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Robert Graves The Greek Myths

1955, revised 1960

Robert Graves was born in 1895 at Wimbledon, son of Alfred Perceval
Graves, the Irish writer, and Amalia von Ranke. e went from school to
the !irst World War, where he became a ca"tain in the Ro#al Welch
!$siliers. is "rinci"al callin% is "oetr#, and his Selected Poems have
been "$blished in the Pen%$in Poets. A"art from a #ear as Professor of
&n%lish 'iterat$re at (airo )niversit# in 19*+ he has since earned his
livin% b# writin%, mostl# historical novels which incl$de, I, Claudius-
Claudius the God- Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth- Count Belisarius- Wife
to Mr Milton .all "$blished as Pen%$ins/- Proceed, Sergeant Lamb- The
Golden Fleece- The !anged M Saintl Bill- and The Isles of
"n#isdom. e wrote his a$tobio%ra"h#, Goodbe to $ll That .a Pen%$in
0odem (lassic/, in 19*9. is two most disc$ssed non1fiction books are
The White Goddess, which "resents a new view of the "oetic im"$lse,
and The Na%arene Gos&el 'estored .with 2osh$a Podro/, a re1
e3amination of "rimitive (hristianit#. e has translated A"$lei$s,
'$can, and 4vetoni$s for the Pen%$in (lassics. e was elected
Professor of Poetr# at 53ford in 19+*.
I. 6he Pelas%ian (reation 0#th
*. 6he omeric And 5r"hic (reation 0#ths
7. 6he 5l#m"ian (reation 0#th
8. 6wo Philoso"hical (reation 0#ths
5. 6he !ive A%es 5f 0an
+. 6he (astration 5f )ran$s
9. 6he :ethronement 5f (ron$s
8. 6he ;irth 5f Athene
9. <e$s And 0etis
1=. 6he !ates
11. 6he ;irth 5f A"hrodite
1*. era And er (hildren
17. <e$s And era
18. ;irths 5f ermes, A"ollo, Artemis, And :ion#s$s
15. 6he ;irth 5f &ros
1+. Poseidon>s ?at$re And :eeds
19. ermes>s ?at$re And :eeds
18. A"hrodite>s ?at$re And :eeds
19. Ares>s ?at$re And :eeds
*=. estia>s ?at$re And :eeds
*1. A"ollo>s ?at$re And :eeds
**. Artemis>s ?at$re And :eeds
*7. e"haest$s>s ?at$re And :eeds
*8. :emeter>s ?at$re And :eeds
*5. Athene>s ?at$re And :eeds
*+. Pan>s ?at$re And :eeds
*9. :ion#s$s>s ?at$re And :eeds
*8. 5r"he$s
*9. Gan#medes
7=. <a%re$s
71. 6he Gods 5f 6he )nderworld
7*. 6#che And ?emesis
77. 6he (hildren 5f 6he 4ea
78. 6he (hildren 5f &chidne
75. 6he Giants> Revolt
7+. 6#"hon
79. 6he Aloids
78. :e$calion>s !lood
79. Atlas And Promethe$s
8=. &os
81. 5rion
8*. eli$s
87. 6he 4ons 5f ellen
88. Ion
85. Alc#one And (e#3
8+. 6ere$s
89. &rechthe$s And &$mol"$s
88. ;oreas
89. Alo"e
5=. Ascle"i$s
51. 6he 5racles
5*. 6he Al"habet
57. 6he :act#ls
58. 6he 6elchines
55. 6he &m"$sae
5+. Io
59. Phorone$s
58. &$ro"e And (adm$s
59. (adm$s And armonia
+=. ;el$s And 6he :anaids
+1. 'amia
+*. 'eda
+7. I3ion
+8. &nd#mion
+5. P#%malion And Galatea
++. Aeac$s
+9. 4is#"h$s
+8. 4almone$s And 6#ro
+9. Alcestis
9=. Athamas
91. 6he 0ares of Gla$c$s
9*. 0elam"$s
97. Perse$s
98. 6he Rival 6wins
95. ;ellero"hon
9+. Antio"e
99. ?iobe
98. (aenis And (aene$s
99. &ri%one
8=. 6he (al#donian ;oar
81. 6elamon And Pele$s
8*. Aristae$s
87. 0idas
88. (leobis And ;iton
85. ?arciss$s
8+. Ph#llis And (ar#a
89. Arion
88. 0inos And is ;rothers
89. 6he 'oves 5f 0inos
9=. 6he (hildren 5f Pasi"ha@
91. 4c#lla And ?is$s
9*. :aedal$s And 6alos
97. (atre$s And Althaemenes
98. 6he 4ons 5f Pandion
95. 6he ;irth 5f 6hese$s
9+. 6he 'abo$rs 5f 6hese$s
99. 6hese$s And 0edea
98. 6hese$s In (rete
99. 6he !ederaliAation 5f Attica
1==. 6hese$s And 6he AmaAons
1=1. Phaedra And i""ol#t$s
1=*. 'a"iths And (enta$rs
1=7. 6hese$s In 6artar$s
1=8. 6he :eath 5f 6hese$s
1=5. 5edi"$s
1=+. 6he 4even A%ainst 6hebes
1=9. 6he &"i%oni
1=8. 6antal$s
1=9. Pelo"s And 5enoma$s
11=. 6he (hildren 5f Pelo"s
111. Atre$s And 6h#estes
11*. A%amemnon And (l#taemnestra
117. 6he Ben%eance 5f 5restes
118. 6he 6rial 5f 5restes
115. 6he Pacification 5f 6he &rinn#es
11+. I"hi%eneia Amon% 6he 6a$rians
119. 6he Rei%n 5f 5restes
118. 6he ;irth 5f eracles
119. 6he Co$th 5f eracles
1*=. 6he :a$%hters 5f 6hes"i$s
1*1. &r%in$s
1**. 6he 0adness 5f eracles
1*7. 6he !irst 'abo$r, 6he ?emean 'ion
1*8. 6he 4econd 'abo$r, 6he 'ernaean #dra
1*5. 6he 6hird 'abo$r, 6he (er#neian ind
1*+. 6he !o$rth 'abo$r, 6he &r#minthian ;oar
1*9. 6he !ifth 'abo$r, 6he 4tables 5f A$%eias
1*8. 6he 4i3th 'abo$r, 6he 4t#m"halian ;irds
1*9. 6he 4eventh 'abo$r, 6he (retan ;$ll
17=. 6he &i%hth 'abo$r, 6he 0ares 5f :iomedes
171. 6he ?inth 'abo$r, i""ol#te>s Girdle
17*. 6he 6enth 'abo$r, 6he (attle 5f Ger#on
177. 6he &leventh 'abo$r, 6he A""les 5f 6he es"erides
178. 6he 6welfth 'abo$r, 6he (a"t$re 5f (erber$s
175. 6he 0$rder 5f I"hit$s
17+. 5m"hale
179. esione
178. 6he (onD$est 5f &lis
179. 6he (a"t$re 5f P#l$s
18=. 6he 4ons 5f i""ocoEn
181. A$%e
18*. :eianeira
187, eracles In 6rachis
188. Iole
185. 6he A"otheosis 5f eracles
18+. 6he (hildren 5f eracles
189. 'in$s
188. 6he Ar%ona$ts Assemble
189. 6he 'emnian Women And Fin% (#Aic$s
15=. #las, Am#c$s, And Phine$s
151. !rom 6he 4#m"le%ades 6o (olchis
15*. 6he 4eiA$re 5f 6he !leece
157. 6he 0$rder 5f A"s#rt$s
158. 6he Ar%o Ret$rns 6o Greece
155. 6he :eath 5f Pelias
15+. 0edea At &"h#ra
159. 0edea In &3ile
158. 6he !o$ndation 5f 6ro#
159. Paris And elen
1+=. 6he !irst Gatherin% At A$lis
1+1. 6he 4econd Gatherin% At A$lis
1+*. ?ine Cears 5f War
1+7. 6he Wrath 5f Achilles
1+8. 6he :eath 5f Achilles
1+5. 6he 0adness 5f AGa3
1++. 6he 5racles 5f 6ro#
1+9. 6he Wooden orse
1+8. 6he 4ack 5f 6ro#
1+9. 6he Ret$rns
19=. 5d#sse$s>s Wanderin%s
191. 5d#sse$s>s omecomin%

4I?(& revisin% The Gree( Mths in 1958, I have had second
tho$%hts abo$t the dr$nken %od :ion#s$s, abo$t the (enta$rs with
their contradictor# re"$tation for wisdom and misdemeano$r, and
abo$t the nat$re of divine ambrosia and nectar. 6hese s$bGects are
closel# related, beca$se the (enta$rs worshi""ed :ion#s$s, whose
wild a$t$mnal feast was called Hthe Ambrosia>. I no lon%er believe that
when his 0aenads ran ra%in% aro$nd the co$ntr#side, tearin% animals
or children in "ieces and boasted afterwards of travellin% to India and
back, the# had into3icated themselves solel# on wine or iv# ale. 6he
evidence, s$mmariAed in m# What Food the Centaurs $te .1958/,
s$%%ests that 4at#rs .%oat1totem tribesmen/, (enta$rs .horse1totem
tribesmen/, and their 0aenad womenfolk, $sed these brews to wash
down mo$thf$ls of a far stron%er dr$%, namel# a raw m$shroom,
amanita muscaria, which ind$ces hall$cinations, senseless riotin%,
"ro"hetic si%ht, erotic ener%#, and remarkable m$sc$lar stren%th.
4ome ho$rs of this ecstas# are followed b# com"lete inertia- a
"henomenon that wo$ld acco$nt for the stor# of how '#c$r%$s, armed
onl# with an o31%oad, ro$ted :ion#s$s>s dr$nken arm# of 0aenads and
4at#rs after its victorio$s ret$rn from India.
5n an &tr$scan mirror the amanita muscaria is en%raved at I3ion>s
feet- he was a 6hessalian hero who feasted on ambrosia amon% the
%ods. 4everal m#ths are consistent with m# theor# that his
descendants, the (enta$rs, ate this m$shroom- and, accordin% to some
historians, it was later em"lo#ed b# the ?orse berser(s to %ive them
reckless "ower in battle. I now believe that Hambrosia> and Hnectar>
were into3icant m$shrooms, certainl# the amanita muscaria- b$t
"erha"s others, too, es"eciall# a small, slender d$n%1m$shroom
named &anaeolus &a&ilionaceus, which ind$ces harmless and most
enGo#able hall$cinations. A m$shroom not $nlike it a""ears on an Attic
vase between the hooves of ?ess$s the (enta$r. 6he H%ods> for whom,
in the m#ths, ambrosia and nectar were reserved, will have been
sacred D$eens and kin%s of the "re1(lassical era. Fin% 6antal$s>s crime
was that he broke the taboo b# invitin% commoners to share his
4acred D$eenshi"s and kin%shi"s la"sed in Greece- ambrosia then
became, it seems, the secret element of the &le$sinian, 5r"hic and
other 0#steries associated with :ion#s$s. At all events, the
"artici"ants swore to kee" silence abo$t what the# ate or drank, saw
$nfor%ettable visions, and were "romised immortalit#. 6he Hambrosia>
awarded to winners of the 5l#m"ic footrace when victor# no lon%er
conferred the sacred kin%shi" on them was clearl# a s$bstit$te, a
mi3t$re of foods the initial letters of which, as I show in What Food the
Centaurs $te, s"elled o$t the Greek word Hm$shroom>. Reci"es D$oted
b# (lassical a$thors for nectar, and for cecon, the mint1flavo$red
drink taken b# :emeter at &le$sis, likewise s"ell o$t Hm$shroom>.
I have m#self eaten the hall$cino%enic m$shroom, "siloc#be, a divine
ambrosia in immemorial $se amon% the 0asatec Indians of 5a3aca
Province, 0e3ico- heard the "riestess invoke 6laloc, the 0$shroom1%od,
and seen transcendental visions. 6h$s I wholeheartedl# a%ree with R.
Gordon Wasson, the American discoverer of this ancient rite, that
&$ro"ean ideas of heaven and hell ma# well have derived from similar
m#steries. 6laloc was en%endered b# li%htnin%- so was :ion#s$s- and
in Greek folklore, as in 0asatec, so are all m$shroomsI"roverbiall#
called Hfood of the %ods> in both lan%$a%es. 6laloc wore a ser"ent1
crown- so did :ion#s$s. 6laloc had an $nderwater retreat- so had
:ion#s$s. 6he 0aenads> sava%e c$stom of tearin% off their victims>
heads ma# refer alle%oricall# to tearin% off the sacred m$shroom>s
headIsince in 0e3ico its stalk is never eaten. We read that Perse$s, a
sacred Fin% of Ar%os, converted to :ion#s$s worshi", named 0#cenae
after a toadstool which he fo$nd %rowin% on the site, and which %ave
forth a stream of water. 6laloc>s emblem was a toad- so was that of
Ar%os- and from the mo$th of 6laloc>s toad in the 6e"entitla fresco
iss$es a stream of water. Cet at what e"och were the &$ro"ean and
(entral American c$lt$res in contactJ
6hese theories call for f$rther research, and I have therefore not
incor"orated m# findin%s in the te3t of the "resent edition. An# e3"ert
hel" in solvin% the "roblem wo$ld be %reatl# a""reciated.
:e#K, 0aGorca,
4"ain, 19+=.
6& mediaeval emissaries of the (atholic (h$rch bro$%ht to
Great ;ritain, in addition to the whole cor"$s of sacred histor#, a
(ontinental $niversit# s#stem based on the Greek and 'atin (lassics.
4$ch native le%ends as those of Fin% Arth$r, G$# of Warwick, Robin
ood, the ;l$e a% of 'eicester, and Fin% 'ear were considered
s$itable eno$%h for the masses, #et b# earl# 6$dor times the cler%#
and the ed$cated classes were referrin% far more freD$entl# to the
m#ths in 5vid, Bir%il, and the %rammar school s$mmaries of the 6roGan
War. 6ho$%h official &n%lish literat$re of the si3teenth to the
nineteenth cent$ries cannot, therefore, be "ro"erl# $nderstood e3ce"t
in the li%ht of Greek m#tholo%#, the (lassics have latel# lost so m$ch
%ro$nd in schools and $niversities that an ed$cated "erson is now no
lon%er e3"ected to know .for instance/ who :e$calion, Pelo"s,
:aedal$s, 5enone, 'aocoEn, or Anti%one ma# have been. ($rrent
knowled%e of these m#ths is mostl# derived from s$ch fair#1stor#
versions as Fin%sle#>s !eroes and awthorne>s Tangle#ood Tales- and
at first si%ht this does not seem to matter m$ch, beca$se for the last
two tho$sand #ears it has been the fashion to dismiss the m#ths as
biAarre and chimerical fancies, a charmin% le%ac# from the childhood of
the Greek intelli%ence, which the (h$rch nat$rall# de"reciates in order
to em"hasiAe the %reater s"irit$al im"ortance of the ;ible. Cet it is
diffic$lt to overestimate their val$e in the st$d# of earl# &$ro"ean
histor#, reli%ion, and sociolo%#.
H(himerical> is an adGectival form of the no$n chimaera, meanin% Hshe1
%oat>. !o$r tho$sand #ears a%o the (himaera can have seemed no
more biAarre than an# reli%io$s, heraldic, or commercial emblem does
toda#. 4he was a formal com"osite beast with .as omer records/ a
lion>s head, a %oat>s bod#, and a ser"ent>s tail. A (himaera has been
fo$nd carved on the walls of a ittite tem"le at (archemish and, like
s$ch other com"osite beasts as the 4"hin3 and the )nicorn, will
ori%inall# have been a calendar s#mbol, each com"onent re"resented
a season of the L$een of eaven>s sacred #earIas, accordin% to
:iodor$s 4ic$l$s, the three strin%s of her tortoise1shell l#re also did.
6his ancient three1season #ear is disc$ssed b# ?ilsson in his Primiti)e
Time 'ec(oning .191=/.
5nl# a small "art, however, of the h$%e, disor%aniAed cor"$s of Greek
m#tholo%#, which contains im"ortations from (rete, &%#"t, Palestine,
Phr#%ia, ;ab#lonia, and elsewhere, can "ro"erl# be classified with the
(himaera as tr$e m#th. 6r$e m#th ma# be defined as the red$ction to
narrative shorthand of rit$al mime "erformed on "$blic festivals, and in
man# cases recorded "ictoriall# on tem"le walls, vases, seals, bowls,
mirrors, chests, shields, ta"estries, and the like. 6he (himaera and her
fellow calendar1beasts m$st have fi%$red "rominentl# in these
dramatic "erformances which, with their icono%ra"hic and oral records,
became the "rime a$thorit#, or charter, for the reli%io$s instit$tions of
each tribe, clan, or cit#. 6heir s$bGects were archaic ma%ic1makin%s
that "romoted the fertilit# or stabilit# of a sacred D$eendom, or
kin%domID$eendoms havin%, it seems, "receded kin%doms
thro$%ho$t the Greek1s"eakin% areaIand amendments to these,
introd$ced as circ$mstances reD$ired. '$cian>s essa# *n the +ance
lists an im"osin% n$mber of rit$al mimes still "erformed in the second
cent$r# A:- and Pa$sanias>s descri"tion of the tem"le "aintin%s at
:el"hi and the carvin%s on (#"sel$s>s (hest, s$%%ests that an
immense amo$nt of miscellaneo$s m#tholo%ical records, of which no
trace now remains, s$rvived into the same "eriod.
6r$e m#th m$st be distin%$ished from,
.1/ Philoso"hical alle%or#, as in esiod>s cosmo%on#.
.*/ HAetiolo%ical> e3"lanation of m#ths no lon%er $nderstood, as in
Admet$s>s #okin% of a lion and a boar to his chariot.
.7/ 4atire or "arod#, as in 4ilen$s>s acco$nt of Atlantis.
.8/ 4entimental fable, as in the stor# of ?arciss$s and &cho.
.5/ &mbroidered histor#, as in Arion>s advent$re with the dol"hin.
.+/ 0instrel romance, as in the stor# of (e"hal$s and Procris.
.9/ Political "ro"a%anda, as in 6hese$s>s !ederaliAation of Attica.
.8/ 0oral le%end, as in the stor# of &ri"h#le>s necklace.
.9/ $moro$s anecdote, as in the bedroom farce of eracles, 5m"hale,
and Pan.
.1=/ 6heatrical melodrama, as in the stor# of 6hestor and his
.11/ eroic sa%a, as in the main ar%$ment of the Iliad.
.1*/ Realistic fiction, as in 5d#sse$s>s visit to the Phaeacians.
Cet %en$ine m#thic elements ma# be fo$nd embedded in the
least "romisin% stories, and the f$llest or most ill$minatin% version of a
%iven m#th is seldom s$""lied b# an# one a$thor- nor, when searchin%
for its ori%inal form, sho$ld one ass$me that the more ancient the
written so$rce, the more a$thoritative it m$st be. 5ften, for instance,
the "la#f$l Ale3andrian (allimach$s, or the frivolo$s A$%$stan 5vid, or
the dr#1as1d$st late1;#Aantine 6AetAes, %ives an obvio$sl# earlier
version of a m#th than do esiod or the Greek tra%edians- and the
thirteenth1cent$r# ,-cidium Troiae is, in "arts, m#thicall# so$nder than
the Iliad. When makin% "rose sense of a m#tholo%ical or
"se$dom#tholo%ical narrative, one sho$ld alwa#s "a# caref$l attention
to the names, tribal ori%in, and fates of the characters concerned- and
then restore it to the form of dramatic rit$al, where$"on its incidental
elements will sometimes s$%%est an analo%# with another m#th which
has been %iven a wholl# different anecdotal twist, and shed li%ht on
both. A st$d# of Greek m#tholo%# sho$ld be%in with a consideration of
what "olitical and reli%io$s s#stems e3isted in &$ro"e before the arrival
of Ar#an invaders from the distant ?orth and &ast. 6he whole of
?eolithic &$ro"e, to G$d%e from s$rvivin% artefacts and m#ths, had a
remarkabl# homo%eneo$s s#stem of reli%io$s ideas, based on worshi"
of the man#1titled 0other1%oddess, who was also known in 4#ria and
Ancient &$ro"e had no %ods. 6he Great Goddess was re%arded as
immortal, chan%eless, and omni"otent- and the conce"t of fatherhood
had not been introd$ced into reli%io$s tho$%ht. 4he took lovers, b$t for
"leas$re, not to "rovide her children with a father. 0en feared, adored,
and obe#ed the matriarch- the hearth which she tended in a cave or
h$t bein% their earliest social centre, and motherhood their "rime
m#ster#. 6h$s the first victim of a Greek "$blic sacrifice was alwa#s
offered to estia of the earth. 6he %oddess>s white aniconic ima%e,
"erha"s her most wides"read emblem, which a""ears at :el"hi as the
om&halos, or navel1boss, ma# ori%inall# have re"resented the raised
white mo$nd of ti%htl#1"acked ash, enclosin% live charcoal, which is
the easiest means of "reservin% fire witho$t smoke. 'ater, it became
"ictoriall# identified with the lime1whitened mo$nd $nder which the
harvest corn1doll was hidden, to be removed s"ro$tin% in the s"rin%-
and with the mo$nd of sea1shells, or D$artA, or white marble,
$nderneath which dead kin%s were b$ried. ?ot onl# the moon, b$t .to
G$d%e from emera of Greece and Grairme of Ireland/ the s$n, were
the %oddess>s celestial s#mbols. In earlier Greek m#th, however, the
s$n #ields "recedence to the moonIwhich ins"ires the %reater
s$"erstitio$s fear, does not %row dimmer as the #ear wanes, and is
credited with the "ower to %rant or den# water to the fields.
6he moonMs three "hases of new, f$ll and old, recalled the matriarchMs
three "hases of maiden, n#m"h .n$bile woman/ and crone. 6hen, since
the s$nMs ann$al co$rse similarl# recalled the rise and decline of her
"h#sical "owersIs"rin% a maiden, s$mmer a n#m"h, winter a croneI
the %oddess became identified with seasonal chan%es in animal and
"lant life- and th$s with 0other &arth who, at the be%innin% of the
ve%etative #ear, "rod$ces onl# leaves and b$ds, then flowers and
fr$its, and at last ceases to bear. 4he co$ld later be conceived as #et
another triad, the maiden of the $""er air, the n#m"h of the earth or
sea, the crone of the )nderworldIt#"ified res"ectivel# b# 4elene,
A"hrodite and ecate. 6hese m#stical analo%$es fostered the
sacredness of the n$mber three, and the 0oon1%oddess became
enlar%ed to nine when each of the three "ersonsImaiden, n#m"h and
croneIa""eared in triad to demonstrate her divinit#. er devotees
never D$ite for%ot that there were not three %oddesses, b$t one
%oddess- altho$%h b# (lassical times, Arcadian 4t#m"hal$s was one of
the few remainin% shrines where the# all bore the same name, era.
5nce the relevance of coition to child1bearin% had been officiall#
admittedIan acco$nt of this t$rnin%1"oint in reli%ion a""ears in the
ittite m#th of sim"le1minded A""$ImanMs reli%io$s stat$s %rad$all#
im"roved, and winds or rivers were no lon%er %iven credit for
im"re%natin% women. 6he tribal n#m"h, it seems, chose an ann$al
lover from her ento$ra%e of #o$n% men, a kin% to be sacrificed when
the #ear ended- makin% him a s#mbol of fertilit#, rather than the obGect
of her erotic "leas$re. is s"rinkled blood served to fr$ctif# trees, cro"s
and flocks, and his flesh was torn and eaten raw b# the D$eenMs fellow
n#m"hsI"riestesses wearin% masks of bitches, mares and sows. ?e3t,
in amendment to this "ractice, the kin% died as soon as the "ower of
the s$n, with which he was identified, be%an to decline in the s$mmer-
and another #o$n% man, his twin, or s$""osed twinI a convenient
ancient Irish term is MtanistMIthen became the D$eenMs lover, to be d$l#
sacrificed at midwinter and, as a reward, reincarnated in an orac$lar
ser"ent. 6hese consorts acD$ired e3ec$tive "ower onl# when "ermitted
to de"$tise for the D$een b# wearin% her ma%ic robes. 6h$s kin%shi"
develo"ed, and tho$%h the s$n became a s#mbol of male fertilit# once
the kin%Ms life had been identified with its seasonal co$rse, it still
remained $nder the moonMs t$tela%e- as the kin% remained $nder the
D$eenMs t$tela%e, in theor# at least, lon% after the matriarchal "hase
had been o$t%rown. 6h$s the witches of 6hessal#, a conservative
re%ion, wo$ld threaten the s$n, in the moonMs name, with bein%
en%$lfed b# "er"et$al ?i%ht.
6here is, however, no evidence that, even when women were
soverei%n in reli%io$s matters, men were denied fields in which the#
mi%ht act witho$t female s$"ervision, tho$%h it ma# well be that the#
ado"ted man# of the Mweaker1se3M characteristics hitherto tho$%ht
f$nctionall# "ec$liar to man. 6he# co$ld be tr$sted to h$nt, fish, %ather
certain foods, mind flocks and herds, and hel" defend the tribal
territor# a%ainst intr$ders, so lon% as the# did not trans%ress
matriarchal law. 'eaders of totem clans were chosen and certain
"owers awarded them, es"eciall# in times of mi%ration or war. R$les for
determinin% who co$ld act as male commander1in1chief carried, it
a""ears, in different matriarchies, $s$all# the D$eenMs maternal $ncle,
or her brother, or the son of her maternal a$nt was chosen. 6he most
"rimitive tribal commander1in1chief also had a$thorit# to act as G$d%e
in "ersonal dis"$tes between men, insofar as the D$eenMs reli%io$s
a$thorit# was not thereb# im"aired. 6he most "rimitive matrilineal
societ# s$rvivin% toda# is that of the ?a#ars of 4o$thern India, where
the "rincesses, tho$%h married to child1h$sbands whom the#
immediatel# divorce, bear children to lovers of no "artic$lar rank- and
the "rincesses of several matrilineal tribes of West Africa marr#
forei%ners or commoners. 6he ro#al women from "re1ellenic Greece
also tho$%ht nothin% of takin% lovers from amon% their serfs, if the
$ndred o$ses of 'ocris and &"iAe"h#rian 'ocri were not e3ce"tional.
6ime was first reckoned b# l$nations, and ever# im"ortant
ceremon# took "lace at a certain "hase of the moon- the solstices and
eD$ino3es not bein% e3actl# determined b$t a""ro3imated to the
nearest new or f$ll moon. 6he n$mber seven acD$ired "ec$liar
sanctit#, beca$se the kin% died at the seventh f$ll moon after the
shone da#. &ven when, after caref$l astronomical observation, the
sidereal #ear "roved to have 7+8 da#s, with a few ho$rs left over, it
had to be divided into monthsIthat is, moon1c#clesIrather than into
fraction of the solar c#cle. 6hese months later became what the
&n%lish1s"eakin% world still calls Mcommon1law monthsM, each of twent#1
ei%ht da#s which was a sacred n$mber, in the sense that the moon
co$ld be worshi""ed as a woman, whose menstr$al c#cle is normall#
twent#1ei%ht da#s, and that this is also the tr$e "eriod of the moonMs
revol$tions in terms of the s$n. 6he seven1da# week was a $nit of the
common1law month, the character of each da# bein% ded$ced, it
seems, from the D$alit# attrib$ted to the corres"ondin% month of the
sacred kin%>s life. 6his s#stem led to a still closer identification of
woman with moon and, since the 7+81da# #ear is e3actl# divisible b#
twent#1ei%ht, the ann$al seD$ence of "o"$lar festivals co$ld be %eared
to these common1law months. As a reli%io$s tradition, the thirteen1
month #ears s$rvived amon% &$ro"ean "easants for more than a
millenni$m after the ado"tion of the 2$lian (alendar- th$s Robin ood,
who lived at the time of &dward II, co$ld e3claim in a ballad celebratin%
the 0a# :a# festival,
!o# man merr.months be in the ear/
There are thirteen, I sa 000
which a 6$dor editor has altered to
000 There are but t#el)e, I sa 0001
6hirteen, the n$mber of the s$n>s death1month, has never lost its evil
re"$tation amon% the s$"erstitio$s. 6he da#s of the week la# $nder
the char%e of 6itans, the %enii of s$n, moon, and the five hitherto
discovered "lanets, who were res"onsible for them to the %oddess as
(reatri3. 6his s#stem had "robabl# been evolved in matriarchal
6h$s the s$n "assed thro$%h thirteen monthl# sta%es, be%innin%
at the winter solstice when the da#s len%then a%ain after their lon%
a$t$mnal decline. 6he e3tra da# of the sidereal #ear, %ained from the
solar #ear b# the earth>s revol$tion aro$nd the s$n>s orbit, was
intercalated between the thirteenth and the first month, and became
the most im"ortant da# of the 7+5, the occasion on which the tribal
?#m"h chose the sacred kin%, $s$all# the winner of a race, a wrestlin%
match, or an archer# contest. ;$t this "rimitive calendar $nderwent
modifications, in some re%ions the e3tra da# seems to have been
intercalated, not at the winter solstice, b$t at some other ?ew CearIat
the (andlemas cross1D$arter da#, when the first si%ns of s"rin% are
a""arent- or at the s"rin% eD$ino3, when the s$n is re%arded as
comin% to mat$rit#- or at mids$mmer- or at the risin% of the :o% 4tar,
when the ?ile floods- or at the a$t$mnal eD$ino3, when the first rains
&arl# Greek m#tholo%# is concerned, above all else, with the
chan%in% relations between the D$een and her lovers, which be%in with
their #earl#, or twice1#earl#, sacrifices- and end, at the time when the
Iliad was com"osed and kin%s boasted, 1We are far better than our
fathers2H, with her ecli"se b# an $nlimited male monarch#. ?$mero$s
African analo%$es ill$strate the "ro%ressive sta%es of this chan%e.
A lar%e "art of Greek m#th is "olitico1reli%io$s histor#. ;ellero"hon
masters win%ed Pe%as$s and kills the (himaera. Perse$s, in a variant
of the same le%end, flies thro$%h the air and beheads Pe%as$s>s
mother, the Gor%on 0ed$sa- m$ch as 0ard$k, a ;ab#lonian hero, kills
the she1monster 6iamat, Goddess of the 4eal. Perse$s>s name sho$ld
"ro"erl# be s"elled Pterse$s, Hthe destro#er>- and he was not, as
Professor Feren#i has s$%%ested, an archet#"al :eath1fi%$re b$t,
"robabl#, re"resented the "atriarchal ellenes who invaded Greece
and Asia 0inor earl# in the second millenni$m ;(, and challen%ed the
"ower of the 6ri"le1%oddess. Pe%as$s had been sacred to her beca$se
the horse with its moon1sha"ed hooves fi%$red in the rain1makin%
ceremonies and the instalment of sacred kin%s- his win%s were
s#mbolical of a celestial nat$re, rather than s"eed. 2ane arrison has
"ointed o$t .Prolegomena to the Stud of Gree( 'eligion/ that 0ed$sa
was once the %oddess herself, hidin% behind a "ro"h#lactic Gor%on
mask, a hideo$s face intended to warn the "rofane a%ainst tres"assin%
on her 0#steries. Perse$s beheads 0ed$sa, that is, the ellenes
overran the %oddess>s chief shrines, stri""ed her "riestesses of their
Gor%on masks, and took "ossession of the sacred horsesIan earl#
re"resentation of the %oddess with a Gor%on>s head and a mare>s bod#
has been fo$nd in ;oeotia. ;ellero"hon, Perse$s>s do$ble, kills the
'#cian (himaera, that is, the ellenes ann$lled the ancient 0ed$san
calendar, and re"laced it with another.
A%ain, A"ollo>s destr$ction of the P#thon at :el"hi seems to
record the Achaeans> ca"t$re of the (retan &arth1%oddess>s shrine- so
does his attem"ted ra"e of :a"hne, whom era there$"on
metamor"hosed into a la$rel. 6his m#th has been D$oted b# !re$dian
"s#cholo%ists as s#mboliAin% a %irl>s instinctive horror of the se3$al
act- #et :a"hne was an#thin% b$t a fri%htened vir%in. er name is a
contraction of :a"hoene, Hthe blood# one>, the %oddess in or%iastic
mood, whose "riestesses, the 0aenads, chewed la$rel1leaves as an
into3icant and "eriodicall# r$shed o$t at the f$ll moon, assa$lted
$nwar# travellers, and tore children or #o$n% animals in "ieces- la$rel
contains c#anide of "otassi$m. 6hese 0aenad colle%es were
s$""ressed b# the ellenes, and onl# the la$rel %rove testified to
:a"hoene>s former occ$"anc# of the shrines, the chewin% of la$rel b#
an#one e3ce"t the "ro"hetic P#thian Priestess, whom A"ollo retained
in his service at :el"hi, was tabooed in Greece $ntil Roman times.
6he ellenic invasions of the earl# second millenni$m ;(, $s$all#
called the Aeolian and Ionian, seem to have been less destr$ctive than
the Achaean and :orian ones, which the# "receded. 4mall armed
bands of herdsmen, worshi""in% the Ar#an trinit# of %odsIIndra, 0itra,
and Bar$naIcrossed the nat$ral barrier of 0o$nt 5thr#s, and attached
themselves "eacef$ll# eno$%h to the "re1ellenic settlements in
6hessal# and (entral Greece. 6he# were acce"ted as children of the
local %oddess, and "rovided her with sacred kin%s. 6h$s a male militar#
aristocrac# became reconciled to female theocrac#, not onl# in Greece,
b$t in (rete, where the ellenes also %ained a foothold and e3"orted
(retan civiliAation to Athens and the Pelo"onnese. Greek was
event$all# s"oken thro$%ho$t the Ae%ean and, b# the time of
erodot$s, one oracle alone s"oke a "re1ellenic lan%$a%e
.erodot$s/. 6he kin% acted as the re"resentative of <e$s, or Poseidon,
or A"ollo, and called himself b# one or other of their names, tho$%h
even <e$s was for cent$ries a mere demi%od, not an immortal
5l#m"ian deit#. All earl# m#ths abo$t the %ods> sed$ction of n#m"hs
refer a""arentl# to marria%es between ellenic chieftains and local
0oon "riestesses- bitterl# o""osed b# era, which means b#
conservative reli%io$s feelin%. When the shortness of the kin%>s rei%n
"roved irksome, it was a%reed to "rolon% the thirteen1month #ear to a
Great Cear of one h$ndred l$nations, in the len%th of which occ$rs a
near1coincidence of solar and l$nar time. ;$t since the fields and cro"s
still needed to be fr$ctified, the kin% a%reed to s$ffer an ann$al mock
death and #ield his soverei%nt# for one da#Ithe intercalated one, l#in%
o$tside the sacred sidereal #earIto the s$rro%ate bo#1kin%, or interre3,
who lied at its dose, and whose blood was $sed for the s"rinklin%
ceremon#. ?ow the sacred kin% either rei%ned for the entire "eriod of a
Great Cear, with a tanist as his lie$tenant- or the two rei%ned for
alternate #ears- or the L$een let them divide the D$eendom into
halves and rei%n conc$rrentl#. 6he kin% de"$tiAed for the L$een at
man# sacred f$nctions, dressed in her robes, wore false breasts,
borrowed her l$nar a3e as a s#mbol of "ower, and even took over from
her the ma%ical art of rain1makin%. is rit$al death varied %reatl# in
circ$mstance- he mi%ht be torn in "ieces b# wild women, transfi3ed
with a ra# s"ear, relied with an a3e, fl$n% over a cliff, b$rned to death
on a "#re, drowned in a "ool, or killed in a l$red arran%ed chariot
crash. ;$t die he m$st. A new sta%e was reached when came to be
s$bstit$ted for bo#s at the sacrificial altar, and the kin% ref$sed death
after his len%thened rei%n ended. :ividin% the realm into three "arts,
and awardin% one "art to each of his s$ccessors, he wo$ld rei%n for
another term- his e3c$se bein% that a closer a""ro3imation of solar and
l$nar time had now been fo$nd, namel# nineteen #ears, or 7*5
l$nations. 6he Great Cear had become a Greater Cear.
6hro$%ho$t these s$ccessive sta%es, reflected in n$mero$s
m#ths, the sacred kin% contin$ed to hold his "osition onl# b# ri%ht of
marria%e to the tribal ?#m"h, who was chosen either as a res$lt of a
foot race between her com"anions of the ro#al ho$se or b#
$ltimo%enit$re, that is to sa#, b# bein% the #o$n%est n$bile da$%hter of
the G$nior branch. 6he throne remained matrilineal, as it theoreticall#
did even in &%#"t, and the sacred kin% and his tanist were therefore
alwa#s chosen from o$tside the ro#al female ho$se- $ntil some darin%
kin% at last decided to commit incest with the heiress, who ranked as
his da$%hter, and th$s %ain a new title to the throne when his rei%n
needed renewal. Achaean invasions of the thirteenth cent$r# ;(
serio$sl# weakened the matrilineal tradition. It seems that the kin%
now contrived to rei%n for the term of his nat$ral life- and when the
:orians arrived, towards the dose of the second millenni$m, "atrilineal
s$ccession became the r$le. A "rince no lon%er left his father>s ho$se
and married a forei%n "rincess- she came to him, as 5d#sse$s
"ers$aded Penelo"e to do. Genealo%# became "atrilineal, tho$%h a
4amian incident mentioned in the Pse$do1erodot$s>s Lift of !omer
shows that for some time after the A"atoria, or !estival of 0ale Finshi",
had re"laced that of !emale Finshi", the rites still consisted of
sacrifices to the 0other Goddess which men were not eli%ible to
6he familiar 5l#m"ian s#stem was then a%reed $"on as a
com"romise between ellenic and "re1ellenic views, a divine famil#
of si3 %ods and si3 %oddesses, headed b# the co1soverei%ns <e$s and
era and formin% a (o$ncil of Gods in ;ab#lonian st#le. ;$t after a
rebellion of the "re1ellenic "o"$lation, described in the Iliad as a
cons"irac# a%ainst <e$s, era became s$bservient to him, Athene
avowed herself Hall for the !ather> and, in the end, :ion#s$s ass$red
male "re"onderance in the (o$ncil b# dis"lacin% estia. Cet the
%oddesses, tho$%h left in a minorit#, were never alto%ether o$stedIas
the# were at 2er$salemIbeca$se the revered "oets omer and esiod
had H%iven the deities their tides and distin%$ished their several
"rovinces and s"ecial "owers> .erodot$s/, which co$ld not be easil#
e3"ro"riated- 0oreover, tho$%h the s#stem of %atherin% all the women
of ro#al blood to%ether $nder the kin%>s control, and th$s disco$ra%in%
o$tsiders from attem"ts on a matrilineal throne, was ado"ted at Rome
when the Bestal (olle%e was fo$nded, and in Palestine when Fin%
:avid formed his ro#al harem, it never reached Greece. Patrilineal
descent, s$ccession, and inheritance disco$ra%e f$rther m#th1makin%-
historical le%end then be%ins and fades into the li%ht of common
6he lives of s$ch characters as eracles, :aedal$s, 6eiresias, and
Phine$s s"an several %enerations, beca$se these are titles rather than
names of "artic$lar heroes. Cet m#ths, tho$%h diffic$lt to reconcile with
chronolo%#, are alwa#s "ractical, the# insist on some "oint of tradition,
however distorted the meanin% ma# have become in the tellin%. 6ake,
for instance, the conf$sed stor# of Aeac$s>s dream, where ants, fallin%
from an orac$lar oak, t$rn into men and coloniAe the island of Ae%ina
after era has de"o"$lated it. ere the main "oints of interest are, that
the oak had %rown from a :odonian acorn- that the ants were
6hessalian ants- and that Aeac$s was a %randson of the River Aso"$s.
6hese elements combined to %ive a concise acco$nt of immi%rations
into Ae%ina towards the end of the second millenni$m ;.(. :es"ite a
sameness of "attern in Greek m#ths, all detailed inter"retations of
"artic$lar le%ends are o"en to D$estion $ntil archaeolo%ists can
"rovide a more e3act tab$lation of tribal movements in Greece, and
their dates. Cet the historical and anthro"olo%ical a""roach is the onl#
reasonable one, the theor# that (himaera, 4"hin3, Gor%on, (enta$rs,
4at#rs and the like are blind $"r$shes of the 2$n%ian collective
$nconscio$s, to which no "recise meanin% had ever, or co$ld ever,
have been attached, is demonstrabl# $nso$nd. 6he ;ronAe and earl#
Iron A%es in Greece were not the childhood of mankind, as :r 2$n%
s$%%ests. 6hat <e$s swallowed 0etis, for instance, and s$bseD$entl#
%ave birth to Athene, thro$%h an orifice in his head, is not an
irre"ressible fanc#, b$t an in%enio$s theolo%ical do%ma which
embodies at least three conflictin% views,
.1/ Athene was the "artheno%eno$s da$%hter of 0etis- i.e. the
#o$n%est "erson of the 6riad headed b# 0etis, Goddess of Wisdom.
.*/ <e$s swallowed 0etis- i.e. the Achaeans s$""ressed her c$lt and
arro%ated all wisdom to <e$s as their "atriarchal %od.
.7/ Athene was the da$%hter of <e$s- i.e. the <e$s1worshi""in%
Achaeans s"ared Athene>s tem"les on condition that her rotaries
acce"ted his "aramo$nt soverei%nt#.
<e$s>s swallowin% of 0etis, with its seD$el, will have been re"resented
%ra"hicall# on the walls of a tem"le- and as the erotic :ion#s$sIonce
a "artheno%eno$s son of 4emeleIwas reborn from his thi%h, so the
intellect$al Athene was reborn from his head.
If some m#ths are bafflin% at first si%ht, this is often beca$se the
m#tho%ra"her has accidentall# or deliberatel# misinter"reted a sacred
"ict$re or dramatic rite. I have called s$ch a "rocess >iconotro"#>, and
e3am"les of it can be fo$nd in ever# bod# of sacred literat$re which
sets the seal $"on a radical reform of ancient beliefs. Greek m#th
teems with iconotro"ic instances. e"haest$s>s three1le%%ed worksho"
tables, for e3am"le, which ran b# themselves to assemblies of the
%ods, and back a%ain .Iliad/, are not, as :r (harles 4eltman s$%%ests in
his T#el)e *lm&ian Gods, antici"ations of a$tomobiles- b$t %olden
4$n1disks with three le%s a "iece .like the emblem of the Isle of 0an/,
a""arentl# re"resentin% the n$mber of three1season #ears for which a
Hson of e"haest$s> was "ermitted to rei%n in the island of 'emnos.
A%ain, the so1called H2$d%ement of Paris>, where a hero is called $"on
to decide between the rival charms of three %oddesses and awards his
a""le to the fairest, records an ancient rit$al sit$ation, o$t%rown b# the
time of omer and esiod. 6hese three %oddesses are one %oddess in
triad, Athene the maiden, A"hrodite the n#m"h, and era the croneI
and A"hrodite is "resentin% Paris with the a""le, rather than receivin%
it from him. 6his a""le, s#mboliAin% her love bo$%ht at the "rice of his
life, will be Paris>s "ass"ort to the &l#sian !ields, the a""le orchards of
the west, to which onl# the so$ls of heroes are admitted. A similar %ift
is freD$entl# made in Irish and Welsh m#th- as well as b# the 6hree
es"erides, to eracles- and b# &ve, Hthe 0other of All 'ivin%>, to
Adam. 6h$s ?emesis, %oddess of the sacred %rove who, in late m#th,
became a s#mbol of divine ven%eance on "ro$d kin%s, carries an
a""le1h$n% branch, her %ift to heroes. All ?eolithic and ;ronAe A%e
"aradises were orchard1islands- "aradise itself means Horchard>.
A tr$e science of m#th sho$ld be%in with a st$d# of archaeolo%#,
histor#, and com"arative reli%ion, not in the "s#chothera"ist>s
cons$ltin%1room. 6ho$%h the 2$n%ians hold that Hm#ths are ori%inal
revelations of the "re1conscio$s "s#che, invol$ntar# statements abo$t
$nconscio$s "s#chic ha""enin%s>, Greek m#tholo%# was no more
m#sterio$s in content than are modern election cartoon, and for the
most "art form$lated in territories which maintained close "olitical
relations with 0inoan (reteIa co$ntr# so"histicated eno$%h to have
written archives, fo$r1store# b$ildin%s with h#%ienic "l$mbin%, doors
with modern lookin% locks, re%istered trademarks, chess, a central
s#stem of wei%hts and meas$res, and a calendar based on "atient
astronomic observation.
0# method has been to assemble in harmonio$s narrative all the
scattered elements of each m#th, s$""orted b# little1known variants
which ma# hel" to determine the meanin%, and to answer all D$estions
that arise, as best I can, in anthro"olo%ical or historical terms. 6his is, I
am well aware, m$ch too ambitio$s a task for an# sin%le m#tholo%ist to
$ndertake, however lon% or hard he works. &rrors m$st cree" in. 'et we
em"hasiAe that an# statement here made abo$t 0editerranean reli%ion
or rit$al before the a""earance of written records is conGect$ral.
?evertheless, I have been heartened, since this book first a""eared in
1955, b# the close analo%$es which &. 0e#rowitA>s $(an Cosmological
+rama offers to the reli%io$s and social chan%es here "res$med. 6he
Akan "eo"le res$lt from an ancient so$thward emi%ration of )#o1
;erbersIco$sins to the "ro1ellenic "o"$lation of GreeceIfrom the
4ahara desert oases and their intermarria%e at 6imb$ctoo with ?i%er
River ne%roes. In the eleventh cent$r# A: the# moved still farther
so$th to what is now Ghana. !o$r different c$lt1t#"es "ersist amon%
them. In the most "rimitive, the 0oon is worshi""ed as the s$"reme
6ri"le1%oddess ?%ame, clearl# identical with the 'ib#an ?eith, the
(artha%inian 6anit, the (anaanite Anatha, and the earl# Greek Athene.
?%ame is said to have bro$%ht forth the heavenl# bodies b# her own
efforts, and then to have vitaliAed men and animals b# shootin%
ma%ical arrows from her new1moon bow into their inert bodies. 4he
also, it is said, takes life in her killer as"ect- as did her co$nter"art, the
0oon1%oddess Artemis. A "rincess of ro#al line is G$d%ed ca"able, in
$nsettled times, of bein% overcome b# ?%ame>s l$nar ma%ic and
bearin% a tribal deit# which takes $" its residence in a shrine and leads
a %ro$" of emi%rants to some new re%ion. 6his woman becomes
D$een1mother, war1leader, G$d%e, and "riestess of the settlement she
fo$nds. 6he deit# has meanwhile revealed itself as a totem animal
which is "rotected b# a close taboo, a"art from the #earl# chase and
sacrifice of a sin%le s"ecimen- this throws li%ht on the #earl# owl1h$nt
made b# the Pelas%ians at Athens. 4tates, consistin% of tribal
federation, are then formed, the most "owerf$l tribal deit# becomin%
the 4tate1%od.
6he second c$lt1t#"e marks Akan coalescence with 4$danese
worshi""ers of a !ather1%od, 5domankoma, who claimed to have made
the $niverse sin%le1handedl#- the# were, it seems, led b# elected male
chieftains, and had ado"ted the 4$merian seven1da# week. As a
com"romise m#th, ?%ame is now said to have vitaliAed 5domankoma>s
lifeless creation- and each tribal deit# becomes one of the seven
"lanetar# "owers. 6hese "lanetar# "owersIas I have "res$med also
ha""ened in Greece when 6itan1worshi" came in from the &astIform
male1and1female "airs. 6he D$een1mother of the state, as ?%ame>s
re"resentative, "erforms an ann$al sacred marria%e with
5domankoma>s re"resentative, namel# her chosen lover whom, at the
close of the #ear, the "riests m$rder, skin, and fla#. 6he same "ractice
seems to have obtained amon% the Greeks.
In the third c$lt1t#"e, the D$een1mother>s lover becomes a kin%- and is
venerated as the male as"ect of the 0oon, corres"ondin% with the
Phoenician %od ;aal aman- and a bo# dies vicario$sl# for him ever#
#ear as a mock1kin%. 6he D$een1mother now dele%ates the chief
e3ec$tive "owers to a viAier, and concentrates on her rit$al fertiliAin%
In the fo$rth c$lt1t#"e, the kin%, havin% %ained the homa%e of several
"ett# kin%s, abro%ates his 0oon1%od as"ect and "roclaims himself 4$n1
kin% in &%#"tian st#le. 6ho$%h contin$in% to celebrate the ann$al
sacred marria%e, he frees himself from de"endence on the 0oon. At
this sta%e, "atrilocal s$"ersedes matrilocal marria%e, and the tribes
are s$""lied with heroic male ancestors to worshi", as ha""ened in
GreeceItho$%h s$n1worshi" there never dis"laced th$nder1%od
Amon% the Akan, ever# chan%e in co$rt1rit$al is marked b# an addition
to the acce"ted m#th of events in eaven. 6h$s, if the kin% has
a""ointed a ro#al "orter and %iven his office l$stre b# marr#in% him to
a "rincess, a divine "orter in eaven is anno$nced to have done the
same. It is likel# that eracles>s marria%e to the Goddess ebe and his
a""ointment as "orter to <e$s reflected a similar event at the
0#cenaean (o$rt- and that the divine feastin%s on 5l#m"$s reflected
similar celebrations at 5l#m"ia $nder the Goint "residenc# of the <e$s1
like i%h Fin% of 0#cenae and era>s (hief Priestess from Ar%os.
I am dee"l# %ratef$l to 2anet 4e#mo$r14mith and Fenneth Ga# for
hel"in% me to %et this book into sha"e, to Peter and 'ala%e Green for
"roof1readin% the first few cha"ters, to !rank 4e#mo$r14mith for
sendin% scarce 'atin and Greek te3ts from 'ondon, and to the man#
friends who have hel"ed me to amend the first edition.
:e#K, 0aGorca,
6he earl#, "re1ellenic, %ods were manifested in animal form-
their bein% was intimatel# connected with trees, "lants, bodies of
water, with earth and formations of earth, with wind and clo$ds. 6he#
dwelt not in the heavens like the 5l#m"ian %ods, b$t on and in the
In "rehistoric reli%ion the feminine essence was dominant. It was
women too who held the hi%hest divine rank. &ven in the case of
Poseidon, whose "ower m$st once have been so lar%e and incl$sive
that com"arison with <e$s was feasible, it is obvio$s that he did not
a""roach the earth1%oddess in di%nit#. As her h$sband he was, as the
name shows, invoked in "ra#er. 6he same st#le of address is a""lied to
<e$s in omer as an antiD$e ceremonial form. 6his "rimal world of
%ods is "ervaded b# a maternal strain, which is as characteristic of it
as is the "aternal and masc$line strain in the omeric world of %ods. In
the stories of )ran$s and Gaia and of (ron$s and Rhea, to which we
shall address o$rselves "resentl#, the children are wholl# on the side of
the mother, and the father seems to be a stran%er with whom the#
have nothin% to do. 6hin%s are ver# different in the realm of <e$s-
there the o$tstandin% deities describe themselves em"haticall# as
children of their father.
;$t the distinction of the "re1omeric reli%ion from the omeric is not
com"rised in the fact that the male is of less wei%ht than the female. In
"re1omeric reli%ion the masc$line divinities themselves are fashioned
differentl# than we are acc$stomed to ima%ine them from omer and
classical art. ere the# are 6itans, of whom it is told that the# were
overthrown b# the 5l#m"ian %ods and incarcerated in the ab#ss.
6radition has th$s "reserved the memor# of a stren$o$s conflict which
ended with the victor# of the new %ods. What was it that the#
overcame on that occasionJ 4$rel# not merel# names, b$t essences.
We know eno$%h of the nat$re of the 6itans to realiAe that the# were
basicall# different from the 5l#m"ians for whom the# had to make wa#.
6he first of the Aesch#lean tra%edies introd$ces $s to one of them with
overwhelmin% %rande$r1Promethe$s.
Promethe$s is a %od, son of the %reat earth1%oddess, whose
obd$rac# the new lord of heaven is $nable to cr$sh. e mocks the
#o$thf$l race of %ods, which ab$ses him onl# beca$se he "reserved
mankind from destr$ction. As witnesses to the inG$stice which he has
s$ffered he invokes the "rimal divine elements, the ether, the air, the
streams, the sea, mother earth, and the s$n. Abo$t him are the
da$%hters of 5cean$s, and the old %od of the earth1stream himself
comes to show his s#m"ath#. 6his Promethe$s who takes his mi%ht#
secret with him into the ab#ss has been ima%ined b# Aesch#l$s with
the %rande$r that has im"ressed the s"irit of h$manit# ever since. ;$t
there is no do$bt that Promethe$s was ori%inall# not so eminent a
fi%$re. 'ike e"haest$s he was a %od of fire and handicraft to whom
h$man e3istence owed m$ch, indeed nearl# ever#thin%. ;$t how did
he bestow his benefactions on the h$man raceJ esiod a""lies the
desi%nation Ncraft#N .an(lometes/ to him. In omer, (ron$s, the chief
of the 6itans, and onl# he, is often so desi%nated, and esiodMs acco$nt
%ives him the same e"ithet. !or both deities the e"ithet m$st have
carried s"ecial si%nificance- and in fact the m#ths that deal with them
show their stren%th as consistin% in c$nnin% and in secret amb$shes.
omer therefore i%nores their "rowess, and we m$st resort to esiod
for information. 6he "oet who was enthralled b# the "ro$d and
wonderf$l masc$linit# of the 5l#m"ians m$st have fo$nd s$ch
characters and the "ec$liar m#ths in which the# a""eared distastef$l.
It was b# theft that Promethe$s "roc$red the fire that is $sef$l to man-
it>s the m#th of the theft of fire, which is e3tremel# wides"read, was
a""lied to him. is second achievement was the dece"tion b# means
of which he bro$%ht it abo$t that the %ods themselves chose the worse
"ortion of the sacrifice as their share and left the better "ortion for
men. (ron$s too is a robber. 6o m$tilate his father )ran$s he fell $"on
him in the dark, o$t of amb$sh. is misdeeds a%ainst wife and children
are also de"icted as thievin% attacks. e l$rked to s"# $"on the
"re%nant mother, and it was onl# when she was on the "oint of %ivin%
birth to <e$s that she s$cceeded, with her "arentsM hel", in hidin% from
him and in brin%in% her #o$n%est son into the world s$rre"titio$sl#. e
himself was overreached b# similar c$nnin%, instead of the children he
wished to swallow he was %iven a stone, and f$rther %$ile bro$%ht him
to dis%or%e first the stone and then all the children he had "revio$sl#
When we read these stories, $" to the establishment of the
lordshi" of <e$s, we feel o$rselves in a different, one ma# almost sa#,
an $n1Greek world. 0emories of m#thical tales of "rimal civiliAations
are aro$sed. In man# res"ects the "rinci"al "ersona%es are like the
inventive heroes and deliverers of "rimitive "eo"les. As in the case of
the latter, the h$man and divine are marvello$sl# intermin%led. 6his
s"irit$al kinshi" is %iven ver# characteristic e3"ression in a "ec$liar
trait of the stories, the hero, the deliverer of his "eo"le, the one called
to lordshi", is the #o$n%est. 6his is tr$e of (ron$s, of <e$s, and, to cite
onl# a sin%le e3am"le, of 0a$l, the divine deliverer of Pol#nesia, who
was the last1born child of his "arents. 6he mere fact that in omer
<e$s is no lon%er the #o$n%est b$t rather the eldest son of (ron$s is in
itself evidence of the %reat transformation in tho$%ht.
6he im"ression which the m#ths %ive of the masc$line deities
who were s$""ressed b# the 5l#m"ians seems to fit in admirabl# with
what we learn of their names and forms. 6he name 6itan is said to
have denoted Nkin%.N ?or did the word desi%nate a s"ecific kind of %od
b$t more "ro"erl# the %reat %ods in %eneral, like deus amon% the
Romans and theos amon% the Greeks. 6his is consistent with the
s$%%estion latel# advanced b# Pa$l Fretschmer- in the name 6itan he
reco%niAes a NPelas%ianN forer$nner of the Greek .or 'atin/ word for
heavenl# %ods which inheres in s$ch names as <e$s, :ies"iter, and the
like. 6inia, the &tr$scan name for 2$"iter, wo$ld be a similar forer$nner
on Italian soil. It a""ears then that in N6itanN we have the name which
com"rehended the "re15l#m"ian %ods and b# which the# were
invoked. 6here are man# indications that it acD$ired the connotation of
Nwild,N Nrebellio$s,N or even NwickedN b# o""osition to the 5l#m"ians,
to whom the 6itans #ielded onl# after a str$%%le.
?ow it is to be noted that these 6itans are freD$entl#
characteriAed as Pria"ean deities. Faibel re%arded this as the "rinci"al
and ori%inal conce"tion- latterl# it has been held that nothin% more
than a Goke is im"lied. ;$t the evidence G$stifies Faibel, inasm$ch as it
com"els $s to believe that there m$st have been a remarkable
similarit# between the ith#"hallic deities and the "ict$re in which the
6itans were ima%ined. ?evertheless we m$st not attrib$te to the
em"hasis on the se3$al in the case of the 6itans the si%nificance that
attached to "hallic bein%s in historical times. 6he little wooden idols of
"rimitive c$lt$res can teach $s how the idols of 6itans m$st have been
fashioned to remind men in later cent$ries, who ma# have
enco$ntered s$ch wooden ima%es freD$entl#, of Pria"$s and his "eers.
In these small and D$ite sim"le fi%$res masc$linit# was markedl#
em"hasiAed. 6his characteriAed them as virile deities ca"able of
re"rod$ction, b$t not as wanton, and it was th$s that the# stood beside
the maternal deities and their e"itome, 0other &arth, whose feminine
and maternal "owers far transcended them in %rande$r and di%nit#.
In one sin%le case the conce"t of the masc$line divinit# rises to
tr$e %rande$r, and that is the $nion of divine heaven and divine earth
in wedlock. &ven Aesch#l$s sin%s of the amoro$s %low of Nhol# heavenN
and the n$"tial #earnin% of &arth, who is im"re%nated b# the rain from
above. 6he m#th re"resents the embrace as a mi%ht# event, at the
ver# be%innin% of the world. 6he remarkable acco$nt in the Theogon
tells how Ngreat "ranus came, bringing on night and longing for lo)e,
and he la about Gaia, s&reading himself full u&on her03
6he hi%h si%nificance of this "ict$re is "roven b# its s$rvival in
famo$s m#ths. In these, however, it has been dis%$ised, for the
conG$%al "air do not bear s$ch trans"arent names as MNheavenN and
NearthN- <e$s a""ears in the marble of heaven, and in that of earth
a""ear :anae, 4emele, or other h$man women. ;$t $"on closer
e3amination it becomes clear that these are rec$rrences of the same
"rimal motif $nder vario$s names and in vario$s conce"tions. Cet loft#
as the heavenl# %od a""ears in this "ict$re, and altho$%h he is little
inferior to the earth1%oddess in %rande$r, the fact that the masc$line
divinit# is secondar# to the feminine in the reli%io$s tho$%ht of the
earl# "eriod remains $nalterable. 6he %od of heaven in "artic$lar m$st
have "la#ed onl# a sli%ht "art in earl# reli%ion, however "ersistent the
m#ths concernin% him ma# be. 4o in the reli%ions of "rimitive "eo"les,
of which there is m$ch to remind $s here, the masc$line divinit# of
heaven often remains in the back%ro$nd.
;$t the fi%$re of the %od of heaven draws o$r attention to one of the
most si%nificant "henomena of the "rehistoric world, the m#th. We
m$st $nderstand that %reat m#ths in the "ro"er sense were done with
when the new view of the world came to "revail. In the latter "eriod,
interest was cantered $"on the shar"l# delineated "ersonal fi%$re. ;$t
m#th is alwa#s a ha""enin% in which the ma%nit$de and im"ortance of
the individ$al a%ents or victims are swallowed $". 6he h$%eness of the
ha""enin% so dominates them that their ima%es ma# easil# a""ear
monstro$s, %rotesD$e, and comic to the tamer taste of later
%enerations. 6h$s we see that the omeric "oems disdain their
characteristic creations with well1bred silence, as tho$%h the# were
i%norant of them, tho$%h the# knew them well eno$%h, and that Plato
who was himself %ifted in m#thic tho$%ht1tho$%h in a new mode
1makes no secret d his dis%$st for them.
5ne s$ch m#th, filled with the s"irit of the "rimal "eriod, is that
of (ron$s and )ran$s. )ran$s does not s$ffer the children whom Gaia
is on the "oint of bearin% to him to reach the li%ht b$t hides them in
her de"ths. In her affliction &arth %roans. er children are horrified at
the tho$%ht of attackin% their father- onl# the #o$n%est son, (ron$s,
Nthe craft#,N shows co$ra%e, and with the shar" wea"on which his
mother had %iven him falls $"on his father from amb$sh G$st as, at
ni%htfall and #earnin% for love, )ran$s is s"readin% himself f$ll over
the earth. (ron$s am"$tates his fatherMs male member and flin%s it
into the sea. 6his remarkable m#th bears $nmistakable kinshi" with
the famo$s Pol#nesian stor# of the "rimal "arents, heaven and earth,
and of their enforced se"aration b# one of their sons. 'on% a%o ;astian
"ointed the kinshi" o$t. It is not as if some historical connection
between the two co$ld be made "la$sible- aside from other
considerations, the diver%ences are considerable. At the be%innin% of
all thin%s, sa#s the Pol#nesian le%end, everlastin% darkness "revailed,
for Ran%i and Pa"a, that is, heaven and earth, la# locked to%ether.
6heir sons considered what was to be done and determined to
se"arate their "arents from one another b# force. Bario$s attem"ts to
do so "roved f$tile, $ntil 6ane, the %od of trees, insin$ated himself
between them and raised heaven hi%h above earth. ;$t differences in
detail are of no conseD$ence. 6he meanin% and the character of the
conce"tion as a whole are obvio$sl# the same in the esiodic and the
Pol#nesian acco$nt, and the Greek m#th, s"atiall# so far removed from
the barbarian, m$st teach $s that the esiodic re"ort on )ran$s and
(ron$s bears the a$thentic stam" of %en$ine m#thic tho$%ht. In one b#
no means ne%li%ible detail the Pol#nesian fanc# seems to coincide
almost e3actl# with the Greek. )ran$s hides his children, instead of
s$fferin% them to come to li%ht, in the earthMs de"ths .Gaies en
(euthmoni/- the Pol#nesian m#th concl$des .accordin% to ;astfan/ with
the words, NImmediatel u&on the se&aration of hea)en and earth the
&eo&le #ho had &re)iousl been hidden in the hollo#s of their &arents4
breasts, became )isible.N
6he m#th of (ron$s and Rhea re"eats the m#th of heaven and
earth with other fancies and other names. l$st as )ran$s did not s$ffer
his children to come to li%ht b$t hid them in earthMs bosom as soon as
the# were born, so (ron$s swallows his immediatel# after birth. A%ain
it is the #o$n%est, <e$s, from whom deliverance comes. In this
connection it is im"ossible not to think of the famo$s m#th of the birth
of Athena. It is esiod, a%ain, who first tells the stor#. AthenaMs mother
is said to have been 0etis, the %oddess NIntelli%ence,M b$t before the
child came into the world <e$s the father swallowed the mother. ere
too, then, the father "revents the child from iss$in% forth from its
mother- here too he swallows it, as (ron$s had done, b$t to%ether with
the mother- here too he acts to forestall the destin# foretold b# )ran$s
and Gaia that a son of this $nion wo$ld east him from his throne. ;$t
here we have added the new motif that the child is born of the father
himself, and in ver# "ec$liar fashion1from the head. 6s reminds $s of
the birth of :ion#s$s, whom <e$s ca$%ht $" into his own thi%h as an
incom"lete embr#o from his b$rnin% mother and himself %ave birth to
at the a""ro"riate season.
It is D$ite remarkable that all these m#ths co$ld latterl# have been
considered as relativel# late creations of s"ec$lation or e3e%esis. With
f$ll re%ard to the ca$tion that is here called for it ma# still be "ositivel#
asserted that of all "ossible inter"retations this is the least "robable.
Whatever the ori%inal meanin% of these stories ma# have been, their
astonishin%, romantic, and %i%antic D$alities are "roof of their validit#
as creations of %en$ine and ori%inal m#thic tho$%ht, or rather,
view"oint. 6he# are D$ite analo%o$s to the first rank %rowth of m#ths
amon% "rimitive civiliAations and strike $s with the same sense of
stran%eness. &ven the remarkable birth of Athena has a Pol#nesian
"arallel, at least in the circ$mstance that there too the m#thical
"ersona%e was born o$t of the head. 5f 6an%aroa it is related that his
mother Pa"a bore him not in the $s$al manner b$t thro$%h her arm, or,
accordin% to another version, Nstrai%ht o$t of her head.MM
6o $s the# so$nd stran%e, these m#ths, and so the# did to the
omeric a%e also. omer knew well eno$%h that Athene s"ran% from
her fatherMs head- the honorific e"ithet obrimo&atre, Nda$%hter of the
mi%ht# father,N is a clear eno$%h indication. 6he %oddess herself
declares, in Aesch#l$s, that she is Nwholl# her fatherMsM and knows of no
mother- she is eD$all# her fatherMs in omer. ;$t concernin% the
romantic m#th of her birth from his head omer is silent, and it is as
little conceivable that he co$ld s"eak of it as it is that he co$ld s"eak
of the monstro$s m#ths of )ran$s and (ron$s. We realiAe that the a%e
of the fantastic narrative m#th is over. In the new a%e, which conceives
the essence of the world and of h$man life in loft# fi%$res, m#th no
lon%er enGo#s the soverei%n inde"endence and ca"acit# for the
fab$lo$s which it had "ossessed in the "rehistoric "eriod. 6he
distinction between the two will become clear in the seD$el.
Alon% with ancient m#th, ma%ic also "erished, and tho$%h both
ma# have s$rvived here and there in Greece in one form or another,
the main line of the Greek s"irit "roves that it had once and for all
decided a%ainst them. And this decision was made in the "eriod for
which the omeric "oems are the %reat doc$ment.
We can classif# the world1view of "eo"les accordin% to the de%ree b#
which the# are "reocc$"ied and controlled b# ma%ic thinkin%. ?one
has so com"letel# overcome ma%ic in its characteristic world of
tho$%ht as has the Greek. In the omeric world, ma%ic "ossesses no
im"ortance, whether we look at %ods or men, and the few cases where
knowled%e of ma%ic is indicated onl# %o to show how remote it had
become. 6he %ods do not "ractice enchantment, even tho$%h at times
the# brin% thin%s to "ass in a manner reminiscent of ancient ma%ic.
6heir mi%ht, like their essence, is based not on ma%ical "ower, b$t on
the bein% of nat$re. N?at$reN is the %reat new word which the mat$red
Greek s"irit o""osed to ancient ma%ic. !rom here the "ath leads
directl# to the arts and to the sciences of the Greeks. ;$t in the a%e
when the ancient m#ths were still vital, ma%ic .which is related to
ancient m#th in s"irit/ a""ears to have "ossessed no sli%ht
im"ortance- for in m#thical narratives the mirac$lo$s, which has %rown
alien to the omeric s"irit, occ$"ies a lar%e "lace.
A %en$ine mirac$lo$s hero in earl# m#th is Perse$s, whom his mother
:anae conceived in the de"ths of the earth from the %olden rain of the
%od of heaven- as an infant he was fished o$t of an ark in the sea, and
later e3"erienced advent$res most astonishin%. 6o reach the horrid
Gor%ons at the western e3tremit# of the world, be#ond 5cean, he first
visited the 5ld Women and forced them to show him the wa# to the
?#m"hs, from whom he received win%ed shoes, a ca" of invisibilit#,
and scri". 6h$s eD$i""ed he flew to the end of the world and hewed
0ed$saMs head off, where$"on there s"ran% from her tr$nk (hr#saor,
Nthe man with the %olden sword,N and Pe%as$s, the li%htnin% steed,
whom 0ed$sa had conceived from Poseidon.
ow different is the world to which this heroic m#th belon%s from the
world of omeric %ods and men- how different is this hero from a
eracles or from the heroes of omerO ere advent$re and marvel is
ever#thin%, and nothin% is left of the "ersona%e involved. All that
ha""ens has a marvello$s, fair#tale D$alit#, and is e3traordinar# to the
"oint of monstrosit#. When the head of 0ed$sa is severed from her
bod# and man and horse s"rin% forth, one feels that somethin%
"owerf$l and "rofo$ndl# si%nificant is %oin% on, e3"ressed in "ec$liar
ima%er#1b$t who can now inter"ret s$ch an ima%eJ G$ile and
enchantment are the D$alities b# which the hero brin%s the incredible
to "ass. 6he 5ld Women he robs of their most "recio$s "ossession and
thereb# forces them to show him the wa# to the ?#m"hs- and from
these he receives the ma%ic articles b# which alone he can reach his
%oal in the e3treme west be#ond 5cean and "erform his advent$re1
win%ed shoes and the ca" that made him invisible. 5ne is reminded of
Ncraft#N (ron$s and of the deed he achieved with his sickle1the same
wea"on that one ima%ines in the hands of Perse$s.
Perse$s is not a %od, b$t he stands ver# near the %ods and "erha"s
once was one. Finshi" with ermes is ver# strikin%, and e3tends
"recisel# to those traits in the "ict$re of ermes which, as we shall
see, belon% to the oldest mode of conceivin% the world. And th$s it
becomes "ossible for $s to reco%niAe clearl# what it is that
distin%$ishes the earlier conce"tion of the %ods from the omeric, and
in the f$llest sense Greek, conce"tion.
6he most mirac$lo$s ha""enin% in the world and the most astonishin%
and ma%ical ca"acit# of hi%her bein%s1s$ch are the ima%es and
tho$%hts b# which the s"irit was at one time filled. ;$t the new s"irit
looks into e3istence with different e#es. !or it, not ha""enin% and
ca"acit# are most im"ortant, b$t bein%. 6he divinities become fi%$res
of realit# in which the manifold bein% oP nat$re finds its "erfect and
eternal e3"ression. With this ste" ancient m#th is abolished, ma%ic
overcome, and the %ods are finall# se"arated from the elemental.
1( T&E )E#$*GI$ "RE$TIO M%T&
In the be%innin%, &$r#nome, 6he Goddess of All 6hin%s, rose
naked from (haos, b$t fo$nd nothin% s$bstantial for her feet to rest
$"on, and therefore divided the sea from the sk#, dancin% lonel# $"on
its waves. 4he danced towards the so$th, and the wind set in motion
behind her seemed somethin% new and a"art with which to be%in a
work of creation. Wheelin% abo$t, she ca$%ht hold of this north wind,
r$bbed it between her hands, and beholdO the %reat ser"ent 5"hion.
&$r#nome danced to warm herself, wildl# and more wildl#, $ntil
5"hion, %rown l$stf$l, coiled abo$t those divine limbs and was moved
to co$"le with her. ?ow, the ?orth Wind, who is also called ;oreas,
fertiliAes- which is wh# mares often t$rn their hind1D$arters to the wind
and breed foals witho$t aid of a stallion. 4o &$r#nome was likewise %ot
with child.
b. ?e3t, she ass$med the form of a dove, broodin% on the waves and in
d$e "rocess of time laid the )niversal &%%. At her biddin%, 5"hion
coiled seven times abo$t this e%%, $ntil it hatched and s"lit in two. 5$t
t$mbled all thin%s that e3ist, her children, s$n, moon, "lanets, stars,
the earth with its mo$ntains and rivers, its trees, herbs, and livin%
c. &$r#nome and 5"hion made their home $"on 0o$nt 5l#m"$s,
where he ve3ed her b# claimin% to be the a$thor of the )niverse.
!orthwith she br$ised his head with her heel, kicked o$t his teeth, and
banished him to the dark caves below the earth.
d. ?e3t, the %oddess created the seven "lanetar# "owers, settin% a
6itaness and a 6itan over each. 6heia and #"erion for the 4$n-
Phoebe and Atlas for the 0oon- :ione and (ri$s for the "lanet 0ars-
0etis and (oe$s for the "lanet 0erc$r#- 6hemis and &$r#medon for the
"lanet 2$"iter- 6eth#s and 5cean$s for Ben$s- Rhea and (ron$s for the
"lanet 4at$rn. ;$t the first man was Pelas%$s, ancestor of the
Pelas%ians- he s"ran% from the soil of Arcadia, followed b# certain
others, whom he ta$%ht to make h$ts and feed $"on acorns, and sew
"i%Iskin t$nics s$ch as "oor folk still wear in &$boea and Phocis.
1. 5nl# tantaliAin% fra%ments of this "reIellenic m#th s$rvive
in Greek literat$re, the lar%est bein% A"olloni$s Rhodi$sMs $gronautica
and 6AetAes b$t it is im"licit in the 5r"hic 0#steries, and can be
restored, as above, from the ;erossian !ra%ment and the Phoenician
cosmo%onies D$oted b# Philostrat$s and :amasci$s- from the
(anaanitish elements in the ebrew (reation stor#- from #%in$s
.Fabula/- from the ;oeotian le%end of the dra%onMs teeth- and from
earl# rit$al art. 6hat all Pelas%ians were born from 5"hion is s$%%ested
b# their common sacrifice, the Peloria .Athenae$s/, 5"hion havin%
been a Pelor, or M"rodi%io$s ser"entM. In this archaic reli%io$s s#stem
there were, as #et, neither %ods nor "riests, b$t onl# a $niversal
%oddess and her "riestesses, woman bein% the dominant se3 and man
her fri%htened victim. !atherhood was not hono$red, conce"tion bein%
attrib$ted to the wind, the eatin% of beans, or the accidental
swallowin% of an insect- inheritance was matrilineal and snakes were
re%arded as incarnations of the dead. &$r#nome .Mwide wanderin%M/
was the %oddessMs title as the visible moon- her 4$merian name was
Iah$ .Me3alted doveM/, a title which later "assed to 2ehovah as the
(reator. It was as a dove that 0ard$k s#mbolicall# sliced her in two at
the ;ab#lonian 4"rin% !estival, when he ina$%$rated the new world
*. 5"hion, or ;oreas, is the ser"ent demi$r%e of ebrew and
&%#"tian m#thIin earl# 0editerranean art, the Goddess is constantl#
shown in his com"an#. 6he earthIborn Pelas%ians, whose claim seems
to have been that the# s"ran% from 5"hionMs teeth, were ori%inall#
"erha"s the ?eolithic MPainted WareM "eo"le- the# reached the
mainland of Greece from Palestine abo$t 75== ;(, and the earl#
ellads I immi%rants from Asia 0inor b# wa# of the (#clades I fo$nd
them in occ$"ation of the Pelo"onnese seven h$ndred #ears later. ;$t
MPelas%iansM became loosel# a""lied to all "reIellenic inhabitants of
Greece. 6h$s &$ri"ides .D$oted b# 4trabo/ records that the Pelas%ians
ado"ted the name M:anaidsM on the comin% to Ar%os of :ana$s and his
fift# da$%hters. 4trict$res on their licentio$s cond$ct .erodot$s/ refer
"robabl# to the "reIellenic c$stom of erotic or%ies. 4trabo sa#s in
the same "assa%e that those who lived near Athens were known as
Pelar%i .MstorksM/- "erha"s this was their totem bird.
7. 6he 6itans .MlordsM/ and 6itanesses had their co$nter"arts in earl#
;ab#lonian and Palestinian astrolo%#, where the# were deities r$lin%
the seven da#s of the sacred "lanetar# week- and ma# have been
introd$ced b# the (anaanite, or ittite, colon# which settled the
Isthm$s of (orinth earl# in the second millenni$m ;(, or even b# the
&arl# ellads. ;$t when the 6itan c$lt was abolished in Greece, and the
sevenIda# week ceased to fi%$re in the official calendar, their n$mber
was D$oted as twelve b# some a$thors, "robabl# to make them
corres"ond with the si%ns of the <odiac. esiod, A"ollodor$s,
4te"han$s of ;#Aanti$m, Pa$sanias, and others %ive inconsistent lists
of their names. In ;ab#lonian m#th the "lanetar# r$lers of the week,
namel# 4amas, 4in, ?er%al, ;el, ;eltis, and ?inib, were all male, e3ce"t
;eltis, the 'oveI%oddess- b$t in the Germanic week, which the (elts
had borrowed from the &astern 0editerranean, 4$nda#, 6$esda#, and
!rida# were r$led b# 6itanesses, as o""osed to 6itans. 6o G$d%e from
the divine stat$s of Aeol$sMs "airedIoff da$%hters and sons, and the
m#th of ?iobe, it was decided, when the s#stem first reached "reI
ellenic Greece from Palestine, to "air a 6itaness with each 6itan, as a
means of safe%$ardin% the %oddessMs interests. ;$t before lon% the
fo$rteen were red$ced to a mi3ed com"an# of seven. 6he "lanetar#
"owers were as follows, 4$n for ill$mination- 0oon for enchantment-
0ars for %rowth- 0erc$r# for wisdom- 2$"iter for law- Ben$s for love-
4at$rn for "eace. (lassical Greek astrolo%ers conformed with the
;ab#lonians, and awarded the "lanets to eli$s, 4elene, Ares, ermes
.or A"ollo/, <e$s, A"hrodite, (ron$sIwhose 'atin eD$ivalents, %iven
above, still name the !rench, Italian, and 4"anish weeks.
