeneus. And they divided their forces, according to the number of leaders, into four equal parts.

[20] Meanwhile the plague continued to rage until Ulysses unexpectedly provided the necessary remedy. No one knew of his plan. He pretended to return to his kingdom because of his anger at Agamemnon’s refusal, but went instead to Mycenae and took Clytemnestra a letter he had forged in the name of her husband. The gist of this letter was as follows: Achilles refused to sail for Troy until he had married their oldest daughter, Iphigenia, whom they had promised to him; therefore, she should send Iphigenia to Aulis, along with the dowry, as quickly as possible. In addition to bringing this letter, Ulysses said many things to strengthen Clytemnestra’s belief in its contents. Thus she, desiring both to recover her sister Helen and, even more, to marry her daughter to so famous a man, gladly entrusted Iphigenia to Ulysses. Within a few days he returned to the camp and appeared unexpectedly with the girl in the grove of Diana.

When Agamemnon knew what had happened, he wanted to flee, either because of his love for his daughter or because he wanted no part in so criminal a sacrifice. Nestor, however, learned of his plans and, in a long speech, by means of that art of persuasion in which he was more pleasing and effective than anyone else in Greece, prevailed upon him to stay.

[21] Ulysses, Menelaus, and Calchas were put in charge of the sacrifice; everyone else was kept at a distance. When they had begun to adorn the girl, suddenly, lo and behold, the day began to darken. Thunder roared and lightning flashed, earth and sea were shaken. Finally a whirlwind of dust made the darkness complete. Soon afterwards rain and hail poured down. This ghastly disturbance which showed no signs of abatement threw Menelaus and the other officiants into confusion; they were caught between their fear and perplexity. At first they were frightened by the sudden change in the weather and believed that this was the sign of some god, but then they were worried that the army might suffer some harm if they discontinued the sacrifice. While they were trying to solve their dilemma, they heard a voice from the grove saying that divinity spurned such an offering; the goddess had mercy upon the girl, and they must not touch her; as for Agamemnon, after his victory at Troy, his wife would see to his adequate punishment; they must sacrifice what they would see had been sent in the place of the girl. Then the winds and the lightning and all the storm’s fierceness began to diminish.

[22] While these things were happening, Achilles received a personal letter from Clytemnestra, and also a great deal of gold; she commended her daughter and all of her house to him. When he had read the letter, he realized the scheme of Ulysses and, dropping all other concerns, rushed to the grove, shouting for Menelaus and the other officiants to keep their hands off Iphigenia, or else he would kill them. He found them still in a state of shock; and when the weather had cleared, he freed the girl. But what was the thing, where was the thing that they had been ordered to sacrifice? This was perplexing them all when a marvellously beautiful deer appeared untrembling before the very altar. Accepting this deer as the victim which had been predicted and which was now divinely offered, they seized upon it and soon slew it. With the performance of this sacrifice, the force of the plague subsided, and the sky became bright as in summer. Then Achilles and the three officiants, acting in complete secrecy, entrusted the girl to the king of the Scythians, who was there at this time.16

[23] Our leaders were all delighted, for they saw that the force of the plague had abated and that the winds were good for sailing, the sea being calm as in summer. Going to Agamemnon and consoling him over his daughter’s death, they made him commander-in-chief once again. This greatly pleased the whole army, for all the soldiers loved Agamemnon, thinking that he would look after their interests no less than a father. Agamemnon showed no signs of knowing what had really happened to Iphigenia. Perhaps he knew. Or had he, having pondered the turns of human fortune, steeled himself to adversity? In either case, resuming his office, he invited the leaders to dinner that day.

Several days later, the weather being good for sailing, our leaders set the army in order; and thus we boarded the ships. We had stowed all sorts of costly supplies which the people who lived near Aulis had given us. Grain, wine, and other necessary foods were furnished by Anius and his daughters; the latter were known as Oenotropae (wine-growers) and priestesses of a holy religion.17 Thus we sailed from Aulis.

