Reputable Tales about Ariadne; And Strange Ones

The following account is interesting for the variations in the story of Ariadne and Theseus but also for the strange detail of the ritual where young men imitate a woman in childbirth. Also, the counterfeit letters bit is precious. What would they say?.

Other tales about Ariadne, According to Plutarch (Theseus 20)

“There are many other versions circulated about these matters still and also about Ariadne, none of which agree. For some say that she hanged herself after she was abandoned by Theseus. Others claim that after she was taken to Naxos by sailors she lived with Oinaros a priest of Dionysus and that she was abandoned by Theseus because he loved another.

“A terrible lust for Aiglê the daughter of Panopeus ate at him” [fr. 105]—this is a line Hereas the Megarean claims Peisistratus deleted from the poems of Hesiod, just as again he says that he inserted into the Homeric catalogue of dead “Theseus and Perithoos, famous children of the gods” [Od. 11.631] to please the Athenans. There are some who say that Ariadne gave birth to Oinipiôn and Staphulos with Theseus. One of these is Ion of  Khios who has sung about his own city “Oinopiôn, Theseus’ son, founded this city once.” [fr. 4D]

The most reputable of the myths told are those which, as the saying goes, all people have in their mouths. But Paiôn the Amathousian has handed down a particular tale about these events. For he says that Theseus was driven by a storm, to Cyprus and that he had Ariadne with him, who was pregnant and doing quite badly because of the sea and the rough sailing. So he set her out alone and he was carried back into the sea from the land while he was tending to the ship. The native women, then, received Ariadne and they tried to ease her depression because of her loneliness by offering her a counterfeit letter written to her by Theseus and helping her and supporting her during childbirth. They buried her when she died before giving birth.

Paiôn claims that when Theseus returned he was overcome with grief and he left money to the island’s inhabitants, charging them to sacrifice to Ariadne and to have two small statues made for her—one of silver and one of bronze. During the second day of the month of Gorpiaon at the sacrifice, one of the young men lies down and mouns and acts as women do during childbirth. They call the grove in which they claim her tomb is that of Ariadne Aphrodite.

Some of the Naxians claim peculiarly that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes. They claim one was married to Dionysus on Naxos and bore the child Staphulos, and the young one was taken by Theseus and left when he came to Naxos with a nurse named Korkunê—whose tomb they put on display. They claim that Ariadne died there and has honors unequal to those of the earlier one. The first has a festival of singing and play; the second has one where sacrifices are performed with grief and mourning.”

Πολλοὶ δὲ λόγοι καὶ περὶ τούτων ἔτι λέγονται καὶ περὶ τῆς Ἀριάδνης, οὐδὲν ὁμολογούμενον ἔχοντες. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἀπάγξασθαί φασιν αὐτὴν ἀπολειφθεῖσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θησέως, οἱ δὲ εἰς Νάξον ὑπὸ ναυτῶν κομισθεῖσαν Οἰνάρῳ τῷ ἱερεῖ τοῦ Διονύσου συνοικεῖν, ἀπολειφθῆναι δὲ τοῦ Θησέως ἐρῶντος ἑτέρας· Δεινὸς γάρ μιν ἔτειρεν ἔρως Πανοπηΐδος Αἴγλης. τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ἔπος ἐκ τῶν Ἡσιόδου Πεισίστρατον ἐξελεῖν φησιν Ἡρέας ὁ Μεγαρεύς, ὥσπερ αὖ πάλιν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου νέκυιαν τὸ Θησέα Πειρίθοόν τε θεῶν ἀριδείκετα τέκνα,χαριζόμενον Ἀθηναίοις· ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ τεκεῖν ἐκ Θησέως Ἀριάδνην Οἰνοπίωνα καὶ Στάφυλον· ὧν καὶ ὁ Χῖος Ἴων ἐστὶ περὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ πατρίδος λέγων· Τήν ποτε Θησείδης ἔκτισεν Οἰνοπίων.

