Hesiod the Prophet? A Liar or a Cheat

Lucian, A Conversation with Hesiod, 1-2


“Hesiod, the fact that you are the best poet and that you obtained this title with the laurel from the Muses, you make clear yourself in your poetry, where everything is divinely inspired and reverent and we believe that it is true. But there is one thing that seems awry: since you claim in fact on your on part that you also received in that exchange the divine song from the gods in order that you may sing and praise events of past while also prophesying the future. Of these tasks, you fully complete narrating the births of the gods right up until the first beings, Chaos and Earth, Ouranos and Sex. Then you praised the virtues of women and advise farmers about the Pleiades, the right time for plowing and reaping, about sailing, and every other kind of thing. But the second half which would be far more useful to life and more appropriate for divine gifts—and in this I mean the prediction of the future, you did not begin. You have left this subject completely forgotten in your poetry, never playing the part of a Calchas, a Telemon, a Polyeidos or Phineus, all men who never obtained this gift from the muses but still prophesied anyway and were never reluctant to provide oracles to those who requested it.


Hence, it is necessary that you bear one of these three charges. Either you lie, which is a bit harsh to say, when you claim that the Muses promised you the power to tell the future. Or, the Muses gave what they promised, but you conceal it out of envy and guard such a gift in your pocket without sharing it with those who request it. Or, a great deal of prophecy has been written by you but you have not shared it with the world, perhaps preserving its use for a special time I know nothing about.”

᾿Αλλὰ ποιητὴν μὲν ἄριστον εἶναί σε, ὦ ῾Ησίοδε, καὶ τοῦτο παρὰ Μουσῶν λαβεῖν μετὰ τῆς δάφνης αὐτός τε δεικνύεις ἐν οἷς ποιεῖς—ἔνθεα γὰρ καὶ σεμνὰ πάντα—καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν οὕτως ἔχειν. ἐκεῖνο δὲ ἀπορῆσαι ἄξιον, τί δήποτε προειπὼν ὑπὲρ σαυτοῦ ὡς διὰ τοῦτο λάβοις τὴν θεσπέσιον ἐκείνην ᾠδὴν παρὰ τῶν θεῶν ὅπως κλείοις καὶ ὑμνοίης τὰ παρεληλυθότα καὶ θεσπίζοις τὰ ἐσόμενα, θάτερον μὲν καὶ πάνυ ἐντελῶς ἐξενήνοχας θεῶν τε γενέσεις διηγούμενος ἄχρι καὶ τῶν πρώτων ἐκείνων, χάους καὶ γῆς καὶ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἔρωτος—ἔτι δὲ γυναικῶν ἀρετὰς καὶ παραινέσεις γεωργικάς, καὶ ὅσα περὶ Πλειάδων καὶ ὅσα περὶ καιρῶν ἀρότου καὶ ἀμήτου καὶ πλοῦ καὶ ὅλως τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων· θάτερον δὲ καὶ ὃ χρησιμώτερον ἦν τῷ βίῳ παρὰ πολὺ καὶ θεῶν δωρεαῖς μᾶλλον ἐοικός—λέγω δὲ τὴν τῶν μελλόντων προαγόρευσιν—, οὐδὲ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐξαπέφηνας, ἀλλὰ τὸ μέρος τοῦτο πᾶν λήθῃ παραδέδωκας οὐδαμοῦ τῆς ποιήσεως ἢ τὸν Κάλχαντα ἢ τὸν Τήλεμον ἢ τὸν Πολύειδον ἢ καὶ Φινέα μιμησάμενος οἳ μηδὲ παρὰ Μουσῶν τούτου τυχόντες ὅμως προεθέσπιζον καὶ οὐκ ὤκνουν χρᾶν τοῖς δεομένοις.

