An Athenian Soap Opera: He Married the Girl And Then Impregnated Her Mother

In conversations with the great Festus about the historicity of an Athenian decree to increase the ravaged population by allowing men to have two wives, I was directed to look at the minor orator Andocides.  I didn’t finish or truly start my fact-finding mission because I was came upon the following anecdote.

(The Kallias in question here was a partisan of Perikles)

 

Andocides, On the Mysteries, 124-125

But look at the way that his child—whom he thought better to have assigned to the daughter of Epilykos—was born and how he [Kallias] fathered him. For this is really worth hearing, men.  First, he married the daughter of Isomakhos. After living with her for not even a year, he took her mother as a lover and this most wicked of all men lived with mother and daughter—he was priest for both mother and daughter and he had them both in his home.

And this man was not ashamed enough to fear the god. But Isomakhos’ daughter, when she understood what was happening, decided to die rather than live. She was rescued in the middle of hanging herself and when she survived, she left, kicked out of his house: the mother drove out the daughter!  But when he had his fill of her, he drove the mother out too! But she claimed she was pregnant by him. And he swore that the child did not come from him.”

᾿Αλλὰ γὰρ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τοῦτον, ᾧ λαχεῖν ἠξίωσε τῆς ᾿Επιλύκου θυγατρός, σκέψασθε πῶς γέγονε, καὶ πῶς ἐποιήσατ’ αὐτόν· ταῦτα γὰρ καὶ ἄξιον ἀκοῦσαι, ὦ ἄνδρες. Γαμεῖ μὲν ᾿Ισχομάχου θυγατέρα· ταύτῃ δὲ συνοικήσας οὐδ’ ἐνιαυτὸν τὴν μητέρα αὐτῆς ἔλαβε, καὶ συνῴκει ὁ πάντων σχετλιώτατος ἀνθρώπων τῇ μητρὶ καὶ τῇ θυγατρί, ἱερεὺς ὢν τῆς μητρὸς καὶ τῆς θυγατρός, καὶ εἶχεν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἀμφοτέρας.

Καὶ οὗτος μὲν οὐκ ᾐσχύνθη οὐδ’ ἔδεισε τὼ θεώ· ἡ δὲ τοῦ ᾿Ισχομάχου θυγάτηρ τεθνάναι νομίσασα λυσιτελεῖν ἢ ζῆν ὁρῶσα τὰ γιγνόμενα, ἀπαγχομένη μεταξὺ κατεκωλύθη, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἀνεβίω, ἀποδρᾶσα ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας ᾤχετο, καὶ ἐξήλασεν ἡ μήτηρ τὴν θυγατέρα. Ταύτης δ’ αὖ διαπεπλησμένος ἐξέβαλε καὶ ταύτην. ῾Η δ’ ἔφη κυεῖν ἐξ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἔτεκεν υἱόν, ἔξαρνος ἦν μὴ εἶναι ἐξ αὑτοῦ τὸ παιδίον.

 

mother vase.jpg
Is there an Ancient Greek word for “mother-in-law-f*cker”?

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