Ἃ δ᾿ ἐστὶν εὐφημότατα τῶν μυθολογουμένων, πάντες ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν διὰ στόματος ἔχουσιν. ἴδιον δέ τινα περὶ τούτων λόγον ἐκδέδωκε Παίων ὁ Ἀμαθούσιος. τὸν γὰρ Θησέα φησὶν ὑπὸ χειμῶνος εἰς Κύπρον ἐξενεχθέντα καὶ τὴν Ἀριάδνην ἔγκυον ἔχοντα, φαύλως δὲ διακειμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ σάλου καὶ δυσφοροῦσαν, ἐκβιβάσαι μόνην, αὐτὸν δὲ τῷ πλοίῳ βοηθοῦντα πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέλαγος ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς φέρεσθαι. τὰς οὖν ἐγχωρίους γυναῖκας τὴν Ἀριάδνην ἀναλαβεῖν καὶ περιέπειν ἀθυμοῦσαν ἐπὶ τῇ μονώσει, καὶ γράμματα πλαστὰ προσφέρειν, ὡς τοῦ Θησέως γράφοντος αὐτῇ, καὶ περὶ τὴν ὠδῖνα συμπονεῖν καὶ βοηθεῖν· ἀποθανοῦσαν δὲ θάψαι μὴ τεκοῦσαν. ἐπελθόντα δὲ τὸν Θησέα καὶ περίλυπον γενόμενον τοῖς μὲν ἐγχωρίοις ἀπολιπεῖν χρήματα, συντάξαντα θύειν τῇ Ἀριάδνῃ, δύο δὲ μικροὺς ἀνδριαντίσκους ἱδρύσασθαι, τὸν μὲν ἀργυροῦν, τὸν δὲ χαλκοῦν. ἐν δὲ τῇ θυσίᾳ τοῦ Γορπιαίου μηνὸς ἱσταμένου δευτέρᾳ κατακλινόμενόν τινα τῶν νεανίσκων φθέγγεσθαι καὶ ποιεῖν ἅπερ ὠδίνουσαι γυναῖκες· καλεῖν δὲ τὸ ἄλσος Ἀμαθουσίους, ἐν ᾧ τὸν τάφον δεικνύουσιν, Ἀριάδνης Ἀφροδίτης.

Καὶ Ναξίων δέ τινες ἰδίως ἱστοροῦσι δύο Μίνωας γενέσθαι καὶ δύο Ἀριάδνας, ὧν τὴν μὲν Διονύσῳ γαμηθῆναί φασιν ἐν Νάξῳ καὶ τοὺς περὶ Στάφυλον τεκεῖν, τὴν δὲ νεωτέραν ἁρπασθεῖσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θησέως καὶ ἀπολειφθεῖσαν εἰς Νάξον ἐλθεῖν, καὶ τροφὸν μετ᾿ αὐτῆς ὄνομα Κορκύνην, ἧς δείκνυσθαι τάφον. ἀποθανεῖν δὲ καὶ τὴν Ἀριάδνην αὐτόθι καὶ τιμὰς ἔχειν οὐχ ὁμοίας τῇ προτέρᾳ. τῇ μὲν γὰρ ἡδομένους καὶ παίζοντας ἑορτάζειν, τὰς δὲ ταύτῃ δρωμένας θυσίας εἶναι πένθει τινὶ καὶ στυγνότητι μεμιγμένας.

Image result for Ariadne and Theseus ancient
Athena, Ariadne, and Theseus: IL MUSEO ARCHEOLOGICO NAZIONALE DI TARANTO

Reputable Tales about Ariadne; And Strange Ones

The following account is interesting for the variations in the story of Ariadne and Theseus but also for the strange detail of the ritual where young men imitate a woman in childbirth. Also, the counterfeit letters bit is precious. What would they say?.

Other tales about Ariadne, According to Plutarch (Theseus 20)

“There are many other versions circulated about these matters still and also about Ariadne, none of which agree. For some say that she hanged herself after she was abandoned by Theseus. Others claim that after she was taken to Naxos by sailors she lived with Oinaros a priest of Dionysus and that she was abandoned by Theseus because he loved another.

“A terrible lust for Aiglê the daughter of Panopeus ate at him” [fr. 105]—this is a line Hereas the Megarean claims Peisistratus deleted from the poems of Hesiod, just as again he says that he inserted into the Homeric catalogue of dead “Theseus and Perithoos, famous children of the gods” [Od. 11.631] to please the Athenans. There are some who say that Ariadne gave birth to Oinipiôn and Staphulos with Theseus. One of these is Ion of  Khios who has sung about his own city “Oinopiôn, Theseus’ son, founded this city once.” [fr. 4D]

The most reputable of the myths told are those which, as the saying goes, all people have in their mouths. But Paiôn the Amathousian has handed down a particular tale about these events. For he says that Theseus was driven by a storm, to Cyprus and that he had Ariadne with him, who was pregnant and doing quite badly because of the sea and the rough sailing. So he set her out alone and he was carried back into the sea from the land while he was tending to the ship. The native women, then, received Ariadne and they tried to ease her depression because of her loneliness by offering her counterfeit written to her by Theseus and helping her and supporting her during childbirth. They buried her when she died before giving birth.

