Fathers and Mothers of the Gods?

Philodemos, On Piety, 4688-4707

“In the verses we attribute to Epimenides, the rest [of creation] comes from Air and night. But Homer says that Okeanos produced the younger generation of gods from Tethys (“Okeanos and birth of the gods and their mother Tethys”, [Il. 14.201]). Yet, Abaris thinks it was Kronos and Rhea, while others claim that Zeus and Hera are father and mother of the gods. Pindar thinks that they come from mother Kybele when he sings “queen Kybele, mother…”

…..] ἐν δὲ τοῖς
εἰς ᾽Επι]μενίδην
ἐξ ᾽Αέρος] καὶ Νυκτὸς
τἆλλα σ]υστῆναι,
ἀλλὰ δὴ] ῞Ομηρος
ἀποφαί]νετ᾽ ᾽Ωκεα-
νὸν ἐκ] Τη[θ]ύ[[οε]]ος
τοὺς νέ]ους γεννᾶν
θεούς· «᾽Ω]κεανόν τε
θεῶν γέ]νεσιν καὶ
μητέρα] Τ[ηθύ]ν» εἰ
πών. ῎Αβα]ρ̣ις δὲ Κρό-
νον τε κ]αὶ [῾Ρ]έαν, οἱ δὲ
Δία καὶ]῞Ηραν πατέ-
ρα καὶ] μητέρα θε-
ῶν νο]μίζουσιν. Πίν-
δαρος] δ᾽ [ἐκ] Κυβέ-
λης μ]ητρὸς ἐν τῶι
«δέσπ]οιν[αν] Κυβέ-
λαν] ματ[έρα»] …

Cybèle Potnia theron.jpg
Hellenistic Cybele, 3rd Century BCE, Naples Archaeological Museum

Helen and Penelope Were Cousins!

Helen and Penelope, the two most important women of Homeric epic, appear to be cousins! How can this be the case? Their fathers, as one might imagine, were brothers (Apollodorus 3.126):

“There are some who say that Aphareus and Leukippos were sons of Periêrês the son of Aiolos and that Periêrês was the son of Kunortos, but that he himself was the father of Oibalos who fathered Tyndareus, Hippokoôn, and Ikarios.

Hippokoôn had for children Dorykleus, Skaios, Enarophoros, Euteikhes, Boukolos, Lukaithos, Tebros, Hippothoos, Eurytos, Hippokorustês, Alkinoos,and Alkôn. With these sons, Hippokoôn expelled his brothers Ikarios and Tyndareus from Lakedaimôn. The pair fled to Thestios and they allied with him in the war against his neighbors. So, Tyndareus wed Thestios’ daughter, Lêda. And then, when Herakles killed Hippokoôn and his sons, they returned, and Herakles handed over the kingdom of Tyndareus.”

εἰσὶ δὲ οἱ λέγοντες ᾿Αφαρέα μὲν καὶ Λεύκιππον ἐκ Περιήρους γενέσθαι τοῦ Αἰόλου, Κυνόρτου δὲ Περιήρην, τοῦ δὲ Οἴβαλον, Οἰβάλου δὲ καὶ νηίδος νύμφης
Βατείας Τυνδάρεων ῾Ιπποκόωντα ᾿Ικάριον.

῾Ιπποκόωντος μὲν οὖν ἐγένοντο παῖδες Δορυκλεὺς Σκαῖος ᾿Εναροφόρος Εὐτείχης Βουκόλος Λύκαιθος Τέβρος ῾Ιππόθοος Εὔρυτος ῾Ιπποκορυστὴς ᾿Αλκίνους ῎Αλκων. τούτους ῾Ιπποκόων ἔχων παῖδας ᾿Ικάριον καὶ Τυνδάρεων ἐξέβαλε Λακεδαίμονος. οἱ δὲ φεύγουσι πρὸς Θέστιον, καὶ συμμαχοῦσιν αὐτῷ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμόρους πόλεμον ἔχοντι· καὶ γαμεῖ Τυνδάρεως Θεστίου θυγατέρα Λήδαν. αὖθις δέ, ὅτε ῾Ηρακλῆς ῾Ιπποκόωντα καὶ τοὺς τούτου παῖδας ἀπέκτεινε, κατέρχονται, καὶ παραλαμβάνει Τυνδάρεως τὴν βασιλείαν.

The story according to a Homeric scholiast is presents even more family dysfunction (Schol. b in Il.2.581-6):

“Oibalos, the son of Perierês, ruled the Lakadaimonians and his children were Tyndareus, Ikarios, Arênê and the bastard Hippokoôn who conspired with Ikarios and drove Tyndareus away. He was ruling with his many sons.”

