“The Dog’s Grave”: Did Odysseus Kill Hecuba?

At the end of Euripides’ Trojan Women, Hektor’s mother Hekabe (Hecuba) is taken as a servant by Odysseus. Hekabe, however, does not make it back to Ithaka or appear in the Odyssey. What happens?

Apollodorus Epitome, 5.23

“After killing the Trojan men, they burned the city and divided the spoils. Once they had sacrificed to all the gods, they threw Astyanax from the towers and sacrificed Polyxena on Achilles’ tomb. As a reward, Agamemnon took Kasandra, Neoptolemos took Andromakhe, and Odysseus took Hekabê. Some report that Helenos took her and he crossed to the Chersonnese with her and buried her there after she turned into a dog. This place is now called “Dog’s Grave”.

[23] κτείναντες δὲ τοὺς Τρῶας τὴν πόλιν ἐνέπρησαν καὶ τὰ λάφυρα ἐμερίσαντο. καὶ θύσαντες πᾶσι τοῖς θεοῖς Ἀστυάνακτα ἀπὸ τῶν πύργων ἔρριψαν, Πολυξένην δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ Ἀχιλλέως τάφῳ κατέσφαξαν. λαμβάνει δὲ Ἀγαμέμνων μὲν κατ᾽ ἐξαίρετον Κασάνδραν, Νεοπτόλεμος δὲ Ἀνδρομάχην, Ὀδυσσεὺς δὲ Ἑκάβην. ὡς δὲ ἔνιοι λέγουσιν, Ἕλενος αὐτὴν λαμβάνει, καὶ διακομισθεὶς εἰς Χερρόνησον σὺν αὐτῇ κύνα γενομένην θάπτει, ἔνθα νῦν λέγεται Κυνὸς σῆμα.

This story seems a bit strange, but it is not the only passage that combines a remarkable burial place for Hecuba and Odysseus’ winning of her.

Suda

“Dog’s Grave”: Odysseus, once he sailed to Marôneia during the departure from Troy and because he did not agree to leave the ships assailed them in war and took all their wealth. There, because she was cursing the army and making a ruckus, he killed Hekabe by stoning her and buried her near the sea, naming the place the “Bitch’s Grave”.

Κυνὸς σῆμα: ᾿Οδυσσεὺς κατὰ τὸν ἀπόπλουν παραπλεύσας εἰς Μαρώνειαν καὶ μὴ συγχωρούμενος τῶν νεῶν ἀποβῆναι διακρίνεται τούτοις πολέμῳ καὶ λαμβάνει τὸν πλοῦτον αὐτῶν ἅπαντα. ἐκεῖ δὲ τὴν ῾Εκάβην καταρωμένην τῷ στρατῷ καὶ θορύβους κινοῦσαν λίθων βολαῖς ἀνεῖλε καὶ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν καλύπτει, ὀνομάσας τὸν τόπον Κυνὸς σῆμα.

Why did Hecuba turn into a dog?

Scholia to Lykophron’s Alexandra, 1176. 14-17

“They say that Hekabe was a witch and a follower of Hekate and for this reason, even if they are speaking nonsense, Hekabe turned into a dog when she was killed with stones. They also say that black, frightening dogs accompanied Hekate.”

ἑπωπίδα δὲ καὶ ἀκόλουθον τῆς ῾Εκάτης φησὶ τὴν ῾Εκάβην, ὅτι, καθάπερ ληροῦσιν (13128), ἡ ῾Εκάβη κύων γεγονυῖα λίθοις ἀνῃρέθη· καὶ τῇ ῾Εκάτῃ δέ
φασιν ἕπεσθαι κύνας μελαίνας φοβεράς. (Ap. Γ 1217)

It is not always the case that Odysseus stoned Hekabe:

Scholia to Euripides’ Hecuba 1259.10-12

“The story is that Hecuba was turned into a dog’s shape and then climbed down to the lowest part of the mast or the sailyard. He threw her into the sea and she drowned.”

μυθεύεται γὰρ ὡς εἰς κυνὸς εἶδος μεταβληθεῖσα ῾Εκάβη καὶ ἀνελθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ἀνωτάτῳ τοῦ ἱστοῦ, ἤτοι τοῦ κέρατος, ἔρριψεν αὑτὴν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἀπεπνίγη.