Paiôn claims that when Theseus returned he was overcome with grief and he left money to the island’s inhabitants, charging them to sacrifice to Ariadne and to have two small statues made for her—one of silver and one of bronze. During the second day of the month of Gorpiaon at the sacrifice, one of the young men lies down and mouns and acts as women do during childbirth. They call the grove in which they claim her tomb is that of Ariadne Aphrodite.

Some of the Naxians claim peculiarly that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes. They claim one was married to Dionysus on Naxos and bore the child Staphulos, and the young one was taken by Theseus and left when he came to Naxos with a nurse named Korkunê—whose tomb they put on display. They claim that Ariadne died there and has honors unequal to those of the earlier one. The first has a festival of singing and play; the second has one where sacrifices are performed with grief and mourning.”

Πολλοὶ δὲ λόγοι καὶ περὶ τούτων ἔτι λέγονται καὶ περὶ τῆς Ἀριάδνης, οὐδὲν ὁμολογούμενον ἔχοντες. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἀπάγξασθαί φασιν αὐτὴν ἀπολειφθεῖσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θησέως, οἱ δὲ εἰς Νάξον ὑπὸ ναυτῶν κομισθεῖσαν Οἰνάρῳ τῷ ἱερεῖ τοῦ Διονύσου συνοικεῖν, ἀπολειφθῆναι δὲ τοῦ Θησέως ἐρῶντος ἑτέρας· Δεινὸς γάρ μιν ἔτειρεν ἔρως Πανοπηΐδος Αἴγλης. τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ἔπος ἐκ τῶν Ἡσιόδου Πεισίστρατον ἐξελεῖν φησιν Ἡρέας ὁ Μεγαρεύς, ὥσπερ αὖ πάλιν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου νέκυιαν τὸ Θησέα Πειρίθοόν τε θεῶν ἀριδείκετα τέκνα,χαριζόμενον Ἀθηναίοις· ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ τεκεῖν ἐκ Θησέως Ἀριάδνην Οἰνοπίωνα καὶ Στάφυλον· ὧν καὶ ὁ Χῖος Ἴων ἐστὶ περὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ πατρίδος λέγων· Τήν ποτε Θησείδης ἔκτισεν Οἰνοπίων.

Ἃ δ᾿ ἐστὶν εὐφημότατα τῶν μυθολογουμένων, πάντες ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν διὰ στόματος ἔχουσιν. ἴδιον δέ τινα περὶ τούτων λόγον ἐκδέδωκε Παίων ὁ Ἀμαθούσιος. τὸν γὰρ Θησέα φησὶν ὑπὸ χειμῶνος εἰς Κύπρον ἐξενεχθέντα καὶ τὴν Ἀριάδνην ἔγκυον ἔχοντα, φαύλως δὲ διακειμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ σάλου καὶ δυσφοροῦσαν, ἐκβιβάσαι μόνην, αὐτὸν δὲ τῷ πλοίῳ βοηθοῦντα πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέλαγος ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς φέρεσθαι. τὰς οὖν ἐγχωρίους γυναῖκας τὴν Ἀριάδνην ἀναλαβεῖν καὶ περιέπειν ἀθυμοῦσαν ἐπὶ τῇ μονώσει, καὶ γράμματα πλαστὰ προσφέρειν, ὡς τοῦ Θησέως γράφοντος αὐτῇ, καὶ περὶ τὴν ὠδῖνα συμπονεῖν καὶ βοηθεῖν· ἀποθανοῦσαν δὲ θάψαι μὴ τεκοῦσαν. ἐπελθόντα δὲ τὸν Θησέα καὶ περίλυπον γενόμενον τοῖς μὲν ἐγχωρίοις ἀπολιπεῖν χρήματα, συντάξαντα θύειν τῇ Ἀριάδνῃ, δύο δὲ μικροὺς ἀνδριαντίσκους ἱδρύσασθαι, τὸν μὲν ἀργυροῦν, τὸν δὲ χαλκοῦν. ἐν δὲ τῇ θυσίᾳ τοῦ Γορπιαίου μηνὸς ἱσταμένου δευτέρᾳ κατακλινόμενόν τινα τῶν νεανίσκων φθέγγεσθαι καὶ ποιεῖν ἅπερ ὠδίνουσαι γυναῖκες· καλεῖν δὲ τὸ ἄλσος Ἀμαθουσίους, ἐν ᾧ τὸν τάφον δεικνύουσιν, Ἀριάδνης Ἀφροδίτης.

