Many Absurd Tales: Some Fragments from Hekataios

Hekataios of Miletus is a fragmentary Greek Historian. Here are some selections:

Fr. 1a
“I write these things as they seem to me to be true: for the stories of the Greeks, as it seems to me, are many and absurd.”
·τάδε γράφω, ὥς μοι δοκεῖ ἀληθέα εἶναι· οἱ γὰρ ῾Ελλήνων λόγοι πολλοί τε καὶ γελοῖοι, ὡς ἐμοὶ φαίνονται, εἰσίν» s. T 19.

Fr. 6

“A boar was in the mountain and he did many terrible things to the Psophidians”

«κάπρος ἦν ἐν τῶι ὄρει καὶ Ψωφιδίους κακὰ πόλλ’ ἔοργεν».


Fr. 15 from Athenaeus II 35 AB

“Hekataios the Milesian says that the grape-vine was discovered in Aitolia, and he adds: “Orestheus the son of Deukalion came to Aitolia for the kingship, and a dog found a stump there. And he ordered it to be dug up. And a many-bunched vine grew from it. For this reason he also named his child Phutios. Oeneus was born from him. He was named from the grapes too. For the ancient Greeks, they say, used to call ampelous [grape-vines] oinas. Aitolos was born from Oeneus.”

ATHENAI. II 35 AB: ῾Εκαταῖος δ’ ὁ Μιλήσιος τὴν ἄμπελον ἐν
Αἰτωλίαι λέγων εὑρεθῆναί φησι καὶ τάδε· «᾿Ορεσθεὺς ὁ Δευκαλίωνος ἦλθεν εἰς Αἰτωλίαν ἐπὶ βασιλείαι, καὶ κύων αὐτοῦ στέλεχος ἔτεκε, καὶ ὃς ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸ κατορυχθῆναι, καὶ ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἔφυ ἄμπελος πολυστάφυλος· διὸ καὶ τὸν αὑτοῦπαῖδα Φύτιον ἐκάλεσε. τούτου δ’ Οἰνεὺς ἐγένετο, κληθεὶς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀμπέλων (οἱ γὰρ παλαιοί, φησιν, ῞Ελληνες οἴνας ἐκάλουν τὰς ἀμπέλους)· Οἰνέως δ’ ἐγένετο Αἰτωλός.»

Image result for Phrixus and the ram

Fr. 17
“There is the account in Hekataios that the ram talked to [Phrixos]. Others say that he sailed on a ship with a ram’s prow. Dionysus claims that Krion was Phrixos’ tutor and he sailed with him to Kolkhos.”
. ἡ δὲ ἱστορία κεῖται παρὰ ῾Εκαταίωι ὅτι ὁ κριὸς ἐλάλησεν. ἔνιοι δέ φασιν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ κριοπρώρου σκάφους πλεῦσαι. Διονύσιος δὲ ἐν β (32 F 2) Κριόν φησι Φρίξου τροφέα γενέσθαι καὶ συμπεπλευκέναι αὐτῶι εἰς Κόλχους.

Fr. 27a

“But Hekataios found a likely story, when he claims that a terrible serpent grew in Tainaros and was called the dog of Hades. And that it was necessary that someone bitten by it would die immediately because of its venom. And Herkataios says that the serpent was killed by Herakles for Eurystheus.”

ἀλλὰ ῾Εκαταῖος μὲν ὁ Μιλήσιος λόγον εὗρεν εἰκότα, ὄφιν φήσας ἐπὶ
Ταινάρωι τραφῆναι δεινόν, κληθῆναι δὲ ῞Αιδου κύνα, ὅτι ἔδει τὸν δηχθέντα τεθνάναι παραυτίκα ὑπὸ τοῦ ἰοῦ· καὶ τοῦτον ἔφη τὸν ὄφιν ὑπὸ ῾Ηρακλέους ἀχθῆναι παρ’ Εὐρυσθέα.

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