And some see Euripides’ play Hecuba as anticipating the famous tomb:

Scholia to Euripides’Hecuba, 1271-2:

The tomb will have your name: You grave, he means, will take your name in popular knowledge. For everyone will call it the tomb of the dog. Asclepiades says that people call it the “Tomb of the Ill-fated Dog”

An enchanter of form”: Instead of a nickname based on my form, the grave will be named for what I have now or something else you said. As Polymestor predicts. The grave will not be named for Hekabe, but will be known to sailors as the “Dog’s Grave”. Whenever sailors come to that place where Hekabe’s grave is, then they will know they are nearing dry land.”

† τύμβῳ δ’ ὄνομα σὸν κεκλήσεται: ὁ τάφος σου, φησὶν,τὸ σὸν ὄνομα εἰς κλῆσιν λάβῃ. πάντες γὰρ κυνὸς τάφον αὐτὸν καλοῦσι, καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιάδης φησὶν ὅτι κυνὸς καλοῦσι δυσμόρου σῆμα: —A

† μορφῆς ἐπῳδόν: ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐπώνυμον τῆς ἐμῆς μορφῆς κληθήσεται τὸ σῆμα ἧς ἔχω νῦν, ἢ τί ἕτερον εἴπῃς. καί φησι Πολυμήστωρ· οὐ τάφος ῾Εκάβης κληθήσεται, ἀλλὰ κυνὸς σημεῖον τοῖς ναύταις ἐπίδηλον· ὅταν γὰρ ἀπέλθωσιν εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν τόπον οἱ ναῦται ἔνθαἐστὶν ὁ τῆς ῾Εκάβης τάφος, τότε γινώσκουσιν ὡς εἰς ξηράν εἰσιν: —A

Schol. to Euripides’ Hecuba 1273.1-2

“Of a wretched dog”: Asclepiades also says concerning the Dog’s Grave that some people call it the “Tomb of the Ill-Fated Dog.

κυνὸς ταλαίνης: περὶ τοῦ κυνὸς σήματος καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιάδηςφησὶν ὅτι κυνὸς καλοῦσι δυσμόρου σῆμα: —B

Polyxena
Polyxena. Another one of Hecuba’s children slaughtered

More Preposterous Etymologies: “Lipless” Achilles

While most Homerists (I think) accept the argument advanced by L. R. Palmer and Gregory Nagy that Achilles’ name (Akhilleus) derives from akhos (“woe”, “grief”) and laos (“host, people, army”), some ancient authors had different ideas.

Apollodorus. 3.172.4-5

“After Thetis gave birth to a child with Peleus, she wanted to make him immortal—without Peleus knowing, she used to cover him in fire at night to destroy his mortal inheritance from his father, and at day she rubbed him down with ambrosia. After Peleus discovered this and saw his son struggling in the fire, he cried out. And Thetis, prevented from completing her plan, abandoned her child and went to the daughters of Nereus. But Peleus took his child to Kheiron. Kheiron accepted him and fed him the innards of lions wild boars and with the marrow of bears. And he named him Achilles, because his lips (kheile) never touched [her] breasts. Previously, his name was Ligurôn.”

So the explanation here, is that his name is ‘alpha-privative’, meaning something like “Lipless”

ὡς δὲ ἐγέννησε Θέτις ἐκ Πηλέως βρέφος, ἀθάνατον θέλουσα ποιῆσαι τοῦτο, κρύφα Πηλέως εἰς τὸ πῦρ ἐγκρύβουσα τῆς νυκτὸς ἔφθειρεν ὃ ἦν αὐτῷ θνητὸν πατρῷον, μεθ’ ἡμέραν δὲ ἔχριεν ἀμβροσίᾳ. Πηλεὺς δὲ ἐπιτηρήσας καὶ σπαίροντα τὸν παῖδα ἰδὼν ἐπὶ τοῦ πυρὸς ἐβόησε·  καὶ Θέτις κωλυθεῖσα τὴν προαίρεσιν τελειῶσαι, νήπιον τὸν παῖδα ἀπολιποῦσα πρὸς Νηρηίδας ᾤχετο. κομίζει δὲ τὸν παῖδα πρὸς Χείρωνα Πηλεύς. ὁ δὲ λαβὼν αὐτὸν ἔτρεφε σπλάγχνοις λεόντων καὶ συῶν ἀγρίων καὶ ἄρκτων μυελοῖς, καὶ ὠνόμασεν ᾿Αχιλλέα (πρότερον δὲ ἦν ὄνομα ὠνόμασεν ᾿Αχιλλέα (πρότερον δὲ ἦν ὄνομα αὐτῷ Λιγύρων) ὅτι τὰ χείλη μαστοῖς οὐ προσήνεγκε.