Καὶ Ναξίων δέ τινες ἰδίως ἱστοροῦσι δύο Μίνωας γενέσθαι καὶ δύο Ἀριάδνας, ὧν τὴν μὲν Διονύσῳ γαμηθῆναί φασιν ἐν Νάξῳ καὶ τοὺς περὶ Στάφυλον τεκεῖν, τὴν δὲ νεωτέραν ἁρπασθεῖσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θησέως καὶ ἀπολειφθεῖσαν εἰς Νάξον ἐλθεῖν, καὶ τροφὸν μετ᾿ αὐτῆς ὄνομα Κορκύνην, ἧς δείκνυσθαι τάφον. ἀποθανεῖν δὲ καὶ τὴν Ἀριάδνην αὐτόθι καὶ τιμὰς ἔχειν οὐχ ὁμοίας τῇ προτέρᾳ. τῇ μὲν γὰρ ἡδομένους καὶ παίζοντας ἑορτάζειν, τὰς δὲ ταύτῃ δρωμένας θυσίας εἶναι πένθει τινὶ καὶ στυγνότητι μεμιγμένας.

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Athena, Ariadne, and Theseus: IL MUSEO ARCHEOLOGICO NAZIONALE DI TARANTO

Tawdry Tuesday: The Argives Say Helen is Iphigenia’s Mother

 

The tale I usually tell my myth students is that Helen was kidnapped as a baby by Theseus and returned fairly young as well.  According to Pausanias, the Argives (and some poets) told a rather different story about her.

 

“Near the shrine of the Lords is the temple of Eilêthuia, set up by Helen when Theseus was passing through to the Thesprotians with Peirthoos after Aphidna was captured by the Dioskouri and Helen was being taken to Lakedaimon. Some say that she was pregnant and that she gave birth in Argos and then built the temple of Eilêthuia but that she gave the child she bore to Klytemnestra—for she was already married to Agamemnon—and that she married Menelaos after these events. The poets Euphorion of Khalkis and Alexandros of Pleurôn have written poems on this matter; before them still, Stesikhoros of Himeria also agrees with the Argives that Iphigenia was Theseus’ daughter.”

πλησίον δὲ τῶν ᾿Ανάκτων Εἰληθυίας ἐστὶν ἱερὸν ἀνάθημα ῾Ελένης, ὅτε σὺν Πειρίθῳ Θησέως ἀπελθόντος ἐς Θεσπρωτοὺς ῎Αφιδνά τε ὑπὸ Διοσκούρων ἑάλω καὶ ἤγετο ἐς Λακεδαίμονα ῾Ελένη. ἔχειν μὲν γὰρ αὐτὴν λέγουσιν ἐν γαστρί, τεκοῦσαν δὲ ἐν ῎Αργει καὶ τῆς Εἰληθυίας ἱδρυσαμένην τὸ ἱερὸν τὴν μὲν παῖδα ἣν ἔτεκε Κλυταιμνήστρᾳ δοῦναι—συνοικεῖν γὰρ ἤδη Κλυταιμνήστραν ᾿Αγαμέμνονι—, αὐτὴν δὲ ὕστερον τούτων Μενελάῳ γήμασθαι. καὶ ἐπὶ τῷδε Εὐφορίων Χαλκιδεὺς καὶ Πλευρώνιος ᾿Αλέξανδρος ἔπη ποιήσαντες, πρότερον δὲ ἔτι Στησίχορος ὁ ῾Ιμεραῖος, κατὰ ταὐτά φασιν ᾿Αργείοις Θησέως εἶναι θυγατέρα ᾿Ιφιγένειαν.

Theseus_Helene_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_2309_n2
In some accounts, Theseus kidnaps an older Helen.

 

Here’s a fragment from Euphorion (fr. 90)

 

“Because, in fact, Helen gave birth to her with Theseus who violated her with force”

Οὕνεκα δή μιν
ἶφι βιησαμένῳ ῾Ελένη ὑπεγείνατο Θησεῖ.

 

There is wordplay here with Iphigenia and iphi-biêsamenô.