8. In the end, m#thicall# s"eakin%, <e$s swallowed the 6itans,
incl$din% his earlier self I since the 2ews of 2er$salem worshi""ed a
transcendent God, com"osed of all the "lanetar# "owers of the week, a
theor# s#mboliAed in the sevenIbranched candlestick, and in the
4even Pillars of Wisdom. 6he seven "lanetar# "illars set $" near the
orseMs 6omb at 4"arta were said b# Pa$sanias to be adorned in
ancient fashion, and ma# have been connected with the &%#"tian rites
introd$ced b# the Pelas%ians. Whether the 2ews borrowed the theor#
from the &%#"tians, or contrariwise, is $ncertain- b$t the soIcalled
elio"olitan <e$s, whom A. ;. (ook disc$sses in his 5eus, was
&%#"tian in character, and bore b$sts of the seven "lanetar# "owers as
frontal ornaments on his bod# sheath- $s$all#, also, b$sts of the
remainin% 5l#m"ians as rear ornaments. 5ne bronAe stat$ette of this
%od was fo$nd at 6ortosa in 4"ain, another at ;#blos in Phoenicia- and
a marble stele from 0arseilles dis"la#s si3 "lanetar# b$sts and one f$ll
Ilen%th fi%$re of ermes I who is also %iven %reatest "rominence in
the stat$ettes I "res$mabl# as the inventor of astronom#. At Rome,
2$"iter was similarl# claimed to be a transcendent %od b# L$int$s
Baletins 4oran$s, tho$%h the week was not observed there, as it was at
0arseilles, ;#blos, and ."robabl#/ 6ortosa. ;$t "lanetar# "owers were
never allowed to infl$ence the official 5l#m"ian c$lt, bein% re%arded as
$nIGreek .erodot$s/, and therefore $n"atriotic, Aristo"hanes .Peace/
makes 6r#%as$s sa# that the 0oon and 4that old )illain the Sun4 are
hatchin% a "lot to herra# Greece into the hands of the Persian
5. Pa$saniasMs statement that Pelas%$s was the first of men records the
contin$ance of a Palaeolithic c$lt$re in Arcadia $ntil (lassical times.
450& sa# that all %ods and all livin% creat$res ori%inated in the
stream of 5cean$s which %irdles the world, and that 6eth#s was the
mother of all his children.
b. ;$t the 5r"hics sa# that black1win%ed ?i%ht, a %oddess of whom
even <e$s stands in awe, was co$rted b# the Wind and laid a silver
e%% in the womb of :arkness- and that &ros, whom some call Phanes,
was hatched from this e%% and set the )niverse in motion. &ros was
do$ble1se3ed and %olden1win%ed and, havin% fo$r heads, sometimes
roared like a b$ll or a lion, sometimes hissed like a ser"ent or bleated
like a ram. ?i%ht, who named him &rice"ai$s and Proto%en$s Pha@thon,
lived in a cave with him, dis"la#in% herself in triad, ?i%ht, 5rder and
2$stice. ;efore this cave sat inesca"able mother Rhea, "la#in% on a
braAen dr$m, and com"ellin% manMs attention to the oracles of the
%oddess. Phanes created earth, sk#, s$n, and moon, b$t the tri"le1
%oddess r$led the $niverse, $ntil her sce"tre "assed to )ran$s
1. omerMs m#th is a version of the Pelas%ian creation stor#,
since 6eth#s rei%ned over the sea like &$r#nome, and 5cean$s %irdled
the )niverse like 5"hion.
*. 6he 5r"hic m#th is another version, b$t infl$enced b# a m#stical
doctrine of love .&ros/ and theories abo$t the "ro"er relation of the
se3es. ?i%htMs silver e%% means the moon, silver bein% the l$nar metal.
As &rice"ai$s .Mfeeder $"on heatherM/, the loveI%od Phanes .MrevealerM/
is a lo$dl#Ib$AAin% celestial bee, son of the Great Goddess. 6he
beehive was st$died as an ideal re"$blic, and confirmed the m#th of
the Golden A%e, when hone# dro""ed from the trees. RheaMs braAen
dr$m was beaten to "revent bees from swarmin% in the wron% "lace,
and to ward off evil infl$ences, like the b$llIroarers $sed in the
0#steries. As Pha@thon Proto%en$s .MfirstIborn shinerM/, Phanes is the
4$n, which the 5r"hics made a s#mbol of ill$mination, and his fo$r
heads corres"ond with the s#mbolic beasts of the fo$r seasons.
Accordin% to 0acrobi$s, the 5racle of (olo"hon identified this Phanes
with the transcendent %od Iao, <e$s .ram/, 4"rin%- eli$s .lion/,
4$mmer- ades .snake/, Winter- :ion#s$s .b$ll/, ?ew Cear. ?i%htMs
sce"tre "assed to )ran$s with the advent of "atriarchalism.
T&E O#%M)I$ "RE$TIO M%T&
$T the beginning of all things Mother ,arth emerged from Chaos
and bore her son "ranus as she sle&t0 Ga%ing do#n fondl at her from
the mountains, he sho#ered fertile rain u&on her secret clefts, and she
bore grass, flo#ers, and trees, #ith the beasts and birds &ro&er to
each0 This same rain made the ri)ers flo# and filled the hollo# &laces
#ith #ater, so that la(es and seas came into being0
b. !er first children of semi6human form #ere the hundred6handed
giants Briareus, Gges, and Cottus0 ?e3t a""eared the three wild, one
Ie#ed (#clo"es, b$ilders of %i%antic walls and masterIsmiths,
formerl# of 6hrace, afterwards of (rete and '#cia, whose sons
5d#sse$s enco$ntered in 4icil#. 6heir names were ;rontes, 4tero"es,
and Ar%es, and their %hosts have dwelt in the caverns of the volcano
Aetna since A"ollo killed them in reven%e for the death of Ascle"i$s.
c. 6he 'ib#ans, however, claim that Garamas was born before the
$ndredIhanded 5nes and that, when he rose from the "lain, he
offered 0other &arth a sacrifice of the sweet acorn.
1. 6his "atriarchal m#th of )ran$s %ained official acce"tance
$nder the 5l#m"ian reli%io$s s#stem. )ran$s, whose name came to
mean Mthe sk#M, seems to have won his "osition as !irst !ather b# bein%
identified with the "astoral %od Bar$na, one of the Ar#an male trinit#-
b$t his Greek name is a masc$line form of )r1ana .MD$een of the
mo$ntainsM, MD$een of s$mmerM, MD$een of the windsM, or MD$een of wild
o3enM/ I the %oddess in her or%iastic mids$mmer as"ect. )ran$sMs
marria%e to 0other &arth records an earl# ellenic invasion of ?orthern
Greece, which allowed Bar$naMs "eo"le to claim that he had fathered
the native tribes he fo$nd there, tho$%h acknowled%in% him to be
0other &arthMs son. An emendation to the m#th, recorded b#
A"ollodor$s, is that &arth and 4k# "arted in deadl# strife and were then
re$nited in love, this is mentioned b# &$ri"ides .Melani&&e the Wise/
and A"olloni$s Rhodi$s .$rgonaution/. 6he deadl# strife m$st refer to
the clash between the "atriarchal and matriarchal "rinci"les which the
ellenic invasions ca$sed. G#%es .M earthIbornM/ has another form,
gigas .M%iantM/, and %iants are associated in m#th with the mo$ntains of
?orthern Greece. ;riare$s .Mstron%M/ was also called Ae%aeon .Iliad/,
and his "eo"le ma# therefore be the 'ib#oI6hracians, whose GoatI
%oddess Ae%is %ave her name to the Ae%ean 4ea. (ott$s was the
e"on#mo$s .nameI%ivin%/ ancestor of the (ottians who worshi""ed
the or%iastic (ot#tto, and s"read her worshi" from 6hrace thro$%ho$t
?orthIwestern &$ro"e. 6hese tribes are described as Mh$ndredI
handedM, "erha"s beca$se their "riestesses were or%aniAed in colle%es
of fift#, like the :anaids and ?ereids- "erha"s beca$se the men were
or%aniAed in warIbands of one h$ndred, like the earl# Romans.
*. 6he (#clo"es seem to have been a %$ild of &arl# elladic
bronAeIsmiths. (#clo"s means Mrin%Ie#edM, and the# are likel# to
have been tattooed with concentric rin%s on the forehead, in hono$r of
the s$n, the so$rce of their f$rnace fires- the 6hracians contin$ed to
tattoo themselves $ntil (lassical times. (oncentric circles are "art of
the m#ster# of smithIcraft, in order to beat o$t bowls, helmets, or
rit$al masks, the smith wo$ld %$ide himself with s$ch circles,
described b# com"ass aro$nd the centre of the flat disk on which he
was workin%. 6he (#clo"es were oneIe#ed also in the sense that
smiths often shade one e#e with a "atch a%ainst fl#in% s"arks. 'ater,
their identit# was for%otten and the m#tho%ra"hers fancif$ll# "laced
their %hosts in the caverns of Aetna, to e3"lain the fire and smoke
iss$in% from its crater. A close c$lt$ral conne3ion e3isted between
6hrace, (rete, and '#cia- the (#clo"es will have been at home in all
these co$ntries. &arl# elladic c$lt$re also s"read to 4icil#- b$t it ma#
well be .as 4am$el ;$tler first s$%%ested/ that the 4icilian com"osition
of the 5d#sse# e3"lains the (#clo"esM "resence there. 6he names
;rontes, 4tero"es, and Ar%es .Mth$nderM, Mli%htnin%M, and Mbri%htnessM/
are late inventions.
7. Garamas is the e"on#mo$s ancestor of the 'ib#an
Garamantians who occ$"ied the 5asis of :Gado, so$th of the !eAAan,
and were conD$ered b# the Roman General ;alb$s in 19 ;(. 6he# are
said to have been of ($shiteI;erber stock, and in the second cent$r#
A: were s$bd$ed b# the matrilineal 'emta ;erbers. 6he# later f$sed
with ?e%ro abori%ines on the so$th bank of the )""er ?i%er and
ado"ted their lan%$a%e. 6he# s$rvive toda# in a sin%le villa%e $nder
the name of Foromantse. Garamant is derived from the words gara,
man, and te, meanin% MGaraMs state "eo"leM. Gara seems to be the
Goddess Fer, or LMre, or (ar, who %ave her name to the (arians,
amon% other "eo"le, and was associated with a"ic$lt$re. &sc$lent
acorns, a sta"le food of the ancient world before the introd$ction of
corn, %rew in 'ib#a- and the Garamantian settlement of Ammon was
Goined with the ?orthern Greek settlement of :odona in a reli%io$s
lea%$e which, accordin% to 4ir !linders Petrie, ma# have ori%inated as
earl# as the third millenni$m ;(. ;oth "laces had an ancient oakI
oracle. erodot$s describes the Garamantians as a "eaceable b$t ver#
"owerf$l "eo"le, who c$ltivate the dateI"alm, %row corn, and herd
TWO )&I#O*O)&I"$# "RE$TIO M%T&*
450& sa# that :arkness was first, and from :arkness s"ran%
(haos. !rom a $nion between :arkness and (haos s"ran% ?i%ht, :a#,
&reb$s, and the Air. !rom a $nion between ?i%ht and &reb$s s"ran%
:oom, 5ld A%e, :eath, 0$rder, (ontinence, 4lee", :reams, :iscord,
0iser#, Be3ation, ?emesis, 2o#, !riendshi", Pit#, the 6hree !ates, and
the 6hree es"erides. !rom a $nion between Air and :a# s"ran%
0other &arth, 4k#, and 4ea. !rom a $nion between Air and 0other
&arth s"ran% 6error, (raft, An%er, 4trife, 'ies, 5aths, Ben%eance,
Intem"erance, Altercation, 6reat#, 5blivion, !ear, Pride, ;attle- also
5cean$s, 0etis, and the other 6itans, 6artar$s, and the 6hree &rinn#es,
or !$ries. !rom a $nion between &arth and 6artar$s s"ran% the Giants.
b. !rom a $nion between the 4ea and its Rivers s"ran% the ?ereids.
;$t, as #et, there were no mortal men $ntil, with the consent of the
%oddess Athene, Promethe$s, son of Ia"et$s, formed them in the
likeness of %ods. e $sed cla# and water of Pano"e$s in Phocis, and
Athene breathed life into them.
c. 5thers sa# that the God of All 6hin%s I whoever he ma# have been,
for some call him ?at$re I a""earin% s$ddenl# in (haos, se"arated
earth from the heavens, the water from the earth, and the $""er air
from the lower. avin% $nravelled the elements, he set them in d$e
order, as the# are now fo$nd. e divided the earth into Aones, some
ver# hot, some ver# cold, others tem"erate- mo$lded it into "lains and
mo$ntains- and clothed it with %rass and trees. Above it he set the
rollin% firmament, s"an%lin% it with stars, and assi%ned stations to the
fo$r winds. e also "eo"led the waters with fish, the earth with beasts,
and the sk# with the s$n, the moon, and the five "lanets. 'astl#, he
made man I who, alone of all beasts, raises his face to heaven and
observes the s$n, the moon, and the stars I $nless it be indeed tr$e
that Promethe$s, son of Ia"et$s, made manMs bod# from water and
cla#, and that his so$l was s$""lied b# certain wanderin% divine
elements, which had s$rvived from the !irst (reation.
1. In esiodMs Theogon I on which the first of these
"hiloso"hical m#ths is based I the list of abstractions is conf$sed b#
the ?ereids, the 6itans, and the Giants, whom he feels bo$nd to
incl$de. ;oth the 6hree !ates and the 6hree es"erides are the 6ri"le
0oonI%oddess in her death as"ect.
*. 6he second m#th, fo$nd onl# in 5vid, was borrowed b# the
later Greeks from the ;ab#lonian Gil%amesh e"ic, the introd$ction to
which records the %oddess Ar$r$Ms "artic$lar creation of the first man,
&abani, from a "iece of cla#- b$t, altho$%h <e$s had been the
)niversal 'ord for man# cent$ries, the m#tho%ra"hers were forced to
admit that the (reator of all thin%s mi%ht "ossibl# have been a
(reatri3. 6he 2ews, as inheritors of the MPelas%ianM, or (anaanitish,
creation m#th, had felt the same embarrassment, in the Genesis
acco$nt, a female M4"irit of the 'ordM broods on the face of the waters,
tho$%h she does not la# the world e%%- and &ve, M the 0other of All
'ivin% M, is ordered to br$ise the 4er"entMs head, tho$%h he is not
destined to %o down to the Pit $ntil the end of the world.
7. 4imilarl#, in the 6alm$dic version of the (reation, the archan%el
0ichaelI Promethe$sMs co$nter"artI forms Adam from d$st at the
order, not of the 0other of All 'ivin%, b$t of 2ehovah. 2ehovah then
breathes life into him and %ives him &ve who, like Pandora, brin%s
mischief on mankind.
8. Greek "hiloso"hers distin%$ished Promethean man from the
im"erfect earthIborn creation, "art of which was destro#ed b# <e$s,
and the rest washed awa# in the :e$calionian !lood. 0$ch the same
distinction is fo$nd in Genesis BI. *I8 between the Msons of GodM and
the Mda$%hters of menM, whom the# married.
5. 6he Gil%amesh tablets are late and eD$ivocal- there the M;ri%ht
0other of the ollowM is credited with havin% formed ever#thin% I
MAr$r$M is onl# one of this %oddessMs man# titlesI and the "rinci"al
theme is a revolt a%ainst her matriarchal order, described as one of
$tter conf$sion, b# the %ods of the new "atriarchal order. 0ard$k, the
;ab#lonian cit#I%od, event$all# defeats the %oddess in the "erson of
6iamat the 4eaIser"ent- and it is then braAenl# anno$nced that he,
not an#one else, created herbs, lands, rivers, beasts, birds, and
mankind. 6his 0ard$k was an $"start %odlin% whose claim to have
defeated 6iamat and created the world had "revio$sl# been made b#
the %od ;elI ;el bein% a masc$line form of ;elili, the 4$merian 0other
I%oddess. 6he transition from matriarch# to "atriarch# seems to have
come abo$t in 0eso"otamia, as elsewhere, thro$%h the revolt of the
L$eenMs consort to whom she had de"$ted e3ec$tive "ower b#
allowin% him to ado"t her name, robes, and sacred instr$ments.
450& den# that Promethe$s created men, or that an# man
s"ran% from a ser"entMs teeth. 6he# sa# that &arth bore them
s"ontaneo$sl#, as the best of her fr$its, es"eciall# in the soil of Attica,
and that Alalcomene$s was the first man to a""ear, b# 'ake (o"ais in
;oeotia, before even the 0oon was. e acted as <e$sMs co$nsellor on
the occasion of his D$arrel with era, and as t$tor to Athene while she
was still a %irl.
b. 6hese men were the soIcalled %olden race, s$bGects of (ron$s, who
lived witho$t cares or labo$r, eatin% onl# acorns, wild fr$it, and hone#
that dri""ed from the trees, drinkin% the milk of shee" and %oats,
never %rowin% old, dancin%, and la$%hin% m$ch- death, to them, was
no more terrible than slee". 6he# are all %one now, b$t their s"irits
s$rvive as %enii of ha""# r$stic retreats, %ivers of %ood fort$ne, and
$"holders of G$stice.
c. ?e3t came a silver race, eaters of bread, likewise divinel# created.
6he men were $tterl# s$bGect to their mothers and dared not disobe#
them, altho$%h the# mi%ht live to be a h$ndred #ears old. 6he# were
D$arrelsome and i%norant, and never sacrificed to the %ods b$t, at
least, did not make war on one another. <e$s destro#ed them all.
d. ?e3t came a braAen race, who fell like fr$its from the ashItrees,
and were armed with braAen wea"ons. 6he# ate flesh as well as bread,
and deli%hted in war, bein% insolent and "itiless men. ;lack :eath has
seiAed them all.
e. 6he fo$rth race of men was braAen too, b$t nobler and more
%enero$s, bein% be%otten b# the %ods on mortal mothers. 6he# fo$%ht
%lorio$sl# in the sie%e of 6hebes, the e3"edition of the Ar%ona$ts, and
the 6roGan War. 6hese became heroes, and dwell in the &l#sian !ields.
f. 6he fifth race is the "resent race of iron, $nworth# descendants of
the fo$rth. 6he# are de%enerate, cr$el, $nG$st, malicio$s, libidino$s,
$nfilial, treachero$s.
1. 6ho$%h the m#th of the Golden A%e derives event$all# from a
tradition of tribalIs$bservience to the ;eeI%oddess, the sava%er# of
her rei%n in "reIa%ric$lt$ral times had been for%otten b# esiodMs
da#, and all that remained was an idealistic conviction that men had
once lived in harmon# to%ether like bees. esiod was a small farmer,
and the hard life he lived made him morose and "essimistic. 6he m#th
of the silver race also records matriarchal conditions I s$ch as those
s$rvivin% in (lassical times amon% the Picts, the 0oes#noechians of
the ;lack 4ea, and some tribes in the ;aleares, Galicia, and the G$lf of
4irte I $nder which men were still the des"ised se3, tho$%h
a%ric$lt$re had been introd$ced and wars were infreD$ent. 4ilver is the
metal of the 0oonI%oddess. 6he third race were the earliest ellenic
invaders, ;ronAe A%e herdsmen, who ado"ted the ashItree c$lt of the
Goddess and her son Poseidon. 6he fo$rth race were the warriorIkin%s
of the 0#cenaean A%e. 6he fifth were the :orians of the twelfth
cent$r# ;(, who $sed iron wea"ons and destro#ed the 0#cenaean
civiliAation. Alalcomene$s .M%$ardianM/ is a fictitio$s character, a
masc$line form of AlalcomeneRs, AtheneMs title .Iliad/ as the %$ardian of
;oeotia. e serves the "atriarchal do%ma that no woman, even a
%oddess, can be wise witho$t male instr$ction, and that the 0oonI
%oddess and the 0oon itself were late creations of <e$s.
T&E "$*TR$TIO OF !R$!*
)RA?)4 fathered the 6itans $"on 0other &arth, after he had
thrown his rebellio$s sons, the (#clo"es, into 6artar$s, a %loom# "lace
in the )nderworld, which lies as far distant from the earth as the earth
does from the sk#- it wo$ld take a fallin% anvil nine da#s to reach its
bottom. In reven%e, 0other &arth "ers$aded the 6itans to attack their
father- and the# did so, led b# (ron$s, the #o$n%est of the seven,
whom she armed with a flint sickle. 6he# s$r"rised )ran$s as he sle"t,
and it was with the flint sickle that the merciless (ron$s castrated him,
%ras"in% his %enitals with the left hand .which has ever since been the
hand of illIomen/ and afterwards throwin% them, and the sickle too,
into the sea b# (a"e :re"an$m. ;$t dro"s of blood flowin% from the
wo$nd fell $"on 0other &arth, and she bore the 6hree &rinn#es, f$ries
who aven%e crimes of "arricide and "erG$r# I b# name Alecto,
6isi"hone, and 0e%aera. 6he n#m"hs of the ashItree, called the
0eliae, also s"ran% from that blood.
b. 6he 6itans then released the (#clo"es from 6artar$s, and awarded
the soverei%nt# of the earth to (ron$s. owever, no sooner did (ron$s
find himself in s$"reme command than he confined the (#clo"es to
6artar$s a%ain to%ether with the $ndredIhanded 5nes and, takin%
his sister Rhea to wife, r$led in &lis.
1. esiod, who records this m#th, was a (admeian, and the
(admeians came from Asia 0inor, "robabl# on the colla"se of the
ittite &m"ire, brin%in% with them the stor# of )ran$sMs castration. It is
known, however, that the m#th was not of ittite com"osition, since an
earlier $rrian .orite/ version has been discovered. esiodMs version
ma# reflect an alliance between the vario$s "reIellenic settlers in
4o$thern and (entral Greece, whose dominant tribes favo$red the
6itan c$lt, a%ainst the earl# ellenic invaders from the north. 6heir war
was s$ccessf$l, b$t the# there$"on claimed s$Aeraint# over the
northern natives, whom the# had freed. 6he castration of )ran$s is not
necessaril# meta"horical if some of the victors had ori%inated in &ast
Africa where, to this da#, Galla warriors carr# a miniat$re sickle into
battle to castrate their enemies- there are close affinities between &ast
African reli%io$s rites and those of earl# Greece.
*. 6he later Greeks read M(ron$sM as (hronos, M!ather 6imeM with
his relentless sickle. ;$t he is "ict$red in the com"an# of a crow, like
A"ollo, Ascle"i$s, 4at$rn, and the earl# ;ritish %od ;ran- and cronos
"robabl# means McrowM, like the 'atin corni- and the Greek corone. 6he
crow was an orac$lar bird, s$""osed to ho$se the so$l of a sacred kin%
after his sacrifice.
7. ere the three &rinn#es, or !$ries, who s"ran% from the dro"s
of )ran$sMs blood, are the 6ri"leI%oddess herself- that is to sa#, d$rin%
the kin%Ms sacrifice, desi%ned to fr$ctif# the cornfields and orchards,
her "riestesses will have worn menacin% Gor%on masks to fri%hten
awa# "rofane visitors. is %enitals seem to have been thrown into the
sea, to enco$ra%e fish to breed. 6he ven%ef$l &rinn#es are $nderstood
b# the m#tho%ra"her as warnin% <e$s not to emasc$late (ron$s with
the same sickle- b$t it was their ori%inal f$nction to aven%e inG$ries
inflicted onl# on a mother, or a s$""liant who claimed the "rotection of
the earthI%oddess, not on a father.
8. 6he ashIn#m"hs are the 6hree !$ries in more %racio$s mood, the
sacred kin% was dedicated to the ashItree, ori%inall# $sed in rainI
makin% ceremonies. In 4candinavia it became the tree of $niversal
ma%ic- the 6hree ?orns, or !ates, dis"ensed G$stice $nder an ash which
5din, on claimin% the fatherhood of mankind, made his ma%ical steed.
Women m$st have been the first rainImakers in Greece as in 'ib#a.
5. ?eolithic sickles of bone, toothed with flint or obsidian, seem to have
contin$ed in rit$al $se lon% after their s$""ression as a%ric$lt$ral
instr$ments b# sickles of bronAe and iron.
+. 6he ittites make F$marbi .(ron$s/ bite off the %enitals of the 4k#I
%od An$ .)ran$s/, swallow some of the seed, and s"it o$t the rest on
0o$nt Fans$ra where it %rows into a %oddess- the God of 'ove th$s
conceived b# him is c$t from his side b# An$Ms brother &a. 6hese two
births have been combined b# the Greeks into a tale of how A"hrodite
rose from a sea im"re%nated b# )ran$sMs severed %enitals. F$marbi is
s$bseD$entl# delivered of another child drawn from his thi%h I as
:ion#s$s was reborn from <e$s I who rides a stormIchariot drawn b#
a b$ll, and comes to An$Ms hel". 6he Mknife that se"arated the earth
from the sk#M occ$rs in the same stor#, as the wea"on with which
F$marbiMs son, the earthIborn %iant )llik$mmi, is destro#ed.
(R5?)4 married his sister Rhea, to whom the oak is sacred. ;$t
it was "ro"hesied b# 0other &arth, and b# his d#in% father )ran$s, that
one of his own sons wo$ld dethrone him. &ver# #ear, therefore, he
swallowed the children whom Rhea bore him, first estia, then
:emeter and era, then ades, then Poseidon.
b. Rhea was enra%ed. 4he bore <e$s, her third son, at dead of
ni%ht on 0o$nt '#cae$m in Arcadia, where no creat$re casts a shadow
and, havin% bathed him in the River ?eda, %ave him to 0other &arth-
b# whom he was carried to '#ctos in (rete, and hidden in the cave of
:icte on the Ae%ean ill. 0other &arth left him there to be n$rsed b#
the AshIn#m"h Adrasteia and her sister Io, both da$%hters of
0elisse$s, and b# the GoatIn#m"h Amaltheia. is food was hone#,
and he drank AmaltheiaMs milk, with GoatIPan, his fosterIbrother.
<e$s was %ratef$l to these three n#m"hs for their kindness and, when
he became 'ord of the )niverse, set AmaltheiaMs ima%e amon% the
stars, as (a"ricorn. e also borrowed one of her horns, which
resembled a cowMs, and %ave it to the da$%hters of 0elisse$s- it
became the famo$s Cornuco&ia, or horn of "lent#, which is alwa#s
filled with whatever food or drink its owner ma# desire. ;$t some sa#
that <e$s was s$ckled b# a sow, and rode on her back, and that he lost
his navelIstrin% at 5m"halion near (noss$s.
c. Aro$nd the infant <e$sMs %olden cradle, which was h$n% $"on
a tree .so that (ron$s mi%ht find him neither in heaven, nor on earth,
nor in the sea/ stood the armed ($retes, RheaMs sons. 6he# clashed
their s"ears a%ainst their shields, and sho$ted to drown the noise of his
wailin%, lest (ron$s mi%ht hear it from far off. !or Rhea had wra""ed a
stone in swaddlin% clothes, which she %ave to (ron$s on 0o$nt
6ha$masi$m in Arcadia- he swallowed it, believin% that he was
swallowin% the infant <e$s. ?evertheless, (ron$s %ot wind of what had
ha""ened and "$rs$ed <e$s, who transformed himself into a ser"ent
and his n$rses into bears, hence the constellations of the 4er"ent and
the ;ears.
d. <e$s %rew to manhood amon% the she"herds of Ida, occ$"#in%
another cave- then so$%ht o$t 0etis the 6itaness, who lived beside the
5cean stream. 5n her advice he visited his mother Rhea, and asked to
be made (ron$sMs c$"Ibearer. Rhea readil# assisted him in his task of
ven%eance- she "rovided the emetic "otion, which 0etis had told him
to mi3 with (ron$sMs hone#ed drink. (ron$s, havin% dr$nk dee",
vomited $" first the stone, and then <e$sMs elder brothers and sisters.
6he# s"ran% o$t $nh$rt and, in %ratit$de, asked him to lead them in a
war a%ainst the 6itans, who chose the %i%antic Atlas as their leader- for
(ron$s was now "ast his "rime.
e. 6he war lasted ten #ears b$t, at last, 0other &arth "ro"hesied
victor# to her %randson <e$s, if he took as allies those whom (ron$s
had confined in 6artar$s- so he came secretl# to (am"e, the old
Gaileress of 6artar$s, killed her, took her ke#s and, havin% released the
(#clo"es and the $ndredIhanded 5nes, stren%thened them with
divine food and drink. 6he (#clo"es there$"on %ave <e$s the
th$nderbolt as a wea"on of offence- and ades, a helmet of darkness-
and Poseidon, a trident. After the three brothers had held a co$nsel of
war, ades entered $nseen into (ron$sMs "resence, to steal his
wea"ons- and, while Poseidon threatened him with the trident and th$s
diverted his attention, <e$s str$ck him down with the th$nderbolt. 6he
three $ndredIhanded 5nes now took $" rocks and "elted the
remainin% 6itans, and a s$dden sho$t from GoatIPan "$t them to
fli%ht. 6he %ods r$shed in "$rs$it. (ron$s, and all the defeated 6itans,
e3ce"t Atlas, were banished to a ;ritish island in the farthest west .or,
some sa#, confined in 6artar$s/, and %$arded there b# the $ndredI
handed 5nes- the# never tro$bled ellas a%ain. Atlas, as their warI
leader, was awarded an e3em"lar# "$nishment, bein% ordered to carr#
the sk# on his sho$lders- b$t the 6itanesses were s"ared, for the sake
of 0etis and Rhea.
f. <e$s himself set $" at :el"hi the stone which (ron$s had
dis%or%ed. It is still there, constantl# anointed with oil, and strands of
$nwoven wool are offered $"on it.
%. 4ome sa# that Poseidon was neither eaten nor dis%or%ed, b$t that
Rhea %ave (ron$s a foal to eat in his stead, and hid him amon% the
horse herds. And the (retans, who are liars, relate that <e$s is born
ever# #ear in the same cave with flashin% fire and a stream of blood-
and that ever# #ear he dies and is b$ried.
1. Rhea, "aired with (ron$s as 6itaness of the seventh da#, ma#
be eD$ated with :ione, or :iana, the 6ri"leI%oddess of the :ove and
5ak c$lt. 6he billIhook carried b# 4at$rn, (ron$sMs 'atin co$nter"art,
was sha"ed like a crowMs bill and a""arentl# $sed in the seventh month
of the sacred thirteenImonth #ear to emasc$late the oak b# lo""in%
off the mistletoe, G$st as a rit$al sickle was $sed to rea" the first ear of
corn. 6his %ave the si%nal for the sacred <e$sIkin%Ms sacrifice- and at
Athens, (ron$s, who shared a tem"le with Rhea, was worshi""ed as
the ;arle#I%od 4abaAi$s, ann$all# c$t down in the cornfield and
bewailed like 5siris or 'it#erses or 0aneros. ;$t, b# the times to which
these m#ths refer, kin%s had been "ermitted to "rolon% their rei%ns to
a Great Cear of one h$ndred l$nations, and offer ann$al bo# victims in
their stead- hence (ron$s is "ict$red as eatin% his own sons to avoid
dethronement. Por"h#r# .*n $bstinence/ records that the (retan
($retes $sed to offer child sacrifices to (ron$s in ancient times.
*. In (rete a kid was earl# s$bstit$ted for a h$man victim- in
6hrace, a b$llIcalf- amon% the Aeolian worshi""ers of Poseidon, a foal-
b$t in backward districts of Arcadia bo#s were still sacrificiall# eaten
even in the (hristian era. It is not clear whether the &lean rit$al was
cannibalistic, or whether, (ron$s bein% a (rowI6itan, sacred crows fed
on the sla$%htered victim.
7. AmaltheiaMs name, MtenderM, shows her to have been a maiden
I%oddess- Io was an or%iastic n#m"hI%oddess- Adrasteia means Mthe
inesca"able 5neM, the orac$lar (rone of a$t$mn. 6o%ether the# formed
the $s$al 0oonItriad. 6he later Greeks identified Adrasteia with the
"astoral %oddess ?emesis, of the rainImakin% ashItree, who had
become a %oddess of ven%eance. Io was "ict$red at Ar%os as a white
cow in heat I some (retan coins from Praes$s show <e$s s$ckled b#
her I b$t Amaltheia, who lived on MGoat illM, was alwa#s a sheI%oat-
and 0elisse$s .Mhone#ImanM/, Adrasteia and IoMs re"$ted father, is
reall# their mother I 0elissa, the %oddess as L$eenIbee, who
ann$all# killed her male consort. :iodor$s 4ic$l$s and (allimach$s
.!mn to 5eus/ both make bees feed the infant <e$s. ;$t his fosterI
mother is sometimes also "ict$red as a sow, beca$se that was one of
the (roneI%oddessesMs emblems- and on (#donian coins she is a
bitch, like the one that s$ckled ?ele$s. 6he sheIbears are ArtemisMs
beasts I the ($retes attended her holoca$sts I and <e$s as ser"ent
is <e$s (tesi$s, "rotector of storeIho$ses, beca$se snakes %ot rid of
8. 6he ($retes were the sacred kin%Ms armed com"anions, whose
wea"onIdashin% was intended to drive off evil s"irits d$rin% rit$al
"erformances. 6heir name, $nderstood b# the later Greeks as M#o$n%
men who have shaved their hairM, "robabl# meant Mdevotees of Fer, or
(arM, a wides"read title of the 6ri"leI%oddess. eracles won his
cornuco&ia from the Achelo$s b$ll, and the enormo$s siAe of the
(retan wildI%oatMs horns have led m#tho%ra"hers $nacD$ainted with
(rete to %ive Amaltheia an anomalo$s cowMs horn.
5. Invadin% ellenes seem to have offered friendshi" to the "reI
ellenic "eo"le of the 6itanIc$lt, b$t %rad$all# detached their s$bGect
Iallies from them, and overr$n the Pelo"onnese. <e$sMs victor# in
alliance with the $ndredIhanded 5nes over the 6itans of 6hessal# is
said b# 6hall$s, the firstIcent$r# historian, D$oted b# 6atian in his
$ddress to the Gree(s, to have taken "lace H788 ears before the siege
of Tro4, that is to sa# 15=5 ;(, a "la$sible date for an e3tension of
ellenic "ower in 6hessal#. 6he bestowal of soverei%nt# on <e$s recalls
a similar event in the ;ab#lonian (reation &"ic, when 0ard$k was
em"owered to fi%ht 6iamat b# his elders 'ahm$ and 'aham$.
+. 6he brotherhood of ades, Poseidon, and <e$s recalls that of
the Bedic male trinit# I 0itra, Bar$na, and Indra I who a""ear in a
ittite treat# dated to abo$t 178= ;( I b$t in this m#th the# seem to
re"resent three s$ccessive ellenic invasions, commonl# known as
Ionian, Aeolian, and Achaean. 6he "reIellenic worshi""ers of the
0otherI%oddess assimilated the Ionians, who became children of Io-
tamed the Aeolians- b$t were overwhelmed b# the Achaeans. &arl#
ellenic chieftains who became sacred kin%s of the oak and ash c$lts,
took the titles M<e$sM and MPoseidonM, and were obli%ed to die at the end
of their set rei%ns. ;oth these trees tend to attract li%htnin%, and
therefore fi%$re in "o"$lar rainImakin% and fireImakin% ceremonies
thro$%ho$t &$ro"e.
9. 6he victor# of the Achaeans ended the tradition of ro#al
sacrifices. 6he# ranked <e$s and Poseidon as immortals- "ict$rin% both
as armed with the th$nderbolt I a flint do$bleIa3e, once wielded b#
Rhea, and in the 0inoan and 0#cenaean reli%ions withheld from male
$se. 'ater, PoseidonMs th$nderbolt was converted into a threeI
"ron%ed fishIs"ear, his chief devotees havin% t$rned seafarers-
whereas <e$s retained his as a s#mbol of s$"reme soverei%nt#.
PoseidonMs name, which was sometimes s"elt Potidan, ma# have been
borrowed from that of his %oddessImother, after whom the cit#
Potidaea was called, Mthe waterI%oddess of IdaM I Ida meanin% an#
wooded mo$ntain. 6hat the $ndredIhanded 5nes %$arded the 6itans
in the !ar West ma# mean that the Pelas%ians, amon% whose remnants
were the (enta$rs of 0a%nesia I centaur is "erha"s co%nate with the
'atin centuria, Ma warIband of one h$ndredM I did not abandon their
6itan c$lt, and contin$ed to believe in a !ar Western Paradise, and in
AtlasMs s$""ort of the firmament.
8. RheaMs name is "robabl# a variant of &ra, MearthM- her chief bird
was the dove, her chief beast the mo$ntainIlion. :emeterMs name
means M;arle#ImotherM- estia is the %oddess of the domestic hearth.
6he stone at :el"hi, $sed in rainImakin% ceremonies, seems to have
been a lar%e meteorite.
9. :icte and 0o$nt '#cae$m were ancient seats of <e$s worshi".
A fire sacrifice was "robabl# offered on 0o$nt '#cae$m, when no
creat$re cast a shadow I that is to sa#, at noon on mids$mmer da#-
b$t Pa$sanias adds that tho$%h in &thio"ia while the s$n is in (ancer
men do not throw shadows, this is invariabl# the case on 0o$nt
'#cae$m. e ma# be D$ibblin%, nobod# who tres"assed in this "recinct
was allowed to live .Arat$s, Phenomena/, and it was well known that
the dead cast no shadows .Pl$tarch, Gree( 9uestions/. 6he cave of
Ps#chro, $s$all# re%arded as the :ictacan (ave, is wron%l# sited to be
the real one, which has not #et been discovered. 5m"halion .Mlittle
navelM/ s$%%ests the site of an oracle.
1=. PanMs s$dden sho$t which terrified the 6itans became "roverbial
and has %iven the word 4&anic4 to the &n%lish lan%$a%e.
Accordin% to the Pelas%ians, the %oddess Athene was born beside
'ake 6ritonis in 'ib#a, where she was fo$nd and n$rt$red b# the three
n#m"hs of 'ib#a, who dress in %oatIskins. As a %irl she killed her
"la#mate, Pallas, b# accident, while the# were en%a%ed in friendl#
combat with s"ear and shield and, in token of %rief, set PallasMs name
before her own. (omin% to Greece b# wa# of (rete, she lived first in
the cit# of Athenae b# the ;oeotian River 6riton.
1. Plato identified Athene, "atroness of Athens, with the 'ib#an
%oddess ?eith, who belon%ed to an e"och when fatherhood was not
reco%niAed. ?eith had a tem"le at 4ais, where 4olon was treated well
merel# beca$se he was an Athenian .Plato, Timaeus/. Bir%inI
"riestesses of ?eith en%a%ed ann$all# in armed combat .!erodotus/,
a""arentl# for the "osition of i%hI"riestess. A"ollodor$sMs acco$nt of
the fi%ht between Athene and Pallas is a late "atriarchal version, he
sa#s that Athene, born of <e$s and bro$%ht $" b# the RiverI%od
6riton, accidentall# killed her fosterIsister Pallas, the River 6ritonMs
da$%hter, beca$se <e$s inter"osed his aegis when Pallas was abo$t to
strike Athene, and so distracted her attention. 6he aegis, however, a
ma%ical %oatIskin ba% containin% a ser"ent and "rotected b# a
Gor%on mask, was AtheneMs lon% before <e$s claimed to be her father.
GoatIskin a"rons were the habit$al cost$me of 'ib#an %irls, and Pallas
merel# means MmaidenM, or M#o$thM. erodot$s writes, 4$thene4s
garments and ae%is #ere borro#ed b the Gree(s from the Liban
#omen, #ho are dressed in e-actl the same #a, e-ce&t that their
leather garments are fringed #ith thongs, not ser&ents.M &thio"ian %irls
still wear this cost$me, which is sometimes ornamented with cowries,
a #onic s#mbol. erodot$s adds here that the lo$d cries of tri$m"h,
ololu, ololu, $ttered in hono$r of Athene above .Iliad/ were of 'ib#an
ori%in. Tritone means Nthe third D$eenN, that is, the eldest member of
the triad I mother of the maiden who fo$%ht Pallas and of the n#m"h
into which she %rew I G$st as (oreIPerse"hone was :emeterMs
*. Potter# finds s$%%est a 'ib#an immi%ration into (rete as earl# as
8=== ;(- and a lar%e n$mber of %oddess1worshi""in% 'ib#an ref$%ees
from the Western :elta seem to have arrived there when )""er and
'ower &%#"t were forcibl# $nited $nder the !irst :#nast# abo$t the
#ear 7=== ;(. 6he !irst 0inoan A%e be%an soon afterwards, and (retan
c$lt$re s"read to 6hrace and &arl# elladic Greece.
7. Amon% other m#tholo%ical "ersona%es named Pallas was the 6itan
who married the River 4t#3 and fathered on her <el$s .MAealM/, (rat$s
.Mstren%thM/, ;ia .MforceM/, and ?ice .Mvictor#M/ .esiod, Theogon and
787/- he was "erha"s an alle%or# of the Pelo"ian dol"hin sacred to the
0oonI%oddess. omer calls another Pallas Mthe father of the moonM
.omeric !mn to !ermes/. A third be%ot the fift# Pallantids, 6hese$sMs
enemies, who seem to have been ori%inall# fi%htin% "riestesses of
Athene. A fo$rth was described as AtheneMs father.
.E!* $D METI*
450& ellenes sa# that Athene had a father named Pallas, a
win%ed %oatish %iant, who later attem"ted to o$tra%e her, and whose
name she added to her own after stri""in% him of his skin to make the
aegis, and of his win%s for her own sho$lders- if, indeed, the aegis was
not the skin of 0ed$sa the Gor%on, whom she ra#ed after Perse$s had
deca"itated her.
b. 5thers sa# that her father was one Iton$s, a kin% of Iton in
Phthiotis, whose da$%hter Iodama she killed b# accidentall# lettin% her
see the Gor%onMs head, and so chan%in% her into a block of stone,
when she tres"assed in the "recinct at ni%ht.
c. 4till others sa# that Poseidon was her father, b$t that she disowned
him and be%%ed to be ado"ted b# <e$s, which he was %lad to do.
d. ;$t AtheneMs own "riests tell the followin% stor# of her birth <e$s
l$sted after 0etis the 6itaness, who t$rned into man# sha"es to esca"e
him $ntil she was ca$%ht at last and %ot with child. An oracle of 0other
&arth then declared that this wo$ld be a %irlIchild and that, if 0etis
conceived a%ain, she wo$ld bear a son who was fated to de"ose <e$s,
G$st as <e$s had de"osed (ron$s, and (ron$s had de"osed )ran$s.
6herefore, havin% coa3ed 0etis to a co$ch with hone#ed words, <e$s
s$ddenl# o"ened his mo$th and swallowed her, and that was the end
of 0etis, tho$%h he claimed afterwards that she %ave him co$nsel from
inside his bell#. In d$e "rocess of time, he was seiAed b# a ra%in%
headache as he walked b# the shores of 'ake 6ritonis, so that his sk$ll
seemed abo$t to b$rst, and he howled for ra%e $ntil the whole
firmament echoed. )" ran ermes, who at once divined the ca$se of
<e$sMs discomfort. e "ers$aded e"haest$s, or some sa#
Promethe$s, to fetch his wed%e and beetle and make a breach in
<e$sMs sk$ll, from which Athene s"ran%, f$ll# armed, with a mi%ht#
1. 2. &. arrison ri%htl# described the stor# of AtheneMs birth from
<e$sMs head as Ma des&erate theological e-&edient to rid her of her
matriarchal conditions0M It is also a do%matic insistence on wisdom as a
male "rero%ative- hitherto the %oddess alone had been wise. esiod
has, in fact, mana%ed to reconcile three conflictin% views in his stor#,
v Athene, the AtheniansM cit#I%oddess, was the "artheno%eno$s
da$%hter of the immortal 0etis, 6itaness of the fo$rth da# and of
the "lanet 0erc$r#, who "resided over all wisdom and
v <e$s swallowed 0etis, b$t did not thereb# lose wisdom .i.e. the
Achaeans s$""ressed the 6itan c$lt, and ascribed all wisdom to
their %od <e$s/.
v Athene was the da$%hter of <e$s .i.e. the Achaeans insisted that
the Athenians m$st acknowled%e <e$sMs "atriarchal
e has borrowed the mechanism of his m#th from analo%o$s
e3am"les, <e$s "$rs$in% ?emesis- (ron$s swallowin% his sons and
da$%hters- :ion#s$sMs rebirth from <e$sMs thi%h- and the o"enin% of
0other &arthMs head b# two men with a3es, a""arentl# in order to
release (ore Ias shown, for instance, on a blackIfi%$red oilIGar in
the ;ibliothSD$e ?ationale at Paris. 6hereafter, Athene is <e$sMs
obedient mo$th"iece, and deliberatel# s$""resses her antecedents.
4he em"lo#s "riests, not "riestesses.
*. Pallas, meanin% MmaidenM, is an ina""ro"riate name for the
win%ed %iant whose attem"t on AtheneMs chastit# is "robabl# ded$ced
from a "ict$re of her rit$al marria%e, as Athene 'a"hria, to a %oatI
kin% after an armed contest with her rival. 6his 'ib#an c$stom of %oat
Imarria%e s"read to ?orthern &$ro"e as "art of the 0a# &ve
merr#makin%s. 6he Akan, a 'ib#an "eo"le, once ra#ed their kin%s.
7. AtheneMs re"$diation of PoseidonMs fatherhood concerns an earl#
chan%e in the overlordshi" of the cit# of Athens.
8. 6he m#th of Iton$s .MwillowImanM/ re"resents a claim b# the
Itonians that the# worshi""ed Athene even before the Athenians did-
and his name shows that she had a willow c$lt in Phthiotis I like that
of her co$nter"art, the %oddess Anatha, at 2er$salem $ntil 2ehovahMs
"riests o$sted her and claimed the rainImakin% willow as his tree at
the !east of 6abernacles.
5. It will have been death for a man to remove an aegis I the
%oatIskin chastit#It$nic worn b# 'ib#an %irlsI witho$t the ownerMs
consent- hence the "ro"h#lactic Gor%on mask set above it, and the
ser"ent concealed in the leather "o$ch, or ba%. ;$t since AtheneMs
aegis is described as a shield, I s$%%est in The White Goddess that it
was a ba%IIcover for a sacred disk, like the one which contained
PalamedesMs al"habetical secret, and which he is said to have invented.
(#"rian fi%$rines holdin% disks of the same "ro"ortionate siAe as the
famo$s Phaestos one, which is s"irall# marked with a sacred le%end,
are held b# Professor Richter to antici"ate Athene and her aegis. 6he
heroic shields so caref$ll# described b# omer and esiod seem to
have borne "icto%ra"hs en%raved on a s"iral band.
+. Iodama, "robabl# meanin% Mheifer calf of IoM, will have been an
antiD$e stone ima%e of the 0oonI%oddess, and the stor# of her
"etrification is a warnin% to inD$isitive %irls a%ainst violatin% the
9. It wo$ld be a mistake to think of Athene as solel# or
"redominantl# the %oddess of Athens. 4everal ancient acro"olises were
sacred to her, incl$din% Ar%os .Pa$sanias/, 4"arta .ibid./, 6ro# .Iliad/,
4m#rna .4trabo/, &"ida$r$s .Pa$sanias/, 6roeAen .Pa$sanias/, and
Phene$s .Pa$sanias/. All these are "reIellenic sites.
6&R& are three conGoined !ates, robed in white, whom &reb$s
be%ot on ?i%ht, b# name (lotho, 'achesis, and Atro"os. 5f these,
Atro"os is the smallest in stat$re, b$t the most terrible.
b. <e$s, who wei%hs the lives of men and informs the !ates of his
decisions can, it is said, chan%e his mind and intervene to save whom
he "leases, when the thread of life, s"$n on (lothoMs s"indle, and
meas$red b# the rod of 'achesis, is abo$t to be sni""ed b# Atro"osMs
shears. Indeed, men claim that the# themselves can, to some de%ree,
control their own fates b# avoidin% $nnecessar# dan%ers. 6he #o$n%er
%ods, therefore, la$%h at the !ates, and some sa# that A"ollo once
mischievo$sl# made them dr$nk in order to save his friend Admet$s
from death.
c. 5thers hold, on the contrar#, that <e$s himself is s$bGect to the
!ates, as the P#thian "riestess once confessed in an oracle- beca$se
the# are not his children, b$t "artheno%eno$s da$%hters of the Great
Goddess ?ecessit#, a%ainst whom not even the %ods contend, and who
is called M6he 4tron% !ateM.
d. At :el"hi onl# two !ates are worshi""ed, those of ;irth and :eath-
and at Athens A"hrodite )rania is called the eldest of the three.
1. 6his m#th seems to be based on the c$stom of weavin% famil#
and clan marks into a newl#Iborn childMs swaddlin% bands, and so
allottin% him his "lace in societ#- b$t the 0oerae, or 6hree !ates, are
the 6ri"le 0oonI%oddessI hence their white robes, and the linen
thread which is sacred to her as Isis. (lotho is the Ms"innerM, 'achesis
the Mmeas$rerM, Atro"os is Mshe who cannot be t$rned, or avoided M.
0oera means Ha shareM or Ma "haseM, and the moon has three "hases
and three "ersons, the new moon, the 0aidenI%oddess of the s"rin%,
the first "eriod of the #ear- the f$ll moon, the ?#m"hI%oddess of the
s$mmer, the second "eriod- and the old moon, the (roneI%oddess of
a$t$mn, the last "eriod.
*. <e$s called himself M6he 'eader of the !atesM when he ass$med
s$"reme soverei%nt# and the "rero%ative of meas$rin% manMs life-
hence, "robabl#, the disa""earance of 'achesis, Mthe meas$rerM, at
:el"hi. ;$t his claim to be their father was not taken serio$sl# b#
Aesch#l$s, erodot$s, or Plato.
7. 6he Athenians called A"hrodite )rania Mthe eldest of the !atesM
beca$se she was the ?#m"hI%oddess, to whom the sacred kin% had,
in ancient times, been sacrificed at the s$mmer solstice. 4"rania4
means MD$een of the mo$ntainsM.
APR5:I6&, Goddess of :esire, rose naked from the foam of the
sea and, ridin% on a scallo" shell, ste""ed ashore first on the island of
(#thera- b$t findin% this onl# a small island, "assed on to the
Pelo"onnese, and event$all# took $" residence at Pa"hos, in (#"r$s,
still the "rinci"al seat of her worshi". Grass and flowers s"ran% from
the soil wherever she trod. At Pa"hos, the 4easons, da$%hters of
6hemis, hastened to clothe and adorn her.
b. 4ome hold that she s"ran% from the foam which %athered abort the
%enitals of )ran$s, when (ron$s threw them into the sea- others, that
<e$s be%ot her on :ione, da$%hter either of 5cean$s and 6eth#s the
seaIn#m"h, or of Air and &arth. ;$t all a%ree that she takes to the air
accom"anied b# doves and s"arrows.
1. A"hrodite .MfoamIbornM/ is the same wideIr$lin% %oddess
who rose from (haos and danced on the sea, and who was worshi""ed
in 4#ria and Palestine as Ishtar, or Ashtaroth. er most famo$s centre
of worshi" was Pa"hos, where the ori%inal white aniconic ima%e of the
%oddess is still shown in the r$ins of a %randiose Roman tem"le- there
ever# s"rin% her "riestess bathed in the sea, and rose a%ain renewed.
*. 4he is called da$%hter of :ione, beca$se :ione was the
%oddess of the oakItree, in which the amoro$s dove nested. <e$s
claimed to be her father after seiAin% :ioneMs oracle at :odona, and
:ione therefore became her mother. M6eth#sM and M6hetisM are names of
the %oddess as (reatri3 .formed, like M6hemisM and M6hese$sM, from
tithenai, Mto dis"oseM or Mto orderM/, and as 4eaI%oddess, since life
be%an in the sea. :oves and s"arrows were noted for their lecher#-
and sea ford is still re%arded as a"hrodisiac thro$%ho$t the
7. (#thera was an im"ortant centre of (retan trade with the
Pelo"onnese, and it will have been from here that her worshi" first
entered Greece. 6he (retan %oddess had close associations with the
sea. 4hells car"eted the floor of her "alace sanct$ar# at (noss$s- she
is shown on a %em from the Idean (ave blowin% a tritonIshell, with a
seaIanemone l#in% beside her altar- the seaI$rchin and c$ttleIfish
were sacred to her. A tritonIshell was fo$nd in her earl# sanct$ar# at
Phaest$s, and man# more in late 0inoan tombs, some of these bein%
terracotta re"licas.
&ER$ $D &ER "&I#DRE
&RA, da$%hter of (ron$s and Rhea, havin% been born on the
island of 4amos or, some sa#, at Ar%os, was bro$%ht $" in Arcadia b#
6emen$s, son of Pelas%$s. 6he 4easons were her n$rses. After
banishin% their father (ron$s, eraMs twinIbrother <e$s so$%ht her
o$t at (noss$s in (rete or, some sa#, on 0o$nt 6horna3 .now called
($ckoo 0o$ntain/ in Ar%olis, where he co$rted her, at first
$ns$ccessf$ll#. 4he took "it# on him onl# when he ado"ted the
dis%$ise of a bedra%%led c$ckoo, and tenderl# warmed him in her
bosom. 6here he at once res$med his tr$e sha"e and ravished her, so
that she was shamed into marr#in% him.
b. All the %ods bro$%ht %ifts to the weddin%- notabl# 0other &arth %ave
era a tree with %olden a""les, which was later %$arded b# the
es"erides in eraMs orchard on 0o$nt Atlas. 4he and <e$s s"ent their
weddin% ni%ht on 4amos, and it lasted three h$ndred #ears. era
bathes re%$larl# in the s"rin% of (anath$s, near Ar%os, and th$s
renews her vir%init#.
c. 6o era and <e$s were born the deities Ares, e"haest$s, and ebe,
tho$%h some sa# that Ares and his twinIsister &ris were conceived
when era to$ched a certain flower, and ebe when she to$ched a
lett$ce, and that e"haest$s also was her "artheno%eno$s child I a
wonder which he wo$ld not believe $ntil he had im"risoned her in a
mechanical chair with arms that folded abo$t the sitter, th$s forcin%
her to swear b# the River 4t#3 that she did not lie. 5thers sa# that
e"haest$s was her son b# 6alos, the ne"hew of :aedal$s.
1. eraMs name, $s$all# taken to be a Greek word for Mlad#M, ma#
re"resent an ori%inal !er#a .MProtectressM/. 4he is the "reIellenic
Great Goddess. 4amos and Ar%os were the chief seats of her worshi" in
Greece, b$t the Arcadians claimed that their c$lt was the earliest, and
made it contem"orar# with their earthIborn ancestor Pelas%$s
.MancientM/. eraMs forced marria%e to <e$s commemorates conD$ests
of (rete and 0#cenaean I that is to sa# (retaniAedIGreece, and the
overthrow of her s$"remac# in both co$ntries. e "robabl# came to
her dis%$ised as a bedra%%led c$ckoo, in the sense that certain
ellenes who came to (rete as f$%itives acce"ted em"lo#ment in the
ro#al %$ard, made a "alace cons"irac# and seiAed the kin%dom.
(noss$s was twice sacked, a""arentl# b# ellenes, abo$t 19== ;(, and
abo$t 18== ;(- and 0#cenae fell to the Achaeans a cent$r# later. 6he
God Indra in the 'amaana had similarl# wooed a n#m"h in c$ckoo
dis%$ise- and <e$s now borrowed eraMs sce"tre, which was
s$rmo$nted with the c$ckoo. GoldIleaf fi%$rines of a naked Ar%ive
%oddess holdin% c$ckoos have been fo$nd at 0#cenae- and c$ckoos
"erch on a %oldIleaf model tem"le from the same site. In the wellI
known (retan sarco"ha%$s from a%ia 6riada a c$ckoo "erches on a
*. ebe, the %oddess as child, was made c$"Ibearer to the %ods
in the 5l#m"ian c$lt. 4he event$all# married eracles, after
Gan#medes had $s$r"ed her office. Me"haest$sM seems to have been
a title of the sacred kin% as solar demiI%od- MAresM, a title of his warI
chief, or tanist, whose emblem was the wild boar. ;oth became divine
names when the 5l#m"ian c$lt was established and the# were chosen
to fill the roles, res"ectivel#, of WarI%od and 4mithI%od. 6he Mcertain
flowerM is likel# to have been the ma#Iblossom, 5vid makes the
%oddess !lora I with whose worshi" the ma#Iblossom was
associated I "oint it o$t to era. 6he ma#, or whitethorn, is connected
with mirac$lo$s conce"tion in "o"$lar &$ro"ean m#th- in (eltic
literat$re its MsisterM is the blackthorn, a s#mbol of 4trife I AresMs twin,
7. 6alos, the smith, was a (retan hero born to :aedal$sMs sister Perdi3
.M"artrid%eM/, with whom the m#tho%ra"her is identif#in% era.
Partrid%es, sacred to the Great Goddess, fi%$red in the s"rin% eD$ino3
or%ies of the &astern 0editerranean, when a hobblin% dance was
"erformed in imitation of cockI"artrid%es. 6he hens were said b#
Aristotle, Plin#, and Aelian to conceive merel# b# hearin% the cockMs
voice. obblin% e"haest$s and 6alos seem to be the same
"artheno%eno$s character- and both were cast down from a hei%ht b#
an%r# rivals I ori%inall# in hono$r of their %oddessImother.
8. In Ar%os, eraMs famo$s stat$e was seated on a throne of %old and
ivor#- the stor# of her im"risonment in a chair ma# have arisen from
the Greek c$stom of framin% divine stat$es to their thrones Mto "revent
esca"eM. ;# losin% an ancient stat$e of its %od or %oddess, a cit# mi%ht
forfeit divine "rotection, and the Romans, therefore, made a "ractice of
what was "olitel# called Menticin%M %ods to RomeI which b# Im"erial
times had become a GackdawMs nest of stolen ima%es. M6he 4easons
were her n$rsesM is one wa# of sa#in% that era was a %oddess of the
calendar #ear. ence the s"rin% c$ckoo on her sce"tre, and the ri"e
"ome%ranate of late a$t$mn, which she carried in her left hand to
s#mboliAe the death of the #ear.
5. A hero, as the word indicates, was a sacred kin% who had been
sacrificed to era, whose bod# was safel# $nder the earth, and whose
so$l had %one to enGo# her "aradise at the back of the ?orth Wind. is
%olden a""les, in Greek and (eltic m#th, were "ass"orts to this
+. 6he ann$al bath with which era renewed her vir%init# was also
taken b# A"hrodite at Pa"hos- it seems to have been the "$rification
ceremon# "rescribed to a 0oonI"riestess after the m$rder of her
lover, the sacred kin%. era, bein% the %oddess of the ve%etative #ear,
s"rin%, s$mmer, and a$t$mn .also s#mboliAed b# the new, f$ll, and old
moon/ was worshi""ed at 4t#m"hal$s as (hild, ;ride, and Widow
9. 6he weddin%Ini%ht on 4amos lasted for three h$ndred #ears,
"erha"s beca$se the 4amian sacred #ear, like the &tr$scan one,
consisted of ten thirt#Ida# months onl#, with 2an$ar# and !ebr$ar#
omitted .0acrobi$s/. &ach da# was len%thened to a #ear. ;$t the
m#tho%ra"hers ma# here be hintin% that it took the ellenes three
h$ndred #ears before the# forced mono%am# on eraMs "eo"le.
.E!* $D &ER$
5?'C <e$s, the !ather of eaven, mi%ht wield the th$nderbolt-
and it was with the threat of its fatal flash that he controlled his
D$arrelsome and rebellio$s famil# of 0o$nt 5l#m"$s. e also ordered
the heavenl# bodies, made laws, enforced oaths, and "rono$nced
oracles. When his mother Rhea, foreseein% what tro$ble his l$st wo$ld
ca$se, forbade him to marr#, he an%ril# threatened to violate her.
6ho$%h she at once t$rned into a ser"ent, this did not da$nt <e$s, who
became a male ser"ent and, twinin% abo$t her in an indissol$ble knot,
made %ood his threat. It was then that he be%an his lon% series of
advent$res in love. e fathered the 4easons and the 6hree !ates on
6hemis- the (harites on &$r#nome- the 6hree 0$ses on 0nemos#ne,
with whom he la# for nine ni%hts- and, some sa#, Perse"hone, the
L$een of the )nderworld, whom his brother ades forcibl# married, on
the n#m"h 4t#3. 6h$s he lacked no "ower either above or below earth-
and his wife era was eD$al to him in one thin% alone, that she co$ld
still bestow the %ift of "ro"hec# on an# man or beast she "leased.
b. <e$s and era bickered constantl#. Be3ed b# his infidelities, she
often h$miliated him b# her schemin% wa#s. 6ho$%h he wo$ld confide
his secrets to her, and sometimes acce"t her advice, he never f$ll#
tr$sted era, and she knew that if offended be#ond a certain "oint he
wo$ld flo% or even h$rl a th$nderbolt at her. 4he therefore resorted to
r$thless intri%$e, as in the matter of eraclesMs birth- and sometimes
borrowed A"hroditeMs %irdle, to e3cite his "assion and th$s weaken his
c. A time came when <e$sMs "ride and "et$lance became so intolerable
that era, Poseidon, A"ollo, and all the other 5l#m"ians, e3ce"t estia,
s$rro$nded him s$ddenl# as he la# aslee" on his co$ch and bo$nd him
with rawhide thon%s, knotted into a h$ndred knots, so that be co$ld
not move. e threatened them with instant death, b$t the# had "laced
his th$nderbolt o$t of reach and la$%hed ins$ltin%l# at him. While the#
were celebratin% their victor#, and Gealo$sl# disc$ssin% who was to be
his s$ccessor, 6hetis the ?ereid, foreseein% a civil war on 5l#m"$s,
h$rried in search of the h$ndredIhanded ;riare$s, who swiftl# $ntied
the thon%s, $sin% ever# hand at once, and released his master.
;eca$se it was era who had led the cons"irac# a%ainst him, <e$s
h$n% her $" from the sk# with a %olden bracelet abo$t either wrist and
an anvil fastened to either ankle. 6he other deifies were ve3ed be#ond
words, b$t dared attem"t no resc$e for all her "iteo$s cries. In the end
<e$s $ndertook to free her if the# swore never more to rebel a%ainst
him- and this each in t$rn %r$d%in%l# did. <e$s "$nished Poseidon and
A"ollo b# sendin% them as bondIservants to Fin% 'aomedon, for
whom the# b$ilt the cit# of 6ro#- b$t he "ardoned the others as havin%
acted $nder d$ress.
1. 6he marital relations of <e$s and era reflect those of the
barbaro$s :orian A%e, when women had been de"rived of all their
ma%ical "ower, e3ce"t that of "ro"hec#, and come to be re%arded as
chattels. It is "ossible that the occasion on which the "ower of <e$s
was saved onl# b# 6hetis and ;riare$s, after the other 5l#m"ians had
cons"ired a%ainst him, was a "alace revol$tion b# vassal "rinces of the
ellenic i%h Fin%, who nearl# s$cceeded in dethronin% him- and that
hel" came from a com"an# of lo#al nonIellenic ho$sehold troo"s,
recr$ited in 0acedonia, ;riare$sMs home, and from a detachment of
0a%nesians, 6hetisMs "eo"le. If so, the cons"irac# will have been
insti%ated b# the i%hI"riestess of era, whom the i%h Fin%
s$bseD$entl# h$miliated, as the m#th describes.
*. <e$sMs violation of the &arthI%oddess Rhea im"lies that the <e$sI
worshi""in% ellenes took over all a%ric$lt$ral and f$nerar#
ceremonies. 4he had forbidden him to marr#, in the sense that hitherto
mono%am# had been $nknown- women took whatever lovers the#
"leased. is fatherhood of the 4easons, on 6hemis, means that the
ellenes also ass$med control of the calendar, 6hemis .MorderM/ was the
Great Goddess who ordered the #ear of thirteen months, divided b# the
s$mmer and winter solstices into two seasons. At Athens these
seasons were "ersonified as 6hallo and (ar"o .ori%inall# M(ar"hoM/,
which mean res"ectivel# Ms"ro$tin%M and Mwitherin%M, and their tem"le
contained an altar to the "hallic :ion#s$s. 6he# a""ear in a rockI
carvin% at att$sas, or Pteria, where the# are twin as"ects of the 'ion
I%oddess e"ta, borne on the win%s of a do$bleIheaded 4$nIea%le.
7. (haris .M%raceM/ had been the Goddess in the disarmin% as"ect
she "resented when the i%hI"riestess chose the sacred kin% as her
lover. omer mentions two (harites I Pasithea and (ale, which seems
to be a forced se"aration of three words, Pasi thea cale, Mthe Goddess
who is bea$tif$l to all menM. 6he two (harites, A$3o .MincreaseM/ and
e%emone .Mmaster#M/, whom the Athenians hono$red, corres"onded
with the two 4easons. 'ater, the (harites were worshi""ed as a triad,
to match the 6hree !ates I the 6ri"leI%oddess in her most $nbendin%
mood. 6hat the# were <e$sMs children, born to &$r#nome the (reatri3,
im"lies that the ellenic overlord had "ower to dis"ose of all
marria%eable #o$n% women.
8. 6he 0$ses .Mmo$ntain %oddessesM/, ori%inall# a triad
.Pa$sanias/, are the 6ri"leI%oddess in her or%iastic as"ect. <e$sMs
claim to be their father is a late one- esiod calls them da$%hters of
0other &arth and Air.

-IRT&* OF &ERME*, $)O##O, $RTEMI*, $D DIO%*!*
A05R5)4 <e$s la# with n$mero$s n#m"hs descended from the
6itans or the %ods and, after the creation of man, with mortal women
too- no less than fo$r %reat 5l#m"ian deities were born to him o$t of
wedlock. !irst, he be%at ermes on 0aia, da$%hter of Atlas, who bore
him in a cave on 0o$nt (#llene in Arcadia. ?e3t, he be%at A"ollo and
Artemis on 'eto, da$%hter of the 6itans (oe$s and Phoebe,
transformin% himself and her into D$ails when the# co$"led- b$t
Gealo$s era sent the ser"ent P#thon to "$rs$e 'eto all over the world,
and decreed that she sho$ld not be delivered in an# "lace where the
s$n shone. (arried on the win%s of the 4o$th Wind, 'eto at last came
to 5rt#%ia, close to :elos, where she bore Artemis, who was no sooner
born than she hel"ed her mother across the narrow straits, and there,
between an oliveItree and a dateI"alm %rowin% on the north side of
:elian 0o$nt (#nth$s, delivered her of A"ollo on the ninth da# of
labo$r. :elos, hitherto a floatin% island, became immovabl# fi3ed in the
sea and, b# decree, no one is now allowed either to be born or to die
there, sick folk and "re%nant women are ferried over to 5rt#%ia
b. 6he mother of <e$sMs son :ion#s$s is vario$sl# named, some sa#
Mthat she was :emeter, or Io- some name her :ione- some,
Perse"hone, with whom <e$s co$"led in the likeness of a ser"ent- and
some, 'ethe.
c. ;$t the common stor# r$ns as follows. <e$s, dis%$ised as a mortal,
had a secret love affair with 4emele .MmoonM/, da$%hter of Fin% (adm$s
of 6hebes, and Gealo$s era, dis%$isin% herself as an old nei%hbo$r,
advised 4emele, then alread# si3 months with child, to make her
m#sterio$s lover a reD$est, that he wo$ld no lon%er deceive her, b$t
reveal himself in his tr$e nat$re and form. ow, otherwise, co$ld she
know that he was not a monster. 4emele followed this advice and,
when <e$s ref$sed her "lea, denied him f$rther access to her bed.
6hen, in an%er, he a""eared as th$nder and li%htnin%, and she was
cons$med. ;$t ermes saved her si3Imonths son- sewed him $"
inside <e$sMs thi%h, to mat$re there for three months lon%er- and, in
d$e co$rse of time, delivered him. 6h$s :ion#s$s is called MtwiceI
bornM, or Mthe child of the do$ble doorM.
1. <e$sMs ra"es a""arentl# refer to ellenic conD$ests of the
%oddessMs ancient shrines, s$ch as that on 0o$nt (#llene- his
marria%es, to an ancient c$stom of %ivin% the title M<e$sM to the sacred
kin% of the oak c$lt. ermes, his son b# the ra"e of 0aia I a title of
the &arthI%oddess as (rone I was ori%inall# not a %od, b$t the
totemistic virt$e of a "hallic "illar, or cairn. 4$ch "illars were the centre
of an or%iastic dance in the %oddessMs hono$r.
*. 5ne com"onent in A"olloMs %odhead seems to have been an
orac$lar mo$se I A"ollo 4minthe$s .M0o$seIA"olloM/ is amon% his
earliest titles I cons$lted in a shrine of the Great Goddess, which
"erha"s e3"lains wh# he was born where the s$n never shone, namel#
$nder%ro$nd. 0ice were associated with disease and its c$re, and the
ellenes therefore worshi""ed A"ollo as a %od of medicine and
"ro"hec#- afterwards sa#in% that he was born $nder an oliveItree and
a dateI"alm on the north side of a mo$ntain. 6he# called him a twinI
brother of Artemis Goddess of (hildbirth, and made his mother 'eto I
the da$%hter of the 6itans Phoebe .MmoonM/ and (oe$s .Mintelli%enceM/ I
who was known in &%#"t and Palestine as 'at, fertilit#I%oddess of the
dateI"alm and olive, hence her conve#ance to Greece b# a 4o$th
Wind. In Ital# she became 'atona .ML$een 'atM/. er D$arrel with era
s$%%ests a conflict between earl# immi%rants from Palestine and native
tribes who worshi""ed a different &arthI%oddess- the mo$se c$lt,
which she seems to have bro$%ht with her, was well established in
Palestine. P#thonMs "$rs$it of A"ollo recalls the $se of snakes in Greek
and Roman ho$ses to kee" down mice. ;$t A"ollo was also the %host
of the sacred kin% who had eaten the a""le I the word A"ollo ma# be
derived from the root abol, Ma""leM, rather than from a&ollunai,
Mdestro#M, which is the $s$al view.
7. Artemis, ori%inall# an or%iastic %oddess, had the lascivio$s D$ail as
her sacred bird. !locks of D$ail will have made 5rt#%ia a restin%I"lace
on their wa# north d$rin% the s"rin% mi%ration. 6he stor# that :elos,
A"olloMs birth"lace, had hitherto been a floatin% island ma# be a
mis$nderstandin% of a record that his birth"lace was now officiall#
fi3ed, since in omer .Iliad/ he is called '#ce%enes, Mborn in '#ciaM- and
the &"hesians boasted that he was born at 5rt#%ia near &"hes$s
.6acit$s, $nnals/. ;oth the ;oeotian 6e%#rans and the Attic <osterans
also claimed him as a native son .4te"han$s of ;#Aanti$m s$b 6e%#ra/.
8. :ion#s$s be%an, "robabl#, as a t#"e of sacred kin% whom the
%oddess rit$all# killed with a th$nderbolt in the seventh month from
the winter solstice, and whom her "riestesses devo$red. 6his e3"lains
his mothers, :ione, the 5akI%oddess- Io and :emeter, (ornI
%oddesses- and Perse"hone, :eathI%oddess. Pl$tarch, when callin%
him M:ion#s$s, a son of 'ethe .Hfor%etf$lness>/M, refers to his later
as"ect as God of the Bine.
5. 6he stor# of 4emele, da$%hter of (adm$s, seems to record the
s$mmar# action taken b# ellenes of ;oeotia in endin% the tradition of
ro#al sacrifice, 5l#m"ian <e$s asserts his "ower, takes the doomed
kin% $nder his own "rotection, and destro#s the %oddess with her own
th$nderbolt. :ion#s$s th$s becomes an immortal, after rebirth from his
immortal father. 4emele was worshi""ed at Athens d$rin% the 'enaea,
the !estival of the Wild Women, when a #earlin% b$ll, re"resentin%
:ion#s$s, was c$t into nine "ieces and sacrificed to her, one "iece
bein% b$rned, the remainder eaten raw b# the worshi""ers. 4emele is
$s$all# e3"lained as form of 4elene .MmoonM/, and nine was the
traditional n$mber of or%iastic moonI"riestesses who took "art in
s$ch feasts I nine s$ch are shown dancin% aro$nd the sacred kin% in a
cave "aintin% at (o%$l, and nine more killed and devo$red 4t. 4amson
of :olMs acol#te in mediaeval times.
450& ar%$e that &ros, hatched from the worldIe%%, was the first
of the %ods since, witho$t him, none of the rest co$ld have been born-
the# make him contem"orar# with 0other &arth and 6artar$s, and
den# he had an# father or mother, $nless it were &ileith#ia, Goddess
b. 5thers hold that he was A"hroditeMs son b# ermes, or b# Ares or b#
her own father, <e$s- or the son of Iris b# the West Wind. &ros was a
wild bo#, who showed no res"ect for a%e or "osition, b$t flied abo$t on
%olden win%s, shootin% barbed arrows at random or wantonl# settin%
hearts on fire with his dreadf$l torches.
1. &ros .Mse3$al "assionM/ was a mere abstraction to esiod. 6he
earl# Greeks "ict$red him as a Fer, or win%ed M4"iteM, like 5ld A%e,
Pla%$e, in the sense that $ncontrolled se3$al "assion co$ld be
dist$rbin% to ordered societ#. 'ater "oets, however, took a "erverse
"leas$re in his antics and, b# the time of Pra3iteles, he had become
sentimentaliAed as bea$tif$l #o$th. is most famo$s shrine was at
6hes"iae, where the ;oeotians worshi""ed him as a sim"le "hallic
"illar I the "astoral ermes or Pria"$s, $nder a different name. 6he
vario$s acco$nts his "arenta%e are selfIe3"lanator#. ermes was a
"hallic %od- and Ares as a %od of war, increased desire in the warriorsM
womenfolk. 6hat A"hrodite was &rosMs mother and <e$s his father is a
hint that se3$al "assion does not sto" short at incest- his birth from the
Rainbow and the West Wind is a l#rical fanc#. &ileith#ia, Mshe who
comes to the aid of women in childbedM, was a title of Artemis- the
meanin% bein% that there is no love so stron% as motherIlove.
*. &ros was never considered a s$fficientl# res"onsible %od to fi%$re
amon% the r$lin% 5l#m"ian famil# of 6welve.