Kallierges, Etymologicum Magnum 182

“Akhilleus: [this name comes from] lessening grief, for Achilles was a doctor. Or it is because of the woe, which is pain, he brought to his mother and the Trojans. Or it is from not touching his lips to food [khilê]. For he had no serving of milk at all, but was fed with stag-marrow by Kheiron. This is why he was hailed by the Myrmidons in the following way, according to Euphoriôn:

He came to Phthia without ever tasting any food
This is why the Myrmidons named him Achilles.”

᾿Αχιλλεύς: Παρὰ τὸ ἄχος λύειν· ἰατρὸς γὰρ ἦν. ῍Η διὰ τὸ ἄχος (ὅ ἐστι λύπην) ἐπενεγκεῖν τῇ μητρὶ καὶ τοῖς ᾿Ιλιεῦσιν. ῍Η διὰ τὸ μὴ θίγειν χείλεσι χιλῆς, ὅ ἐστι τροφῆς· ὅλως γὰρ οὐ μετέσχε γάλακτος, ἀλλὰ μυελοῖς ἐλάφων ἐτράφη ὑπὸ Χείρωνος. ῞Οτι ὑπὸ Μυρμιδόνων ἐκλήθη, καθά φησιν Εὐφορίων,

᾿Ες Φθίην χιλοῖο κατήϊε πάμπαν ἄπαστος.
τοὔνεκα Μυρμιδόνες μιν ᾿Αχιλέα φημίξαντο.

Image result for achilles and chiron

Orpheus-Poet, Philosopher, Sacrificial Victim

Orpheus, the legendary poet, is now well-known for his failed attempt to bring his wife Eurydice back from the underworld (Vergil, Georgics 4.545 and Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.8 love this tale. Here’s the version from Apollodorus.). Classical Greece, however, seems to offer little evidence of the popularity of this tale. Instead? Orpheus was a philosopher!

From Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Preface

“Those who attempt to credit philosophy’s discovery to the barbarians also offer as proof Orpheus the Thracian, claiming that he was a philosopher and that he was the oldest, but I do not know if it is right to call him a philosopher when he professed such things about the gods—and what is it right to call a man who refuses to attribute all human suffering to the gods and even the shameful things done by the words of just a few men? The story is that Orpheus was torn to pieces by women. But there is an epigram at Dion in Macedonia that says he was struck by lightning:

The muses interred here golden-lyred Orpheus
Whom Zeus on high killed with a sizzling bolt.

Οἱ δὲ τὴν εὕρεσιν διδόντες ἐκείνοις παράγουσι καὶ ᾿Ορφέα τὸν Θρᾷκα, λέγοντες φιλόσοφον γεγονέναι καὶ εἶναι ἀρχαιότατον. ἐγὼ δέ, εἰ τὸν περὶ θεῶν ἐξαγορεύσαντα τοιαῦτα χρὴ φιλόσοφον καλεῖν οὐκ οἶδα, <οὐδὲ> τίνα δεῖ προσαγορεύειν τὸν πᾶν τὸ ἀνθρώπειον πάθος ἀφειδοῦντα τοῖς θεοῖς προστρῖψαι, καὶ τὰ σπανίως ὑπό τινων ἀνθρώπων αἰσχρουργούμενα τῷ τῆς φωνῆς ὀργάνῳ. τοῦτον δὲ ὁ μὲν μῦθος ὑπὸ γυναικῶν ἀπολέσθαι φησί· τὸ δ’ ἐν Δίῳ τῆς Μακεδονίας ἐπίγραμμα, κεραυνωθῆναι αὐτόν, λέγον οὕτως (A. Pal. vii. 617)·

Θρήϊκα χρυσολύρην τῇδ’ ᾿Ορφέα Μοῦσαι ἔθαψαν,
ὃν κτάνεν ὑψιμέδων Ζεὺς ψολόεντι βέλει.