 

 

 

 

Theseus Died Like His Father, Except Worse

Pausanias, 1.18.4-6

“Many divergent things are said about the death of Theseus. Many say that he was bound in the underworld until Herakles restored him; but of the things I have heard, these are the most believable: Theseus attacked Thesprotia in order to kidnap the wife of the Thesprotian king and lost the majority of his army in the process. In fact, both he and Peirithous—who went on the expedition also looking for a marriage—were captured and the Thesprotian king kept them imprisoned in Kikhuros. There are many other things in the Thesprotian land worthy of seeing—the shrine of Zeus at Dodona and an oak sacred to the god. Near Kikhuros is a lake called Akherousia and a river called Akheron. A really unpleasant river called the Kokutos flows there too. Homer must have seen these places and was emboldened to use their names for places in Hades, transferring the names for the rivers from the Thesprotian landscape.

While Theseus was imprisoned, the children of Tyndareus attached Aphidna, sacked it, and installed Menestheus as king. Menestheus had no thought for the children of Theseus who had retreated to Elephenor in Euboia; but because he knew that Theseus, if he ever were restored from the Thesprotians, would be a difficult opponent, he attempted to improve the affairs of the common people, so that when Theseus was released, he was expelled from the land. As a result, Theseus went to Deukalion in Crete—when he was carried by winds to the island of Skyros, the Skyrians treated him well because of the fame of his family and the worth of the deeds which he accomplished himself. For these reasons, Lycomedes planned his death.”

ἐς δὲ τὴν τελευτὴν τὴν Θησέως πολλὰ ἤδη καὶ οὐχ ὁμολογοῦντα εἴρηται· δεδέσθαι τε γὰρ αὐτὸν λέγουσιν ἐς τόδε ἕως ὑφ’ ῾Ηρακλέους ἀναχθείη, πιθανώτατα δὲ ὧν ἤκουσα· Θησεὺς ἐς Θεσπρωτοὺς ἐμβαλών, τοῦ βασιλέως τῶν Θεσπρωτῶν γυναῖκα ἁρπάσων, τὸ πολὺ τῆς στρατιᾶς οὕτως ἀπόλλυσι, καὶ αὐτός τε καὶ Πειρίθους—Πειρίθους γὰρ καὶ τὸν γάμον σπεύδων ἐστράτευεν— ἥλωσαν, καὶ σφᾶς ὁ Θεσπρωτὸς δήσας εἶχεν ἐν Κιχύρῳ. γῆς δὲ τῆς Θεσπρωτίδος ἔστι μέν που καὶ ἄλλα θέας ἄξια, ἱερόν τε Διὸς ἐν Δωδώνῃ καὶ ἱερὰ τοῦ θεοῦ φηγός· πρὸς δὲ τῇ Κιχύρῳ λίμνη τέ ἐστιν ᾿Αχερουσία καλουμένη καὶ ποταμὸς ᾿Αχέρων, ῥεῖ δὲ καὶ Κωκυτὸς ὕδωρ ἀτερπέστατον. ῞Ομηρός τέ μοι δοκεῖ ταῦτα ἑωρακὼς ἔς τε τὴν ἄλλην ποίησιν ἀποτολμῆσαι τῶν ἐν ῞Αιδου καὶ δὴ καὶ τὰ ὀνόματα τοῖς ποταμοῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐν Θεσπρωτίδι θέσθαι. τότε δὲ ἐχομένου Θησέως στρατεύουσιν ἐς ῎Αφιδναν οἱ Τυνδάρεω παῖδες καὶ τήν τε ῎Αφιδναν αἱροῦσι καὶ Μενεσθέα ἐπὶ βασιλείᾳ κατήγαγον· Μενεσθεὺς δὲ τῶν μὲν παίδων τῶν Θησέως παρ’ ᾿Ελεφήνορα ὑπεξελθόντων ἐς Εὔβοιαν εἶχεν οὐδένα λόγον, Θησέα δέ, εἴ ποτε παρὰ Θεσπρωτῶν ἀνακομισθήσεται, δυσανταγώνιστον ἡγούμενος διὰ θεραπείας τὰ τοῦ δήμου καθίστατο, ὡς Θησέα ἀνασωθέντα ὕστερον ἀπωσθῆναι. στέλλεται δὴ Θησεὺς παρὰ Δευκαλίωνα ἐς Κρήτην, ἐξενεχθέντα δὲ αὐτὸν ὑπὸ πνευμάτων ἐς Σκῦρον τὴν νῆσον λαμπρῶς περιεῖπον οἱ Σκύριοι κατὰ γένους δόξαν καὶ ἀξίωμα ὧν ἦν αὐτὸς εἰργασμένος· καί οἱ θάνατον Λυκομήδης διὰ ταῦτα ἐβούλευσεν.