Οἴβαλος ὁ Περιήρους ἦρχε Λακεδαιμονίων, οὗ Τυνδάρεως ᾿Ικάριος ᾿Αρήνη καὶ νόθος ῾Ιπποκόων, ὃς συμφρασάμενος ᾿Ικαρίῳ τὸν Τυνδάρεων ἀπελαύνει, καὶ ἄρχει πολλοῖς πλήθων υἱοῖς.

According to the rest of this tale, Herakles came and killed Hippokoôn and his sons after he sacked Pylos. Menelaos was only in charge of the contingent, according to the scholiast, because Helen’s brothers were not there.

Some of these details are confirmed by a scholiast writing on Euripides, Schol. In Euripides Orestes 457

“These are the children of Oibalos,the son of Periêrês: Tyndareus, Ikarios, Arênê, and Hippokoôn, a bastard from Nikostratê. After the death of Oibalos, the children struggled over who would rule. Ikarios made a pact with Hippokoôn and drove Tyndareus out of Sparta. Tyndareus lived afterwards in the farthest reaches of Lakedaimonia and married Leda, the daughter of Thestios the Aitolian.

She gave birth to Kastor and Polydeukes, Timandra, Klytemnestra, and Helen. Later, Herakles killed Hippokoôn and his sons in exchange for the murder of Oiônos; then he returned Tyndareus from Phrixê and Pellênê and entrusted the rule of Sparta to him. For Herakles married Leda’s niece, Deineira.”

Οἰβάλου τοῦ Περιήρους παῖδες οὗτοι· Τυνδάρεως, ᾿Ικάριος, ᾿Αρήνη, καὶ νόθος ἐκ Νικοστράτης ῾Ιπποχόων. οὗτοι μετὰ θάνατον Οἰβάλου ἐστασίασαν περὶ τῆς ἀρχῆς. ᾿Ικάριος δὲ συνθέμενος μετὰ ῾Ιπποκόωντος ἐξελαύνει τὸν Τυνδάρεων τῆς Σπάρτης.

ὁ δὲ οἰκεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἐσχάτοις τῆς Λακεδαιμονίας καὶ γαμεῖ Λήδαν τὴν Θεστίου τοῦ Αἰτωλοῦ, ἐξ ἧς ἔσχε Κάστορα καὶ Πολυδεύκην καὶ Τιμάνδραν καὶ Κλυταιμνήστραν καὶ ῾Ελένην. ὕστερον δὲ ῾Ηρακλῆς ἐπὶ τῷ φόνῳ τοῦ Οἰωνοῦ φονεύσας ῾Ιπποκόωντα ἅμα τοῖς παισὶ καὶ καταγαγὼν τὸν Τυνδάρεων ἀπὸ Φρίξης καὶ Πελλήνης ἐγχειρεῖ αὐτῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς Σπάρτης. ἐγάμει γὰρ ῾Ηρακλῆς Δηϊάνειραν τὴν Λήδας ἀδελφιδῆν: —

[Leda is not universally a daughter of Thestios. Thestios’ other daughter was Althaia, who married Oineus and gave birth to Meleager and Deineira. According to another tradition, attributed to Eumelos of Corinth, Leda was the daughter of Glaukos and Panteiduia. And let’s not even bring Pherecydes into this. Because, well, there are even more accounts to consider…]

The Death of Diokles’ Twin Sons

In an earlier post, I mentioned Telemachus’ layovers in the city of Pherae in the home of Diokles.  The story of this family is elaborated in the Iliad.  The scholia to the Iliad contemplate the strange re-spelling of a family name (Orsilochus vs. Ortilochus) and also imply that there was a special relationship between Diokles’ family and Menelaos–buttressed perhaps by the epic’s geographical placement of the two cities:

Iliad, 5.541-553

“Then in turn Aeneas killed the best men of the Danaans,
The sons of Diokles, Krêthôn and Orsilokhos.
Their father lived in well-built Phêrai,
A wealthy man, descended from the river
Alpheios who flows widely over the land of the Pylians.
He fathered Ortilochus, a lord over many men.
Ortilochus fathered great-hearted Diokles
And twin sons were born to Diokles,
Krêthôn and Orsilokhos who knew every kind of battle.
When they were young men they went on the dark ships
And accompanied the Argives to Ilion, rich in horses,
Winning back honor for Atreus’ sons Agamemnon and Menelaos.
There death’s end covered over them in turn.”