W&? <e$s, Poseidon, and ades, after de"osin% their father
(ron$s, shook lots in a helmet for the lordshi" of the sk#, sea, and
m$rk# $nderworld, leavin% the earth common to all, <e$s won the sk#,
ades the $nderworld, and Poseidon the sea. Poseidon, who is eD$al to
his brother <e$s in di%nit#, tho$%h not in "ower, and of a s$rel#
D$arrelsome nat$re, at once set abo$t b$ildin% his $nderwater "alace
off Ae%ae in &$boea. In its s"acio$s stables he kee"s white chariot
horses with braAen hooves and %olden manes, and a %olden chariot at
the a""roach of which storms instantl# cease and seaImonsters rise,
friskin%, aro$nd it.
b. ?eedin% a wife who wo$ld be at home in the seaIde"ths, he
co$rted 6hetis the ?ereid- b$t when it was "ro"hesied b# 6hemis that
an# son born to 6hetis wo$ld be %reater than his father, he desisted,
and allowed her to marr# a mortal named Pele$s. Am"hitrite, another
?ereid, whom he ne3t a""roached, viewed his advances with
re"$%nance, and fled to the Atlas 0o$ntains to esca"e him- b$t he sent
messen%ers after her, amon% them one :el"hin$s, who "leaded
PoseidonMs ca$se so winnin%l# that she #ielded, and asked him to
arran%e the marria%e. Gratef$ll#, Poseidon set :el"hin$sMs ima%e
amon% the stars as a constellation, the :ol"hin. Am"hitrite bore
Poseidon three children, 6riton, Rhode, and ;enthesic#me- b$t he
ca$sed her almost as m$ch Gealo$s# as <e$s did era b# his love
affairs with %oddesses, n#m"hs, and mortals. &s"eciall# she loathed
his infat$ation with 4c#lla, da$%hter of Phorc#s, whom she chan%ed
into a barkin% monster with si3 heads and twelve feet b# throwin%
ma%ical herbs into her bathin% "ool.
c. Poseidon is %reed# of earthl# kin%doms, and once claimed
"ossession of Attica b# thr$stin% his trident into the acro"olis at
Athens, where a well of seaIwater immediatel# %$shed o$t and is still
to be seen- when the 4o$th Wind blows #o$ ma# hear the so$nd of the
sea far below. 'ater, d$rin% the rei%n of (ecro"s, Athene came and
took "ossession in a %entler manner, b# "lantin% the first oliveItree
beside the well. Poseidon, in a f$r#, challen%ed her to sin%le combat,
an Athene wo$ld have acce"ted had not <e$s inter"osed and ordered
them to s$bmit the dis"$te to arbitration. Presentl#, then, the#
a""eared before a divine co$rt, consistin% of their s$"ernal fellowI
deities who called on (ecro"s to %ive evidence. <e$s himself
e3"ressed o"inion, b$t while all the other %ods s$""orted Poseidon, all
the %oddesses s$""orted Athene. 6h$s, b# a maGorit# of one, the co$rt
r$led that Athene had the better ri%ht to the land, beca$se she had
%iven the better %ift.
d. Greatl# ve3ed, Poseidon sent h$%e waves to flood the
6hriasian Plain, where AtheneMs cit# of Athenae stood, where$"on she
took her abode in Athens instead, and called that too after herself.
owever, to a""ease PoseidonMs wrath, the women of Athens were
de"rived of their vote, and the men forbidden to bear their mothersM
names hitherto.
e. Poseidon also dis"$ted 6roeAen with Athene- and on this occasion
<e$s iss$ed an order for the cit# to be shared eD$all# between them,
an arran%ement disa%reeable to both. ?e3t, he tried $ns$ccessf$ll# to
claim Ae%ina from <e$s, and ?a3os from :ion#s$s- and in a claim for
(orinth with eli$s received the Isthm$s onl#, while eli$s was
awarded the Acro"olis. In f$r#, he tried to seiAe Ar%olis from era, was
a%ain read# to fi%ht, ref$sin% to a""ear before his 5l#m"ian "eers who,
he said, were "reG$diced a%ainst him. <e$s, therefore, referred the
matter to the RiverI%ods Inach$s, (e"hiss$s, and Asterion, who
G$d%ed in eraMs favo$r. 4ince he had been forbidden to reven%e
himself with a flood as before, he did e3actl# the o""osite, he dried $"
G$d%esM streams so that the# now never flow in s$mmer. owever, the
sake of Am#mone, one of the :anaids who were distressed b# the
dro$%ht, he ca$sed the Ar%ive river of 'erna to flow "er"et$all#.
f. e boasts of havin% created the horse, tho$%h some sa# that, when
he was newl# born, Rhea %ave one to (ron$s to eat- and of havin%
invented the bridle, tho$%h Athene had done so before him- b$t his
claim to have instit$ted horseIracin% is not dis"$ted. (ertainl#, horses
are sacred to him, "erha"s beca$se of his amoro$s "$rs$it of :emeter
when she was tearf$ll# seekin% her da$%hter Perse"hone. It is said that
:emeter, wearied and disheartened b# her search, and disinclined for
"assionate dalliance with an# %od or 6itan, transformed herself into a
mare, and be%an to %raAe with the herd of one 5nc$s, a son of A"olloMs
who rei%ned in Arcadian 5ncei$m. 4he did not, however, deceived
Poseidon, who transformed himself into a stallion and covered her,
from which o$tra%eo$s $nion s"ran% the n#m"h :es"oena and the wild
horse Arion. :emeterMs an%er was so hot that she is still worshi""ed
locall#Mas M:emeter the !$r#M.
1. 6hetis, Am"hitrite, and ?ereis were different local titles of the
6ri"le 0oon1%oddess as r$ler of the sea- and since Poseidon was the
!ather1%od of the Aeolians, who had taken to the sea, he claimed to be
her h$sband wherever she fo$nd worshi""ers. Pele$s married 6hetis
on 0o$nt Pelion. Nereis means Hthe wet one>, and Am"hitrite>s name
refers to the Hthird element>, the sea, which is cast abo$t earth, the
first element, and above which rises the second element, air. In the
omeric "oems Am"hitrite means sim"l# Hthe sea>- she is not
"ersonified as Poseidon>s wife. er rel$ctance to marr# Poseidon
matches era>s rel$ctance to marr# <e$s, and Perse"hone>s to marr#
ades- the marria%e involved the interference b# male "riests with
female control of the fishin% ind$str#. 6he fable of :el"hin$s is
sentimental alle%or#, dol"hins a""ear when the sea %rows calm.
Am"hitrite>s children were herself in triad, 6riton, l$ck# new moon-
Rhode, f$ll harvest1moon- and ;enthesic#me, dan%ero$s old moon. ;$t
6riton has since become masc$linised. Ae%ae stood on the sheltered
;oeotian side of &$boea and served as a "ort for 5rchomen$s- and it
was hereabo$ts that the naval e3"edition m$stered a%ainst 6ro#.
*. 6he stor# of Am"hitrite>s ven%eance on 4c#lla is "aralleled in that
of Pasi"ha@>s ven%eance on another 4c#lla. 4c#lla .Hshe who rends> or
H"$""#>/ is merel# a disa%reeable as"ect of herself, the do%headed
:eath1%oddess ecate, who was at home both on land and in the
waves. A seal im"ression from (noss$s shows her threatenin% a man in
a boat, as she threatened 5d#sse$s in the 4traits of 0essina. 6he
acco$nt D$oted b# 6AetAes seems to have been mistakenl# ded$ced
from an ancient vase1"aintin% in which Am"hitrite stands beside a "ool
occ$"ied b# a do%1headed monster- on the other side of the vase is a
drowned hero ca$%ht between two do%1headed triads of %oddesses at
the entrance to the )nderworld.
7. Poseidon>s attem"ts to take "ossession of certain cities are "olitical
m#ths. is dis"$te over Athens s$%%ests an $ns$ccessf$l attem"t to
make him the cit#>s t$telar# deit# in "lace of Athene. Cet her victor#
was im"aired b# a concession to "atriarch#, the Athenians abandoned
the (retan c$stom which "revailed in (aria $ntil (lassical times
.erodot$s/ when the# ceased to take their mother>s names. Barro,
who %ives this detail, re"resents the trial as a "lebiscite of all the men
and women of Athens. It is "lain that the Ionian Pelas%ians of Athens
were defeated b# the Aeolians, and that Athene re%ained her
soverei%nt# onl# b# alliance with <e$s>s Achaeans, who later made her
disown Poseidon>s "aternit# and admit herself reborn from <e$s>s
8. 6he c$ltivated olive was ori%inall# im"orted from 'ib#a, which
s$""orts the m#th of Athene>s 'ib#an ori%in- b$t what she bro$%ht will
have been onl# a c$ttin%Ithe c$ltivated olive does not breed tr$e, b$t
m$st alwa#s be %rafted on the oleaster, or wild olive. er tree was still
shown at Athens d$rin% the second cent$r# A:. 6he floodin% of the
6hriasian Plain is likel# to be a historical event, b$t cannot be dated. It
is "ossible that earl# in the fo$rteenth cent$r# ;(, which
meteorolo%ists reckon to have been a "eriod of ma3im$m rainfall, the
rivers of Arcadia never ran dr#, and that their s$bseD$ent shrinkin%
was attrib$ted to the ven%eance of Poseidon. Pre1ellenic 4$n1worshi"
at (orinth is well established .Pa$sanias/.
5. 6he m#th of :emeter and Poseidon records a ellenic invasion of
Arcadia. :emeter was "ict$red at Phi%alia as the mare1headed
"atroness of the "re1ellenic horse c$lt. orses were sacred to the
moon, beca$se their hooves make a moon1sha"ed mark, and the moon
was re%arded as the so$rce of all water- hence the association of
Pe%as$s with s"rin%s of water. 6he earl# ellenes introd$ced a lar%er
breed of horse into Greece from 6rans1(as"ia, the native variet# havin%
been abo$t the siAe of a 4hetland "on# and $ns$itable for chariotr#.
6he# seem to have seiAed the centres of the horse c$lt, where their
warrior1kin%s forcibl# married the local "riestesses and th$s won a title
to the land- incidentall# s$""ressin% the wild1mare or%ies. 6he sacred
horses Arion and :es"oena .this bein% a title of :emeter herself/ were
then claimed as Poseidon>s children. Am#mone ma# have been a name
for the %oddess at 'erna, the centre of the :anaid water c$lt.
+. :emeter as !$r#, like ?emesis as !$r#, was the %oddess in her
ann$al mood of m$rder- and the stor#, also told of Poseidon and
:emeter at 6hel"$sia .Pa$sanias/, and of Poseidon and an $nnamed
!$r# at the fo$ntain of 6il"h$sa in ;oeotia .4choliast on omer>s Iliad/
was alread# old when the ellenes came. It a""ears in earl# Indian
sacred literat$re, where 4aran#$ t$rns herself into a mare, Bivaswat
becomes a stallion and covers her- and the fr$it of this $nion are the
two heroic Asvins. H:emeter &rinn#s> ma#, in fact, have stood not for
H:emeter the !$r#>, b$t for H:emeter 4aran#$>Ian attem"ted
reconciliation of the two warrin% c$lt$res- b$t to the resentf$l
Pelas%ians :emeter was, and remained, o$tra%ed.
&er0es1s at2re $3d Deeds
W&? ermes was born on 0o$nt (#llene his mother 0aia laid him
in swaddlin% bands on a winnowin% fan, b$t he %rew with astonishin%
D$ickness into a little bo#, and as soon as her back was t$rned sli""ed
off and went lookin% for advent$re. Arrived at Pieria, where A"ollo was
tendin% a fine herd of cows, he decided to steal them. ;$t, fearin% to
be betra#ed b# their tracks, he D$ickl# made a n$mber of shoes from
the bark of a fallen oak and tied them with "laited %rass to the feet of
the cows, which he then drove off b# ni%ht alon% the road. A"ollo
discovered the loss, b$t ermes>s trick deceived him, and tho$%h he
went as far as P#l$s in his westward search, and to 5nchest$s in his
eastern, he was forced, in the end, to offer a reward for the
a""rehension of the thief. 4ilen$s and his sat#rs, %reed# of reward,
s"read o$t in different directions to track him down b$t, for a lon%
while, witho$t s$ccess. At last, as a "art# of them "assed thro$%h
Arcadia, the# heard the m$ffled so$nd of m$sic s$ch as the# had never
heard before, and the n#m"h (#llene, from the mo$th of a cave, told
them that a most %ifted child had recentl# been born there, to whom
she was actin% as n$rse, he had constr$cted an in%enio$s m$sical to#
from the shell of a tortoise and some cow1%$t, with which he had l$lled
his mother to slee".
b. HAnd from whom did he %et the cow1%$tJ> asked the alert sat#rs,
noticin% two hides stretched o$tside the cave. H:o #o$ char%e the "oor
child with theftJ> asked (#llene. arsh words were e3chan%ed.
c. At that moment A"ollo came $", havin% discovered the thief>s
identit# b# observin% the s$s"icio$s behavio$r of a lon%1win%ed bird
enterin% the cave, he awakened 0aia and told her severel# that
ermes m$st restore the stolen cows. 0aia "ointed to the child, still
wra""ed in his swaddlin% bands and fei%nin% slee". HWhat an abs$rd
char%e she cried. ;$t A"ollo had alread# reco%niAed the bands. e
"icked ermes, carried him to 5l#m"$s, and there formall# acc$sed
him theft, offerin% the bands as evidence. <e$s, loathin% to believe
that his own new1born son was a thief, enco$ra%ed him to "lead not
%$ilt#, b$t A"ollo wo$ld not be "$t off and ermes, at last, weakened
HBer# well, come with me,> he said, Hand #o$ ma# have #o$r herd. I
sla$%htered onl# two, and those I c$t $" into twelve eD$al "ortio as a
sacrifice to the twelve %ods.>
H6welve %odsJ> asked A"ollo. HWho is the twelfthJ>
HCo$r servant, sir,> re"lied ermes modestl#. Hl ate no more than m#
share, tho$%h I was ver# h$n%r#, and d$l# b$rned the rest.>
?ow, this was the first flesh1sacrifice ever made.
d. 6he two %ods ret$rned to 0o$nt (#llene, where ermes %reet his
mother and retrieved somethin% that he had been hidden $nderneath
HWhat have #o$ thereJ> asked A"ollo.
In answer, ermes showed his newl#1invented tortoise1shell l#re and
"la#ed s$ch a ravishin% t$ne on it with the "lectr$m he had also
invented, at the same time sin%in% in "raise of A"ollo>s nobilit#,
intelli%ence, and %enerosit#, that he was for%iven at once. e led then
s$r"rised and deli%hted A"ollo to P#l$s, "la#in% all the wa#, there %ave
him the remainder of the cattle, which he had hidden it cave.
HA bar%ainO> cried A"ollo. HCo$ kee" the cows, and I take the l#re.T
HA%reed,> said ermes, and the# shook hands on at.
e. While the h$n%r# cows were %raAin%, ermes c$t reeds, made them
into a she"herd>s "i"e, and "la#ed another t$ne. A"ollo, a%ain
deli%hted, cried, HA bar%ainO If #o$ %ive me that "i"e, I will %ive #o$ this
%olden staff with which I herd m# cattle- in f$t$re #o$ shall be the %od
of all herdsmen and she"herds.>
H0# "i"e is worth more than #o$r staff,> re"lied ermes. H;$t I will
make the e3chan%e, if #o$ teach me a$%$r# too, beca$se it seems to
be a most $sef$l art.>
HI cannot do that,> A"ollo said, Hb$t if #o$ %o to m# old n$rses, the
6hriae who live on Parnass$s, the# will teach #o$ how to divine from
f. 6he# a%ain shook hands and A"ollo, takin% the child back to
5l#m"$s, told <e$s all that had ha""ened. <e$s warned ermes that
henceforth he m$st res"ect the ri%hts of "ro"ert# and refrain from
tellin% downri%ht lies- b$t he co$ld not hel" bein% am$sed.
HCo$ seem to be a ver# in%enio$s, eloD$ent, and "ers$asive %odlin%,>
he said.
H6hen make me #o$r herald, !ather,> ermes answered, Hand I will be
res"onsible for the safet# of all divine "ro"ert#, and never tell lies,
tho$%h I cannot "romise alwa#s to tell the whole tr$th.>
H6hat wo$ld not be e3"ected of #o$,> said <e$s, with a smile. H;$t #o$r
d$ties wo$ld incl$de the makin% of treaties, the "romotion of
commerce, and the maintenance of free ri%hts of wa# for travellers on
an# road m the world.> When ermes a%reed to these conditions, <e$s
%ave him a herald>s staff with white ribbons, which ever#one was
ordered to res"ect- a ro$nd hat a%ainst the rain, and win%ed %olden
sandals which carried him abo$t with the swiftness of wind. e was at
once welcomed to the 5l#m"ian famil#, whom he ta$%ht the art of
makin% fire b# the ra"id twirlin% of the fire1stick.
%. Afterwards, the 6hriae showed ermes how to foretell the f$t$re
from the dance of "ebbles in a basin of water- and he himself invented
both the %ame of kn$ckle1bones and the art of divinin% b# them. ades
also en%a%ed him as his herald, to s$mmon the d#in% %entl# and
eloD$entl#, b# la#in% the %olden staff $"on their e#es.
h. e then assisted the 6hree !ates in the com"osition of the Al"habet,
invented astronom#, the m$sical scale, the arts of bo3in% and
%#mnastics, wei%hts and meas$res .which some attrib$te to
Palamedes/, and the c$ltivation of the olive1tree.
i. 4ome hold that the l#re invented b# ermes had seven strin%s-
others, that it had three onl#, to corres"ond with the seasons, or fo$r
to corres"ond with the D$arters of the #ear, and that A"ollo bro$%ht
the n$mber $" to seven.
G. ermes had n$mero$s sons, incl$din% &chion the Ar%ona$ts> herald-
A$tol#c$s the thief- and :a"hnis the inventor of b$colic "oetr#. 6his
:a"hnis was a bea$tif$l 4icilian #o$th whom his mother, a n#m"h,
e3"osed in a la$rel %rove on the 0o$ntain of era- hence the name
%iven him b# the she"herds, his foster "arents. Pan ta$%ht him to "la#
the "i"es- he was beloved b# A"ollo, and $sed to h$nt with Artemis,
who took "leas$re in his m$sic. e lavished %reat care on his man#
herds of cattle, which were of the same stock as eli$s>s. A n#m"h
named ?omia made him swear never to be $nfaithf$l to her, on "ain of
bein% blinded- b$t her rival, (himaera, contrived to sed$ce him when
he was dr$nk, and ?omia blinded him in f$lfilment of her threat.
:a"hnis consoled himself for a while with sad la#s abo$t the loss of
si%ht, b$t he did not live lon%. ermes t$rned him into a stone, which is
still shown at the cit# of (e"halenitan$m- and ca$sed a fo$ntain called
:a"hnis to %$sh $" at 4#rac$se, where ann$al sacrifices are offered.

1. 6he m#th of ermes>s childhood has been "reserved in a late
literar# form onl#. A tradition of cattle raids made b# the craft#
0essenians on their nei%hbo$rs, and of a treat# b# which these were
discontin$ed, seems to have been m#tholo%icall# combined with an
acco$nt of how the barbaro$s ellenes took over and e3"loited, in the
name of their ado"ted %od A"ollo, the (reto1elladic civiliAation which
the# fo$nd in (entral and 4o$thern GreeceIbo3in%, %#mnastics,
wei%hts and meas$res, m$sic, astronom#, and olive c$lt$re were all
"re1ellenicIand learned "olite manners.
*. ermes was evolved as a %od from the stone "halli which were local
centres of a "re1ellenic fertilit# c$ltIthe acco$nt of his ra"id %rowth
ma# be omer>s "la#f$l obscenit#Ib$t also from the :ivine (hild of
the "re1ellenic (alendar- from the &%#"tian 6hoth, God of
intelli%ence- and from An$bis, cond$ctor of so$ls to the )nderworld.
7. 6he heraldic white ribbons on ermes>s staff were later mistaken
for ser"ents, beca$se he was herald to ades- hence &chion>s name.
6he 6hriae are the 6ri"le10$se .Hmo$ntain %oddess>/ of Parnass$s, their
divination b# means of dancin% "ebbles was also "ractised at :el"hi
.0#tho%ra"hi Graeci, $&&endi- ?arration$m/. Athene was first credited
with the invention of divinator# dice made from kn$ckle1bones
.<enobi$s, Pro)erbs/, and these came into "o"$lar $se- b$t the art of
a$%$r# remained an aristocratic "rero%ative both in Greece and at
Rome. A"ollo>s Hlon%1win%ed bird> was "robabl# ermes>s own sacred
crane- for the A"ollonian "riesthood constantl# tres"assed on the
territor# of ermes, an earlier "atron of soothsa#in%, literat$re, and the
arts- as did the ermetic "riesthood on that of Pan, the 0$ses, and
Athene. 6he invention of fire1makin% was ascribed to ermes, beca$se
the twirlin% of the male drill in the female stock s$%%ested "hallic
8. 4ilen$s and his sons, the sat#rs, were conventional comic characters
in the Attic drama- ori%inall# the# had been "rimitive mo$ntaineers of
?orthern Greece. e was called an a$tochthon, or a son of Pan b# one
of the n#m"hs .?orm$s, +ionsiaca- Aelian, :aria !istoria/.
5. 6he romantic stor# of :a"hnis has been b$ilt aro$nd a "hallic
"illar at (e"halenitan$m, and a fo$ntain at 4#rac$se, each "robabl#
s$rro$nded b# a la$rel %rove, where son%s were s$n% in hono$r of the
si%htless dead. :a"hnis was said to be beloved b# A"ollo beca$se he
had taken the la$rel from the or%iastic %oddess of 6em"e.
$4hrodite1s at2re $3d Deeds
APR5:I6& co$ld seldom be "ers$aded to lend the other %oddesses
her ma%ic %irdle which made ever#one fall in love with its wearer- for
she was Gealo$s of her "osition. <e$s had %iven her in marria%e to
e"haest$s, the lame 4mith1%od- b$t the tr$e father of the three
children with whom she "resented himIPhob$s, :eim$s, and
armoniaIwas Ares, the strai%ht1limbed, im"et$o$s, dr$nken, and
D$arrelsome God of War. e"haest$s knew nothin% of the dece"tion
$ntil, one ni%ht, the lovers sta#ed too lon% to%ether in bed at Ares>s
6hracian "alace- then eli$s, as he rose, saw them at their s"ort and
told tales to e"haest$s.
b. e"haest$s an%ril# retired to his for%e, and hammered o$t a bronAe
h$ntin%1net, as free as %ossamer b$t D$ite $nbreakable, which he
secretl# attached to the "osts and sides of his marria%e1bed. e told
A"hrodite who ret$rned from 6hrace, all smiles, e3"lainin% that she
had been awa# on b$siness at (orinth, HPra# e3c$se me, dear wife, I
am takin% a short holida# on 'emnos, m# favo$rite island.> A"hrodite
did not offer to accom"an# him and, when he was o$t of si%ht, sent
h$rriedl# for Ares, who soon arrived. 6he two went merril# to bed b$t,
at dawn, fo$nd themselves entan%led in the net, naked and $nable to
esca"e. e"haest$s, t$rnin% back from his Go$rne#, s$r"rised them
there, and s$mmoned all the %ods to witness his dishono$r. e then
anno$nced that he wo$ld not release his wife $ntil the val$able
marria%e1%ifts which he had "aid her ado"tive father, <e$s, were
restored to him.
c. )" ran the %ods, to watch A"hrodite>s embarrassment- b$t the
%oddesses, from a sense of delicac#, sta#ed in their ho$ses. A"ollo,
n$d%in% ermes, asked, HCo$ wo$ld not mind bein% in Ares>s "osition,
wo$ld #o$, net and allJ>
ermes swore b# his own head, that he wo$ld not, even if there were
three times as man# nets, and all the %oddesses were lookin% on with
disa""roval. At this, both %ods la$%hed $"roario$sl#, b$t <e$s was so
dis%$sted that he ref$sed to hand back the marria%e1%ifts, or to
interfere in a v$l%ar dis"$te between a h$sband and wife, declarin%
that e"haest$s was a fool to have made the affair "$blic. Poseidon
who, at si%ht of A"hrodite>s naked bod#, had fallen in love with her,
concealed his Gealo$s# of Ares, and "retended to s#m"athiAe with
e"haest$s. H4ince <e$s ref$ses to hel",> he said, HI will $ndertake that
Ares, as a fee for his release, "a#s the eD$ivalent of the marria%e1%ifts
in D$estion.> H6hat is all ver# well,> e"haest$s re"lied %loomil#. H;$t if
Ares defa$lts, #o$ will have to take his "lace $nder the net.> HIn
A"hrodite>s com"an#J> A"ollo asked, la$%hin%. HI cannot think that Ares
will defa$lt,> Poseidon said nobl#. H;$t if he sho$ld do so, I am read# to
"a# the debt and marr# A"hrodite m#self.> 4o Ares was set at libert#,
and ret$rned to 6hrace- and A"hrodite went to Pa"hos, where she
renewed her vir%init# in the sea.
d. !lattered b# ermes>s frank confession of his love for her, A"hrodite
"resentl# s"ent a ni%ht with him, the fr$it of which was
erma"hrodit$s, a do$ble1se3ed bein%- and, eD$all# "leased b#
Poseidon>s intervention on her behalf, she bore him two sons, Rhod$s
and ero"hil$s. ?eedless to sa#, Ares defa$lted, "leadin% that if <e$s
wo$ld not "a#, wh# sho$ld heJ In the end, nobod# "aid, beca$se
e"haest$s was madl# in love with A"hrodite and had no real intention
of divorcin% her.
e. 'ater, A"hrodite #ielded to :ion#s$s, and bore him Pria"$s- an $%l#
child with enormo$s %enitalsIit was era who had %iven him this
obscene a""earance, in disa""roval of A"hrodite>s "romisc$it#. e is a
%ardener and carries a "r$nin%1knife.
f. 6ho$%h <e$s never la# with his ado"ted da$%hter A"hrodite, as some
sa# that he did, the ma%ic of her %irdle "$t him $nder constant
tem"tation, and at last he decided to h$miliate her b# makin% her fall
des"eratel# in love with a mortal. 6his was the handsome Anchises,
Fin% of the :ardanians, a %randson of Il$s and, one ni%ht, when he was
aslee" in his herdsman>s h$t on 6roGan 0o$nt Ida, A"hrodite visited him
in the %$ise of a Phr#%ian "rincess, clad in a daAAlin%l# red robe, and
la# with him on a co$ch s"read with the skins of bears and lions, while
bees b$AAed drowsil# abo$t them. When the# "arted at dawn, she
revealed her identit#, and made him "romise not to tell an#one that
she had sle"t with him. Anchises was horrified to learn that he had
$ncovered the nakedness of a %oddess, and be%%ed her to s"are his
life. 4he ass$red him that he had nothin% to fear, and that their son
wo$ld be famo$s. 4ome da#s later, while Anchises was drinkin% with
his com"anions, one of them asked, HWo$ld #o$ not rather slee" with
the da$%hter of 4o1and1so than with A"hrodite herselfJ> H?o,> he re"lied
$n%$ardedl#. Havin% sle"t with both, I find the D$estion ine"t.>
%. <e$s overheard this boast, and threw a th$nderbolt at Anchises,
which wo$ld have killed him o$tri%ht, had not A"hrodite inter"osed her
%irdle, and th$s diverted the bolt into the %ro$nd at his feet.
?evertheless, the shock so weakened Anchises that he co$ld never
stand $"ri%ht a%ain, and A"hrodite, after bearin% his son Aeneas, soon
lost her "assion for him.
h. 5ne da#, the wife of Fin% (in#ras the (#"rianIb$t some call him
Fin% Phoeni3 of ;#bl$s, and some Fin% 6heias the Ass#rianIfoolishl#
boasted that her da$%hter 4m#rna was more bea$tif$l even than
A"hrodite. 6he %oddess aven%ed this ins$lt b# makin% 4m#rna fall in
love with her father and climb into his bed one dark ni%ht, when her
n$rse had made him too dr$nk to realiAe what he was doin%. 'ater,
(in#ras discovered that he was both the father and %randfather of
4m#rna>s $nborn child and, wild with wrath, seiAed a sword and chased
her from the "alace. e overtook her on the brow of a hill, b$t
A"hrodite h$rriedl# chan%ed 4m#rna into a m#rrh1tree, which the
descendin% sword s"lit in halves. 5$t t$mbled the infant Adonis.
A"hrodite, alread# re"entin% of the mischief that the had made,
concealed Adonis in a chest, which she entr$sted to Perse"hone,
L$een of the :ead, askin% her to stow it awa# in a dark "lace.
i. Perse"hone had the c$riosit# to o"en the chest, and fo$nd Adonis
inside. e was so lovel# that she lifted him o$t and bro$%ht him $" in
her own "alace. 6he news reached A"hrodite, who at once visited
6artar$s to claim Adonis- and when Perse"hone wo$ld not assent,
havin% b# now made him her lover, she a""ealed to <e$s. <e$s, well
aware that A"hrodite also wanted to lie with Adonis, ref$sed to G$d%e
so $nsavo$r# a dis"$te- and transferred it to a lower co$rt, "resided
over b# the 0$se (allio"e. (allio"e>s verdict was that Perse"hone and
A"hrodite had eD$al claims on AdonisIA"hrodite for arran%in% his
birth, Perse"hone for resc$in% him from the chestIb$t that he sho$ld
be allowed a brief ann$al holida# from the amoro$s demands of both
these insatiable %oddesses. 4he therefore divided the #ear into three
eD$al "arts, of which he was to s"end one with Perse"hone, one with
A"hrodite, and the third b# himself. A"hrodite did not "la# fair, b#
wearin% her ma%ic %irdle all the time, she "ers$aded Adonis to %ive her
his own share of the #ear, %r$d%e the share d$e to Perse"hone, and
disobe# the co$rt1order.
G. Perse"hone, G$stl# a%%rieved, went to 6hrace, where she told her
benefactor Ares that A"hrodite now "referred Adonis to himself. HA
mere mortal,> she cried, Hand effeminate at thatO> Ares %rew Gealo$s
and, dis%$ised as a wild boar, r$shed at Adonis who was o$t h$ntin% on
0o$nt 'ebanon, and %ored him to death before A"hrodite>s e#es.
Anemones s"ran% from his blood, and his so$l descended to 6artar$s.
A"hrodite went tearf$ll# to <e$s, and "leaded that Adonis sho$ld not
have to s"end more than the %loomier half of the #ear with
Perse"hone, b$t mi%ht be her com"anion for the s$mmer months. 6his
<e$s ma%nanimo$sl# %ranted. ;$t some sa# that A"ollo was the boar,
and reven%ed himself for an inG$r# A"hrodite had done him.
k. 5nce, to make Adonis Gealo$s, A"hrodite s"ent several ni%hts at
'il#bae$m with ;$tes the Ar%ona$t- and b# him became the mother of
&r#3, a kin% of 4icil#. er children b# Adonis were one son, Gol%os,
fo$nder of (#"rian Gol%i, and a da$%hter, ;ero@, fo$nder of ;eroea in
6hrace- and some sa# that Adonis, not :ion#s$s, was the father of her
son Pria"$s.
l. 6he !ates assi%ned to A"hrodite one divine d$t# onl#, namel# to
make love- b$t one da#, Athene catchin% her s$rre"titio$sl# at work on
a loom, com"lained that her own "rero%atives had been infrin%ed and
threatened to abandon them alto%ether. A"hrodite a"olo%iAed
"rof$sel#, and has never done a hand>s t$rn of work since.
1. 6he later ellenes belittled the Great Goddess of the 0editerranean,
who had lon% been s$"reme at (orinth, 4"arta, 6hes"iae, and Athens,
b# "lacin% her $nder male t$tela%e and re%ardin% her solemn se31
or%ies as ad$ltero$s indiscretions. 6he net in which omer re"resents
A"hrodite as ca$%ht b# e"haest$s was, ori%inall#, her own as
Goddess of the 4ea, and her "riestess seems to have worn it d$rin% the
s"rin% carnival- the "riestess of the ?orse Goddess olle, or Gode, did
the same on 0a# &ve.
*. Pria"$s ori%inated in the r$de wooden "hallic ima%es which "resided
over :ion#sian or%ies. e is made a son of Adonis beca$se of the
miniat$re H%ardens> offered at his festivals. 6he "ear1tree was sacred to
era as "rime %oddess of the Pelo"onnese, which was therefore called
7. A"hrodite )rania .HD$een of the mo$ntain>/ or &r#cina .Hof the
heather>/ was the n#m"h1%oddess of mids$mmer. 4he destro#ed the
sacred kin%, who mated with her on a mo$ntain to", as a D$een1bee
destro#s the drone, b# tearin% o$t his se3$al or%ans. ence the
heather1lovin% bees and the red robe in her mo$ntain1to" affair with
Anchises- hence also the worshi" of (#bele, the Phr#%ian A"hrodite of
0o$nt Ida, as a D$een1bee, and the ecstatic self1castration of her
"riests in memor# of her lover Attis. Anchises was one of the man#
sacred kin%s who were str$ck with a rit$al th$nderbolt after consortin%
with the :eath1in1'ife Goddess. In the earliest version of the m#th he
was killed, b$t in later ones he esca"ed, to make %ood the stor# of how
"io$s Aeneas, who bro$%ht the sacred Palladi$m to Rome, carried his
father awa# from b$rnin% 6ro#. is name identifies A"hrodite with Isis,
whose h$sband 5siris was castrated b# 4et dis%$ised as a boar-
HAnchises> is, in fact, a s#non#m of Adonis. e had a shrine at Ae%esta
near 0o$nt &r#3 .:ion#si$s of alicarnass$s/ and was therefore said
b# Bir%il to have died at :re"an$m, a nei%hbo$rin% town, and been
b$ried on the mo$ntain .$eneid/. 5ther shrines of Anchises were
shown in Arcadia and the 6road. At A"hrodite>s shrine on 0o$nt &r#3 a
%olden hone#1comb was dis"la#ed, said to have been a votive offerin%
"resented b# :aedal$s when he fled to 4icil#.
8. As Goddess of :eath1in1'ife, A"hrodite earned man# titles which
seem inconsistent with her bea$t# and com"laisance. At Athens, she
was called the &ldest of the !ates and sister of the &rinn#es- and
elsewhere 0elaenis .Hblack one>/, a name in%enio$sl# e3"lained b#
Pa$sanias as meanin% that most love1makin% takes "lace at ni%ht-
4cotia .Hdark one>/- Andro"honos .Hman1sla#er>/- and even, accordin%
to Pl$tarch, &"it#mbria .Hof the tombs>/.
5. 6he m#th of (in#ras and 4m#rna evidentl# records a "eriod in
histor# when the sacred kin% in a matrilineal societ# decided to "rolon%
his rei%n be#ond the c$stomar# len%th. e did so b# celebratin% a
marria%e with the #o$n% "riestess, nominall# his da$%hter, who was to
be D$een for the ne3t term, instead of lettin% another "rincelin% marr#
her and take awa# his kin%dom.
+. Adonis .Phoenician, adon, Hlord>/ is a Greek version of the 4#rian
demi1%od 6amm$A, the s"irit of ann$al ve%etation. In 4#ria, Asia 0inor,
and Greece, the %oddess>s sacred #ear was at one time divided into
three "arts, r$led b# the 'ion, Goat, and 4er"ent. 6he Goat, emblem of
the central "art, was the 'ove1%oddess A"hrodite>s- the 4er"ent,
emblem of the last "art, was the :eath1%oddess Perse"hone>s- the
'ion, emblem of the first "art, was sacred to the ;irth1%oddess, here
named 4m#rna, who had no claim on Adonis. In Greece, this calendar
%ave "lace to a two1season #ear, bisected either b# the eD$ino3es in
the &astern st#le, as at 4"arta and :el"hi- or b# the solstices in the
?orthern st#le, as at Athens and 6hebes- which e3"lains the difference
between the res"ective verdicts of the 0o$ntain1%oddess (allio"e and
9. 6amm$A was killed b# a boar, like man# similar m#thical characters
I5siris, (retan <e$s, Ancae$s of Arcadia, (armanor of '#dia, and the
Irish hero :iarm$id. 6his boar seems once to have been a sow with
crescent1sha"ed t$sks, the %oddess herself as Perse"hone- b$t when
the #ear was bisected, the bri%ht half r$led b# the sacred kin%, and the
dark half r$led b# his tanist, or rival, this rival came in wild1boar
dis%$iseIlike 4et when he killed 5siris, or !inn mac (ool when he
killed :iarm$id. 6amm$A>s blood is alle%orical of the anemone that
redden the slo"es of 0o$nt 'ebanon after the winter rains- the Adonia,
a mo$rnin% festival in hono$r of 6amm$A, was held at ;#bl$s ever#
s"rin%. Adonis>s birth from a m#rrh1treeIm#rrh bein% a well known
a"hrodisiacIshows the or%iastic character of his rites. 6he dro"s of
%$m which the m#rrh1tree shed were s$""osed to be tears shed for
him .5vid, Metamor&hoses/. #%in$s makes (in#ras Fin% of Ass#ria
.Fabula/, "erha"s beca$se 6amm$A1worshi" seemed to have ori%inated
8. A"hrodite>s son erma"hrodit$s was a #o$th with womanish
breasts and lon% hair. 'ike the andro%#ne, or bearded woman, the
herma"hrodite had, of co$rse, its freakish "h#sical co$nter"art, b$t as
reli%io$s conce"ts both ori%inated ha the transition from matriarch# to
"atriarch#. erma"hrodit$s is the sacred kin% de"$tiAin% for the L$een,
and wearin% artificial breasts. Andro%#ne is the mother of a "re1
ellenic clan which has avoided bein% "atriarchaliAed- in order to kee"
her ma%istratal "owers or to ennoble children born to her from a slave1
father, she ass$mes a false beard, as was the c$stom at Ar%os.
;earded %oddesses like the (#"rian A"hrodite, and womanish %ods like
:ion#s$s, corres"ond with these transitional social sta%es.
9. armonia is, at first si%ht, a stran%e name for a da$%hter borne b#
A"hrodite to Ares- b$t, then as now, more than $s$al affection and
harmon# "revailed in a state which was at war.
$res1s at2re $3d Deeds
AR&4 loves battle for its own sake, and his sister &ris is alwa#s stirrin%
$" occasions for war b# the s"read of r$mo$r and the inc$lcation of
Gealo$s#. 'ike her, he never favo$rs one cit# or "art# more than
another, b$t fi%hts on this side or that, as inclination "rom"ts him,
deli%htin% in the sla$%hter of men and the sackin% of towns. All his
fellow1immortals hate him, from <e$s and era downwards, e3ce"t
&ris, and A"hrodite who n$rses a "erverse "assion for him, and %reed#
ades who welcomes the bold #o$n% fi%htin%1men slain in cr$el wars.
b. Ares has not been consistentl# victorio$s. Athene, a m$ch more
skilf$l fi%hter than he, has twice worsted him in battle- and once, the
%i%antic sons of Aloe$s conD$ered and ke"t him im"risoned in a braAen
vessel for thirteen months $ntil, half dead, he was released b# ermes-
and, on another occasion, eracles sent him r$nnin% in fear back to
5l#m"$s. e "rofesses too dee" a contem"t for liti%ation ever to
a""ear in co$rt as a "laintiff, and has onl# once done so as a
defendant, that was when his fellow1deities char%ed him with the wilf$l
m$rder of Poseidon>s son alirrhothi$s. e "leaded G$stification,
claimin% to have saved his da$%hter Alci""e, of the o$se of (ecro"s,
from bein% violated b# the said alirrhothi$s. 4ince no one had
witnessed the incident, e3ce"t Ares himself, and Alci""e, who nat$rall#
confirmed her father>s evidence, the co$rt acD$itted him. 6his was the
first G$d%ement ever "rono$nced in a m$rder trial- and the hill on
which the "roceedin%s took "lace became known as the Areio"a%$s, a
name it still bears.
1. 6he Athenians disliked war, e3ce"t in defence of libert#, or for some
other eD$all# co%ent reason, and des"ised the 6hracians as barbaro$s
beca$se the# made it a "astime.
*. In Pa$sanias>s acco$nt of the m$rder, alirrhothi$s had alread#
s$cceeded in violatin% Alci""e. ;$t alirrhothi$s can onl# be a
s#non#m for Poseidon- and Alci""e a s#non#m for the mare1headed
%oddess. 6he m#th, in fact, recalls Poseidon>s ra"e of :emeter, and
refers to a conD$est of Athens b# Poseidon>s "eo"le and the %oddess>s
h$miliation at their hands. ;$t it has been altered for "atriotic reasons,
and combined with a le%end of some earl# m$rder trial. H$reio&agus1
"robabl# means Hthe kill of the "ro"itiatin% Goddess>, $reia bein% one
of Athene>s titles.
&estia1s at2re $3d Deeds
I6 is estia>s %lor# that, alone of the %reat 5l#m"ians, she never takes
"art in wars or dis"$tes. 'ike Artemis and Athene, moreover, she has
alwa#s resisted ever# amoro$s invitation offered her b# %ods, 6itans, or
others- for, after the dethronement of (ron$s, when Poseidon and
A"ollo came forward as rival s$itors, she swore b# <e$s>s head to
remain a vir%in for ever. At that, <e$s %ratef$ll# awarded her the first
victim of ever# "$blic sacrifice, beca$se she had "reserved the "eace
of 5l#m"$s.
b. :r$nken Pria"$s once tried to violate her at a r$stic feast attended
b# accident or in token of mo$rnin%, it is kindled afresh with the aid of
a fire1wheel.

1. 6he centre of Greek lifeIeven at 4"arta, where the famil# had been
s$bordinated to the 4tateIwas the domestic hearth, also re%arded as
a sacrificial altar- and estia, as its %oddess, re"resented "ersonal
sec$rit# and ha""iness, and the sacred d$t# of hos"italit#. 6he stor# of
her marria%e1offers from Poseidon and A"ollo has "erha"s been
ded$ced from the Goint worshi" of these three deities at :el"hi.
Pria"$s>s attem"t to violate her is an anecdotal warnin% a%ainst
sacrile%io$s ill1treatment of women1%$ests who have come $nder the
"rotection of the domestic or "$blic hearth, even the ass, a s#mbol of
l$st, "roclaims Pria"$s>s criminal foll#.
*. 6he archaic white aniconic ima%e of the Great Goddess, in $se
thro$%ho$t the &astern 0editerranean, seems to have re"resented a
hea" of %lowin% charcoal, ke"t alive b# a coverin% of white ash, which
was the most cos# and economical means of heatin% in ancient times-
it %ave o$t neither smoke nor flame, and formed the nat$ral centre of
famil# or clan %atherin%s. At :el"hi the charcoal1hea" was translated
into limestone for o$t1of1doors $se, and became the om&halos, or
navel1boss, freD$entl# shown in Greek vase1"aintin%s, which marked
the s$""osed centre of the world. 6his hol# obGect, which has s$rvived
the r$in of the shrine, is inscribed with the name of 0other &arth, is
abo$t the siAe and sha"e of a charcoal fire needed to heat a lar%e
room. In (lassical times the P#thoness had an attendant "riest who
ind$ced her trance b# b$rnin% barle# %rains, hem", and la$rel over an
oil lam" in an enclosed s"ace, and then inter"reted what she said. ;$t
it is likel# that the hem", la$rel, and barle# were once laid on the hot
ashes of the charcoal mo$nd, which is a sim"ler and more effective
wa# of "rod$cin% narcotic f$mes. ?$mero$s trian%$lar or leaf1sha"ed
ladles in stone or cla# have been fo$nd in (retan and 0#cenaean
shrinesIsome of them showin% si%ns of %reat heatIand seem to have
been $sed for tendin% the sacred fire. 6he charcoal mo$nd was
sometimes b$ilt on a ro$nd, three1le%%ed da# table, "ainted red, white,
and black, which are the moon>s colo$rs- e3am"les have been fo$nd in
the Pelo"onnese, (rete, and :elosIone of them, from a chamber tomb
at <afer Pa"o$ra near (noss$s, had the charcoal still "iled on it.
51( $4o66o1s at2re $3d Deeds
AP5''5, <e$s>s son b# 'eto, was a seven1months> child, b$t %ods
%row $" swiftl#. 6hemis fed him on nectar and ambrosia, and when the
fo$rth da# dawned he called for bow and arrows, with which
e"haest$s at once "rovided him. 5n leavin% :elos he made strai%ht
for 0o$nt Parnass$s, where the ser"ent P#thon, his mother>s enem#,
was l$rkin%- and wo$nded him severel# with arrows. P#thon fled to the
5racle of 0other &arth at :el"hi, a cit# so named in hono$r of the
monster :el"h#ne, his mate- b$t A"ollo dared follow him into the
shrine, and there des"atched him beside the sacred chasm.
b. 0other &arth re"orted this o$tra%e to <e$s, who not onl# ordered
A"ollo to visit 6em"e for "$rification, b$t instit$ted the P#thian Games,
in hono$r of P#thon, over which he was to "reside "enitentiall#. L$ite
$nabashed, A"ollo disre%arded <e$s>s command to visit 6em"e.
Instead, he went to Ai%ialae for "$rification, accom"anied b# Artemis-
and then, dislikin% the "lace, sailed to 6arrha in (rete, where Fin%
(armanor "erformed the ceremon#.
c. 5n his ret$rn to Greece, A"ollo so$%ht o$t Pan, the disre"$table old
%oat1le%%ed Arcadian %od and, havin% coa3ed him to reveal the art of
"ro"hec#, seiAed the :el"hic 5racle and retained its "riestess, called
the P#thoness, in his own service.
d. 'eto, on hearin% the news, came with Artemis to :el"hi, where she
t$rned aside to "erform some "rivate rite in a sacred %rove. 6he %iant
6it#$s interr$"ted her devotions, and was tr#in% to violate her, when
A"ollo and Artemis, hearin% screams, ran $" and killed him with a
volle# of arrowsIa ven%eance which <e$s, 6it#$s>s father, was "leased
to consider a "io$s one. In 6artar$s, 6it#$s was stretched o$t for
torment, his arms and le%s sec$rel# "e%%ed to the %ro$nd- the area
covered was no less than nine acres, and two v$lt$res ate his liver.
e. ?e3t, A"ollo killed the sat#r 0ars#as, a follower of the %oddess
(#bele. 6his was how it came abo$t. 5ne da#, Athene made a do$ble
fl$te from sta%>s bones, and "la#ed on it at a banD$et of the %ods. 4he
co$ld not $nderstand, at first, wh# era and A"hrodite were la$%hin%
silentl# behind their hands, altho$%h her m$sic seemed to deli%ht the
other deities- she therefore went awa# b# herself into a Phr#%ian wood,
took $" the fl$te a%ain beside a stream, and watched her ima%e in the
water, as she "la#ed. RealiAin% at once how l$dicro$s that bl$ish face
and those swollen cheeks made her look, she threw down the fl$te,
and laid a c$rse on an#one who "icked it $".
f. 0ars#as was the innocent victim of this c$rse. e st$mbled $"on the
fl$te, which he had no sooner "$t to his li"s than it "la#ed of itself,
ins"ired b# the memor# of Athene>s m$sic- and he went abo$t Phr#%ia
in (#bele>s train, deli%htin% the i%norant "easants. 6he# cried o$t that
A"ollo himself co$ld not have made better m$sic, even on his l#re, and
0ars#as was foolish eno$%h not to contradict them. 6his, of co$rse,
"rovoked the an%er of A"ollo, who invited him to a contest, the winner
of which sho$ld inflict whatever "$nishment he "leased on the loser.
0ars#as consented, and A"ollo em"anelled the 0$ses as a G$r#. 6he
contest "roved an eD$al one, the 0$ses bein% charmed b# both
instr$ments, $ntil A"ollo cried o$t to 0ars#as, HI challen%e #o$ to do
with #o$r instr$ment as m$ch as I can do with mine. 6$rn it $"side
down, and both "la# and sin% at the same time.>
%. 6his, with a fl$te, was manifestl# im"ossible, and 0ars#as failed to
meet the challen%e. ;$t A"ollo reversed his l#re and san% s$ch
deli%htf$l h#mns in hono$r of the 5l#m"ian %ods that the 0$ses co$ld
not do less than %ive the verdict in his favo$r. 6hen, for all his
"retended sweetness, A"ollo took a most cr$el reven%e on 0ars#as,
flarin% him alive and nailin% his skin to a "ine .or, some sa#. to a "lane1
tree/. It now han%s in the cavern whence the 0ars#as River rises.
h. Afterwards, A"ollo won a second m$sical contest, at which Fin%
0idas "resided- this time he beat Pan. ;ecomin% the acknowled%ed
%od of 0$sic, he has ever since "la#ed on his seven1strin%ed l#re while
the %ods banD$et. Another of his d$ties was once to %$ard the herds
and flocks which the %ods ke"t in Pieria- b$t he later dele%ated this
task to ermes.
i. 6ho$%h A"ollo ref$ses to bind himself in marria%e, he has %ot man#
n#m"hs and mortal women with child- amon% them, Phthia, on whom
he fathered :or$s and his brothers- and 6halia the 0$se, on whom he
fathered the (or#bantes- and (oronis, on whom he fathered Ascle"i$s-
and Aria, on whom he fathered 0ilet$s- and (#rene, on whom he
fathered Aristae$s.
G. e also sed$ced the n#m"h :r#o"e, who was tendin% her father>s
flocks on 0o$nt 5eta in the com"an# of her friends, the amadr#ads.
A"ollo dis%$ised himself as a tortoise, with which the# all "la#ed and,
when :r#o"e "$t him into her bosom, he t$rned into a hissin% ser"ent,
scared awa# the amadr#ads, and enGo#ed her. 4he bore him
Am"hiss$s, who fo$nded the cit# of 5eta and b$ilt a tem"le to his
father- there :r#o"e served as "riestess $ntil, one da#, the
amadr#ads stole her awa#, and left a "o"lar in her "lace.
k. A"ollo was not invariabl# s$ccessf$l in love. 5n one occasion he
tried to steal 0ar"essa from Idas, b$t she remained tr$e to her
h$sband. 5n another, he "$rs$ed :a"hne, the mo$ntain n#m"h, a
"riestess of 0other &arth, da$%hter of the river Penei$s in 6hessal#-
b$t when he overtook her, she cried o$t to 0other &arth who, in the
nick of time, s"irited her awa# to (rete, where she became known as
Pasi"ha@. 0other &arth left a la$rel1tree in her "lace, and from its
leaves A"ollo made a wreath to console himself.
l. is attem"t on :a"hne, it m$st be added, was no s$dden im"$lse.
e had lon% been in love with her, and had bro$%ht abo$t the death of
his rival, 'e$ci""$s, son of 5enoma$s, who dis%$ised himself as a %irl
and Goined :a"hne>s mo$ntain revels. A"ollo, knowin% of this b#
divination, advised the mo$ntain n#m"hs to bathe naked, and th$s
make s$re that ever#one in their com"an# was a woman- 'e$ci""$s>s
im"ost$re was at once discovered, and the n#m"hs tore him to "ieces.
m. 6here was also the case of the bea$tif$l #o$th #acinth$s, a
4"artan "rince, with whom not onl# the "oet 6ham#ris fell in loveIthe
first man who ever wooed one of his own se3Ib$t A"ollo himself, the
first %od to do so. A"ollo did not find 6ham#ris a serio$s rival- havin%
overheard his boast that he co$ld s$r"ass the 0$ses in son%, he
malicio$sl# re"orted it to them, and the# at once robbed 6ham#ris of
his si%ht, his voice, and his memor# for har"in%. ;$t the West Wind had
also taken a fanc# to #acinth$s, and became, insanel# Gealo$s of
A"ollo, who was one da# teachin% the bo# how to h$rl a disc$s, when
the West Wind ca$%ht it in mid1air, dashed it a%ainst #acinth$s>s
sk$ll, and killed him. !rom his blood s"ran% the h#acinth flower, on
which his initial letters are still to be traced.
n. A"ollo earned <e$s>s an%er onl# once after the famo$s cons"irac# to
dethrone him. 6his was when his son Ascle"i$s, the "h#sician, had the
temerit# to res$rrect a dead man, and th$s rob ades of a s$bGect-
ades nat$rall# lod%ed a com"laint on 5l#m"$s, <e$s killed Ascle"i$s
with a th$nderbolt, and A"ollo in reven%e killed the (#clo"es. <e$s was
enra%ed at the loss of his armo$rers, and wo$ld have banished A"ollo
to 6artar$s for ever, had not 'eto "leaded for his for%iveness and
$ndertaken that he wo$ld mend his wa#s. 6he sentence was red$ced
to one #ear>s hard labo$r, which A"ollo was to serve in the shee"1folds
of Fin% Admet$s of Pherae. 5be#in% 'eto>s advice, A"ollo not onl#
carried o$t the sentence h$mbl#, b$t conferred %reat benefits on
o. avin% learned his lesson, he thereafter "reached moderation in all
thin%s, the "hrases HFnow th#selfO> and H?othin% in e3cess> were alwa#s
on his li"s. e bro$%ht the 0$ses down from their home on 0o$nt
elicon to :el"hi, tamed their wild frenA#, and led them in formal and
decoro$s dances.
1. A"ollo>s histor# is a conf$sin% one. 6he Greeks made him the son
of 'eto, a %oddess known as 'at in 4o$thern Palestine, b$t he was also
a %od of the #"erboreans .Hbe#ond1the1?orth1Wind1men>/, whom
ecatae$s .:iodor$s 4ic$l$s/ clearl# identified with the ;ritish, tho$%h
Pindar .Pthian *des/ re%arded them as 'ib#ans. :elos was the centre
of this #"erborean c$lt which, it seems, e3tended so$th1eastward to
?abataea and Palestine, north1westward to ;ritain, and incl$ded
Athens. Bisits were constantl# e3chan%ed between the states $nited in
this c$lt .:iodor$s 4ic$l$s./.
*. A"ollo, amon% the #"erboreans, sacrificed hecatombs of asses
.Pindar/, which identifies him with the H(hild or$s>, whose defeat of
his enem# 4et the &%#"tians ann$all# celebrated b# drivin% wild asses
over a "reci"ice .Pl$tarch, *n Isis and 5siris/. or$s was aven%in%
4et>s m$rder of his father 5sirisIthe sacred kin%, beloved of the 6ri"le
0oon1%oddess Isis, or 'at, whom his tanist sacrificed at mids$mmer
and midwinter, and of whom or$s was himself the reincarnation. 6he
m#th of 'eto>s "$rs$it b# P#thon corres"onds with the m#th of Isis>s
"$rs$it b# 4et .d$rin% the sevent#1two hottest da#s of the #ear/.
0oreover, P#thon is identified with 6#"hon, the Greek 4et, in the
omeric !mn to $&ollo, and b# the scholiast on A"olloni$s Rhodi$s.
6he #"erborean A"ollo is, in fact, a Greek or$s.
7. ;$t the m#th has been %iven a "olitical t$rn, P#thon is said to have
been sent a%ainst 'eto b# era, who had borne him
"artheno%eneticall#, to s"ite <e$s .omeric !mn to $&ollo/- and
A"ollo, after killin% P#thon .and "res$mabl# also his mate :el"h#ne/,
seiAes the orac$lar shrine of 0other &arth at :el"hiIfor era was
0other &arth, or :el"h#ne, in her "ro"hetic as"ect. It seems that
certain ?orthern ellenes, allied with 6hraco1'ib#ans, invaded (entral
Greece and the Pelo"onnese, where the# were o""osed b# the "re1
ellenic worshi""ers of the &arth1%oddess, b$t ca"t$red her chief
orac$lar shrines. At :el"hi, the# destro#ed the sacred orac$lar ser"ent
Ia similar ser"ent was ke"t in the &rechthe$m at AthensIand took
over the oracle in the name of their %od A"ollo 4minthe$s. Smintheus
.Hmo$s#>/, like &sm$n the (anaanite %od of healin%, had a c$rative
mo$se for his emblem. 6he invaders a%reed to identif# him with A"ollo,
the #"erborean or$s, worshi""ed b# their allies. 6o "lacate local
o"inion at :el"hi, re%$lar f$neral %ames were instit$ted in hono$r of
the dead hero P#thon and his "riestess was retained in office.
8. 6he 0oon1%oddess ;riAo .Hsoother>/ of :elos, indistin%$ishable
from 'eto, ma# be identified with the #"erborean 6ri"le1%oddess
;ri%it, who became (hristianised as 4t. ;ri%it, or 4t. ;ride. ;ri%it was
"atroness of all the arts, and A"ollo followed her e3am"le. 6he attem"t
on 'eto b# the %iant 6it#$s s$%%ests an abortive risin% b# the
mo$ntaineers of Phocis a%ainst the invaders.
5. A"ollo>s victories over 0ars#as and Pan commemorate the
ellenic conD$ests of Phr#%ia and Arcadia, and the conseD$ent
s$""ression in those re%ions of wind instr$ments b# strin%ed ones,
e3ce"t amon% the "easantr#. 0ars#as>s "$nishment ma# refer to the
rit$al flarin% of a sacred kin%Ias Athene stri""ed Pallas of his ma%ical
aegisIor the removal of the entire bark from an alder1shoot, to make a
she"herd>s "i"e, the alder bein% "ersonified as a %od or demi1%od.
A"ollo was claimed as an ancestor of the :orian Greeks, and of the
0ilesians, who "aid him es"ecial hono$rs. 6he (or#bantes, dancers at
the Winter 4olstice festival, were called his children b# 6halia the 0$se,
beca$se he was %od of 0$sic-
+. is "$rs$it of :a"hne the 0o$ntain1n#m"h, da$%hter of the river
Penei$s, and "riestess of 0other &arth, refers a""arentl# to the
ellenic ca"t$re of 6em"e, where the %oddess :a"hoene .Hblood# one>/
was worshi""ed b# a colle%e of or%iastic la$rel1chewin% 0aenads. After
s$""ressin% the colle%eIPl$tarch>s acco$nt s$%%ests that the
"riestesses fled to (rete, where the 0oon1%oddess was called Pasi"ha@
IA"ollo took over the la$rel which, afterwards, onl# the P#thoness
mi%ht chew. :a"hoene will have been mare1headed at 6em"e, as at
Phi%alia- 'e$ci""$s .Hwhite horse>/ was the sacred kin% of the local
horse c$lt, ann$all# torn in "ieces b# the wild women, who bathed
after his m$rder to "$rif#, themselves, not before.
9. A"ollo>s sed$ction of :r#o"e on 5eta "erha"s records the local
s$""ression of an oak c$lt b# a c$lt of A"ollo, to whom the "o"lar was
sacred- as does his sed$ction of Aria. is tortoise dis%$ise is a
reference to the l#re he had bo$%ht from ermes. Phthia>s name
s$%%ests that she was an a$t$mnal as"ect of the %oddess. 6he
$ns$ccessf$l attem"t on 0ar"essa .Hsnatcher>/, seems to record
A"ollo>s fail$re to seiAe a 0essenian shrine, that of the Grain1%oddess
as 4ow. A"ollo>s servit$de to Admet$s of Pherae ma# recall a historical
event, the h$miliation of the A"ollonian "riesthood in "$nishment for
their massacre of a "re1ellenic smith1%$ild which had enGo#ed <e$s>s
8. 6he m#th of #acinth$s, which seems at first si%ht no more than
a sentimental fable told to e3"lain the mark on the Greek hacinth
concerns the (retan !lower1hero #acinth$s, also a""arentl# called
?arciss$s, whose worshi" was introd$ced into 0#cenaean Greece, and
who named the late s$mmer month of #acinth$s in (rete, Rhodes,
(os, 6hera, and at 4"arta. :orian A"ollo $s$r"ed #acinth$s>s name at
6arent$m, where he had a hero tomb .Pol#bi$s/- and at Am#clae, a
0#cenaean cit#, another Htomb of #acinth$s> became the fo$ndation
of A"ollo>s throne. A"ollo was an immortal b# this time, #acinth$s
rei%ned onl# for a season, his death b# a disc$s recalls that of his
ne"hew Acrisi$s.
9. (oronis .Hcrow>/, mother of Ascle"i$s b# A"ollo, was "robabl# a
rifle of Athene>s- b$t the Athenians alwa#s denied that she had
children, and dis%$ised the m#th.
1=. In (lassical times, m$sic, "oetr#, "hiloso"h#, astronom#,
mathematics, medicine, and science came $nder A"ollo>s control. As
the enem# of barbarism, he stood for moderation in all thin%s, and the
seven strin%s of his l#re were connected with the seven vowels of the
later Greek al"habet, %iven m#stical si%nificance and $sed for
thera"e$tic m$sic. !inall#, beca$se of his identification with the (hild
or$s, a solar conce"t, he was worshi""ed as the s$n, whose
(orinthian c$lt had been taken over b# 4olar <e$s- and his sister
Artemis was, ri%htl#, identified with the moon.
11. (icero, in his essa# *n the Nature of the Gods, makes A"ollo son
of 'eto onl# the fo$rth of an ancient series, he distin%$ishes A"ollo son
of e"haest$s, A"ollo the father of the (retan (or#bantes, and the
A"ollo who %ave Arcadia its laws.
1*. A"ollo>s killin% of the P#thon is not, however, so sim"le a m#th as
at first a""ears, beca$se the stone om&halos on which the P#thoness
sat was traditionall# the tomb of the hero incarnate in the ser"ent,
whose oracles she delivered .es#chi$s s$b Arch$s>s 0o$nd- Barro, *n
the Latin Languages/. 6he ellenic "riest of A"ollo $s$r"ed the
f$nctions of the sacred kin% who, le%itimatel# and ceremoniall#, had
alwa#s killed his "redecessor, the hero. 6his is "roved b# the 4te"teria
rite recorded in Pl$tarch>s Wh *racles $re Silent, &ver# ninth #ear a
h$t re"resentin% a kin%>s dwellin% was b$ilt on the threshin% floor at
:el"hi and a ni%ht attack s$ddenl# made on it b# .. Uhere there is a %a"
in the acco$ntV ... 6he table of first1fr$its was overt$rned, the h$t set
on fire, and the torch1men fled from the sanct$ar# witho$t lookin%
behind them. Afterwards the #o$th who had taken "art in the deed
went to 6em"e for "$rification, whence he ret$rned in tri$m"h,
crowned and carr#in% a la$rel branch.
17. 6he s$dden concerted assa$lt on the inmate of the h$t recalls
the m#sterio$s m$rder of Rom$l$s b# his com"anions. It also recalls
the #earl# &$"honia sacrifice at Athens when the "riests who had killed
the <e$sIo3 with a do$ble1a3e, fled witho$t lookin% behind them- then
ate the flesh at a comm$nal feast, sta%ed a mimic res$rrection of the
o3, and bro$%ht $" the a3e for trial on a char%e of sacrile%e.
18. At :el"hi, as at (noss$s, the sacred kin% m$st have rei%ned $ntil
the ninth #ear. 6he bo# went to 6em"e do$btless beca$se the A"ollo
c$lt had ori%inated there.
$rte0is1s at2re $3d Deeds
AR6&0I4, A"ollo>s sister, %oes armed with bow and arrows and, like
him, has the "ower both to send "la%$es or s$dden death amon%
mortals, and to heal them. 4he is the "rotectress of little children, and
of all s$ckin% animals, b$t she also loves the chase, es"eciall# that of
b. 5ne da#, while she was still a three1#ear1old child, her father <e$s,
on whose knee she was sittin%, asked her what "resents she wo$ld
like. Artemis answered at once, HPra# %ive me eternal vir%init#- as
man# names as m# brother A"ollo- a bow and arrows like his- the office
of brin%in% li%ht- a saffron h$ntin% t$nic with a red hem reachin% to m#
knees- si3t# #o$n% ocean n#m"hs, all of the same a%e, as m# maids of
hono$r- twent# river n#m"hs from Amnis$s in (rete, to take care of m#
b$skins and feed m# ho$nds when I am not o$t shootin%- all the
mo$ntains in the world- and, lastl#, an# cit# #o$ care to choose for me,
b$t one will be eno$%h, beca$se I intend to live on mo$ntains most of
the time. )nfort$natel#, women in labo$r will often be invokin% me,
since m# mother 'eto carried and bore me witho$t "ains, and the !ates
have therefore made me "atroness of childbirth.>
c. 4he stretched $" for <e$s>s beard, and he smiled "ro$dl#, sa#in%,
HWith children like #o$, I need not fear era>s Gealo$s an%erO Co$ shall
have all this, and more besides, not one, b$t thirt# cities, and a share
in man# others, both on the mainland and in the archi"ela%o- and I
a""oint #o$ %$ardian of their roads and harbo$rs.>
d. Artemis thanked him, s"ran% from his knee, and went first to 0o$nt
'e$c$s in (rete, and ne3t to the 5cean stream, where she chose
n$mero$s nine1#ear1old n#m"hs for her attendants- their mothers were
deli%hted to let them %o. 5n e"haest$s>s invitation, she then visited
the (#clo"es on the Island of 'i"ara, and fo$nd them hammerin% awa#
at a horse1tro$%h for Poseidon. ;rontes, who had been instr$cted to
make whatever she wanted, took her on his knee- b$t, dislikin% his
endearments, she tore a handf$l of hair from his chest, where a bald
"atch remained to the da# of his death- an#one mi%ht have s$""osed
that he had the man%e. 6he n#m"hs were terrified at the wild
a""earance of the (#clo"es, and at the din of their smith#Iwell the#
mi%ht be, for whenever a little %irl is disobedient her mother threatens
her with ;rontes, Ar%es, or 4tero"es. ;$t Artemis boldl# told them to
abandon Poseidon>s tro$%h for a while, and make her a silver bow, with
a D$iverf$l of arrows, in ret$rn for which the# sho$ld eat the first "re#
she bro$%ht down. With these wea"ons she went to Arcadia, where Pan
was en%a%ed in c$ttin% $" a l#n3 to feed his bitches and their whel"s.
e %ave her three lo"1cared ho$nds, two "atti1colo$red and one
s"otted, to%ether ca"able of dra%%in% live lions back to their kennels-
and seven swift ho$nds from 4"arta.
e. avin% ca"t$red alive two co$"le of horned hinds, she harnessed
them to a %olden chariot with %olden bits, and drove north over
6hracian 0o$nt aem$s. 4he c$t her first "ine torch on 0#sian
5l#m"$s, and lit it at the cinders of a li%htnin%1str$ck tree. 4he tried
her silver bow fo$r times, her first two tar%ets were trees- her third, a
wild beast- her fo$rth, a cit# of $nG$st men.
f. 6hen she ret$rned to Greece, where the Amnisian n#m"hs $n#oked
her hinds, r$bbed them down, fed them on the same D$ick %rowin%
trefoil, from era>s "ast$re, which the steeds of <e$s eat, and watered
them from %olden tro$%h.
%. 5nce the River1%od Al"hei$s, son of 6hetis, dared fall in love with
Artemis and "$rs$e her across Greece- b$t she came to 'etrini in &lis
.or, some sa#, as far as the island of 5rt#%ia near 4#rac$se/, where she
da$bed her face, and those of all her n#m"hs, with white m$d, so that
she became indistin%$ishable from the rest of the com"an#. Al"hei$s
was forced to retire, "$rs$ed b# mockin% la$%hter.
h. Artemis reD$ires the same "erfect chastit# from her com"anions
as she "ractises herself. When <e$s had sed$ced one of them, (allisto,
da$%hter of '#caon, Artemis noticed that she was with child. (han%in%
her into a bear, she sho$ted to the "ack, and (allisto wo$ld have been
h$nted to death had she not been ca$%ht $" to eaven b# <e$s who,
later, set her ima%e amon% the stars. ;$t some sa# that <e$s himself
chan%ed (allisto into a bear, and that Gealo$s era arran%ed for
Artemis to chase her in error. (allisto>s child, Arcas, was saved, and
became the ancestor of the Arcadians.
i. 5n another occasion, Actaeon, son of Aristae$s, stood leanin%
a%ainst a rock near 5rchomen$m when he ha""ened to see Artemis
bathin% in a stream not far off, and sta#ed to watch. 'est he sho$ld
afterwards dare boast to his com"anions that she had dis"la#ed herself
naked in his "resence, she chan%ed him into a sta% and, with his own
"ack of fift# ho$nds, tore him to "ieces.
1. 6he 0aiden of the 4ilver ;ow, whom the Greeks enrolled in the
5l#m"ian famil#, was the #o$n%est member of the Artemis 6riad,
H$rtemis1 bein% one more title of the 6ri"le 0oon1%oddess- and had a
ri%ht therefore to feed her hinds on trefoil, a s#mbol of trinit#. er silver
bow stood for the new moon. Cet the 5l#m"ian Artemis was more than
a 0aiden. &lsewhere, at &"hes$s, for instance, she was worshi""ed in
her second "erson, as ?#m"h, an or%iastic A"hrodite with a male
consort, and the date1"alm, sta%, and bee for her "rinci"al emblems.
er midwifer# belon%s, rather, to the (rone, as do her arrows of death-
and the nine1#ear1old "riestesses are a reminder that the moon>s death
n$mber is three times three. 4he recalls the (retan H'ad# of the Wild
6hin%s>, a""arentl# the s$"reme ?#m"h1%oddess of archaic totem
societies- and the rit$al bath in which Actaeon s$r"rised her, like the
horned hinds of her chariot and the D$ails of 5rt#%ia, seems more
a""ro"riate to the ?#m"h than the 0aiden. Actaeon was, it seems, a
sacred kin% of the "re1ellenic sta% c$lt, torn to "ieces at the end of
his rei%n of fift# months, namel# half a Great Cear- his co1kin%, or
tanist, rei%nin% for the remainder. 6he ?#m"h "ro"erl# took her bath
after, not before, the m$rder. 6here are n$mero$s "arallels to this
rit$al c$stom in Irish and Welsh m#th, and as late as the first cent$r#
A: a man dressed in a sta%>s skin was "eriodicall# chased and killed on
the Arcadian 0o$nt '#cae$m .Pl$tarch, Gree( 9uestions/. 6he ho$nds
will have been white with red ears, like the Hho$nds of ell> in (eltic
m#tholo%#. 6here was a fifth horned hind which esca"ed Artemis.
*. 6he m#th of her "$rs$it b# Al"hei$s seems modelled on that of his
ho"eless "$rs$it of Areth$sa which t$rned her into a s"rin% and him
into a river .Pa$sanias/, and ma# have been invented to acco$nt for
the %#"s$m, or white cla#, with which the "riestesses of Artemis
Al"heia at 'etrini and 5rt#%ia da$bed their faces in hono$r of the
White Goddess. $l&h denotes both whiteness and cereal "rod$ce,
al&hos is le"ros#- al&he is %ain- al&hiton is "earl barle#- $l&hito was the
White Grain1%oddess as 4ow. Artemis>s most famo$s stat$e at Athens
was called Hthe White1browed> .Pa$sanias/. 6he meanin% of Artemis is
do$btf$l, it ma# be Hstron%1limbed>, from artemes- or Hshe who c$ts
$">, since the 4"artans called her Artamis, from artao- or Hthe loft#
convener>, from airo and themis- or the Htherais1 s#llable ma# mean
Hwater>, beca$se the moon was re%arded as the so$rce of all water.
7. 5rt#%ia, HL$ail Island>, near :elos, was also sacred to Artemis.
8. 6he m#th of (allisto has been told to acco$nt for the two small %irls,
dressed as she1bears, who a""eared in the Attic festival of ;ra$ronian
Artemis, and for the traditional conne3ion between Artemis and the
Great ;ear. ;$t an earlier version of the m#th ma# be "res$med, in
which <e$s sed$ced Artemis, altho$%h she first transformed herself
into a bear and then da$bed her face with %#"s$m, in an attem"t to
esca"e him. Artemis was, ori%inall#, the r$ler of the stars, b$t lost
them to <e$s.
5. Wh# ;rontes had his hair "l$cked o$t is do$btf$l- (allimach$s ma#
be "la#f$ll# referrin% to some well1known "ict$re of the event, in which
the "aint had worn awa# from the (#clo"s> chest.
+. As H'ad# of Wild 6hin%s>, or "atroness of all the totem clans,
Artemis had been ann$all# offered a livin% holoca$st of totem beasts,
birds, and "lants, and this sacrifice s$rvived in (lassical time at Patrae,
a (al#donian cit# .Pa$sanias/- she was there called Artemis 'a"hria. At
0essene a similar b$rnt sacrifice was offered to her b# the ($retes, as
totem1clan re"resentatives- and another is recorded from iera"ohs,
where the victims were h$n% to the trees of an artificial forest inside
the %oddess>s tem"le .'$cian, *n the Srian Goddess/. 6he olive1tree
was sacred to Athene, the date1"alm to Isis and 'at. A 0iddle 0inoan
bead1seal in m# "ossession shows the %oddess standin% beside a
"alm, dressed in a "alm1leaf skirt, and with a small "alm1tree held in
her hand- she watches a ?ew Cear b$ll1calf bein% born from a
datecl$ster. 5n the other side of the tree is a d#in% b$ll, evidentl# the
ro#al b$ll of the 5ld Cear.
&e4haest2s1s at2re $3d Deeds
&PA&46)4, the 4mith1%od, was so weakl# at birth that his
dis%$sted mother, era, dro""ed him from the hei%ht of 5l#m"$s, to
rid herself of the embarrassment that his "itif$l a""earance ca$sed
her. e s$rvived this misadvent$re, however, witho$t bodil# dama%e,
beca$se he fell into the sea, where 6hetis and &$r#nome were at hand
to resc$e him. 6hese %entle %oddesses ke"t him with them in an
$nderwater %rotto, where he set $" his first smith# and rewarded their
kindness b# makin% them all sorts of ornamental and $sef$l obGects.
5ne da#, when nine #ears had "assed, era met 6hetis, who ha""ened
to be wearin% a brooch of his workmanshi", and asked, H0# dear,
where in the world did #o$ find that wonderf$l GewelJ>
6hetis hesitated before re"l#in%, b$t era forced the tr$th from her. At
once she fetched e"haest$s back to 5l#m"$s, where she set him
$"on a m$ch finer smith#, with twent# bellows workin% da# and ni%ht,
made m$ch of him, and arran%ed that he sho$ld marr# A"hrodite.
b. e"haest$s became so far reconciled with era that he dared
re"roach <e$s himself for han%in% her b# the wrists from eaven when
she rebelled a%ainst him. ;$t silence wo$ld have been wiser, beca$se
an%r# <e$s onl# heaved him down from 5l#m"$s a second time. e
was a whole da# failin%. 5n strikin% the earth of the island of 'emnos,
he broke both le%s and, tho$%h immortal, had little life left in his bod#
when the islanders fo$nd him. Afterwards "ardoned and restored to
5l#m"$s, he co$ld walk onl# with %olden le%1s$""orts.
c. e"haest$s is $%l# and ill1tem"ered, b$t has %reat "ower in his arms
and sho$lders, and all his work is of matchless skill. e once made a
set of %olden mechanical women to hel" him in his smith#- the# can
even talk, and $ndertake the most diffic$lt tasks he entr$sts to them.
And he owns a set of three1le%%ed tables with %olden wheels, ran%ed
aro$nd his worksho", which can r$n b# themselves to a meetin% of the
%ods, and back a%ain.

1. e"haest$s and Athene shared tem"les at Athens, and his name
ma# be a worn1down form of hemero6&haistos, Hhe who shines b# da#>
.i.e. the s$n/, whereas Athene was the moon1%oddess, Hshe who shines
b# ni%ht>, "atroness of smith craft and of all mechanical arts. It is not
%enerall# reco%niAed that ever# ;ronAe A%e tool, wea"on, or $tensil
had ma%ical "ro"erties, and that the smith was somethin% of a
sorcerer. 6h$s, of the three "ersons of the ;ri%it 0oon1triad, one
"resided o "oets, another over smiths, the third over "h#sicians. When
the %oddess has been dethroned the smith is elevated to %odhead.
6hat the 4mith hobbles is a tradition fo$nd in re%ions as far a"art as
West Africa and 4candinavia- in "rimitive times smiths ma# have been
"$r"osel# lamed to "revent them from r$nnin% off and Goinin% enem#
tribes. ;$t hobblin% "artrid%e1dance was also "erformed in erotic
or%ies connected with the m#steries of smith craft and, since
e"haest$s has married A"hrodite, he ma# have been hobbled onl#
once a #ear, at 4"rin% !estival.
0etall$r%# first reached Greece from the Ae%ean Islands. 6he
im"ortation of finel# worked elladic bronAe and %old "erha"s
acco$nts for m#th that e"haest$s was %$arded in a 'emnian %rotto
b# 6hetis and &$r#nome, titles of the 4ea1%oddess who created the raft
verse. 6he nine #ears which he s"ent in the %rotto show his
s$bservience to the moon. is fall, like that of (e"hal$s, 6alos, 4ciron,
I"hit$s, and others, was the common fate of the sacred kin%s in man#
"arts of Greece when their rei%ns ended. 6he %olden le%1s$""orts were
"erha"s desi%ned to raise his sacred heel from the %ro$nd.
*. e"haest$s>s twent# three1le%%ed tables have, it seems, m$ch
same ori%in as the Gasterocheires who b$ilt 6ir#ns, %olden s$n1disks
with three le%s, like the heraldic device of the Isle of 0an, do$btless
borderin% some earl# icon which showed e"haest$s bein% married to
A"hrodite. 6he# re"resent three1season #ears, and denote len%th of his
rei%n- he dies at the be%innin% of the twentieth #ear when a close
a""ro3imation of solar and l$nar time occ$rs- this c#cle officiall#
reco%niAed at Athens onl# towards the close of the fifth cent$r# ;(, b$t
had been discovered several h$ndred #ears before .White Goddess/.
e"haest$s was connected with B$lcan>s fort in the volcanic 'iar
islands beca$se 'emnos, a seat of his worshi", volcanic and a Get of
nat$ral as"halted %as which iss$ed from the s$mmit 0o$nt 0osch#l$s
had b$rned steadil# for cent$ries .6AetAes, *n Lco&hron- es#chi$s
s$b 0osch#l$s/. A similar Get, described b# ;isho" 0ethodi$s in the
fo$rth cent$r# A.:, b$rned on 0o$nt 'emnos in '#cia and was still
active in 18=1. e"haest$s had a shrine on both those mo$ntains.