1. Atreus is apparently identified with Catreus, who was the son of Minos (Apollodorus 3.1.2).
2. Agamemnon and Menelaus are the sons of Plisthenes in Hesiod The Catalogues of Women (fragment 69, p. 203, ed. Evelyn-White).
3. Dictys always uses “Alexander” instead of “Paris.” “Phrygian” is a synonym for “Trojan.”
4. In the Cypria (fragment 1, p. 491, ed. Evelyn-White), Iris is the one who brings this news.
5. According to Malalas (Chronographia 5.118-119), Aethra persuaded Helen to yield to Alexander. In the Cypria (fragment 1, p. 491), Venus brings Helen and Alexander together.
6. Apparently Pelops was the great hero of the past from whom aristocratic families liked to claim descent, and often did so falsely.
7. This embassy appears before the Trojan council in Dictys 1.6 and before the Trojan assembly in Dictys 1.10 (middle)-11. It should be compared with the later, similar embassy in Dictys 2.20-26.
8. Ilus had led an army against Pelops and chased him out of Lydia. See PausaniasDescription of Greece 2.2.24.
9. Danaus and Agenor were related as follows: Neptune was the father of Belus and Agenor by Libya, and Belus was the father of Danaus. See Apollod. 2.1.4.
10. The text, which reads “Plesione” here, has been corrected to “Hesione,” to agree with Dictys 4.22, where the same genealogy is given.

11. Admetus’ wife was Alcestis. See Euripides Alcestis.
12. See Sophocles Trachiniae.
13. Section 17, with a few exceptions, is based on Homer’s catalogue of ships in Iliad2.494-795.
14. The text is corrupt here. This Phalis is probably to be equated with the Phalas of Dictys 4.4.
15. Perhaps Agamemnon had consulted the oracle of Apollo, and this woman is Apollo’s priestess, the Pythia.
16. In the Cypria (fragment 1, p. 495), Diana snatches Iphigenia away and carries her off to the land of the Taurians.
17. Anius was a king of Delos. For him and his daughters, see Ovid Metamorphoses13.631-673.




BOOK 1 Antehomerica

BOOK 2 Antehomerica & "Iliad"

BOOK 3 "The Iliad"

BOOK 4 Posthomerica

BOOK 5 Posthomerica

BOOK 6 The Returns

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Introduction on the myths recounted by the historians (chap. 1).
On Dionysus, Priapus, Hermaphroditus, and the Muses (chaps. 2-7).
On Heracles and the twelve Labours, and the other deeds of his up to the time of his deification (chaps. 8-39).
On the Argonauts and Medea and the daughters of Pelias (chaps. 40-56).
On the descendants of Heracles (chaps. 57-58).
On Theseus and his labours (chaps. 59-63).
On the Seven Against Thebes (chaps. 64-65).
On the Epigoni1 of The Seven Against Thebes (chaps. 66-67).
On Neleus and his descendants (chap. 68).
On the Lapiths and Centaurs (chaps. 69-70).
On Asclepius and his descendants (chap. 71).
On the daughters of Asopus and the sons born to Aeacus (chap. 72).
On Pelops, Tantalus, Oenomaus, and Niobê (chaps. 73-74).
On Dardanus and his descendants as far as Priam (chap. 75).
On Daedalus, the Minotaur, and the campaign of Minos against the king Cocalus (chaps. 76-80).
On Aristaeus, Daphnis, Eryx, and Orion (chaps. 81-85).


[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.2 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.3 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.5 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.


[4.6.1] 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.


[4.7.1] 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,39yet 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,46who 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,47who 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,48 whose fame was noised abroad because of his strength of body and his skill in wrestling, and because he was wont to put to death all strangers whom he had defeated in wrestling, and grappling with him Heracles slew the giant. Following up this great deed he subdued Libya, which was full of wild animals, and large parts of the adjoining desert, and brought it all under cultivation, so that the whole land was filled with ploughed fields and such plantings in general as bear fruit, much of it being devoted to vineyards and much to olive orchards; and, speaking generally, Libya, which before that time had been uninhabitable because of the multitude of the wild beasts which infested the whole land, was brought under cultivation by him and made inferior to no other country in point of prosperity.

[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,49the 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.

1. i.e. immediate descendants
2. Cp. Book 15. 6 ff.
3. Cp. Book 1. 19. 7 f.
4. Cp. Book 3. 69.
5. i.e. Dio- (from Dios, the genitive form of the nominative Zeus) and -nysus (Nysa); cp.Book 1. 15. 6.
6. Homeric Hymns 1. 8-9.
7. i.e. “City of Freedom.”
8. i.e. after one year had intervened.
9. Literally, “every three years,” since the Greeks in reckoning from an event included the year in which it took place.
10. Scholars have wondered why Dionysus, who was originally a vegetation god, should have had his special festival only every other year. L. R. Farnell (The Cults of the Greek States, 5. 181) suggests that the Thracians from whom the worship of Dionysus came to the Greeks, “may have shifted their corn-land every other year,” and so stood in special need of the vegetation god for the new soil only after this interval.