The bit about Orpheus’ death confused me too, so I did a little digging and found an explanation in Eratosthenes’ Star Myths 1.24:

“After he went into Hades for his wife and saw that things were there, he honored Dionysus no longer, even though he was famous because of him, and he worshipped Helios beyond the other gods, one he also called Apollo. He would wake every night before dawn, climb a mountain named Pangaion, and await the sun’s rays so that he might see Helios first. Dionysus was mad at him over this so he sent the Bassarides against him, as the tragic poet Aeschylus records. They tore him apart and scattered his limbs. The muses gathered him up and buried him at the place called Leibethra.

διὰ τῆς ᾠδῆς· διὰ δὲ τὴν
γυναῖκα εἰς ῞Αιδου καταβὰς
καὶ ἰδὼν τὰ ἐκεῖ οἷα ἦν
τὸν μὲν Διόνυσον οὐκ
ἐτίμα, ὑφ’ οὗ ἦν δεδοξα-
σμένος, τὸν δὲ ῞Ηλιον μέ-
γιστον τῶν θεῶν ἐνόμισεν,
ὃν καὶ ᾿Απόλλωνα προση-
γόρευσεν· ἐπεγειρόμενός τε
τὴν νύκτα κατὰ τὴν ἑω-
θινὴν ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος τὸ κα-
λούμενον Πάγγαιον <ἀνι- ὼν> προσέμενε τὰς ἀνατο-
λάς, ἵνα ἴδῃ <τὸν ῞Ηλιον>
πρῶτον· ὅθεν ὁ Διόνυσος
ὀργισθεὶς αὐτῷ ἔπεμψε τὰς
Βασσαρίδας, ὥς φησιν
Αἰσχύλος ὁ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν
ποιητής· αἳ διέσπασαν αὐ-
τὸν καὶ τὰ μέλη ἔρριψαν
χωρὶς ἕκαστον· αἱ δὲ Μοῦ-
σαι συναγαγοῦσαι ἔθαψαν
ἐπὶ τοῖς καλουμένοις Λει-
βήθροις.

K20.7Kalliope
Kalliope, collecting Orpheus’ Head

“The Dog’s Grave”: Did Odysseus Kill Hecuba?

At the end of Euripides’ Trojan Women, Hektor’s mother Hekabe (Hecuba) is taken as a servant by Odysseus. Hekabe, however, does not make it back to Ithaka or appear in the Odyssey. What happens?

 

Apollodorus Epitome, 5.23

“After killing the Trojan men, they burned the city and divided the spoils. Once they had sacrificed to all the gods, they threw Astyanax from the towers and sacrificed Polyxena on Achilles’ tomb. As a reward, Agamemnon took Kasandra, Neoptolemos took Andromakhe, and Odysseus took Hekabê. Some report that Helenos took her and he crossed to the Chersonnese with her and buried her there after she turned into a dog. This place is now called “Dog’s Grave”.

[23] κτείναντες δὲ τοὺς Τρῶας τὴν πόλιν ἐνέπρησαν καὶ τὰ λάφυρα ἐμερίσαντο. καὶ θύσαντες πᾶσι τοῖς θεοῖς Ἀστυάνακτα ἀπὸ τῶν πύργων ἔρριψαν, Πολυξένην δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ Ἀχιλλέως τάφῳ κατέσφαξαν. λαμβάνει δὲ Ἀγαμέμνων μὲν κατ᾽ ἐξαίρετον Κασάνδραν, Νεοπτόλεμος δὲ Ἀνδρομάχην, Ὀδυσσεὺς δὲ Ἑκάβην. ὡς δὲ ἔνιοι λέγουσιν, Ἕλενος αὐτὴν λαμβάνει, καὶ διακομισθεὶς εἰς Χερρόνησον σὺν αὐτῇ κύνα γενομένην θάπτει, ἔνθα νῦν λέγεται Κυνὸς σῆμα.

This story seems a bit strange, but it is not the only passage that combines a remarkable burial place for Hecuba and Odysseus’ winning of her.

Suda

“Dog’s Grave”: Odysseus, once he sailed to Marôneia during the departure from Troy and because he did not agree to leave the ships assailed them in war and took all their wealth. There, because she was cursing the army and making a ruckus, he killed Hekabe by stoning her and buried her near the sea, naming the place the “Bitch’s Grave”.