῞Ωστε ἀνάγκη σοι τῶν τριῶν τούτων αἰτιῶν μιᾷ γε πάντως ἐνέχεσθαι· ἢ γὰρ ἐψεύσω, εἰ καὶ πικρὸν εἰπεῖν, ὡς ὑποσχομένων σοι τῶν Μουσῶν καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα προλέγειν δύνασθαι· ἢ αἱ μὲν ἔδοσαν ὥσπερ ὑπέσχοντο, σὺ δὲ ὑπὸ φθόνου ἀποκρύπτεις καὶ ὑπὸ κόλπου φυλάττεις τὴν δωρεὰν οὐ μεταδιδοὺς αὐτῆς τοῖς δεομένοις· ἢ γέγραπται μέν σοι καὶ τοιαῦτα πολλά, οὐδέπω δὲ αὐτὰ τῷ βίῳ παραδέδωκας οὐκ οἶδα εἰς ὃν καιρόν τινα ἄλλον ταμιευόμενος τὴν χρῆσιν αὐτῶν.

Lucian here is referring to Theogony lines 26-34

“Rustic shepherds, shameless reproaches, nothing more than bellies,
We know how to speak many lies that ring of the truth,
But we can utter true things when we want to.”
So the eloquent daughters of great Zeus spoke
And they gave me a scepter, an offshoot of blooming laurel
To carry, so that I might sing the things that will be and were before
And they ordered me to praise the race of the blessed gods who always are
And to sing of them both at the first and the last.”

“ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκ’ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον,
ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ’ εὖτ’ ἐθέλωμεν ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι.”
ὣς ἔφασαν κοῦραι μεγάλου Διὸς ἀρτιέπειαι,
καί μοι σκῆπτρον ἔδον δάφνης ἐριθηλέος ὄζον
δρέψασαι, θηητόν· ἐνέπνευσαν δέ μοι αὐδὴν
θέσπιν, ἵνα κλείοιμι τά τ’ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ’ ἐόντα,
καί μ’ ἐκέλονθ’ ὑμνεῖν μακάρων γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων,
σφᾶς δ’ αὐτὰς πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον αἰὲν ἀείδειν.

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.
Continue reading “Multiformity in Myth: The Children of Odysseus”

The Consumption of Metis, Birth of Athena, and Creation of the Aegis (Hes. frag. 343)

The following fragment of Hesiod (343 MW) is preserved by Galen and appears to come out of a tradition presenting a catalog of Zeus’ wives.  In this is overlaps in content with Hesiod’s Theogony (806-901 and following) which has a similar order.  Some of the details, however, are a bit different.  Of special notice is the description of Metis’ hanging out in Zeus’ entrails or the creation of the Aegis.

“Because of that rivalry, [Hera] bore a famous son,
Hephaistos, on her own without aegis-bearing Zeus,
A son who surpassed all of the gods with his hands.
But [Zeus] stretched out next to the daughter of
Ocean and well-tressed Tethys apart from fair-cheeked Hera,
As he surprised Metis, even though she knows much.
He grabbed her with his hands and put her in his belly,
Because he feared that she might bear something stronger than lightning.
This is the reason that Kronos’ royal son who lives in the sky
Suddenly swallowed her whole. She was immediately pregnant
With Pallas Athena, whom the father of men and gods produced
Through his head near the banks of the river Tritôn.
Mêtis sat hidden beneath Zeus’ entrails,
That mother of Athena, creator of just affairs,
The one who knows most of gods and mortal men.
Then the goddess Themis stretched out beside him,
She surpassed all gods who have Olympian homes with her skilled handsl
She made the aegis, that army-routing armor of Athena,
Alongside the one who bore her, Athena dressed in warrior’s arms.”