'emnos ."robabl# from leibein, Hshe who "o$rs o$t>/ was name of the
Great Goddess of this matriarchal island .ecatae$s, D$oted b#
4te"han$s of ;#Aanti$m s$b 'emnos/.
65)G the "riestesses of :emeter, %oddess of the cornfield,
initiate brides and bride%rooms into the secrets of the co$ch, she has
no h$sband of her own. While still #o$n% and %a#, she bore (ore and
the l$st# Iacch$s to <e$s, her brother, o$t of wedlock. 4he also bore
Pl$t$s to the 6itan Iasi$s, or Iasion, with whom she fell in love at the
weddin% of (adm$s and armonia. Inflamed b# the nectar which
flowed like water at the feast, the lovers sli""ed o$t of the ho$se and
la# to%ether o"enl# in a thriceI"lo$%hed field. 5n their ret$rn, <e$s
%$essin% from their demeano$r and the m$d on their arms and le%s
what the# had been at, and enra%ed that Iasi$s sho$ld have dared to
to$ch :emeter, str$ck him dead with a th$nderbolt. ;$t some sa# that
Iasi$s was killed b# his brother :ardan$s, or torn to "ieces b# his own
b. :emeter herself has a %entle so$l, and &r#sichthon, son of 6ro"ias,
was one of the few men with whom she ever dealt harshl#. At the head
of twent# com"anions, &r#sichthon dared invade a %rove which the
Pelas%ians had "lanted for her at :oti$m, and be%an c$ttin% down the
sacred trees, to "rovide timber for his new banD$etin% hall. :emeter
ass$med the form of ?ici""e, "riestess of the %rove, and mildl#
ordered &r#sichthon to desist. It was onl# when he threatened her with
his a3e that she revealed herself in s"lendo$r and condemned him to
s$ffer "er"et$al h$n%er, however m$ch he mi%ht eat. ;ack he went to
dinner, and %or%ed all da# at his "arentsM e3"ense, %rowin% h$n%rier
and thinner the more he ate, $ntil the# co$ld no lon%er afford to kee"
him s$""lied with food, and he became a be%%ar in the streets, eatin%
frith. (ontrariwise, on Pandare$s the (retan, who stole <e$sMs %olden
do% and th$s aven%ed her for the killin% of Iasi$s, :emeter bestowed
the ro#al %ift of never s$fferin% from the bell#Iache.
c. :emeter lost her %aiet# for ever when #o$n% (ore, afterwards called
Perse"hone, was taken from her. ades fell in love with (ore, and went
to ask <e$sMs leave to marr# her. <e$s feared to offend his eldest
brother b# a downri%ht ref$sal, b$t knew also that :emeter wo$ld not
for%ive him if (ore were committed to 6artar$s- he therefore answered
"oliticall# that he co$ld neither %ive nor withhold his consent. 6his
emboldened ades to abd$ct the %irl, as she was "ickin% flowers in a
meadow I it ma# have been at 4icilian &nna- or at Attic (olon$s- or at
ermione- or somewhere in (rete, or near Pisa, or near 'erna- or
beside Arcadian Phene$s, or at ;oeotian ?#sa, or an#where else in the
widel# se"arated re%ions which :emeter visited in her wanderin%
search for (ore. ;$t her own "riests sa# that it was at &le$sis. 4he
so$%ht (ore witho$t rest for nine da#s and ni%hts, neither eatin% nor
drinkin%, and callin% fr$itlessl# all the while. 6he onl# news she co$ld
%et came from old ecate, who earl# one mornin% had heard (ore
cr#in% HA ra"eO A ra"eOM b$t, on h$rr#in% to the resc$e, fo$nd no si%n of
d. 5n the tenth da#, after a disa%reeable enco$nter with Poseidon
amon% the herds of 5ne$s, :emeter came in dis%$ise to &le$sis, where
Fin% (ele$s and his wife 0etaneira entertained her hos"itabl#- and she
was invited to remain as wetIn$rse to :emo"hoEn, the newl#Iborn
"rince. 6heir lame da$%hter Iambe tried to console :emeter with
comicall# lascivio$s verses, and the dr#In$rse, old ;a$bo, "ers$aded
her to drink barle#Iwater b# a Gest, she %roaned as if in travail and,
$ne3"ectedl#, "rod$ced from beneath her skirt :emeter>s own son
Iaach$s, who lea"ed into his mother>s arms and kissed her.
e. H5h, how %reedil# #o$ drinkO> cried Abas, an elder son of (ele$s>s, as
:emeter %$l"ed the "itcherf$l of barle#Iwater, which was flavo$red
with mint. :emeter threw him a %rim look, and he was metamor"hosed
into a liAard. 4omewhat ashamed of herself, :emeter now decided to
do (ele$s a service, b# makin% :emo"hoEn immortal. 6hat ni%ht she
held him over the fire, to b$rn awa# his mortalit#. 0etaneira, who was
the da$%hter of Am"hic#on, ha""ened to enter the hall before the
"rocess was com"lete, and broke the s"ell- so :emo"hoEn died. H0ine
is an $nl$ck# ho$seO> (ele$s com"lained, wee"in% at the fate of his
two sons, and thereafter was called :#sa$les, H:r# #o$r tears,
:#sa$les,> said :emeter, HCo$ will have three sons, incl$din%
6ri"tolem$s on whom I intend to confer s$ch %reat %ifts that #o$ will
for%et #o$r do$ble loss.>
f. !or 6ri"tolem$s who herded his father>s cattle, had reco%niAed
:emeter and %iven her the news she needed, ten da#s before this his
brothers &$mol"$s, a she"herd, and &$b$le$s, a swineherd, had been
o$t in the fields, feedin% their beasts, when the earth s$ddenl# %a"ed
o"en, en%$lfin% &$b$le$s>s swine before his ver# e#es- then, with a
heav# th$d of hooves, a chariot drawn b# black horses a""eared, and
dashed down the chasm. 6he chariotIdriver>s face was invisible, b$t
his ri%ht arm was ti%htl# clas"ed aro$nd a shriekin% %irl. &$mol"$s had
been told of the event b# &$b$le$s, and made it the s$bGect for a
%. Armed with this evidence, :emeter s$mmoned ecate.
6o%ether the# a""roached eli$s, who sees ever#thin%, and forced him
to admit that ades had been the villain, do$btless with the
connivance of his brother <e$s. :emeter was so an%r# that, instead of
ret$rnin% to 5l#m"$s, she contin$ed to wander abo$t the earth,
forbiddin% the trees to #ield fr$it and the herbs to %row, $ntil the race
of men stood in dan%er of e3tinction. <e$s, ashamed to visit :emeter
in "erson at &le$sis, sent her first a messa%e b# Iris .of which she took
no notice/, and then a de"$tation of the 5l#m"ian %ods, with
conciliator# %ifts, be%%in% her to be reconciled to his will. ;$t she
wo$ld not ret$rn to 5l#m"$s, and swore that the earth m$st remain
barren $ntil (ore had been restored.
h. 5nl# one co$rse of action remained for <e$s. e sent ermes with a
messa%e to ades, HIf #o$ do not restore (ore, we are all $ndoneO> and
with another to :emeter, HCo$ ma# have #o$r da$%hter a%ain, on the
sin%le condition that she has not #et tasted the food of the dead.>
i. ;eca$se (ore had ref$sed to eat so m$ch as a cr$st of bread ever
since her abd$ction, ades was obli%ed to cloak his ve3ation, tellin%
her mildl#, H0# child, #o$ seem to be $nha""# here, and #o$r mother
wee"s for #o$. I have therefore decided to send #o$ home.>
G. (ore>s tears ceased to flow, and ermes hel"ed her to mo$nt his
chariot, ;$t, G$st as she was settin% off for &le$sis, one of ades>
%ardeners, b# name Ascala"h$s, be%an to cr# and hoot derisivel#.
Havin% seen the 'ad# (ore,> he said, H"ick a "ome%ranate from a tree
in #o$r orchard, and eat seven seeds, I am read# to bear witness that
she has tasted the food of the deadO> ades %rinned, and told
Ascala"h$s to "erch on the back of ermes>s chariot.
k. At &le$sis, :emeter Go#f$ll# embraced (ore- b$t, on hearin% abo$t
the "ome%ranate, %rew more deGected than ever, and said a%ain, HI will
neither ret$rn to 5l#m"$s, nor remove m# c$rse from the land.> <e$s
then "ers$aded Rhea, the mother of ades, :emeter, and himself, to
"lead with her- and a com"romise was at last reached. (ore sho$ld
s"end three months of the #ear in ades>s com"an#, as L$een of
6artar$s, with the title of Perse"hone, and the remainin% nine in
:emeter>s. ecate offered to make s$re that this arran%ement was
ke"t, and to kee" constant watch on (ore.
l. :emeter finall# consented to ret$rn home. ;efore leavin% &le$sis,
she instr$cted 6ri"tolem$s, &$mol"$s, and (ele$s .to%ether with
:iocles, Fin% of Pherae, who had been assid$o$sl# searchin% for (ore
all the while/ in her worshi" and m#steries. ;$t she "$nished
Ascala"h$s for his taleIbearin% b# "$shin% him down a hole and
coverin% it with an enormo$s rock, from which he was finall# released
b# eracles- and then she chan%ed him into a shortIeared owl. 4he
also rewarded the Pheneations of Arcadia, in whose ho$se she rested
after Poseidon had o$tra%ed her, with all kinds of %rain, b$t forbade
them to sow beans. 5ne (#amites was the first who dared do so- he
has a shrine b# the river (e"hiss$s. 6ri"tolem$s she s$""lied with seed
Icorn, a wooden "lo$%h, and a chariot drawn b# ser"ents- and sent
him all over the world to teach mankind the art of a%ric$lt$re. ;$t first
she %ave him lessons on the Rarian Plain, which is wh# some call him
the son of Fin% Rar$s. And to Ph#tal$s, who had treated her kindl# on
the banks of the (e"hiss$s, she %ave a fi%Itree, the first ever seen in
Attica, and ta$%ht him how to c$ltivate it.
1. (ore, Perse"hone, and ecate were, clearl#, the Goddess in 6riad
as 0aiden, ?#m"h, and (rone, at a time when onl# women "ractised
the m#steries of a%ric$lt$re. (ore stands for the %reen corn,
Perse"hone for the ri"e ears, and ecate for the harvested cornIthe
Hcarline wife> of the &n%lish co$ntr#side. ;$t :emeter was the
%oddess>s %eneral title, and Perse"hone>s name has been %iven to
(ore, which conf$ses the stor#. 6he m#th of :emeter>s advent$re in
the thrice1"lo$%hed field "oints to a fertilit# rite, which s$rvived $ntil
recentl# in the ;alkans, the corn "riestess will have o"enl# co$"led
with the sacred kin% at the a$t$mn sowin% in order to ens$re a %ood
harvest. In Attica the field was first "lo$%hed in s"rin%- then, after the
s$mmer harvest, cross1"lo$%hed with a li%hter share- finall#, when
sacrifices had been offered to the 6illa%e %ods, "lo$%hed a%ain in the
ori%inal direction d$rin% the a$t$mn month of P#ane"sion, as a
"reliminar# for sowin% .esiod, Wor(s and +as- Pl$tarch, *n Isis and
*siris- $gainst Colores/.
*. Perse"hone .from &hero and &honos, Hshe who brin%s destr$ction>/,
also called Perse"hatta at Athens .from &tersis and e&ha&to, Hshe who
fi3es destr$ction>/ and Proser"ina .Hthe fearf$l one>/ at Rome was, it
seems, a title of the ?#m"h when she sacrificed the sacred kin%. 6he
title Hecate> .Hone h$ndred>/ a""arentl# refers to the h$ndred l$nar
months of his rei%n, and to the h$ndredfold harvest. 6he kin%>s death
b# a th$nderbolt, or b# the teeth of horses, or at the hands of the
tanist, was his common fate in "rimitive Greece.
7. (ore>s abd$ction b# ades forms "art of the m#th in which the
ellenic trinit# of %ods forcibl# marr# the "re1ellenic 6ri"le1%oddessI
<e$s era- <e$s or Poseidon :emeter- ades (oreIas in Irish m#th
;rian, I$char, and I$charba marr# the 6ri"le1%oddess &ire, !odhla, and
;anbha. It refers to male $s$r"ation of the female a%ric$lt$ral
m#steries in "rimitive times. 6h$s the incident of :emeter>s ref$sal to
"rovide corn for mankind is onl# another version of Ino>s cons"irac# to
destro# Athamas>s harvest. !$rther, the (ore m#th acco$nts for the
winter b$rial of a female corn1"$""et, which was $ncovered in the
earl# s"rin% and fo$nd to be s"ro$tin%, this "re1ellenic c$stom
s$rvived in the co$ntr#side in (lassical times, and is ill$strated b#
vase1"aintin%s of men freein% (ore from a mo$nd of earth with
mattocks, or breakin% o"en 0other &arth>s head with a3es.
8. 6he stor# of &r#sichthon, son of 6ro"ias, is moral anecdote, amon%
the Greeks, as amon% the 'atin and earl# Irish, the fellin% of a sacred
%rove carried the death "enalt#. ;$t a des"erate and $seless h$n%er
for food, which the &liAabethans called Hthe wolf>, wo$ld not be an
a""ro"riate "$nishment for tree1fellin%, and &r#sichthon>s nameIalso
borne b# a son of (ecro"sIthe "atriarchalist and introd$cer of barle#1
cakesImeans Hearth1rearer>, which s$%%ests that his real crime was
darin% to "lo$%h witho$t :emeter>s consent, like Athamas. Pandare$s>s
stealin% of the %olden do% s$%%ests (retan intervention m Greece,
when the Achaeans tried to reform a%ric$lt$ral rit$al. 6his do%, taken
from the &arth1%oddess, seems to have been the visible "roof of the
Achaean i%h Fin%>s inde"endence of her.
5. 6he m#ths of #las .Hof the woodland>/, Adonis, 'it#erses, and
'in$s describe the ann$al mo$rnin% for the sacred kin%, or his bo#1
s$rro%ate, sacrificed to "lacate the %oddess of ve%etation. 6his same
s$rro%ate a""ears in the le%end of 6ri"tolem$s, who rode in a ser"ent1
drawn chariot and carried sacks of corn, to s#mboliAe that his death
bro$%ht wealth. e was also Pl$t$s .Hwealth>/, be%otten in the
"lo$%hed field, from whom ades>s e$"hemistic title HPl$to> is
borrowed. 6ri"tolem$s .tri&tolmaios, Hthrice darin%>/ ma# be a title
awarded the sacred kin% for havin% three times dared to "lo$%h the
field and co$"le with the corn1"riestess. (ele$s, :iocles, and
&$mol"$s, whom :emeter ta$%ht the art of a%ric$lt$re, re"resent
"riestl# heads of the Am"hict#onic 'ea%$eI0etaneira is described as
Am"hict#on>s da$%hterIwho hono$red her at &le$sis.
+. It was at &le$sis .Hadvent>/, a 0#cenaean cit#, that the %reat
&le$sinian 0#steries were celebrated, in the month called ;oedromion
.Hr$nnin% for hel">/. :emeter>s ecstatic initiates s#mbolicall#
cons$mmated her love affair with Iasi$s, or 6ri"tolem$s, or <e$s, in an
inner recess of the shrine, b# workin% a "hallic obGect $" and down a
woman>s to"1boot- hence &le$sis s$%%ests a wornIdown derivative of
,ilthuies, HUthe tem"leV of her who ra%es in a l$rkin% "lace>. 6he
m#sta%o%$es, dressed as she"herds, then entered with Go#f$l sho$ts,
and dis"la#ed a winnowin%1fan, containin% the child ;ran$s, son of
;rimo .Han%r# one>/, the immediate fr$it of this rit$al marria%e. ;rimo
was a title of :emeter>s, and ;rim$sIs#non#m for Pl$t$s- b$t his
celebrants knew him best as Iacch$sIfrom the rioto$s h#mn, the
Iacch$s, which was s$n% on the si3th da# of the 0#steries d$rin% a
torchli%ht "rocession from :emeter>s tem"le.
9. &$mol"$s re"resents the sin%in% she"herds who bro$%ht in the
child- 6ri"tolem$s is a cowherd, in service to Io the 0oon1%oddess as
cow, who watered the seed1corn- and &$b$le$s a swineherd, in service
to the %oddess 0ar"essa, Phorcis, (hoere, or (erdo, the 4ow1%oddess,
who made the corn s"ro$t. &$b$le$s was the first to reveal (ore>s fate,
beca$se Hswineherd>, in earl# &$ro"ean m#th, means soothsa#er, or
ma%ician. 6h$s &$mae$s .Hsearchin% well>/, 5d#sse$s>s swineherd, is
addressed as dios .H%od1like>/- and tho$%h, b# (lassical times,
swineherds had lon% ceased to e3ercise their "ro"hetic art, swine were
still sacrificed to :emeter and Perse"hone b# bein% thrown down
nat$ral chasms. &$b$le$s is not said to have benefited from :emeter>s
instr$ction, "robabl# beca$se her c$lt as 4ow1%oddess had been
s$""ressed at &le$sis.
8. H'arus1, whether it means Han abortive child>, or Ha womb>, is an
ina""ro"riate name for a kin%, and will have referred to the womb
(orn1mother from which the corn s"ran%.
9. Iambe and ;a$bo "ersonif# the obscene son%s, in iambic metre,
which were s$n% to relieve emotional tension at the &le$sinian
0#steries- b$t Iambe, :emeter, and ;a$bo form the familiar triad of
maiden, n#m"h, and crone. 5ld n$rses in Greek m#th nearl# alwa#s
stand for the %oddess as (rone. Abas was t$rned into a liAard, beca$se
liAards are fo$nd in the hottest and driest "laces, and can live witho$t
water- this is a moral anecdote told to teach children res"ect for their
elders and reverence for the %ods.
1=. 6he stor# of :emeter>s attem"t to make :emo"hoEn immortal is
"aralleled in the m#ths of 0edea and 6hetis. It refers, "artl#, to the
wides"read "rimitive c$stom of Hshinin%> children a%ainst evil s"irits
with sacred fire carried aro$nd them at birth, or with a hot %riddle set
$nder them- "artl# to the c$stom of b$rnin% bo#s to death, as a
vicario$s sacrifice for the sacred kin%, and so conferrin% immortalit# on
them. (ele$s, the name of :emo"hoEn>s father, can mean Hb$rner> as
well as Hwood"ecker> or Hsorcerer>.
11. A "rimitive taboo rested on red1colo$red food, which mi%ht be
offered to the dead onl#- and the "ome%ranate was s$""osed to have
s"r$n%Ilike the ei%ht1"etalled scarlet anemoneIfrom the blood of
Adonis, or 6amm$A. 6he seven "ome%ranate seeds re"resent, "erha"s,
the seven "hases of the moon d$rin% which farmers wait for the %reen
corn1shoots to a""ear. ;$t Perse"hone eatin% the "ome%ranate is
ori%inall# 4heol, the Goddess of ell, devo$rin% 6amm$A- while Ishtar
.4heol herself in a different %$ise/ wee"s to "lacate his %host. era, as
a former :eath1%oddess, also held a "ome%ranate.
1*. 6he ascala&hos, or short1eared owl, was a bird of evil omen- and
the fable of his tale1bearin% is told to acco$nt for the noisiness of owls
in ?ovember, before the three winter months of (ore>s absence be%in.
eracles released Ascala"h$s.
17. :emeter>s %ift of the fi% to Ph#tal$s, whose famil# was a leadin%
one in Attica, means no more than that the "ractice of fi% ca"rification
I"olloniAin% the domestic tree with a branch of the wild oneIceased
to be a female "rero%ative at the same time as a%ric$lt$re. 6he taboo
on the "lantin% of beans b# men seems to have s$rvived later than
that on %rain, beca$se of the close conne3ion between beans and
%hosts. In Rome beans were thrown to %hosts at the All 4o$ls> festival,
and if a "lant %rew from one of these, and a woman ate its beans, she
wo$ld be im"re%nated b# a %host. ence the P#tha%oreans abstained
from beans lest the# mi%ht den# an ancestor his chance of
18. :emeter is said to have reached Greece b# wa# of (rete,
landin% at 6horic$s in Attica .!mn to +emeter/. 6his is "robable, the
(retans had established themselves in Attica, where the# first worked
the silver mines at 'a$rei$m. 0oreover, &le$sis is a 0#cenaean site,
and :iodor$s 4ic$l$s sa#s that rites akin to the &le$sinian were
"erformed at (noss$s for all who cared to attend, and that accordin%
to the (retans all rites of initiation were invented b# their ancestors.
:emeter>s ori%in is to be looked for in 'ib#a.
15. 6he flowers which, accordin% to 5vid, (ore was "ickin% were
"o""ies. An ima%e of a %oddess with "o""#1heads in her headdress,
fo$nd at GaAi in (rete- another %oddess on a mo$ld from Palaiokastro,
holds "o""ies in her hand- and on the %old rin% from the Acro"olis
6reas$re at 0#cenae a seated :emeter %ives three "o""#1heads to
standin% (ore. Po""#1seeds were $sed as a condiment on bread, th$s
"o""ies are nat$rall# associated with :emeter, since the# %row in co
fields- b$t (ore "icks or acce"ts "o""ies beca$se of their so"orific
D$alities, and beca$se of their scarlet colo$r which "romises
res$rrection after death. 4he is abo$t to retire for her ann$al slee".
$T&EE/* $T!RE $D DEED*
A6&?& invented the fl$te, the tr$m"et, the earthenware "ot,
the "lo$%h, the rake, the o3I#oke, the horseIbridle, the chariot, and
the shi". 4he first ta$%ht the science of n$mbers, and all womenMs arts,
s$ch as cookin%, weavin%, and s"innin%. Altho$%h a %oddess of war,
she %ets no "leas$re from battle, as Ares and &ris do, b$t rather from
settlin% dis"$tes, and $"holdin% the law b# "acific means. 4he bears
no arms in time of "eace and, if ever she needs an#, will $s$all#
borrow a set from <e$s. er merc# is %reat, when the G$d%esM votes are
eD$al in a criminal trial at Areio"a%$s, she alwa#s %ives a castin% vote
to liberate the acc$sed. Cet, once en%a%ed in battle, she never loses
the da#, even a%ainst Ares himself, bein% better %ro$nded in tactics
and strate%# than he- and wise ca"tains alwa#s a""roach her for
b. 0an# %ods, 6itans, and %iants wo$ld %ladl# have married Athene,
b$t she has re"$lsed all advances. 5n one occasion, in co$rse of the
6roGan War, not wishin% to borrow arms from <e$s, who had declared
himself ne$tral, she asked e"haest$s to make her a set of her own.
e"haest$s ref$sed "a#ment, sa#in% co#l# that he will $ndertake the
work for love- and when, missin% the im"lication these words, she
entered the smith# to watch him beat o$t the red1hot metal, he
s$ddenl# t$rned abo$t and tried to o$tra%e her. e"haest$s, who does
not often behave so %rossl#, was the victim of a malicio$s Goke,
Poseidon had G$st informed him that Athene was on her wa# to the
smith#, with <e$s>s consent, ho"ef$ll# e3"ectin% to have violent love
made to her. As she tore herself awa#, e"haest$s eGac$lated a%ainst
her thi%h, a little above the knee. 4he wi"ed off the seed with a
handf$l of wool, which she threw awa# in dis%$st- it fell to the %ro$nd
near Athens, and accidentall# fertiliAed 0other &arth, who was on a
visit them. Revolted at the "ros"ect of bearin% a child which
e"haest$s had tried to father on Athene, 0other &arth declared that
she wo$ld acce"t no res"onsibilit# for its $"brin%in%.
c. HBer# well,> said Athene, HI will take care of it m#self.> 4o she took
char%e of the infant as soon as he was born, called him &richthoni$s
and, not wishin% Poseidon to la$%h at the s$ccess of his "ractical Goke,
hid him in a sacred basket- this she %ave to A%la$ros, eldest da$%hter
of the Athenian Fin% (ecro"s, with orders to %$ard it caref$ll#.
d. (ecro"s, a son of 0other &arth and, like &richthoni$sIwhom some
s$""ose to have been his fatherI"art man, "art ser"ent, was the first
kin% to reco%niAe "aternit#. e married a da$%hter of Actae$s, the
earliest Fin% of Attica. e also instit$ted mono%am#, divided Attica into
twelve comm$nities, b$ilt tem"les to Athene, and abolished certain
blood# sacrifices in favor of sober barle#Icake offerin%s. is wife was
named A%ra$los- and his three da$%hters, A%la$ros, erse, and
Pandrosos, lived in a three1roomed ho$se on the Acro"olis. 5ne
evenin%, when the %irls had ret$rned from a festival, carr#in% Athene>s
sacred baskets on their heads, ermes bribed A%la$ros to %ive him
access to erse, the #o$n%est of the three, with whom he had fallen
violentl# in love. A%la$ros ke"t ermes>s %old, b$t did nothin% to earn
it, beca$se Athene had made her Gealo$s of erse>s %ood fort$ne- so
ermes strode an%ril# into the ho$se, t$rned A%la$ros to stone, and
had his will of erse. After erse had borne ermes two sons,
(e"hal$s, the beloved of &os, and (er#3, the first herald of the
&le$sinian 0#steries, she and Pandrosos and their mother A%ra$los
were c$rio$s eno$%h to "ee" beneath the lid of the basket which
A%la$ros had cradled. 4eein% a child with a ser"ent>s tail for le%s, the#
screamed in fear and, headed b# A%ra$los, lea"ed from the Acro"olis.
e. 5n learnin% of this fatalit#, Athene was so %rieved that she let fall
the enormo$s rock which she had been carr#in% to the Acro"olis as an
additional fortification, and it became 0o$nt '#cabett$s. As for the
crow that had bro$%ht her the news, she chan%ed its colo$r from white
to black, and forbade all crows ever a%ain to visit the Acro"olis.
&richthoni$s then took ref$%e in Athene>s aegis, where she reared him
so tenderl# that some mistook her for his mother. 'ater, he became
Fin% of Athens, where he instit$ted the worshi" of Athene, and ta$%ht
his fellow1citiAens the $se of silver. is ima%e was set amon% the stars
as the constellation A$ri%a, since he had introd$ced the fo$r1horse
f. Another, ver# different, acco$nt of A%ra$los>s death is c$rrent,
namel# that once, when an assa$lt was bein% la$nched a%ainst Athens,
she threw herself from the Acro"olis, in obedience to an oracle, and so
saved the da#. 6his version "$r"orts to e3"lain wh# all #o$n%
Athenians, on first takin% $" arms, visit the tem"le of A%ra$los and
there dedicate their lives to the cit#.
%. Athene, tho$%h as modest as Artemis, is far more %enero$s. When
6eiresias, one da#, accidentall# s$r"rised her in a bath, she laid her
hands over his e#es and blinded him, b$t %ave him inward si%ht b#
wa# of a com"ensation.
h. 4he is not recorded to have shown "et$lant Gealo$s# on more than a
sin%le occasion. 6his is the stor#. Arachne, a "rincess of '#dian
(olo"honIfamed for its "$r"le d#eIwas so skilled in the art of
weavin% that Athene herself co$ld not com"ete with her. 4hown a cloth
into which Arachne had woven ill$strations of 5l#m"ian love affairs,
the %oddess searched closel# to find a fa$lt b$t, $nable to do so, tore it
$" in a cold, ven%ef$l ra%e. When the terrified Arachne han%ed herself
from a rafter, Athene t$rned her into a s"iderIthe insect she hates
mostIand the ro"e into a cobweb, $" which Arachne climbed to
1. 6he Athenians made their %oddess>s maidenhood s#mbolic of the
cit#>s invincibilit#- and therefore dis%$ised earl# m#ths of her o$tra%e
b# Poseidon, and ;oreas- and denied that &richthoni$s, A"ollo, and
'#chn$s .Hlam">/ were her sons b# e"haest$s. 6he# derived
H&richthoni$s> from either erion, Hwool>, or eris, Hstrife>, and chthonos,
Hearth>, and invented the m#th of his birth to e3"lain the "resence, in
archaic "ict$res, of a ser"ent1child "ee"in% from the %oddess>s aegis.
Poseidon>s "art in the birth of &richthoni$s ma# ori%inall# have been a
sim"ler and more direct one- wh# else sho$ld &richthoni$s introd$ce
the Poseidonian fo$r1horse chariot into Athens.
*. Athene had been the 6ri"le1%oddess, and when the central "erson,
the Goddess as ?#m"h, was s$""ressed and m#ths relatin% to her
transferred to A"hrodite, 5reith#ia, or Alci""e, there remained the
0aiden clad in %oat1skins, who s"ecialiAed in war, and the (rone, who
ins"ired oracles and "resided over all the arts. &richthoni$s is "erha"s
an e3"anded form of &rechthe$s, meanin% Hfrom the land of heather>
rather than Hm$ch earth>, as is $s$all# said, the Athenians re"resented
him as a ser"ent with a h$man head, beca$se he was the hero, or
%host, of the sacrificed kin% who made the (rone>s wishes known. In
this (rone1as"ect, Athene was attended b# an owl and a crow. 6he
ardent ro#al famil# of Athens claimed descent from &richthoni$s and
&rechthe$s, and called themselves &rechtheids- the# $sed to wear
%olden ser"ents as am$lets and ke"t a sacred ser"ent in the
&rechthe$m. ;$t &richthoni$s was also a "rocreative wind from the
heather1clad mo$ntains, and Athene>s aegis .or a re"lica/ was taken to
all newl# married co$"les at Athens, to ens$re their fertilit# .4$idas s$b
7. 4ome of the finest (retan "ots are known to have been made b#
women, and so ori%inall#, no do$bt, were all the $sef$l instr$ments
invented b# Athene- b$t in (lassical Greece an artisan had to be a
man. 4ilver was at first a more val$able metal than %old, since harder
to refine, and sacred to the moon- Periclean Athens owed her "re1
eminence lar%el# to the rich silver mines at 'a$rei$m first worked b#
the (retans, which allowed her to im"ort food and b$# allies.
8. 6he occasion on which (ecro"s>s da$%hters lea"ed from the
Acro"olis ma# have been a ellenic ca"t$re of Athens, after which an
attem"t was made to force mono%am# on Athene>s "riestesses, as in
the m#th of alirrhothi$s. 6he# "referred death to dishono$rIhence
the oath taken b# the Athenian #o$ths at A%ra$los>s shrine. 6he other
stor# of A%ra$los>s death is merel# a moral anecdote, a warnin%
a%ainst the violation of Athene>s m#steries. HA%ra$los> was one more
title of the 0oon1%oddess, agraulos and its transliteration aglauros
mean m$ch the same thin%, agraulos bein% a omeric e"ithet for
she"herds, and aglauros .like herse and &androsos/ referrin% to the
moon as the re"$ted so$rce of the dew which refreshed the "ast$res.
At Athens %irls went o$t $nder the f$ll moon at mids$mmer to %ather
dewIthe same c$stom s$rvived in &n%land $ntil the last cent$r#Ifor
sacred "$r"oses. 6he festival was called the erse"horia, or Hdew1
%atherin%>- A%ra$los or A%ra$le was, in fact, a title of Athene herself,
and A%ra$le is said to have been worshi""ed in (#"r$s $ntil late times
.Por"h#r#/ with h$man sacrifices. A %old rin% from 0#cenae shows
three "riestesses advancin% towards a tem"le- the two leaders scatter
dew, the third ."res$mabl# A%ra$los/ has a branch tied to her elbow.
6he ceremon# "erha"s ori%inated in (rete. ermes>s sed$ction of
erse, for which he "aid A%la$ros in %old, m$st refer to the rit$al
"rostit$tion of "riestesses before an ima%e of the %oddessIA%la$ros
t$rned to stone. 6he sacred baskets carried on s$ch occasions will have
contained "hallic snakes and similar or%iastic obGects. Rit$al
"rostit$tion b# devotees of the 0oon1%oddess was "ractised in (rete,
(#"r$s, 4#ria, Asia 0inor, and Palestine.
5. Athene>s e3"$lsion of the crow is a m#thic variant of (ron$s>s
banishmentI(ron$s means Hcrow>Ithe tri$m"h, in fact, of
5l#m"ianism, with the introd$ction of which (ecro"s, who is reall#
5"hion1;oreas the Pelas%ian demi$r%e, has here been wron%l#
credited. 6he crow>s chan%e of colo$r recalls the name of Athene>s
Welsh co$nter"art, ;ranwen, Hwhite crow>, sister to ;ran. Athene was,
it seems, titled H(oronis H.
+. er ven%eance on Arachne ma# be more than G$st a "rett# fable, if it
records an earl# commercial rivalr# between the Athenians and the
'#dio1(arian thalassocrats, or sea1r$lers, who were of (retan ori%in.
?$mero$s seals with a s"ider emblem which have been fo$nd at
(retan 0ilet$sIthe mother cit# of (arian 0ilet$s was the lar%est
e3"orter of d#ed woollens in the ancient worldIs$%%est a "$blic te3tile
ind$str# o"erated there at the be%innin% of the second millenni$m ;(.
!or a while the 0ilesians controlled the "rofitable ;lack 4ea trade, and
had an enter"rises at ?a$cratis in &%#"t. Athene had %ood reason to
be Gealo$s of the s"ider.
9. An a""arent contradiction occ$rs in omer. Accordin% to the
Catalogue of the Shi&s .Iliad/, Athene set &rechthe$s down in her rich
tem"le at Athens- b$t, accordin% to the 5d#sse#, she %oes to Athens
and enters his stron% ho$se. 6he fact was that the sacred kin% had his
own D$arters in the L$een>s "alace where the %oddess>s ima%e was
ke"t. 6here were no tem"les in (rete or 0#cenaean Greece, onl#
domestic shrines or orac$lar cave.
)a31s at2re $3d Deeds
4&B&RA' "owerf$l %ods and %oddesses of Greece have never been
enrolled amon% the 5l#m"ian 6welve. Pan, for instance, a h$mble
fellow, now dead, was content to live on earth in r$ral Arcadia- and
ades, Perse"hone, and ecate know that their "resence is
$nwelcome on 5l#m"$s- and 0other &arth is far too old and set in her
wa#s to accommodate herself to the famil# life of her %randchildren
and %reat1%randchildren.
b. 4ome sa# that ermes fathered Pan on :r#o"e, da$%hter of :r#o"s-
or on the n#m"h 5eneis- or on Penelo"e, wife of 5d#sse$s, whom he
visited in the form of a ram- or on Amaltheia the Goat- e is said to
have been so $%l# at birth, with horns, beard, tail, and %oat le%s, that
his mother ran awa# from him in fear, and ermes carried him $" to
5l#m"$s for the %ods> am$sement. ;$t Pan was <e$s>s foster1brother,
and therefore far older than ermes, or than Penelo"e, on whom
.others sa#/ he was fathered b# all the s$itors who wooed her d$rin%
5d#sse$s>s absence. 4till others make him the son of (ron$s and Rhea-
or of <e$s b# #bris, which is the least im"robable acco$nt.
c. e lived in Arcadia, where he %$arded flocks, herds, and beehives,
took "art in the revels of the mo$ntain1n#m"hs, and hel"ed h$nters to
find their D$arr#. e was, on the whole, eas#1%oin% and laA#, lovin%
nothin% better than his afternoon slee", and reven%ed himself on those
who dist$rbed him with a s$dden lo$d sho$t from a %rove, or %rotto,
which made the hair bristle on their heads. Cet the Arcadians "aid him
so little res"ect that, if ever the# ret$rned em"t#1handed after a lon%
da#>s h$ntin%, the# dared sco$r%e him with sD$ills.
d. Pan sed$ced several n#m"hs, s$ch as &cho, who bore him I#n3 and
came to an $nl$ck# end for love of ?arciss$s- and &$"heme, n$rse of
the 0$ses, who bore him (rot$s, the ;owman in the <odiac. e also
boasted that he had co$"led with all :ion#s$s>s dr$nken 0aenads.
e. 5nce he tried to violate the chaste Pit#s, who esca"ed him onl# b#
bein% metamor"hosed into a fir1tree, a branch of which he afterwards
wore as a cha"let. 5n another occasion he "$rs$ed the chaste 4#rin3
from 0o$nt '#cae$m to the River 'adon, where she became a reed-
there, since he co$ld not distin%$ish her from amon% all the rest, he
c$t several reeds at random, and made them into a Pano"i"e. is
%reatest s$ccess in love was the sed$ction of 4elene, which he
accom"lished b# dis%$isin% his hair# black %oatishness with well1
washed white fleeces. ?ot realiAin% who he was, 4elene consented to
ride on his back, and let him do as he "leased with her.
f. 6he 5l#m"ian %ods, while des"isin% Pan for his sim"licit# and love of
riot, e3"loited his "owers. A"ollo wheedled die art of "ro"hec# from
him, and ermes co"ied a "i"e which he had let fall, claimed it as his
own invention, and sold it to A"ollo.
%. Pan is the onl# %od who has died in o$r time. 6he news of his death
came to one 6ham$s, a sailor in a shi" bo$nd for Ital# b# wa# of the
island of Pa3i. A divine voice sho$ted across the sea, H6ham$s, are #o$
thereJ When #o$ reach Palodes, take care to "roclaim that the %reat
%od Pan is deadO>, which 6ham$s did- and the news was %reeted from
the shore with %roans and laments.

1. Pan, whose name is $s$all# derived from &aein, Hto "ast$re>,
stands for the Hdevil>, or H$"ri%ht man>, of the Arcadian fertilit# c$lt,
which closel# resembled the witch c$lt of ?orth1western &$ro"e. 6his
man, dressed in a %oat1skin, was the chosen lover of the 0aenads
d$rin% their dr$nken or%ies on the hi%h mo$ntains, and sooner or later
"aid for his "rivile%e with death.
*. 6he acco$nts of Pan>s birth var# %reatl#. 4ince ermes was the
"ower resident in a "hallic stone which formed the centre of these
or%ies, the she"herds described their %od Pan as his son b# a
wood"ecker, a bird whose ta""in% is held to "ortend the welcome
s$mmer rain. 6he m#th that he fathered Pan on 5eneis is self1
e3"lanator#, tho$%h the ori%inal 0aenads $sed other into3icants than
wine- and the name of his re"$ted mother, Penelo"e .Hwith a web over
her face>/, s$%%ests that the 0aenads wore some form of war "aint for
their or%ies, recallin% the stri"es on the &enelo&e, a variet# of d$ck.
Pl$tarch sa#s that the 0aenads who killed 5r"he$s were tattooed b#
their h$sbands as a "$nishment- and a 0aenad whose le%s and arms
are tattooed with a webbed "attern a""ears on a vase at the ;ritish
0$se$m. ermes>s visit to Penelo"e in the form of a ramIthe ram
devil is as common in the ?orth1western witch c$lt as the %oatIher
im"re%nation b# all the s$itors, and the claim that Pan had co$"led
with ever# one of the 0aenads refers to the "romisc$o$s nat$re of the
revels in hono$r of the !ir1%oddess Pit#s or &late. 6he Arcadian
mo$ntaineers were the most "rimitive in Greece, and their more
civiliAed nei%hbo$rs "rofessed to des"ise them.
7. Pan>s son, the wr#neck, or make1bird, was a s"rin% mi%rant
em"lo#ed in erotic charms. 4D$ills contain an irritant "oisonIval$able
a%ainst mice and ratsIand were $sed as a "$r%e and di$retic before
takin% "art in a rit$al act- th$s sD$ill came to s#mboliAe the removal of
evil infl$ences .Plin#, Natural !istor/, and Pan>s ima%e was sco$r%ed
with sD$ill if %ame were scarce.
8. is sed$ction of 4elene m$st refer to a moonli%ht 0a# &ve or%#,
in which the #o$n% L$een of the 0a# rode $"on her $"ri%ht man>s
back before celebratin% a %reenwood marria%e with him. ;# this time
the ram c$lt had s$"erseded the %oat c$lt in Arcadia.
.5. 6he &%#"tian 6ham$s a""arentl# misheard the ceremonial
lament WThamus Pan6megas TethneceOT .Hthe all1%reat 6amm$A is
deadO>/ for the messa%e, H6ham$s, Great Pan is deadT. At an# rate,
Pl$tarch, a "riest at :el"hi in the latter half of the first cent$r# A:,
believed and "$blished it- #et when Pa$sanias made his to$r of Greece,
abo$t a cent$r# later, he fo$nd Pan>s shrines, altars, sacred caves, and
sacred mo$ntains still m$ch freD$ented.
Dio3ys2s1s at2re $3d Deeds
5? era>s orders the 6itans seiAed <e$s>s newl#1born son :ion#s$s, a
horned child crowned with ser"ents and, des"ite his transformations,
tore him into shreds. 6hese the# boiled in a ca$ldron, while a
"ome%ranate s"ro$ted from the soil where his blood had fallen- b$t,
resc$ed and reconstit$ted b# his %randmother Rhea, he came to life
a%ain. Perse"hone, now entr$sted with his char%e b# <e$s, bro$%ht
him to Fin% Athamas of 5rchomen$s and his wife Ino, whom she
"ers$aded to rear the child in the women>s D$arters, dis%$ised as a
%irl. ;$t era co$ld not be deceived, and "$nished the ro#al "air with
madness, so that Athamas killed their son 'earch$s, mistakin% him for
a sta%.
b. 6hen, on <e$s>s instr$ctions, ermes tem"oraril# transformed
:ion#s$s into a kid or a ram, and "resented him to the n#m"hs 0acris,
?#sa, &rato, ;romia, and ;acche, of eliconian 0o$nt ?#sa. 6he#
tended :ion#s$s in a cave, cosseted him, and fed him on hone#, for
which service <e$s s$bseD$entl# "laced their ima%es amon% the stars,
namin% them the #ades. It was on 0o$nt ?#sa that :ion#s$s
invented wine, for which he is chiefl# celebrated. When he %rew to
manhood era reco%niAed him as <e$s>s son, des"ite the effeminac#
to which his ed$cation had red$ced him, and drove him mad also. e
went wanderin% all over the world, accom"anied b# his t$tor 4ilen$s
and a wild arm# of 4at#rs and 0aenads, whose wea"ons were the iv#1
twined staff ti""ed with a "ine1cone, called the thrsus, and swords
and ser"ents and fear1im"osin% b$llroarers. e sailed to &%#"t,
brin%in% the vine with him- and at Pharos Fin% Prote$s received him
hos"itabl#. Amon% the 'ib#ans of the ?ile :elta, o""osite Pharos, were
certain AmaAon D$eens whom :ion#s$s invited to march with him
a%ainst the 6itans and restore Fin% Ammon to the kin%dom from which
he had been e3"elled. :ion#s$s>s defeat of the 6itans and restoration
of Fin% Ammon was the earliest of his man# militar# s$ccesses.
c. e then t$rned east and made for India. (omin% to the
&$"hrates, he was o""osed b# the Fin% of :amasc$s, whom he fla#ed
alive, b$t b$ilt a brid%e across the river with iv# and vine- after which a
ti%er, sent b# his father <e$s, hel"ed him across the river 6i%ris. e
reached India, havin% met with m$ch o""osition b# the wa#, and
conD$ered the whole co$ntr#, which he ta$%ht the art of vinic$lt$re,
also %ivin% it laws and fo$ndin% %reat cities.
d. 5n his ret$rn he was o""osed b# the AmaAons, a horde of whom he
chased as far as &"hes$s. A few took sanct$ar# in the 6em"le of
Artemis, where their descendants are still livin%- others fled to 4amos,
and :ion#s$s followed them in boats, killin% so man# that the
battlefield is called Panhaema. ?ear Phloec$s some of the ele"hants
which he had bro$%ht from India died, and their bones are still "ointed
e. ?e3t, :ion#s$s ret$rned to &$ro"e b# wa# of Phr#%ia, where his
%randmother Rhea "$rified him of the man# m$rders he had
committed d$rin% his madness, and initiated him into her 0#steries.
e then invaded 6hrace- b$t no sooner had his "eo"le landed at the
mo$th of the river 4tr#mon than '#c$r%$s, Fin% of the &donians,
o""osed them sava%el# with an o31%oad, and ca"t$red the entire
arm#, e3ce"t :ion#s$s himself, who "l$n%ed into the sea and took
ref$%e in 6hetis>s %rotto. Rhea, ve3ed b# this reverse, hel"ed the
"risoners to esca"e, and drove '#c$r%$s mad, he str$ck his own son
:r#as dead with an a3e, in the belief that he was c$ttin% down a vine.
;efore recoverin% his senses he had be%$n to "r$ne the cor"se of its
nose and ears, fin%ers and toes- and the whole land of 6hrace %rew
barren in horror of his crime. When :ion#s$s, ret$rnin% from the sea,
anno$nced that this barrenness wo$ld contin$e $nless '#c$r%$s were
"$t to death, the &donians led him to 0o$nt Pan%ae$m, where wild
horses "$lled his bod# a"art.
f. :ion#s$s met with no f$rther o""osition in 6hrace, b$t travelled on to
his well1beloved ;oeotia, where he visited 6hebes, and invited the
women to Goin his revels on 0o$nt (ithaeron. Penthe$s, Fin% of
6hebes, dislikin% :ion#s$s>s dissol$te a""earance, arrested him,
to%ether with all his 0aenads, b$t went mad and, instead of shacklin%
:ion#s$s, shackled a b$ll. 6he 0aenads esca"ed a%ain, and went
ra%in% o$t $"on the mo$ntain, where the# tore calves in "ieces.
Penthe$s attem"ted to sto" them- b$t, inflamed b# wine and reli%io$s
ecstas#, the# rent him limb from limb. is mother A%ave led the riot,
and it was she who wrenched off his head.
%. At 5rchomen$s the three da$%hters of 0in#as, b# name Alcitho@,
'e$ci""e, and Arsi""e, or Aristi""e, or Arsino@, ref$sed to Goin in the
revels, tho$%h :ion#s$s himself invited them, a""earin% in the form of
a %irl. e then chan%ed his sha"e, becomin% s$ccessivel# a lion, a b$ll,
and a "anther, and drove them insane. 'e$ci""e offered her own son
i""as$s as a sacrificeIhe had been chosen b# lotIand the three
sisters, havin% torn him to "ieces and devo$red him, skimmed the
mo$ntains in a frenA# $ntil at last ermes chan%ed them into birds,
tho$%h some sa# that :ion#s$s chan%ed them into bats. 6he m$rder of
i""as$s is ann$all# atoned at 5rchomen$s, in a feast called A%rionia
.H"rovocation to sava%er#>/, when the women devotees "retend to seek
:ion#s$s and then, havin% a%reed that he m$st be awa# with the
0$ses, sit in a circle and ask riddles, $ntil the "riest of :ion#s$s r$shes
from his tem"le, with a sword, and kills the one whom he fit catches.
h. When all ;oeotia had acknowled%ed :ion#s$s>s divinit#, he made a
to$r of the Ae%ean Islands, s"readin% Go# and terror wherever he went.
Arrivin% at Icaria, he fo$nd that his shi" was $nseaworth and hired
another from certain 6#rrhenian sailors who claimed to be bo$nd for
?a3os. ;$t the# "roved to be "irates and, $naware of %odhead, steered
for Asia, intendin% to sell him there as a slave. :ion#s$s made a vine
%row from the deck and enfold the mast, he also t$rned the oars into
ser"ents, and became a lion himself, fillin% the vessel with "hantom
beasts and fillin% it with so$nd of fl$tes, so that the terrified "irates
lea"ed overboard and became dol"hins.
i. It was at ?a3os that :ion#s$s met the lovel# Ariadne whom 6hese$s
had deserted, and married her witho$t dela#. 4he bore him 5eno"ion,
6hoas, 4ta"h#l$s, 'atromis, &$anthes, and 6a$ro"ol$s. 'ater, he "laced
her bridal cha"let amon% the stars.
G. !rom ?a3os he came to Ar%os and "$nished Perse$s, who at fo$%ht
o""osed him and killed man# of his followers, b# inflictin% a madness
on the Ar%ive women, the# be%an devo$rin% their own infants- $ntil
Perse$s hastil# admitted his error, and a""eased :ion#s$s b# b$ildin%
a tem"le in his hono$r.
k. !inall#, havin% established his worshi" thro$%ho$t the world
:ion#s$s ascended to eaven, and now sits at the ri%ht hand of <e$s
as one of the 6welve Great 5nes. 6he self1effacin% %oddess est
resi%ned her seat at the hi%h table in his favo$r- %lad of an# e3c$se to
esca"e the Gealo$s wran%lin%s of her famil#, and knowin% that she
co$ld alwa#s co$nt on a D$iet welcome in an# Greek cit# which mi%ht
"lease her to visit. :ion#s$s then descended, b# wa# of 'eto to
6artar$s where he bribed Perse"hone with a %ift of m#rtle to release his
dead mother, 4emele. 4he ascended with him into Artemis>s tem"le at
6roeAen- b$t, lest other %hosts sho$ld be Gealo$s and a%%rieved, he
chan%ed her name and introd$ced her to his fellow15l#m"ians as
6h#one. <e$s "laced an a"artment at her dis"osal, and era "reserved
an an%r# b$t resi%ned silence.
1. 6he main cl$e to :ion#s$s>s m#stic histor# is the s"read of the
vine c$lt over &$ro"e, Asia, and ?orth Africa. Wine was not invented b#
the Greeks, it seems to have been first im"orted in Gars from (rete.
Gra"es %rew wild on the so$thern coast of the ;lack 4ea, whence their
c$ltivation s"read to 0o$nt ?#sa in 'ib#a, b# wa# of Palestine, and so
to (rete- to India, b# wa# of Persia- and to ;ronAe A%e ;ritain, b# wa#
of the Amber Ro$te. 6he wine or%ies of Asia 0inor and PalestineIthe
(anaanite !east of 6abernacles was, ori%inall#, a ;acchanal or%#Iwere
marked b# m$ch the same ecstasies as the beer or%ies of 6hrace and
Phr#%ia. :ion#s$s>s tri$m"h was that wine ever#where s$"erseded
other into3icants. Accordin% to Pherec#des Nsa means Htree>.
*. e had once been s$bservient to the 0oon1%oddess 4emeleIalso
called 6h#one, or (ot#ttoIand the destined victim of her or%ies. is
bein% reared as a %irl, as Achilles also was, recalls the (retan c$stom of
kee"in% bo#s Hin darkness> .scotioi/, that is to sa#, in the women>s
D$arters, $ntil "$bert#. 5ne of his titles was :endrites, Htree1#o$th>,
and the 4"rin% !estival, when the trees s$ddenl# b$rst into leaf and
the whole world is into3icated with desire, celebrated his
emanci"ation. e is described as a horned child in order not to
"artic$lariAe the horns, which were %oat>s, sta%>s, b$ll>s, or ram>s
accordin% to the "lace of his worshi". When A"ollodor$s sa#s that he
was dis%$ised as a kid to save him from the wrath of eraIH&ri"h$s>
.Hkid>/ was one of his rifles .es#chi$s s$b &ri"hos/Ithis refers to the
(retan c$lt of :ion#s$s <a%re$s, the wild %oat with the enormo$s
horns. Bir%il .Georgics/ wron%l# e3"lains that the %oat was the animal
most commonl# sacrificed to :ion#s$s Hbeca$se %oats inG$re the vine
b# %nawin% it.> :ion#s$s as a sta% is 'earch$s, whom Athamas killed
when driven mad b# era. In 6hrace he was a white b$ll. ;$t in Arcadia
ermes dis%$ised him as a ram, beca$se the Arcadians were
she"herds, and the 4$n was enterin% the Ram at their 4"rin% !estival.
6he #ades .Hrain1makers>/, into whose char%e he %ave :ion#s$s, were
renamed Hthe tall>, Hthe lame>, Hthe "assionate>, Hthe roarin%>, and Hthe
ra%in%> ones, to describe his ceremonies. esiod .D$oted b# 6heon, *n
$ratus/ records the #ades> earlier names as Phaes#le .JHfiltered
li%ht>/, (oronis .Hcrow>/, (leia .Hfamo$s>/, Phaeo .Hdim>/, and &$dore
.H%enero$s>/- and #%in$s>s list .Poetic $stronom/ is somewhat
similar. Nsus means Hlame>, and in these beer or%ies on the mo$ntain
the sacred kin% seems to have hobbled like a "artrid%eIas in the
(anaanite 4"rin% !estival called the Pesach .Hhobblin%>/. ;$t that
0acris fed :ion#s$s on hone#, and that the 0aenads $sed iv#1twined
fir1branches as thrsi, records an earlier form of into3icant, s"r$ce1
beer, laced with iv#, and sweetened with mead. 0ead was Hnectar>,
brewed from fermented hone#, which the %ods contin$ed to drink in
the omeric 5l#m"$s.
7. 2.&. arrison, who first "ointed o$t .Prolegomena/ that :ion#s$s the
Wine1%od is a late s$"erim"osition on :ion#s$s the ;eer1%od, also
called 4abaAi$s, s$%%ests that tra%ed# ma# be derived not from tragos,
Ha %oat>, as Bir%il s$%%ests, b$t from tragos, Hs"elt>Ia %rain $sed in
Athens for beer1brewin%. 4he adds that, in earl# vase1"aintin%s, horse1
men, not %oat1men, are "ict$red as :ion#s$s>s com"anions- and that
his %ra"e1basket is, at first, a winnowin% fan. In fact, the 'ib#an or
(retan %oat was associated with wine- the elladic horse with beer and
nectar. 6h$s '#c$r%$s, who o""oses the later :ion#s$s, is torn to
"ieces b# wild horsesI"riestesses of the 0are1headed %oddess which
was the fate of the earlier :ion#s$s. '#c$r%$s>s stor# has been
conf$sed b# the irrelevant acco$nt of the c$rse that overtook his land
after the m$rder of :r#as .Hoak>/- :r#as was the oak1kin%, ann$all#
killed. 6he trimmin% of his e3tremities served to kee" his %host at ba#,
and the wanton fellin% of a sacred oak carried the death "enalt#.
(ot#tto was the name of the %oddess in whose hono$r the &donian
Rites were "erformed.
8. :ion#s$s had e"i"hanies as 'ion, ;$ll, and 4er"ent, beca$se
these were (alendar emblems of the tri"artite #ear. e was born in
winter as a ser"ent .hence his ser"ent crown/- became a lion in the
s"rin%- and was killed and devo$red as a b$ll, %oat, or sta% at
mids$mmer. 6hese were his transformations when the 6itans set on
him. Amon% the 5rchomenans a "anther seems to have taken the
ser"ent>s "lace. is 0#steries resembled 5siris>s- hence his visit to
5. era>s hatred of :ion#s$s and his wine1c$", like the hostilit#
shown b# Penthe$s and Perse$s, reflects conservative o""osition to the
rit$al $se of wine and to the e3trava%ant 0aenad fashion, which had
s"read from 6hrace to Athens, (orinth, 4ic#on, :el"hi, and other
civiliAed cities. &vent$all#, in the late seventh and earl# si3th cent$ries
;(, Periander, t#rant of (orinth, (leisthenes, t#rant of 4ic#on, and
Peisistrat$s, t#rant of Athens, decidin% to a""rove the c$lt, fo$nded
official :ion#siac feasts. 6here$"on :ion#s$s and his vine were held to
have been acce"ted to eavenIhe o$sted estia from her "osition as
one of the 6welve 5l#m"ians at the close of the fifth cent$r# ;(I
tho$%h some %ods contin$ed to e3act Hsober sacrifices>. ;$t, altho$%h
one of the recentl# deci"hered tablets from ?estor>s "alace at P#l$s
shows that he had divine stat$s even in the thirteenth cent$r# ;(,
:ion#s$s never reall# ceased to be a demi1%od, and the tomb of his
ann$al res$rrection contin$ed to be shown at :el"hi .Pl$tarch, *n Isis
and *siris/, where the "riests re%arded A"ollo as his immortal "art. 6he
stor# of his rebirth from <e$s>s thi%h, as the ittite %od of the Winds
had been born from F$mabi>s, re"$diates his ori%inal matriarchal
settin%. Rit$al rebirth from a man was a well1known 2ewish ado"tion
ceremon# .'uth/, a ittite borrowin%.
+. :ion#s$s vo#a%ed in a new1moon boat, and the stor# of his
conflict with the "irates seems to have been based on the same icon
which %ave rise to the le%end of ?oah and the beasts in the Ark, the
lion, ser"ent, and other creat$res are his seasonal e"i"hanies.
:ion#s$s is, in fact, :e$calion. 6he 'aconians of ;rasiae "reserved an
$ncanonical acco$nt of his birth, how (adm$s sh$t 4emele and her
child in an ark, which drifted to ;rasiae, where 4emele died and was
b$ried, and how Ino reared :ion#s$s .Pa$sanias/.
9. Pharos, a small island off the ?ile :elta, on the shore of which
Prote$s went thro$%h the same transformations as :ion#s$s, had the
%reatest harbo$r of ;ronAe A%e &$ro"e. It was the de"ot for traders
from (rete, Asia 0inor, the Ae%ean Islands, Greece, and Palestine.
!rom here the vine c$lt will have s"read in ever# direction. 6he acco$nt
of :ion#s$s>s cam"ai%n in 'ib#a ma# record militar# aid sent to the
Garamantians b# their Greek allies- that of his Indian cam"ai%n has
been taken for a fancif$l histor# of Ale3ander>s dr$nken "ro%ress to the
Ind$s, b$t is earlier in date and records the eastward s"read of the
vine. :ion#s$s>s visit to Phr#%ia, where Rhea initiated him, s$%%ests
that the Greek rites of :ion#s$s as 4abaAi$s, or ;romi$s, were of
Phr#%ian ori%in.
8. 6he (orona ;orealis, Ariadne>s bridal cha"let, was also called Hthe
(retan (rown>. 4he was the (retan 0oon1%oddess, and her vino$s
children b# :ion#s$sI5eno"ion, 6hoas, 4ta"h#l$s, 6a$ro"ol$s,
'atromis, and &$anthesIwere the e"on#mo$s ancestors of elladic
tribes livin% in (hios, 'emnos, the 6hracian (hersonese, and be#ond.
;eca$se the vine c$lt reached Greece and the Ae%ean b# wa# of (rete
Ioinos, Hwine>, is a (retan wordI:ion#s$s has been conf$sed with
(retan <a%re$s, who was similarl# torn to "ieces at birth.
9. A%ave, mother of Penthe$s, is the 0oon1%oddess who r$led the
beer revels. 6he tearin% to "ieces of i""as$s b# the three sisters, who
are the 6ri"le1%oddess as ?#m"h, is "aralleled in the Welsh tale of
Pw#ll Prince of :#fedd where, on 0a# &ve, Rhiannon, a corr$"tion of
Ri%antona .H%reat D$een>/, devo$rs a foal who is reall# her son Pr#deri
.Han3iet#>/. Poseidon was also eaten in the form of a foal b# his father
(ron$s- b$t "robabl# in an earlier version b# his mother Rhea. 6he
meanin% of the m#th is that the ancient rite in which mare1headed
0aenads tore the ann$al bo# victimI4abaAi$s, ;romi$s, or whatever
he was calledIto "ieces and ate him raw, was s$"erseded b# the more
orderl# :ion#sian revels- the chan%e bein% si%naliAed b# the killin% of a
foal instead of the $s$al bo#.
1=, 6he "ome%ranate which s"ro$ted from :ion#s$s>s blood was also
the tree of 6amm$A1Adonis1Rimmon- its ri"e fr$it s"lits o"en like a
wo$nd and shows the red seeds inside. It s#mboliAes death and the
"romise of res$rrection when held in the hand of the %oddess era or
11. :ion#s$s>s resc$e of 4emele, renamed 6h#one .Hra%in% D$een>/,
has been ded$ced from "ict$res of a ceremonial held at Athens on the
dancin% floor dedicated to the Wild Women. 6here to the so$nd of
sin%in%, "i"in%, and dancin%, and with the scatterin% of flower "etals
from baskets, a "riest s$mmoned 4emele to emer%e from an
om&halos, or artificial mo$nd, and come attended b# Hthe s"irit of
4"rin%>, the #o$n% :ion#s$s .Pindar, !ra%ment/. At :el"hi a similar
ascension ceremon# cond$cted wholl# b# women was called the
erois, or Hfeast of the heroine> .Pl$tarch; Gree( 9uestions-
Aristo"hanes, Frogs, #ith scholiast/. 4till another ma# be "res$med in
Artemis>s tem"le at 6roeAen. 6he 0oon1%oddess, it m$st be
remembered, had three different as"ects, in the words of 2ohn 4kelton,
+iana in the lea)es green<
Luna #ho so bright doth sheen<
Perse&hone in !ell0
4emele was, in fact, another name for (ore, or Perse"hone, and the
ascension scene is "ainted on man# Greek vases, some of which show
4at#rs assistin% the heroine>s emer%ence with mattocks- their
"resence indicates that this was a Pelas%ian rite. What the# disinterred
was "robabl# a corn1doll b$ried after the harvest and now fo$nd to be
s"ro$tin% %reen. (ore, of co$rse, did not ascend to eaven- she
wandered abo$t on earth with :emeter $ntil the time came for her to
ret$rn to the )nderworld. ;$t soon after the award of 5l#m"ic stat$s to
:ion#s$s the Ass$m"tion of his vir%in1mother became do%matic and,
once a %oddess, she was differentiated from (ore, who contin$ed
heroine1like to ascend and descend.
1*. 6he vine was the tenth tree of the sacral tree1#ear and its month
corres"onded with 4e"tember, when the vinta%e feast took "lace. Iv#,
the eleventh tree, corres"onded with 5ctober, when the 0aenads
revelled and into3icated themselves b# chewin% iv# leaves- and was
im"ortant also beca$se, like fo$r other sacred treesI&l>s "rickl# oak
on which the cochineal insects fed, Phorone$s>s alder, and :ion#s$s>s
own vine and "ome%ranateIit "rovided a red d#e. 6heo"hil$s, the
;#Aantine monk .R$%er$s, *n !andicrafts/, sa#s that H&oets and artists
lo)ed i) because of the secret &o#ers it contained 000 one of #hich I
#ill tell ou0 In March, #hen the sa& rises, if ou &erforate the stems of
i) #ith an anger in a fe# &laces, a gumm li=uid #ill e-ude #hich,
#hen mi-ed #ith urine and boiled, turns a blood colour called >la(e1,
useful for &ainting and illumination.> Red d#e was $sed to colo$r the
faces of male fertilit# ima%es .Pausanias/, and of sacred kin%s- at Rome
this c$stom s$rvived in the reddenin% of the tri$m"hant %eneral>s face.
6he %eneral re"resented the %od 0ars, who was a 4"rin%1:ion#s$s
before he s"ecialiAed as the Roman God of War, and who %ave his
name to the month of 0arch. &n%lish kin%s still have their faces sli%htl#
ro$%ed on 4tate occasions to make them look health# and "ros"ero$s.
0oreover, Greek iv#, like the vine and "lane1tree, has a five1"ointed
leaf, re"resentin% the creative hand of the &arth1%oddess Rhea. 6he
m#rtle was a death tree.
5RP&)4, son of the 6hracian Fin% 5ea%r$s and the 0$se (allio"e,
was the most famo$s "oet and m$sician who ever lived. A"ollo
"resented him with a l#re, and the 0$ses ta$%ht him its $se, so that he
not onl# enchanted wild beasts, b$t made the trees and rocks move
from their "laces to follow the so$nd of his m$sic. At <one in 6hrace a
n$mber of ancient mo$ntain oaks are still standin% in the "attern of
one of his dances, G$st as he left them. After a visit to &%#"t, 5r"he$s
Goined the Ar%ona$ts, with whom he sailed to (olchis, his m$sic hel"in%
them to overcome man# diffic$ltiesIand, on his ret$rn, married
&$r#dice, whom some called A%rio"e, and settled amon% the sava%e
(icones of 6hrace.
c. 5ne da#, near 6em"e, in the valle# of the river Penei$s, &$r#dice
met Aristae$s, who tried to force her. 4he trod on a ser"ent as she fled,
and died of its bite- b$t 5r"he$s boldl# descended into 6artar$s,
ho"in% to fetch her back. e $sed the "assa%e which o"ens at Aorn$m
in 6hes"rotis and, on his arrival, not onl# charmed the ferr#man
(haron, the :o% (erber$s, and the three 2$d%es of the :ead with his
"laintive m$sic, b$t tem"oraril# s$s"ended the tort$res of the
clanmeal- and so far soothed the sava%e heart of ades that he won
leave to restore &$r#dice to the $""er world. ades made a sin%le
condition, that 5r"he$s mi%ht not look behind him $ntil she was safel#
back $nder the li%ht of the s$n. &$r#dice followed 5r"he$s $" thro$%h
the dark "assa%e, %$ided b# the so$nd of his l#re, and it was onl#
when he reached the s$nli%ht a%ain that he t$rned to see whether she
were still behind him, and so lost her for ever.
d. When :ion#s$s invaded 6hrace, 5r"he$s ne%lected to hono$r him,
b$t ta$%ht other sacred m#steries and "reached the evil of sacrificial
m$rder to the men of 6hrace, who listened reverentl#. &ver# mornin%
he wo$ld rise to %reet the dawn on the s$mmit of 0o$nt Pan%ae$m,
"reachin% that eli$s, whom he named A"ollo, was the %reatest of all
%ods. In ve3ation, :ion#s$s set the 0aenads $"on him at :ei$m in
0acedonia. !irst waitin% $ntil their h$sbands had entered A"ollo>s
tem"le, where 5r"he$s served as "riest, the# seiAed the wea"ons
stacked o$tside, b$rst in, m$rdered their h$sbands, and tore 5r"he$s
limb from limb. is head the# threw into the river ebr$s, b$t it
floated, still sin%in%, down to the sea, and was carried to the island of
e. 6earf$ll#, the 0$ses collected his limbs and b$ried them at
'eibethra, at the foot of 0o$nt 5l#m"$s, where the ni%htin%ales now
sin% sweeter than an#where else in the world. 6he 0aenads had
attem"ted to cleanse themselves of 5r"he$s>s blood in the river
elicon- b$t the River1%od dived $nder the %ro$nd and disa""eared for
the s"ace of nearl# fo$r miles, emer%in% with a different name, the
;a"h#ra. 6h$s he avoided becomin% an accessor# to the m$rder.
f. It is said that 5r"he$s had condemned the 0aenads> "romisc$it# and
"reached homose3$al love- A"hrodite was therefore no less an%ered
than :ion#s$s. er fellow15l#m"ians, however, co$ld not a%ree that
his m$rder had been G$stified, and :ion#s$s saved the 0aenads> lives
b# t$rnin% them into oak1trees, which remained rooted to the %ro$nd.
6he 6hracian men who had s$rvived the massacre decided to tattoo
their wives as a warnin% a%ainst the m$rder of "riests- and the c$stom
s$rvives to this da#.
%. As for 5r"he$s>s head, after bein% attacked b# a Gealo$s 'emnian
ser"ent .which A"ollo at once chan%ed into a stone/ it was laid to rest
in a cave at Antissa, sacred to :ion#s$s. 6here it "ro"hesied da# and
ni%ht $ntil A"ollo, findin% that his oracles at :el"hi, Gr#nei$m, and
(lar$s were deserted, came and stood over the head, cr#in%, H(ease
from interference in m# b$siness- I have borne lon% eno$%h with #o$
and #o$r sin%in%O> 6here$"on the head fell silent. 5r"he$s>s l#re had
likewise drifted to 'esbos and been laid $" in a tem"le of A"ollo, at
whose intercession, and that of the 0$ses, the '#re was "laced in
heaven as a (onstellation.
h. 4ome %ive a wholl# different acco$nt of how 5r"he$s died, the# sa#
that <e$s killed him with a th$nderbolt for div$l%in% divine secrets. e
had, indeed, instit$ted the 0#steries of A"ollo in 6hrace- those of
ecate in Ae%ina- and those of 4$bterrene :emeter at 4"arta.
1. 5r"he$s>s sin%in% head recalls that of the deca"itated Alder1%od
;ran which, accordin% to the Mabinogion, san% sweetl# on the rock at
arlech in ?orth Wales- a fable, "erha"s, of f$neral "i"es made from
alder1bark. 6h$s the name 5r"he$s, if it stands for o&hruoeis, Hon the
river bank>, ma# be a title of ;ran>s Greek co$nter"art, Phorone$s, or
(ron$s, and refer to the alders H%rowin% on the banks of> the Penei$s
and other rivers. 6he name of 5r"he$s>s father, 5ea%r$s .Hof the wild
sorb1a""le>/, "oints to the same c$lt, since the sorb1a""le .!rench
alisier/ and the alder .4"anishIaliso/ both bear the name of the "re1
ellenic River1%oddess al#s, or Al#s, or &lis, D$een of the &l#sian
Islands, where Phorone$s, (ron$s, and 5r"he$s went after death.
Aorn$m is Avern$s, an Italic variant of the (eltic Avalon .Ha""le1tree
*. 5r"he$s is said b# :iodor$s 4ic$l$s to have $sed the old thirteen1
consonant al"habet- and the le%end that he made the trees move and
charmed wild beasts a""arentl# refers to its seD$ence of seasonal
trees and s#mbolic animals. As sacred kin% he was str$ck b# a
th$nderboltIthat is, killed with a do$ble1a3eIin an oak %rove at the
s$mmer solstice, and then dismembered b# the 0aenads of the b$ll
c$lt, like <a%re$s- or of the sta% c$lt, like Actaeon- the 0aenads, in
fact, re"resented the 0$ses. In (lassical Greece the "ractice of
tattooin% was confined to 6hracians, and in a vase1"aintin% of
5r"he$s>s m$rder a 0aenad has a small sta% tattooed on her forearm.
6his 5r"he$s did not come in conflict with the c$lt of :ion#s$s- he was
:ion#s$s, and he "la#ed the r$de alder1"i"e, not the civiliAed l#re.
6h$s Procl$s .Commentar on Plato1s Politics/ writes, W*r&heus,
because he #as the &rinci&al in the +ionsian rites, is said to ha)e
suffered the same fate as the godT, and A"ollodor$s credits him with
havin% invented the 0#steries of :ion#s$s.
7. 6he novel worshi" of the 4$n as All1father seems to have been
bro$%ht to the ?orthern Ae%ean b# the f$%itive "riesthood of the
monotheistic Akhenaton, in the fo$rteenth cent$r# ;(, and %rafted
$"on the local c$lts- hence 5r"he$s>s alle%ed visit to &%#"t. Records of
this faith are fo$nd in 4o"hocles .Fragments/, where the s$n is referred
to as Hthe eldest flame, dear to the Thracian horsemen1, and as Hthe
sire of the gods, and father of all things.> It seems to have been
forcef$ll# resisted b# the more conservative 6hracians, and bloodil#
s$""ressed in some "arts of the co$ntr#. ;$t later 5r"hic "riests, who
wore &%#"tian cost$me, called the demi1%od whose raw b$ll>s flesh
the# ate H:ion#s$s>, and reserved the name A"ollo for the immortal
4$n, distin%$ishin% :ion#s$s, the %od of the senses, from A"ollo, the
%od of the intellect. 6his e3"lains wh# the head of 5r"he$s was laid $"
in :ion#s$s>s sanct$ar#, b$t the l#re in A"ollo>s. ead and l#re are
both said to have drifted to 'esbos, which was the chief seat of l#ric
mimic- 6er"ander, the earliest historical m$sician, came from Antissa.
6he ser"ent>s attack on 5r"he$s>s head re"resents either the "rotest
of an earlier orac$lar hero a%ainst 5r"he$s>s intr$sion at Antissa, or
that of P#thian A"ollo which Philostrat$s recorded in more direct
8. &$r#dice>s death b# snake1bite and 5r"he$s>s s$bseD$ent fail$re
to brin% her back into the s$nli%ht, fi%$re onl# in late m#th. 6he# seem
to be mistakenl# ded$ced from "ict$res which show 5r"he$s>s
welcome in 6artar$s, where his m$sic has charmed the 4nake1%oddess
ecate, or A%rio"e .Hsava%e face>/, into %ivin% s"ecial "rivile%es to all
%hosts initiated into the 5r"hic 0#steries, and from other "ict$res
showin% :ion#s$s, whose "riest 5r"he$s was, descendin% to 6artar$s
in search of his mother 4emele. &$r#dice>s victims died of snake1bite,
not herself.
5. 6he alder1month is the fo$rth of the sacral tree1seD$ence, and it
"recedes the willow1month, associated with the water ma%ic of the
%oddess elice .Hwillow>/- willows also %ave their name to the river
elicon, which c$rves aro$nd Parnass$s and is sacred to the 0$seIthe
6ri"le 0o$ntain1%oddess of ins"iration. ence 5r"he$s was shown in a
tem"le1"aintin% at :el"hi .Pa$sanias/ leanin% a%ainst a willow1tree and
to$chin% its branches. 6he Greek alder c$lt was s$""ressed in ver#
earl# times, #et vesti%es of it remain in (lassical literat$re, alders
enclose the death1island of the witch1%oddess (irce .omer, *dsse/
Ishe also had a willow1%rove cemeter# at (olchis .A"olloni$s Rhodi$s/
and, accordin% to Bir%il, the sisters of Pha@thon were metamor"hosed
into an alder thicket.
+. 6his is not to s$%%est that 5r"he$s>s deca"itation was never
more than a meta"hor a""lied to the lo""ed alder1bo$%h. A sacred
kin% necessaril# s$ffered dismemberment, and the 6hracians ma# well
have had the same c$stom as the Iban :a#aks of modern 4arawak.
When the men come home from a s$ccessf$l head1h$ntin% e3"edition
the Iban women $se the tro"h# as a means of fertiliAin% the rice cro"
b# invocation. 6he head is made to sin%, mo$rn, and answer D$estions,
and n$rsed tenderl# in ever# la" $ntil it finall# consents to enter an
orac$lar shrine, where it %ives advice on all im"ortant occasions and,
like the heads of &$r#sthe$s, ;ran, and Adam, re"els invasions.
GA?C0&:&4, the son of Fin% 6ros who %ave his name to 6ro#, was
the most bea$tif$l #o$th alive and therefore chosen b# the %ods to be
<e$s>s c$"1bearer. It is said that <e$s, desirin% Gan#medes also as his
bedfellow, dis%$ised himself in ea%le>s feathers and abd$cted him from
the 6roGan "lain.
b. Afterwards, on <e$s>s behalf, ermes "resented 6ros with a %olden
vine, the work of e"haest$s, and two fine horses, in com"ensation for
his loss, ass$rin% him at the same time that Gan#medes had become
immortal, e3em"t from the miseries of old a%e, and was now smilin%,
%olden bowl in hand, as he dis"ensed bri%ht nectar to the !ather of
c. 4ome sa# that &os had first abd$cted Gan#medes to be her
"aramo$r, and that <e$s took him from her. ;e that as it ma#, era
certainl# de"lored the ins$lt to herself, and to her da$%hter ebe, $ntil
then the c$"1bearer of the %ods- b$t she s$cceeded onl# in ve3in%
<e$s, who set Gan#medes>s ima%e amon% the stars as AD$ari$s, the
1. Gan#medes>s task as wine1"o$rer to all the %odsInot merel#
<e$s in earl# acco$ntsIand the two horses, %iven to Fin% 6ros as
com"ensation for his death, s$%%est the misreadin% of an icon which
showed the new kin% "re"arin% for his sacred marria%e. Gan#medes>s
bowl will have contained a libation, "o$red to the %host of his ro#al
"redecessor- and the officiatin% "riest in the "ict$re, to whom he is
makin% a token resistance, has a""arentl# been misread as amoro$s
<e$s. 4imilarl#, the waitin% bride has been misread as &os b# a
m#tho%ra"her who recalled &os>s abd$ction of 6ithon$s, son of
'aomedonIbeca$se 'aomedon is also said, b# &$ri"ides to have been
Gan#medes>s father. 6his icon wo$ld eD$all# ill$strate Pele$s>s
marria%e to 6hetis, which the %ods viewed from their twelve thrones-
the two horses were rit$al instr$ments of his rebirth as kin%, after a
mock1death. 6he ea%le>s alle%ed abd$ction of Gan#medes is e3"lained
b# a (aeretan black1fi%$red vase, an ea%le dartin% at the thi%hs of a
newl# enthroned kin% named <e$s t#"ifies the divine "ower conferred
$"on himIhis (a, or other selfIG$st as a solar hawk descended on the
Pharaohs at their coronation. Cet the tradition of Gan#medes>s #o$th
s$%%ests that the kin% shown in the icon was the ro#al s$rro%ate, or
interre3, r$lin% onl# for a sin%le da#, like Pha@thon, <a%re$s,
(hr#si""$s, and the rest. <e$s>s ea%le ma# therefore be said not onl#
to have enro#alled him, b$t to have snatched him $" to 5l#m"$s.