῎Ενθ’ αὖτ’ Αἰνείας Δαναῶν ἕλεν ἄνδρας ἀρίστους
υἷε Διοκλῆος Κρήθωνά τε ᾿Ορσίλοχόν τε,
τῶν ῥα πατὴρ μὲν ἔναιεν ἐϋκτιμένῃ ἐνὶ Φηρῇ
ἀφνειὸς βιότοιο, γένος δ’ ἦν ἐκ ποταμοῖο
᾿Αλφειοῦ, ὅς τ’ εὐρὺ ῥέει Πυλίων διὰ γαίης,
ὃς τέκετ’ ᾿Ορτίλοχον πολέεσσ’ ἄνδρεσσιν ἄνακτα·
᾿Ορτίλοχος δ’ ἄρ’ ἔτικτε Διοκλῆα μεγάθυμον,
ἐκ δὲ Διοκλῆος διδυμάονε παῖδε γενέσθην,
Κρήθων ᾿Ορσίλοχός τε μάχης εὖ εἰδότε πάσης.
τὼ μὲν ἄρ’ ἡβήσαντε μελαινάων ἐπὶ νηῶν
῎Ιλιον εἰς εὔπωλον ἅμ’ ᾿Αργείοισιν ἑπέσθην,
τιμὴν ᾿Ατρεΐδῃς ᾿Αγαμέμνονι καὶ Μενελάῳ
ἀρνυμένω· τὼ δ’ αὖθι τέλος θανάτοιο κάλυψεν.

 

Schol ad Il. 5.542-3 ex

“Krêthôn and Orsilokhos: the ancestor’s name is spelled with a tau; the child’s name with a sigma as in the Odyssey.

Phêrai is in Messenia. They call it Phêra. There’s a Pherai in Thessaly. [modern commentators believe the city is modern Kalamata]

“A Wealthy man”: This mention increases the importance of their battle. But no mention is made of them in the Catalog of Ships, since they are those men who receive gifts from Menelaos….This is the reason that when they fall no one other than Menelaos pities them”

Did.(?) Κρήθωνά τε ᾿Ορσίλοχόν τε: ὁ πρόγονος διὰ τοῦ τ, ὁ παῖς διὰ τοῦ ς· καὶ ἐν ᾿Οδυσσείᾳ (sc. γ 489. ο 187. φ 16) οὖν διὰ τοῦ τ. T
ex. Φηρῇ: Μεσ<σ>ήνης. καὶ Φηρὰς αὐτὴν καλεῖ (sc. Ι 151. 293. γ 488. ο 186). Φεραὶ Θεσσαλίας (cf. Β 711. δ 798). T

ex. ἀφνειὸς βιότοιο: προσυνίστησιν αὐτοὺς αὔξων τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν μάχην. οὐ μέμνηται δὲ αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ Καταλόγῳ, ἐπεὶ †μεσήνιοί† εἰσιν οἵτινες ὑπὸ Μενελάῳ ἐτέλουν δῶρα, b(BE3E4)T „τά οἱ ξεῖνος Λακεδαίμονι δῶκε τυχήσας” (φ 13), „τὼ δ’ ἐν †μεσήνῃ† ξυμβλήτην / οἴκῳ ἐν ᾿Ορτιλόχου” (φ 15—6). T διὰ τοῦτο καὶ πεσόντας αὐτοὺς οὐδεὶς ἄλλος ἢ ὁ Μενέλαος ἐλεεῖ (cf. Ε 561). b
(BE3E4)T

 

The scholiast sees a connection between the political and geographical proximity of the cities, the relationships of the families, and Menelaos’ reaction in the following lines. The family (and implied local mythographical traditions) seem of little enough importance that they don’t appear in the Catalogue–their presence here is not just to “increase the importance of the battle” but to contribute to Menelaos’ aristeia. Of course, this doesn’t quite explain the presence in the Odyssey where the lost sons are not named….

 

The location of the city is further confused by a debate about the location of mythical Pylos (complicated in turn by debates about where Ithaka might have been). But, notionally, I think we can accept a city somewhere between central Laconia where Sparta is situated and the Western coast of the Peloponnese.

map-peloponnese

#MythMonth: Helen and Penelope Were Cousins!

Thanks to an  obsession with the daughters of Tyndareus, I realized something that had escaped my notice for years.  Helen and Penelope, the two most important women of Homeric epic, appear to be cousins! How can this be the case? Their fathers, as one might imagine, were brothers (Apollodorus 3.126):

“There are some who say that Aphareus and Leukippos were sons of Periêrês the son of Aiolos and that Periêrês was the son of Kunortos, but that he himself was the father of Oibalos who fathered Tyndareus, Hippokoôn, and Ikarios.