Galenus, De placitis Hippocr. et Plat. iii. 8 p. 318 Müller
(=Chrysippus fr. 908, Stoic. Vet. Fr. 11. 256 v. Arnim)

ἐκ ταύτης ἔριδος ἣ μὲν τέκε φαίδιμον υἱὸν
῞Ηφαιστον †τέχνηισιν ἄνευ Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο
ἐκ πάντων παλάμηισι κεκασμένον Οὐρανιώνων·
αὐτὰρ ὅ γ’ ᾿Ωκεανοῦ καὶ Τηθύος ἠυκόμοιο
κούρηι νόσφ’ ῞Ηρης παρελέξατο καλλιπαρήου
ἐξαπαφὼν Μῆτιν καίπερ πολύιδριν ἐοῦσαν·
συμμάρψας δ’ ὅ γε χερσὶν ἑὴν ἐγκάτθετο νηδύν,
δείσας μὴ τέξηι κρατερώτερον ἄλλο κεραυνοῦ·
τούνεκά μιν Κρονίδης ὑψίζυγος αἰθέρι ναίων
κάππιεν ἐξαπίνης. ἣ δ’ αὐτίκα Παλλάδ’ ᾿Αθήνην
κύσατο· τὴν μὲν ἔτικτε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε
πὰρ κορυφήν, Τρίτωνος ἐπ’ ὄχθηισιν ποταμοῖο.
Μῆτις δ’ αὖτε Ζηνὸς ὑπὸ σπλάγχνοις λελαθυῖα
ἧστο, ᾿Αθηναίης μήτηρ, τέκταινα δικαίων,
πλεῖστα θεῶν εἰδυῖα καταθνητῶν τ’ ἀνθρώπων.
†ἔνθα θεὰ παρέλεκτο Θέμις† παλάμαις περὶ πάντων
ἀθανάτων ἐκέκασθ’ οἳ ᾿Ολύμπια δώματ’ ἔχουσιν,
αἰγίδα ποιήσασα φοβέστρατον ἔντος ᾿Αθήνης·
σὺν τῆι ἐγείνατό μιν, πολεμήϊα τεύχε’ ἔχουσαν.

Dionysus of Halicarnassus: Aeneas and Odysseus Get a Place Together

Dionys. Hal. A. R. I, c. 72: (Fowler 2000,68; Damastes fr. 3)

“After summarizing the sacrifices in Argos and how everything was done with each, he says that Aineas came from the Molossoi to Italy with Odysseus and became the founder of the city. And he named it.”

῾Ο τὰς ἱερείας τὰς ἐν ῎Αργει καὶ τὰ καθ’ ἑκάστην πραχθέντα συναγαγὼν Αἰνείαν φησὶν ἐκ Μολοττῶν εἰς ᾿Ιταλίαν ἐλθόντα μετ’ ᾿Οδυσσέως, οἰκιστὴν γενέσθαι τῆς πόλεως· ὀνομάσαι

As Fowler (Early Greek Mythography 2. 2013, 564-5) notes, the Greek could mean either that Aeneas came to Italy with Odysseus or came to Italy and founded the city with Odysseus. Either way, the story is certainly not one at home in our Odyssey.

Note though that the close collocation of Odysseus and Aeneas appears in Hesiod’s Theogony too (1008-1013):

“And well-crowned Kythereia gave birth to Aeneias
after having lovely sex with the hero Anchises
on the hills of windy Ida with its many valleys.
And Kirke the daughter of Helios the son of Hyperion
after sex with enduring-minded Odysseus
gave birth to Agrios and blameless and strong Latinus.”

Αἰνείαν δ’ ἄρ’ ἔτικτεν ἐυστέφανος Κυθέρεια,
᾿Αγχίσῃ ἥρωι μιγεῖσ’ ἐρατῇ φιλότητι
῎Ιδης ἐν κορυφῇσι πολυπτύχου ἠνεμοέσσης.
Κίρκη δ’ ᾿Ηελίου θυγάτηρ ῾Υπεριονίδαο
γείνατ’ ᾿Οδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος ἐν φιλότητι
῎Αγριον ἠδὲ Λατῖνον ἀμύμονά τε κρατερόν τε·

It may be important that a possible reference is here too to Italy (in the name Latinus). In other texts, there is still an indirect association between Aeneas, Odysseus and the founding of Rome:

Geoponica, (10th Century CE)

“For they say that Latinus was the brother of Telegonos and the son of Circe. and the father-in-law of Aeneas, that he founded the Akropolis before Aeneas arrived, and discovered laurel there.”

