“I have often been surprised at those who called together the assemblies and established the athletic contests, particularly at the fact that, while they considered the successes of the body to be worthy of prizes so great, they apportioned no kind of honor to those who had toiled for the commons with their private effort and who had prepared their minds so that they might be able to help others. It is appropriate to make a greater consideration for these men—for, although athletes obtain twice the amount of their strength, they provide nothing more for everyone else; but should one man offer good advice, everyone who wants to share in his opinion would profit.
And, truly, I do not choose to take it easy because I have been dispirited by this things—no, because I think that I will have as a sufficient prize the reputation that will come from this speech, I have come for the purpose of counseling you about both the war against the barbarians and your harmony with one another. And I do this even though I am not ignorant that many of those who pretend to be wise have rushed to this subject before, but because at the same time I expect that I will take this so far that nothing will seem to have ever been spoken before on this matters, and, because I think that these are the most noble words, ones that happen to be about the most important matters and which illuminate those who speak them the best and most help those who hear them. This is one of those speeches.
Furthermore, the opportunity to act has not yet passed us by—so it is not pointless to speak about these matters. For it is right to stope speaking about something when an end has overtaken affairs and it is no longer necessary to advise about them, or when one sees that the argument has such an end that nothing is left for others to say. But as long as these are similar to how they were before, and what was previously said happens to be insufficient, how is it not right to examine and weigh this argument philosophically when the correct plan will free us from this war against one another, our present turmoil, and the greatest evils we face?”
In a mythography assignment, several students wrote about cults of Helen in the ancient world (below are some of the secondary texts I told them to consult). I don’t know if I forgot or just never heard of the story of Helen’s death in Rhodes (below). Several students mentioned this (including the one who just wrote about Helen’s deaths). Pausanias presents the best known account of this story; there is a variation from a rhetorician below.
Pausanias 3.19. 9–13
“Therapnê has its name for the country from the daughter of Lelegos. There is a shrine of Menelaos there where they say that Menelaos and Helen are married. The Rhodians do not agree with the Lakedamonians when they say that because Menelaos died and Orestes was still wandering, Helen was expelled by Nikostratos and Megapenthes and arrived in Rhodes where she had help from Poluksô, the wife of Tlepolemos. Poluksô was Argive by birth, and she shared Tlepolemos’ exile to Rhodes after she married him. Then she ruled the island, abandoned with an orphan child. They claim that this Poluksô, once she got her in her power, wanted to take vengeance upon Helen for the death of Tlepolemos. When Helen was bathing, she sent serving women dressed up just like the Furies to her. These women took ahold of Helen and hanged her from a tree. For this reason, there is a shrine to “Helen of the Tree”.
“When Menelaos was leaving from Egypt and bringing Helen along he visited Rhodes. The wife of Tlepolemos, who died at Troy, Poluksô, was grieving when someone announced that Menelaos had arrived with Helen. She was planned to avenge her husband and ran toward the ships with all of the Rhodian men and women gathering up stones and fire. When Menelaos was prevented from departing by a wind, he hid Helen in the hollow ship and put her outfit and crown on the maid who was most beautiful. Because they actually believed that this was Helen, they [hurled] fire and stones at the serving woman and retreated because they believed that the death of Helen was a sufficient retribution for Tlepolemos. Then Menelaos sailed away, keeping Helen.”
Two different figures named Erginos seem to appear in Greek mythographic and poetic traditions. One is Erginos the son of Klumenos, a descendent of Minyas and king of Orchomenos. Another is a son of Apollo who traveled from Miletus to join the voyage of the Argonauts. Pindar appears to combine the two.
The son of Poseidon who appears in Argonautic tales is said to be from Miletus: Apollonius Rhodes, Argonautica 186-189:
“And two other children of Poseidon arrived,
One abandoned the city of glorious Miletus,
Erginos,the other, overwhelming Angkaios,
Left the seat of Imbrasian Hera, Parthenia.
Both boasted of their knowledge of seafaring and war.”
The other Erginos is a son of Klumenos and descendant of Minyas. He is from the city of Orkhomenos in Boeotia. Here is Apollodorus’ Story of Erginos (2.68-71)
“When Herakles arrived from the hunt, heralds arrived sent by Erginos so that they might seek reparations from the Thebans. The Thebans sent tribute for this reason: Menoikeos’ charioteer, named Periêrês, struck Klumenos the king of the Minyans with a stone and wounded him in the precinct of Poseidon at Ongkhêstos. When he was brought back to Orkhomenos half-dead he ordered his son Erginos to avenge his death as he died. Erginos attacked Thebes and forced them to make a treaty after killing many of them: they would send tribute to him for twenty years, a hundred bulls a year. Herakles tortured those heralds when he came upon them as they traveled to Thebes for the tribute. He cut off their ears and noses and hands and bound them by cords around their necks.
He told them to take this back as tribute for Erginos and the Minyans. Enraged over these things, Erginos led another army against Thebes. But Herakles took weapons from the Athenians, led the battle, killed Erginos, routed the Minyans and forced them to pay double the tribute to Thebes. During the battle, Amphitryon died while fighting nobly. For his excellence, Herakles received Kreon’s oldest daughter Megara and she gave him three children: Thêrimakhos, Kreontiadês, and Dêikoôn.”
But an earlier narrative appears to make the two Erginoi one and the same. Pindar makes the son of Klumenos a figure who is also part of the Argonautic tradition:
Pind. Olympian 4.17-27
“I will not stain my story
With a lie. A test proves the worth of a man.
This rescued the child of Klumenos
from the dishonor of the Lemnian women.