11. Cp. Book 3. 65. 4.
12. The Attic custom, as given by the scholiasts on Aristophanes Knights, 85; Peace, 300, was slightly different: The toast to the “Good Deity” was given in unmixed wine after the dinner was over and the table removed, that to “Zeus Saviour” just before the guests went home.
13. Wheat.
14. Wands wreathed in ivy and vine-leaves with a pine-cone at the top.
15. “Wearer of a mitra.”
16. “Of two mothers”; but see Book 2. 62. 5 for a different explanation of the name.
17. i.e. the reed which formed the staff of the thyrsus.
18. Chap. 4. 2. But in Book 3. 63, 3 the long beard is explained as due to the fact that the first Dionysus was an Indian.
19. The Greek word usually translated “tragedies.”
20. The thymele was the altar of Dionysus which stood in the centre of the orchestra of the theatre, and so the adjective “thymelic” came to signify the action of the chorus as opposed to that of the actors. “Thymelic” contests included non-dramatic performances, such as the singing of songs, dancing, jugglery, and the like.

21. From the fourth century B.C. onward for at least eight centuries these “Artists of Dionysus” were members of powerful guilds which bore that title together with the name of the city in which their headquarters were situated. These guilds made contracts with cities in their territories to furnishing theatrical exhibitions of every description and their members in many cases enjoyed freedom from military service and similar privileges, as well as the exemption from taxation mentioned below.
22. Cp. Book 1. 21-2, where the murderer of Osiris is Typhon not the Titans.
23. According to the account in Book 1. 21. 5 Isis used spices and wax to build each piece up to the size of a human body.
24. Diodorus is equating Priapus with the Egyptian god Min, a deity of fertility, whose statues were ithypallic.
25. Odyssey 24. 60.
26. Theogony 77-9.
27. But muein means “to close” the eyes or mouth; Plato, Cratylus 406A, derives the word from môsthai, which he explains as meaning “searching and philosophy.” There is no agreement among modern scholars on the etymology of the word “Muse.”
28. “The lovely one.”
29. The following account of Heracles is generally considered to have been drawn from aPraise of Heracles by Matris of Thebes, who is otherwise unknown and appears to have omitted nothing that would redown to the glory of the greatest Greek hero.
30. i.e. to Zeus.

31. The goddess who assisted in travail.
32. Descendant of Perseus by another line and later king of Argos.
33. Cp. Book 1. 24. 4. But Heracles won his fame, not through Hera, but through his own achievements; and so many philologists derive the first part of his name, not from Hera, but from êra (“service”).
34. Literally, an “ephebus,” in Athens at the age of eighteen.
35. i.e. cut off their hands and their feet.
36. “Perforated.”
37. Cp. Strabo 8. 3. 10.
38. The word means a “cloud.”
39. i.e. Eurystheus.
40. Usually known as the Minotaur, “bull of Minos”; cp. chap. 77.

41. The contest in boxing and wrestling.
42. The famous foot-race, 606 ¾ feet long.
43. These were celebrated at Agrae, south-east of the Acropolis, on the Ilissus, the “Greater Mysteries” at Eleusis.
44. In chaps. 41-56.
45. i.e. “hospitable to strangers.”
46. i.e. “Whirlwind.”
47. “He of the Golden Sword.”
48. Cp. Book 1. 21. 4.
49. Cp. Book 1. 88. 5.
50. “Of a Hundred Gates.”

51. Cadiz.
52. The Straits of Gibraltar are twelve miles wide and for eight miles the average depth is 250 fathoms.
53. The reference is to Lake Copaïs.