 
Κυνὸς σῆμα: ᾿Οδυσσεὺς κατὰ τὸν ἀπόπλουν παραπλεύσας εἰς Μαρώνειαν καὶ μὴ συγχωρούμενος τῶν νεῶν ἀποβῆναι διακρίνεται τούτοις πολέμῳ καὶ λαμβάνει τὸν πλοῦτον αὐτῶν ἅπαντα. ἐκεῖ δὲ τὴν ῾Εκάβην καταρωμένην τῷ στρατῷ καὶ θορύβους κινοῦσαν λίθων βολαῖς ἀνεῖλε καὶ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν καλύπτει, ὀνομάσας τὸν τόπον Κυνὸς σῆμα.

 

Why did Hecuba turn into a dog?

Scholia to Lykophron’s Alexandra, 1176. 14-17

“They say that Hekabe was a witch and a follower of Hekate and for this reason, even if they are speaking nonsense, Hekabe turned into a dog when she was killed with stones. They also say that black, frightening dogs accompanied Hekate.”

ἑπωπίδα δὲ καὶ ἀκόλουθον τῆς ῾Εκάτης φησὶ τὴν ῾Εκάβην, ὅτι, καθάπερ ληροῦσιν (13128), ἡ ῾Εκάβη κύων γεγονυῖα λίθοις ἀνῃρέθη· καὶ τῇ ῾Εκάτῃ δέ
φασιν ἕπεσθαι κύνας μελαίνας φοβεράς. (Ap. Γ 1217)

 

It is not always the case that Odysseus stoned Hekabe:

Scholia to Euripides’ Hecuba 1259.10-12

“The story is that Hecuba was turned into a dog’s shape and then climbed down to the lowest part of the mast or the sailyard. He threw her into the sea and she drowned.”

μυθεύεται γὰρ ὡς εἰς κυνὸς εἶδος μεταβληθεῖσα ῾Εκάβη καὶ ἀνελθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ἀνωτάτῳ τοῦ ἱστοῦ, ἤτοι τοῦ κέρατος, ἔρριψεν αὑτὴν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἀπεπνίγη.

 

And some see Euripides’ play Hecuba as anticipating the famous tomb:

Scholia to Euripides’Hecuba, 1271-2:

The tomb will have your name: You grave, he means, will take your name in popular knowledge. For everyone will call it the tomb of the dog. Asclepiades says that people call it the “Tomb of the Ill-fated Dog”

An enchanter of form”: Instead of a nickname based on my form, the grave will be named for what I have now or something else you said. As Polymestor predicts. The grave will not be named for Hekabe, but will be known to sailors as the “Dog’s Grave”. Whenever sailors come to that place where Hekabe’s grave is, then they will know they are nearing dry land.”

† τύμβῳ δ’ ὄνομα σὸν κεκλήσεται: ὁ τάφος σου, φησὶν,τὸ σὸν ὄνομα εἰς κλῆσιν λάβῃ. πάντες γὰρ κυνὸς τάφον αὐτὸν καλοῦσι, καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιάδης φησὶν ὅτι κυνὸς καλοῦσι δυσμόρου σῆμα: —A

† μορφῆς ἐπῳδόν: ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐπώνυμον τῆς ἐμῆς μορφῆς κληθήσεται τὸ σῆμα ἧς ἔχω νῦν, ἢ τί ἕτερον εἴπῃς. καί φησι Πολυμήστωρ· οὐ τάφος ῾Εκάβης κληθήσεται, ἀλλὰ κυνὸς σημεῖον τοῖς ναύταις ἐπίδηλον· ὅταν γὰρ ἀπέλθωσιν εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν τόπον οἱ ναῦται ἔνθαἐστὶν ὁ τῆς ῾Εκάβης τάφος, τότε γινώσκουσιν ὡς εἰς ξηράν εἰσιν: —A

Schol. to Euripides’ Hecuba 1273.1-2

“Of a wretched dog”: Asclepiades also says concerning the Dog’s Grave that some people call it the “Tomb of the Ill-Fated Dog.

κυνὸς ταλαίνης: περὶ τοῦ κυνὸς σήματος καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιάδηςφησὶν ὅτι κυνὸς καλοῦσι δυσμόρου σῆμα: —B

 

Polyxena
Polyxena. Another one of Hecuba’s children slaughtered

Fragments about Deucalion, the “Greek Noah”

Acusilaos, fr. 34 (from Scholia to the Odyssey)

“Deukalion, in whose time the flood happened, was a son of Prometheus, and his mother, as most say, was Klymene. But Hesiod says that it was Pronoê whereas Acusilaos claims he was the son of the Oceanid Hesione and Prometheus.”