He won the race in bronze armor
And said to Hypsipyle as he left with the crown:
“This is my speed:
My hands and heart are its equal. Sometimes gray hair
grows even on young men.”
thick, before the appointed time.
οὐ ψεύδεϊ τέγξω
λόγον· διάπειρά τοι βροτῶν ἔλεγχος
ἅπερ Κλυμένοιο παῖδα
Λαμνιάδων γυναικῶν ἔλυσεν ἐξ ἀτιμίας.
χαλκέοισι δ’ ἐν ἔντεσι νικῶν δρόμον
ἔειπεν ῾Υψιπυλείᾳ μετὰ στέφανον ἰών·
‘οὗτος ἐγὼ ταχυτᾶτι·
χεῖρες δὲ καὶ ἦτορ ἴσον. φύονται δὲ καὶ νέοις
ἐν ἀνδράσιν πολιαί
θαμάκι παρὰ τὸν ἁλικίας ἐοικότα χρόνον.’
A scholion to Pindar provides a little more information about this tale:
Schol.Pind. O4 32b-c
“This contest took the dishonor of the Lemnian women away from the son of Klymenos. The story goes like this: when Hypsipyle held funeral games for her father Thoas, the king of the Lemnians, it happened that the Argonauts appeared as they were sailing for the golden fleece and they offered to compete in the games. One of them, Erginos, was younger than old, but his hair was prematurely grey and he was taunted by the women for it. But he showed them in the deeds by defeating his competitors. They were the sons of Boreas, Zetes and Kalaïs.”
The geographer Strabo claims that Minyans were Argonauts, and also places Erginos in Orkhomenos (9.2.40)
“Next the poet recites the catalog of the Orkhomenians, whom he distinguishes from the Boiotian tribe. He calls Orkhomenos “Minyan” from the tribe of the descendants of Minyas. People say that some of the Minyans left there for Iolcus and that this is why the Argonauts are called Minyans. The city appears to be ancient and to have been wealthy and very powerful. A testament to this is Homer, too. For when he numbers the places that were very wealthy he says “not as much as arrives in Orkhomenos or Egyptian Thebes. Indicative of its power is the fact that the Thebans paid a tribute to the Orkhomenians and their ruler Erginos who they say was killed by Herakles. Eteokles, one of those who ruled in Orkhomenos, was first to show both wealth and power in building the shrine of the Graces, either because he took graces, bestowed them, or for both reasons he honored the goddesses there.”
“One was the son, but Erginos was really a descendant. Angkaios was the son of Astupalaia, the Phoenician, and Poseidon. Erginos was the son of Klumenos, the son of Presbaon, and Bouzugê, the daugher of Lykos. He was Miletus…”
The following contains some severe misogyny and a debate about Asclepius’ ‘true’ mother:
“There is also another story about [Asclepius], that when Korônis was pregnant with him she had sex with Iskhus, Elatos’ son and that she was killed by Artemis who was defending the insult to Apollo. But when the pyre had been lit, they say that Hermes plucked the child from the flam.
The third story seems to me to be the least true—it makes Asclepius the child of Arsinoê, the daughter of Leucippus. When Apollophanes the Arcadian came to Delphi and asked the god if Asclepius was the child of Arsinoê and thus a Messenian citizen, the oracle prophesied:
Asclepius, come as a great blessing to all mortals,
Whom lovely Korônis bore after having sex with me—
The daughter of Phlegyas in rugged Epidauros.
This oracle makes it abundantly clear that Asclepius is not Arsinoê’s child but that Hesiod or one of those poets who insert lines into Hesiod’s poetry added for the favor of the Messenians.”
The standard details are reported in the Homeric Hymn to Asclepius:
“I begin to sing of the doctor of diseases, Asclepius,
The son of Apollo whom shining Korônis bore
In the Dotian plain, that daughter of king Phlegyas.
He’s a great blessing to mortal men, a bewitcher of painful troubles.
And hail to you lord. I am beseeching you with this song.”
Phlegyas is the father of Ixion and Corônis. His son Ixion was exiled as a murder and then, after Zeus cleansed him of his crime, he tried to rape Hera and was punished in Hades for eternity (spinning, crucified, on a wheel). One can easily imagine distancing Asclepius from this family…
The debate is treated by an ancient scholiast:
Schol. ad Pind. Pyth 3.14
“Some say Asklepios is the son of Arsinoê, others say he is the son of Korônis. Asclepiades claims that Arsinoê is the daughter of Leukippus the son of Periêros from whom comes Asklepios from Apollo and a daughter Eriôpis. Thus we have the line: “She bore in the halls Asklepios, marshall of men / after being subdued by Apollo, and well-tressed Eriôpis.” There is also of Arsinoê: “Arsinoê, after having sex withZeus and Leto’s son,bore Asklepios, blameless and strong.”
Socrates also claims that Asklepios is the offspring of Arsinoê and has been interpolated as the child of Korônis. The matters about Korônis have been reported in lines that were added into Hesiodic poetry….”
Later, the same scholion presents an attempt by a Greek historian to resolve the two narratives.
“Aristeidês in the text on the founding of Knidos reports this: Asclepios is the child of Apollo and Arsinoê but she was called Korônis when she was a maiden. She was the daughter of Leukippus of Amykla in Lakedaimon.”
In this debate, we are likely witnessing a later comment (e.g. Pausanias) on an early divergence with roots in local (epichoric) traditions about the genealogy of Asclepius. The Panhellenic account (more Athenocentric in this case) is championed by Pausanias.
Whoever the mother, Asclepius’ father is constant!