τὸ παλάτιον ὠνομάσθη, ἀπὸ τῆς ἐπικλήσεως δάφνης τῆς ἐν ῾Ρώμῃ. φασὶ γὰρ Λατῖνον τὸν Τηλεγόνου μὲν ἀδελφόν, Κίρκης δὲ παῖδα, πενθερὸν δὲ Αἰνείου, κτίζοντα τὴν ἀκρόπολιν πρὸ τῆς Αἰνείου παρουσίας, εὑρηκέναι ἐκεῖ δάφνην.

Heroes getting a new home together? Made me think of the Ballad of Ron Burgundy:

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).

Continue reading “Locum funditus corruptum: Who Was Deucalion’s Mother?”

Strife (Eris) Has Two Different Genealogies, But They Both Mess Us Up: Hesiod

The poet Hesiod provides two different stories for the genealogy of Strife (Conflict, Competition). One appears in the Theogony and is mostly about War and Violence. The other comes from the Works and Days and is probably a free-market economist’s mythical dream come true. Both, doubtlessly, cause pain.

Hesiod, Theogony, 224-232

“Ruinous night then gave birth to Deception and Sex
And destructive Old Age, and also strong-hearted Strife.
Then hateful Strife gave birth to grief-causing toil,
And Forgetfulness, and Hunger, and tearful Pains,
Battles, Wars, Murders, and Mankillings,
Conflicts, Lies, Arguments, Doubletalk,
Bad-government, Blindness, and Gatherings with others,
And even Oath, who pains mortal men the most of all
Whenever someone willingly breaks a sworn word.”

Νὺξ ὀλοή• μετὰ τὴν δ’ ᾿Απάτην τέκε καὶ Φιλότητα
Γῆράς τ’ οὐλόμενον, καὶ ῎Εριν τέκε καρτερόθυμον.
αὐτὰρ ῎Ερις στυγερὴ τέκε μὲν Πόνον ἀλγινόεντα
Λήθην τε Λιμόν τε καὶ ῎Αλγεα δακρυόεντα
῾Υσμίνας τε Μάχας τε Φόνους τ’ ᾿Ανδροκτασίας τε
Νείκεά τε Ψεύδεά τε Λόγους τ’ ᾿Αμφιλλογίας τε
Δυσνομίην τ’ ῎Ατην τε, συνήθεας ἀλλήλῃσιν,
῞Ορκόν θ’, ὃς δὴ πλεῖστον ἐπιχθονίους ἀνθρώπους
πημαίνει, ὅτε κέν τις ἑκὼν ἐπίορκον ὀμόσσῃ•

Works and Days, 11-26

“There isn’t only a single child called Strife, but there are two
on the earth. Whoever recognizes the first, praises her;
But the other is much-to-blame. They have distinct characters.
The first marshals terrible war and conflict, the wicked witch,
No mortal loves her, I think, but forced by the plans of the gods
They honor the burdensome Strife.
Dusky night bore the other one first
And Kronos’ high-throned son who lives on high
Set her in the roots of the earth and made her much better for men.
She readies even those who are lazy to go to work.
For, whenever a man who shirks hard work sees
Another man who is wealthy, he hurries to plow and plant
And order his house well. Neighbor envies his neighbor
As he becomes comfortable. This is the good Strife for men.
Now, a potter strives with a potter and a carpenter with carpenter—
Even a beggar rivals a beggar, and a singer another singer.”