SCHOL. H Q HOM. Od. κ 2: Δευκαλίων, ἐφ’ οὗ ὁ κατακλυσμὸς γέγονε, Προμηθέως μὲν ἦν υἱός, μητρὸς δέ, ὡς <οἱ> πλεῖστοι λέγουσι, Κλυμένης· ὡς δὲ ῾Ησίοδος (F 3) Προνόης· ὡς δὲ ᾿Ακουσίλαος ῾Ησιόνης τῆς ᾿Ωκεανοῦ καὶ Προμηθέως.

 

Hekataios, fr. 13 (from Scholia to Thucydides, 1.3.2)

“Hekataios records that Deukalion had three children: Pronoos, Orestheus, and Marathonios. He also says that Hellen was the son of Pronoos.”

SCHOL. THUKYD. I 3, 2: ῾Εκαταῖος ἱστορεῖ, ὅτι Δευκαλίων τρεῖς παῖδας ἔσχε, Πρόνοον, ᾿Ορεσθέα καὶ Μαραθώνιον. Προνόου δὲ τὸν ῞Ελληνά φησι γενέσθαι.

 

Hellanicus, fr. 2 (from the Scholia to Apollonius Rhodes, 3.1086)

“There Prometheus the son of Iapetos fathered good Deucalion who was the first to make cities and build temples to the gods; he was also the first man to rule as king. In in the beginning of his Catalog, Hesiod says that Deukalion is the son of Pandora. He also records that Hellen is the son of Deucalion and Purrha, the origin of Hellenes and the term Hellas. Hellanikos records that Deukalion ruled as king of Thessaly in the first part of his Deukalionea. In the same section, Hellanicus claims records that Deucalion built an altar to the twelve gods.”

 

SCHOL. APOLL. RHOD. III 1086: ἔνθα Προμηθεὺς ᾿Ιαπετιονίδης ἀγαθὸν τέκε Δευκαλίωνα, ὃς πρῶτος ποίησε πόλεις καὶ ἐδείματο νηοὺς ἀθανάτοις, πρῶτος δὲ καὶ ἀνθρώπων βασίλευσεν] ὅτι Προμηθέως καὶ Πανδώρας υἱὸς Δευκαλίων ῾Ησίοδος ἐν πρώτωι Καταλόγων (F 2) φησί· καὶ ὅτι Δευκαλίωνος καὶ Πύρρας ῞Ελλην, ἀφ’ οὗ ῞Ελληνες καὶ ῾Ελλάς. ὅτι δὲ Δευκαλίων ἐβασίλευσε Θεσσαλίας ῾Ελλάνικος ἐν πρώτωι τῆς Δευκαλιωνείας φησίν. ὅτι δὲ καὶ ιβ θεῶν βωμὸν Δευκαλίων ἱδρύσατο ῾Ελλάνικος ἐν τῶι αὐτῶι φησι συγγράμματι. II 1085: ὅτι δὲ Προμηθέως υἱὸς Δευκαλίων ἐβασίλευσε Θεσσαλίας ῾Ελλάνικός φησι· καὶ ὅτι δώδεκα θεῶν βωμὸν ἱδρύσατο.

 

 

Apollodorus, 1.46

“So Prometheus paid this penalty for the theft of fire until Herakles freed him later on, as I made clear in the sections on Herakles. Then the child of Prometheus, Deukalion, was born. He was king in the regions around Phthia and he married Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora, who was the first woman the gods created. When Zeus decided to destroy the bronze race, Deucalion built a chest for himself and placed everything he needed in it and entered it with Pyrrha—as Prometheus advised.”

καὶ Προμηθεὺς μὲν πυρὸς κλαπέντος δίκην ἔτινε ταύτην, μέχρις ῾Ηρακλῆς αὐτὸν ὕστερον ἔλυσεν, ὡς ἐν τοῖς καθ’ ῾Ηρακλέα δηλώσομεν· Προμηθέως δὲ παῖς Δευκαλίων ἐγένετο. οὗτος βασιλεύων τῶν περὶ τὴν Φθίαν τόπων γαμεῖ Πύρραν τὴν ᾿Επιμηθέως καὶ Πανδώρας, ἣν ἔπλασαν θεοὶ πρώτην γυναῖκα. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀφανίσαι Ζεὺς τὸ χαλκοῦν ἠθέλησε γένος, ὑποθεμένου Προμηθέως Δευκαλίων τεκτηνάμενος λάρνακα, καὶ τὰ ἐπιτήδεια ἐνθέμενος, εἰς ταύτην μετὰ Πύρρας εἰσέβη.