Hippokoôn had for children Dorykleus, Skaios, Enarophoros, Euteikhes, Boukolos, Lukaithos, Tebros, Hippothoos, Eurytos, Hippokorustês, Alkinoos,and Alkôn. With these sons, Hippokoôn expelled his brothers Ikarios and Tyndareus from Lakedaimôn. The pair fled to Thestios and they allied with him in the war against his neighbors. So, Tyndareus wed Thestios’ daughter, Lêda. And then, when Herakles killed Hippokoôn and his sons, they returned, and Herakles handed over the kingdom of Tyndareus.”

εἰσὶ δὲ οἱ λέγοντες ᾿Αφαρέα μὲν καὶ Λεύκιππον ἐκ Περιήρους γενέσθαι τοῦ Αἰόλου, Κυνόρτου δὲ Περιήρην, τοῦ δὲ Οἴβαλον, Οἰβάλου δὲ καὶ νηίδος νύμφης
Βατείας Τυνδάρεων ῾Ιπποκόωντα ᾿Ικάριον.

῾Ιπποκόωντος μὲν οὖν ἐγένοντο παῖδες Δορυκλεὺς Σκαῖος ᾿Εναροφόρος Εὐτείχης Βουκόλος Λύκαιθος Τέβρος ῾Ιππόθοος Εὔρυτος ῾Ιπποκορυστὴς ᾿Αλκίνους ῎Αλκων. τούτους ῾Ιπποκόων ἔχων παῖδας ᾿Ικάριον καὶ Τυνδάρεων ἐξέβαλε Λακεδαίμονος. οἱ δὲ φεύγουσι πρὸς Θέστιον, καὶ συμμαχοῦσιν αὐτῷ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμόρους πόλεμον ἔχοντι· καὶ γαμεῖ Τυνδάρεως Θεστίου θυγατέρα Λήδαν. αὖθις δέ, ὅτε ῾Ηρακλῆς ῾Ιπποκόωντα καὶ τοὺς τούτου παῖδας ἀπέκτεινε, κατέρχονται, καὶ παραλαμβάνει Τυνδάρεως τὴν βασιλείαν.

The story according to a Homeric scholiast is presents even more family dysfunction (Schol. b in Il.2.581-6):

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Locum funditus corruptum: Who Was Deucalion’s Mother?

I recently started reading more of the fragments of the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. In doing so, I came across the mess that is the parentage of Deucalion.

Schol. Ad Hom. Od. 2.2 hypothesis

“Deukaliôn, in whose time the deluge happened, was the son of Prometheus and his mother—according to most authors—was Klymenê. But Hesiod says that his mother was Pronoê and Akousilaos claims that it was Hesione, the daughter of Okeanos and Prometheus. He married Pyrra who was the daughter of Epimêtheus and Pandôra the one who was given by Epimetheus in exchange for fire. Deukalion had two daughters, Prôtogeneia and Melantheia, and two sons, Ampiktuôn and Hellen, whom others say was actually an offspring of Zeus, but in truth he was Deucalion’s”.

Δευκαλίων, ἐφ’ οὗ ὁ κατακλυσμὸς γέγονε, Προμηθέως μὲν ἦν υἱὸς, μητρὸς δὲ, ὡς οἱ πλεῖστοι λέγουσι, Κλυμένης, ὡς δὲ ῾Ησίοδος Προνοής, ὡς δὲ ᾿Ακουσίλαος ῾Ησιόνης τῆς ᾿Ωκεανοῦ καὶ Προμηθέως. ἔγημε δὲ Πύρραν τὴν ᾿Επιμηθέως καὶ Πανδώρας τῆς ἀντὶ τοῦ πυρὸς δοθείσης τῷ ᾿Επιμηθεῖ εἰς γυναῖκα. γίνονται δὲ τῷ Δευκαλίωνι θυγατέρες μὲν δύο Πρωτογένεια καὶ Μελάνθεια, υἱοὶ δὲ ᾿Αμφικτύων καὶ ῞Ελλην. οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν ὅτι ῞Ελλην γόνῳ μὲν ἦν Διὸς, λόγῳ δὲ Δευκαλίωνος. ἐξ οὗ ῞Ελληνος Αἴολος πατὴρ Κρηθέως.

This story is a bit strange but repeats the typical connection between man and Prometheus. Here, however, mortal man is descended from Prometheus via Deucalion. He married his cousin, which was not all that uncommon, and the rest of the story proceeds somewhat as is typical (leading to the birth of Hellen, the origin of the ethnonym Hellenes).

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Genealogies and Scholia: Helen and Penelope Were Cousins!