The details of Theseus’ death are reported elsewhere:

Plutarch, Life of Theseus 35.4

“When he came to [Lycomedes] he was seeking that his lands be returned to him so he might live there. Some report that Theseus was asking him for help against the Athenians. Lycomedes, either because he feared the man’s reputation or as a favor to Menestheus, led Theseus to the highest part of the land on the pretense of showing him the territory. Then he pushed him from the rocks and killed him.  Others say that Theseus fell on his own, going on a walk after dinner.”

[4] πρὸς τοῦτον οὖν ἀφικόμενος ἐζήτει τοὺς ἀγροὺς ἀπολαβεῖν, ὡς αὐτόθι κατοικήσων: ἔνιοι δέ φασι παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν βοηθεῖν ἐπὶ τοὺς Ἀθηναίους. ὁ δὲ Λυκομήδης, εἴτε δείσας τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀνδρός, εἴτε τῷ Μενεσθεῖ χαριζόμενος, ἐπὶ τὰ ἄκρα τῆς χώρας ἀναγαγὼν αὐτόν, ὡς ἐκεῖθεν ἐπιδείξων τοὺς ἀγρούς, ὦσε κατὰ τῶν πετρῶν καὶ διέφθειρεν. ἔνιοι δ᾽ ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ πεσεῖν φασι σφαλέντα, μετὰ δεῖπνον

Theseus
Life’s Not All Minotaur-Slaying

Passing Through Corinth with Pausanias

 Book 2.2-3

 

“Within the Corinthian lands there is the place called the Kromyon after Poseidon’s son Kromos. There is where men claim that sow called Phaia was nourished (she was one of Theseus’ deeds). When I was there, pine forest was growing along the shore where one would find the altar of Melicertes. The story is that a dolphin carried a boy to that place and that after Sisyphus found him lying there, he buried him on the Isthmus and established the Isthmian games in his honor.

This is near the start of the Isthmus where Sinis the brigand used to grab pine trees and pull them to the ground. He took all the men he overcame in battle, bound them to the tree, and let it go again. After that, the pine trees would draw the bound man toward itself, but since the binding did not give way in either direction, the victim was split in two, tearing on both sides. Sinis suffered this same death himself thanks to Theseus.”

Theseus Sinis
Theseus and Sinis, by the Elpinikos Painter

 

τῆς δὲ Κορινθίας ἐστὶ γῆς καὶ ὁ καλούμενος Κρομυὼν ἀπὸ [τοῦ] Κρόμου τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος. ἐνταῦθα τραφῆναί φασι <Φαιὰν>, καὶ τῶν λεγομένων Θησέως καὶ τὸ ἐς τὴν <ὗν> ταύτην ἐστὶν ἔργον. προϊοῦσι δὲ ἡ πίτυς ἄχρι γε ἐμοῦ πεφύκει παρὰ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν καὶ Μελικέρτου βωμὸς ἦν. ἐς τοῦτον τὸν τόπον ἐκκομισθῆναι τὸν παῖδα ὑπὸ δελφῖνος λέγουσι· κειμένῳ δὲ ἐπιτυχόντα Σίσυφον θάψαι τε ἐν τῷ ἰσθμῷ καὶ τὸν ἀγῶνα ἐπ’ αὐτῷ ποιῆσαι τῶν ᾿Ισθμίων. ἔστι δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ ἰσθμοῦ τῆς ἀρχῆς, ἔνθα ὁ λῃστὴς Σίνις λαμβανόμενος πιτύων ἦγεν ἐς τὸ κάτω σφᾶς· ὁπόσων δὲ μάχῃ κρατήσειεν, ἀπ’ αὐτῶν δήσας ἀφῆκεν ἂν τὰ δένδρα ἄνω φέρεσθαι· ἐνταῦθα ἑκατέρα τῶν πιτύων τὸν δεθέντα ἐφ’ αὑτὴν εἷλκε, καὶ τοῦ δεσμοῦ μηδετέρωσε εἴκοντος ἀλλ’ ἀμφοτέρωθεν ἐπ’ ἴσης βιαζομένου διεσπᾶτο ὁ δεδεμένος. τοιούτῳ διεφθάρη τρόπῳ καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ Θησέως ὁ Σίνις·

