Dionysus of Halicarnassus: Aeneas and Odysseus Get a Place Together

Dionys. Hal. A. R. I, c. 72: (Fowler 2000,68; Damastes fr. 3)

“After summarizing the sacrifices in Argos and how everything was done with each, he says that Aineas came from the Molossoi to Italy with Odysseus and became the founder of the city. And he named it.”

῾Ο τὰς ἱερείας τὰς ἐν ῎Αργει καὶ τὰ καθ’ ἑκάστην πραχθέντα συναγαγὼν Αἰνείαν φησὶν ἐκ Μολοττῶν εἰς ᾿Ιταλίαν ἐλθόντα μετ’ ᾿Οδυσσέως, οἰκιστὴν γενέσθαι τῆς πόλεως· ὀνομάσαι

As Fowler (Early Greek Mythography 2. 2013, 564-5) notes, the Greek could mean either that Aeneas came to Italy with Odysseus or came to Italy and founded the city with Odysseus. Either way, the story is certainly not one at home in our Odyssey.

Note though that the close collocation of Odysseus and Aeneas appears in Hesiod’s Theogony too (1008-1013):

“And well-crowned Kythereia gave birth to Aeneias
after having lovely sex with the hero Anchises
on the hills of windy Ida with its many valleys.
And Kirke the daughter of Helios the son of Hyperion
after sex with enduring-minded Odysseus
gave birth to Agrios and blameless and strong Latinus.”

Αἰνείαν δ’ ἄρ’ ἔτικτεν ἐυστέφανος Κυθέρεια,
᾿Αγχίσῃ ἥρωι μιγεῖσ’ ἐρατῇ φιλότητι
῎Ιδης ἐν κορυφῇσι πολυπτύχου ἠνεμοέσσης.
Κίρκη δ’ ᾿Ηελίου θυγάτηρ ῾Υπεριονίδαο
γείνατ’ ᾿Οδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος ἐν φιλότητι
῎Αγριον ἠδὲ Λατῖνον ἀμύμονά τε κρατερόν τε·

It may be important that a possible reference is here too to Italy (in the name Latinus). In other texts, there is still an indirect association between Aeneas, Odysseus and the founding of Rome:

Geoponica, (10th Century CE)

“For they say that Latinus was the brother of Telegonos and the son of Circe. and the father-in-law of Aeneas, that he founded the Akropolis before Aeneas arrived, and discovered laurel there.”

τὸ παλάτιον ὠνομάσθη, ἀπὸ τῆς ἐπικλήσεως δάφνης τῆς ἐν ῾Ρώμῃ. φασὶ γὰρ Λατῖνον τὸν Τηλεγόνου μὲν ἀδελφόν, Κίρκης δὲ παῖδα, πενθερὸν δὲ Αἰνείου, κτίζοντα τὴν ἀκρόπολιν πρὸ τῆς Αἰνείου παρουσίας, εὑρηκέναι ἐκεῖ δάφνην.

Heroes getting a new home together? Made me think of the Ballad of Ron Burgundy:

5 thoughts on “Dionysus of Halicarnassus: Aeneas and Odysseus Get a Place Together

  1. What’s the “Geopontica”? (Okay, actually, from the title, I’m assuming it’s some kind of travel narration, mostly in the area of Pontus…) I’m assuming we don’t know who wrote it, or you’d have said the author’s name, but is it available in translation in a book? It looks like something I should have a source for my paper. (On the Aeneid as Augustan propaganda, and particularly as one that shaped all (or at least much of) later propaganda. I’m starting out by establishing the older variants of the Aeneas myth that were superseded by the Julian version as the “true” version in Rome.) When does the “Geopontica” date to? (Roughly, I mean.)

    I have to say, though, if Latinus is supposed to have gotten to Italy before Aineias *and* had a daughter of marriageable age in that version, then Aineias had to be really taking his sweet time getting there!

    1. Ah, I spelled it wrong! The Geoponica is a text from the 10th century CE. The Teubner (Geoponica, ed. H. Beckh, Geoponica. Leipzig: Teubner, 1895:
      1-529) is in the TLG. That’s about all I know about it. On stuff like this, the barebones wikipedia is decent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoponica.

      And the tale is a bit messed up. Perhaps in this version, Aeneas spent a little longer in Africa…

      1. Ah, if it’s that late, it may incorporate some mythographer errors as well as older versions. (Like how either Dictys or Dares (I forget which) confuses Peleus and Pelias, and Catreus and Atreus…) Still, it should make an interesting source; I’ll have to see if my university’s library has it, or if I can get it on interlibrary loan if they don’t. Thanks for the info!

  2. PMJI, but this is a most interesting thread. I would be careful about “the Julian version as the “true” version in Rome” [presumably “Julian” = Augustan]. There was a time when Augustan authors were uniformly considered to be writing what the Princeps wanted. But since the 1960s that monolithic view has come under severe attack. Michale Putnam began it on the Aeneid, and while he and others have refined the initial view, it remains the most plausible one. Same goes for other Augustan poets; Ralph Johnson’s article on Propertius’ Actium poem, many on Ovid including my own “Rethinking Augustan Poetry” (Latomus 42 [1983]).

    Moreover, the conditions of literacy and book publishing and communication practically ensured that there would be variant versions circulating at various stages in antiquity; competition to any “true” version might exist under the radar, as it were, thence to get into various works like the GeoP.

    So be careful! You might get into very heavy traffic indeed with your assertion when others read and comment!

    Full disclosure: Michale Putnam is a friend and former teacher; Ralph Johnson is a friend, many have written on Ovid and the Augustans, and I cite myself only for convenience, not for canonicity. It all goes back to my distant grad school days when my dissertation treated Aeneid 7-12.

    Feel free to get in touch, either here, or on Twitter (@chopin_slut).


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