In my recent obsession with the daughters of Tyndareus, I realized something that had escaped my notice for years.  Helen and Penelope, the two most important women of Homeric epic, appear to be cousins! How can this be the case? Their fathers, as one might imagine, were brothers (Apollodorus 3.126):

“There are some who say that Aphareus and Leukippos were sons of Periêrês the son of Aiolos and that Periêrês was the son of Kunortos, but that he himself was the father of Oibalos who fathered Tyndareus, Hippokoôn, and Ikarios.

Hippokoôn had for children Dorykleus, Skaios, Enarophoros, Euteikhes, Boukolos, Lukaithos, Tebros, Hippothoos, Eurytos, Hippokorustês, Alkinoos,and Alkôn. With these sons, Hippokoôn expelled his brothers Ikarios and Tyndareus from Lakedaimôn. The pair fled to Thestios and they allied with him in the war against his neighbors. So, Tyndareus wed Thestios’ daughter, Lêda. And then, when Herakles killed Hippokoôn and his sons, they returned, and Herakles handed over the kingdom of Tyndareus.”

εἰσὶ δὲ οἱ λέγοντες ᾿Αφαρέα μὲν καὶ Λεύκιππον ἐκ Περιήρους γενέσθαι τοῦ Αἰόλου, Κυνόρτου δὲ Περιήρην, τοῦ δὲ Οἴβαλον, Οἰβάλου δὲ καὶ νηίδος νύμφης
Βατείας Τυνδάρεων ῾Ιπποκόωντα ᾿Ικάριον.

῾Ιπποκόωντος μὲν οὖν ἐγένοντο παῖδες Δορυκλεὺς Σκαῖος ᾿Εναροφόρος Εὐτείχης Βουκόλος Λύκαιθος Τέβρος ῾Ιππόθοος Εὔρυτος ῾Ιπποκορυστὴς ᾿Αλκίνους ῎Αλκων. τούτους ῾Ιπποκόων ἔχων παῖδας ᾿Ικάριον καὶ Τυνδάρεων ἐξέβαλε Λακεδαίμονος. οἱ δὲ φεύγουσι πρὸς Θέστιον, καὶ συμμαχοῦσιν αὐτῷ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμόρους πόλεμον ἔχοντι· καὶ γαμεῖ Τυνδάρεως Θεστίου θυγατέρα Λήδαν. αὖθις δέ, ὅτε ῾Ηρακλῆς ῾Ιπποκόωντα καὶ τοὺς τούτου παῖδας ἀπέκτεινε, κατέρχονται, καὶ παραλαμβάνει Τυνδάρεως τὴν βασιλείαν.

The story according to a Homeric scholiast is presents even more family dysfunction (Schol. b in Il.2.581-6):

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More on Helen’s Other Sisters, Apollodorus, Athenagoras and Hesiod

The other day, I learned that Helen had two other sisters besides Klytemnestra: Timandra and Phylonoe. I have to be honest, I have been musing over this a bit.  Here’s what Apollodorus has to say (3.126):

“The sons of Ikarios and the Naiad nymph Periboia were Thoas, Damasippos, Imeusimos, Aletes, Perileôs, and a daughter Penelope, whom Odysseus married. Tyndareus and Lêda had Timandra, whom Ekhemos married, and Klytemnestra, whom Agamemnon married, and also Pylonoê, whom Artemis made immortal.”

᾿Ικαρίου μὲν οὖν καὶ Περιβοίας νύμφης νηίδος Θόας Δαμάσιππος ᾿Ιμεύσιμος ᾿Αλήτης Περίλεως, καὶ θυγάτηρ Πηνελόπη, ἣν ἔγημεν ᾿Οδυσσεύς· Τυνδάρεω δὲ καὶ

Λήδας Τιμάνδρα, ἣν ῎Εχεμος ἔγημε, καὶ Κλυταιμνήστρα, ἣν ἔγημεν ᾿Αγαμέμνων, ἔτι τε Φυλονόη, ἣν ῎Αρτεμις ἀθάνατον ἐποίησε.

Apart from the appearance in the fragment from Hesiod, the only other mention of Phylonoê in classical literature is in the work of the early Christian philosopher and apologist, Athenagoras of Athens (3rd Century CE) who wrote works to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus defending Christianity. In his Legativo sive Suppliatio pro Christianis he writes of how to foreigners it may seem laughable if “a Lakedaimonian honors Zeus-Agamemnon or Phylonoê, the daughter of Tyndareus.” (ὁ δὲ Λακεδαιμόνιος ᾿Αγαμέμνονα Δία καὶ Φυλονόην τὴν Τυνδάρεω θυγατέρα καὶ τεννηνοδίαν † σέβει, 1.1.6).
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