*. A ro#al ascent to eaven on ea%le1back, or in the form of an ea%le,
is a wides"read reli%io$s fanc#. Aristo"hanes caricat$res it in Peace b#
sendin% his hero $" on the back of a d$n%1beetle. 6he so$l of the (eltic
hero '$%hI'lew 'law in the MabinogionIflew $" to eaven as an
ea%le when the tanist killed him at mids$mmer. &tana, the ;ab#lonian
hero, after his sacred marria%e at Fish, rode on ea%le1back towards
Ishtar>s heavenl# co$rts, b$t fell into the sea and was drowned. &tana>s
death, b# the wa#, was not the $s$al end1of1the1#ear sacrifice, as in
the case of Icar$s, b$t a "$nishment for the bad cro"s which had
characteriAed his rei%nIhe was fl#in% to discover a ma%ical herb of
fertilit#. is stor# is woven into an acco$nt of the contin$o$s str$%%le
between &a%le and 4er"entIwa3in% and wanin% #ear, Fin% and 6anist,
and as in the m#th of 'lew 'law, the &a%le, red$ced to his last %as" at
the winter solstice, has its life and stren%th ma%icall# renewed. 6h$s
we find in Psalm (III, HTh outh is rene#ed, as the eagle1.
7. 6he <e$s1Gan#medes m#th %ained immense "o"$larit# in Greece
and Rome beca$se it afforded reli%io$s G$stification for a %rown man>s
"assionate love of a bo#. itherto, sodom# had been tolerated onl# as
an e3treme form of %oddess1worshi", (#bele>s male devotees tried, to
achieve ecstatic $nit# with her b# emasc$latin% themselves and
dressin% like women. 6h$s a sodomitic "riesthood was a reco%niAed
instit$tion in the Great Goddess>s tem"les at 6#re, 2o""a, iera"olis,
and at 2er$salem $ntil G$st before the &3ile. ;$t this new "assion, for
the introd$ction of which 6ham#ris has been %iven the credit b#
A"ollodor$s, em"hasiAed the victor# of "atriarch# over matriarch#. It
t$rned Greek "hiloso"h# into an intellect$al %ame that men co$ld "la#
witho$t the assistance of women, now that the# had fo$nd a new field
of homose3$al romance. Plato e3"loited this to the all, and $sed the
m#th of Gan#medes to G$stif# his own sentimental feelin%s towards his
"$"ils .Phaedrus/- tho$%h elsewhere .La#s/ he o$traced sodom# as
a%ainst nat$re, and called the m#th of <e$s>s ind$l%ence in it Ha
#ic(ed Cretan in)ention1. .ere he has the s$""ort of 4te"han$s of
;#Aanti$m Us$b ar"a%iaV, who sa#s that Fin% 0inos of (rete carried
off Gan#medes to be his bedfellow, Hha)ing recei)ed the la#s from
5eus1./ With the s"read of Platonic "hiloso"h# the hitherto
intellect$all# dominant Greek woman de%enerated into an $n"aid
worker and breeder of children wherever <e$s and A"ollo were the
r$lin% %ods.
8. Gan#medes>s name refers, "ro"erl#, to the Go#f$l stirrin% of his own
desire at the "ros"ect of marria%e, not to that of <e$s when refreshed
b# nectar from his bedfellow>s hand- b$t, becomin% catamitus in 'atin,
it has %iven &n%lish the word catamite, meanin% the "assive obGect of
male homose3$al l$st.
5. 6he constellation AD$ari$s, identified with Gan#medes, was
ori%inall# the &%#"tian %od, "residin% over the so$rce of the ?ile, who
"o$red water, not wine, from a fla%on .Pindar, Fragment/- b$t the
Greeks took little interest in the ?ile.
+. <e$s>s nectar, which the later m#tho%ra"hers described as a
s$"ernat$ral red wine, was, in fact, a "rimitive brown mead- and
ambrosia, the delectable food of the %ods, seems to have been a
"orrid%e of barle#, oil, and cho""ed fr$it, with which kin%s were
"am"ered when their "oorer s$bGects still s$bsisted on as"hodel,
mallow, and acorns.
<&)4 secretl# be%ot his son <a%re$s on Perse"hone, before she was
taken to the )nderworld b# her $ncle ades. e set Rhea>s sons, the
(retan ($retes or, some sa#, the (or#bantes, to %$ard his cradle in the
Idaean (ave, where the# lea"ed abo$t him, clashin% their wea"ons, as
the# had lea"ed abo$t <e$s himself at :icte. ;$t the 6itans, <e$s>s
enemies, whitenin% themselves with %#"s$m $ntil the# were
$nreco%niAable, waited $ntil the ($retes sle"t. At midni%ht the# l$red
<a%re$s awa#, b# offerin% him s$ch childish to#s as a cone, a b$ll1
roarer, %olden a""les, a mirror, a kn$ckle1bone, and a t$ft of wool.
<a%re$s showed co$ra%e when the# m$rdero$sl# set $"on him, and
went thro$%h several transformations in an attem"t to del$de them, he
became s$ccessivel# <e$s in a %oat1skin coat, (ron$s makin% rain, a
lion, a horse, a horned ser"ent, a ti%er, and a b$ll. At that "oint the
6itans seiAed him firml# b# the horns and feet, tore him a"art with their
teeth, and devo$red his flesh raw.
b. Athene interr$"ted this %risl# banD$et shortl# before its end and,
resc$in% <a%re$s>s heart, enclosed it in a %#"s$m fi%$re, into which
she breathed life- so that <a%re$s became an immortal. is bones
were collected and b$ried at :el"hi, and <e$s str$ck the 6itans dead
with th$nderbolts.

1. 6his m#th concerns the ann$al sacrifice of a bo# which took "lace in
ancient (rete, a s$rro%ate for 0inos the ;$ll1kin%. e rei%ned for a
sin%le da#, went thro$%h a dance ill$strative of the five seasonsIlion,
%oat, horse, ser"ent, and b$ll1calfIand was then eaten raw. All the
to#s with which the 6itans l$red him awa# were obGects $sed b# the
"hiloso"hical 5r"hics, who inherited the tradition of this sacrifice b$t
devo$red a b$ll1calf raw, instead of a bo#. 6he b$ll1roarer was a "ierced
stone or "iece of "otter#, which when whirled at the end of a cord
made a noise like a risin% %ale- and the t$ft of wool ma# have been
$sed to da$b the ($retes with the wet %#"s$mIthese bein% #o$ths
who had c$t and dedicated their first hair to the %oddess (ar. 6he#
were also called (or#bantes, or crested dancers. <a%re$s>s other %ifts
served to e3"lain the nat$re of the ceremon# b# which the "artici"ants
became one with the %od, the cone was an ancient emblem of the
%oddess, in whose hono$r the 6itans sacrificed him- the mirror
re"resented each initiate>s other self, or %host- the %olden a""les, his
"ass"ort to &l#si$m after a mock1death- the kn$cklebone, his
divinator# "owers.
*. A (retan h#mn discovered a few #ears a%o at Palaiokastro, near
the :ictaean (ave, is addressed to the (ronian 5ne, %reatest of
#o$ths, who comes dancin% at the head of his demons and lea"s to
increase the fertilit# of soil and flocks, and for the s$ccess of the
fishin% fleet. 2ane arrison in Themis s$%%ests that the shielded t$tors
there mentioned, who 4too( thee, immortal child, from 'hea1s side>,
merel# "retended to kill and eat the victim, an initiate into their secret
societ#. ;$t all s$ch mock1deaths at initiation ceremonies, re"orted
from man# "arts of the world, seem $ltimatel# based on a tradition of
act$al h$man sacrifice- and <a%re$s>s calendar chan%es distin%$ish
him from an ordinar# member of a totemistic fraternit#.
7. 6he $ncanonical ti%er in the last of <a%re$s>s transformations is
e3"lained b# his identit# with :ion#s$s, of whose death and
res$rrection the same stor# is told, altho$%h with cooked flesh instead
of raw, and Rhea>s name instead of Athene>s. :ion#s$s, too, was a
horned ser"entIhe had horns and ser"ent locks at birthIand his
5r"hic devotees ate him sacramentall# in b$ll form. <a%re$s became
H<e$s in a %oat1skin coat>, beca$se <e$s or his child s$rro%ate had
ascended to eaven wearin% a coat made from the hide of the %oat
Amaltheia. H(ron$s makin% rain> is a reference to the $se of the b$ll1
roarer in rain1makin% ceremonies. In this conte3t the 6itans were
Titanoi, Hwhite1chalk men>, the ($retes themselves dis%$ised so that
the %host of the victim wo$ld not reco%niAe them. When h$man
sacrifices went o$t of fashion, <e$s was re"resented as h$rlin% his
th$nderbolt at the cannibals- and the 6itans, Hlords of the seven1da#
week>, became conf$sed with the Titanoi, Hthe white1chalk men>,
beca$se of their hostilit# to <e$s. ?o 5r"hic, who had once eaten the
flesh of his %od, ever a%ain to$ched meat of an# kind.
8. <a%re$s1:ion#s$s was also known in 4o$thern Palestine. Accordin%
to the Ras 4hamra tablets, Ashtar tem"oraril# occ$"ied the throne of
eaven while the %od ;aal lan%$ished in the )nderworld, havin% eaten
the food of the dead. Ashtar was onl# a child and when he sat on the
throne, his feet did not reach the footstool- ;aal "resentl# ret$rned and
killed him with a cl$b. 6he 0osaic 'aw "rohibited initiation feasts in
Ashtar>s hono$r, HThou shalt not seethe a (id in his mother1s mil(>Ian
inG$nction three times re"eated.
The Gods O8 The !3der9or6d
W&? %hosts descend to 6artar$s, the main entrance to which lies
in a %rove of black "o"lars beside the 5cean stream, each is s$""lied
b# "io$s relatives with a coin laid $nder the ton%$e of its cor"se. 6he#
are th$s able to "a# (haron, the miser who ferries them in a craA# boat
across the 4t#3. 6his hatef$l river bo$nds 6artar$s on the western side,
and has for its trib$taries Acheron, Phle%ethon, (oc#t$s, Aornis, and
'ethe. Penniless %hosts m$st wait for ever on the near bank- $nless
the# have evaded ermes, their cond$ctor, and cre"t down b# a back
entrance, s$ch as at 'aconian 6aenar$s, or 6hes"rotian Aorn$m. A
three1headed or, some sa#, fift#1headed do% named (erber$s- %$ards
the o""osite shore of 4t#3, read# to devo$r livin% intr$ders or %hostl#
b. 6he first re%ion of 6artar$s contains the cheerless As"hodel !ields,
where so$ls of heroes stra# witho$t "$r"ose amon% the thron%s of less
distin%$ished dead that twitter like bats, and where onl# 5rion still has
the heart to h$nt the %hostl# deer. ?one of them b$t wo$ld rather live
in bonda%e to a landless "easant than r$le over all 6artar$s. 6heir one
deli%ht is in libations of blood "o$red to them b# the livin%, when the#
drink the# feel themselves almost men a%ain. ;e#ond these meadows
lie &reb$s and the "alace of ades and Perse"hone. 6o the left of the
"alace, as one a""roaches it, a white c#"ress shades the "ool of 'ethe,
where the common %hosts flock down to drink. Initiated so$ls avoid
this water, choosin% to drink instead from the "ool of 0emor#, shaded
b# a white "o"lar UJV, which %ives them a certain advanta%e over their
fellows. (lose b#, newl# arrived %hosts are dail# G$d%ed b# 0inos,
Rhadamanth#s, and Aeac$s at a "lace where three roads meet.
Rhadamanth#s tries Asiatics and Aeac$s tries &$ro"eans- b$t both
refer the diffic$lt cases to 0inos. As each verdict is %iven the %hosts
are directed alon% one of the three roads, that leadin% back to the
As"hodel 0eadows, if the# are neither virt$o$s nor evil- that leadin% to
the "$nishment1field of 6artar$s, if the# are evil- that leadin% to the
orchards of &l#si$m, if the# are virt$o$s.
c. &l#si$m, r$led over b# (ron$s, lies near ades>s dominions, its
entrance close to the "ool of 0emor#, b$t forms no "art of them- it is a
ha""# land of "er"et$al da#, witho$t cold or snow, where %ames,
m$sic, and revels never cease, and where the inhabitants ma# elect to
be reborn on earth whenever the# "lease. ?ear b# are the !ort$nate
Islands, reserved for those who have been three times born, and three
times attained &l#si$m. ;$t some sa# that there is another !ort$nate
Isle called 'e$ce in the ;lack 4ea, o""osite the mo$ths of the :an$be,
wooded and f$ll of beasts, wild and tame, where the %hosts of elen
and Achilles bold hi%h revelr# and declaim omer>s verses to heroes
who have taken "art in the events celebrated b# him.
d. ades, who is fierce and Gealo$s of his ri%hts, seldom visits the
$""er air, e3ce"t on b$siness or when he is overcome b# s$dden l$st.
5nce he daAAled the ?#m"h 0inthe with the s"lendo$r of his %olden
chariot and its fo$r black horses, and wo$ld have sed$ced her witho$t
diffic$lt# had not L$een Perse"hone made a timel# a""earance and
metamor"hosed 0inthe into sweet1smellin% mint. 5n another occasion
ades tried to violate the ?#m"h 'e$ce, who was similarl#
metamor"hosed into the white "o"lar standin% b# the "ool of 0emor#.
e willin%l# allows none of his s$bGects to esca"e, and few who visit
6artar$s ret$rn alive to describe it, which makes him the most hated of
the %ods.
e. ades never knows what is ha""enin% in the world above, or in
5l#m"$s, e3ce"t for fra%mentar# information which comes to him
when mortals strike their hands $"on the earth and invoke him with
oaths and c$rses. is most "riAed "ossession is the helmet of
invisibilit#, %iven him as a mark of %ratit$de b# the (#clo"es when he
consented to release them at <e$s>s order. All the riches of %ems and
"recio$s metals hidden beneath the earth are his, b$t he owns no
"ro"ert# above %ro$nd, e3ce"t for certain %loom# tem"les in Greece
and, "ossibl#, a herd of cattle in the island of &r#theia which, some
sa#, reall# belon% to eli$s.
f. L$een Perse"hone, however, can be both %racio$s and mercif$l. 4he
is faithf$l to ades, b$t has had no children b# him and "refers the
com"an# of ecate, %oddess of witches, to his. <e$s himself hono$rs
ecate so %reatl# that he never denies her the ancient "ower which
she has alwa#s enGo#ed, of bestowin% on mortals, or withholdin% from
them, an# desired %ift. 4he has three bodies and three headsIlion,
do%, and mare.
%. 6isi"hone, Alecto, and 0e%aera, the &rinn#es or !$ries, live in
&reb$s, and are older than <e$s or an# of the other 5l#m"ians. 6heir
task is to hear com"laints bro$%ht b# mortals a%ainst the insolence of
the #o$n% to the a%ed, of children to "arents, of hosts to %$ests, and of
ho$seholders or cit# co$ncils to s$""liantsIand to "$nish s$ch crimes
b# ho$ndin% the c$l"rits relentlessl#, witho$t rest or "a$se, from cit# to
cit# and from co$ntr# to co$ntr#. 6hese &rinn#es are crones, with
snakes for hair, do%s> heads, coal1black bodies, bats> win%s, and
bloodshot e#es. In their hands the# carr# brass1st$dded sco$r%es, and
their victims die in torment. It is $nwise to mention them b# name in
conversation- hence the# are $s$all# st#led the &$menides, which
means H6he Findl# 5nes>Ias ades is st#led Pl$ton, or Pl$to, H6he Rich
1. 6he m#tho%ra"hers made a bold effort to reconcile the conflictin%
views of the afterworld held b# the "rimitive inhabitants of Greece.
5ne view was that %hosts lived in their tombs, or $nder%ro$nd caverns
or fiss$res, where the# mi%ht take the form of ser"ents, mice, or bats,
b$t never be reincarnate as h$man bein%s. Another was that the so$ls
of sacred kin%s walked visibl# on the se"$lchral islands where their
bodies had been b$ried. A third was that %hosts co$ld become men
a%ain b# enterin% beans, n$ts, or fish, and bein% eaten b# their
"ros"ective mothers. A fo$rth was that the# went to the !ar ?orth,
where the s$n never shines, and ret$rned, if at all, onl# as fertiliAin%
winds. A fifth was that the# went to the !ar West, where the s$n sets in
the ocean, and a s"irit world m$ch like the "resent. A si3th was that a
%host received "$nishment accordin% to the life he had led. 6o this the
5r"hics finall# added the theor# metem"s#chosis, the transmi%ration
of so$ls, a "rocess which co$ld be to some de%ree controlled b# the
$se of ma%ical form$las.
*. Perse"hone and ecate stood for the "re1ellenic ho"e of
re%eneration- b$t ades, a ellenic conce"t, for the inel$ctabilit# of
death. (ron$s, des"ite his blood# record, contin$ed to enGo# the
"leas$res of &l#si$m, since that had alwa#s been the "rivile%e of a
sacred kin%, and 0enela$s was "romised the same enGo#ment, not
beca$se he had been "artic$larl# virt$o$s or co$ra%eo$s b$t beca$se
he had married elen, the "riestess of the 4"artan 0oon1%oddess. 6he
omeric adGective as&hodelos, a""lied onl# to leimones .Hmeadows>/,
"robabl# means Hin the valle# of that which is not red$ced to ashes>
.from aInot, s&odosIash, elosI valle#/Inamel# the hero>s %host
after his bod# has been b$rned- and, e3ce"t in acorn1eatin% Arcadia,
as"hodel roots and seeds, offered to s$ch %hosts, made the sta"le
Greek diet before the introd$ction of corn. As"hodel %rows freel# even
on waterless islands and %hosts, like %ods, are conservative in their
diet. &l#si$m seems to mean Ha""le1land>Ialisier is a "reIGallic word
for sorb1a""leIas do the Arth$rian HAvalon> and the 'atin HAvern$s>, or
HAvorn$s>, both formed from the Indo1&$ro"ean root abol, meanin%
7. (erber$s was the Greek co$nter"art of An$bis, the do%1headed
son of the 'ib#an :eath1%oddess ?e"hth#s, who cond$cted so$ls to
the )nderworld. In &$ro"ean folklore, which is "artl# of 'ib#an ori%in,
the so$l of the damned were h$nted to the ?orthern ell b# a #ellin%
"ack o ho$ndsIthe o$nds of Annwm, erne, Arth$r, or GabrielIa
m#th derived from the nois# s$mmer mi%ration of wild %eese to their
breedin% "laces in the Arctic circle. (erber$s was, at first, fift#1headed,
like the s"ectral "ack that destro#ed Actaeon- b$t afterwards three1
headed, like his mistress ecate.
8. 4t#3 .Hhated>/, a small stream in Arcadia, the waters of which
were s$""osed to be deadl# "oison, was located in 6artar$s onl# b#
later m#tho%ra"hers. Acheron .Hstream of woe>/ and (oc#t$s .Hwailin%>/
are fancif$l names to describe the miser# of death. Aornis .Hbirdless>/
is- Greek mistranslation of the Italic H$)ernus1. 'ethe means
Hfor%etf$lness> and &reb$s Hcovered>. Phle%ethon .Hb$rnin%>/ refers to
the c$stom o cremation b$t also, "erha"s, to the theor# that sinners
were b$rned in streams of lava. 6artar$s seems to be a red$"lication of
the "re1ellenic word tar, which occ$rs in the names of "laces l#in% to
the West- its sens of infernalit# comes late.
5. ;lack "o"lars were sacred to the :eath1%oddess- and white
"o"lars, or as"ens, either to Perse"hone as Goddess o Re%eneration, or
to eracles beca$se he barrowed ell. Golden head1dresses of as"en
leaves have been fo$nd in 0eso"otamian b$rials of the fo$rth
millenni$m ;(. 6he 5r"hic tablets do not name the tree b# the "ool of
0emor#- it is "robabl# the white "o"lar into which 'e$ce was
transformed, b$t "ossibl# a n$t1tree, the emblem of Wisdom. White1
c#"ress wood, re%arded as an antiIcorr$"tive, was $sed for homehold
chests and coffins.
+. ades had a tem"le at the foot of 0o$nt 0enthe in &lis, and his ra"e
of 0inthe .Hmint>/ is "robabl# ded$ced from the $se of mint in f$nerar#
rites, to%ether with rosemar# and m#rtle, to offset the smell of deca#.
:emeter>s barle#1water drink at &le$sis was flavo$red with mint.
6ho$%h awarded the s$n1cattle of &r#theia .Hred land>/ beca$se that
was where the 4$n met his ni%htl# death, ades is more $s$all# called
(ron$s, or Ger#on, in this conte3t.
9. esiod>s acco$nt of ecate shows her to have been the ori%inal
6ri"le1%oddess, s$"reme in eaven, on earth, and in 6artar$s- b$t the
ellenes em"hasiAed her destr$ctive "owers at the e3"ense of her
creative ones $ntil, at last, she was invoked onl# in clandestine rites of
black ma%ic es"eciall# at "laces where three roads met. 6hat <e$s did
not den# her the ancient "ower of %rantin% ever# mortal his heart>s
desire is a trib$te to the 6hessalian witches, of whom ever#one stood
in dread. 'ion, do%, and horse, her heads, evidentl# refer to the ancient
tri"artite #ear, the do% bein% the :o%1star 4iri$s- as do also (erber$s>s
8. ecate>s com"anions, the &rinn#es, were "ersonified "an%s of
conscience after the breakin% of a tabooIat first onl# the taboo of
ins$lt, disobedience, or violence to a mother. 4$""liants and %$ests
came $nder the "rotection of estia, Goddess of the earth, and to ill1
treat them wo$ld be to disobe# and ins$lt her.
9. 'e$ce, the lar%est island in the ;lack 4ea, b$t ver# small at that, is
now a treeless Romanian "enal colon#.
Ty:he $3d e0esis
6C(& is a da$%hter of <e$s, to whom he has %iven "ower to decide
what the fort$ne of this or that mortal shall be. 5n some she hea"s
%ifts from a horn of "lent#, others she de"rives of all that the# have.
6#che is alto%ether irres"onsible in her awards, and r$ns abo$t G$%%lin%
with a ball to e3em"lif# the $ncertaint# of chance, sometimes $",
sometimes down. ;$t if it ever ha""ens that a man, whom she has
favo$red, boasts of his ab$ndant riches and neither sacrifices a "art of
them to the %ods, nor alleviates the "overt# of his fellow1citiAens, then
the ancient %oddess ?emesis ste"s in to h$miliate him. ?emesis,
whose home is at Attic Rhamn$s, carries an a""le1bo$%h in one hand,
and a wheel in the other, and wears a silver crown adorned with sta%s-
the sco$r%e han%s at her %irdle. 4he is a da$%hter of 5cean$s and has
somethin% of A"hrodite>s bea$t#.
b. 4ome sa# that <e$s once fell in love with ?emesis, and "$rs$ed her
over the earth and thro$%h the sea. 6ho$%h she constantl# chan%ed
her sha"e, he violated her at last b# ado"tin% the form of a swan, and
from the e%% she laid came elen, the ca$se of the 6roGan War.
1. 6#che .Hfort$ne>/, like :ice and Aedos ."ersonifications of ?at$ral
'aw, or 2$stice, and 4hame/, was an artificial deit# invented b# the
earl# "hiloso"hers- whereas ?emesis .Hd$e enactment>/ had been the
?#m"h1%oddess of :eath1in1'ife whom the# now redefined as a moral
control on 6#che. 6hat ?emesis>s wheel was ori%inall# the solar #ear is
s$%%ested b# the name of her 'atin co$nter"art, !ort$na .from
)ortumna, Hshe who t$rns the #ear abo$t>/. When the wheel had t$rned
half circle, the sacred kin%, raised to the s$mmit of his fort$ne, was
fated to dieIthe Actaeon sta%s on her crown anno$nce thisIb$t when
it came f$ll circle, he reven%ed himself on the rival who had s$""lanted
him. er sco$r%e was formerl# $sed for rit$al flo%%in%, to fr$ctif# the
trees and cro"s, and the a""le1bo$%h was the kin%>s "ass"ort to
*. 6he ?emesis whom <e$s chased, is not the "hiloso"hical conce"t of
divine ven%eance on overweenin% mortals, b$t the ori%inal ?#m"h1
%oddess, whose $s$al name was 'eda. In "re1ellenic m#th, the
%oddess chases the sacred kin% and, altho$%h he %oes thro$%h his
seasonal transformations, co$nters each of them in t$rn with her own,
and devo$rs him at the s$mmer solstice. In ellenic m#th the "arts are
reversed, the %oddess flees, chan%in% sha"e, b$t the kin% "$rs$es and
finall# violates her, as in the stor# of <e$s and 0etis, or Pele$s and
6hetis. 6he reD$ired seasonal transformations will have been indicated
on the s"okes of ?emesis>s wheel- b$t in omer>s C&ria onl# a fish
and Hvario$s beasts> are mentioned. HLeda1 is another form of 'eto, or
'atona, whom the P#thon, not <e$s, chased. 4wans were sacred to the
%oddess .&$ri"ides, I&higeneia $mong the Taurians/, beca$se of their
white "l$ma%e, also beca$se the B1formation of their fli%ht was a
female s#mbol, and beca$se, at mids$mmer, the# flew north to
$nknown breedin% %ro$nds, s$""osedl# takin% the dead kin%>s so$l
with them.
7. 6he "hiloso"hical ?emesis was worshi""ed at Rhamn$s where,
accordin% to Pa$sanias, the Persian commander1in1chief, who had
intended to set $" a white marble tro"h# in celebration of his conD$est
of Attica, was forced to retire b# news of a naval defeat at 4alamis- the
marble was $sed instead for an ima%e of the local ?#m"h1%oddess
?emesis. It is s$""osed to have been from this event that ?emesis
came to "ersonif# H:ivine ven%eance>, rather than the Hd$e enactment>
of the ann$al death drama- since to omer, at an# rate, nemesis had
been merel# a warm h$man feelin% that "a#ment sho$ld be d$l#
made, or a task d$l# "erformed. ;$t ?emesis the ?#m"h1%oddess bore
the title Adrasteia .Hinesca"able>I4trabo/, which was also the name of
<e$s>s foster1n$rse, an ash1n#m"h- and since the ash1n#m"hs and the
&rinn#es were sisters, born from the blood of )ran$s, this ma# have
been how ?emesis came to embod# the idea of ven%eance. 6he ash1
tree was one of the %oddess>s seasonal dis%$ises, and an im"ortant
one to her "astoral devotees, beca$se of its association with
th$nderstorms and with the lambin% month, the third of the sacral
8. ?emesis is called a da$%hter of 5cean$s, beca$se as the ?#m"h1
%oddess with the a""le1bo$%h she was also the sea1born A"hrodite,
sister of the &rinn#es.
The "hi6dre3 O8 The *ea
6& fift# ?ereids, %entle and beneficent attendants on the 4ea1
%oddess 6hetis, are mermaids, da$%hters of the n#m"h :oris b#
?ere$s, a "ro"hetic old man of the sea, who has the "ower of chan%in%
his sha"e.
b. 6he Phorcids, their co$sins, children of (eto b# Phorc#s, another
wise old man of the sea, are 'adon, &chidne, and the three Gor%ons,
dwellers in 'ib#a- the three Graeae- and, some sa#, the three
es"erides. 6he Gor%ons were named 4theino, &$r#ale, and 0ed$sa,
all once bea$tif$l. ;$t one ni%ht 0ed$sa lied with Poseidon, and
Athene, enra%ed that the# had bedded in one of her own tem"les,
chan%ed her into a win%ed monster with %larin% e#es, h$%e teeth,
"rotr$din% ton%$e, braAen claws and ser"ent locks, whose %aAe t$rned
men to stone. When event$all# Perse$s deca"itated 0ed$sa, and
Poseidon>s children (hr#saor and Pe%as$s s"ran% from her dead bod#,
Athene fastened the head to her aegis- b$t some sa# that the aegis
was 0ed$sa>s own skin, ra#ed from her b# Athene.
c. 6he Graeae are fair1faced and swan1like, b$t with hair %re# from
birth, and onl# one e#e and one tooth between the three of them. 6heir
names are &n#o, Pem"hredo, and :eino.
d. 6he three es"erides, b# name es"ere, Ae%le, and &r#theis, live in
the far1western orchard which 0other &arth %ave to era. 4ome call
them da$%hters of ?i%ht, others of Atlas and of es"eris, da$%hter of
es"er$s- sweetl# the# sin%.
e. alf of &chidne was lovel# woman, half was s"eckled ser"ent. 4he
once lived in a dee" cave amon% the Arimi, where she ate men raw,
and raised a brood of fri%htf$l toototers to her h$sband 6#"hon- b$t
h$ndred1e#ed Ar%$s killed her while she sle"t.
f. 'adon was wholl# ser"ent, tho$%h %ifted with the "ower of h$man
s"eech, and %$arded the %olden a""les of the es"erides $ntil
eracles shot him dead.
%. ?ere$s, Phorc#s, 6ha$mas, &$r#bia, and (eto were all children born
to Pont$s b# 0other &arth- th$s the Phorcids and ?ereids claim
co$sinhood with the ar"ies. 6hese are the fair1haired and swift1
win%ed da$%hters of 6ha$mas b# the 5cean1n#m"h &lectra, who
snatch $" criminals for "$nishment b# the &rinn#es, and live in a
(retan cave.
1. It seems that the 0oon1%oddess>s title &$r#nome .Hwide r$le> or
Hwide wanderin%>/ "roclaimed her r$ler of heaven and earth- &$r#bia
.Hwide stren%th>/, r$ler of the sea- &$r#dice .Hwide G$stice>/ the ser"ent1
%ras"in% r$ler of the )nderworld. 0ale h$man sacrifices were offered
to her as &$r#dice, their death bein% a""arentl# ca$sed b# vi"er>s
venom. &chidne>s death at the hated of Ar%$s "robabl# refers to the
s$""ression of the 4er"ent1%oddess>s Ar%ive c$lt. er brother 'adon is
the orac$lar ser"ent who ha$nts ever# "aradise, his coils embracin%
the a""le1tree.
*. Amon% &$r#bia>s other sea1titles were 6hetis .Hdis"oser>/, or its
variant 6eth#s- (eto, as the sea1monster corres"ondin% with the
ebrew Rahab, or the ;ab#lonian 6iamat- ?ereis, as the %oddess of the
wet dement- &lectra, as "rovider of amber, a sea "rod$ct hi%hl# val$ed
b# the ancients- 6ha$mas, as wonderf$l- and :oris, as bo$ntif$l.
?ere$sIalias Prote$s .Hfirst man>/Ithe "ro"hetic Hold man of the sea>,
who took his name from ?ereis, not contrariwise, seems to have been
an orac$lar sacred kin%, b$ried on a coastal island- he is "ict$red in an
earl# vase1"aintin% as fish1tailed, with a lion, a sta%, and a vi"er
emer%in% from his bod#. Prote$s, in the *dsse, similarl# chan%ed
sha"es, to mark the seasons thro$%h which the sacred kin% moved
from birth to death.
7. 6he fift# ?ereids seem to have been a colle%e of fift# 0oon1
"riestesses, whose ma%ic rites ens$red %ood fishin%- and the Gor%ons,
re"resentatives of the 6ri"le1%oddess, wearin% "ro"h#lactic masks with
scowl, %larin% e#es, and "rotr$din% ton%$e between bared teeth to
fri%hten stran%ers from her 0#steries. 6he 4ons of omer knew onl# a
sin%le Gor%on, who was a shade in 6artar$s .*dsse/, and whose
head, an obGect of terror to 5d#sse$s .*dsse/, Athene wore on her
aegis, do$btless to warn "eo"le a%ainst e3aminin% the divine
m#steries hidden behind it. Greek bakers $sed to "aint Gor%on masks
on their ovens, to disco$ra%e b$s#1bodies from o"enin% the oven door,
"ee"in% in, and th$s allowin% a dra$%ht to s"oil the bread. 6he
Gor%ons> namesI4theino .Hstron%>/, &$r#ale .Hwide roamin%>/, and
0ed$sa .Hc$nnin% one>/Iare titles of the 0oon1%oddess- the 5r"hics
called the moon>s face Hthe Gor%on>s head>.
8. Poseidon>s fatherin% of Pe%as$s on 0ed$sa recalls his fatherin% of
the horse Arion on :emeter, when she dis%$ised herself as a mare,
and her s$bseD$ent f$r#- both m#ths describe how Poseidon>s ellenes
forcibl# married the 0oon1"riestesses, disre%ardin% their Gor%on
masks, and took over the rain1makin% rites of the sacred horse c$lt.
;$t a mask of :emeter was still ke"t in a stone chest at Phene$s, and
the "riest of :emeter ass$med it when he "erformed the ceremon# of
beatin% the Infernal 4"irits with rods .Pa$sanias/.
5. (hr#saor was :emeter>s new1moon si%n, the %olden sickle, or
falchion- her consorts carried it when the# de"$tiAed for her. Athene, in
this version, is <e$s>s collaborator, reborn from his head, and a
traitress to the old reli%ion. 6he three ar"ies, re%arded b# omer as
"ersonifications of the storm winds .*dsse/, were the earlier Athene,
the 6ri"le1%oddess, in her ca"acit# of s$dden destro#er. 4o were the
Graeae, the 6hree Gre# 5nes, as their names &n#o .Hwarlike>/,
Pem"hredo .Hwas">/, and :eino .Hterrible>/ show- their sin%le e#e and
tooth are misreadin%s of a sacred "ict$re, and the swan is a death1bird
in &$ro"ean m#tholo%#.
+. Phorc#s, a masc$line form of Phorcis, the Goddess as 4ow, who
devo$rs cor"ses, a""ears in 'atin as 5rc$s, a title of ades, and as
&orcus, ho%. 6he Gor%ons and Gre# 5nes were called Phorcids,
beca$se it was death to "rofane the Goddess>s 0#steries- b$t
Phorc#s>s "ro"hetic wisdom m$st refer to a sow1oracle.
9. 6he names of the es"erides, described as children either of (eto
and Phorc#s, or of ?i%ht, or of Atlas the 6itan who holds $" the
heavens in the !ar West, refer to the s$nset. 6hen the sk# is %reen,
#ellow, and red, as if it were an a""le1tree in f$ll bearin%- and the 4$n,
c$t b# the horiAon like a crimson half1a""le, meets his death
dramaticall# in the western waves. When the 4$n has %one, es"er$s
a""ears. 6his star was sacred to the 'ove1%oddess A"hrodite, and the
a""le was the %ift b# which her "riestess deco#ed the kin%, the 4$n>s
re"resentative to his death with love1son%s- if an a""le is c$t in two
transversel#, five1"ointed star a""ears in the centre of each half.
The "hi6dre3 O8 E:hid3e
&(I:?& bore a dreadf$l brood to 6#"hon, namel#, (erber$s, a
three1headed o$nd of ell- the #dra, a man#1beaded water1ser"ent
livin% at 'erna- the (himaera, a fire1breathin% %oat with lion>s and
ser"ent>s bod#- and 5rthr$s, the two1headed ho$nd of Ger#o, who la#
with his own mother and be%ot on her the 4"hin3 and the ?emean
1. (erber$s, associated b# the :orians with do%1headed &%#"tian %od
An$bis who cond$cted so$ls to the )nderworld, seems to have
ori%inall# been the :eath1%oddess ecate or ecabe- she was
"ortra#ed as a bitch beca$se do%s eat cor"se flesh and howl at the
*. 6he (himaera was, a""arentl#, a calendar1s#mbol of the tri"artite
#ear, of which the seasonal emblems were lion, %oat, and ser"ent.
7. 5rthr$s, who fathered the (himaera, the 4"hin3, the #dra, and the
?emean 'ion on &chidne was 4iri$s, the :o%1star, which ina$%$rated
the Athenian ?ew Cear. e had two heads, like 2an$s, beca$se the
reformed #ear in Athens had two seasons, not three, 5rthr$s>s son, the
'ion, emblemiAin% the first half, and his da$%hter, the 4er"ent,
emblemiAin% the second. When the Goat1emblem disa""eared, the
(himaera %ave "lace to 4"hin3, with her win%ed1lion>s bod# and
ser"ent>s tail. 4ince the reform ?ew Cear be%an when the 4$n was in
'eo and the :o% :a#s had be%$n, 5rthr$s looked in two directionsI
forward to the ?ew backward to the 5ldIlike the (alendar1%oddess
(ardea, whom the Romans named Postvorta and Antevorta on that
acco$nt. 5rthr$s was called Hearl#> "res$mabl# beca$se he introd$ced
the ?ew Cear.
The Gia3ts1 Revo6t
&?RAG&: beca$se <e$s had confined their brothers, the 6itans, in
6artar$s, certain tall and terrible %iants, with lon% locks and beards,
and ser"ent1tails for feet, "lotted an assa$lt on eaven. 6he# had been
born from 0other &arth at 6hracian Phle%ra, twent#1fo$r in n$mber.
b. Witho$t warnin%, the# seiAed rocks and fire1brands and h$rled them
$"wards from their mo$ntain to"s, so that the 5l#m"ians were hard
"ressed. era "ro"hesied %loomil# that the %iants co$ld never be killed
b# an# %od, b$t onl# b# a sin%le, lion1skinned mortal- and that even he
co$ld do nothin% $nless the enem# were antici"ated in their search for
a certain herb of inv$lnerabilit#, which %rew in a secret "lace on earth.
<e$s at once took co$nsel with Athene- sent her off to warn eracles,
the lion1skinned mortal to whom era was evidentl# referrin%, e3actl#
how matters stood- and forbade &os, 4elene, and eli$s to shine for a
while. )nder the feeble li%ht of the stars, <e$s %ro"ed abo$t on earth,
in the re%ion to which Athene directed him, fo$nd the herb, and
bro$%ht it safel# to eaven.
c. 6he 5l#m"ians co$ld now Goin battle with the %iants. eracles let
loose his first arrow a%ainst Alc#one$s, the enem#>s leader. e fell to
the %ro$nd, b$t s"ran% $" a%ain revived, beca$se this was his native
soil of Phle%ra. HL$ick, noble eraclesO> cried Athene. H:ra% him awa#
to another co$ntr#O> eracles ca$%ht Alc#one$s $" on his sho$lders,
and dra%%ed him over the 6hracian border, where he des"atched him
with a cl$b.
d. 6hen Por"h#rion lea"ed into eaven from the %reat "#ramid of rocks
which the %iants had "iled $", and none of the %ods stood his %ro$nd.
5nl# Athene ado"ted a "ost$re of defence. R$shin% b# her, Por"h#rion
made for era, whom he tried to stran%le- b$t, wo$nded in the liver b#
a timel# arrow from &ros>s bow, he t$rned from an%er to l$st, and
ri""ed off era>s %lorio$s robe. <e$s, seein% that his wife was abo$t to
be o$tra%ed, ran forward in Gealo$s wrath, and felled Por"h#rion with a
th$nderbolt. )" he s"ran% a%ain, b$t eracles, ret$rnin% to Phle%ra in
the nick of time, mortall# wo$nded him with an arrow. 0eanwhile,
&"hialtes had en%a%ed Ares and beaten him to his knees- however,
A"ollo shot the wretch in the left e#e and called to eracles, who at
once "lanted another arrow in the rib. 6h$s died &"hialtes.
e. ?ow, wherever a %od wo$nded a %iantIas when :ion#si$s felled
&$r#t$s with his thrsus, or ecate sin%ed (l#ti$s with torches, or
e"haest$s scalded 0imas with a ladle of red1hot metal, Athene
cr$shed the l$stf$l Pallas with a stone, it was eracles who had to deal
the death blow. 6he "eace1lovin% %oddesses estia and :emeter took
no "art in the conflict, b$t stood disma#ed, wrin%in% their hands to the
!ates, however, sw$n% braAen "estles to %ood effect.
f. :isco$ra%ed, the remainin% %iants fled back to earth, "$rs$ed b#
the 5l#m"ians. Athene threw a vast missile at &ncelad$s, who cr$shed
him flat and became the island of 4icil#. And Poseidon bro$%ht off "art
of (os with his trident and threw it at Pol#b$tes- this became the
nearb# islet of ?is#ros, beneath which he lies b$ried.
%. 6he remainin% %iants made a last stand at ;athos, near Arcadian
6ra"eA$s, where the %ro$nd still b$rns, and %iants> bones are
sometimes t$rned $" b# "lo$%h1men. ermes, borrowin% ades>s
helmet of invisibilit#, str$ck down i""ol#t$s, and Artemis "ierced
Gration with an arrow- while the !ates> "estles broke the heads of
A%ri$s and 6hoas. Ares, with his s"ear, and <e$s, with his th$nderbolt,
are acco$nted for the rest, tho$%h eracles was called $"on to
des"atch each %iant as he fell. ;$t some sa# that the battle took "lace
on Phle%raean Plain, near ($mae in Ital#.
h. 4ilen$s, the earth1born 4at#r, claims to have taken "art in battle at
the side of his "$"il :ion#s$s, killin% &ncelad$s and s"read "anic
amon% the %iants b# the bra#in% of his old "ack1ass- b$t 4ilen$s is
$s$all# dr$nken and cannot distin%$ish tr$th from falsehood.
1. 6his is a "ost1omeric stor#, "reserved in a de%enerate version, &ros
and :ion#s$s, who take "art in the fi%htin%, are late1comer 5l#m"$s,
and eracles is admitted there before a"otheosis on 0o$nt 5eta. It
"$r"orts to acco$nt for findin% of mammoth bones at 6ra"eA$s .where
the# are still shown in a local m$se$m/- and for the volcanic fires at
;athos near b#Ialso at Arcadian, or 6hracian, Pallene, at ($mae, and
in the islands of 4icil# and ?is#ros, beneath which Athene and Poseidon
are said to have b$ried two of the %iants.
*. 6he historical incident $nderl#in% the Giants> RevoltIand also the
Aloeids> Revolt, of which it is $s$all# re%arded as a do$bleIseems to
be a concerted attem"t b# non1ellenic mo$ntaineers to storm certain
ellenic fortresses, and their re"$lse b# the ellenes> s$bGect1allies.
;$t the "owerlessness and cowardice of the %ods, contrasted with the
invincibilit# of eracles, and the farcical incidents of the battle, are
more characteristic of "o"$lar fiction than of m#th.
7. 6here is, however, a hidden reli%io$s element in the stor#. 6hese
%iants are not flesh and blood, b$t earth1born s"irits, as their ser"ent1
tails "rove, and can be thwarted onl# b# the "ossession of a ma%ical
herb. ?o m#tho%ra"her mentions the name of the herb, b$t it was
"robabl# the e&hialtion, a s"ecific a%ainst the ni%htmare. &"hialtes, the
name of the %iants> leader, means literall# Hhe who lea"s $"on>
.incubus in 'atin/- and the attem"ts of Por"h#rion to stran%le and ra"e
era, and of Pallas to ra"e Athene, s$%%est that the stor# mainl#
concerns the wisdom of invokin% eracles the 4avio$r, when
threatened b# erotic ni%htmares at an# ho$r of the twent#1fo$r.
8. Alc#one$s .Hmi%ht# ass>/ is "robabl# the s"irit of the sirocco, Hthe
breath of the Wild Ass>, or 6#"hon, which brin%s bad dreams, and
m$rdero$s inclinations, and ra"es- and this makes 4ilen$s>s claim to
have ro$ted the %iants with the bra#in% of his "ack1ass still more
ridic$lo$s. 0imas .Hmimicr#>/ ma# refer to the del$sive verisimilit$de of
dreams- and i""ol#t$s .Hstam"ede of horsesM/ recalls the ancient
attrib$tion of terror1dreams to the 0are1headed %oddess. In the north,
it was 5din whom s$fferers from Hthe ?i%htmare and her ninefold>
invoked, $ntil his "lace was taken b# 4t. 4withold.
5. What $se eracles made of the herb can be ded$ced from the
;ab#lonian m#th of the cosmic fi%ht between the new %ods and the
old. 6here 0ard$k, eracles>s co$nter"art, holds a herb to his nostrils
a%ainst the no3io$s smell of the %oddess 6iamat- here Alc#one$s>s
breath has to be co$nteracted.
I? reven%e for the destr$ction of the %iants, 0other &arth la# with
6artar$s, and "resentl# in the (or#cian (ave of (ilicia bro$%ht forth her
#o$n%est child, 6#"hon, the lar%est monster ever born. !rom the thi%hs
downward he was nothin% b$t coiled ser"ents, and his arms which,
when he s"read them o$t, reached a h$ndred lea%$es in either
direction, had co$ntless ser"ents> heads instead of hands. is br$tish
ass1head to$ched the stars, his vast win%s darkened the s$n, fire
flashed from his e#es, and flamin% rocks h$rtled from his mo$th. When
he came r$shin% towards 5l#m"$s, the %ods fled in terror to &%#"t,
where the# dis%$ised themselves as animals, <e$s becomin% a ram-
A"olloIa crow- :ion#s$sIa %oat- eraIa white cow- ArtemisIa cat-
A"hroditeIa fish- AresIa boar- ermesIan ibis, and so on.
b. Athene alone stood her %ro$nd, and ta$nted <e$s with cowardice
$ntil, res$min% his tr$e form, he let fl# a th$nderbolt at 6#"hon, and
followed this $" with a swee" of the same flint sickle that had served
to castrate his father )ran$s. Wo$nded and sho$tin%, 6#"hon fled to
0o$nt (asi$s, which looms over 4#ria from the north, and there the
two %ra""led. 6#"hon twined his m#riad coils abo$t <e$s, disarmed
him of his sickle and, after severin% the sinews of his hands and feet
with it, dra%%ed him into the (or#cian (ave. <e$s is immortal, b$t now
he co$ld not move a fin%er, and 6#"hon had hidden the sinews in a
bear1skin, over which :el"h#ne, a ser"ent1tailed sister1monster, stood
c. 6he news of <e$s>s defeat s"read disma# amon% the %ods, b$t
ermes and Pan went secretl# to the cave, where Pan fri%htened
:el"h#ne with a s$dden horrible sho$t, while ermes skillf$ll#
abstracted the sinews and re"laced them on <e$s>s limbs.
d. ;$t some sa# that it was (adm$s who wheedled the sinews from
:el"h#ne, sa#in% that he needed them for l#re1strin%s on which to "la#
her deli%htf$l m$sic- and A"ollo who shot her dead.
e. <e$s ret$rned to 5l#m"$s and, mo$nted $"on a chariot drawn b#
win%ed horses, once more "$rs$ed 6#"hon with th$nderbolts. 6#"hon
had %one to 0o$nt ?#sa, where the 6hree !ates offered him e"hemeral
fr$its, "retendin% that these wo$ld restore his vi%o$r tho$%h, in realit#,
the# doomed him to certain death. e reached 0o$nt aem$s in
6hrace and, "ickin% $" whole mo$ntains, h$rled them at <e$s, who
inter"osed his th$nderbolts, so that the# rebo$nded on the monster,
wo$ndin% him fri%htf$ll#. 6he streams of 6#"hon>s blood %ave 0o$nt
aem$s its name. e fled towards 4icil#, where <e$s ended the
r$nnin% fi%ht b# h$rlin% 0o$nt Aetna $"on him, and fire belches from
its cone to this da#.
1. H(or#cian>, said to mean Hof the leather sack>, ma# record the
ancient c$stom of confinin% winds in ba%s, followed b# Aeol$s, and
"reserved b# mediaeval witches. In the other (or#cian (ave, at :el"hi,
:el"h#ne>s ser"ent1mate was called P#thon, not 6#"hon. P#thon
.Hser"ent>/ "ersonified the destr$ctive ?orth WindIwinds were
habit$all# de"icted with ser"ent tailsIwhich whirls down on 4#ria from
0o$nt (asi$s, and on Greece from 0o$nt aem$s. 6#"hon, on the
other hand, means Hst$"ef#in% smoke>, and his a""earance describes a
volcanic er$"tion- hence <e$s was said to have b$ried him at last
$nder 0o$nt Aetna. ;$t the name 6#"hon also meant the b$rnin%
4irocco from the 4o$thern :esert, a ca$se of havoc in 'ib#a and
Greece, which carries a volcanic smell and was "ict$red b# the
&%#"tians as a desert ass. 6he %od 4et, whose breath 6#"hon was said
to be, maimed 5siris in m$ch the same wa# as P#thon maimed <e$s,
b$t both were finall# overcome- and the "arallel has conf$sed P#thon
with 6#"hon.
*. 6his divine fli%ht into &%#"t, as '$cian observes .*n Sacrifices/,
was invented to acco$nt for the &%#"tian worshi" of %ods in animal
formI<e$s1Ammon as ram, ermes16hoth as ibis or crane, era1Isis as
cow, Artemis1Pasht as cat, and so on- b$t it ma# also refer historicall#
to a fri%htened e3od$s of "riests and "riestesses from the Ae%ean
Archi"ela%o, when a volcanic er$"tion en%$lfed half of the lar%e island
of 6hera, shortl# before *=== ;(. (ats were not domesticated in
(lassical Greece. A f$rther so$rce of this le%end seems to be the
;ab#lonian (reation &"ic, the ,numa ,lish, accordin% to which, in
:amasci$s>s earlier version, the %oddess 6iamat, her consort> A"s$,
and their son 0$mmi .Hconf$sion>/, let loose Fin%$ and a horde of other
monsters a%ainst the newl#1born trinit# of %ods, &a, An$, and ;el. A
"anic fli%ht follows- b$t "resentl# ;el rallies his brothers, takes
command, and defeats 6iamat>s forces, cr$shin% her sk$ll with a cl$b
and slicin% her in two Hlike a fiat1fish>.
7. 6he m#th of <e$s, :el"h#ne, and the bear1skin records <e$s>s
h$miliation at the hands of the Great Goddess, worshi""ed as a 4he1
bear, whose chief oracle was at :el"hi- the historical occasion is
$nknown, b$t the (admeians of ;oeotia seem to have been concerned
with "reservin% the <e$s c$lt. 6#"hon>s He"hemeral fr$its>, %iven him
b# the 6hree !ates, a""ear to be the $s$al death1a""les. In a "roto1
ittite version of the m#th the ser"ent Ill#$nka overcomes the 4torm1
%od and takes awa# his e#es and heart, which he recovers b#
strata%em. 6he :ivine (o$ncil then call on the %oddess Inara to e3ert
ven%eance. Ill#$nka, invited b# her to a feast, eats $ntil %or%ed- when
$"on she binds him with a cord and he is des"atched b# the 4torm1
8. 0o$nt (asi$s .now 2ebel1el1Akra/ is the 0o$nt aAAi which fi%$res in
the ittite stor# of )llik$mmi the stone %iant, who %rew at an
enormo$s rate, and was ordered b# his father F$marbi to destro# the
sevent# %ods of eaven. 6he 4torm1%od, the 4$n1%od, the Goddess of
;ea$t# and all their fellow1deities failed to kill )llik$mmi, $ntil &a the
God of Wisdom, $sin% the knife that ori%inall# severed eaven from
&arth, c$t off the monster>s feet and sent it crashin% into the sea.
&lements of this stor# occ$r in the m#th of 6#"hon, and also in that of
the Aloeids who %rew at the same rate and $sed mo$ntains as a ladder
to eaven. 6he (admeians are likel# to have bro$%ht these le%ends
into Greece from Asia 0inor.
The $6oeids
&PIA'6&4 and 5t$s were the bastard sons of I"himedeia, a
da$%hter of 6rio"s. 4he had fallen in love with Poseidon, and $sed to
cro$ch the seashore, scoo"in% $" the waves in her hands and "o$rin%
them into her la"- th$s she %ot herself with child. &"hialtes and 5t$s
were, however, called the Aloeids beca$se I"himedeia s$bseD$entl#
married Aloe$s, who had been made kin% of ;oeotian Aso"ia b# his
father eli$s. 6he Aloeids %rew one c$bit in breadth and one fathom
hei%ht ever# #ear and, when the# were nine #ears old, bein% then nine
c$bits broad and nine fathoms hi%h, declared war on 5l#m"$s.
&"hialtes swore b# the river 4t#3 to o$tra%e era, and 5t$s similarl#
swore to o$tra%e Artemis.
b. :ecidin% that Ares the God of War m$st be their first ca"t$red, the#
went to 6hrace, disarmed him, bo$nd him, and confined him to a
braAen vessel, which the# hid in the ho$se of their ste"mother &riboea,
I"himedeia bein% now dead. 6hen their sie%e of 5l#m"$s be%an, the#
made a mo$nd for its assa$lt b# "ilin% 0o$nt Pelion on 0o$nt 5ssa,
and f$rther threatened to cast mo$ntains into the sea $ntil it became
dr# land, tho$%h the lowlands were swam"ed b# the waves. 6heir
confidence was $nD$enchable beca$se it had been "ro"hesied that no
other men, nor an# %ods, co$ld kill them.
c. 5n A"ollo>s advice, Artemis sent the Aloeids a messa%e, if the#
raised their sie%e, she wo$ld meet them on the island of ?a3os, and
there s$bmit to 5t$s>s embraces. 5t$s was overGo#ed, b$t &"hialtes,
not havin% received a similar messa%e from era, %rew Gealo$s and
an%r#. A cr$el D$arrel broke o$t on ?a3os, where the# went to%ether,
&"hialtes insistin% that the terms sho$ld be reGected $nless, as the
elder of the two, he was the first to enGo# Artemis. 6he ar%$ment had
reached its hei%ht, when Artemis herself a""eared in the form of a
white doe, and each Aloeid, seiAin% his Gavelin, made read# to "rove
himself the better marksman b# flin%in% it at her. As she darted
between them, swift as the wind, the# let fl# and each "ierced the
other thro$%h and thro$%h. 6h$s both "erished, and the "ro"hec# that
the# co$ld not be killed b# other men, or b# %ods, was G$stified. 6heir
bodies were carried back for interment in ;oeotian Anthedon- b$t the
?a3ians still "a# them heroic hono$rs. 6he# are remembered also as
the fo$nders of ;oeotian Astra- and as the first mortals to worshi" the
0$ses of elicon.
d. 6he sie%e of 5l#m"$s bein% th$s raised, ermes went in search of
Ares, and forced &riboea to release him, halfIdead, from the braAen
vessel. ;$t the so$ls of the Aloeids descended to 6artar$s, where the#
were sec$rel# tied to a "illar with knotted cords of livin% vi"ers. 6here
the# sit, back to back, and the ?#m"h 4t#3 "erches %riml# on the
"illar1to", as a reminder of their $nf$lfilled oaths.
1. 6his is another "o"$lar version of the Giants> Revolt. 6he name
&"hialtes, the assa$lt on 5l#m"$s, the threat to era, and the
"ro"hec# of their inv$lnerabilit#, occ$r in both versions. &"hialtes and
5t$s, Hsons of the threshin%1floor> b# Hher who stren%thens the
%enitals>, %randsons of H6hree !ace>, namel# ecate, and worshi""ers
of the wild 0$ses, "ersonif# the incubus, or or%iastic ni%htmare, which
stifles and o$tra%es slee"in% women. 'ike the ?i%htmare in ;ritish
le%end, the# are associated with the n$mber nine. 6he m#th is
conf$sed b# a shadow# historical e"isode re"orted b# :iodor$s
4ic$l$s. e sa#s that Aloe$s, a 6hessalian, sent his sons to liberate
their mother I"himedeia and their sister Pancratis .Hall1stren%th>/ from
the 6hracians, who had carried them off to ?a3os- their e3"edition was
s$ccessf$l, b$t the# D$arrelled abo$t the "artition of the island and
killed each other. owever, tho$%h 4te"han$s of ;#Aanti$m records
that the cit# of Aloei$m in 6hessal# was named after the Aloeids, earl#
m#tho%ra"hers make them ;oeotians.
*. 6he twins> m$t$al m$rder recalls the eternal rivalr# for the love of
the White Goddess between the sacred kin% and his tanist, who
alternatel# meet death at each other>s hands. 6hat the# were called
Hsons of the threshin%1floor> and esca"ed destr$ction b# <e$s>s
li%htnin%, connects them with the corn c$lt, rather than the oak c$lt.
6heir "$nishment in 6artar$s, like that of 6hese$s and Peiritho$s,
seems to be ded$ced from an ancient calendar s#mbol showin% the
twins> heads t$rned back to back, on either side of a col$mn, as the#
sit on the (hair of !or%etf$lness. 6he col$mn, on which the :eath1in1
'ife Goddess "erches, marks the hei%ht of s$mmer when the sacred
kin%>s rei%n ends and the tanist>s be%ins. In Ital#, this same s#mbol
became two1headed 2an$s- b$t the Italian ?ew Cear was in 2an$ar#, not
at the heliacal risin% of two1headed 4iri$s.
7. Ares>s im"risonment for thirteen months is an $nrelated m#thic
fra%ment of $ncertain date, referrin% "erha"s to an armistice of one
whole #earIthe Pelas%ian #ear had thirteen monthsIa%reed $"on
between the 6hessalo1;oeotians and 6hracians, with war1like tokens of
both nations entr$sted to a braAen vessel in a tem"le of era &riboea.
Pelion, 5ssa, and 5l#m"$s are all mo$ntains to the east of 6hessal#,
with a distant view of the 6hracian (hersonese where the war
terminated b# this armistice ma# have been fo$%ht.
De2:a6io31s F6ood
:&)(A'I5?>4 !lood, so called to distin%$ish it from the 5%#%ian and
other floods, was ca$sed b# <e$s>s an%er a%ainst the im"io$s sons of
'#caon, the son of Pelas%$s. '#caon himself first civiliAed Arcadia and
instit$ted the worshi" of <e$s '#cae$s- b$t an%ered <e$s b# sacrificin%
a bo# to him. e was therefore transformed into a wolf, and his ho$se
str$ck b# li%htnin%. '#caon>s sons were, some sa#, twent#1two in
n$mber- b$t others sa# fift#.
b. ?ews of the crimes committed b# '#caon>s sons reached 5l#m"$s,
and <e$s himself visited them, dis%$ised as a "oor traveller. 6he# had
the effronter# to set $mble so$" before him, mi3in% the %$ts of their
brother ?#ctim$s with the $mbles of shee" and %oats that it contained.
<e$s was $ndeceived and, thr$stin% awa# the table on which the# had
served the loathsome banD$etIthe "lace was afterwards known as
6ra"eA$sIchan%ed all of them e3ce"t ?#ctim$s, whom he restored to
life, into wolves.
c. 5n his ret$rn to 5l#m"$s, <e$s in dis%$st let loose a %reat flood on
the earth, meanin% to wi"e o$t the whole race of man- b$t :e$calion,
Fin% of Phthia, warned b# his father Promethe$s the 6itan, whom he
had visited in the (a$cas$s, b$ilt an ark, vict$alled it, and went aboard
with his wife P#rrha, a da$%hter of &"imethe$s. 6hen the 4o$th Wind
blew, the rain fell, and the rivers roared down to the sea which, risin%
with astonishin% s"eed, washed awa# ever# cit# of the coast and "lain-
$ntil the entire world was flooded, b$t for a few mo$ntain "eaks, and
all mortal creat$res seemed to have been lost, e3ce"t :e$calion and
P#rrha. 6he ark floated abo$t for nine da#s $ntil, at last, the waters
s$bsided, and it came to rest on 0o$nt Parnass$s or, some tell, on
0o$nt Aetna- or 0o$nt Athos- or 0o$nt 5thr#s in 6hessal#. It is said
that :e$calion was reass$red b# a dove which he had sent on an
e3"lorator# fli%ht.
d. :isembarkin% in safet#, the# offered a sacrifice to !ather <e$s,
the "reserver of f$%itives, and went down to "ra# at the shrine of
6hemis, beside the river (e"hiss$s, where the roof was now dra"ed
with seaweed and the altar cold. 6he# "leaded h$mbl# that mankind
sho$ld be renewed, and <e$s, hearin% their voices from afar, sent
ermes to ass$re them that whatever reD$est the# mi%ht make wo$ld
be %ranted forthwith. 6hemis a""eared in "erson, sa#in%, H4hro$d #o$r
heads, and throw the bones of #o$r mother behind #o$O> 4ince
:e$calion and P#rrha had different mothers, both now deceased, the#
decided that the 6itaness meant 0other &arth, whose bones were the
rocks l#in% on the river bank. 6herefore, stoo"in% with shro$ded heads,
the# "icked $" rocks and threw them over their sho$lders- these
became either men or women, accordin% as :e$calion or P#rrha had
handled them. 6h$s mankind was renewed, and ever since Ha "eo"le>
.laos/ and Ha stone> .loas/ have been m$ch the same word in man#
e. owever, as it "roved, :e$calion and P#rrha were not the sole
s$rvivors of the !lood, for 0e%ar$s, a son of <e$s, had been ro$sed
from his co$ch b# the scream of cranes that s$mmoned him to the
"eak of 0o$nt Gerania, which remained above water. Another who
esca"ed was (eramb$s of Pelion, whom the n#m"hs chan%ed to a
scarabae$s, and he flew to the s$mmit of Parnass$s.
f. 4imilarl#, the inhabitants of Parnass$sIa cit# fo$nded b# Parnas$s,
Poseidon>s son, who invented the art of a$%$r#Iwere awakened b# the
howlin% of wolves and followed them to the mo$ntain to". 6he# named
their new cit# '#corea, after the wolves.
%. 6h$s the flood "roved of little avail, for some of the Parnassians
mi%rated to Arcadia, and revived '#caon>s abominations. 6o this da# a
bo# is sacrificed to '#caean <e$s, and his %$ts mi3ed with others in an
$mble so$", which is then served to a crowd of she"herds beside a
stream. 6he she"herd who eats the bo#>s %$t .assi%ned to him b# lot/,
howls like a wolf, han%s his clothes $"on an oak, swims across the
stream, and becomes a werewolf. !or ei%ht #ears he herds with wolves
b$t if he abstains from eatin% men thro$%ho$t that "eriod, ma# ret$rn
at the close, swim back across the stream and res$me his clothes. ?ot
lon% a%o, a Parrhasian named :amarch$s s"ent ei%ht #ears with the
wolves, re%ained his h$manit# and, in the tenth #ear, after hard
"ractice in the %#mnasi$m, won the bo3in% "riAe at the 5l#m"ic
h. 6his :e$calion was the brother of (retan Ariadne and the father of
5resthe$s, Fin% of the 5Aolian 'ocrians, in whose time a white bitch
littered a stick, which 5resthe$s "lanted, and which %rew into a vine.
Another of his sons, Am"hict#on, entertained :ion#s$s, and was the
first man to mi3 wine with water. ;$t his eldest and most famo$s son
was ellen, father of all Greeks.
1. 6he stor# of <e$s and the bo#>s %$ts is not so m$ch a m#th as a
moral anecdote e3"ressin% the dis%$st felt in more civiliAed "arts of
Greece for the ancient cannibalistic "ractices of Arcadia, which were
still "erformed in the name of <e$s, as Hbarbaro$s and $nnat$ral>
.Pl$tarch, Life of Pelo&idas/. '#caon>s virt$o$s Athenian contem"orar#
(ecro"s, offered onl# barle#Icakes, abstainin% even from animal
sacrifices. 6he '#caonian rites, which the a$thor denies that <e$s ever
co$ntenanced, were a""arentl# intended to disco$ra%e the wolves
from "re#in% on flocks and herds, b# sendin% them a h$man kin%.
H'#cae$s> means Hof the she1wolf>, b$t also Hof the li%ht>, and the
li%htnin% in the '#caon m#th shows that Arcadian <e$s be%an as a rain1
makin% sacred kin%Iin service to the divine 4he1wolf, the 0oon, to
whom the wolf"ack howls.
*. A Great Cear of one h$ndred months, or ei%ht solar #ears, was
divided eD$all# between the sacred kin% and his tanist- and '#caon>s
fift# sonsIone for ever# month of the sacred kin%>s rei%nIwill have
been the eaters of the $mble so$". 6he fi%$re twent#1two, $nless it has
been arrived at b# a co$nt of the families who claimed descent from
'#caon and had to "artici"ate in the $mble1feast, "robabl# refers to the
twent#1two five1#ear l$stra which com"osed a c#cleIthe 11=1#ear
c#cle constit$tin% the rei%n of a "artic$lar line of "riestesses.
7. 6he m#th of :e$calion>s !lood, a""arentl# bro$%ht from Asia b#
the ellads, has the same ori%in as the ;iblical le%end of ?oah. ;$t
tho$%h ?oah>s invention of wine is the s$bGect of a ebrew moral tale,
incidentall# G$stif#in% the enslavement of the (anaanites b# their
Fassite and 4emitic conD$erors, :e$calion>s claim to the invention has
been s$""ressed b# the Greeks in favo$r of :ion#s$s. :e$calion is,
however, described as the brother of Ariadne, who was the mother, b#
:ion#s$s, of vario$s vine1c$lt tribes, and has ke"t his name Hnew1wine
sailor> .from deucos and halieus/. 6he :e$calion m#th records a
0eso"otamian flood of the third millenni$m ;(- b$t also the a$t$mnal
?ew Cear feast of ;ab#lonia, 4#ria, and Palestine. 6his feast celebrated
Parna"ishtim>s o$t"o$rin% of sweet new wine to the b$ilders of the ark,
in which .accordin% to the ;ab#lonian Gil%amesh &"ic/ he and his
famil# s$rvived the :el$%e sent b# the %oddess Ishtar. 6he ark was a
moon1shi" and the feast was celebrated on the new moon nearest to
the a$t$mnal eD$ino3, as a means of ind$cin% the winter rains. Ishtar,
in the Greek m#th, is called P#rrhaIthe name of the %oddess1mother
of the P$resati .Philistines/, a (retan "eo"le who came to Palestine b#
wa# of (ilicia abo$t the #ear 1*== ;(- in Greek, &rrha means Hfier#
red>, and is an adGective a""lied to wine.
8. Xis$thros was the hero of the 4$merian !lood le%end, recorded b#
;eross$s, and his ark came to rest on 0o$nt Ararat. All these arks were
b$ilt of acacia1wood, a timber also $sed b# Isis for b$ildin% 5siris>s
5. 6he m#th of an an%r# %od who decides to "$nish man>s wickedness
with a del$%e seems to be a late Greek borrowin% from the
Phoenicians, or the 2ews- b$t the n$mber of different mo$ntains, in
Greece, 6hrace, and 4icil#, on which :e$calion is said to have landed,
s$%%ests that an ancient !lood m#th has been s$"erim"osed on a later
le%end of a flood in ?orthern Greece. In the earliest Greek version of
the m#th, 6hemis renews the race of man witho$t first obtainin%
<e$s>s consent- it is therefore likel# that she, not he, was credited with
the !lood, as in ;ab#lonia.
+. 6he transformation of stones into a "eo"le is, "erha"s, another
elladic borrowin% from the &ast- 4t. 2ohn the ;a"tist referred to a
similar le%end, in a "$n on the ebrew words banim and abanim,
declarin% that God co$ld raise $" children to Abraham from the desert
9. 6hat a white bitch, the 0oon1%oddess ecate, littered a vine1stick in
the rei%n of :e$calion>s son 5resthe$s is "robabl# the earliest Greek
wine m#th. 6he name 5Aolian is said to be derived from o%oi, Hvine
shoots>. 5ne of the wicked sons of '#caon was also named 5resthe$s,
which ma# acco$nt for the forced connection which the m#tho%ra"hers
have made between the m#th of the $mble so$" and the :e$calionian
8. Am"hict#on, the name of another of :e$calion>s sons, is a male
form of Am"hict#onis, the %oddess in whose name the famo$s
northern confederation, the Am"hict#onic 'ea%$e, had been fo$nded-
accordin% to 4trabo, (allimach$s, and the 4choliast on &$ri"ides>s
*restes, it was re%$lariAed b# Acrisi$s of Ar%os. (iviliAed Greeks, $nlike
the dissol$te 6hracians, abstained from neat wine- and its tem"erin%
with water at the conference of the member states, which took "lace in
the vinta%e season at Antela near 6hermo"#lae, will have been a
"reca$tion a%ainst m$rdero$s dis"$tes.
9. :e$calion>s son ellen was the e"on#mo$s ancestor of the entire
ellenic race, his name shows that he was a ro#al de"$t# for the
"riestess of elle, or ellen, or elen, or 4elene, the 0oon- and,
accordin% to Pa$sanias, the first tribe to be called ellenes came from
6hessal#, where elle was worshi""ed.
1=. Aristotle .Meteorologica/ sa#s that :e$calion>s !lood took "lace
Hin ancient Greece .Graecia/, namel# the district abo$t :odona and the
Achelo$s River>. Graeci means Hworshi""ers of the (rone>, "res$mabl#
the &arth1%oddess of :odona, who a""eared in triad as the Graeae-
and it has been s$%%ested that the Achaeans were forced to invade the
Pelo"onnese beca$se $n$s$all# heav# rains had swam"ed their
%raAin% %ro$nds. elle>s worshi" seems to have o$sted that of the
11. 6he scarabae$s beetle was an emblem of immortalit# in 'ower
&%#"t beca$se it s$rvived the floodin% of the ?ileIthe Pharaoh as
5siris entered his s$n1boat in the form of a scarabae$sIand its sacral
$se s"read to Palestine, the Ae%ean, &tr$ria, and the ;alearic Islands.
Antonin$s 'iberalis also mentions the m#th of (eramb$s, or 6eramb$s,
D$otin% ?icander.
$t6as $3d )ro0ethe2s
PR50&6&)4, the creator of mankind, whom some incl$de amon%
the seven 6itans, was the son either of the 6itan &$r#medon, or of
Ia"et$s b# the n#m"h (l#mene- and his brothers were &"imethe$s,
Atlas, and 0enoeti$s.
b. Gi%antic Atlas, eldest of the brothers, knew all the de"ths of the sea-
he r$led over a kin%dom with a "reci"ito$s coastline, lar%er than Africa
and Asia "$t to%ether. 6his land of Atlantis la# be#ond the Pillars of
eracles, and a chain of fr$it1bearin% islands se"arated it from a
farther continent, $nconnected with o$rs. Atlas>s "eo"le canaliAed and
c$ltivated an enormo$s central "lain, fed b# water from the hills which
rin%ed it com"letel#, e3ce"t for a seaward %a". 6he# also b$ilt "alaces,
baths, race1co$rses, %reat harbo$r works, had tem"les- and carried
war not onl# westwards as far as the other continent, b$t eastward as
far as &%#"t and Ital#. 6he &%#"tians sa# that Atlas was the son of
Poseidon, whose five "airs of male twins all swore alle%iance to their
brother b# the blood of a b$ll sacrificed at the "illar1to"- and that at
first the# were e3tremel# virt$o$s, bearin% with fortit$de the b$rden of
their %reat wealth in %old and silver. ;$t one da# %reed and cr$elt#
overcame them and, with <e$s>s "ermission, the Athenians defeated
them sin%le1handed and destro#ed their "ower. At the same time, the
%ods sent a del$%e which, in one da# and one ni%ht, overwhelmed all
Atlantis, so that the harbo$r works and tem"les were b$ried beneath a
waste of m$d and the sea became $nnavi%able.
c. Atlas and 0enoeti$s, who esca"ed, then Goined (ron$s and the
6itans in their $ns$ccessf$l war a%ainst the 5l#m"ian %ods. <e$s killed
0enoeti$s with a th$nderbolt and sent him down to 6artar$s, b$t
s"ared Atlas, whom he condemned to s$""ort eaven on his sho$lders
for all eternit#.
d. Atlas was the father of the Pleiades, the #ades, and the
es"erides- and has held $" the eavens ever since, e3ce"t on one
occasion when eracles tem"oraril# relieved him of the task. 4ome sa#
that Perse$s "etrified Atlas into 0o$nt Atlas b# showin% him the
Gor%on>s head, b$t the# for%et that Perse$s was in common o"inion,
eD$ivalent to eracles.
e. Promethe$s, bein% wiser than Atlas, foresaw the iss$e of the
rebellion a%ainst (ron$s, and therefore "referred to fi%ht on <e$s>s
side, "ers$adin% &"imethe$s to do the same. e was, indeed, the
wisest of his race, and Athene, at whose birth from <e$s>s head he had
assisted, ta$%ht him architect$re, astronom#, mathematics,
navi%ation, medicine, metall$r%#, and other $sef$l arts, which he
"assed on to mankind. ;$t <e$s, who had decided to e3tir"ate the
whole race of man, and s"ared them onl# at Promethe$s>s $r%ent "lea,
%rew an%r# at their increasin% "owers and talents.
f. 5ne da#, when a dis"$te took "lace at 4ic#on, as to which "ortions of
a sacrificial b$ll sho$ld be offered to the %ods, and which sho$ld be
reserved for men, Promethe$s was invited to act as arbiter. e
therefore ra#ed and Gointed a b$ll, and sewed its hide to form two
o"en1mo$thed ba%s, fillin% these with what he had c$t $". 5ne ba%
contained all the flesh, b$t this he concealed beneath the stomach,
which is the least tem"tin% "art of an# animal- and the other contained
the bones, hidden beneath a rich la#er of fat. When he offered <e$s
the choice of either, <e$s, easil# deceived, chose the ba% containin%
the bones and fat .which are still the divine "ortion/- b$t "$nished
Promethe$s, who was la$%hin% at him behind his back, b# withholdin%
fire from mankind. H'et them eat their flesh rawO> he cried.
%. Promethe$s at once went to Athene, with a "lea for a backstairs
admittance to 5l#m"$s, and this she %ranted. 5n his arrival, he li%hted
a torch at the fier# chariot of the 4$n and "resentl# broke from it a
fra%ment of %lowin% charcoal, which he thr$st into the "ith# hollow of a
%iant fennel1stalk. 6hen, e3tin%$ishin% his torch, he stole awa#
$ndiscovered, and %ave fire to mankind.
h. <e$s swore reven%e. e ordered e"haest$s to make a cla# woman,
and the fo$r Winds to breathe life into her, and all the %oddesses of
5l#m"$s to adorn her. 6his woman, Pandora, the most bea$tif$l ever
created, <e$s sent as a %ift to &"imethe$s, $nder ermes>s escort. ;$t
&"imethe$s, havin% been warned b# his brother to acce"t no %ift from
<e$s, res"ectf$ll# e3c$sed himself. ?ow more %rieved even than
before, <e$s had Promethe$s chained naked to a "illar in the
(a$casian mo$ntains, where a %reed# v$lt$re tore at his liver all da#,
#ear in, #ear o$t- and there was no end to the "ain, beca$se ever#
ni%ht .d$rin% which Promethe$s was e3"osed to cr$el frost and cold/
his liver %rew whole a%ain.
i. ;$t <e$s, loath to confess that he had been vindictive, e3c$sed his
sava%er# b# circ$latin% a falsehood, Athene, he said, had invited
Promethe$s to 5l#m"$s for a secret love affair.
G. &"imethe$s, alarmed b# his brother>s fate, hastened to marr#
Pandora, whom <e$s had made as foolish, mischievo$s, and idle as she
was bea$tif$lIthe first of a lon% line of s$ch women. Presentl# she
o"ened a Gar, which Promethe$s had warned &"imethe$s to kee"
closed, and in which he had been at "ains to im"rison all the 4"ites
that mi%ht "la%$e mankind, s$ch as 5ld A%e, 'abo$r, 4ickness,
Insanit#, Bice, and Passion. 5$t these flew in a clo$d, st$n%
&"imethe$s and Pandora in ever# "art of their bodies, and then
attacked the race of mortals. :el$sive o"e, however, whom
Promethe$s had also sh$t in the Gar, disco$ra%ed them b# her lies from
a %eneral s$icide.
1. 'ater m#tho%ra"hers $nderstood Atlas as a sim"le "ersonification of
0o$nt Atlas, in ?orth1western Africa, whose "eak seemed to hold $"
the eavens- b$t, for omer, the col$mns on which he s$""orted the
firmament stood far o$t in the Atlantic 5cean, afterwards named in his
hono$r b# erodotto. e be%an, "erha"s, as the 6itan of the 4econd
da# of the Week, who se"arated the waters of the firmament from the
ware of the earth. 0ost rain comes to Greece from the Atlantic,
es"eciall# the heliacal risin% of Atlas>s star1da$%hters, the #ades-
which "art e3"lains wh# his home was in the west. eracles took the
eavens from his sho$lders in two senses.