1. Introduction
2. Dionysus
3. Zeus & Semele 
4. Dionysus
5. Priapus
6. Hermaphroditus
7. The Muses
8. Heracles
9. Birth of Heracles 
10. Heracles War: Erginus 
11. Twelve Labours of Heracles
12. Labour 1: Nemean Lion
13. Labour 2: Hydra
14. Labour 3: Erymanth. Boar
15. Heracles & the Centaurs
16. Labour 4: Cerynitian Hind
17. Labour 5: Stymph. Birds
18. Labour 6: Augean Stables
19. Labour 7: Cretan Bull
20. Founding of the Olympics
21. Heracles & the Giant War
22. Heracles & Prometheus
23. Labour 8: Horses Diomedes
24. Labour 9: the Amazons
25. Labour 10: Cattle Geryon 
26. Heracles on Crete
27. Heracles & Antaeus
28. Heracles & Busiris
29. Heracles & Geryon
30. The Pillars of Heracles
31. Heracles & Vale of Tempe








What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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Aphrodite View Drop Down

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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 11:06
Can anyone please give me a link to information on the Athens sites.
Thank YouSmile

Edited by Aphrodite - 18-Mar-2012 at 17:23
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medenaywe View Drop Down
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 11:26
Please give me more about your post above!You need site of Athene town or...?
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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 17:21
I may be mistaken but was curious. In the Iliad when Achilles is speaking to his mother Thetis ...there is a mention of him grieving for a lost fair(women)...I am curios as to who they are mentioning? 
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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 17:25
looking for information on a lot of the ancient sites; Acropolis , Angora, etc.
Thanks for the reply! Smile
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 18:39
Originally posted by Aphrodite

I may be mistaken but was curious. In the Iliad when Achilles is speaking to his mother Thetis ...there is a mention of him grieving for a lost fair(women)...I am curios as to who they are mentioning? 
Chryseis is mentioned as being fair a lot I think, but as Achilles withdraws his support because of Briseis, and she is also considered to be fair, then I’m guessing it is Briseis. Maybe someone else can be much more clearer on the matter. If it's women and not woman then maybe he is lamenting the loss of both in the scheme of things.


What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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Aphrodite View Drop Down

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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 18:55
Thank you, you are is Briseis they are referring to. Wink
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 19:07
Originally posted by Aphrodite

I may be mistaken but was curious. In the Iliad when Achilles is speaking to his mother Thetis ...there is a mention of him grieving for a lost fair(women)...I am curios as to who they are mentioning? 

I thought Achilles was gay. His lover was his older (but lower-status) cousin Patroclus. Greek men did have relationships with women (like Achilles and Briseis), but homosexual partnerships were preferred as males were seen as more perfect

Why not introduce yourself in the Tavern Aphrodite (either start a new thread or post in this one)? We'd like to get to know our new members
Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!
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Aphrodite View Drop Down

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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 19:41
Originally posted by Nick1986

Originally posted by Aphrodite

I may be mistaken but was curious. In the Iliad when Achilles is speaking to his mother Thetis ...there is a mention of him grieving for a lost fair(women)...I am curios as to who they are mentioning? 

I thought Achilles was gay. His lover was his older (but lower-status) cousin Patroclus. Greek men did have relationships with women (like Achilles and Briseis), but homosexual partnerships were preferred as males were seen as more perfect

Why not introduce yourself in the Tavern Aphrodite (either start a new thread or post in this one)? We'd like to get to know our new members

I thought in the Iliad Patroclus was described as  Achilles comrade and brother in arms not cousin? 

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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 20:02
I thought Achilles and Patroclus were related, but it's been a long time since i read the Iliad. In the meantime, i found something about Pompeii that might interest you:
Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!
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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 20:20
Originally posted by Nick1986

I thought Achilles and Patroclus were related, but it's been a long time since i read the Iliad. In the meantime, i found something about Pompeii that might interest you:

I will start reading the links, thank you so much for your time in this.

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 21:02
Do you mean the first conversation between Achiles and Thetis, chapter I:

Achilles then, in tears,
withdrew from his companions, sat by the shore,
staring at the wide grey seas. Stretching out his hands,
he cried aloud, praying repeatedly to Thetis,
his beloved mother.*

                   “Mother, since you gave me life—                                               390
if only for a while—Olympian Zeus,
high thunderer, should give me due honour.
But he doesn’t grant me even slight respect.
For wide-ruling Agamemnon, Atreus’ son,
has shamed me, has taken away my prize,
appropriated it for his own use.”

                                                    As he said this, he wept.