 

 

Multiformity in Myth: The Children of Odysseus

[Inspired by the Almeida Theater’s live performance of the Odyssey today, we are reposting some of our favorite passages]

(For a more conventional paper-based version of the following, go here)

When Odysseus and Telemachus finally meet in book 16 of the Odyssey, the father is suddenly stripped of his disguise to reveal himself to his son. Telemachus, shocked, believes that this is instead some god come to trick him. Odysseus, frustrated by the slight delay in reunion, tells his son that “no other Odysseus will come home to you” (16.204). Although from the perspective of the narrative the audience knows that this is in fact Odysseus (and even though Telemachus immediately relents and embraces his father), the line prompts us to think of what it means to say that this man is Odysseus and to ponder what “another” Odysseus might be.

One of the things nearly everyone knows is that Odysseus, the son of Laertes, has a son named Telemachus. This fact is asseverated early in the Iliad when Odysseus makes an oath based on his identity (2.260-64):

“May I be called the father of Telemachus no longer
If I don’t grab you and strip the fine clothes from your back,
The cloak and the tunic that hides your genitals;
And then I will send you wailing among the swift ships
As I beat you from the assembly with unseemly blows.”

μηδ’ ἔτι Τηλεμάχοιο πατὴρ κεκλημένος εἴην
εἰ μὴ ἐγώ σε λαβὼν ἀπὸ μὲν φίλα εἵματα δύσω,
χλαῖνάν τ’ ἠδὲ χιτῶνα, τά τ’ αἰδῶ ἀμφικαλύπτει,
αὐτὸν δὲ κλαίοντα θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας ἀφήσω
πεπλήγων ἀγορῆθεν ἀεικέσσι πληγῇσιν.

Odysseus also refers to himself as  “Telemachus’ dear father who fights in the forefront” (Τηλεμάχοιο φίλον πατέρα προμάχοισι μιγέντα, 4.354) later in the epic. These moments are exceptional because every other hero defines himself by his patronym, by his father and past rather than his son and his future.

Most scholars seem to understand this as a nod to the Odyssey and Odysseus’ different character. The scholia present the common reaction to this from Aristonicus: The Iliad is aware of the Odyssey (Τηλεμάχοιο: ὅτι προτετυπωμένος τὰ κατὰ τὴν ᾿Οδύσσειαν μνημονεύει τοῦ Τηλεμάχου. τοῦ αὐτοῦ ἄρα ποιητοῦ καὶ ἡ ᾿Οδύσσεια, Schol. A ad Il. 4.354a 1-3).

What if this reference is not exclusive and specific (i.e. pointing to our Odyssey as we have it), but is instead selecting out and constructing one of many possible Odysseis? Yes, it is true that this notion is not incompatible with the presumption that Odysseus’ words in the Iliad ‘shout out’ to the identity of the Odysseus in the Odyssey. But at the same time, it seems to engage in a Homeric pattern of omitting or marginalizing other traditions for Odysseus—traditions that describe the events after he gets home, or provide different details about what happened after he left Troy; and traditions that transgress the strong identification between Odysseus and his son Telemachus. The larger mythical tradition, it seems, knew a different Odysseus who had many more sons.

Odysseus is said to have heard a prophecy that he would be killed by his son. So, according to some (Dictys, Hyginus) he sent Telemachus away. But what Odysseus didn’t know, allegedly, is that it had more than one son. How many? That depends on whom you believe.

What is really in Kirke's cup?
What is really in Kirke’s cup?