*. 6he &%#"tian le%end of AtlantisIalso c$rrent in folk1tale alon%
the Atlantic seaboard from Gibraltar to the ebrides, and amon% the
Cor$b in West AfricaIis not to be dismissed as "$re fanc#, and seems
to date from the third millenni$m ;(. ;$t Plato>s version, which he
claims that 4olon learned from his friends the 'ib#an "riests of 4ais in
the :elta, he a""arentl# been %rafted on a later tradition, how the
0inoan (retans who had e3tended their infl$ence to &%#"t and Ital#,
were defeated a ellenic confederac# with Athens at its head- and
whom, "erha"s as the res$lt of a s$bmarine earthD$ake, the enormo$s
harbo$r works b$ilt b# the Fefti$ .Hsea1"eo"le>, meanin% the (retans
and their allies/ on the island of Pharos and, s$bsided $nder seven
fathoms of waterIwhere the# have latel# been rediscovered b# dive,
6hese works consisted of an o$ter and an inner basin, to%ether
coverin% some two h$ndred and. fift# acres .Gaston 2ondet, Les Ports
submerges l1ancienne ?le de Pharos/. 4$ch an identification of Atlantis
with Pharos wo$ld acco$nt for Atlas>s bein% sometimes described as a
son of Ia"et$sIthe 2a"het of Genesis, whom the ebrews called
?oah>s son and made the ancestor of the 4ea1"eo"le>s confederac#I
and sometimes as a son of Poseidon and, tho$%h in Greek m#th
Ia"et$s a""ears as :e$calion>s %randfather, this need mean no more
than that he was the e"on#mo$s ancestor of the (anaanite tribe which
bro$%ht the 0eso"otamian !lood le%end rather than the Atlantian, to
Greece. 4everal details in Plato>s acco$nt s$ch as the "illar sacrifice of
b$lls and the hot1and1cold water s#stems in Atlas>s "alace, make it
certain that the (retans are bein% described, and no other nation. 'ike
Atlas, the (retans Hknew all the de"ths of the sea>. Accordin% to
:iodor$s, when most of the inhabitants of Greece, were destro#ed b#
the %reat flood, the Athenians for%ot that the# have fo$nded 4ais in
&%#"t. 6his seems to be a m$ddled wa# of sa#in% that after the
s$bmer%ence of the Pharos harbo$r1works the Athenians for%ot their
reli%io$s ties with the cit# of 4ais, where the same 'ib#an %oddess
?eith, or Athene, or 6anit, was worshi""ed.
7. Plato>s stor# is conf$sed b# his acco$nt of the vast n$mbers of
ele"hants in Atlantis, which ma# refer to the heav# im"ort of Greece b#
wa# of Pharos, b$t as "erha"s been borrowed from the elder le%end.
6he whereabo$ts of the folk1tale Atlantis has been the s$bGect of
n$mero$s theories, tho$%h Plato>s infl$ence has nat$rall# concentrated
"o"$lar attention on the Atlantic 5cean. )ntil recentl#, the Atlantic
Rid%e .stretchin% from Iceland to the AAores and then bendin%
so$theastward to Ascension Island and 6ristan da ($nha/ was
s$""osed to be its remains- b$t oceano%ra"hic s$rve#s show that
a"art from these "eaks the entire rid%e has been $nder water for at
least si3t# million #ears. 5nl# one lar%e inhabited island in the Atlantic
is known to have disa""eared, the "latea$ now called the :o%%er
;ank. ;$t the bones and im"lements ha$led $" in cod1nets show that
this disaster occ$rred in Paleolithic times- and it is far less likel# that
the news of its disa""earance reached &$ro"e from s$rvivors who
drifted across the intervenin% waste of waters than that the memor# of
a different catastro"he was bro$%ht to the Atlantic seaboard b# the
hi%hl# civiliAed ?eolithic immi%rants from 'ib#a, $s$all# known as the
"assa%e1%rave b$ilders.
8. 6hese were farmers and arrived in Great ;ritain towards the close of
the third millenni$m ;(- b$t no e3"lanation has been offered for their
mass movement westwards b# wa# of 6$nis and 0orocco to 4o$thern
4"ain and then northward to Port$%al and be#ond. Accordin% to the
Welsh Atlantis le%end of the lost (antrevs of :#fed .im"ossibl# located
in (ardi%an ;a#/, a heav# sea broke down the sea1walls and destro#ed
si3teen cities. 6he Irish # ;rasil- the ;reton (it# of Cs- the (ornish
'and of '#onesse, .im"ossibl# located between (ornwall and the 4icil#
Isles/- the !rench Yle Berte- the Port$%$ese Ilha Berde, all are variants
of this le%end. ;$t if what the &%#"tian "riests reall# told 4olon was
that the disaster took "lace in the !ar West, and that the s$rvivors
moved Hbe#ond the Pillars of eracles>, Atlantis can be easil# identified.
5. It is the co$ntr# of the Atlantians, mentioned b# :iodor$s 4ic$l$s
as a most civiliAed "eo"le livin% to the westward of 'ake 6ritonis, from
whom the 'ib#an AmaAons, meanin% the matriarchal tribes later
described b# erodot$s, seiAed their cit# of (erne. :iodor$s>s le%end
cannot be archaeolo%icall# dated, b$t he makes it "recede a 'ib#an
invasion of the Ae%ean Islands and 6hrace, an event which cannot
have taken "lace later than the third millenni$m ;(. If, then, Atlantis
was Western 'ib#a, the floods which ca$sed it to disa""ear ma# have
been d$e either to a "henomenal rainfall s$ch as ca$sed the famo$s
0eso"otamian and 5%#%ian !loods, or to a hi%h tide with a stron%
north1westerl# %ale, s$ch as washed awa# a lar%e "art of the
?etherlands in the twelfth and thirteenth cent$ries and formed the
<$ider <ee, or to a s$bsidence of the coastal re%ion. Atlantis ma#, in
fact, have been swam"ed at the formation of 'ake 6ritonis, which
a""arentl# once covered several tho$sand sD$are miles of the 'ib#an
lowlands- and "erha"s e3tended northward into the Western G$lf of
4irte, called b# the %eo%ra"her 4c#la3 Hthe G$lf of 6ritonis>, where the
dan%ero$s reefs s$%%est a chain of islands of which onl# 2erba and the
Ferkennahs s$rvive.
+. 6he island left in the centre of the 'ake mentioned b# :iodor$s was
"erha"s the (haamba ;o$ Ro$ba in the 4ahara. :iodor$s seems to be
referrin% to s$ch a catastro"he when he writes in his acco$nt of the
AmaAons and Atlantians, H$nd it is said that, as a result of earth=ua(es,
the &arts of Liba to#ards the ocean engulfed La(e Tritonis, ma(ing it
disa&&ear0> 4ince 'ake 6ritonis still e3isted in his da#, what he had
"robabl# been told was that as a res$lt of earthD$akes in the Western
0editerranean the sea en%$lfed "art of 'ib#a and formed 'ake 6ritonis.
6he <$ider <ee and the (o"aic 'ake have now both been reclaimed-
and 'ake 6ritonis, which, accordin% to 4c#la3, still covered nine
h$ndred sD$are miles in (lassical times, has shr$nk to the salt1
marshes of (hott 0el%hir and (hott el 2erid. If this was Atlantis, some
of the dis"ossessed a%ric$lt$rists were driven west to 0orocco, others
so$th across the 4ahara, others east to &%#"t and be#ond, takin% their
stor# with them- a few remained b# the lakeside. Plato>s ele"hants ma#
well have been fo$nd in this territor#, tho$%h the mo$ntaino$s
coastline of Atlantis belon%s to (rete, of which the sea1hatin%
&%#"tians knew onl# b# hearsa#.
9. 6he five "airs of Poseidon>s twin sons who took the oath of
alle%iance to Atlas will have been re"resentatives at Pharos of HFefti$>
kin%doms allied to the (retans. In the 0#cenaean A%e do$ble1
soverei%nt# was the r$le, 4"arta with (astor and Pol#de$ces, 0essene
with Idas and '#nce$s, Ar%os with Proet$s and Acrisi$s, 6ir#ns with
eracles and I"hicles, 6hebes with &teocles and Pol#neices. Greed and
cr$elt# will have been dis"la#ed b# the 4ons of Poseidon onl# after the
fall of (noss$s, when commercial inte%rit# declined and the merchant
t$rned "irate.
8. Promethe$s>s name Hforetho$%ht>, ma# ori%inate in a Greek
mis$nderstandin% of the 4anskrit word &ramantha, the s#asti(a, or
fire1drill, which he had s$""osedl# invented, since <e$s Promethe$s at
6h$rii was shown holdin% a fire1drill. Promethe$s, the Indo1&$ro"ean
folk1hero, became conf$sed with the (arian hero Palamedes, the
inventor or distrib$tor of all civiliAed arts .$nder the %oddess>s
ins"iration/- and with the ;ab#lonian %od &a, who claimed to have
created a s"lendid man from the blood of Fin%$ .a sort of (ron$s/,
while the 0other1%oddess Ar$r$ created an inferior man from cla#. 6he
brothers Pramanth$ and 0anth$, who occ$r in the Bhaga)ata Purana,
a 4anskrit e"ic, ma# be "rotot#"es of Promethe$s and &"imethe$s
.Haftertho$%ht>/- #et esiod>s acco$nt of Promethe$s, &"imethe$s, and
Pandora is not %en$ine m#th, b$t an antifeminist fable, "robabl# of his
own invention, tho$%h based on the stor# of :emo"hon and Ph#llis.
Pandora .Hall1%ivin%>/ was the &arth1%oddess Rhea, worshi""ed $nder
that title at Athens and elsewhere .Aristo"hanes, Birds- Philostrat$s/,
whom the "essimistic esiod blames for man>s mortalit# and all the ills
which beset life, as well as for the frivolo$s and $nseeml# behavio$r of
wives. is stor# of the division of the b$ll is eD$all# $nm#thical, a
comic anecdote, invented to acco$nt for Promethe$s>s "$nishment,
and for the anomal# of "resentin% the %ods onl# with the thi%h1bones
and fat c$t from the sacrificial beast. In Genesis the sanctit# of the
thi%h1bones is e3"lained b# 2acob>s lameness which an an%el inflicted
on him d$rin% a wrestlin% match. Pandora>s Gar .not bo3/ ori%inall#
contained win%ed so$ls.
9. Greek islanders still carr# fire from one "lace to another in the
"ith of %iant fennel, and Promethe$s>s enchainment on 0o$nt
(a$cas$s ma# be a le%end "icked $" b# the ellenes as the# mi%rated
to Greece from the (as"ian 4ea, of a frost1%iant, rec$mbent on the
snow of the hi%h "eaks, and attended b# a flock of v$lt$res.
1=. 6he Athenians were at "ains to den# that their %oddess took
Promethe$s as her lover, which s$%%ests that he had been locall#
identified with e"haest$s, another fire1%od and inventor, of whom the
same stor# was told beca$se he shared a tem"le with Athene on the
11. 0enoeti$s .Hr$ined stren%th>/ is a sacred kin% of the oak c$lt- the
name refers "erha"s to his rit$al maimin%.
1*. While the ri%ht1handed s#asti(a is a s#mbol of the s$n, the left1
handed is a s#mbol of the moon. Amon% the Akan of West Africa, a
"eo"le of 'ib#o1;erber ancestr#, it re"resents the 6ri"le1%oddess
A6 the close of ever# ni%ht, ros#1fin%ered, saffron1robed &os, a
da$%hter of the 6itans #"erion and 6heia, rises from her co$ch in the
east, mo$nts her chariot drawn b# the horses 'am"$s and Pha@thon,
and rides to 5l#m"$s, where she anno$nces the a""roach of her
brother eli$s. When eli$s a""ears, she becomes emera, and
accom"anies him on his travels $ntil, as es"era, she anno$nces their
safe arrival on the western shores of 5cean.
b. A"hrodite was once ve3ed to find Ares in &os>s bed, and c$rsed her
with a constant lon%in% for #o$n% mortals, whom there$"on she
secretl# and shame1facedl# be%an to sed$ce, one after the other. !irst,
5rion- ne3t, (e"hal$s- then (leit$s, a %randson of 0elam"$s- tho$%h
she was married to Astrae$s, who came of 6itan stock, and to whom
she bore not onl# the ?orth, West, and 4o$th Winds, b$t also
Phos"hor$s and, some sa#, all the other stars of eaven.
c. 'astl#, &os carried off Gan#medes and 6ithon$s, son of 6ros or Il$s.
When <e$s robbed her of Gan#medes she be%%ed him to %rant
6ithon$s immortalit#, and to this he assented. ;$t she for%ot to ask
also for "er"et$al #o$th, a %ift won b# 4elene for &nd#mion- and
6ithon$s became dail# older, %re#er, and more shr$nken, his voice
%rew shrill, and, when &os tired of n$rsin% him, she locked him in her
bedroom, where he t$rned into a cicada.
1. 6he :awn1maiden was a ellenic fanc#, %r$d%in%l# acce"ted b# the
m#tho%ra"hers as a 6itaness of the second %eneration- her two1horse
chariot and her anno$ncement of the 4$n>s advent are alle%ories. 4he
evolved from the blood#1fin%ered Indian 0other1%oddess )shas.
*. &os>s constant love affairs with #o$n% mortals are also alle%oric,
dawn brin%s midni%ht lovers a renewal of erotic "assion, and is the
most $s$al time for men to be carried off b# fever. 6he alle%or# of her
$nion with Astrae$s is a sim"le one, the stars mer%e with dawn in the
east Astrae$s, the dawn wind, rises as if it were their emanation. 6hen,
beca$se wind was held to be a fertiliAin% a%ent, &os became the
mother Astrae$s of the 0ornin% 4tar left alone in the sk#. .Astrae$s
was another name for (e"hal$s, also said to have fathered the 0ornin%
4tar on her./ It followed "hiloso"hicall# that, since the &venin% 4tar is
identical with the 0ornin% 4tar, and since &venin% is :awn>s last
a""earance, all the stars m$st be born from &os, and so m$st ever#
wind b$t the dawn wind. 6his alle%or#, however, contradicted the m#th
of ;oreas>s creation b# the 0oon1%oddess &$r#nome.
7. In Greek art, &os and emera are indistin%$ishable characters.
6ithon$s has been taken b# the alle%orist to mean Ha %rant of a
stretchin% o$t> .from teino and one/, a reference to the stretchin%1o$t
of his life, &os>s "lea- b$t it is likel#, rather, to have been a masc$line
form oleos own name, 6iton@Ifrom tito, Hda#> and on@, HD$een>Iand to
have meant H"artner of the L$een of :a#>. (icadas are active as soon
as the da# warms $", and the %olden cicada was an emblem of A"ollo
as the 4$n1%od amon% the Greek colonists of Asia 0inor.
5RI5?, a h$nter of ;oeotian #ria, and the handsomest man alive,
was the son of Poseidon and &$r#ale. (omin% one da# to #ria in
(hios, he fell in love with 0ero"e, da$%hter of :ion#s$s>s son
5eno"ion. 5eno"ion had "romised 0ero"e to 5rion in marria%e, if he
wo$ld free the island from the dan%ero$s wild beasts that infested it-
and this he set himself to do, brin%in% the "elts to 0ero"e ever#
evenin%. ;$t when the task was at last accom"lished, and he claimed
her as his wife, 5eno"ion bro$%ht him r$mo$rs of lions, bears, and
wolves still l$rkin% in the hills, and ref$sed to %ive her $", the fact
bein% that he was in love with her himself.
b. 5ne ni%ht 5rion, in dis%$st, drank a skinf$l of 5eno"ion>s wine,
which so inflamed him that he broke into 0ero"e>s bedroom, and
forced her to lie with him. When dawn came, 5eno"ion invoked his
father, :ion#s$s, who sent sat#rs to "l# 5rion with still more wine, $ntil
he fell fast aslee"- where$"on 5eno"ion "$t o$t both his e#es and
fl$n% him on the seashore. An oracle anno$nced that the blind man
wo$ld re%ain his si%ht, if he travelled to the east and t$rned his e#e1
sockets towards eli$s at the "oint where he first rises from 5cean.
5rion at once rowed o$t to sea in a small boat and, followin% the so$nd
of a (#clo"s>s hammer, reached 'emnos. 6here he entered the smith#
of e"haest$s, snatched $" an a""rentice named (edalion, and
carried him off on his sho$lders as a %$ide. (edalion led 5rion over
land and sea, $ntil he came at last to the farthest 5cean, where &os
fell in love with him, and her brother eli$s d$l# restored his si%ht.
c. After visitin% :elos in &os>s com"an#, 5rion ret$rned to aven%e
himself on 5eno"ion, whom he co$ld not, however, find an#where in
(hios, beca$se he was hidin% in an $nder%ro$nd chamber made for
him b# e"haest$s. 4ailin% on to (rete, where he tho$%ht that
5eno"ion mi%ht have fled for "rotection to his %randfather 0inos,
5rion met Artemis, who shared his love of the chase. 4he soon
"ers$aded him to for%et his ven%eance and, instead, come h$ntin%
with her.
d. ?ow, A"ollo was aware that 5rion had not ref$sed &os>s invitation to
her co$ch in the hol# island of :elosI:awn still dail# bl$shes to
remember this indiscretionIand, f$rther, boasted that he rid the whole
earth of wild beasts and monsters. !earin%, therefore, his sister Artemis
mi%ht "rove as s$sce"tible as &os, A"ollo went 0other &arth and,
mischievo$sl# re"eatin% 5rion>s boast, arran%ed for a monstro$s
scor"ion to "$rs$e him. 5rion attacked the scor"ion first with arrows,
then with his sword, b$t, findin% that its armo$r is "roof a%ainst an#
mortal wea"on, dived into the sea and swam in the direction of :elos
where, he ho"ed, &os wo$ld "rotect him. A"ollo then called to Artemis,
H:o #o$ see that black obGect bobbin% abo$t in the sea, far awa#, close
to 5rt#%iaJ It is the head of a villain, called (andaon, who has G$st
sed$ced 5"is, one of #o$r #"erborean "riestesses. I challen%e #o$ to
transfi3 it with an arrowO> ?ow, (adaon was 5rion>s ;oeotian
nickname, tho$%h Artemis did not know this. 4he took caref$l aim, let
fl#, and, swimmin% o$t to retrieve the D$arr#, fo$nd that she had shot
5rion thro$%h the head. In %reat %rief she im"lored A"ollo>s son
Ascle"i$s to revive him, and he consented b$t was destro#ed b# <e$s>s
th$nderbolt before he co$ld accom"lish his task. Artemis then set
5rion>s ima%e amon% the stars, eternall# "$rs$ed b# the 4cor"ion- his
%host had alread# descended to As"hodel !ields.
e. 4ome, however, sa# that the scor"ion st$n% 5rion to death, a that
Artemis was ve3ed with him for havin% amoro$sl# chased the vir%in
com"anions, the seven Pleiades, da$%hters of Atlas and Pleione, the#
fled across the meadows of ;oeotia, $ntil the %ods, havin% chan%ed
them into doves, set their ima%es amon% the stars. ;$t this is a
mistaken acco$nt, since the Pleiades were not vir%ins, three of the had
lain with <e$s, two with Poseidon, one with Ares, and the seventh
married 4is#"h$s of (orinth, and failed to be incl$ded in the
constellation, beca$se 4is#"h$s was a mere mortal.
f. 5thers tell the followin% stran%e stor# of 5rion>s birth, to acco$nt for
his name .which is sometimes written )rion/ and for the tradition that
he was a son of 0other &arth. #ric$s, a "oor bee1kee"er a farmer, had
vowed to have no children, and he %rew old and im"otent. When, one
da#, <e$s and ermes visited him in dis%$ise, and were hos"itabl#
entertained, the# enD$ired what %ift he most desired. 4i%hin% dee"l#,
#ric$s re"lied that what he most wanted, namel# to have a son, was
now im"ossible. 6he %ods, however, instr$cted him to sacrifice a b$ll,
make water on its hide, and then b$r# it in his wit %rave. e did so and,
nine months later, a child was born to him, who he named )rionIHhe
who makes water>Iand, indeed, both the risin% and settin% of the
constellation 5rion brin% rain.
1. 5rion>s stor# consists of three or fo$r $nrelated m#ths str$n%
to%ether. 6he first, conf$sedl# told, is that of 5eno"ion. 6his concerns a
sacred kin%>s $nwillin%ness to resi%n his throne, at the close of his
term, even when the new candidate for kin%shi" had been thro$%h his
rit$al combats and married the D$een with the $s$al feastin%. ;$t the
new kin% is onl# an interre3 who, after rei%nin% for one da#, is d$l#
m$rdered and devo$red b# 0aenads- the old kin%, who has been
shammin% dead in a tomb, then remarries the D$een and contin$es his
*. 6he irrelevant detail of the (#clo"s>s hammer e3"lains 5rion>s
blindness, a m#tholo%ical "ict$re of 5d#sse$s searin% the dr$nken
(#clo"s>s e#e has a""arentl# been combined with a ellenic alle%or#,
how the 4$n 6itan is blinded ever# evenin% b# his enemies, b$t
restored to si%ht b# the followin% :awn. 5rion .Hthe dweller on the
mo$ntain>/ and #"erion .Hthe dweller on hi%h>/ are, in fact, identified
here. 5rion>s boast that he wo$ld e3terminate the wild beasts not onl#
refers to his rit$al combats, b$t is a fable of the risin% 4$n, at whose
a""earance all wild beasts retire to their dens.
7. Pl$tarch>s acco$nt of the scor"ion sent b# the %od 4et to kill the
(hild or$s, son of Isis and 5siris, in the hottest "art of the s$mmer,
e3"lains 5rion>s death b# scor"ion1bite and Artemis>s a""eal to
Ascle"i$s .Pl$tarch, *n Isis and *siris/. or$s died, b$t Ra, the 4$n1
%od, revived him, and later he aven%ed his father 5siris>s death- in the
ori%inal m#th 5rion, too, will have been revived. 5rion is also, in "art,
Gil%amesh, the ;ab#lonian eracles, whom 4cor"ion1men attack in the
6enth 6ablet of the (alendar e"icIa m#th which concerned the mortal
wo$ndin% of the sacred kin% as the 4$n rose in 4cor"io. &3actl# at what
season the wo$ndin% took "lace de"ends on the antiD$it# of the m#th-
when the <odiac ori%inated, 4cor"io was "robabl# an A$%$st si%n, b$t
in (lassical times the "recession of the eD$ino3es had advanced it to
8. Another version of 5rion>s death is recorded on one of the ittite
'as Shamra tablets. Anat, or Anatha, the ;attle1%oddess, fell in love
with a handsome h$nter named ADhat, and when he ve3atio$sl#
ref$sed to %ive her his bow, asked the m$rdero$s Cat"an to steal it
from him. 6o her %reat %rief the cl$ms# Cat"an not onl# killed ADhat,
b$t dro""ed the bow into the sea. 6he astronomical meanin% of this
m#th is that 5rion and the ;owIa "art of the constellation, which the
Greeks called H6he o$nd>Isink below the so$thern horiAon for two
whole months ever# s"rin%. In Greece this stor# seems to have been
ada"ted to a le%end of how the or%iastic "riestesses of ArtemisI5"is
bein% a rifle of Artemis herselfIkilled an amoro$s visitor to their islet
of 5rt#%ia. And in &%#"t since the ret$rn of the constellation 5rion
introd$ces the s$mmer heat, it was conf$sin%l# identified with or$s>s
enem# 4et, the two bri%ht star above him bein% his ass>s ears.
5. 6he m#th of 5rion>s birth is "erha"s more than a comic tale
modelled on that of Philemon and ;a$cis .5vid, Metamor&hoses/, and
told to acco$nt for the first s#llable of his ancient name )rionIas
tho$%h it were derived from ourein, Hto $rinate>, not from ouros, the
omeric form of oros, Hmo$ntain>. Cet a "rimitive African rain1"rod$cin%
charm, which consists in makin% water on a b$ll>s hide ma# have been
known to the Greeks- and that 5rion was a son of Poseidon, the water1
%od, is a clear all$sion to his rain1makin% "owers.
+. 6he name Pleiades, from the root &lei, Hto sail>, refers to their risin%
at the season when %ood weather for sailin% a""roaches. ;$t Pindar
form Peleiades, Hflock of doves>, was "erha"s the ori%inal form, since
the #ades are "i%lets. It a""ears that a seventh star in the %ro$"
became e3tinct towards the end of the second millenni$m- since
#%in$s .Fabula/ sa#s that &lectra disa""eared in %rief for the
destr$ction of the o$se of :ardan$s. 5rion>s vain "$rs$it of the
Pleiades, which occ$r in the ;$ll constellation, refers to their risin%
above the horiAon G$st before the rea""earance of 5rion.
&'I)4, whom the cow1e#ed &$r#"haessa, or 6heia, bore to the
6itan #"erion, is a brother of 4elene and &os. Ro$sed b# the crowin%
of the cock, which is sacred to him, and heralded b# &os, he drives b#
fo$r1horse chariot dail# across the eavens from a ma%nificent "alace
in the far east, near (olchis, to an eD$all# ma%nificent far1western
"alace, where his $nharnessed horses "ast$re in the Islands of the
;lessed. e sails home alon% the 5cean stream, which flows aro$nd
the world, embarkin% his chariot and team on a %olden ferr#1boat
made for him b# e"haest$s, and slee"s all ni%ht in a comfortable
b. eli$s can see ever#thin% that ha""ens on earth, b$t is not
"artic$larl# observantIonce he even failed to notice the robber# of his
sacred cattle b# 5d#sse$s>s com"anions. e has several herds of s$ch
cattle, each consistin% of three h$ndred and fift# head. 6hose in 4icil#
are tended b# his da$%hters Phaet$sa and 'am"etia, b$t he kee"s his
finest herd in the 4"anish island of &r#theia. Rhodes is his freehold. It
ha""ened that, when <e$s was allottin% islands and cities to the
vario$s %ods, he for%ot to incl$de eli$s amon% these, and HAlasO> he
said, Hnow I shall have to be%in all over a%ain.>
H?o, 4ire,> re"lied eli$s "olitel#, Htoda# I noticed si%ns of a new island
emer%in% from the sea, to the so$th of Asia 0inor. I shall be well
content with that.>
c. <e$s called the !ate 'achesis to witness that an# s$ch new island
sho$ld belon% to eli$s- and, when Rhodes had risen well above the
waves, eli$s claimed it and be%ot seven sons and a da$%hter there on
the ?#m"h Rhode. 4ome sa# that Rhodes had e3isted before this time,
and was re1emer%in% from the waves after havin% been overwhelmed
b# the %reat flood which <e$s sent. 6he 6elchines were its abori%inal
inhabitants and Poseidon fell in love with one of them, the n#m"h
alia, on whom he be%ot Rhode and si3 sons- which si3 sons ins$lted
A"hrodite in her "assa%e from (#thera to Pa"hos, and were str$ck mad
b# her- the# ravished their mother and committed other o$tra%es so
fo$l that Poseidon sank them $nder%ro$nd, and the# became the
&astern :emons. ;$t alia threw herself into the sea and was deified
as 'e$cotheaItho$%h the same stor# is told of Ino, mother of
(orinthian 0elicertes. 6he 6elchines, foreseein% the flood, sailed awa#
in all directions, es"eciall# to '#cia, and abandoned their claims on
Rhodes. Rhode was th$s left the sole heiress, and her seven sons b#
eli$s r$led in the island after its re1emer%ence. 6he# became famo$s
astronomers, and had one sister named &lectr#o, who died a vir%in and
is now worshi""ed as a demi1%oddess. 5ne of them, b# name Actis,
was banished for fratricide, and fled to &%#"t, where he fo$nded the
cit# of elio"olis, and fist ta$%ht the &%#"tians astrolo%#, ins"ired b#
his father eli$s. 6he Rhodians have now b$ilt the (oloss$s, sevent#
c$bits hi%h, in his hono$r. <e$s also added to eli$s>s dominions the
new island of 4icil#, which had been a missile fl$n% in the battle with
the Gi%ants.
d. 5ne mornin% eli$s #ielded to his son Pha@thon who had been
constantl# "la%$in% him for "ermission to drive the s$n1chariot.
Pha@thon wished to show his sisters Prote and (l#mene what a free
fellow he was, and his fond mother Rhode .whose name is $ncertain
beca$se she had been called b# both her da$%hters> names and b#
that of Rhode/ enco$ra%ed him. ;$t, not bein% stron% eno$%h to check
the career of the white horses, which his sisters had #oked for him,
Pha@thon drove them first so hi%h above the earth that ever#one
shivered, and then so near the earth that he scorched the fields. <e$s,
in a fit of ra%e, killed him with a th$nderbolt, and he fell into the river
Po. is %rievin% sisters were chan%ed into "o"lar1trees on its banks,
which wee" amber tears- or, some sa#, into alder1trees.
1. 6he 4$n>s s$bordination to the 0oon, $ntil A"ollo $s$r"ed
eli$s>s "lace and made an intellect$al deit# of him, is a remarkable
feat$re of earl# Greek m#th. eli$s was not even an 5l#m"ian, b$t a
mere 6itan>s son- and, altho$%h <e$s later borrowed certain solar
characteristics from the ittite and (orinthian %od 6es$" and other
oriental s$n1%ods, these were $nim"ortant com"ared with his
command of th$nder and li%htnin%. 6he n$mber of cattle in eli$s>s
herdsIthe 5d#sse# makes him #"erionIis a reminder of his t$tela%e
to the Great Goddess, bein% the n$mber of da#s covered b# twelve
com"lete l$nations, as in the ?$man #ear .(ensorin$s/, less the five
da#s sacred to 5siris, Isis, 4et, or$s, and ?e"hth#s. It is also a
m$lti"le of the 0oon1n$mbers fift# and seven. eli$s>s so1called
da$%hters are, in fact, 0oon1"riestessesIcattle bein% l$nar rather than
solar animals in earl# &$ro"ean m#th- and eli$s>s mother, the cow1
e#ed &$r#"haessa, is the 0oon1%oddess herself. 6he alle%or# of a s$n1
chariot co$rsin% across the sk# is ellenic in character- b$t ?ilsson in
his Primiti)e Time 'ec(oning .19*=/ has shown that the ancestral clan
c$lts even of (lassical Greece were re%$lated b# the moon alone, as
was the a%ric$lt$ral econom# of esiod>s ;oeotia. A %old rin% from
6ir#ns and another from the Acro"olis at 0#cenae "rove that the
%oddess controlled both the moon and the s$n, which are "laced above
her head.
*. In the stor# of Pha@thon, which is another name for eli$s himself
.omer, Iliad and *dsse/, an instr$ctive fable has been %rafted on
the chariot alle%or#, the moral bein% that fathers sho$ld not s"oil their
sons b# listenin% to female advice. 6his fable, however, is not D$ite so
sim"le as it seems, it has a m#thic im"ortance in its reference to the
ann$al sacrifice of a ro#al "rince, on the one da# reckoned as
belon%in% to the terrestrial, b$t not to the sidereal #ear, namel# that
which followed the shortest da#. 6he sacred kin% "retended to die at
s$nset- the bo# interre3 was at once invested with his titles, di%nities,
and sacred im"lements, married to the D$een, and killed twent#1fo$r
ho$rs later, in 6hrace, torn to "ieces b# women dis%$ised as horses,
b$t at (orinth, and elsewhere, dra%%ed at the tail of a s$n1chariot
drawn b# maddened horses, $ntil he was cr$shed to death. 6here$"on
the old kin% rea""eared from the tomb where he had been hidin%, as
the bo#>s s$ccessor. 6he m#ths of Gla$c$s, Pelo"s, and i""ol#t$s
.Hstam"ede of horses>/, refer to this c$stom, which seems to have been
taken to ;ab#lon b# the ittites.
7. ;lack "o"lars were sacred to ecate, b$t the white %ave "romise of
res$rrection- th$s the transformation of Pha@thon>s sisters into "o"lars
"oints to a se"$lchral island where a colle%e of "riestesses officiated at
the oracle of a tribal kin%. 6hat the# were also said to have been
t$rned into alders s$""orts this view, since alders frin%ed (irce>s Aeaea
.Hwailin%>/, a se"$lchral island l#in% at the head of the Adriatic, not far
from the mo$th of the Po .omer, *dsse/. Alders were sacred to
Phorone$s, the orac$lar hero and inventor of fire. 6he Po valle# was the
so$thern termin$s of the ;ronAe A%e ro$te down which amber, sacred
to the 4$n, travelled to the 0editerranean from the ;altic.
8. Rhodes was the "ro"ert# of the 0oon1%oddess :ana@Icalled
(ameira, Ial#sa, and 'indaI$ntil she was e3tr$ded b# the ittite 4$n1
%od 6es$", worshi""ed as a b$ll. :ana@ ma# be identified with alia
.Hof the sea>/, 'e$cothea .Hwhite %oddess>/, and &lectr#o .Hamber>/.
Poseidon>s si3 sons and one da$%hter, and eli$s>s seven sons, "oint
to a seven1da# week r$led b# "lanetar# "owers, or 6itans. Actis did not
fo$nd elio"olisI5nn, or A$nisIone of the most ancient cities in
&%#"t- and the claim that he ta$%ht the &%#"tians astrolo%# is
ridic$lo$s. ;$t after the 6roGan War the Rhodians were for a while the
onl# sea1traders reco%niAed b# the Pharaohs, and seem to have had
ancient reli%io$s ties with elio"olis, the centre of the Ra c$lt. 6he
Helio"olitan <e$s>, who bears b$sts of the seven "lanetar# "owers on
his bod# sheath, ma# be of Rhodian ins"iration- little similar stat$es
fo$nd at 6ortosa in 4"ain, and ;#blos in Phoenicia.
The *o3s O8 &e66e3
&''&?, son of :e$calion, married 5rseis, and settled in 6hessal#,
where his eldest son, Aeol$s, s$cceeded him.
b. ellen>s #o$n%est son, :or$s, emi%rated to 0o$nt Parnass$s, where
he fo$nded the first :orian comm$nit#. 6he second son, X$th$s, had
alread# fled to Athens after bein% acc$sed of theft b# his brothers, and
there married (re$sa, da$%hter of &rechthe$s, who bore him Ion and
Achae$s. 6h$s the fo$r most famo$s ellenic nations, namel# the
Ionians, Aeolians, Achaeans, and :orians, are all descended from
ellen. ;$t X$th$s did not "ros"er at Athens, when chosen as
arbitrator, $"on &rechthe$s>s death, he "rono$nced his eldest brother1
in1law, (ecro"s the 4econd, to be the ri%htf$l heir to the throne. 6his
decision "roved $n"o"$lar, and X$th$s, banished from the cit#, died in
Ae%ial$s, now Achaia.
c. Aeol$s sed$ced (heiron>s da$%hter, the "ro"hetess 6hea, b# some
called 6hethis, who was Artemis>s com"anion of the chase. 6hea feared
that (heiron wo$ld "$nish her severel# when he knew of her condition,
b$t dared not a""eal to Artemis for assistance- however, Poseidon,
wishin% to do his friend Aeol$s a la#o$t, tem"oraril# dis%$ised her as a
mare called &$i""e. When she had dro""ed her foal, 0elani""e, which
he afterwards transformed into an infant %irl, Poseidon set 6hea>s
ima%e amon% the stars- this is now called the constellation of the
orse. Aeol$s took $" 0elani""e, renamed her Arne, and entr$sted her
to one :esmontes who, bein% childless, was %lad to ado"t her. (heiron
knew nothin% of all this.
d. Poseidon sed$ced Arne, on whom he had been kee"in% an e#e, so
soon as she was of a%e- and :esmontes, discoverin% that she was with
child, blinded her, sh$t her in an em"t# tomb, and s$""lied her with
the ver# least amo$nt of bread and water that wo$ld serve to s$stain
life. 6here she bore twin sons, whom :esmontes ordered his servants
to e3"ose on 0o$nt Pelion, for the wild beasts to devo$r. ;$t an Icarian
herdsman fo$nd and resc$ed the twins, one of whom so closel#
resembled his maternal %randfather that he was named Aeol$s- the
other had to be content with the name ;oeot$s.
e. 0eanwhile, 0eta"ont$s, Fin% of Icaria, had threatened to divorce his
barren wife 6heano $nless she bore him an heir within the #ear. While
he was awa# on a visit to an oracle she a""ealed to the herdsman for
hel", and he bro$%ht her the fo$ndlin%s whom, on 0eta"ont$s>s ret$rn,
she "assed off as her own. 'ater, "rovin% not to be barren after all, she
bore him twin sons- b$t the fo$ndlin%s, bein% of divine "arenta%e, were
far more bea$tif$l than the#. 4ince 0eta"ont$s had no reason to
s$s"ect that Aeol$s and ;oeot$s were not his own children, the#
remained his favo$rites. Growin% Gealo$s, 6heano waited $ntil
0eta"ont$s left home a%ain, this time for a sacrifice at the shrine of
Artemis 0eta"ontina. 4he then ordered his own sons to %o h$ntin%
with their elder brothers, and m$rder them as if b# accident. 6heano>s
"lot failed, however, beca$se in the ens$in% fi%ht Poseidon came to the
assistance of his sons. Aeol$s and ;oeot$s were soon carr#in% their
assailants> dead bodies back to the "alace, and when 6heano saw
them a""roach she stabbed herself to death with a h$ntin% knife.
f. At this, Aeol$s and ;oeot$s fled to their foster1father, the herdsman,
where Poseidon in "erson revealed the secret of their "arenta%e. e
ordered them to resc$e their mother, who was still lan%$ishin% in the
tomb, and to kill :esmontes. 6he# obe#ed witho$t hesitation- Poseidon
then restored Arne>s si%ht, and all three went back to Icaria. When
0eta"ont$s learned that 6heano had deceived him he married Arne
and formall# ado"ted her sons as his heirs.
%. All went well for some #ears, $ntil 0eta"ont$s decided to discard
Arne and marr# a%ain. Aeol$s and ;oeot$s took their mother>s side in
the ens$in% wran%le, and killed A$tol#te, the new D$een, b$t were
obli%ed to forfeit their inheritance and flee. ;oeot$s, with Arne, took
ref$%e in the "alace of his %randfather Aeol$s, who beD$eathed him
the so$thern "art of his kin%dom, and renamed it Arne- the inhabitants
are still called ;oeotians. 6wo 6hessalian cities, one of which later
became (haeronaea, also ado"ted Arne>s name.
h. Aeol$s, meanwhile, had set sail with a n$mber of friends an steerin%
west, took "ossession of the seven Aeolian Islands in the 6#rrhenian
4ea, where he became famo$s as the confidant of the %ods at %$ardian
of the winds. is home was on 'i"ara, a floatin% island of sheer cliff,
within which the winds were confined. e had si3 sons at si3 da$%hters
b# his wife &narete, all of whom lived to%ether, with content with one
another>s com"an#, in a "alace s$rro$nded b# braAen wall. It was a life
of "er"et$al feastin%, son%, and merriment $ntil, one da#, Aeol$s
discovered that the #o$n%est son, 0acare$s had been slee"in% with his
sister (anache. In horror, he threw the fr$it of their incest$o$s love to
the do%s, and sent (anache a sword with which she d$tif$ll# killed
herself. ;$t he then learned that his both, sons and da$%hters, havin%
never been warned that incest amon% h$mans was dis"leasin% to the
%ods, had also innocentl# "aired off, considered themselves as
h$sbands and wives. ?ot wishin% to offend <e$s, who re%ards incest as
an 5l#m"ic "rero%ative, Aeol$s broke these $nions, and ordered fo$r of
his remainin% sons to emi%rate. 6he# visited Ital# and 4icil#, where
each fo$nded a famo$s kin%dom, and rivalled his father in chastit# and
G$stice- onl# the fifth and eldest son sta#ed at home, as Aeol$s>s
s$ccessor to the throne of 'i"ara. ;$t some sa# that 0acare$s and
(anache had a da$%hter, Am"hissa, later beloved b# A"ollo.
i. <e$s had confined the winds beca$se he feared that, $nless ke"t
$nder control, the# mi%ht one da# swee" both earth and sea awa# into
the air, and Aeol$s took char%e of them at era>s desire. is task was
to let them o$t, one b# one, at his own discretion, or at the considered
reD$est of some 5l#m"ian deit#. If a storm were needed he wo$ld
"l$n%e his s"ear into the cliff1side and the winds wo$ld stream o$t the
hole it had made, $ntil he sto""ed it a%ain. Aeol$s was so discreet and
ca"able that, when his death ho$r a""roached, <e$s did not commit
him to 6artar$s, b$t seated him on a throne within the (ave of the
Winds, where he is still to be fo$nd. era insists that Aeol$s>s
res"onsibilities entitle him to attend the feasts of the %ods- b$t the
other 5l#m"iansIes"eciall# Poseidon, who claims the sea, and the air
above it, his own "ro"ert#, and %r$d%es an#one the ri%ht to raise
storms re%ard him as an interlo"er.
1. 6he Ionians and Aeolians, the first two waves of "atriarchal
ellenes to invade Greece. 6he# were "ers$aded b# the ellads
alread# there to worshi" the 6ri"le1%oddess and chan%e their social
c$stoms accordin%l#, becomin% Greeks .grai(oi, Hworshi""ers of the
Gre# Goddess, or (rone>/. 'ater, the Achaeans and :orians s$cceeded
in establishin% "atriarchal r$le and "atrilinear inheritance, and
therefore described Achae$s and :or$s as first1%eneration sons of a
common ancestor, ellenIa masc$line form of the 0oon1%oddess
elle or elen. 6he Parian (hronicle records that this chan%e from
Greeks to ellenes took "lace in 15*1 ;(, which seems a reasonable
eno$%h date. Aeol$s and Ion were then rele%ated to the second
%eneration, and called sons of the thievish X$th$s, this bein% a wa# of
deno$ncin% the Aeolian and Ionian devotion to the or%iastic 0oon1
%oddess A"hroditeIwhose sacred bird was the -uthos, or s"arrow, and
whose "riestesses cared nothin% for the "atriarchal view that women
were the "ro"ert# of their fathers and h$sbands. ;$t &$ri"ides, as a
lo#al Ionian of Athens, makes Ion elder brother to :or$s and Achae$s,
and the son of A"ollo as well.
*. Poseidon>s sed$ction of 0elani""e, his sed$ction of the 0are1headed
:emeter, and Aeol$s>s sed$ction of &$i""e, all refer "erha"s to the
same event, the seiA$re b# Aeolians of the "re1ellenic horse1c$lt
centres. 6he m#th of Arne>s bein% blinded and im"risoned in a tomb,
where she bore the twins Aeol$s and ;oeot$s, and of their s$bseD$ent
e3"os$re on the mo$ntain amon% wild beasts, is a""arentl# ded$ced
from the familiar icon that #ielded the m#ths of :ana@, Antio"e, and
the rest. A "riestess of 0other &arth>s is shown cro$ched in a tholus
tomb, "resentin% the ?ew Cear twins to the she"herds, for revelation at
her 0#steries- tholus tombs have their entrances alwa#s facin% east,
as if in "romise of rebirth. 6hese she"herds are instr$cted to re"ort
that the# fo$nd the infants abandoned on the mo$ntainside, bein%
s$ckled b# some sacred animalIcow, sow, she1%oat, bitch, or she1wolf.
6he wild beasts from whom the twins are s$""osed to have been saved
re"resent the seasonal transformations of the newl#1born sacred kin%.
7. &3ce"t for the matter of the im"risoned winds, and the famil#
incest on 'i"ara, the remainder of the m#th concerns tribal mi%rations.
6he m#tho%ra"hers are thoro$%hl# conf$sed between Aeol$s the son
of ellen- another Aeol$s who, in order to make the Aeolians into third1
%eneration Greeks, is said to have been the son of X$th$s- and the
third Aeol$s, %randson of the first.
8. 4ince the omeric %ods did not re%ard the incest of Aeol$s>s sons
and da$%hters as in the least re"rehensible, it looks as if both he an
&narete were not mortals and th$s bo$nd b# the "riestl# tables of
kinshi" and affinit#, b$t 6itans- and that their sons and da$%hters were
the remainin% si3 co$"les, in char%e of the seven celestial bodies and
the seven da#s of the sacred week. 6his wo$ld e3"lain their "rivile%ed
%od1like e3istence, witho$t "roblems of either food, drink, clothin%, in
an im"re%nable "alace b$ilt on a floatin% islandIlike :elos before the
birth of A"ollo. HMacareus1 means> ha""#>, as onl# %ods were ha""#. It
was left for 'atin m#tho%ra"hers to h$manise Aeol$s, and awaken him
to a serio$s view of his famil#>s cond$ct- the amendment to the m#th
"ermitted them to acco$nt both for the fo$ndation of Aeolian kin%doms
in Ital# and 4icil#, andIbeca$se HCanache1 means Hbarkin%> and her
child was thrown to the do%sIfor the Italian c$stom of "$""# sacrifice.
5vid a""arentl# took this stor# from the second book of 4ostrat$s>s
,truscan !istor .Pl$tarch, Parallel Stories/.
5. 6he winds were ori%inall# the "ro"ert# of era, and the male %od
had no "ower over them- indeed, in :iodor$s>s acco$nt, Aeol$s merel#
teaches the islanders the $se of sails in navi%ation and foretells, from
si%ns in the fire, what winds will rise. (ontrol of the winds, re%arded as
the s"irits of the dead, is one of the "rivile%es that the :eath1
%oddess>s re"resentatives have been most loth to s$rrender- witches in
&n%land- 4cotland and ;rittan# still claimed to control and sell winds to
sailors as late as the si3teenth and seventeenth cent$ries. ;$t the
:orians had been thoro$%hl# alread# b# omer>s time the# had
advanced Aeol$s, the e"on#mo$s ancestor of the Aeolians, to the rank
of %odlin%, and %iven him char%e of his fellow1winds at era>s e3"ense
Ithe Aeolian Islands, which bore his name, bein% sit$ated in a re%ion
notorio$s for the violence and diversit# of its winds. 6his com"romise
was a""arentl# acce"ted with bad %race b# the "riests of <e$s and
Poseidon, who o""osed the creation of an# new deities, and do$btless
also b# era>s conservative devotee who re%arded the winds as her
inalienable "ro"ert#.
AP5''5 la# secretl# with &rechthe$s>s da$%hter (re$sa, wife of
X$th$s, in a cave below the Athenian Pro"#laea. When her son was
born A"ollo s"irited him awa# to :el"hi, where he became a tem"le
servant, and the "riests named him Ion. X$th$s had no heir and, after
man# dela#s, went at last to ask the :el"hic 5racle how he mi%ht
"roc$re one. 6o his s$r"rise he was told that the first "erson to meet
him as he left the sanct$ar# wo$ld be his son- this was Ion, and X$th$s
concl$ded that he had be%otten him on some 0aenad in the
"romisc$o$s :ion#siac or%ies at :el"hi man# #ears before. Ion co$ld
not contradict this, and acknowled%ed him as his father. ;$t (re$sa
was ve3ed to find that X$th$s now had a son, while she had none, and
tried to m$rder Ion b# offerin% him a c$" of "oisoned wine. Ion,
however, first "o$red a libation to the %ods, and a dove flew down to
taste the s"ilt wine. 6he dove died, and (re$sa fled for sanct$ar# to
A"ollo>s altar. When the ven%ef$l Ion tried to dra% her awa#, the
"riestess intervened, e3"lainin% that he was (re$sa>s son b# A"ollo,
tho$%h X$th$s m$st not be $ndeceived in the belief that he had
fathered him on a 0aenad. X$th$s was then "romised that he wo$ld
be%et :or$s and Achae$s on (re$sa.
b. Afterwards, Ion married elice, da$%hter of 4elin$s, Fin% of Ae%ial$s,
whom he s$cceeded on the throne- and, at the death of &rechthe$s, he
was chosen Fin% of Athens. 6he fo$r occ$"ational classes of Athenians
Ifarmers, craftsmen, "riests, and soldiersIare named after the sons
borne to him b# elice.
1. 6his theatrical m#th is told to s$bstantiate the Ionians> seniorit# over
:orians and Achaeans, and also to award them divine descent from
A"ollo. ;$t (re$sa in the cave is "erha"s the %oddess, "resentin% the
?ew Cear infant, or infants, to a she"herdImistaken for A"ollo in
"astoral dress. elice, the willow, was the tree of the fifth month,
sacred to the 6ri"le 0$se, whose "riestess $sed it in ever# kind of
witchcraft and water1ma%ic- the Ionians seem to have s$bordinated
themselves willin%l# to her.
$6:yo3e $3d "ey;
A'(C5?& was the da$%hter of Aeol$s, %$ardian of the winds, and
Ae%iale. 4he married (e#3 of 6rachis, son of the 0ornin%1star, and the#
were so ha""# in each other>s com"an# that she darin%l# called herself
era, and him <e$s. 6his nat$rall# ve3ed the 5l#m"ian <e$s and era,
who let a th$nderstorm break over the shi" in which (e#3 was sailin%
to cons$lt an oracle, and drowned him. is %host a""eared to Alc#one
who, %reatl# a%ainst her will, had sta#ed behind in 6rachis, where$"on
distra$%ht with %rief, she lea"t into the sea. 4ome "it#in% %od
transformed them both into kin%fishers.
b. ?ow, ever# winter, the hen1kin%fisher carries her dead mate with
%reat wailin% to his b$rial and then, b$ildin% a closel# com"acted nest
from the thorns of the sea1needle, la$nches it on the sea, la#s her e%%s
in it, and hatches o$t her chicks. 4he does all this in the alc#on :a#s
Ithe seven which "recede the winter solstice, and the seven which
s$cceed itIwhile Aeol$s forbids his winds to swee" across the waters.
c. ;$t some sa# that (e#3 was t$rned into a seamew.
1. 6he le%end of the halc#on>s, or kin%fisher>s, nest .which has no
fo$ndation in nat$ral histor#, since the halc#on does not b$ild an# kind
of nest, b$t la#s e%%s in holes b# the waterside/ can refer onl# to the
birth of the new sacred kin% at the winter solsticeIafter the D$een
who re"resents his mother, the 0oon1%oddess, has conve#ed the old
kin%>s cor"se to a se"$lchral island. ;$t beca$se the winter solstice
does not alwa#s coincide with the same "hase of the moon, Hever#
#ear> m$st be $nderstood as Hever# Great Cear>, of one h$ndred
l$nations, in the last of which solar and l$nar time were ro$%hl#
s#nchroniAed, and the sacred kin%>s term ended.
*. omer connects the halc#on with Alc#one, a title of 0elea%er>s
wife (leo"atra .Iliad/, and with a da$%hter of Aeol$s, %$ardian of the
winds. !alcon cannot therefore mean hal1con, Hsea1ho$nd>, as is
$s$all# s$""osed, b$t m$st stand for alc6one, Hthe D$een who wards
off evil>. 6his derivation is confirmed b# the m#th of Alc#one and (e#3,
and the manner of their "$nishment b# <e$s and era. 6he seamew
"art of the le%end need not be "ressed, altho$%h this bird, which has a
"laintive cr#, was sacred to the 4ea1%oddess A"hrodite, or 'e$cothea,
like the halc#on of (#"r$s. It seems that late in the second millenni$m
;( the sea1farin% Aeolians, who had a%reed to worshi" the "re1ellenic
0oon1%oddess as their divine ancestress and "rotectress, became
trib$tar# to the <e$s1worshi""in% Achaeans, and were forced to acce"t
the 5l#m"ian reli%ion. H<e$s>, which accordin% to 2ohannes 6AetAes,
hitherto been a title born b# "ett# kin%s, was henceforth reserved for
the !ather of eaven alone. ;$t in (rete, the ancient m#stical tradition
that <e$s was born and died ann$all# lin%ered on into (hristian times,
and tombs of <e$s were shown at (noss$s, on 0o$nt Ida, and on
0o$nt :icte, each a different c$lt1centre. (allimach$s was scandaliAed,
and in his !mn to 5eus wrote, HThe Cretans are al#as liars0 The
ha)e e)en built th tomb, * Lord2 But thou art not dead, for thou li)est
for e)er.> 6his is D$oted in 6it$s.
7. Plin#, who describes the halc#on>s alle%ed nest in detailIa""arentl#
the Aoo"h#te called halconeum b# 'innae$sIre"orts that the halc#on
is rarel# seen, and then onl# at the two solstices and at the settin% of
the Pleiades. 6his "roves her to have ori%inall# been a manifestation of
the 0oon1%oddess, who was alternatel# the Goddess of 'ife1in1:eath at
the winter solstice, and of :eath1in1'ife at the s$mmer solstice- and
who, ever# Great Cear, earl# in ?ovember, when the Pleiades set, sent
the sacred kin% his death s$mmons.
8. 4till another Alc#one, da$%hter of Pleione .Hsailin% D$een>/ b#
Atlas, was the leader of the seven Pleiades. 6he Pleiades> heliacal
risin% in 0a# be%an the navi%ational #ear- their settin% marked its end,
when .as Plin# notes in a "assa%e abo$t the halc#on/ a remarkabl#
cold north wind blows. 6he circ$mstances of (e#3>s death show that
the Aeolians, who were famo$s sailors, worshi""ed the %oddess as
HAlc#one> beca$se she "rotected them from rocks and ro$%h weather,
<e$s wrecked (e#3>s shi", in defiance of her "owers, b# h$rlin% a
th$nderbolt at it. Cet the halc#on was still credited with the ma%ical
"ower of alla#in% storms- and its bod#, when dried, was $sed as a
talisman a%ainst <e$s>s li%htnin%I"res$mabl# on the %ro$nd that
where once it strikes it will not strike a%ain. 6he 0editerranean is
inclined to be calm abo$t the time of the winter solstice.
6&R&)4, a son of Ares, r$led over the 6hracians then occ$"#in%
Phocian :a$lisItho$%h some sa# that he was Fin% of Pa%ae in 0e%aris
Iand, havin% acted as mediator in a bo$ndar# dis"$te for Pandion,
Fin% of Athens and father of twins ;$tes and &rechtche$s- married
their sister Procne, who bore him a son, It#s.
b. )nfort$natel# 6ere$s, enchanted b# the voice of Pandion>s #o$n%er
sister Philomela, had fallen in love with her- and, a #ear later
concealin% Procne in a r$stic cabin near his "alace at :a$lis, he
re"orted her death to Pandion. Pandion, condolin% with 6ere$s,
%enero$sl# offered him Philomela in Procne>s "lace, and "rovided
Athenian %$ards as her escort when she went to :a$lis for the
weddin%. 6he %$ards 6ere$s m$rdered and, when Philomela reached
the "alace had alread# forced her to lie with him. Procne soon heard
the news, b$t, as a meas$re of "reca$tion, 6ere$s c$t o$t her ton%$e
and confined to the slaves> D$arters, where she co$ld comm$nicate
with Philomela onl# b# weavin% a secret messa%e into the "attern of a
bridal robe intended for her. 6his ran sim"l#, HProcne is amon% the
c. 0eanwhile, an oracle had warned 6ere$s that It#s wo$ld die the hand
of a blood relative and, s$s"ectin% his brother :r#as of m$rdero$s "lot
to seiAe the throne, str$ck him down $ne3"ectedl# with an a3e. 6he
same da#, Philomela read the messa%e woven into robe. 4he h$rried to
the slaves> D$arters, fo$nd one of the rooms, broke down the door, and
released Procne, who was chatterin% $nintelli%ibl# and r$nnin% aro$nd
in circles.
H5h, to be reven%ed on 6ere$s, who "retended that #o$ were dead and
sed$ced meO> wafted Philomela, a%hast.
Procne, bein% ton%$eless, co$ld not re"l#, b$t flew o$t and, seiAed her
son It#s, killed him, %$tted him, and then boiled him in a ca$ldron for
6ere$s to eat on his ret$rn.
d. When 6ere$s realiAed what flesh he had been tastin%, he %ras"ed
the a3e with which he had killed :r#as and "$rs$ed the sisters as the#
fled from the "alace. e soon overtook them and was on the "oint of
committin% a do$ble m$rder when the %ods chan%ed all three into
birds- Procne became a swallow- PhilomelaIa ni%htin%ale- 6ere$sIa
hoo"oe. And the Phocians sa# that no swallow dares nest in :a$lis and
its environs, and no ni%htin%ale sin%s, for fear of 6ere$s. ;$t swallow,
havin% no ton%$e, screams and flies aro$nd in circles- and the hoo"oe
fl$tters in "$rs$it of her, cr#in% HPouJ PouJ> .whereJ whereJ/.
0eanwhile, the ni%htin%ale retreats to Athens, where mo$rns witho$t
cease for It#s, whose death she inadvertentl# ca$sed sin%in% HItu2 Itu2>
e. ;$t some sa# that 6ere$s was t$rned into a hawk.
1. 6his e3trava%ant romance seems to have been invented to acco$nt
for a series of 6hraco1Pelas%ian wall1"aintin%s, fo$nd b# Phocian
invaders in a tem"le at :a$lis .Hsha%%#>/, which ill$strated different
methods of "ro"hec# in local $se.
*. 6he c$ttin%1o$t of Procne>s ton%$e misre"resents a scene
showin% a "ro"hetess in a trance, ind$ced b# the chewin% of la$rel1
leaves- her face is contorted with ecstas#, not "ain, and the ton%$e
which seems to have been c$t o$t is in fact a la$rel1leave handed her
b# the "riest who inter"rets her wild babblin%s. 6he weavin% of the
letters into the bridal robe misre"resents another scene, a "riestess
has cast a handf$l of orac$lar sticks on a white cloth, in the (eltic
!ashion described b# 6acit$s .Germania/, or the 4c#thian fashion
described b# erodot$s- the# take the sha"e of letters, which she is
abo$t to read. In the so1called eatin% of It#s b# 6ere$s, a willow1
"riestess is takin% omens from the entrails of a child sacrificed for the
benefit of a kin%. 6he scene of 6ere$s and the oracle "robabl# showed
him aslee" on a shee"1skin in a tem"le, receivin% a dream revelation-
the Greeks wo$ld not have mistaken this. 6hat of :r#as>s m$rder
"robabl# showed an oak1tree and "riests takin% omens beneath it, in
:r$idic fashion, b# the wa# a man fell when he died. Procne>s
transformation into a swallow will have been ded$ced from a scene
that showed a "riestess in a feathered robe, takin% a$%$ries from the
fli%ht of a swallow- Philomela>s transformation into a ni%htin%ale, and
6ere$s>s into a hoo"oe, seem to res$lt from similar misreadin%s.
6ere$s>s name, which means Hwatcher>, s$%%ests that a male a$%$r
fi%$red in the hoo"oe "ict$re.
7. 6wo f$rther scenes ma# be "res$med, a ser"ent1tailed orac$lar
hero, bein% offered blood1sacrifices- and a #o$n% man cons$ltin% a
bee1oracle. 6hese are, res"ectivel#, &rechthe$s and ;$tes who was the
most famo$s bee1kee"er of antiD$it#, the brothers of Procne and
Philomela. 6heir mother was <e$3i""e, Hshe who #okes horses>,
do$btless a 0are1headed :emeter.
8. All m#tho%ra"hers b$t #%in$s make Procne a ni%htin%ale, and
Philomela a swallow. 6his m$st be a cl$ms# attem"t to rectif# a sli"
made b# some earlier "oet, that 6ere$s c$t o$t Philomela>s ton%$e, not
Procne>s. 6he hoo"oe is a ro#al bird, beca$se it has a crest of feathers,
and is "artic$larl# a""ro"riate to the stor# of 6ere$s, beca$se it is
notorio$s for their stench. Accordin% to the Foran, the 4olomon
"ro"hetic secrets.
5. :a$lis, afterwards called Phocis, seems to have been the centre of
bird c$lt. Phoc$s, the e"on#mo$s fo$nder of the new state, was the
son of 5rn#tion .Hmoon bird>/, and a later kin% was named X$th$s
.Hs"arrow>/. #%in$s re"orts that 6ere$s became hawk, a ro#al bird of
&%#"t, 6hrace, and ?orth1western &$ro"e.
Ere:hthe2s $3d E20o642s
FI?G Pandion died "remat$rel# of %rief when he learned what
befallen Procne, Philomela, and It#s. is twin sons shared the in
inheritance, &rechthe$s becomin% Fin% of Athens, while ;$tes served
as "riest both to Athene and Poseidon.
b. ;# his wife Pra3ithea, &rechthe$s had fo$r sons, amon% the
s$ccessor, (ecro"s- also seven da$%hters, namel# Proto%onia,
Pandora, Procnis, wife of (e"hal$s, (re$sa, 5reith#ia, (hthonia, who
married her $ncle ;$tes, and 5tionia, the #o$n%est.
c. ?ow, Poseidon secretl# loved (hione, 5reith#ia>s da$%hter to ;oreas.
4he bore him a son, &$mol"$s, b$t threw him into the sea, afraid that
;oreas sho$ld be an%r#. Poseidon watched over &$mol"$s, and left him
$" on the shores of &thio"ia, where he was reared in the home of
;enthesic#me, his half1sister b# the 4ea1%oddess Am"hitrite. When
&$mol"$s came of a%e, ;enthesic#me married him to one of her
da$%hters- b$t he fell in love with another of them, and she therefore
banished him to 6hrace, where he "lotted a%ainst his "rotector,
6e%#ri$s, and was forced to seek ref$%e at &le$sis. ere he mend wa#s,
and became "riest of the 0#steries of :emeter and Perse"hone, into
which he s$bseD$entl# initiated eracles, at the same time teachin%
him to sin% and "la# the l#re. With the l#re, &$mol"$s had %reat skill
and was also victorio$s in the fl$te contest at Pelias>s f$neral. is
&le$sinian co1"riestesses were the da$%hters of (ele$s- and his well1
known "iet# at last earned him the d#in% for%iveness of 6e%#ri$s, who
beD$eathed him the throne of 6hrace.
d. When war broke o$t between Athens and &le$sis, &$mol"$s bro$%ht
a lar%e force of 6hracians to the &le$sinians> assistance, claimin% the
throne of Attica himself in the name of his father Poseidon. 6he
Athenians were %reatl# alarmed, and when &rechthe$s cons$lted an
oracle he was told to sacrifice his #o$n%est da$%hter 5tionia to Athene,
if he ho"ed for victor#. 5tionia was willin%l# led to the altar, where$"on
her two eldest sisters, Proto%onia and Pandora, also killed themselves,
havin% once vowed that if one of them sho$ld die beca$se of violence,
the# wo$ld die too.
e. In the ens$in% battle, Ion led the Athenians to victor#- and
&rechthe$s str$ck down &$mol"$s as he fled. Poseidon a""ealed for
ven%eance to his brother <e$s, who at once destro#ed &rechthe$s with
a th$nderbolt- b$t some sa# that Poseidon felled him with a trident
blow at 0acrae, where the earth o"ened to receive him.
f. ;# the terms of a "eace then concl$ded, the &le$sinians became
s$bGect to the Athenians in ever#thin%, e3ce"t the control of their
0#steries. &$mol"$s was s$cceeded as "riest b# his #o$n%er son
(er#3, whose descendants still enGo# %reat hereditar# "rivile%es at
%. Ion rei%ned after &rechthe$s- and, beca$se of his three
da$%hters> self1sacrifice, wineless libations are still "o$red to them
1. 6he m#th of &rechthe$s and &$mol"$s concerns the s$bG$%ation
of &le$sis b# Athens, and the 6hraco1'ib#an ori%in of the &le$sinian
0#steries. An Athenian c$lt of the or%iastic ;ee1n#m"h of 0ids$mmer
also enters into the stor#, since ;$tes is associated in Greek m#th with
a bee c$lt on 0o$nt &r#3- and his twin brother &rechthe$s .Hhe who
hastens over the heather>, rather than Hshatterer>/ is the h$sband of
the HActive Goddess H, the L$een1bee. 6he name of Fin% 6e%#ri$s of
6hrace, whose kin%dom &rechthe$s>s %randson inherited, makes a
f$rther association with bees, it means Hbeehive coveter>. Athens was
famo$s for its hone#.
*. &rechthe$s>s three noble da$%hters, like the three da$%hters of his
ancestor (ecro"s, are the Pelas%ian 6ri"le1%oddess, to whom libations
were "o$red on solemn occasions, 5tionia .Hwith the ear1fla"s>/, who is
said to have been chosen as a sacrifice to Athene, bein% evidentl# 5wl1
%oddess Athene herself- Proto%onia, the (reatri3 &$r#nome- and
Pandora, the &arth1%oddess Rhea. At the transition from matriarch# to
"atriarch# some of Athene>s "riestesses ma# have been sacrificed to
7. Poseidon>s trident and <e$s>s th$nderbolt were ori%inall# the
same wea"on, the sacred labrs, or do$ble1a3e, b$t distin%$ished from
other when Poseidon became %od of the sea, and <e$s claimed the
ri%ht to the th$nderbolt.
8. ;$tes, who was enrolled amon% the Ar%ona$ts, didn>t reall# belon%
to the &rechtheid famil#- b$t his descendants, the ;$tadae of Athens,
forced their wa# into Athenian societ# and, b# the si3th cent$r#, held
the "riesthoods of Athene Polias and of Poseidon &rechthe$sIthis was
a f$sion of the ellenic Poseidon with the old Pelas%ian heroIas a
famil# inheritance, and seem to have altered the m#th accordin%l#, as
the# also altered the 6hese$s one. 6he# combined the Attic ;$tes with
their ancestor, 6hracian son of ;oreas, who had coloniAed ?a3os and in
a rall# to 6hessal# violated (oronis, the 'a"ith "rincess.
5R&I6CIA, da$%hter of &rechthe$s, Fin% of Athens, and his wife
Pra3ithea, was one da# whirlin% in a dance beside the river Iliss$s,
when ;oreas, son of Astrae$s and &os, and brother of the 4o$th West
Winds, carried her off to a rock near the river &r%ines and, wra""ed in
a mantle of dark clo$ds, he ravished her.
b. ;oreas had lon% loved 5reith#ia and re"eatedl# s$ed for her hand-
b$t &rechthe$s "$t him off with vain "romises $ntil at the end,
com"lainin% that he had wasted too m$ch time in words, he resorted
to nat$ral violence. 4ome, however, sa# that 5reith#ia was carr#in%
basket in the ann$al 6hesmo"horian "rocession that winds $" slo"e of
the Acro"olis to the tem"le of Athene Polias, when ;oreas t$cked her
beneath his tawn# win%s and whirled her awa#, $nseen b# the
s$rro$ndin% crowd.
c. e took her to the cit# of the 6hracian (icones, where she became
his wife, and bore him twin sons, (alais and <etes, who %rew win%s
when the# reached manhood- also two da$%hters, namel# (hione, who
bore &$mol"$s to Poseidon, and (leo"atra, who married Fin% Phine$s,
the victim of the ar"ies.
d. ;oreas has ser"ent1tails for feet, and inhabits a cave on 0o$nt
aem$s, in the seven recesses of which Ares stables his horses- b$t he
is also at home beside the river 4tr#mon.
e. 5nce, dis%$isin% himself as a dark1maned stallion, he covered
twelve of the three tho$sand mares belon%in% to &richthoni$s, son of
:ardan$s, which $sed to %raAe in the water1meadows beside the river
4camander. 6welve fillies were born from this $nion- the# co$ld race
over ri"e ears of standin% corn witho$t bendin% them, or over the
crests of waves.
f. 6he Athenians re%ard ;oreas as their brother1in1law and, havin% once
s$ccessf$ll# invoked him to destro# Fin% Xer3es>s fleet, the# b$ilt him a
fine tem"le on the banks of the river Iliss$s.
1. 4er"ent1tailed ;oreas, the ?orth Wind, was another name for the
demi$r%e 5"hion who danced with &$r#nome, or 5reith#ia, Goddess of
(reation, and im"re%nated her. ;$t, as 5"hion was to &$r#nome, or
;oreas to 5reith#ia, so was &rechthe$s to the ori%inal Athene- and
Athene Polias .Hof the cit#>/, for whom 5reith#ia danced, ma# have
been Athene Polias1Athene the !ill#, %oddess of the local horse c$lt,
and beloved b# ;oreas1&rechthe$s, who th$s became the Athenians>
brother1in1law. 6he ;oreas c$lt seems to have ori%inated in 'ib#a. It
sho$ld be remembered that ermes, fallin% in love with 5reith#ia>s
"redecessor erse while she was carr#in% a sacred basket in a similar
"rocession, to the Acro"olis, had ravished her witho$t inc$rrin%
Athene>s dis"leas$re. 6he 6hesmo"horia seems to have once been an
or%iastic festival in which "riestesses "$blicl# "rostit$ted themselves
as a means fertiliAin% the cornfields. 6hese baskets contained "hallic
*. A "rimitive theor# that children were the reincarnations of their
ancestors, who entered into women>s wombs as s$dden %$sts of wind
lin%ered in the erotic c$lt of the 0are1%oddess- and omer>s a$thorit#
was wei%ht# eno$%h to make ed$cated Romans still believe, with Plin#
that 4"anish mares co$ld conceive b# t$rnin% their hindD$arters to
wind .Plin#, Natural !istor/. Barro mentions the same "henomenon,
and 'actanti$s, in the late third cent$r# A:, makes it an analo%# of the
Bir%in>s im"re%nation b# the 4anct$s 4"irit$s.
7. ;oreas blows in winter from the aem$s ran%e and the 4tr#mon,
and, when 4"rin% comes with its flowers, seems to have im"re%nated
whole land of Attica- b$t, since he cannot blow backwards, the m#th of
5reith#ia>s ra"e a""arentl# also records the s"read of the ?orth Wind
c$lt from Athens to 6hrace. !rom 6hrace, or directl# from Athens
reached the 6road, where the owner of the three tho$sand mares is
&richthoni$s, a s#non#m of &rechthe$s. 6he twelve fillies will have
served to draw three fo$r1horse chariots, one for each of ann$al triad,
4"rin%, 4$mmer, and A$t$mn. 0o$nt aem$s was ha$nt of the
monster 6#"hon.
8. 4ocrates, who had no $nderstandin% of m#ths, misses the "oint
of 5reith#ia>s ra"e, he s$%%ests that a "rincess of that name, "la#in%
on cliffs near the Iliss$s, or on the ill of Ares, was accidentall# blown
off the ed%e and killed .Plato, Phaedrus/. 6he c$lt of ;oreas has
recentl# been revived at Athens to commemorate his destr$ction of
Persian fleet .erodot$s/. e also hel"ed the 0e%alo"olitans a%ainst
the 4"artans and earned ann$al sacrifices .Pa$sanias/.
6& Arcadian Fin% (erc#on, son of e"haest$s, had a bea$tif$l
da$%hter, Alo"e, who was sed$ced b# Poseidon and, witho$t father>s
knowled%e, bore a son whom she ordered a n$rse to e3"ose a
mo$ntain. A she"herd fo$nd him bein% s$ckled b# a mare, and took
him to the shee"1cotes, where his rich robe attracted %reat interest,
and fellow1she"herd vol$nteered to rear the bo#, b$t insisted on takin%
robe too, in "roof of his noble birth. 6he two she"herds be%an D$arrel,
and m$rder wo$ld have been done, had their com"anions not led them
before Fin% (erc#on. (erc#on called for the dis"$ted robe and, when it
was bro$%ht, reco%niAed it as havin% been c$t from a %arment
belon%in% to his da$%hter. 6he n$rse now took fri%ht, and confessed
her "art in the affair- where$"on (erc#on ordered Alo"e to be
imm$red, and the child to be e3"osed a%ain. e was once more
s$ckled b# the mare and, this time, fo$nd b# the second she"herd
who, now satisfied as to his ro#al "arenta%e, carried him to his own
cabin and called him i""otho$s.
b. When 6hese$s killed (erc#on, he set i""otho$s on the throne of
Arcadia- Alo"e had meanwhile died in "rison, and was b$ried beside
the road leadin% from &le$sis to 0e%ara, near (erc#on>s wrestlin%
%ro$nd. ;$t Poseidon transformed her bod# into a s"rin%, named
1. 6his m#th is of familiar "attern, e3ce"t that i""otho$s is twice
e3"osed and that, on the first occasion, the she"herds come to blows.
6he anomal# is "erha"s d$e to a misreadin% of an icon1seD$ence,
which showed ro#al twins bein% fo$nd b# she"herds, and these same
twins comin% to blows when %rown to manhoodIlike Pelias and
?ele$s, Proet$s and Acrisi$s or &teocles and Pol#neices.
*. Alo"e is the 0oon1%oddess as vi3en who %ave her name to the
6hessalian cit# of Alo"e .Pherec#des, D$oted b# 4te"han$s of
;#Aanti$m s$b Alo"e/- the vi3en was also the emblem of 0essene. 6he
m#tho%ra"her is "robabl# mistaken in recordin% that the robe worn b#
i""otho$s was c$t from Alo"e>s dress- it will have been the swaddlin%
band into which his clan and famil# marks were woven.
(5R5?I4, da$%hter of Phle%#as, Fin% of the 'a"iths, I3ion>s brother,
lived on the shores of the 6hessalian 'ake ;eobeis, in which she $sed
to wash her feet.
b. A"ollo became her lover, and left a crow with snow1white feathers to
%$ard her while he went to :el"hi on b$siness. ;$t (oronis had lon%
n$rsed a secret "assion for Isch#s, the Arcadian son of &lat$s and now
admitted him to her co$ch, tho$%h alread# with child A"ollo. &ven
before the e3cited crow had set o$t for :el"hi, to re"ort the scandal
and be "raised for its vi%ilance, A"ollo had divined (oronis>s infidelit#,
and therefore c$rsed the crow for not havin% "ecked o$t Isch#s>s e#es
when he a""roached (oronis. 6he crow was t$rned black b# this c$rse,
and all its descendants have been black ever sin
c. When A"ollo com"lained to his sister Artemis of the ins$lt done to
him, she aven%ed it b# shootin% a D$iverf$l of arrows at (oronis.
Afterwards, %aAin% at her cor"se, A"ollo was filled with s$dden
remorse, b$t co$ld not now restore her to life. er s"irit had
descended to 6artar$s, her cor"se had been laid on the f$neral "#re,
the last f$mes "o$red over it, and the fire alread# li%hted, before
A"ollo recovered his "resence of mind- then he motioned to ermes,
who in the li%ht of the flames c$t the still livin% child from (oronis>s
womb. It was a bo#, whom A"ollo named Ascle"i$s, and carried off to
the cave of (heiron the (enta$r, where he learned the arts of medicine
and chase. As for Isch#s, also called (h#l$s, some sa# that he was
killed <e$s with a th$nderbolt, others that A"ollo himself shot him.
d. 6he &"ida$rians, however, tell a ver# different stor#. 6he# sa# that
(oronis>s father, Phle%#as, who fo$nded the cit# of that name, where
he %athered to%ether all the best warriors of Greece, and lived b#
raidin%, came to &"ida$r$s to s"# o$t the land and the stren%th of the
"eo"le- and that his da$%hter (oronis who, $nknown to him, with child
b# A"ollo, came too. In A"ollo>s shrine at &"ida$r$s, with assistance of
Artemis and the !ates, (oronis %ave birth to a bo#, whom she at once
e3"osed on 0o$nt 6itthion, now famo$s for the medicine virt$es of its
"lants. 6here, Aresthanas, a %oat1herd, noticin% that bitch and one of
his she1%oats were no lon%er with him, went in search of them, and
fo$nd them takin% t$rns to s$ckle a child. e was to lift the child $",
when a bri%ht li%ht all abo$t it deterred him. 'oth to meddle with a
divine m#ster#, he "io$sl# t$rned awa#, th$s leavin% Ascle"i$s to the
"rotection of his father A"ollo.
e. Ascle"i$s, sa# the &"ida$rians, learned the art of healin% both from
A"ollo and from (heiron. e became so skilled in s$r%er# and the $se
of dr$%s that he is revered as the fo$nder of medicine. ?ot onl# did he
heal the sick, b$t Athene had %iven him two "hials of the Gor%on
0ed$sa>s blood- with what had been drawn from the veins of her left
side, he co$ld raise the dead- with what had been drawn from her ri%ht
side, he co$ld destro# instantl#. 5thers sa# that Athene and Ascle"i$s
divided the blood between them, he $sed it to save life, b$t she to
destro# life and insti%ate wars. Athene had "revio$sl# %iven two dro"s
of this same blood to &richthoni$s, one to kill, the other to c$re, and
fastened the "hials to his ser"ent bod# with %olden bands.
f. Amon% those whom Ascle"i$s raised from the dead were '#c$r%$s,
(a"ane$s, and 6#ndare$s. It is not known on which occasion ades
com"lained to <e$s that his s$bGects were bein% stolen from himI
whether it was after the res$rrection of 6#ndare$s, or of Gla$c$s, or of
i""ol#t$s, or of 5rion- it is certain onl# that Ascle"i$s was acc$sed of
havin% been bribed with %old, and that both he and his "atient were
killed b# <e$s>s th$nderbolt.