His noble mother heard him from deep within the sea,
where she sat by her old father. Quickly she rose up,
moving above grey waters, like an ocean mist,
and settled down before him, as he wept.  She stroked him,
                                  400        [360]
then said:                                                                                                        

                    “My child, why these tears? What sorrows
weigh down your heart? Tell me, so we’ll both know.
Don’t hide from me what’s on your mind.”

With a deep groan, swift-footed Achilles then replied.

“You know. Why should I tell you what you know?
We came to Thebe, Eëtion’s sacred city,
sacked it, taking everything the city had.
Achaea’s sons apportioned it all fairly
amongst themselves. Agamemnon’s share
was fair-skinned Chryseis. Then Chryses arrived                                     
410        [370]
at the swift ships of bronze-armed Achaeans.
Archer god Apollo’s priest sought out his daughter.
He brought with him an enormous ransom,
carried in his hands the sacred golden staff
with the shawl of archer god Apollo.
He begged Achaeans, above all Atreus’ two sons,
the people’s leaders. All Achaeans called on them
to respect the priest, accept the splendid ransom.
But that didn’t please Agamemnon in his heart.
He sent him roughly off with harsh abusive orders                                  
The old man went away again, enraged.
He prayed to Apollo, who loved him well.
The god heard him and sent his deadly arrows
against the Argives. The troops kept dying,
one by one, as the god rained arrows down
throughout the wide Achaean army.
The prophet Calchas, understanding all,
told us Apollo’s will. At once I was the first
to recommend we all appease the god.
But anger got control of Agamemnon.
He stood up on the spot and made that threat
which he’s just carried out.  So quick-eyed Achaeans
are sending Chryseis in fast ships back to Chryse,
transporting gifts for lord Apollo, and heralds came
to take away Briseis from my huts,
the girl who is my gift from Achaea’s sons.
So now, if you can, protect your son.
Go to Mount Olympus, implore Zeus,
if ever you in word or deed have pleased him.
For often I have heard you boast in father’s house                                
that you alone of all the deathless gods
saved Zeus of the dark clouds from disgraceful ruin,
when other Olympians came to tie him up,
Hera, Pallas Athena, and Poseidon.
But you, goddess, came and set him free,
by quickly calling up to high Olympus
that hundred-handed monster gods call Briareos,
and men all name Aigaion, a creature
whose strength was greater than his father’s.*
He sat down beside the son of Cronos,
exulting in his glory. The sacred gods, afraid,
stopped tying up Zeus. So sit down right by Zeus,
clasp his knee, remind him of all that,
so he’ll want to help the Trojans somehow,
corner Achaeans by the sea, by their ships’ prows,
have them destroyed, so they all enjoy their king,
so the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon,
himself may see his foolishness, dishonouring
Achilles, the best of the Achaeans.”

Thetis, shedding tears, answered her son, Achilles:                                                      460

“O my child, why did I rear you,
since I brought you up to so much pain?
Would you were safely by your ships dry-eyed.
Your life is fated to be short—you’ll not live long.
Now, faced with a quick doom, you’re in distress,
more so than any other man. At home,
I gave you life marked by an evil fate.
But I’ll tell these things to thunder-loving Zeus.
I’ll go myself to snow-topped Mount Olympus,
to see if he will undertake all this.
Meanwhile, you should sit by your swift ships,
angry at Achaeans. Take no part in war.
For yesterday Zeus went to Oceanus,
to banquet with the worthy Ethiopians.
The gods all journeyed with him. In twelve days,
when he returns and comes home to Olympus,
I’ll go to Zeus’ bronze-floored house, clasp his knee.
I think I’ll get him to consent.”

                                                       Thetis spoke.
Then she went away, leaving Achilles there,
angry at heart for lovely girdled Briseis,
taken from him by force against his will...."

The only fair one that is lost here is Briseis - /lost to Achilles/ Partoclus is not killed yet.

Edited by Don Quixote - 18-Mar-2012 at 21:06
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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2012 at 09:21
Can anyone direct me to or provide a link for the following writers; Demosthenes, Lysias, Isokrates.. I'm currently researching the economy in ancient Greece and was made aware of these writers and their works being evidence to the economy during the classical era. If anyone can give me a link on their works or evidence in regards to the economy during the classical would be greatly appreciated.
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Don Quixote View Drop Down

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2012 at 09:41
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Aphrodite View Drop Down

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  Quote Aphrodite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2012 at 10:20
Don Quixote, Thank you!!
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