Οὐκ ἄρα μοῦνον ἔην ᾿Ερίδων γένος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ γαῖαν
εἰσὶ δύω• τὴν μέν κεν ἐπαινήσειε νοήσας,
ἣ δ’ ἐπιμωμητή• διὰ δ’ ἄνδιχα θυμὸν ἔχουσιν.
ἣ μὲν γὰρ πόλεμόν τε κακὸν καὶ δῆριν ὀφέλλει,
σχετλίη• οὔ τις τήν γε φιλεῖ βροτός, ἀλλ’ ὑπ’ ἀνάγκης
ἀθανάτων βουλῇσιν ῎Εριν τιμῶσι βαρεῖαν.
τὴν δ’ ἑτέρην προτέρην μὲν ἐγείνατο Νὺξ ἐρεβεννή,
θῆκε δέ μιν Κρονίδης ὑψίζυγος, αἰθέρι ναίων,
γαίης [τ’] ἐν ῥίζῃσι καὶ ἀνδράσι πολλὸν ἀμείνω•
ἥ τε καὶ ἀπάλαμόν περ ὁμῶς ἐπὶ ἔργον ἐγείρει•
εἰς ἕτερον γάρ τίς τε ἴδεν ἔργοιο χατίζων
πλούσιον, ὃς σπεύδει μὲν ἀρόμεναι ἠδὲ φυτεύειν
οἶκόν τ’ εὖ θέσθαι• ζηλοῖ δέ τε γείτονα γείτων
εἰς ἄφενος σπεύδοντ’• ἀγαθὴ δ’ ῎Ερις ἥδε βροτοῖσιν.
καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ τέκτονι τέκτων,
καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῷ.

The Sons of Odysseus, Part 5: Kalypso’s Brood

Over the past month or so I have been a little obsessed with the children of Odysseus. We’ve looked at the children attributed to him from Penelope (yes, there’s more than one) and Kirkê. There’s a range of additional children—a handful from various princesses, and a pair from Kalypso.

Hesiod names the sons of Kalypso at the end of the Theogony:

“Kalypso the shining goddess gave birth as well to Nausithoos
And Nausinoos after having lovely sex with Odysseus.”

Ναυσίθοον δ’ ᾿Οδυσῆι Καλυψὼ δῖα θεάων
γείνατο Ναυσίνοόν τε μιγεῖσ’ ἐρατῇ φιλότητι.

The Byzantine scholar Eustathius records this genealogical information alongside other fantastic bits, calling them “extraordinary and empty titillation” (περιττὰ ταῦτα καὶ κενὴ μοχθηρία, Commentarii ad Homeri Od 2.117). Apart from Hesiod and Eustathius’ citation of the Theogony, there is no other mention of Nausinoos in extant Greek literature.

Both names are ‘speaking names’ for sea people (“Swift-Ship” and “Ship-Minded”) which are echoed in the name of the Phaeacian Princess Nausikaa. It seems entirely possible that the pair are simply ancient place-holders for children rather than indicating actual mythical traditions. And yet, Homer has Phaeacian Nausithoos in the Odyssey.

Continue reading “The Sons of Odysseus, Part 5: Kalypso’s Brood”

The Sons of Odysseus, Part 1: Evidence from Hesiod, Eustathius and Dionysus of Halicarnassos

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?

I got a bit obsessive about this a few weeks ago and came up with a list of the named sons of Odysseus. Obviously, the full number I have is a little mess up: some names point to the same ‘individuals’. But here’s the list, 17 names for sons (for, I think, 13 individuals) and a daughter:

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]

And one daughter:
Kassiphone (Kirke) [Lykophron]

Now, it is fair to note that much of the attestation for these children is later. 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. For the sake of pure joy, though, I will give a basic summary today, and then start presenting the additional evidence for specific names over the next few weeks.
Continue reading “The Sons of Odysseus, Part 1: Evidence from Hesiod, Eustathius and Dionysus of Halicarnassos”