%. owever, <e$s later restored Ascle"i$s to life- and so f$lfilled an
indiscreet "ro"hec# made b# (heiron>s da$%hter &$i""e, who had
declared that Ascle"i$s wo$ld become a %od, die, and res$me %odhead
Ith$s twice renewin% his destin#. Ascle"i$s>s ima%e, holdin% a c$rative
ser"ent, was set amon% the stars b# <e$s.
h. 6he 0essenians claim that Ascle"i$s was a native of 6ricca in
0essene- the Arcadians, that he was born at 6hel"$sa- and the
6hessalians, that he was a native of 6ricca in 6hessal#. 6he 4"artans
call him A%nitas, beca$se the# have carved his ima%e from a willow1
tr$nk- and the "eo"le of 4ic#on hono$r him in the form of a ser"ent
mo$nted on a m$le1cart. At 4ic#on the left hand of his ima%e holds the
cone of a "istachio1"ine- b$t at &"ida$r$s it rests on a ser"ent>s head-
in both cases the ri%ht hand holds a sce"tre.
i. Ascle"i$s was the father of Podaleiri$s and 0achaon, the
"h#sicians who attended the Greeks d$rin% the sie%e of 6ro#- and of
the radiant #%ieia. 6he 'atins call him Aesc$la"i$s, and the (retans
sa# that he, not Pol#eid$s, restored Gla$c$s, son of 0inos, to life- $sin%
a certain herb, shown him b# a ser"ent in a tomb.
1. 6his m#th concerns ecclesiastical "olitics in ?orthern Greece,
Attica, and the Pelo"onnese, the s$""ression, in A"ollo>s name, of "re1
ellenic medical c$lt, "resided over b# 0oon1"riestesses at the
orac$lar shrines of local heroes reincarnate as ser"ents, or crows, or
ravens. Amon% their names were Phorone$s, identifiable with the (eltic
Raven1%od ;ran, or Bron- &richthoni$s the ser"ent1tailed- and (ron$s,
which is a form of Coronus .Hcrow> or Hraven>/, the name of two other
'a"ith kin%s. Ascle"i$s .H$nceasin%l# %entle>/ will have been a
com"limentar# title %iven to all "h#sician heroes, in the ho"e of
winnin% their benevolence.
*. 6he %oddess Athene, "atroness of this c$lt, was not ori%inall#
re%arded as a maiden- the dead hero havin% been both her son and
her lover. 4he received the title H(oronis> beca$se of the orac$lar crow,
or raven, and H#%ieia> beca$se of the c$res she bro$%ht abo$t. er
s#mbol was the mistletoe, i-ias, a word with which the name Isch#s
.Hstren%th>/ and I3ion .Hstron% native>/ are closel# connected. 6he
&astern &$ro"ean mistletoe is a "arasite of the oak and not like the
Western variet#, of the "o"lar or the a""le1tree- and H$escula&ius1, the
'atin form of Ascle"i$sIa""arentl# meanin% Hthat which han%s from
the esc$lent oak H, i.e. the mistletoeIma# well be the earlier rifle of
the two. 0istletoe was re%arded as the oak1tree>s %enitals, and when
the :r$ids rit$all# lo""ed it with a %olden sickle, the# were "erformin%
a s#mbolic emasc$lation. 6he visco$s G$ice of it berries "assed for oak1
s"erm, a liD$id of %reat re%enerative virt$e. 4ir 2ames !raAer has
"ointed o$t in his Golden Bough that Aeneas visited the )nderworld
with mistletoe in his hand, and th$s held the "ower of ret$rnin% at will
to the $""er air. 6he Hcertain herb>, which raised Gla$c$s from the
tomb, is likel# to have been the mistletoe also. Isch#s Ascle"i$s, I3ion,
and Pol#eid$s are, in fact, the same m#thic character "ersonifications
of the c$rative "ower resident in the dismembered %enitals of the
sacrificed oak1hero. H(h#l$s>, Isch#s>s other name, mean Hthe G$ice of a
"lant, or berr#>.
7. Athene>s dis"ensation of Gor%on1blood to Ascle"i$s and
&richthoni$s s$%%ests that the c$rative rites $sed in this c$lt were a
secret %$arded b# "riestesses, which it was death to investi%ateIthe
Gor%on1head is a formal warnin% to "r#ers. ;$t the blood of the
sacrificed oak1kin%, or of his child s$rro%ate, is likel# to have been
dis"ensed on these occasions, as well as mistletoe1G$ice.
8. A"ollo>s m#tho%ra"hers have made his sister Artemis res"onsible for
Isch#s>s m$rder- and, indeed, she was ori%inall# the same %oddess as
Athene, in whose hono$r the oak1kin% met his death. 6he# have also
made <e$s destro# both Isch#s and Ascle"i$s with th$nderbolts- and,
indeed, all oak1kin%s fell beneath the do$ble1a3e, later formaliAed as a
th$nderbolt, and their bodies were $s$all# roasted in a bonfire.
5. A"ollo c$rsed the crow, b$rned (oronis to death for her
ille%itimate love affair with Isch#s, and claimed Ascle"i$s as his own
son- then (heiron and he ta$%ht him the art of healin%. In other words,
A"ollo>s ellenic "riests were hel"ed b# their 0a%nesian allies the
(enta$rs, who were hereditar# enemies of the 'a"iths, to take over a
6hessalian crow1oracle, hero and all, e3"ellin% the colle%e of 0oon1
"riestesses and s$""ressin% the worshi" of the %oddess. A"ollo
retained the stolen crow, or raven, as an emblem of divination, b$t his
"riests fo$nd dream1inter"retation a sim"ler and more effective means
of dia%nosin% their "atients> ailments than the birds> eni%matic
croakin%. At the same time, the sacral $se of mistletoe was
discontin$ed in Arcadia, 0essene, 6hessal#, and Athens- and Isch#s
became a son of the "ine1tree .&lat$s/, not of the oakIhence the
"istachio1cone in the hands of Ascle"i$s>s ima%e at 4ic#on. 6here was
another 'a"ith "rincess named (oronis whom ;$tes, the ancestor of
the Athenian ;$tadae, violated.
+. Ascle"i$s>s ser"ent form, like that of &richthoni$sIwhom Athene
also em"owered to raise the dead with Gor%on1bloodIshows that he
was an orac$lar hero- b$t several tame ser"ents were ke"t in his
tem"le at &"ida$r$s .Pa$sanias/ as a s#mbol of renovation, beca$se
ser"ents cast their slo$%h ever# #ear. 6he bitch who s$ckled Ascle"i$s,
when the %oat1herd hailed him as the new1born kin%, m$st be ecate,
or ecabe- and it is "erha"s to acco$nt for this bitch, with whom he is
alwa#s "ict$red, that (heiron has been made to t$tor him in h$ntin%.
is other foster1mother, the she1%oat, m$st be the Goat1Athene, in
whose aegis &richthoni$s took ref$%e- indeed, if Ascle"i$s ori%inall#
had a twinIas Pelias was s$ckled b# a mare, and ?ele$s b# a bitchI
this will have been &richthoni$s.
9. Athene, when reborn as a lo#al vir%in1da$%hter of 5l#m"ian <e$s,
had to follow A"ollo>s e3am"le and c$rse the crow, her former familiar.
8. 6he willow was a tree of "owerf$l moon1ma%ic- and the bitter
dr$% "re"ared from its bark is still a s"ecific a%ainst rhe$matismIto
which the 4"artans in their dam" valle#s will have been m$ch s$bGect.
;$t branches of the "artic$lar variet# of willow with which the 4"artan
Ascle"i$s was associated, namel# the agnus castus, were strewn on
the beds of matrons at the Athenian 6hesmo"horia, a fertilit# festival,
s$""osedl# to kee" off ser"ents .Arrian, !istor of $nimals/, tho$%h
reall# to enco$ra%e ser"ent1sha"ed %hosts- and Ascle"i$s>s "riests
ma# therefore have s"ecialiAed in the c$re of barrenilness.
The Ora:6es
6& 5racles of Greece and Greater Greece are man#- b$t the eldest
is that of :odonian <e$s. In a%es "ast, two black doves flew from
&%#"tian 6hebes, one to 'ib#an Ammon, the other to :odona, and
each ali%hted on an oak1tree, which the# "roclaimed to be an oracle of
<e$s. At :odona, <e$s>s "riestesses listen to the cooin% of doves, or to
the r$stlin% of oak1leaves, or to the clankin% of braAen vessels
s$s"ended from the branches. <e$s has another famo$s oracle at
5l#m"ia, where his "riests re"l# to D$estions after ins"ectin% the
entrails of sacrificial victims.
b. 6he :el"hic 5racle first belon%ed to 0other &arth, who a""ointed
:a"hnis as her "ro"hetess- and :a"hnis, seated on a tri"od, drank in
the f$mes of "ro"hec#, as P#thian "riestess still does. 4ome sa# that
0other &arth later resi%ned her ri%hts to the 6itaness Phoebe, or
6hemis- and that she ceded them to A"ollo, who b$ilt himself a shrine
of la$rel1bo$%hs bro$%ht from 6em"e. ;$t others sa# that A"ollo
robbed the oracle from 0other &arth, after killin% P#thon, and that his
#"erborean "riests Pa%as$s and A%#ie$s established his worshi"
c. At :el"hi it is said that the first shrine was made of bees1wa3 and
feathers- the second, of fern1stalks twisted to%ether- the third, of
la$rel1bo$%hs- that e"haest$s b$ilt the fo$rth of bronAe, with %olden
son%1birds "erched on the roof, b$t one da# the earth en%$lfed it- and
that the fifth, b$ilt of dressed stone, b$rned down in the #ear of the
fift#1ei%hth 5l#m"iad, and was re"laced b# the "resent shrine.
d. A"ollo owns n$mero$s other orac$lar shrines, s$ch as those in the
'#cae$m and on the Acro"olis at Ar%os, both "resided over b# a
"riestess. ;$t at ;oeotian Ismeni$m, his oracles are %iven b# "riests,
after the ins"ection of entrails- at (lar$s, near (olo"hon, his seer
drinks the water of a secret well and "rono$nces an oracle in verse-
while at 6elmess$s and elsewhere, dreams are inter"reted.
e. :emeter>s "riestesses %ive oracles to the sick at Patrae, from a
mirror lowered into her well b# a ro"e. At Pharae, in ret$rn for a co""er
coin, the sick who cons$lt ermes are %ranted their orac$lar res"onses
in the first chance words that the# hear on leavin% the market "lace.
f. era has a venerable oracle near Pa%ae- and 0other &arth is still
cons$lted at Ae%eira in Achaea, which means H6he Place of ;lack
Po"lars>, where her "riestess drinks b$ll>s blood, deadl# "oison to all
other mortals.
%. ;esides these, there are man# other oracles of heroes, the oracle of
eracles, at Achaean ;$ra, where the answer is %iven b# a throw of
fo$r dice- and n$mero$s oracles of Ascle"i$s, where the sick flock for
cons$ltation and for c$re, and are told the remed# in their dreams after
a fast. 6he oracles of 6heban Am"hiara$s and 0allian Am"hiloch$sI
with 0o"s$s, the most infallible e3tantIfollow the Ascle"ian
h. 0oreover, Pasi"ha@ has an oracle at 'aconian 6halamae, "atroniAed
b# the Fin%s of 4"arta, where answers are also %iven in dreams.
i. 4ome oracles are not so easil# cons$lted as others. !or instance, at
'ebadeia there is an oracle of 6ro"honi$s, son of &r%in$s the Ar%ona$t,
where the s$""liant m$st "$rif# himself several da#s beforehand, and
lod%e in a b$ildin% dedicated to Good !ort$ne and a certain Good
Geni$s, bathin% onl# in the river erc#na and sacrificin% to 6ro"honi$s,
to his n$rse :emeter &$ro"e, and to other deities. 6here he feeds on
sacred flesh, es"eciall# that of a ram which has been sacrificed to the
shade of A%amedes, the brother of 6ro"honi$s, who hel"ed him to b$ild
A"ollo>s tem"le at :el"hi.
G. When fit to cons$lt the oracle, the s$""liant is led down to the river
b# two bo#s, thirteen #ears of a%e, and there bathed and anointed.
?e3t, he drinks from a s"rin% called the Water of 'ethe, which will hel"
him to for%et his "ast- and also from another, close b#, called the
Water of 0emor#, which will hel" him to remember what he saw and
heard. :ressed in co$ntr# boots and a linen t$nic, and with fillets like a
sacrificial victim, he then a""roaches the orac$lar cave. 6his resembles
a h$%e bread1bakin% "ot ei%ht #ards dee", and descendin% b# a ladder,
he finds a narrow o"enin% at the back thro$%h which he thr$sts his
le%s, holdin% in either hand a barle# cake mi3ed with hone#. A s$dden
t$% at his ankles, and he is "$lled thro$%h as if b# the swirl of a swift
river, and in the darkness a blow falls sk$ll, so that he seems to die,
and an invisible s"eaker then reveals f$t$re to him, besides man#
m#sterio$s secrets. As soon as the has finished, he loses all sense and
$nderstandin%, and is ret$rned, feet foremost, to the bottom of the
chasm, b$t witho$t hone#1cakes- after which he is enthroned on the
so1called (hair of 0emor# and asked to re"eat what he has heard.
!inall#, still in a diAA# condition, he ret$rns to the ho$se of the Good
Geni$s, where he re%ains his senses and the "ower to la$%h.
k. 6he invisible s"eaker is one of the Good Genii, belon%in% to Golden
A%e of (ron$s, who have descended from the moon to be in char%e of
oracles and initiator# rites, and act as chasteners, war and savio$rs
ever#where- he cons$lts the %host of 6ro"honi$s in ser"ent form and
%ives the reD$ired oracle as "a#ment for the s$""liant>s hone#1cakes.
1. All oracles were ori%inall# delivered b# the &arth1%oddess, whose
a$thorit# was so %reat that "atriarchal invaders made a "ractice of
stealin% her shrines and either a""ointin% "riests or retainin% the
"riestesses in their own service. 6h$s <e$s at :odona, and Ammon in
the 5asis of 4iwwa, took over the c$lt of the orac$lar oak, sacred to
:ia or :ioneIas the ebrew 2ehovah did that of Ishtar>s orac$lar
acaciaIand A"ollo ca"t$red the shrines of :el"hi and Ar%os. At Ar%os,
the "ro"hetess was allowed f$ll freedom- at :el"hi, a "riest intervened
between "ro"hetess and votar#, translatin% her incoherent $tterances
into he3ameters- at :odona, both the :ove1"riestesses and <e$s>s
male "ro"hets delivered oracles.
*. 0other &arth>s shrine at :el"hi was fo$nded b# the (retans, who
left their sacred m$sic, rit$al, dances, and calendar as a le%ac# to the
ellenes. er (retan sce"tre, the labrs, or do$ble1a3e, named the
"riestl# cor"oration at :el"hi, the 'abr#adae, which was still e3tant in
(lassical times. 6he tem"le made from bees1wa3 and feathers refers to
the %oddess as ;ee and as :ove- the tem"le of fern recalls the ma%ical
"ro"erties attrib$ted to fern1seed at the s$mmer and winter solstices
.4ir 2ames !raAer devotes several "a%es to the s$bGect in his Golden
Bough/- the shrine of la$rel recalls the la$rel1leaf chewed b# the
"ro"hetess and her com"anions in their or%ies. :a"hnis is a shortened
form of :a"hoenissa .Hthe blood# one>/, as :a"hne is of :a"hoene. 6he
shrine of bronAe en%$lfed b# the earth ma# merel# mark the fo$rth
sta%e of a :el"hic son% that, like H'ondon ;rid%e is ;roken :own>, told
of the vario$s $ns$itable materials with which the shrine was
s$ccessivel# b$ilt- b$t it ma# also refer to an $nder%ro$nd tholos, the
tomb of a hero who was incarnate in the "#thon. 6he tholos, a beehive1
sha"ed %host1ho$se, a""ears to be of African ori%in, and introd$ced
into Greece b# wa# of Palestine. 6he Witch of &ndor "resided at a
similar shrine, and the %host of Adam %ave oracles at ebron.
Philostrat$s refers to the %olden birds in his Life of $&ollonius of Tana
and describes them as siren1like wr#necks- b$t Pindar calls them
ni%htin%ales .!ra%ment D$oted b# Athenae$s/. Whether the birds
re"resented orac$lar ni%htin%ales, or wr#necks $sed as love1charms
and rain1ind$cers, is dis"$table.
7. Ins"ection of entrails seems to have been an IndoI&$ro"ean
mantic device. :ivination b# the throw of fo$r kn$cklebone dice was
"erha"s al"habetical in ori%in, since Hsi%ns>, not n$mbers, were said to
be marked on the onl# fo$r sides of each bone which co$ld t$rn $".
6welve consonants and fo$r vowels .as in the divinator# Irish 5%ham
called H5>4$llivan>s>/ are the sim"lest form to which the Greek al"habet
can be red$ced. ;$t, in (lassical times, n$mbers onl# were markedI1,
7, 8, and + on each kn$ckleboneIand the meanin%s of all their
"ossible combinations had been codified. Pro"hec# from dreams is a
$niversal "ractice.
8. A"ollo>s "riests e3acted vir%init# from the P#thian "riestesses at
:el"hi, who were re%arded as A"ollo>s brides- b$t when one of was
scandalo$sl# sed$ced b# a votar#, the# had thereafter to be abo$t fift#
#ears old on installation, tho$%h still dressin% as brides. ;$ll>s blood
was tho$%ht to be hi%hl# "oisono$s, beca$se of its ma%ical "otenc#,
the blood of sacred b$lls, sometimes $sed to consecrate a tribe, as in
,-odus, was mi3ed with %reat D$antities of water before bein%
s"rinkled on the fields as a fertiliAer. 6he Priestess of &arth however,
co$ld drink whatever 0other &arth herself drank.
5. era, Pasi"ha@, and Ino were all titles of the 6ri"le1%oddess,
interde"endence of whose "ersons was s#mbolised b# the tri"od which
her "riestess sat.
+. 6he "roced$re at the oracle of 6ro"honi$sIwhich Pa$sanias self
visitedIrecalls Aeneas>s descent, mistletoe in hand, to 6artar$s, where
he cons$lted his father Anchises, and 5d#sse$s>s earlier cons$ltation
of 6eiresias- it also shows the relevance of these m#ths to a common
form of initiation rite in which the novice s$ffers a mock1death,
receives m#stical instr$ction from a "retendin% %host, and is then
reborn in new clan, or secret societ#. Pl$tarch remarks that the
6ro"honiads m#sta%o%$es in the dark denIbelon% to the "re15l#m"ian
a%e of (ron$s, and correctl# co$"les them with the Idaean :act#ls who
formed the 4amothracian 0#steries.
9. ;lack "o"lar was sacred to the :eath1%oddess at Pa%ae, and
Perse"hone had a black "o"lar %rove in the !ar West .Pa$sanias/.
8. Am"hiloch$s and 0o"s$s had killed each other, b$t their %hosts
a%reed to fo$nd a Goint oracle.
The $64habet
6& 6hree !ates or, some sa#, Io the sister of Phorone$s, invented
five vowels of the first al"habet, and the consonants ; and 6-
Palamedes, son of ?a$"li$s, invented the remainin% eleven
consonants, and ermes red$ced these so$nds to characters, $sin%
wed%e sha"e, beca$se cranes fl# in wed%e formation, and carried the
s#stem Greece to &%#"t. 6his was the Pelas%ian al"habet, which
(adm$s bro$%ht back to ;oeotia, and which &vander of Arcadia, a
Pelas%ian, introd$ced into Ital#, where his mother (armenta formed
the familiar fifteen characters of the 'atin al"habet.
b. 5ther consonants have since then been added to the Greek
al"habet b# 4imonides of 4amos, and &"icharm$s of 4icil#- and two
vowels, lon% 5 and short &, b# the "riests of A"ollo, so that his sacred
l#re now has one vowel for each of its seven strin%s.
c. Al"ha was the first of the ei%hteen letters, beca$se al&he means
hono$r, and al&hainein is to in)ent, and beca$se the Al"hei$s is the
most notable of rivers- moreover, (adm$s, tho$%h he chan%ed the
order of the letters, ke"t al&ha in this "lace, beca$se ale&h, in the
Phoenician ton%$e, means an o3, and beca$se ;oeotia is the land of
1. 6he Greek al"habet was a sim"lification of the (retan
hiero%l#"hs. 4cholars are now %enerall# a%reed that the first written
al"habet develo"ed in &%#"t d$rin% the ei%hteenth cent$r# ;( $nder
(retan infl$ence- which corres"onds with Aristides>s tradition, re"orted
b# Plin#, that an &%#"tian called 0enos .Hmoon>/ invented it Hfifteen
ears before the reign of Phoroneus, Aing of $rgos1.
*. 6here is evidence, however, that before the introd$ction of the
modified Phoenician al"habet into Greece an al"habet had e3isted
there as a reli%io$s secret held b# the "riestesses of the 0oonIIo, or
the 6hree !ates- that it was closel# linked with the calendar, and that
its letters were re"resented not b# written characters, b$t b# twi%s c$t
from different trees t#"ical of the #ear>s seD$ent months.
7. 6he ancient Irish al"habet, like that $sed b# the Gallic dr$ids of
whom (aesar wrote, mi%ht not at first be written down, and all its
letters were named after trees. It was called the Beth6luis6nion .Hbirch1
rowan1ash>/ after its first three consonants- and its canon, which
s$%%ests a Phr#%ian "rovenience, corres"onded with the Pelas%ian and
the 'atin al"habets, namel# thirteen consonants and five vowels. 6he
ori%inal order was A, ;, ', ?, 5, !, 4, , ), :, 6, (, &, 0, G, ?% or Gn, R,
I, which is likel# also to have been the order $sed b# ermes. Irish
ollaves made it into a deaf1and1d$mb lan%$a%e, $sin% fin%er1Goints to
re"resent the different letters, or one of verbal c#"hers. &ach
consonant re"resented a twent#1ei%ht1da# month of a series of
thirteen, be%innin% two da#s after the winter solstice- namel#,
1 :ec. *8 ; birch, or
wild olive
* 2an. *1 ' rowan
7 !eb. 18 ? ash
8 0arch 18 ! alder, or
5 A"ril 15 4 willow- 44 .</,
+ 0a# 17 hawthorn, or
wild "ear
9 2$ne 1= : oak, or
8 2$l# 8 6 holl#, or
"rickl# oak
9 A$%. 5 ( n$t- (( .L/,
a""le, sorb
1= 4e"t. * 0 vine
11 4e"t. 7= G iv#
1* 5ct. *8 ?% or Gn reed, or
%$elder rose
17 ?ov. *5 R cider, or
8. Abo$t 8== ;(, as the res$lt of a reli%io$s revol$tion, the order
chan%ed as follows to corres"ond with a new calendar s#stem, ;, I. ?,
, :, 6, (, L, 0, G, ?%, <, R. 6his is the al"habet associated with
eracles 5%mi$s, or H5%ma 4$nface>, as the earlier is with Phorone$s.
5. &ach vowel re"resented a D$arterl# station of the #ear, 5
.%reenweed/ the 4"rin% &D$ino3- ) .heather/ the 4$mmer 4olstice- &
."o"lar/ A$t$mn &D$ino3- A .fir, or "alm/ the birth1tree, and I .#ew/
death1tree, shared the Winter 4olstice between them. 6his order of
letters is im"licit in Greek and 'atin m#th and the sacral tradition of all
&$ro"e and, mutatis mutandis, 4#ria and Asia 0inor. 6he %oddess
(armenta invented ; and 6 as well as the vowels, beca$se each of
these calendar1consonants introd$ced one half of her #ear, as divided
between the sacred kin% and his tanist.
+. (ranes were sacred to ermes, "rotector of "oets before A"ollo
$s$r"ed his "ower- and the earliest al"habetic characters were wed%e1
sha"ed. Palamedes .Hancient intelli%ence>/, with his sacred crane
.0artial, ,&igrams/ was the (arian co$nter"art of &%#"tian %od 6hoth,
inventor of letters, with his crane1like ibis. ermes was 6hoth>s earl#
ellenic co$nter"art. 6hat 4imonides and &"icharm$s added new
letters to the al"habet is histor#, not m#th- tho$%h e3actl# wh# the#
did so remains do$btf$l. 6wo additions, -i and &si, were $nnecessar#,
and the removal of the as ./ and digamma .!/ im"overished the
9. It can be shown that the names of the letters "reserved in the Beth6
luis6nion, which are traditionall# re"orted to have come from Greece
and reached Ireland b# wa# of 4"ain, form archaic Greek charm in
hono$r of the Arcadian White Goddess Al"hito, who, b# (lassical times,
had de%enerated into a mere n$rser#. 6he (admeian order of letters,
"er"et$ated in the familiar A;(, see be a deliberate misarran%ement
b# Phoenician merchants- the# $sed secret al"habet for trade "$r"oses
b$t feared to offend the %oddess, revealin% its tr$e order.
6his com"licated and im"ortant s$bGect is disc$ssed at len%th in White
8. 6he vowels added b# the "riests of A"ollo to his l#re were "robabl#
those mentioned b# :emetri$s, an Ale3andrian "hiloso"her of the first
cent$r# ;(, when he writes in his dissertation *n Stle, HIn ,g&t the
&riests sing hmns to the Gods b uttering the se)en )o#els in
succession, the sound of #hich &roduces as strong a musical
im&ression on their hearers as if the flute and lre #ere used, but
&erha&s I had better not enlarge on this theme.>
6his s$%%ests that the vowels were $sed in thera"e$tic l#re m$sic at
A"ollo>s shrines.
The Da:ty6s
450& sa# that while Rhea was bearin% <e$s, she "ressed her
fin%ers into the soil to ease her "an%s and $" s"ran% the :act#ls, five
females from her left hand, and five males from her ri%ht. ;$t it is
%enerall# held that the# were livin% on Phr#%ian 0o$nt Ida lon% before
the birth of <e$s, and some sa# that the n#m"h Anchiale bore them in
the :ictaean (ave near 5a3$s. 6he male :act#ls were smiths and first
discovered iron in near1b# 0o$nt ;erec#nth$s- and their sisters, who
settled in 4amothrace, e3cited %reat wonder there b# castin% ma%ic
s"ells, and ta$%ht 5r"he$s the Goddess>s m#steries, their names are a
well1%$arded secret.
b. 5thers sa# that the males were the ($retes who "rotected <e$s>s
cradle in (rete, and that the# afterwards came to &lis and raised a
tem"le to "ro"itiate (ron$s. 6heir names were eracles, Paeoni$s,
&"imedes, Iasi$s, and Acesidas. eracles, havin% bro$%ht wild1olive
from the #"erboreans to 5l#m"ia, set his #o$n%er brothers to r$n a
race there, and th$s the 5l#m"ic Games ori%inated. It is also said that
he crowned Paeoni$s, the victor, with a s"ra# of wild1olive- and that,
afterwards, the# sle"t in beds made from its %reen leaves. ;$t the
tr$th is that wild1olive was not $sed for the victor>s crown $ntil the
seventh 5l#m"iad, when the :el"hic 5racle had ordered I"hit$s to
s$bstit$te it for the a""le1s"ra# hitherto awarded as the "riAe of
c. Acmon, :amnamene$s, and (elmis are titles of the three eldest
:act#ls- some sa# that (elmis was t$rned to iron as a "$nishment for
ins$ltin% Rhea.

1. 6he :act#ls "ersonif# the fin%ers, and eracles>s 5l#m"ic Games
are a childish fable ill$strated b# dr$mmin% one>s fin%ers on a table,
omittin% the th$mbIwhen the forefin%er alwa#s wins the race. ;$t
secret 5r"hic knowled%e was based on a calendar seD$ence of ma%ical
trees, each of them is assi%ned to a se"arate fin%er Goint in the si%n1
lan%$a%e and a se"arate letter in 5r"hic calendar1al"habet, which
seems to have been Phr#%ian in ori%in. Wild1olive belon%s to the to"1
Goint of the th$mb, s$""osedl# the seat of virilit# and therefore called
eracles. 6his eracles is said to have had leaves %rowin% from his
bod# .Palae"hat$s/. 6he similar s#stem is recalled in the "o"$lar
Western fin%er1names, e.%. Hfool>s fin%er> which corres"onds with
&"imedes, the middle fin%er, and the HZ fin%er>, which corres"onds
with Iasi$s, the fo$rth- and in the fin%er names of "almistr#, e.%. 4at$rn
for &"imedesI4at$rn havin% shown himself slow1witted in his str$%%le
with <e$s- and A"ollo, %od of healin% for Iasi$s. 6he forefin%er is %iven
to 2$"iter, or <e$s, who won the race. 6he little fin%er, 0erc$r# or
ermes, is the ma%ical one. 6hro$%h "rimitive &$ro"e, metall$r%# was
accom"anied b# incantations, and smiths therefore claimed the fin%ers
of the ri%ht hand as their :act#ls, leavin% the left to the sorceresses.
*. 6he stor# of Acmon, :amnamene$s, and (elmis, whose names
refer to smith craft, is another childish fable, ill$strated b# ta""in% with
inde3 fin%er on the th$mb, as a hammer on an anvil, and then sli""in%
ti" of the middle fin%er between them, as tho$%h it were a "iece of hot
iron. Iron came to (rete thro$%h Phr#%ia from farther alon% 4o$thern
;lack 4ea coast- and (elmis, bein% a "ersonification of smith iron, will
have been obno3io$s to the Great Goddess Rhea, "atroness of smiths,
whose reli%io$s decline be%an with the smeltin% of iron an arrival of the
iron1wea"oned :orians. 4he had reco%niAed onl# silver, co""er, lead,
and tin as terrestrial ores- tho$%h l$m"s of meteoritic iron were hi%hl#
"riAed beca$se of their mirac$lo$s ori%in, and one have fallen on
0o$nt ;erec#nth$s. An $nworked l$m" was fo$nd in ?eolithic de"osit
at Phaest$s beside a sD$attin% cla# ima%e of the %oddess Z sea1shells,
and offerin% bowls. All earl# &%#"tian iron is meteoritic, it contains a
hi%h "ro"ortion of nickel and is nearl# r$st1"roof. (elmis>s ins$lt to
era %ave the middle fin%er its name, digita im&udica0
7. 6he 5l#m"ic Games ori%inated in a foot race, r$n b# %irls, for the
"rivile%e of becomin% the "riestess of the 0oon1%oddess era
.Pa$sanias/- and since this event took "lace in the month Parthenios,
Hof the maiden>, it seems to have been ann$al. When <e$s married
eraIwhen, that is, a new form of sacred kin%shi" had been
introd$ced into Greece b# the AchaeansIa second foot race was r$n
b# #o$n% men for the dan%ero$s "rivile%e of becomin% the "riestess>s
consort, 4$n to her 0oon, and th$s Fin% of &lis- G$st as Antae$s made
his da$%hter>s s$itors race for her .Pindar, Pthian *des/, followin% the
e3am"le of Icari$s and :ana$s.
8. 6he Games were thereafter held ever# fo$r #ears, instead of
ann$all#, the %irls foot race bein% r$n at a se"arate festival, either a
fortni%ht before or a fortni%ht after the 5l#m"ian Games "ro"er- and
the sacred kin%shi" conferred on the victor of the foot race at his
marria%e to the new "riestess, is recalled in the divine hono$rs that the
victor# contin$ed to bestow in (lassical times. avin% been wreathed
with eracles>s or <e$s>s olive, sal$ted as HFin% eracles>, and "elted
with leaves like a 2ack o>Green, he led the dance in a tri$m"hal
"rocession and ate sacrificial b$ll>s flesh in the (o$ncil all.
5. 6he ori%inal "riAe, an a""le, or an a""le1s"ra#, had been a "romise
of immortalit# when he was d$l# killed b# his s$ccessor- for Pl$tarch
mentions that tho$%h a foot race was the sole contest in the ori%inal
5l#m"ic Games, a sin%le combat also took "lace, which ended onl# in
the death of the vanD$ished. 6his combat is m#tholo%icall# recorded in
the stor# that the 5l#m"ic Games be%an with a wrestlin% match
between <e$s and (ron$s for the "ossession of &lis .Pa$sanias/,
namel# the mids$mmer combat between the kin% and his tanist- and
the res$lt was a fore%one concl$sionIthe tanist came armed with a
+. A scholiast on Pindar .*lm&ian *des/, D$otin% (omarch$s,
shows that the &lian ?ew Cear was reckoned from the f$ll moon nearest
to the winter solstice, and that a second ?ew Cear be%an at
mids$mmer. Pres$mabl# therefore the new <e$s1eracles, that is to
sa#, the winner of the foot race, killed the 5ld Cear tanist, (ron$s1
I"hicles, at midwinter. ence eracles first instit$ted the Games and
named the se"$lchral ill of (ron$s Hat a season when the s$mmit was
wet with m$ch snow> .Pindar, *lm&ian *des/
9. In ancient times, <e$s1eracles was "elted with oak1leaves and
%iven the a""le1s"ra# at mids$mmer, G$st before bein% killed b# his
tanist- he had won the ro#al wild1olive branch at midwinter. 6he
re"lacement of the a""le b# wild1olive, which is the tree that drives
awa# evil s"irits, im"lied the abortion of this death1combat, and the
conversion of the sin%le #ear, divided into two halves, into a Great
Cear. 6his be%an at midwinter, when solar and l$nar time coincided
favo$rabl# for a 4$n1and10oon marria%e, and was divided into two
5l#m"iads of fo$r #ears a"iece- the kin% and his tanist rei%nin%
s$ccessivel# or c$rrentl#. 6ho$%h b# (lassical times the solar chariot
raceIfor the m#tholo%ical a$thorit# is Pelo"s>s contest with 5enoma$s
for :eidameiaIhad become the most im"ortant event in the contests,
it was still tho$%ht somehow $nl$ck# to be "elted with leaves victor# in
the foot race- and P#tha%oras advised his friends to com"ete in this
event b$t not to win it. 6he victor#1o3, eaten at the (o$ncil was clearl#
a s$rro%ate for the kin%, as at the Athenian &$"honia.
8. 5l#m"ia is not a 0#cenaean site and the "re1Achaean m#ths
therefore $nlikel# to have been borrowed from (rete- the# seem
The Te6:hi3es
6& nine do%1headed, fli""er1handed 6elchines, (hildren of the 4ea,
ori%inated in Rhodes, where the# fo$nded the cities of (ameir$s,
Ial#s$s, and 'ind$s- and mi%ratin% thence to (rete, became its first
inhabitants. Rhea entr$sted the infant Poseidon to their care, and the#
for%ed his trident b$t, lon% before this, had made for (ron$s his
toothed sickle with which he castrated his father )ran$s- and
moreover, the first to carve ima%es of the %ods.
b. Cet <e$s resolved to destro# them b# a flood, beca$se the# have
been interferin% with the weather, raisin% ma%ic mists and bliZ cro"s
b# means of s$l"h$r and 4t#%ian water. Warned b# Artemis the# all
fled overseas, some to ;oeotia, where the# b$ilt the tem"le of Athene
at 6e$mess$s- some to 4ic#on, some to '#cia, or some to 5rchomen$s,
where the# were the ho$nds that tore Actaeon to "ieces. ;$t <e$s
destro#ed the 6e$messian 6elchines with a flood- A"ollo dis%$ised as a
wolf, destro#ed the '#cian ones, tho$%h the# tried to "lacate him with
a new tem"le- and the# are no lon%er to be at 5rchomen$s. R$mo$r
has it that some are still livin% in 4ic#on.
1. 6hat the nine 6elchines were (hildren of the 4ea, acted as the
ho$nds of Artemis, created ma%ic mists, and fo$nded the cities named
after the three :anaids, (ameira, Ial#sa, and 'inda, s$%%ests that the#
were ori%inall# emanations of the 0oon1%oddess :ana@, each of her
three "ersons in triad. H6elchin> was derived b# the Greek %rammarians
from thelgein, Hto enchant>. ;$t, since woman, do% and fish were
likewise combined in "ict$res of 4c#lla the 6#rrhenianIwho was also at
home in (reteIand in the fi%$re1heads of 6#rrhenian shi"s, the word
ma# be a variant of HTrrhen1 or HTrsen1- l and r havin% been conf$sed
b# the 'ib#ans, and the ne3t consonant bein% somethin% between an
as"irate and a sibilant. 6he# were, it seems, worshi""ed b# an earl#
matriarchal "eo"le of Greece, (rete, '#dia, and the Ae%ean Islands,
whom the invadin% "atriarchal ellenes "ersec$ted- absorbed or
forced to emi%rate westward. 6heir ori%in ma# have been &ast African.
*. 0a%ic mists were raised b# willow s"ells. 4t#3 water was
s$""osedl# so hol# that the least dro" of it ca$sed death, $nless dr$nk
from a c$" made of a horse>s hoof, which "roves it sacred to the 0are1
headed %oddess of Arcadia. Ale3ander the Great is said to have been
"oisoned b# 4t#3 water .Pa$sanias/. 6he 6elchines> ma%ical $se of it
s$%%ests that their devotees held near1b# 0o$nt ?onacrid, .Hnine
"eaks>/, at one time the chief reli%io$s centre of Greece- even the
5l#m"ic %ods swore their most solemn oath b# the 4t#3.
The E042sae
6& filth# demons called &m"$sae, children of ecate, are ass1
ha$nched and wear braAen sli""ersI$nless, as some declare, each
has one ass>s le% and one braAen le%. 6heir habit is to fri%hten
travellers, b$t the# ma# be ro$ted b# ins$ltin% words, at the so$nd of
which the# flee shriekin%. &m"$sae dis%$ise themselves in the forms of
bitches, cows, or bea$tif$l maidens and, in the latter sha"e, the# lie
with men b# ni%ht, or at the time of midda# slee", s$ckin% their vital
forces $ntil the# die.
1. 6he &m"$sae .Hforcers1in>/ are %reedil# sed$ctive female demonsIa
conce"t "robabl# bro$%ht to Greece from Palestine, where the# were
known b# the name of 'ilim .Hchildren of 'ilith>/ and were tho$%ht to be
ha$nched, the ass s#mboliAin% lecher# and cr$elt#. 'ilith .Hscritch1owl/
was a (anaanite ecate, and the 2ews made am$lets to "rotect
themselves a%ainst her as late as the 0iddle A%es. ecate, the real
r$ler of 6artar$s, wore a braAen sandalIthe %olden sandal was
A"hrodite>sIand her da$%hters, the &m"$sae, followed this e3am"le.
6he# co$ld chan%e themselves into bea$tif$l maidens or cows, as well
as bitches, beca$se the ;itch ecate, bein% a member of the 0oon1
triad was the same %oddess as A"hrodite, or cow1e#ed era.
I5, da$%hter of the River1%od Inach$s, was a "riestess of Ar%ive
era. <e$s, over whom I#n3, da$%hter of Pan and &cho, had cast a
s"ell, fell in love with Io, and when era char%ed him with infidelit# and
t$rned I#n3 into a wr#neck as a "$nishment, he lied, HI have never
to$ched Io>. e then t$rned her into a white cow, which era claimed
as hers and handed over for safe kee"in% to Ar%$s Pano"tes, orderin%
him, HTether this beast secretl to an oli)e6tree at Nemea.> ;$t <e$s
sent ermes to fetch her back, and himself led the wa# to ?emeaIor,
some sa#, to 0#cenaeIdressed in wood"ecker dis%$ise. ermes,
tho$%h the cleverest of thieves, knew that he co$ld not steal Io witho$t
bein% detected b# one of Ar%$s>s h$ndred e#es- he therefore charmed
him aslee" b# "la#in% the fl$te, cr$shed him with a bo$lder, c$t off his
head, and released Io. era, havin% "laced Ar%$s>s e#es in the tail of
her "eacock, as a constant reminder of his fo$l m$rder, set a %adfl# to
stin% Io and chase her all over the world.
b. Io first went to :odona, and "resentl# reached the sea called the
Ionian after her, b$t there t$rned ;ack and travelled north to 0o$nt
aem$s and then, b# wa# of the :an$be>s delta, co$rsed s$n1wise
aro$nd the ;lack 4ea, crossin% the (rimean ;os"hor$s, and followin%
the River #bristes to its so$rce in the (a$cas$s, where Promethe$s
still lan%$ished on his rock. 4he re%ained &$ro"e b# wa# of (olchis, the
land of the (hal#bes, and the 6hracian ;os"hor$s- then awa# she
%allo"ed thro$%h Asia 0inor to 6ars$s and 2o""a, thence to 0edia,
;actria, and India and, "assin% so$th1westward thro$%h Arabia, across
the Indian ;os"hor$s Uthe 4traits of ;ab1el10andebV, reached &thio"ia.
6hence she travelled down from the so$rces of the ?ile, where the
"#%mies make "er"et$al war with the cranes, and fo$nd rest at last in
&%#"t. 6here <e$s restored her to h$man form and, havin% married
6ele%on$s, she %ave birth to &"a"h$sIher son b# <e$s, who had
to$ched her to some "$r"oseIand fo$nded the worshi" of Isis, as she
called :emeter. &"a"h$s, who was r$mo$red to be the divine b$ll A"is,
rei%ned over &%#"t, and had a da$%hter, 'ib#a, the mother b# Poseidon
of A%enor and ;el$s.
c. ;$t some believe that Io bore &"a"h$s in an &$boean cave called
;oEsa$le, and afterwards died there from the stin% of the %adfl#- and
that, as a cow, she chan%ed her colo$r from white to violet1red, and
from violet1red to black.
d. 5thers have a D$ite different stor# to tell. 6he# sa# that Inach$s, a
son of Ia"et$s, r$led over Ar%os, and fo$nded the cit# of Io"olisIfor Io
is the name b# which the moon was once worshi""ed at Ar%osIand
called his da$%hter Io in hono$r of the moon. <e$s Pic$s, Fin% of the
West, sent his servants to carr# off Io, and o$tra%ed her as soon as she
reached his "alace. After bearin% him a da$%hter named 'ib#a, Io fled
to &%#"t, b$t fo$nd that ermes, son of <e$s, was rei%nin% there- so
contin$ed her fli%ht to 0o$nt 4il"i$m in 4#ria, where she died of %rief
and shame. Inach$s then sent Io>s brothers and kinsfolk in search of
her, warnin% them not to ret$rn em"t#1handed. With 6ri"tolem$s for
their %$ide, the# knocked on ever# door in 4#ria, cr#in%, H0a# the s"irit
of Io find restO>- $ntil at last the# reached 0o$nt 4il"i$m, where a
"hantasmal cow addressed them with, Here am I, Io.> 6he# decided
that Io m$st have been b$ried on that s"ot, and therefore fo$nded a
second Io"olis, now called Antioch. In hono$r of Io, the Io"olitans knock
at one another>s doors in the same wa# ever# #ear, $sin% the same
cr#- and the Ar%ives mo$rn ann$all# for her.
1. 6his m#th consists of several strands. 6he Ar%ives worshi""ed the
moon as a cow, beca$se the horned new moon was re%arded as the
so$rce of all water, and therefore of cattle fodder. er three colo$rs,
white for the new moon, red for the harvest moon, black for the moon
when it waned, re"resented the three a%es of the 0oon1%oddessI
0aiden, ?#m"h, and (rone. Io chan%ed her colo$r, as the moon
chan%es, b$t for Hred> the m#tho%ra"her s$bstit$tes Hviolet> beca$se
ion is Greek for the violet flower. Wood"eckers were tho$%ht to be
knockin% for rain when the# ta""ed on oak1tr$nks- and Io was the
0oon as rain brin%er. 6he herdsmen needed rain most "ressin%l# in
late s$mmer when %adflies attacked their cattle and sent them frantic-
in Africa cattle1ownin% ?e%ro tribes still h$rr# from "ast$re to "ast$re
when attacked b# them. Io>s Ar%ive "riestesses seem to have
"erformed ann$al heifer1dance in which the# "retended to be driven
mad b# %adflies, while wood"ecker1men, ta""in% on oak1doors and
cr#in% HIoO IoO>, invited the rain to fall and relieve their torments. 6his
seems to the ori%in of the m#th of the (oan women who were t$rned
into cows. Ar%ive colonies fo$nded in &$boea, the ;os"hor$s, the ;lack
4ea, 4#ria, and &%#"t, took their rain1makin% dance with them. 6he
wr#neck, the 0oon1%oddess>s "rime or%iastic bird, nests in willows and
was therefore concerned with water1ma%ic
*. 6he le%end invented to acco$nt for the eastward s"read of this
rit$al, as well as the similarit# between the worshi" of Io in Greece, Isis
in &%#"t, Astarte in 4#ria, and Fali in India, has been %rafted on the
$nrelated stories, that of the hol# moon1cow wanderin% aro$nd the
heavens, %$arded b# the starsIthere is a co%nate Irish le%end of
HGreen 4tri""er>Iand that of the 0oon1"riestesses whom the leaders
of the invadin% ellenes, each callin% himself <e$s, violated to the dish
of the local "o"$lation. era, as <e$s>s wife, is then made to e3"and
Gealo$s# of Io, tho$%h Io was another name for Hcow1e#ed> era.
:emeter>s mo$rnin% for Perse"hone is recalled in the Ar%ive festival of
mo$rnin% for Io, since Io has been eD$ated in the m#th with :emeter.
0oreover, ever# three #ears :emeter>s 0#steries were celebrated in
(eleae .Hcallin%>/, near (orinth, and said to have been fo$nded b# a
brother of (ele$s .Hwood"ecker>/, Fin% of &le$sis. ermes is called the
son of <e$s Pic$s .Hwood"ecker>/IAristo"hanes in his Birds acc$ses
<e$s of stealin% the wood"ecker>s sce"treIas Pan is said to have been
ermes>s son b# the ?#m"h :r#o"e .Hwood"ecker>/- and !a$n$s, the
'atin Pan, was the son of Pic$s .Hwood"ecker>/ whom (irce t$rned into
a wood"ecker for s"$rnin% her love .5vid, Metamor&hoses/. !a$n$s>s
(retan tomb bore the e"ita"h, H!ere lies the #ood&ec(er #ho #as also
5eus> .4$idas s$b Picos/. All three are rain1makin% she"herd1%ods.
'ib#a>s name denotes rain, and the winter rains came to Greece from
the direction of 'ib#a.
7. <e$s>s fatherin% of &"a"h$s, who became the ancestor of 'ib#a,
A%enor, ;el$s, Ae%#"t$s, and :ana$s, im"lies that the <e$s1
worshi""in% Achaeans claimed soverei%nt# over all the sea1"eo"les of
the so$theastern 0editerranean.
8. 6he m#th of "#%mies and cranes seems to concern the tall cattle1
breedin% tribesmen who had broken into the $""er ?ile1valle# from
4omaliland and driven the native "#%mies so$thward. 6he# were called
Hcranes> beca$se, then as now, the# wo$ld stand for lon% "eriods on
one le%, holdin% the ankle of the other with the o""osite hand, and
leanin% on a s"ear.
6& first man to fo$nd and "eo"le a cit# with a market1town was
Io>s brother Phorone$s, son of the River1%od Inach$s and the ?#m"h
0elia- later its name, Phoronic$m, was chan%ed to Ar%os. Phorone$s
was also the first to discover the $se of fire, after Promethe$s had
stolen it. e married the ?#m"h (erdo, r$led the entire Pelo"onnese,
and initiated the worshi" of era. When he died, his sons Pelas%$s,
Ias$s, and A%enor divided the Pelo"onnese between them- b$t his son
(ar fo$nded the cit# of 0e%ara.
1. Phorone$s>s name, which the Greeks read as Hbrin%er of a "rice> in
the sense that he invented markets, "robabl# stands for !earin$s .Hof
the dawn of the #ear>, i.e. the 4"rin%/- variants are ;ran, ;arn, ;er%n,
Brot, &"hron, Gwern, !earn, and ;renn$s. As the s"irit of the alder1tree
which "resided over the fo$rth month in the sacred #ear, d$rin% which
the 4"rin% !ire !estival was celebrated, he was described as a son of
Inach$s, beca$se alders %row b# rivers. is mother is the ash1n#m"h
0elia, beca$se the ash, the "recedin% tree of the same series, is said
to Hco$rt the flash>Ili%htnin%1str$ck trees were "rimitive man>s first
so$rce of fire. ;ein% an orac$lar hero, he was also associated with the
crow. Phorone$s>s discover# of the $se of fire ma# be e3"lained b# the
ancient smiths> and "otters> "reference for alder charcoal, which %ives
o$t more heat than an# other. (erdo .H%ain or Hart>/ is one of :emeter>s
titles- it was a""lied to her as weasel, or vi3en, for both are considered
"ro"hetic animals. HPhorone$s> seems to have been title of (ron$s,
with whom the crow and the alder are also associated and therefore
the 6itan of the 4eventh :a#. 6he division of Phorone$s>s kin%dom
between his sons Pelas%$s, Ias$s, and A%enor recalls that of (ron$s>s
kin%dom between <e$s, Poseidon, and ades, b$t "erha"s describes a
"re1Achaean "artition of the Pelo"onnese.
*. (ar is L>re, or (ari$s, or the Great God Fer, who seems to have
derived his title from his 0oon1mother Artemis (aria, or (ar#atis.
E2ro4e $3d "ad02s
AG&?5R, 'ib#a>s son b# Poseidon and twin to ;el$s, left &%#"t to
settle in the 'and of (anaan, where he married 6ele"hassa, otherwise
called Ar%io"e, who bore him (adm$s, Phoeni3, (ili3, 6has$s and
Phine$s, and one da$%hter, &$ro"e.
b. <e$s, fallin% in love with &$ro"e, sent ermes to drive A%enors
cattle down to the seashore at 6#re, where she and her com"anions
$sed to walk. e himself Goined the herd, dis%$ised as a snow1white
b$ll with %reat dew1la"s and small, %em1like horns, between which ran
sin%le black streak. &$ro"e was str$ck b# his bea$t# and, on findin%
him %entle as a lamb, mastered her fear and be%an to "la# with him
"$ttin% flowers in his mo$th and han%in% %arlands on his horns- in the
end, she climbed $"on his sho$lders, and let him amble down with her
to the ed%e of the sea. 4$ddenl# he swam awa#, while she looked back
in terror at the recedin% shore- one of her hands d$n% to his ri%ht horn,
the other still held a flower1basket.
c. Wadin% ashore near (retan Gort#na, <e$s became an ea%le and
ravished &$ro"e in a willow1thicket beside a s"rin%- or, some sa#,
$nder an ever%reen "ine1tree. 4he bore him three sons, 0inos,
Rhadamanth#s, and 4ar"edon.
d. A%enor sent his sons in search of their sister, forbiddin% them to
ret$rn witho$t her. 6he# set sail at once b$t, havin% no notion where
the b$ll had %one, each steered a different co$rse. Phoeni3 travelled
westward, be#ond 'ib#a, to what is now (artha%e, and there %ave his
name to the "$nics- b$t, after A%enor>s death, ret$rned to (anaan,
since renamed Phoenicia in his hono$r, and became the father of
Adonis b# Al"hesiboea. (ili3 went to the 'and of the #"achaeans,
which took his name, (ilicia- and Phine$s to 6h#nia, a "enins$la
se"aratin% the 4ea of 0armara from the ;lack 4ea, where he was later
m$ch distressed b# har"ies. 6has$s and his followers, first makin% for
5l#m"ia, dedicated a bronAe stat$e there to 6#rian eracles, ten ells
hi%h, holdin% a cl$b and a bow, b$t then set off to coloniAe the island
of 6hasos and work its rich %old mines. All this took "lace five
%enerations before eracles, son of Am"hitr#on, was born in Greece.
e. (adm$s sailed with 6ele"hassa to Rhodes, where he dedicated a
braAen ca$ldron to Athene of 'ind$s, and b$ilt Poseidon>s tem"le,
leavin% a hereditar# "riesthood behind to care for it. 6he# ne3t to$ched
at 6hera, and b$ilt a similar tem"le, finall# reachin% the land of the
6hracian &donians, who received them hos"itabl#. ere 6ele"hassa
died s$ddenl# and, after her f$neral, (adm$s and his com"anions
"roceeded on foot to the :el"hic 5racle. When he asked where &$ro"e
mi%ht be fo$nd, the P#thoness advised him to %ive $" his search and,
instead, follow a cow and b$ild a cit# wherever she sho$ld sink down
for weariness.
f. :e"artin% b# the road that leads from :el"hi to Phocis, (adm$s
came $"on some cowherds in the service of Fin% Pela%on, who sold
him a cow marked with a white f$ll moon on each flank. 6his beast he
drove eastward thro$%h ;oeotia, never allowin% her to "a$se $ntil, at
last, she sank down where the cit# of 6hebes now stands, and here he
erected an ima%e of Athene, callin% it b# her Phoenician name of 5n%a.
%. (adm$s, warnin% his com"anions that the cow m$st be sacrificed to
Athene witho$t dela#, sent them to fetch l$stral water from the 4"rin%
of Ares, now called the (astalian 4"rin%, b$t did not know that it was
%$arded b# a %reat ser"ent. 6his ser"ent killed most of (adm$s> men,
and he took ven%eance b# cr$shin% its head with a rock. ?o sooner
had he offered Athene the sacrifice, than she a""eared, "raisin% him
for what he had done, and orderin% him to sow the ser"ent>s teeth in
the soil. When he obe#ed her, armed 4"arti, or 4own 0en, at once
s"ran% $", clashin% their wea"ons to%ether. (adm$s tossed a stone
amon% them and the# be%an to brawl, each acc$sin% the other of
havin% thrown it, and fo$%ht so fiercel# that, at last, onl# five s$rvive
&chion, )dae$s, (hthoni$s, #"erenor, and Pelor$s, who $nanimo$sl#
offered (adm$s their services. ;$t Ares demanded ven%eance for the
death of the ser"ent, and (adm$s was sentenced b# a divine co$rt to
become his bondman for a Great Cear.
1. 6here are n$mero$s conf$sin% variations of the %enealo%# %iven
above, for instance, 6has$s is alternativel# described as the son of
Poseidon, (ili3 .A"ollodor$s/, or 6it#$s .Pindar, Pthian *des/. A%enor
is the Phoenician hero (hnas, who a""ears in Genesis as H(anaan>-
man# (anaanite c$stoms "oint to an &ast African "rovenience and the
(anaanites ma# have ori%inall# come to 'ower &%#"t from )%anda.
6he dis"ersal of A%enor>s sons seems to record the westward fli%ht of
(anaanite tribes earl# in the second millenni$m ;(, $nder "ress$re
from Ar#an and 4emitic invaders.
*. 6he stor# of Inach$s>s sons and their search for Io the moon1cow has
infl$enced that of A%enor>s sons and their search of &$ro"e. Phoeni3 is
a masc$line form of Phoenissa .Hthe red, or blood# one>/, a title %iven
to the moon as %oddess of :eath1in1'ife. &$ro"e means Hbroad1face>, a
s#non#m for the f$ll moon, and a title of 0oon1Goddesses :emeter at
'ebadeia and Astarte at 4idon. If, however, the word is not eur6o&e b$t
eu6ro&e .on the analo%# of euboea/, it ma# mean H%ood for willows>I
that is, Hwell1watered>. 6he willow r$les the fifth month of the sacred
#ear, and is associated with witchcraft and with fertilit# rites
thro$%ho$t &$ro"e, es"eciall# on 0a# &ve, which falls in this month.
'ib#a, 6ele"hassa, Ar%io"e, and Al"hesiboea are all, similarl#, titles of
the 0oon1%oddess.
7. <e$s>s ra"e of &$ro"e, which records an earl# ellenic occ$"ation of
(rete, has been ded$ced from "re1ellenic "ict$res of the 0oon1
"riestess tri$m"hantl# ridin% on the 4$n1b$ll, her victim- the scene
s$rvives in ei%ht mo$lded "laD$es of bl$e %lass, fo$nd in the
0#cenaean cit# of 0idea. 6his seems to have been "art of the fertilit#
rit$al d$rin% which &$ro"e>s 0a#1%arland was carried in "rocession
.Athenae$s/. <e$s>s sed$ction of &$ro"e in ea%le1dis%$ise recalls his
sed$ction of era in c$ckoo1dis%$ise- since .accordin% to es#chi$s/
era bore the title H&$ro"ia>. &$ro"e>s (retan and (orinthian name was
ellotis, which s$%%ests elice .Hwillow>/- elle, and elen are the
same divine character. (allimach$s in his ,&ithalamion for !elen
mentions that the "lane1tree was also sacred to elen. Its sanctit# la#
in its five1"ointed leaves, re"resentin% the hand of the %oddess, and its
ann$al slo$%hin% of bark- b$t A"ollo borrowed it, as the God &sm$n did
6anit>s .?eith>s/ o"en1hand emblem.
8. It is "ossible that the stor# of &$ro"e also commemorates a raid on
Phoenicia b# ellenes from (rete. 2ohn 0alalas will hardl# have
invented the H&vil &venin%> at 6#re when he writes, HTaurus BCbullDE,
Aing Crete, assaulted Tre after a sea6battle during the absence of
$genor and his sons0 The too( the cit that same e)ening and carried
off man ca&ti)es, ,uro&e among them< this e)ent is still recalled in
the annual C,)il ,)eningD obser)ed at Tre> .Chronicles/. erodot$s
a%rees with 0alalas.
5. 6#rian eracles, whom 6hese$s worshi""ed at 5l#m"ia, was the
%od 0elkarth- and a small tribe, s"eakin% a 4emitic lan%$a%e, seems to
have moved $" from the 4#rian "lains to (admeia in (ariaI(adm$s is
a 4emitic word meanin% Heastern>Iwhence the# crossed over to
;oeotia towards the end of the second millenni$m, seiAed 6hebes, and
became masters of the co$ntr#. 6he m#th of the 4own 0en and
(adm$s>s bonda%e to Ares s$%%est that the invadin% (admeans
sec$red their hold on ;oeotia b# s$ccessf$ll# intervenin% in a civil war
amon% the Pelas%ian tribes who claimed to be a$tochthono$s- and that
the# acce"ted the local r$le of an ei%ht1#ear rei%n for the sacred kin%.
(adm$s killed the ser"ent in the same sense as A"ollo killed the
P#thon at :el"hi. 6he names of the 4own 0enI&chion .Hvi"er>/-
)dae$s .Hof the earth>/- (hthoni$s .Hof the soil>/- #"erenor .Hman who
comes $" H/ and Pelor$s .Hser"ent>/Iare characteristic of orac$lar
heroes. ;$t HPelor$s> s$%%ests that all Pelas%ians, not merel# the
6hebans, claimed to be born in this wa#- their common feast bein% the
Peloria. 2ason>s cro" of dra%on>s teeth was "robabl# sown at Iolc$s or
(orinth, not (olchis.
+. 6ro# and Antioch were also said to have been fo$nded or selected b#
sacred cows. ;$t it is less likel# that this "ractice was literall# carried
o$t, than that the cow was t$rned loosel# restricted "art of a selected
site and the tem"le of the 0oon1%oddess fo$nded where she la# down.
A cow>s strate%ic and commercial abilities are not hi%hl# develo"ed.
"ad02s $3d &ar0o3ia
W&? (adm$s had served ei%ht #ears in bonda%e to Ares, to
e3"iate the m$rder of the (astallan ser"ent, Athene sec$red him the
land of ;oeotia. With the hel" of his 4own 0en, he b$ilt the 6heban
"olis, named H6he (admea> in his own hono$r and, after bein% initiated
into the m#steries which <e$s had ta$%ht Iasion, married armonia,
the da$%hter of A"hrodite and Ares- some sa# that Athene Zbro$%htZ
her to him when he visited 4amothrace.
b. 6his was the first mortal weddin% ever attended b# the 5l#m"ians.
6welve %olden thrones were set $" for them in (adm$s>s "alace, which
stood on the site of the "resent 6heban market "lace- and all bro$%ht
%ifts. A"hrodite "resented armonia with the famo$s %olden necklace
made b# e"haest$sIori%inall# it had been <e$s>s love1%ift to
(adm$s>s sister &$ro"eIwhich conferred irresistible bea$t# on its
wearer. Athene %ave her a %olden robe, which conferred divine di%nit#
on its wearer, also a set of fl$tes- and ermes l#re. (adm$s>s own
"resent to armonia was another rich robe. &lectra, Iasion>s mother,
ta$%ht her the rites of the Great Goddess, while :emeter ass$red her a
"ros"ero$s barle# harvest b# l#in% with Iasion in a thrice1"lo$%hed field
d$rin% the celebrations. 6he 6hebans still show the "lace where the
0$ses "la#ed the fl$te and san% on this occasion, and where A"ollo
"erformed on the l#re.
c. In his old a%e, to "lacate Ares, who had not #et wholl# for%iven him
for him for killin% the ser"ent, (adm$s resi%ned the 6heban throne in
favo$r of his %randson Penthe$s, whom his da$%hter A%ave had to
&chion the 4own 0an, and lived D$ietl# in the cit#. ;$t when Penthe$s
was done to death b# his mother, :ion#s$s foretold that (adm$s and
armonia, ridin% in a chariot drawn b# heifers, wo$ld r$le over
barbarian hordes. 6hese same barbarians, he said, wo$ld sack man#
Greek cities $ntil, at last, the# "l$ndered a tem"le of A"ollo,
where$"on the# wo$ld s$ffer G$st "$nishment- b$t Ares wo$ld resc$e
(adm$s and armonia, after t$rnin% them into ser"ents, and the#
wo$ld live ha""il# for all time in the Islands of the ;lessed.
d. (adm$s and armonia therefore emi%rated to the land of the
&ncheleans who, when attacked b# the Ill#rians, chose them as their
r$lers, in accordance with :ion#s$s>s advice. A%ave was now married
to '#cotherses, Fin% of Ill#ria, at whose co$rt she had taken ref$%e
after her m$rder of Penthe$s- b$t on hearin% that her "arents
commanded the &nchelean forces, she m$rdered '#cotherses too, and
%ave the kin%dom to (adm$s.
e. In their old a%e, when the "ro"hec# had been wholl# f$lfilled,
(adm$s and armonia d$l# became bl$e1s"otted black ser"ents, and
were sent b# <e$s to the Islands of the ;lessed. ;$t some sa# that
Ares chan%ed them into lions. 6heir bodies were b$ried in Ill#ria, where
(adm$s had b$ilt the cit# of ;$tho@. e was s$cceeded b# Ill#ri$s, the
son of his old a%e.
1. (adm$s>s marria%e to armonia, in the "resence of the 6welve
5l#m"ian deities, is "aralleled b# Pele$s>s marria%e to 6hetis, and
seems to record a %eneral ellenic reco%nition of the (admeian
conD$erors of 6hebes, after the# had been s"onsored b# the Athenians
and decentl# initiated into the 4amothracian 0#steries. is fo$ndin% of
;$tho@ constit$tes a claim b# the Ill#rians to be treated as Greeks, and
therefore to take "art in the 5l#m"ic Games. (adm$s will have had an
oracle in Ill#ria, if he was "ict$red there as a ser"ent- and the lions into
which he and armonia are also said to have been transformed, were
"erha"s twin heraldic s$""orters of the Great Goddess>s aniconic
ima%eIas on the famo$s 'ion Gate at 0#cenae. 6he m#tho%ra"her
s$%%ests that he was allowed to emi%rate with a colon# at the close of
his rei%n, instead of bein% "$t to death.
-e62s $3d The Da3aids
FI?G ;el$s, who r$led at (hemmis in the &%#"tian 6hebaid, was the
son of 'ib#a b# Poseidon, and twin1brother of A%enor. is wife
Anchino@, da$%hter of ?il$s, bore him the twins Ae%#"t$s and :ana$s,
and a third son, (e"he$s.
b. Ae%#"t$s was %iven Arabia as his kin%dom- b$t also s$bd$ed the
co$ntr# of the 0elam"odes, and named it &%#"t after himself. !ift#
sons were born to him of vario$s mothers, 'ib#ans, Arabians,
Phoenicians, and the like. :ana$s, sent to r$le 'ib#a, had fift#
da$%hters, called the :anaids, also born of vario$s mothers, ?aiads,
amadr#ads, &%#"tian "rincesses of &le"hantis and 0em"his,
&thio"ians, and the like.
c. 5n ;el$s>s death, the twins D$arrelled over their inheritance, and as
a conciliator# %est$re Ae%#"t$s "ro"osed a mass1marria%e between
the fift# "rinces and the fift# "rincesses. :ana$s, s$s"ectin% a "lot,
wo$ld not consent and, when an oracle confirmed his fears that
Ae%#"t$s had it in his mind to kill all the :anaids, "re"ared to flee from
d. With Athene>s assistance, he b$ilt a shi" for himself and his
da$%htersIthe first two1"rowed vessel that ever took to seaIand the#
sailed towards Greece to%ether, b# wa# of Rhodes. 6here :ana$s
dedicated an ima%e to Athene in a tem"le raised for her b# the
:anaids, three of whom died d$rin% their sta# in the island- the cities
of 'ind$s, Ial#s$s, and (ameir$s are called after them.
e. !rom Rhodes the# sailed to the Pelo"onnese and landed near 'erna,
where :ana$s anno$nced that he was divinel# chosen to become Fin%
of Ar%os. 6ho$%h the Ar%ive Fin%, Gelanor, nat$rall# la$%hed at this
claim, his s$bGects assembled that evenin% to disc$ss it. Gelanor wo$ld
do$btless have ke"t the throne, des"ite :ana$s>s declaration that
Athene was s$""ortin% him, had not the Ar%ives "ost"oned their
decision $ntil dawn, when a wolf came boldl# down from the hills,
attacked a herd of cattle %raAin% near the cit# walls, and killed the
leadin% b$ll. 6his the# read as an omen that :ana$s wo$ld take the
throne b# violence if he were o""osed, and therefore "ers$aded
Gelanor to resi%n it "eacef$ll#.
f. :ana$s, convinced that the wolf had been A"ollo in dis%$ise,
dedicated the famo$s shrine to Wolfish A"ollo at Ar%os, and became so
"owerf$l a r$ler that all the Pelas%ians of Greece called themselves
:anaans. e also b$ilt the citadel of Ar%os, and his da$%hters bro$%ht
the 0#steries of :emeter, called 6hesmo"horia, from &%#"t, and
ta$%ht these to the Pelas%ian women, ;$t, since the :orian invasion,
the 6hesmo"horia are no lon%er "erformed in the Pelo"onnese, e3ce"t
b# the Arcadians.
%. :ana$s had fo$nd Ar%olis s$fferin% from a "rolon%ed dro$%ht, since
Poseidon, ve3ed b# Inach$s>s decision that the land was era>s, had
dried $" all the rivers and streams. e sent his da$%hters in search of
water, with orders to "lacate Poseidon b# an# means the# knew. 5ne of
them, b# name Am#mone, while chasin% a deer in the forest,
ha""ened to dist$rb a slee"in% sat#r. e s"ran% $" and tried to ravish
her- b$t Poseidon, whom she invoked, h$rled his trident at the sat#r.
6he fleein% sat#r dod%ed, the trident st$ck D$iverin% in a rock, and
Poseidon himself la# with Am#mone, who was %lad that she co$ld carr#
o$t her father>s instr$ctions so "leasantl#. 5n learnin% her errand,
Poseidon "ointed to his trident and told her to "$ll it from the rock.
When she did so, three streams of water Getted $" from the three tine1
holes. 6his s"rin%, now named Am#mone, is the so$rce of the river
'erna, which never fails, even at the hei%ht of s$mmer.
h. At Am#mone the monstro$s #dra was born to &chidne $nder a
"lane1tree. It lived in the near1b# 'ernaean 'ake, to which m$rderers
come for "$rificationIhence the "roverb, HA 'erna of evils.>
i. Ae%#"t$s now sent his sons to Ar%os, forbiddin% them to ret$rn $ntil
the# had "$nished :ana$s and his whole famil#. 5n their arrival, the#
be%%ed :ana$s to reverse his former decision and let them marr# his
da$%htersIintendin%, however, to m$rder them on the weddin% ni%ht.
When he still ref$sed, the# laid sie%e to Ar%os. ?ow, there are no
s"rin%s on the Ar%ive citadel, and tho$%h the :anaids afterwards
invented the art of sinkin% wells, and s$""lied the cit# with several of
these, incl$din% fo$r sacred ones, it was waterless at the time in
D$estion. 4eein% that thirst wo$ld soon force him to ca"it$late, :ana$s
"romised to do what the sons of Ae%#"t$s asked, as soon as the# raise
the sie%e.
G. A mass1marria%e was arran%ed, and :ana$s "aired off the co$"lesI
his choice bein% made in some cases beca$se the bride and
bride%room had mothers of eD$al rank, or beca$se their names were
similarIth$s (leite, 4thenele, and (hr#si""e married (leit$s,
4thenel$s, and (hr#si""$sIb$t in most cases he drew lots from a
k. :$rin% the weddin%1feast :ana$s secretl# doled o$t shar" "ins
which his da$%hters were to conceal in their hair- and at midni%ht each
stabbed her h$sband thro$%h the heart. 6here was onl# one s$rvivorI
on Artemis>s advice, #"ermnestra saved the life of '#nce$s, beca$se
he had s"ared her maidenhead- and hel"ed him in his fli%ht to the cit#
of '#ncea, si3t# f$rlon%s awa#. #"ermnestra be%%ed him to li%ht
beacon as a si%nal that he had reached safet#, $ndertakin% to answer
with another beacon from the citadel- and the Ar%ives still li%ht ann$al
beacon1fires in commemoration of this "act. At dawn, :ana$s learned
of #"ermnestra>s disobedience, and she was tried for her life- b$t
acD$itted b# the Ar%ive G$d%es. 4he therefore raised an ima%e to
Bictorio$s A"hrodite in the shrine of Wolfish A"ollo, and also dedicate a
sanct$ar# to Pers$asive Artemis.
l. 6he m$rdered men>s heads were b$ried at 'erna, and their bodies
%iven f$ll f$neral hono$rs below the walls of Ar%os- b$t, altho$%h
Athene and ermes "$rified the :anaids in the 'ernaean 'ake with
<e$s>s "ermission, the 2$d%es of the :ead have condemned them the
endless task of carr#in% water in Gars "erforated like sieves.
m. '#nce$s and #"ermnestra were re$nited, and :ana$s, decidin% to
marr# off the other da$%hters as fast as he co$ld before noon on the
da# of their "$rification, called for s$itors. e "ro"osed a marria%e race
startin% from the street now called A"heta, the winner to have fast
choice of a wife, and the others the ne3t choices, in their order of
finishin% the race. 4ince he co$ld not find eno$%h men who wo$ld risk
their lives b# marr#in% m$rderesses, onl# a few ran- b$t when the
weddin% ni%ht "assed witho$t disaster to the new bride%rooms, more
s$itors a""eared, and another race was r$n on the followin% da#. A
descendants of these marria%es rank as :anaans- and the Ar%ives still
celebrate the race in their so1called #menaean (ontest. '#nce$s later
killed :ana$s, and rei%ned in his stead. e wo$ld willin%l# have killed
his sisters1in1law at the same time, to aven%e his m$rdered brothers,
had the Ar%ives "ermitted this.
n. 0eanwhile, Ae%#"t$s had come to Greece, b$t when he learned of
his sons> fate, fled to Aroe, where he died, and was b$ried at Patrae, in
a sanct$ar# of 4era"is.
o. Am#mone>s son b# Poseidon, ?a$"li$s, a famo$s navi%ator,
discovered the art of steerin% b# the Great ;ear, and fo$nded the cit#
of ?a$"li$s, where he settled the &%#"tian crew that had sailed with
his %randfather. e was the ancestor of ?a$"li$s the Wrecker, who
$sed to l$re hostile shi"s to their death b# li%htin% false beacons.
1. 6his m#th records the earl# arrival in Greece of elladic colonists
from Palestine, b# wa# of Rhodes, and their introd$ction of a%ric$lt$re
into the Pelo"onnese. It is claimed that the# incl$ded emi%rants from
'ib#a and &thio"ia, which seems "robable. ;el$s is the ;aal of the 5ld
6estament, and the ;el of the $&ocr&ha- he had taken his name from
the 4$merian 0oon1%oddess ;elili, whom he o$sted.
*. 6he three :anaids, also known as the 6elchines, or Henchanters>, who
named the three chief cities of Rhodes, were the 6ri"le 0oon1%oddess
:ana@. 6he names 'inda, (ameira, and Ial#sa seem to be worn1down
forms of linodeousa .Hbinder with linen thread>/, catameri%ousa .Hsharer
o$t>/, and ialemistria .Hwailin% woman>/- the# are, in fact, the familiar
6hree !ates, or 0oerae, otherwise known as (lotho, 'achesis, and
Atro"os, beca$se the# e3ercised ver# same f$nctions. 6he (lassical
theor# of the linen1thread was that the %oddess tied the h$man bein%
to the end of a caref$ll# meas$red thread which she "aid o$t #earl#,
$ntil the time came for her to c$t it and relinD$ish his so$l to death.
;$t ori%inall# she bo$nd the wailin% infant with a linen swaddlin% band
on which his clan and famil# marks were embroidered and th$s
assi%ned him his destined "lace in societ#.
7. :ana@>s 4$merian name was :am1kina. 6he ebrews called her
:inah .Genesis/, also masc$liniAed as :an. !ift# 0oon1"riestesses were
the re%$lar com"lement of a colle%e, and their d$t# was to "reserve
the land watered b# rain1makin% charms, irri%ation, and well1di%%in%-
hence the :anaids> name has been connected with the Greek word
danosIH"arched>, and with danosIHa %ift>, the first of which is
sometimes lon% and sometimes short. 6he twinshi" of A%enor and
;el$s, like that of :ana$s and Ae%#"t$s, "oints to a re%al s#stem at
Ar%os, in which each co1kin% married a (hief1"riestess and rei%ned for
fift# l$nar months, or Great Cear. (hief1"riestesses were chosen b# a
foot race .the ori%in of 5l#m"ic Games/, r$n at the end of the fift#
months, or of fort#1nine in alternate #ears. And the ?ew Cear foot race
at 5l#m"ia, 4"arta, 2er$salem .ooke, *rigin of ,arl Semitic 'ituals/,
and ;ab#lon .'an%don, ,&ic of Creation/ was r$n for the sacred
kin%shi", as at Ar%os. A 4$n1kin% m$st be D$ick.
8. 6he #dra, destro#ed b# eracles, seem to have "ersonified this
colle%e of water1"rovidin% "riestesses, and the m#th of the :anaids
a""arentl# records two ellenic attem"ts on their sanct$ar#, the first
of which failed si%nall#. After the second s$ccessf$l attem"t, the
ellenic leader married the (hief1"riestess and distrib$ted the water1
"riestesses as wives amon% his chieftains. H6he street called A"heta>
will have been the startin%1"oint in the %irls> race for the office of (hief1
"riestess- b$t also $sed in the men>s foot race for the sacred kin%shi".
'#nce$s, a ro#al title in 0essene too, means Hof the l#n3>Ithe caracal,
a sort of lion, famo$s for its shar" si%ht..
5. HAe%#"t$s> and H:ana$s> seem to have been earl# titles of Ar%ive
coIkin%s- and since it was a wides"read c$stom to b$r# the sacred
kin%>s head at the a""roaches of a cit#, and th$s "rotect it a%ainst
invasion, the s$""osed heads of Ae%#"t$s>s sons b$ried at 'erna are
"robabl# those of s$ccessive sacred kin%s. 6he &%#"tians were
0elam"odes .Hblack feet>/ beca$se the# "addled abo$t in the black
m$d d$rin% the sowin% season.
+. A later, mono%amo$s, societ# re"resented the :anaids with
leakin% water1"ots as $nder%oin% eternal "$nishment for matricide.
;$t in the icon from which this stor# derived, the# were "erformin% a
necessar# charm, s"rinklin% water on the %ro$nd to "rod$ce rain
showers b# s#m"athetic ma%ic. It seems that the sieve, or leakin% "ot,
remained a distin%$ishin% mark of the wise woman man# cent$ries
after the abolition of the :anaid colle%es, Philostrat$s writes .Life of
$&ollonius of Tana/ of H#omen #ith sie)es in their hands #ho go
about &retending to heal cattle for sim&le co#herds.>
9. #"ermnestra>s and '#nce$s>s beacon1fires will have been those
li%hted at the Ar%ive 4"rin% !estival to celebrate the tri$m"h of the
4$n. It ma# be that at Ar%os the sacred kin% was "$t to death with a
lon% needle thr$st thro$%h his heart, a com"arativel# mercif$l end.