People Believe (And Repeat) What They Hear: Pausanias on Theseus

Pausanias, 1.3.3

 

“On the opposite wall are painted Theseus, Democracy and the People. Clearly, this painting shows Theseus as the founder of political equality for the Athenians. In other accounts the story has been popularized that Theseus handed the powers of the state over to the people and that the Athenians lived in a democracy from his time until Peisistratus rebelled and became a tyrant. The majority of people repeat many things which are not true, since they know nothing of history and they believe whatever they have heard since childhood in choruses and tragedy. This is how it is with Theseus who actually was king himself and whose descendants continued ruling for four generations until Menestheus died.”

ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ τοίχῳ τῷ πέραν Θησεύς ἐστι γεγραμμένος καὶ Δημοκρατία τε καὶ Δῆμος. δηλοῖ δὲ ἡ γραφὴ Θησέα εἶναι τὸν καταστήσαντα ᾿Αθηναίοις ἐξ ἴσου πολιτεύεσθαι· κεχώρηκε δὲ φήμη καὶ ἄλλως ἐς τοὺς πολλούς, ὡς Θησεὺς παραδοίη τὰ πράγματα τῷ δήμῳ καὶ ὡς ἐξ ἐκείνου δημοκρατούμενοι διαμείναιεν, πρὶν ἢ Πεισίστρατος ἐτυράννησεν ἐπαναστάς. λέγεται μὲν δὴ καὶ ἄλλα οὐκ ἀληθῆ παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς οἷα ἱστορίας ἀνηκόοις οὖσι καὶ ὁπόσα ἤκουον εὐθὺς ἐκ παίδων ἔν τε χοροῖς καὶ τραγῳδίαις πιστὰ ἡγουμένοις, λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἐς τὸν Θησέα, ὃς αὐτός τε ἐβασίλευσε καὶ ὕστερον Μενεσθέως τελευτήσαντος καὶ ἐς τετάρτην  οἱ Θησεῖδαι γενεὰν διέμειναν ἄρχοντες.

An early twitter respondent noted that the main thrust of this section sounds a bit Thucydidean:

 

 

Here’s the Greek (Thuc. 1.20.3)

οὕτως ἀταλαίπωρος τοῖς πολλοῖς ἡ ζήτησις τῆς ἀληθείας, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἑτοῖμα μᾶλλον τρέπονται.

“For most people the examination of the truth is so careless that they accept whatever is prepared for them.”

Later Karl brought us some Tertullian

Here’s the Latin: et ignorare illos, dum oderunt, et iniuste odisse, dum ignorant

Later Karl brought us some Tertullian

Here’s the Latin: et ignorare illos, dum oderunt, et iniuste odisse, dum ignorant

Here’s the translation Karl shared from Robert Sider’s book Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire:

I am fairly certain there is some Platonic antecedent for these ideas…

Messing With Homer and Hesiod: Plutarch on Peisistratean Interpolations

“There are many other accounts reported about these things and about Ariadne too, but there isn’t any agreement. For some say that she killed herself after Theseus abandoned her; others say that after she was brought to Naxos by the sailors she lived with Dionysus’ priest Onaros there.

And they add that she was left by Theseus because he loved another, as Hesiod says “A terrible love for Aiglê, the daughter of Panopeus plagued him” (fr. 105). For Hereas the Megarian says that Peisistratus deleted this line from Hesiod just as he inserted the following into Homer’s Nekyia: “Theseus and Peirithoos, the outstanding children of the gods.”

Πολλοὶ δὲ λόγοι καὶ περὶ τούτων ἔτι λέγονται καὶ περὶ τῆς ᾿Αριάδνης, οὐδὲν ὁμολογούμενον ἔχοντες. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἀπάγξασθαί φασιν αὐτὴν ἀπολειφθεῖσαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θησέως, οἱ δ’ εἰς Νάξον ὑπὸ ναυτῶν κομισθεῖσαν ᾿Ωνάρῳ τῷ ἱερεῖ τοῦ Διονύσου συνοικεῖν·