The question–and the various answers we can generate–illustrate both the importance of Odysseus as a figure (in terms of geography and time) and the malleability of myth. To start, here’s the list of all the named children I could find: 17 names for sons (for, I think, 13 individuals) and a daughter:

The Sons:

Telemakhos and Arkesilaos/Ptoliporthes (Penelope) [Eustathius/Pausanias]
Agrios, Latinus and Telegonos (Kirke [Hesiod]) or Auson [Lykophron]
Rhomos, Antias, Ardeas (Kirke) [Dionysus of Halicarnassos]
Nausithoos and Nausinoos (Kalypso) [Hesiod]
Leontophron or Dorukles or Euryalos (Euippê, Epirote Princess) [Eustathius]
Polypoitês (Kallidikê, Thesprotian Princess) [Proklos]
Leontophronos (Daughter of Thoas, Aitolian Princess) [Apollodoros]

The Daughter:
Kassiphone (Kirke) [Lykophron]

Now, it is fair to note that much of the attestation for these children is later than the classical period. But, with the exception of Lykophron (and more on him later), these are not authors who seem to be in the habit of making things up.
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How Did Odysseus Marry Penelope? Pherecydes vs. Apollodorus

A fragment of the mythographer Pherecydes provides an interesting account for how Odysseus came to be married to Penelope (hint: it wasn’t his choice):

Pherecydes, fr. 90 (= Fowler 129)
“Ikarios, the son of Oibalos, married Dôrodokhês, the daughter of Ortilokhos or, according to Pherecydes, Asterôdia, the daughter of Eurypylos, the son of Telestôr. When Laertes heard about Penelope—that she differed from all women in both her beauty and her intelligence, he arranged for her to marry his son Odysseus. She possessed so much virtue that she surpassed even Helen who was born from Zeus in some degree. This is the account of Philostephanos and Pherecydes.”
Schol. Homer. Odyss. Ο, 16: ᾿Ικάριος ὁ Οἰβάλου γαμεῖ Δωροδόχην τὴν ᾿Ορτιλόχου, ἢ κατὰ Φερεκύδην, ᾿Αστερωδίαν τὴν Εὐρυπύλου τοῦ Τελέστορος. Πυθόμενος δὲ Λαέρτης περὶ τῆς Πηνελόπης ὅτι καὶ τῷ κάλλει καὶ ταῖς φρεσὶ διαφέρει πασῶν τῶν καθ’ ἑαυτὴν γυναικῶν, ἄγεται αὐτὴν τῷ παιδὶ ᾿Οδυσσέϊ πρὸς γάμον· ἣ τοσαύτην εἶχεν ἀρετὴν, ὥστε καὶ τὴν ῾Ελένην τὴν ἐκ Διὸς οὖσαν τῷ τῆς ἀρετῆς ὑπερβάλλειν. ῾Η δὲ ἱστορία παρὰ Φιλοστεφάνῳ καὶ Φερεκύδῃ.

This story, of course, runs against a more famous version that isn’t exactly compatible (although one could imagine finding some way to match the two tales):

Apollodorus, 3.132

“When Tyndareus saw the mass of suitors, he feared that once one was selected the rest would start fighting. But then Odysseus promised that if he aided him in marrying Penelope, he would propose a way through which there would be no fight—and Tyndareus promised to help him. Odysseus said that he should have the suitors swear an oath to come to the aid if the man who was selected as bridegroom were done wrong by any other man regarding his marriage. After he heard that, Tyndareus had the suitors swear an oath and he himself chose Menelaos as the bride groom and he suited Penelope from Ikarios’ on Odysseus’ behalf.”

τούτων ὁρῶν τὸ πλῆθος Τυνδάρεως ἐδεδοίκει μὴ κριθέντος ἑνὸς στασιάσωσιν οἱ λοιποί. ὑποσχομένου δὲ ᾿Οδυσσέως, ἐὰν συλλάβηται πρὸς τὸν Πηνελόπης αὐτῷ γάμον, ὑποθήσεσθαι τρόπον τινὰ δι’ οὗ μηδεμία γενήσεται στάσις, ὡς ὑπέσχετο αὐτῷ συλλήψεσθαι ὁ Τυνδάρεως, πάντας εἶπεν ἐξορκίσαι τοὺς μνηστῆρας βοηθήσειν, ἐὰν ὁ προκριθεὶς νυμφίος ὑπὸ ἄλλου τινὸς ἀδικῆται περὶ τὸν γάμον. ἀκούσας δὲ τοῦτο Τυνδάρεως τοὺς μνηστῆρας ἐξορκίζει, καὶ Μενέλαον μὲν αὐτὸς αἱρεῖται νυμφίον, ᾿Οδυσσεῖ δὲ παρὰ ᾿Ικαρίου μνηστεύεται Πηνελόπην.