ἀπολειφθῆναι δὲ τοῦ Θησέως ἐρῶντος ἑτέρας: “Δεινὸς γάρ μιν ἔτειρεν ἔρως Πανοπηίδος Αἴγλης”. τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ἔπος ἐκ τῶν ῾Ησιόδου (fr. 105 Rz.) Πεισίστρατον ἐξελεῖν φησιν ῾Ηρέας ὁ Μεγαρεύς (FGrH 486 F 1), ὥσπερ αὖ πάλιν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν ῾Ομήρου νέκυιαν (Od. 11, 631) “τὸ Θησέα Πειρίθοόν τε θεῶν ἀριδείκετα τέκνα” χαριζόμενον ᾿Αθηναίοις·

Laconian Assmen and A False Etymology for Adolescent: Two Comic Fragments

Photius was a ninth century Patriarch and Scholar of Constantinople who is now a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. But he was also a lexicographer who preserved or hinted a fragments of many lost authors.

Laconian Assmen and Theseus (Photius 192.12)

“Laconian Ass-man”: Cleinias, had anal-sex, in the Laconian style. They call intercourse with boyfriends “to act like a Laconian”. This is how Theseus had sex with Helen, according to Aristarchus.

Κυσολάκων: ὁ Κλεινίας ὁ τωῖ κυσωῖ Λακωνίζων· τὸ δὲ τοῖς παιδικοῖς χρῆσθαι Λακωνίζειν λέγουσιν· ᾿Eλένηι γὰρ Θησεὺς οὕτως ἐχρήσατο, ὡς Ἀρίσταρχος.

Some texts have Μελαίνηι instead of ᾿Eλένηι. Some have ᾿Αριστοτέλης instead of Ἀρίσταρχος

An Amusing But Absolutely Impossible Etymology for Adolescent (Photius α 372)

Adoleskhein: indicates talking philosophically about nature while conversing about everything else. The comic poets used the word leschainein for “having a conversation” (dialegesthai). And leskhai are places where people gather to spend the day in conversation.’

᾿Αδολεσχεῖν· σημαίνει μὲν τὸ φιλοσοφεῖν περί τε φύσεως καὶ τοῦ παντὸς διαλεσχαίνοντα. οἱ μέντοι ἀρχαῖοι κωμικοὶ λεσχαίνειν ἔλεγον τὸ διαλέγεσθαι. καὶ λέσχαι οἱ τόποι, εἰς οὓς συνιόντες λόγοις διημέρευον.

Theseus Laments that Words Pervert the Truth (Euripides’ fr. 439)

“Alas! I wish facts had a voice for people
So that clever speakers would be nothing.
Now instead men with turning tongues steal away
The truest things: and what should seem true cannot.”

φεῦ φεῦ, τὸ μὴ τὰ πράγματ’ ἀνθρώποις ἔχειν
φωνήν, ἵν’ ἦσαν μηδὲν οἱ δεινοὶ λέγειν.
νῦν δ’ εὐτρόχοισι στόμασι τἀληθέστατα
κλέπτουσιν, ὥστε μὴ δοκεῖν ἃ χρὴ δοκεῖν

This is from Euripides’ lost Hippolytus Veiled, a play in which the deception of Theseus results in the death of his son. His words sound idealist and almost noble, but as the story goes his wife Phaedra lies about sexual advances from her stepson Hippolytus and Theseus curses him. One of Theseus’ interlocutors replies (fr. 440):

“Theseus, I advise you that this is best, if you think through it:
Don’t ever believe that you hear the truth from a woman.”

Θησεῦ, παραινῶ σοὶ τὸ λῷστον, εἰ φρονεῖς,
γυναικὶ πείθου μηδὲ τἀληθῆ κλύων.

Nope. Not very nice, Euripides.

Euripides, Fr. 388: There’s a Better Kind of Love…

“But mortals truly have a different kind of love,
One of a just, prudent, and good soul.
It would be better if it were the custom among mortals,
of reverent men and all those with reason,
To love this way, and to leave Zeus’ daughter Cypris alone.”

ἀλλ’ ἔστι δή τις ἄλλος ἐν βροτοῖς ἔρως
ψυχῆς δικαίας σώφρονός τε κἀγαθῆς.
καὶ χρῆν δὲ τοῖς βροτοῖσι τόνδ’ εἶναι νόμον
τῶν εὐσεβούντων οἵτινές τε σώφρονες
ἐρᾶν, Κύπριν δὲ τὴν Διὸς χαίρειν ἐᾶν.

This comes from the fragmentary Theseus and is attributed by some to a speech by Athena. It also sounds like something from Plato’s Symposium