8. 6he 6hesmo"horia .Hd$e offerin%s>/ were a%ric$lt$ral or%ies
celebrated at Athens, in the co$rse of which the severed %enitals of the
sacred kin%, or his s$rro%ate, were carried in a basket- these were
re"laced in more civiliAed times b# "hall$s1sha"ed loaves and live
ser"ents. A"ollo '#ci$s ma# mean HA"ollo of the 'i%ht>, rather than
HWolfish A"ollo>, b$t the two conce"ts were connected b# the wolves>
habit of howlin% at the f$ll moon.
;&')4 had a bea$tif$l da$%hter, 'amia, who r$led in 'ib#a, and on
whom <e$s, in acknowled%ement of her favo$rs, bestowed the sin%$lar
"ower of "l$ckin% o$t and re"lacin% her e#es at will. 4he bore him
several children, b$t all of them e3ce"t 4c#lla were killed b# era in a
fit of Gealo$s#. 'amia took her reven%e b# destro#in% the children of
others, and behaved so cr$ell# that her face t$rned into a ni%htmarish
b. 'ater, she Goined the com"an# of the &m"$sae, l#in% with #o$n%
men and s$ckin% their blood while the# sle"t.
1. 'amia was the 'ib#an ?eith, the 'ove1and1;attle %oddess, also
named Anatha and Athene, whose worshi" the Achaeans s$""ressed-
like Al"hito of Arcadia, she ended as a n$rse bo%e#. er name, 'amia,
seems to be akin to lamros .H%l$ttono$s>/, from laimos .H%$llet>/Ith$s,
of a woman, Hlechero$s>- and her $%l# face is the "ro"h#lactic Gor%on
mask worn b# her "riestesses d$rin% their 0#steries, of which
infanticide was an inte%ral "art. 'amia>s removable e#es are "erha"s
ded$ced from a "ict$re of the %oddess abo$t to bestow m#stic si%ht on
a hero b# "rofferin% him an e#e. 6he &m"$sae were inc$bae.
450& sa# that when <e$s fell in love with ?emesis, she fled from
him into the water and became a fish- he "$rs$ed her as a beaver,
"lo$%hin% $" the waves. 4he lea"ed ashore, and transformed herself
into this wild beast or that, b$t co$ld not shake <e$s off, beca$se he
borrowed the form of even fiercer and swifter beasts. At last she took
to the air as a wild %oose- he became a swan, and trod her
tri$m"hantl# at Rhamn$s in Attica. ?emesis shook her feathers
resi%nedl#, and carried to 4"arta, where 'eda, wife of Fin% 6#ndare$s,
"resentl# fo$nd h#acinth1colo$red e%% l#in% in a marsh, which she
bro$%ht home and hid in a chest, from it elen of 6ro# was hatched.
;$t some sa# that this e%% dro""ed from the moon, like the e%% that,
in ancient times "l$n%ed into the river &$"hrates and, bein% towed
ashore b# fish and hatched b# doves, broke o"en to reveal the 4#rian
Goddess of 'ove.
b. 5thers sa# that <e$s, "retendin% to be a swan "$rs$ed b# an ea%le
took ref$%e in ?emesis>s bosom, where he ravished her and that, in
d$e "rocess of time, she laid an e%%, which ermes threw between
'eda>s thi%hs, as she sat on a stool with her le%s a"art. 6h$s 'eda %ave
birth to elen, and <e$s "laced the ima%es of 4wan and &a%le in the
eavens to commemorate this r$se.
c. 6he most $s$al acco$nt, however, is that it was 'eda herself with
whom <e$s com"anied in the form of a swan beside the river &$rot,
that she laid an e%% from which were hatched elen, (astor, and
Pol#de$ces- and that she was conseD$entl# deified as the %oddess
?emesis. ?ow, 'eda>s h$sband 6#ndare$s had also lain with her the
same ni%ht and, tho$%h some hold that all these three were <e$s>s
childrenIand (l#taemnestra too, who had been hatched, with elen,
from a second e%%Iothers record that elen alone was a da$%hter of
<e$s, and that (astor and Pol#de$ces were 6#ndare$s>s sons- some
others a%ain, that (astor and (l#taemnestra were children of
6#ndare$s, while elen and Pol#de$ces were children of <e$s.
1. ?emesis was the 0oon1%oddess as ?#m"h and, in the earliest form
of the love1chase m#th, she "$rs$ed the sacred kin% thro$%h his
seasonal chan%es of hare, fish, bee, and mo$seIor hare, fish, bird, and
%rain of wheatIand finall# devo$red him. With the victor# of the
"atriarchal s#stem, the chase was reversed, the %oddess now fled from
<e$s, as in the &n%lish ballad of the (oal1black 4mith. 4he had
chan%ed into an otter or beaver to "$rs$e the fish, and (astor>s name
.Hbeaver>/ is clearl# a s$rvival of this m#th, whereas that of Pol#de$ces
.Hm$ch sweet wine>/ records the character of the festivities d$rin%
which the chase took "lace.
*. Lada is said to be the '#cian .i.e. (retan/ word for Hwoman>, and
'eda was the %oddess 'atona, or 'eto, or 'at, who bore A"ollo and
Artemis at :elos. 6he h#acinth1colo$red e%% recalls the blood1red
&aster e%% of the :r$ids, called the glain, for which the# searched
ever# #ear b# the seashore- in (eltic m#th it was laid b# the %oddess
as sea1ser"ent. 6he stor# of its bein% thrown between 'eda>s thi%hs
ma# have been ded$ced from a "ict$re of the %oddess seated on the
birth1stool, with A"ollo>s head "rotr$din% from her womb.
7. elenUaV and elle, or 4elene, are local variants of the 0oon1
%oddess, whose identit# with '$cian>s 4#rian %oddess is em"hasiAed b#
#%in$s. ;$t #%in$s>s acco$nt is conf$sed, it was the %oddess herself
who laid the world1e%% after co$"lin% with the ser"ent 5"hion, and
who hatched it on the waters, ado"tin% the form of a dove. 4he herself
rose from the Boid. elen had two tem"les near 4"arta, one at
6hera"nae, b$ilt on a 0#cenaean site- another at :endra, connected
with a tree c$lt, as her Rhodian shrine also was. Poll$3 mentions a
4"artan festival called the elene"horia, closel# resemblin% Athene>s
6hesmo"horia at Athens, d$rin% which certain $nmentionable obGects
were carried in a s"ecial basket called a helene- s$ch a basket elen
herself carries in reliefs showin% her accom"anied b# the :iosc$ri. 6he
obGects ma# have been "hallic emblems- she was an or%iastic %oddess.
8. <e$s tricked ?emesis, the %oddess of the Pelo"onnesian swan
c$lt, b# a""ealin% to her "it#, e3actl# as he had tricked era of the
(retan c$ckoo c$lt. 6his m#th refers, it seems, to the arrival at (retan
or Pelas%ian cities of ellenic warriors who, to be%in with, "aid homa%e
to the Great Goddess and "rovided her "riestesses with obedient
consorts, b$t event$all# wrested the s$"reme soverei%nt# from her.
IXI5?, a son of Phle%#as, the 'a"ith kin%, a%reed to marr# :ia,
da$%hter of &ione$s, "romisin% rich bridal %ifts and invitin% &ione$s to
a banD$et- b$t had laid a "itfall in front of the "alace, with a %reat
charcoal fire $nderneath, into which the $ns$s"ectin% &ione$s fell and
was b$rned.
b. 6ho$%h the lesser %ods tho$%ht this a heino$s deed, and ref$sed to
"$rif# I3ion, <e$s, havin% behaved eD$all# ill himself when in love, not
onl# "$rified him b$t bro$%ht him to eat at his table.
c. I3ion was $n%ratef$l, and "lanned to sed$ce era who, he %$essed,
wo$ld be %lad of a chance to reven%e herself on <e$s for his freD$ent
$nfaithf$lness. <e$s, however, readin% I3ion>s intentions, sha"ed a
clo$d into a false era with whom I3ion, bein% too far %one in drink to
notice the dece"tion, d$l# took his "leas$re. e was s$r"rised in the
act b# <e$s, who ordered ermes to sco$r%e him mercilessl# $ntil he
re"eated the words, H;enefactors deserve hono$r>, and then bind him
to a fier# wheel which rolled witho$t cease thro$%h the sk#.
d. 6he false era, afterwards called ?e"hele, bore I3ion the o$tcast
child (enta$r$s who, when he %rew to manhood, is said to have sired
horse1centa$rs on 0a%nesian mares, of whom the most celebrated was
the learned (heiron
1. I3ion>s name, formed from ischs .Hstren%th>/ and io .Hmoon>/,
also s$%%ests i-ias .Hmistletoe>/. As an oak1kin% with mistletoe %enitals,
re"resentin% the th$nder1%od, he rit$all# married the rain1makin%
0oon1%oddess- and was then sco$r%ed, so that his blood and s"erm
wo$ld fr$ctif# the earth, beheaded with an a3e, emasc$lated, s"readI
ea%led to a tree, and roasted- after which his kinsmen ate him
sacramentall#. ,ion is the omeric e"ithet for a river- b$t :ia>s father
is called :eione$s, meanin% Hrava%er>, as well as &ione$s. 6he 0oon1
%oddess of the oak c$lt was known as :ia .Hof the sk#>/, a title of the
:odonian 5ak1%oddess, and therefore of <e$s>s wife era. 6hat old1
fashioned kin%s called themselves <e$s and married :ia of the Rain
(lo$ds, nat$rall# dis"leased the 5l#m"ian "riests, who misinter"reted
the rit$al "ict$re of the s"read1ea%led 'a"ith kin% as recordin% his
"$nishment for im"iet#, and invented the anecdote of the clo$d. 5n an
&tr$scan mirror, I3ion is shown s"read1ea%led to a fire1wheel, with
m$shroom tinder at his feet- elsewhere, he is bo$nd in the same Hfive1
fold bond> with which the Irish hero ($roi tied ($ch$lainIbent
backwards into a hoo" .Philostrat$s, Life of $&ollonius of Tana/, with
his ankles, wrists, and neck tied to%ether, like 5siris in the Boo( of the
+ead. 6his attit$de recalls the b$rnin% wheels rolled downhill at
&$ro"ean mids$mmer festivities, as a si%n that the s$n has reached its
Aenith and m$st now decline a%ain $ntil the winter solstice. I3ion>s
"itfall is $nmeta"horical, s$rro%ate victims were needed for the sacred
kin%, s$ch as "risoners taken in battle or, failin% these, travellers
ca$%ht in tra"s. 6he m#th seems to record a treat# made b# <e$s>s
ellenes with the 'a"iths, Phle%#ans, and (enta$rs, which was broken
b# the rit$al m$rder of ellenic travellers and the seiA$re of their
womenfolk- the ellenes demanded, and were %iven, an official
*. orses were sacred to the moon, and hobb#1horse dances,
desi%ned to make rain fall, have a""arentl# %iven rise to the le%end
that the (enta$rs were half horse, half man. 6he earliest Greek
re"resentation of (enta$rsItwo men Goined at the waist to horses>
bodiesIis fo$nd on a 0#cenaean %em from the erae$m at Ar%os-
the# face each other and are dancin%. A similar "air a""ear on a
(retan bead1seal- b$t, since there was no native horse c$lt in (rete,
the motif has evidentl# been im"orted from the mainland. In archaic
art, the sat#rs were also "ict$red as hobb#1horse men, b$t later as
%oats. (enta$r$s will have been an orac$lar hero with a ser"ent>s tail,
and the stor# of ;oreas>s matin% with mares is therefore attached to
1. 6his m#th records how an Aeolian chief invaded &lis, and
acce"ted the conseD$ences of marr#in% the Pelas%ian 0oon1%oddess
era>s re"resentativeIthe names of &nd#mion>s wives are all moon1
titlesIhead of a colle%e of fift# water1"riestesses. When his rei%n
ended he was d$l# sacrificed and awarded a hero shrine at 5l#m"ia.
Pisa, the cit# to which 5l#m"ia belon%ed, is said to have meant in the
'#dian .or (retan/ lan%$a%e H"rivate restin%1"lace>, namel#, of the
0oon .4ervi$s on Bir%il/.
*. 6he name &nd#mion, from endeuein .'atin, inducere/, refers to
the 0oon>s sed$ction of the kin%, as tho$%h she were one of the
&m"$sae- b$t the ancients e3"lain it as referrin% to somnum ei
inductum, Hthe slee" "$t $"on him>.
7. Aetol$s, like Pelo"s, will have driven his chariot aro$nd the
5l#m"ian stadi$m in im"ersonation of the s$n- and his accidental
killin% of A"is, which is made to acco$nt for the &lean coloniAation of
Aetolia, seems to be ded$ced from a "ict$re of the ann$al chariot
crash, in which the kin%>s s$rro%ate died. ;$t the foot race won b#
&"ei$s .Hs$ccessor>/ was the earlier event. 6he e3istence of an
&nd#mion sanct$ar# on 0o$nt 'atm$s in (aria s$%%ests that an
Aeolian colon# from &lis settled there. is rit$al marria%e with era,
like I3ion>s, will have offended the "riests of <e$s.
8. A"is is the no$n formed from a&ios, a omeric adGective $s$all#
meanin% Hfar off> b$t, when a""lied to the Pelo"onnese .Aesch#l$s,
Su&&liants/, Hof the "ear1tree>.
)y70a6io3 $3d Ga6atea
PCG0A'I5?, son of ;el$s, fell in love with A"hrodite and, beca$se
she wo$ld not lie with him, made an ivor# ima%e of her and laid it in his
bed, "ra#in% to her for "it#. &nterin% into this ima%e, A"hrodite bro$%ht
it to life as Galatea, who bore him Pa"h$s and 0etharme. Pa"h$s,
P#%malion>s s$ccessor, was the father of (in#ras, who fo$nded the
(#"rian cit# of Pa"hos and b$ilt a famo$s tem"le to A"hrodite there.
1. P#%malion, married to A"hrodite>s "riestess at Pa"hos, seems to
have ke"t the %oddess>s white c$lt1ima%e in his bed as a means of
retainin% the (#"rian throne. If P#%malion was, in fact, s$cceeded b# a
son whom this "riestess bore him, he will have been the first kin% to
im"ose the "atrilineal s#stem on the (#"riots. ;$t it is more likel# that,
like his %randson (in#ras, he ref$sed to %ive $" the %oddess>s ima%e at
the end of his ei%ht1#ear rei%n- and that he "rolon%ed this b# marria%e
with another of A"hrodite>s "riestessesItechnicall# his da$%hter, since
she was heiress to the throneIwho is called 0etharme .Hchan%e>/, to
mark the innovation.
6& River1%od Aso"$sIwhom some call the son of 5cean$s and
6eth#s- some, of Poseidon and Pero- others, of <e$s and &$r#nomeI
married 0eto"e, da$%hter of the river 'adon, b# whom he had two
sons and either twelve or twent# da$%hters.
b. 4everal of these had been carried off and ravished on vario$s
occasions b# <e$s, Poseidon, or A"ollo, and when the #o$n%est,
Ae%ina, twin sister of 6hebe, one of <e$s>s victims, also disa""eared,
Aso"$s set o$t in search of her. At (orinth he learned that <e$s was
once a%ain the c$l"rit, went ven%ef$ll# in "$rs$it, and fo$nd him
embracin% Ae%ina in a wood. <e$s, who was $narmed, fled
i%nominio$sl# thro$%h the thickets and, when o$t of si%ht, transformed
himself into a rock $ntil Aso"$s had %one b#- where$"on he stole back
to 5l#m"$s and from the safet# of its ram"arts "elted him with
th$nderbolts. Aso"$s still moves slowl# from the wo$nds he then
received, and l$m"s of b$rned coal are often fetched from his river
c. avin% th$s dis"osed of Ae%ina>s father, <e$s conve#ed secretl# to
the island then called 5enone, or 5eno"ia, where he laid with her in
the form of an ea%le, or of a flame, and c$"ids hovered over their
co$ch, administerin% the %ifts of love. In co$rse of time era
discovered that Ae%ina had borne <e$s a son named Aeac$s, ant
resolved to destro# ever# inhabitant of 5enone, where he was a kin%.
4he introd$ced a ser"ent into one of its streams, which hatched o$t
tho$sands of e%%s- so that swarms of ser"ents went wri%%lin% over the
fields into all the other streams and rivers. 6hick darkness and a
drows# heat s"read across the island, which Aeac$s had renamed
Ae%ina, and the "estilential 4o$th Wind blew for not less than fo$r
months. (ro"s and "ast$res dried $", and famine ens$ed- b$t the
islanders were chiefl# "la%$ed with thirst and, when their wine was
e3ha$sted, wo$ld crawl to the nearest stream, where the# died as the#
drank its "oisono$s water.
d. A""eals to <e$s were in vain, the emaciated s$""liants and their
sacrificial beasts fell dead before his ver# altars, $ntil hardl# a sin%le
warm1blooded creat$re remained alive.
e. 5ne da#, Aeac$s>s "ra#ers were answered with th$nder and
li%htnin%. &nco$ra%ed b# this favo$rable omen, he be%%ed <e$s to
re"lenish the em"t# land, %ivin% him as man# s$bGects as there were
ants carr#in% %rains of corn $" a near1b# oak. 6he tree, s"r$n% from a
:odonian acorn, was sacred to <e$s- at Aeac$s>s "ra#er, therefore, it
trembled, and a r$stlin% came from its wides"read bo$%hs, not ca$sed
b# an# wind. Aeac$s, tho$%h terrified, did not flee, b$t re"eatedl#
kissed the tree1tr$nk and the earth beneath it. 6hat ni%ht, in a dream,
he saw a shower of ants fillin% to the %ro$nd from the sacred oak, and
brin%in% $" as men. When he awoke, he dismissed this as deceitf$l
fantas#- b$t s$ddenl# his son 6elamon called him o$tside to watch a
host of men a""roachin%, and he reco%niAed their faces from his
dream. 6he "la%$e of ser"ents had vanished, and rain was fallin% in a
stead# "eriod.
f. Aeac$s, with %ratef$l thanks to <e$s, divided the deserted cit# and
lands amon% his new "eo"le, whom he called 0#rmidons, that is Hants>,
and whose descendants still dis"la# an ant1like thrift, "atience, and
tenacit#. 'ater, these 0#rmidons followed Pele$s into e3ile from
Ae%ina, and fo$%ht beside Achilles and Patrocl$s at 6ro#.
%. ;$t some sa# that Achilles>s allies, the 0#rmidons, were so named in
hono$r of Fin% 0#rmidon, whose da$%hter &$r#med$sa was sed$ced
b# <e$s in the form of an antIwhich is wh# ants are sacred in
6hessal#. And others tell of a n#m"h named 0#rme3 who, when her
com"anion Athene invented the "lo$%h, boasted that she had made
the discover# herself, and was t$rned into an ant as a "$nishment.
h. Aeac$s, who married &ndeis of 0e%ara, was widel# renowned for his
"iet#, and held in s$ch hono$r that men lon%ed to feast their e#es
$"on him. All the noblest heroes of 4"arta and Athens clamo$red to
fi%ht $nder his command, tho$%h he had made Ae%ina the most
diffic$lt of the Ae%ean islands to a""roach, s$rro$ndin% it with s$nken
rocks and dan%ero$s reefs, as a "rotection a%ainst "irates. When al
Greece was affected with a dro$%ht ca$sed b# Pelo"s>s m$rder of the
Arcadian kin% 4t#m"hal$s or, some sa#, b# the Athenians> m$rder of
Andro%e$s, the :el"hic 5racle advised the Greeks, HAsk Aeac$s to "ra#
for #o$r deliver#O> 6here$"on ever# cit# sent a herald to Aeac$s who
ascended 0o$nt Panhelleni$s, the hi%hest "eak in his island, robed as
a "riest of <e$s. 6here he sacrificed to the %ods, and "ra#ed for an end
to the dro$%ht. is "ra#er was answered b# a lo$d th$nder cla", clo$ds
obsc$red the sk#, and f$rio$s showers of rain soaked the whole land of
Greece. e then dedicated a sanct$ar# to <e$s on Panhelleni$s, and a
clo$d settlin% on the mo$ntain s$mmit has ever since been an
$nfailin% "ortent of rain.
i. A"ollo and Poseidon took Aeac$s with them when the# b$ilt the
walls of 6ro#, knowin% that $nless a mortal Goined in this work, the cit#
wo$ld be im"re%nable and its inhabitants ca"able of def#in% the %ods.
4carcel# had the# finished their task when three %re#1e#ed ser"ents
tried to scale the walls. 6wo chose the "art G$st com"leted b# the %ods,
b$t t$mbled down and died- the third, with a cr#, r$shed Aeac$s>s "art
and forced his wa# in. A"ollo then "ro"hesied that 6ro# wo$ld fall more
than once, and that Aeac$s>s sons wo$ld be amon% it ca"tors, both in
the first and fo$rth %enerations- as indeed came to in the "ersons of
6elamon and AGa3.
G. Aeac$s, 0inos, and Rhadamanth#s were the three of <e$s>s sons
whom he wo$ld have most liked to s"are the b$rden of old a%e. 6he
!ates, however, wo$ld not "ermit this, and <e$s, b# %racio$sl#
acce"tin% their ban, "rovided the other 5l#m"ians with a %ood
k. When Aeac$s died, he became one of the three 2$d%es in 6artar$s,
where he %ives laws to the shades, and is even called $"on to arbitrate
D$arrels that ma# arise between the %ods. 4ome add that he kee"s the
ke#s of 6artar$s, im"oses a toll, and checks the %hosts bro$%ht down
b# ermes a%ainst Atro"os>s invoice.
1. Aso"$s>s da$%hters ravished b# A"ollo and Poseidon will have
been colle%es of 0oon1"riestesses in the Aso"$s valle# of the ?orth1
eastern Pelo"onnese, whose fertile lands were seiAed b# the Aeolians.
Ae%ina>s ra"e seems to record a s$bseD$ent Achaean conD$est of
Phli$s, a cit# at the head waters of the Aso"$s- and an $ns$ccessf$l
a""eal made b# their nei%hbo$rs for militar# aid from (orinth.
&$r#nome and 6eth#s, the names of Aso"$s>s mother, were ancient
titles of the 0oon1%oddess, and HPero> "oints to &era, a leather ba%,
and th$s to Athene>s %oat1skin aegisIas HAe%ina> also does.
*. 6he Aeac$s m#th concerns the conD$est of Ae%ina b# Phthiotian
0#rmidons, whose tribal emblem was an ant. Previo$sl#, the island
was, it seems, held b# %oat1c$lt Pelas%ians, and their hostilit# towards
the invaders is recorded in era>s "oisonin% of the streams. Accordin%
to 4trabo, who alwa#s looked for reasonable e3"lanations of m#ths, b$t
seldom looked far eno$%h, the soil of Ae%ina was covered b# a la#er of
stones, and the Ae%inetans called themselves 0#rmidons beca$se, like
ants, the# had to e3cavate before the# co$ld fill their fields, and
beca$se the# were tro%lod#tes .4trabo/. ;$t the 6hessalian le%end of
0#rme3 is a sim"le m#th of ori%in, the Phthiotian 0#rmidons claimed
to be a$tochthono$s, as ants are, and showed s$ch lo#alt# to the laws
of their "riestess, the L$een Ant, that <e$s>s ellenic re"resentative
who married her had to become an honorar# ant himself. If 0#rme3
was, in fact, a title of the 0other1%oddess of ?orthern Greece, she
mi%ht well claim to have invented the "lo$%h, beca$se a%ric$lt$re had
been established b# immi%rants from Asia 0inor before the ellenes
reached Athens.
7. 6he Phthiotian colonists of Ae%ina later mer%ed their m#ths with
those of Achaean invaders from Phli$s on the fiver Aso"$s- and, since
these Phthians had retained their alle%iance to the oak1oracle of
:odona, the ants are described as fillin% from a tree, instead of
emer%in% from the %ro$nd.
8. In the ori%inal m#th, Aeac$s will have ind$ced the rain1storm not b#
an a""eal to <e$s, b$t b# some s$ch ma%ic as 4almone$s $sed. is
law1%ivin% in 6artar$s, like that of 0inos and Rhadamanth#s s$%%ests
that an Ae%inetan le%al code was ado"ted in other "arts o Greece. It
"robabl# a""lied to commercial, rather than criminal, law G$d%in% from
the %eneral acce"tance, in (lassical times, of the Ae%inetan talent as
the standard wei%ht of "recio$s metal. It was of (retan ori%in and
t$rned the scales at 1== lb.
4I4CP)4, son of Aeol$s, married Atlas>s da$%hter 0ero"e, the
Pleiad, who bore him Gla$c$s, 5rn#tion, and 4inon, and owned a fine
herd of cattle on the Isthm$s of (orinth.
b. ?ear him lived A$tol#c$s, son of (hione, whose twin1brother
Philammon was be%otten b# A"ollo, tho$%h A$tol#c$s himself claimed
ermes as his father.
c. ?ow, A$tol#c$s was a "ast master in theft, ermes havin% %iven him
the "ower of metamor"hosin% whatever beasts he stole, from horned
to $nhorned, or from black to white, and contrariwise. 6h$s altho$%h
4is#"h$s noticed that his own herds %rew steadil# smaller while those
of A$tol#c$s increased, he was $nable at first to acc$se him of theft-
and therefore, one da#, en%raved the inside of all his cattle>s hooves
with the mono%ram 44 or, some sa#, with the words H4tolen b#
A$tol#c$s>. 6hat ni%ht A$tol#c$s hel"ed himself as $s$all# and at dawn
hoof1"rints alon% the road "rovided 4is#"h$s with s$fficient evidence
to s$mmon nei%hbo$rs in witness of the theft. e visited A$tol#c$s>s
stable, reco%niAed his stolen beasts b# their marked hooves and,
leavin% his witnesses to remonstrate with the thief, h$rried aro$nd the
ho$se, entered b# the "ortal, and while the ar%$ment was in "ro%ress
o$tside sed$ced A$tol#c$s>s da$%hter Anticleia, wife to 'aertes the
Ar%ive. 4he bore him 5d#sse$s, the manner of whose conce"tion is
eno$%h to acco$nt for the c$nnin% he habit$all# showed, and for his
nickname H#"si"#lon>.
d. 4is#"h$s fo$nded &"h#ra, afterwards known as (orinth, and "eo"led
it with men s"r$n% from m$shrooms, $nless it be tr$e that 0edea %ave
him the kin%dom as a "resent. is contem"oraries knew him as the
worst knave on earth, %rantin% onl# that he "romoted (orinthian
commerce and navi%ation.
e. When, on the death of Aeol$s, 4almone$s $s$r"ed the 6hessalian
throne, 4is#"h$s, who was the ri%htf$l heir, cons$lted the :el"hic
5racle and was told, H4ire children on #o$r niece- the# will aven%e
#o$O> e therefore sed$ced 6#ro, 4almone$s>s da$%hter, who,
ha""enin% to discover that his motive was not love for her, b$t hatred
of her father, killed the two sons she had borne him. 4is#"h$s then
entered the market "lace of 'arissa and "rod$ced the dead bodies,
falsel# acc$sed 4almone$s of incest and m$rder- and had him e3"elled
from 6hessal#.
f. After <e$s>s abd$ction of Ae%ina, her father the River1%od Aso"$s
came to (orinth in search of her. 4is#"h$s knew well what had
ha""ened to Ae%ina b$t wo$ld not reveal an#thin% $nless Aso"$s
$ndertook to s$""l# the citadel of (orinth with a "erennial s"rin%.
Aso"$s accordin%l# made the s"rin% Peirene rise behind A"hrodite>s
tem"le, where there are now ima%es of the %oddess, armed- of the
4$n- and of &ros the Archer. 6hen 4is#"h$s told him all he knew.
%. <e$s, who had narrowl# esca"ed Aso"$s>s ven%eance, ordered his
brother ades to fetch 4is#"h$s down to 6artar$s and "$nish him
everlastin%l# for his betra#al of divine secrets. Cet 4is#"h$s wo$ld not
be da$nted, he c$nnin%l# "$t ades himself in handc$ffs b#
"ers$adin% him to demonstrate their $se, and then D$ickl# lockin%
them. 6h$s ades was ke"t a "risoner in 4is#"h$s>s ho$se for some
da#sIan im"ossible sit$ation, beca$se nobod# co$ld die, even men
who had been beheaded or c$t in "ieces- $ntil at last Ares, whose
interests were threatened, came h$rr#in% $", set him free, and
delivered 4is#"h$s into his cl$tches.
h. 4is#"h$s, however, ke"t another trick in reserve. ;efore descendin%
to 6artar$s, he instr$cted his wife 0ero"e not to b$r# him- and, on
reachin% the Palace of ades went strai%ht to Perse"hone, and told her
that, as an $nb$ried "erson, he had no ri%ht to be there b$t sho$ld
have been left on the far side of the river 4t#3. H'et me ret$rn to the
$""er world,> he "leaded, Harran%e for m# b$rial, and aven%e ne%lect
shown me. 0# "resence here is most irre%$lar. I will be back within
three da#s.> Perse"hone was deceived and %ranted his reD$est, b$t as
soon as 4is#"h$s fo$nd himself once a%ain $nder the li%ht of s$n, he
re"$diated his "romise to Perse"hone. !inall#, ermes called $"on to
fetch him back b# force.
i. It ma# have been beca$se he had inG$red 4almone$s, or beca$se he
had betra#ed <e$s>s secret, or beca$se he had alwa#s lived b# robber#
and often m$rdered $ns$s"ectin% travellersIsome sa# that it 6hese$s
who "$t an end to 4is#"h$s>s career, tho$%h this is not %enerall#
mentioned amon% 6hese$s>s !eatsIat an# rate, 4is#"h$s was %iven an
e3em"lar# "$nishment. 6he 2$d%es of the :ead showed him a tall
block of stoneIidentical in siAe with that into which <e$s had t$rned
himself when fleein% from Aso"$sIand ordered him to roll it $ntil brow
of a hill and to""le it down the farther slo"e. e has never s$cceeded
in doin% so. As soon as he has almost reached the s$mmit, he is forced
back b# the wei%ht of the shameless stone, which bo$nce the ver#
bottom once more- where he wearil# retrieves it and rollin% be%ins all
over a%ain, tho$%h sweat bathes his limbs, and a clo$d of rises above
his head.
G. 0ero"e, ashamed to find herself the onl# Pleiad with a h$sband in
the )nderworldIand a criminal tooIdeserted her si3 starr# sisters
from the ni%ht sk# and has never been seen since. And as the
whereabo$ts of ?ele$s>s tomb on the (orinthian Isthm$s was a secret
which 4is#"h$s ref$sed to div$l%e even to ?estor, so the (orinthians
are now eD$all# reticent when asked for the whereabo$ts of 4is#"h$s>s
1. H4is#"h$s>, tho$%h the Greeks $nderstood it to mean Hver# wise>,
is s"elled 4ese"h$s b# es#chi$s, and is tho$%ht to be a Greek variant
of 6es$", the ittite 4$n1%od, identical with Atab#ri$s the 4$n1%od of
Rhodes, whose sacred animal was a b$ll. ;ronAe stat$ettes and reliefs
of this b$ll, datin% from the fo$rteenth cent$r# ;(, have been fo$nd,
marked with a sce"tre and two disks on the flank, and with a trefoil on
the ha$nch. Raids on the 4$n1%od>s marked cattle are a common"lace
in Greek m#th, 5d#sse$s>s com"anions made them, so also did
Alc#one$s, and his contem"orar#, eracles. ;$t A$tol#c$s>s $se of
ma%ic in his theft from 4is#"h$s recalls the stor# of 2acob and 'aban
.Genesis/. 2acob, like A$tol#c$s, had the %ift of t$rnin% cattle to
whatever colo$r he wanted, and th$s diminished 'aban>s flocks. 6he
c$lt$ral connection between (orinth and (anaan, which is shown in the
m#ths of ?is$s, 5edi"$s, Alcatho$s, and 0elicertes, ma# be ittite.
Alc#one$s also came from (orinth.
*. 4is#"h$s>s Hshameless stone> was ori%inall# a s$nIdisk, and the
hill $" which he rolled it is the va$lt of eaven- this made a familiar
eno$%h icon. 6he e3istence of a (orinthian 4$n c$lt is well established,
eli$s and A"hrodite are said to have held the acro"olis in s$ccession,
and shared a tem"le there .Pa$sanias/. 0oreover, 4is#"h$s is
invariabl# "laced ne3t to I3ion in 6artar$s, and I3ion>s fire1wheel is a
s#mbol of the s$n. 6his e3"lains wh# the "eo"le of &"h#ra s"ran% from
m$shrooms, m$shrooms were the rit$al tinder of I3ion>s fire1wheel, and
the 4$n1%od demanded h$man b$rnt sacrifices to ina$%$rate his #ear.
Anticleia>s sed$ction has been ded$ced "erha"s from a "ict$re
showin% eli$s>s marria%e to A"hrodite- and the m#tho%ra"her>s
hostilit# towards 4is#"h$s voices ellenic dis%$st at the strate%ic
"lantin% of non1ellenic settlements on the narrow isthm$s se"aratin%
the Pelo"onnese from Attica. is o$twittin% of ades "robabl# refers to
a sacred kin%>s ref$sal to abdicate at the end of his rei%n. 6o G$d%e
from the s$n1b$ll>s markin%s, he contrived to r$le for two Great Cears,
re"resented b# the sce"tre and the s$n1disks, and obtained the 6ri"le1
%oddess>s assent, re"resented b# the trefoil. #"si"#lon, 5d#sse$s>s
nickname, is the masc$line form of #"si"#le, a title, "robabl#, of the
7. 4is#"h$s and ?ele$s were "robabl# b$ried at strate%ic "oints on the
Isthm$s as a charm a%ainst invasion. A lac$na occ$rs in #%in$s>s
acco$nt of 4is#"h$s>s reven%e on 4almone$s- I ha# s$""lied a "assa%e
which makes sense of the stor#.
8. Peirene, the s"rin% on the citadel of (orinth where ;ellero"hon took
Pe%as$s to drink, had no emanation and never failed. Peirene was also
the name of a fo$ntain o$tside the cit# %ate, on the wa# from the
market1"lace to 'echae$m, where Peirene .Hof the osiers>/Iwhom the
m#tho%ra"hers describe as the da$%hter of Achelo$s, or of 5ebal$s- or
of Aso"$s and 0ero"e .:iodor$s 4ic$l$s/Iwas said to have been
t$rned into a s"rin% when she we"t for her son (enchrias .Hs"otted
ser"ent>/- whom Artemis had $nwittin%l# killed. H(orinthian bronAe>
took characteristic colo$r from bein% "l$n%ed red1hot into this s"rin%.
5. 5ne of the seven Pleiads disa""eared in earl# (lassical times, and
her absence had to be e3"lained.
+. A D$estion remains, was the do$ble14 reall# the mono%ram
4is#"h$s. 6he icon ill$stratin% the m#th "robabl# showed him
e3aminin% the tracks of the stolen shee" and cattle which, since the#
H"arted hoof>, were formaliAed as (. 6his si%n stood for 44 in the earlier
Greek scri"t, and co$ld also be read as the conGoined halves of the
l$nar month and all that these im"liedIwa3in% and wanin%, increase
an decline, blessin% and c$rsin%. ;easts which H"arted the hoof> were
self1dedicated to the 0oonIthe# are the sacrifices ordained at the
0oon !estivals in Le)iticusIand the 44 will therefore have referred to
4elene the 0oon, alias A"hrodite, rather than to 4is#"h$s, who as s$n1
kin% merel# held her sacred herd in tr$st. 6he fi%$re (( re"resentin%
the f$ll moon .as distin%$ished from 5, re"resentin% the sim"le s$n1
disk/ was marked on each flank of the sacred cow which directed
(adm$s to the site of 6hebes.
*a60o3e2s $3d Tyro
4A'05?&)4, a son, or %randson, of Aeol$s and &narete, rei%ned for
time in 6hessal# before leadin% an Aeolian colon# to the eastern
confines of &lis- where he b$ilt the cit# of 4almonia near the so$rce of
the river &ni"e$s, a trib$tar# of the Al"hei$s. 4almone$s was hated b#
his s$bGects, and went so far in his ro#al insolence as to transfer <e$s>s
sacrifices to his own altars, and anno$nce that he was <e$s. e even
drove thro$%h the streets of 4almonia, dra%%in% braAen ca$ldrons,
bo$nd with hide, behind his chariot to sim$late <e$s>s th$nder, and
h$rlin% oaken torches into the air- some of these, as the# fell, scorched
his $nfort$nate s$bGects, who were e3"ected to mistake them for
li%htnin%. 5ne fine da# <e$s "$nished 4almone$s b# h$rlin% a real
th$nderbolt, which not onl# destro#ed him, chariot and all, b$t b$rned
down the entire cit#.
b. Alcidice, 4almone$s>s wife, had died man# #ears before, in %ivin%
birth to a bea$tif$l da$%hter named 6#ro. 6#ro was $nder the char%e of
her ste"mother 4idero, and treated with %reat cr$elt# as the ca$se of
the famil#>s e3"$lsion from 6hessal#- havin% killed the two sons she
bore to her evil $ncle 4is#"h$s. 4he now fell in love with the river
&ni"e$s, and ha$nted its banks da# after da#, wee"in% for loneliness.
;$t the River1%od, altho$%h am$sed and even flattered b# her "assion,
wo$ld not show her the least enco$ra%ement.
c. Poseidon decided to take advanta%e of this ridic$lo$s sit$ation.
:is%$isin% himself as the River1%od, he invited 6#ro to Goin him at the
confl$ence of the &ni"e$s and the Al"hei$s- and there threw her into a
ma%ic slee", while a dark wave rose $" like a mo$ntain and c$red in
crest to screen his knaver#. When 6#ro awoke, and fo$nd herself
ravished, she was a%hast at the dece"tion- b$t Poseidon la$%hed as he
told her to be off home and kee" D$iet abo$t what had ha""ened. er
reward, he said, wo$ld be fine twins, sons of a better father than a
mere river1%od.
d. 6#ro contrived to kee" her secret $ntil she bore the "romised twins,
b$t then, $nable to face 4idero>s an%er, e3"osed them on a mo$ntain.
A "assin% horse1herd took them home with him, b$t not before his
brood1mare had kicked the elder in the face. 6he horse1herd>s wife
reared the bo#s, %ivin% the br$ised one to the mare for s$cklin% and
callin% him Pelias- the other, whom she called ?ele$s, took his sava%e
nat$re from the bitch which served as his foster1mother. ;$t some sa#
that the twins were fo$nd floatin% down the &ni"e$s in a wooden ark.
As soon as Pelias and ?ele$s discovered their mother>s name and
learned how $nkindl# she had been treated, the# set o$t to aven%e
her. 4idero took ref$%e in the tem"le of era- b$t Pelias str$ck her
down as she cl$n% to the horns of the altar. 6his was man# ins$lts that
he offered the %oddess.
e. 6#ro later married her $ncle (rethe$s, fo$nder of Iolc$s, whom she
bore Aeson, father of 2ason the Ar%ona$t- he also re%arded Pelias and
?ele$s as his sons.
f. After (rethe$s>s death, the twins came to blows, Pelias took the
throne of Iolc$s, e3iled ?ele$s, and ke"t Aeson as a "risoner in his
"alace. ?ele$s led (rethe$s>s %randsons 0elam"$s and ;ias with
com"an# of Achaeans, Phthiotians, and Aeolians to the land of
0essene, where he drove the 'ele%ans o$t of P#l$s, and raised to s$ch
a hei%ht of fame that he is now acclaimed as its fo$nder. e married
(hloris- b$t all their twelve children, e3ce"t ?estor have been
event$all# killed b# eracles.
1. Anti%on$s of (ar#st$s .$ccount of Mar)ellous Things/ reco$nts
that a rain1brin%in% bronAe wa%on was ke"t at (rannon, whirl of
dro$%ht the "eo"le drove over ro$%h %ro$nd to shake it and %ive so$nd
Iand also .as (rannonian coins show/ to s"lash abo$t the water from
the Gars which it contained. Rain alwa#s came, accordin% to Anti%on$s.
6h$s 4almone$s>s charm for ind$cin% th$nderstorms have been
common reli%io$s "ractice, like rattlin% "ebbles in a dr# Gar, ta""in% on
oak doors, rollin% stones abo$t in a chest, dancin%, shields, or swin%in%
b$ll1roarers. e was "ict$red as a criminal or the im"ersonation of
<e$s had been forbidden b# the Achaean a$thorit#. 6o G$d%e from the
:anaids> sieves and the Ar%ive cow dance, rain1makin% was ori%inall#
female "rero%ativeIas it remains amon% certain "rimitive African
tribesIthe ereros and the :amarasIb$t "assed into the sacred kin%
when the L$een "ermitted him to act as her de"$t#.
*. 6#ro was the Goddess1mother of the 6#rians and 6#rrhenians, or
6#rsenians, and "erha"s also of the 6ir#nthians- hers is "robabl# a "re1
ellenic name, b$t s$""lied Greek with the word trsis .Hwalled cit#>/,
and so with the conce"t of Ht#rann#>. er ill1treatment b# 4idero recalls
that of Antio"e b# :irce, a m#th which it closel# resembles- and ma#
ori%inall# have recorded an o""ression of the 6#rians b# their
nei%hbo$rs, the 4idonians. River water was held to im"re%nate brides
who bathed in itIbathin% was also a "$rif#in% rit$al after
menstr$ation, or child1birthIand it is likel# that 6#ro>s &ni"e$s, like the
4camander, was invoked to take awa# vir%init#. 6he anecdote of 6#ro>s
sed$ction b# Poseidon "$r"orts to e3"lain wh# 4almone$s>s
descendants were sometimes called H4ons of &ni"e$s>, which was their
ori%inal home, and sometimes H4ons of Poseidon>, beca$se of their
naval fame. er "revio$s sed$ction b# 4is#"h$s s$%%ests that the
(orinthian 4$n c$lt had been "lanted at 4almonia- Antio"e was also
connected b# marria%e with 4is#"h$s.
7. 6#ro>s ark, in which she sent the twins floatin% down the &ni"e$s,
will have been of alder1wood, like that in which Rhea 4ilvia sent
Rom$l$s and Rem$s floatin% down the 6iber. 6he D$arrel of Pelias and
?ele$s, with that of &teocles and Pol#neices, Acrisi$s and Proet$s,
Atre$s and 6h#estes, and similar "airs of kin%s, seems to record the
breakdown of the s#stem b# which kin% and tanist r$led alternatel# for
fort#1nine or fift# months in the same kin%dom.
8. 6he horns of the altar to which 4idero cl$n% were those habit$all#
fi3ed to the c$lt1ima%e of the (ow1%oddess era, Astarte, Io, Isis, or
athor- and Pelias seems to have been an Achaean conD$eror who
forcibl# reor%aniAed the Aeolian Goddess c$lt of 4o$thern 6hessal#. In
Palestine horned altars, like that to which 2oab cl$n% .Aings./, s$rvived
the dethronement of the 0oon1cow and her %olden (alf.
A'(&46I4, the most bea$tif$l of Pelias>s da$%hters, was asked in
marria%e b# man# kin%s and "rinces. ?ot wishin% to endan%er his
"olitical "osition b# ref$sin% an# of them, and #et clearl# $nable to
satisf# more than one, Pelias let it be known that he wo$ld marr#
Alcestis to the man who co$ld #oke a wild boar and a lion to his chariot
and drive them aro$nd the race1co$rse. At this, Admet$s Fin% of
Pherae s$mmoned A"ollo, whom <e$s had bo$nd to him for one #ear
as a herdsman, and asked, Have I treated #o$ with the res"ect d$e to
#o$r %odheadJ HCo$ have indeed,> A"ollo assented, Hand I have shown
m# %ratit$de b# makin% all #o$r ewes dro" twins.> HAs a final favo$r,
then,> "leaded Admet$s, H"ra# hel" me to win Alcestis, b# enablin% me
to f$lfill Pelias>s conditions.> HI shall be "leased to do so,> re"lied A"ollo.
eracles lent him a hand with the tamin% of the wild beasts "resentl#
Admet$s was drivin% his chariot aro$nd the race1co$rse Iolc$s, drawn
b# this sava%e team.
b. It is not known wh# Admet$s omitted the c$stomar# sacrifice to
Artemis before marr#in% Alcestis, b$t the %oddess was D$ick eno$%h to
"$nish him. When, fl$shed with wine, anointed with essences,
%arlanded with flowers, he entered the bridal chamber that ni%ht, he
recoiled in horror. ?o lovel# naked bride awaited him on the marria%e
co$ch, b$t a tan%led knot of hissin% ser"ents. Admet$s ran sho$tin%
for A"ollo, who kindl# intervened with Artemis on his behalf. 6he
ne%lected sacrifice havin% been offered at once, all was well, A"ollo
even obtainin% Artemis>s "romise that, when the da# of Admet$s>
death came, he sho$ld be s"ared on condition that a member of his
famil# died vol$ntaril# for love of him.
c. 6his fatal da# came sooner than Admet$s e3"ected. ermes flied
into the "alace one mornin% and s$mmoned him to 6artar$s. General
consternation "revailed- b$t A"ollo %ained a little time for Admet$s b#
makin% the 6hree !ates dr$nk, and th$s dela#ed the fatal scission of
his life>s thread. Admet$s ran in haste to his old "arents, clas"ed their
knees, and be%%ed each of them in t$rn to s$rrender him the b$tt1end
of e3istence. ;oth ro$ndl# ref$sed, sa#in% that the# still derived m$ch
enGo#ment from life, and that he sho$ld be content with his a""ointed
lot, like ever#one else.
d. 6hen, for love of Admet$s, Alcestis took "oison and her %host
descended to 6artar$s- b$t Perse"hone considered it an evil thin% that
a wife sho$ld die instead of a h$sband. H;ack with #o$ to the $""er
airO> she cried.
e. 4ome tell the tale differentl#. 6he# sa# that ades came in "erson to
fetch Admet$s and that, when he fled, Alcestis vol$nteered to take his
"lace- b$t eracles arrived $ne3"ectedl# with a new wild1oil#, cl$b,
and resc$ed her.
1. 6he #okin% of a lion and a wild boar to the same chariot is the theme
of a 6heban m#th, where the ori%inal meanin% has been eD$all#
obsc$red. 'ion and boar were the animal s#mbols %iven to the first and
second halves of the 4acred Cear, res"ectivel#Ithe# constantl# occ$r,
in o""osition, on &tr$scan vasesIand the oracle seems to have
"ro"osed a "eacef$l settlement of the traditional rivalr# between the
sacred kin% and his tanist. 6his was that the kin%dom sho$ld be divided
in halves, and that the# sho$ld rei%n conc$rrentl#, as Proet$s and
Acrisi$s event$all# did at Ar%os, rather than kee" it entire, and r$le
alternatel#Ias Pol#neices and &teocles did at 6hebes. A fr$it of the
race1co$rse in a chariot was a "roof of ro#alt#.
*. Artemis was hostile to mono%amic marria%e beca$se she belon%ed
to the "re1ellenic c$lt in which women mated "romisc$o$sl# o$tside
their own clans- so the ellenes "ro"itiated her with weddin%
sacrifices, carr#in% torches of the chaste hawthorn in her hono$r. 6he
"atriarchal "ractice of s$ttee, attested here and in the m#ths of
&vadne and Pol#3ena, %rew from the Indo1&$ro"ean c$stom which
forbade widows to remarr#- once this ban was rela3ed, s$ttee became
less attractive.
7. In the first version of this m#th, Perse"hone ref$sed Alcestis>s
sacrificeIPerse"hone re"resents the matriarchal "oint of view. In the
second version, eracles forbade it, and was chosen as the instr$ment
of <e$s>s will, that is to sa# of "atriarchal ethics, on the %ro$nd that he
once harrowed ell and resc$ed 6hese$s. Wild1olive served in Greece
to e3"el evil infl$ences- as the birch did in Ital# and northern &$ro"e.
A6A0A4 the Aeolian, brother of 4is#"h$s and 4almone$s, r$led
over ;oeotia. At era>s command, he married ?e"hele, a "hantom
whom <e$s created in her likeness when he wished to deceive I3ion
the 'a"ith, and who was now wanderin% disconsolatel# abo$t the halls
of 5l#m"$s. 4he bore Athamas two sons, Phri3$s and 'e$con, and a
da$%hter, elle. ;$t Athamas resented the disdain in which ?e"hele
held him and, fallin% in love with Ino, da$%hter of (adm$s, bro$%ht her
secretl# to his "alace at the foot of 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m, where he be%ot
'earch$s and 0elicertes on her.
b. 'earnin% abo$t her rival from the "alace servants, ?e"hele t$rned in
a f$r# to 5l#m"$s, com"lainin% to era that she had been ins$lted.
era took her "art, and vowed, H0# eternal ven%eance shall fall $"on
Athamas and his o$seO>
c. ?e"hele there$"on went back to 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m, where she
"$blicl# re"orted era>s vow, and demanded that Athamas sho$ld die.
;$t the men of ;oeotia, who feared Athamas more than era, wo$ld
not listen to ?e"hele- and the women of ;oeotia were devoted to Ino,
who now "ers$aded them to "arch the seed1corn, witho$t their
h$sbands> knowled%e, so that the harvest wo$ld fail. Ino foresaw that
when the %rain was d$e to s"ro$t, b$t no blade a""eared, Athamas
wo$ld send to ask the :el"hic 5racle what was amiss. 4he had alread#
bribed Athamas>s messen%ers to brin% back a false re"l#, namel#, that
the land wo$ld re%ain its fertilit# onl# if ?e"hele>s son Phri3$s were
sacrificed to <e$s on 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m.
d. 6his Phri3$s was a handsome #o$n% man, with whom his a$nt
;iadice, (rethe$s>s wife, had fallen in love, and whom, when he
reb$ffed her advances, she acc$sed of tr#in% to ravish her. 6he men of
;oeotia, believin% ;iadice>s stor#, a""la$ded A"ollo>s wise choice of a
sin1offerin% and demanded that Phri3$s sho$ld die- where$"on
Athamas, lo$dl# wee"in%, led Phri3$s to the mo$ntain to". e was on
the "oint of c$ttin% his throat when eracles, who ha""ened to be in
the nei%hbo$rhood, came r$nnin% $" and wrested the sacrificial flint
from his hand. H0# father <e$s,> eracles e3claimed, Hloathes h$man
sacrificesO> ?evertheless, Phri3$s wo$ld have "erished des"ite this
"lea, had not a win%ed %olden ram, s$""lied b# ermes at era>s order
Ior, some sa#, b# <e$s himselfIs$ddenl# flown down to the resc$e
from 5l#m"$s.
H(limb on m# backO> cried the ram, and Phri3$s obe#ed.
H6ake me too> "leaded elle. H:o not leave me to the merc# of m#
e. 4o Phri3$s "$lled her $" behind him, and the ram flew eastwards,
makin% for the land of (olchis, where eli$s stables his horses. ;efore
lon%, elle felt %idd# and lost her hold- she fell into the straits between
&$ro"e and Asia, now called the elles"ont in her hono$r- b$t Phri3$s
reached (olchis safel#, and there sacrificed the ram to <e$s the
:eliverer. Its %olden fleece became famo$s a %eneration later when
the Ar%ona$ts came in search of it.
f. 5ver1awed b# the miracle of 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m, Athamas>s
messen%ers confessed that the# had been bribed b# Ino to brin% back
a false re"l# from :el"hi- and "resentl# all her wiles, and ;iadice>s,
came to li%ht. ?e"hele there$"on a%ain demanded that Athamas
sho$ld die, and the sacrificial fillet, which Phri3$s had worn, was "laced
on his head- onl# eracles>s renewed intervention saved him from
%. ;$t era was incensed with Athamas and drove him mad, not onl#
on ?e"hele>s acco$nt, b$t beca$se he had connived at Ino>s
barbo$tin% of the infant :ion#s$s, <e$s>s bastard b# her sister 4emele,
who was livin% in the "alace dis%$ised as a %irl. 4eiAin% his bow,
Athamas s$ddenl# #elled, H'ook, a white sta%O 4tand back while I
shootO> 4o sa#in%, he transfi3ed 'earch$s with an arrow, and "roceeded
to tear his still1D$iverin% bod# into "ieces.
h. Ino snatched $" 0elicertes, her #o$n%er son, and fled- b$t wo$ld
hardl# have esca"ed Athamas>s ven%eance, had not the infant
:ion#s$s tem"oraril# blinded him, so that he be%an to flo% a she1%oat
in mistake for her. Ino ran to the 0ol$rian Rock, where she lea"ed into
the sea and was drownedIthis rock afterwards became a "lace of ill
re"$te, beca$se the sava%e 4ciron $sed to h$rl stran%ers from it. ;$t
<e$s, rememberin% Ino>s kindness to :ion#s$s, wo$ld not send her
%host down to 6artar$s and deified her instead as the Goddess
'e$cothea. e also deified her son 0elicertes as the God Palaemon,
and sent him to the Isthm$s of (orinth ridin% on dol"hin1back- the
Isthmian Games, fo$nded in his hono$r b# 4is#"h$s, are still
celebrated there ever# fo$rth #ear.
i. Athamas, now banished from ;oeotia, and childless beca$se his
remainin% son, 'e$con, had sickened and died, enD$ired from the
:el"hic 5racle where he sho$ld settle, and was told, HWherever wild
beasts entertain #o$ to dinner>. Wanderin% aimlessl# northward,
witho$t food or drink, he came on a wolf1"ack devo$rin% a flock of
shee" in a desolate 6hessalian "lain. 6he wolves fled at his a""roach,
and he and his starvin% com"anions ate what m$tton had been left.
6hen he recalled the oracle and, havin% ado"ted aliart$s and
(oronea, his (orinthian %rand1ne"hews, fo$nded a cit# which he called
Alos, from his wanderin%s, or from his servin%1maid Alos- and the
co$ntr# was called Athamania- afterwards he married 6hemisto and
raised a new famil#.
G. 5thers tell the tale differentl#. 5mittin% Athamas>s marria%e to
?e"hele, the# sa# that one da#, after the birth of 'earch$s and
0elicertes, his wife Ino went o$t h$ntin% and did not ret$rn.
;loodstains on a torn t$nic convinced him that she had been killed b#
wild beasts- b$t the tr$th was that a s$dden ;acchic frenA# had seiAed
her when she was attacked b# a l#n3. 4he had stran%led it, fla#ed it
with her teeth and nails, and %one off, dressed onl# in the "elt, for a
"rolon%ed revel on 0o$nt Parnass$s. After an interval of mo$rnin%,
Athamas married 6hemisto who, a #ear later, bore him twin sons. 6hen,
to has disma#, he learned that Ino was still alive. e sent for her at
once, installed her in the "alace n$rser#, and told 6hemisto, HWe have
a likel#1lookin% n$rse1maid, a ca"tive taken in the recent raid on 0o$nt
(ithaeron.> 6hemisto, whom her maids soon $ndeceived, visited the
n$rser#, "retendin% not to know who Ino was. 4he told her, HPra#,
n$rse, %et read# a set of white woollen %arments for m# two sons, and
a set of mo$rnin% %arments for those of m# $nfort$nate "redecessor
Ino. 6he# are to be worn tomorrow.>
k. 6he followin% da#, 6hemisto ordered her %$ards to break into the
ro#al n$rser# and kill the twins who were dressed in mo$ntin%, b$t
s"are the other two. Ino, however, %$essin% what was in 6hemisto>s
mind, had "rovided white %arments for her own sons, and mo$rnin%
%arments for her rival>s. 6h$s 6hemisto>s twins were m$rdered, and
the news sent Athamas mad, he shot 'earch$s dead, mistakin% him for
a sta%, b$t Ino esca"ed with 0elicertes, s"ran% into the sea, and
became immortal.
1. 5thers, a%ain, sa# that Phri3$s and elle were ?e"hele>s children b#
I3ion. 5ne da#, as the# wandered in a wood, their mother came $"on
them in a ;acchic frenA#, leadin% a %olden ram b# the horns. H'ook,>
she babbled, Hhere is a son of #o$r co$sin 6heo"hane. 4he had too
man# s$itors, so Poseidon chan%ed her into a ewe and himself into a
ram, and to""ed her on the Island of (r$missa.>
HWhat ha""ened to the s$itors, motherJ> asked little elle.
H6he# became wolves,> Ino answered, Hand howl for 6heo"hane all ni%ht
lon%. ?ow ask me no more D$estions, b$t climb on this ram>s back,
both of #o$, and ride awa# to the kin%dom of (olchis, where eli$s>s
son Ae@tes rei%ns. As soon as #o$ arrive, sacrifice it to Ares.> Phri3$s
carried o$t his mother>s stran%e instr$ctions, and h$n% $" the %olden
fleece in a tem"le of Ares at (olchis, where it was %$arded b# a
dra%on- and, man# #ears later his son Presbon, or (#tisor$s, comin% to
5rchomen$s from (olchis, resc$ed Athamas as he was bein% sacrificed
for a sin1offerin%.
1. Athamas>s name is connected in the m#th with Athamania, the
cit# which he is said to have fo$nded in the 6hessalian wilderness- b$t
seems formed, rather, from $th .Hhi%h>/, and amaein .Hto rea">/I
meanin% Hthe kin% dedicated to the Rea"er on i%h>, namel# the
Goddess of the arvest 0oon. 6he conflict between his rival wives Ino
and ?e"hele was "robabl# one between earl# Ionian settlers in
;oeotia, who had ado"ted the worshi" of the (orn1%oddess Ino, and
the "astoral Aeolian invaders. An attem"t to make over the a%ric$lt$ral
rites of the Ionian %oddess Ino to the Aeolian th$nder1%od and his wife
?e"hele, the rainclo$d, seems to have been foiled b# the "riestesses>
"archin% of the seed1corn.
*. 6he m#th of Athamas and Phri3$s records the ann$al mo$ntain
sacrifice of the kin%, or of the kin%>s s$rro%ateIfirst a bo# dressed in a
ram>s fleece, and later a ramId$rin% the ?ew Cear rain1ind$cin%
festival which she"herds celebrated at the 4"rin% &D$ino3. <e$s>s ram1
sacrifice on the s$mmit of 0o$nt Pelion, not far from 'a"h#sti$m, took
"lace in A"ril when, accordin% to the <odiac, the Ram was in the
ascendant- the chief men of the district $sed to str$%%le $", wearin%
white shee"1skins .:icearch$s/, and the rite still s$rvives there toda#
in the mock1sacrifice and res$rrection of an old man who wears a black
shee">s mask. 6he mo$rnin% %arments, ordered for the children
sentenced to death, s$%%est that a black fleece was worn b# the
victim, and white ones b# the "riest and the s"ectators. ;iadice>s love
for Phri3$s recalls Poti"har>s wife>s love for 2ose"h, a com"anion m#th
from (anaan- m$ch the same stor# is also told of Anteia and
;ellero"hon, (retheis and Pele$s, Phaedra and i""ol#t$s, Ph#lonome
and 6enes.
7. 6hat ?e"hele .Hclo$d>/ was era>s %ift to Athamas and created in her
own ima%e, s$%%ests that in the ori%inal version Athamas the Aeolian
kin% himself re"resented the th$nder1%od, like his "redecessor I3ion,
and his brother 4almone$s- and that, when he married 6hemisto .who,
in &$ri"ides>s version of the m#th, is Ino>s rival/, she took the "art of
the th$nder1%od>s wife.
8. Ino was 'e$cothea, Hthe White Goddess H, and "roved her identit#
with the 6ri"le 0$se b# revellin% on 0o$nt Parnass$s. er name .Hshe
who makes sinew#>/ s$%%ests ith#"hallic or%ies, and the st$rd# %rowl
of corn- bo#s will have been bloodil# sacrificed to her before eve of
winter sowin%. <e$s is himself credited with havin% defied Ino in
%ratit$de for her kindness to :ion#s$s, and Athamas bears an
a%ric$lt$ral name in her hono$r- in other words, the Ionian farmers
settled the reli%io$s differences with the Aeolian she"herds to their
own advanta%e.
5. 6he m#th, however, is a medle# of earl# c$lt elements. 6he
sacramental <a%re$s c$lt, which became that of :ion#s$s the Fid is
s$%%ested when Athamas takes Ino for a she1%oat- the sacrament
Actaeon c$lt is s$%%ested when he takes 'earch$s for a sta%, shoots
and tears him in "ieces. Ino>s #o$n%er son 0elicertes is the (anaanite
eracles 0elkarth .H"rotector of the cit#>/, alias 0oloch as the new1born
solar kin%, comes ridin% on dol"hin1back towards the isthm$s- and
whose death, at the close of his fo$r #ears> rei%n, was celebrated at
the Isthmian !$neral Games. Infants were sacrificed to 0elicertes on
the Island of 6enedos, and "robabl# also at (orinth, as the# were to
0oloch at 2er$salem .Le)iticus and AingsE.
+. 5nl# when <e$s became %od of the clear sk# and $s$r"ed the
%oddess>s solar attrib$tes did the fleece become %oldenIth$s the !irst
Batican 0#tho%ra"her sa#s that it was Hthe fleece in which <e$s
ascended the sk#>Ib$t while he was ind$cer of the th$nderstorm it
had been "$r"le1black .4imonides/.
9. In one version of the m#th .i""ias, !ra%ment, Ino is called Gor%o"is
.H%rim1faced>/, a title of Athene>s- and sava%e 4ciron who h$rled
travellers over the cliff, took his name from the white "arasol, or more
"ro"erl# a "aral$neIcarried in Athene>s "rocessions. 6he 0ol$rian
Rock was evidentl# the cliff from which the sacred kin%, or his
s$rro%ates, were thrown into the sea in hono$r of the 0oon1%oddess
Athene, or Ino, while "arasol bein% a""arentl# $sed to break the fall.
8. elle>s drownin% "arallels Ino>s. ;oth are 0oon1%oddesses, and the
m#th is ambivalent, it re"resents the ni%htl# settin% of the 0oon and,
the same time, the abandonment of elle>s l$nar c$lt in favo$r of
<e$s> solar one. ;oth are eD$all# 4ea1%oddesses, elle %ave her name
to the G$nction of two seas, Ino1'e$cothea a""eared to 5d#sse$s in the
%$ise a seamew and resc$ed him from drownin%.
9. Athamas>s tribe is more likel# to have mi%rated from ;oeotian
0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m and Athamania to 6hessalian 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$s and
Athamania, than contrariwise- he had a stron% connection with (orinth,
the kin%dom of his brother 4is#"h$s, and is said to have fo$nded the
cit# of Acrae"hia to the east of 'ake (o"ais, where there was a H!ield of
Athamas> .4te"han$s of ;#Aanti$m s$b Acrae"hia/. 4everal of his sons
are also credited with the fo$ndation of ;oeotian cities. e is indeed
"la$sibl# described as a son of 0in#as, and Fin% of 5rchomen$s, which
wo$ld have %iven him "ower over the (o"aic Plain and 0o$nt
'a"h#sti$m .4choliast on A"olloni$s Rhodi$s/ and allied him with
(orinth a%ainst the intervenin% states of Athens and 6hebes. 6he
"robable reason for the Athamanians> northward wanderin%s into
6hessal# was the disastro$s war fo$%ht between 5rchomen$s and
6hebes, recorded in the eracles c#cle. ?e"hele>s ra%in%s on the
mo$ntain recall the da$%hters of 0in#as who are said to have been
overtaken b# a ;acchic frenA# on 0o$nt 'a"h#sti$m .4choliast on
'#co"hron>s $le-andra/- the alle%ed ori%in of the A%rionia festival at
The Mares O8 G6a2:2s
G'A)()4, son of 4is#"h$s and 0ero"e, and father of ;ellero"hon,
lived at Potniae near 6hebes where, scornin% the "ower of A"hrodite,
he ref$sed to let his mares breed. e ho"ed b# this means to make
them more s"irited than other contestants in the chariot races which
were his chief interest. ;$t A"hrodite was ve3ed- and com"lained to
<e$s that he had %one so far as to feed the mares on h$man flesh.
When <e$s "ermitted her to take what action she "leased a%ainst
Gla$c$s, she led the mares o$t b# ni%ht to drink from a well sacred to
herself, and %raAe on a herb called hi&&omanes which %rew at its li".
6his she did G$st before 2ason celebrated the f$neral %ames of Pelias on
the seashore at Iolc$s- and no sooner had Gla$c$s #oked the mares to
his chariot "ole than the# bolted, overthrew the chariot, dra%%ed him
alon% the %ro$nd, entan%led in the reins, for the whole len%th of the
stadi$m, and then ate him alive. ;$t some sa# that this took "lace at
Potniae, not Iolc$s- and others, that Gla$c$s lea"ed into the sea in
%rief for 0elicertes son of Athamas- or that Gla$c$s was the name
%iven to 0elicertes after his death.
b. Gla$c$s>s %host, called the 6ara3i""$s, or orse1scarer, still
ha$nts the Isthm$s of (orinth, where his father 4is#"h$s first ta$%ht
him the charioteer>s art, and deli%hts in scarin% the horses at the
Isthmian Games, th$s ca$sin% man# deaths. Another horse1scarer is
the %host of 0#rtil$s whom Pelo"s killed. e ha$nts the stadi$m at
5l#m"ia, where charioteers offer him sacrifices in the ho"e of avoidin%
1. 6he m#ths of '#c$r%$s and :iomedes s$%%est that the "re1ellenic
sacred kin% was torn in "ieces at the close of his rei%n b# women
dis%$ised as mares. In ellenic times, this rit$al was altered to death
b# bein% dra%%ed at the tail of a fo$r1horse chariot, as in the m#ths of
i""ol#t$s, 'ai$s, 5enoma$s, Abder$s, ector, and others. At the
;ab#lonian ?ew Cear festivities, when the 4$n1%od 0ard$k, incarnate
in the Fin%, was believed to be in ell fi%htin% the sea1monster 6iamat,
a chariot drawn b# fo$r masterless horses was let loose in the streets,
to s#mboliAe the chaotic state of the world d$rin% the demise of the
crown- "res$mabl# with a "$""et charioteer entan%led in the reins. If
the ;ab#lonian rit$al was of common ori%in with the Greek, a bo#
interre3 will have s$cceeded to the Fin%>s throne and bed d$rin% his
demise of a sin%le da# and, at dawn ne3t mornin%, been dra%%ed at
the chariot>s tailIas in the m#ths of Pha@thon and i""ol#t$s. 6he
Fin% was then reinstalled on his throne.
*. 6he m#th of Gla$c$s is $n$s$al, he is not onl# involved in a chariot1
wreck, b$t eaten b# the mares. 6hat he des"ised A"hrodite and wo$ld
not let his mares breed, s$%%ests a "atriarchal attem"t to s$""ress
6heban erotic festivities in hono$r of the Potniae, H"owerf$l ones>,
namel# the 0oon triad.
7. 6he 6ara3i""$s seems to have been an archaic ro#al stat$e, markin%
the first t$rn of the race1co$rse- horses new to the stadi$m were
distracted b# it at the moment when their charioteer was tr#in% to c$t
in and take the inner berth- b$t this was also the "lace where the
chariot1crash was sta%ed for the old kin%, or his interre3, b# the
removal of his linch"ins.
8. Gla$c$s .H%re#1%reen>/ is likel# to have been in one sense the 0inoan
re"resentative who visited the Isthm$s with the ann$al edicts- and in
another 0elicertes .0elkarth, H%$ardian of the cit#>/, a Phoenician title
of the Fin% of (orinth, who theoreticall# arrived ever# #ear, new1born,
on dol"hin1back, and was fl$n% into the sea when his rei%n ended.
0&'A0P)4 the 0in#an, (rethe$s>s %randson, who lived at P#l$s in
0essene, was the first mortal to be %ranted "ro"hetic "owers, the first
to "ractise as a "h#sician, the first to b$ild tem"les to :ion#s$s in
Greece, and the first to tem"er wine with water.
b. is brother ;ias, to whom he was dee"l# attached, fell in love with
their co$sin Pero- b$t so man# s$itors came for her hand that she was
"romised b# her father ?ele$s to the man who co$ld drive off Fin%
Ph#lac$s>s cattle from Ph#lace. Ph#lac$s "riAed these cattle above
ever#thin% in the world, e3ce"t his onl# son I"hicl$s, and %$arded
them in "erson with the hel" of an $nslee"in% and $na""roachable
c. ?ow, 0elam"$s co$ld $nderstand the lan%$a%e of birds, his ears
havin% been licked clean b# a %ratef$l brood of #o$n% ser"ents- he had
resc$ed these from death at the hands of his attendants and "io$sl#
b$ried their "arents> dead bodies. 0oreover, A"ollo, whom he met one
da# b# the banks of the river Al"hei$s, had ta$%ht him to "ro"hes#
from the entrails of sacrificial victims. It th$s came to his knowled%e
that whoever tried to steal the cattle wo$ld be made a "resent of
them, tho$%h onl# after bein% im"risoned for e3actl# one #ear. 4ince
;ias was in des"air, 0elam"$s decided to visit Ph#lac$s>s b#re b# dead
of ni%ht- b$t as soon as he laid his hand on a cow, the do% bit his le%,
and Ph#lac$s, s"rin%in% $" from the straw, led him awa# to "rison. 6his
was, of co$rse, no more than 0elam"$s e3"ected.
d. 5n the evenin% before his #ear of im"risonment ended, 0elam"$s
heard two woodworms talkin% at the end of a beam which was
socketed into the wall above his head. 5ne asked with a si%n of
fati%$e, How man# da#s #et of %nawin%, brotherJ>
6he other worm, his mo$th f$ll of wood1d$st, re"lied, HWe a makin%
%ood "ro%ress. 6he beam will colla"se tomorrow at dawn, we waste no
time in idle conversation.>
0elam"$s at once sho$ted, HPh#lac$s, Ph#lac$s, "ra# transfer me to
another cellO> Ph#lac$s, tho$%h la$%hin% at 0elam"$s>s reasons this
reD$est, did not den# him. When the beam d$l# colla"sed and killed
one of the women who was hel"in% to carr# o$t the bed, Ph#lac$s was
asto$nded at 0elam"$s>s "rescience. HI will %rant #o$ both #o$r
freedom and the cattle,> he said, Hif onl# #o$ wo$ld c$re m# son
I"hicl$s of im"otenc#.>
e. 0elam"$s a%reed. e be%an the task b# sacrificin% two b$lls A"ollo,
and after he had b$rned the thi%h1bones with the fat, left the carcasses
l#in% b# the altar. Presentl# two v$lt$res flew down, and remarked to
the other, HIt m$st be several #ears since we were hereIthat time
when Ph#lac$s was %eldin% rams and we collected o$r "erD$isites.>
HI well remember it,> said the other v$lt$re. HI"hicl$s, who was then still
a child, saw his father comin% towards him with a blood1stain, knife,
and took fri%ht. e a""arentl# feared to be %elded himself beca$se he
screamed at the to" of his voice. Ph#lac$s drove the knife into the
sacred "ear1tree over there, for safe1kee"in%, while he ran to comfort
I"hicl$s. 6hat fri%ht acco$nts for the im"otenc#. 'oo Ph#lac$s for%ot to
recover the knifeO 6here it still is, stickin% in tree, b$t bark has %rown
over its blade, and onl# the end of its hand shows.T
HIn that case,> remarked the first v$lt$re, Hthe remed# for I"hicl$s>s
im"otenc# wo$ld be to draw o$t the knife, scra"e off the r$st left the
rams> blood and administer it to him, mi3ed in water, ever#da# for ten
HI conc$r,> said the other v$lt$re. H;$t who, less intelli%ent then
o$rselves, wo$ld have the sense to "rescribe s$ch a medicineJ>
f. 6h$s 0elam"$s was able to c$re I"hicl$s, who soon be%ot a son
named Podarces- and, havin% claimed first the cattle and then Pero,
"resented her, still a vir%in, to his %ratef$l brother ;ias.
%. ?ow, Proet$s, son of Abas, Goint1kin% of Ar%olis with Acrisi$s had
married 4theneboea, who bore him three da$%hters named '#si""e,
I"hino@, and I"hianassaIb$t some call the two #o$n%er ones i""ono@
and (#rianassa. Whether it was beca$se the# have offended :ion#s$s,
or beca$se the# had offended era b# their over1ind$l%ence in love1
affairs, or b# stealin% %old from her ima%e at 6ir#ns, their father>s
ca"ital, all three were divinel# afflicted b# madness and went ra%in% on
the mo$ntains, like cows st$n% b# the %adfl#, behavin% in a most
disorderl# fashion and assa$ltin% travellers.
h. 0elam"$s, when he heard the news, came to 6ir#ns and offered to
c$re them, on condition that Proet$s "aid him with a third share of his
H6he "rice is far too hi%h,> said Proet$s br$sD$el#- and 0elam"$s
6he madness then s"read to the Ar%ive women, a %reat man# of whom
killed their children, deserted their homes, and went ravin% off to Goin
Proet$s>s three da$%hters, so that no roads were safe, and shee" and
cattle s$ffered heav# losses beca$se the wild women tore them in
"ieces and devo$red them raw. At this Proet$s sent hastil# for
0elam"$s, to sa# that he acce"ted his terms. H?o, no,> said 0elam"$s,
Has the disease has increased, so has m# feeO Give me one third of #o$r
kin%dom, and another third to m# brother ;ias, and I $ndertake to save
#o$ from this calamit#. If #o$ ref$se, there will not be one Ar%ive
woman left in her home.>
When Proet$s a%reed, 0elam"$s advised him, HBow twent# red o3en to
eli$sII will tell #o$ what to sa#Iand all will be well.>
i. Proet$s accordin%l# vowed the o3en to eli$s, on condition that his
da$%hters and their followers were c$red- and eli$s, who sees
ever#thin%, at once "romised Artemis the names of certain kin%s who
had omitted their sacrifices to her, on condition that she "ers$aded
era to remove the c$rse from the Ar%ive women. ?ow, Artemis had
recentl# h$nted the ?#m"h (allisto to death for era>s sake, so fo$nd
no diffic$lt# in carr#in% o$t her side of the bar%ain. 6his is the wa# that
b$siness is done in eaven as on earth, hand washes hand.
G. 6hen 0elam"$s, hel"ed b# ;ias and a chosen com"an# of st$rd#
#o$n% men, drove the disorderl# crowd of women down from the
mo$ntains to 4ic#on, where their madness left them, and then "$rified
them b# immersion in a hol# well. ?ot findin% Proet$s>s da$%hters
amon% this rabble, 0elam"$s and ;ias went off a%ain and chased all
three of them to '$si in Arcadia, where the# took ref$%e in a cave
overlookin% the river 4t#3. 6here '#si""e and I"hianassa re%ained their
sanit# and were "$rified- b$t I"hino@ had died on the wa#.
k. 0elam"$s then married '#si""e, ;ias .whose wife Pero had recentl#
died/ married I"hianassa, and Proet$s rewarded them both accordin%
to his "romise. ;$t some sa# that Proet$s>s tr$e name was
1. It was a common claim of wiAards that their ears had been licked
b# ser"ents, which were held to be incarnate s"irits of orac$lar heroes
.The Language of $nimals b# 2. R. !raAer, $rchaeological 'e)ie#/ and
that the# were th$s enabled to $nderstand the lan%$a%e of birds and
insects. A"ollo>s "riests a""ear to have been more than $s$all# ast$te
in claimin% to "ro"hes# b# this means.
*. I"hicl$s>s disabilit# is fact$al rather than m#thical, the r$st of the
%eldin%1knife wo$ld be an a""ro"riate "s#cholo%ical c$re for
im"otenc# ca$sed b# a s$dden fri%ht, and in accordance with the
"rinci"les of s#m"athetic ma%ic. A"ollodor$s describes the tree, into
which the knife was thr$st as an oak, b$t it is more likel# to have been
the wild "ear1tree, sacred to the White Goddess of the Pelo"onnese,
which fr$it in 0a#, the month of enforced chastit#- Ph#lac$s had
ins$lted the %oddess b# wo$ndin% her tree. 6he wiAard>s claim to have
been told of the treatment b# v$lt$resIim"ortant birds in a$%$r#I
wo$ld stren%then the belief in its efficac#. Pero>s name has been
inter"reted as meanin% Hmaimed or deficient>, a reference to I"hicl$s>s
disabilit#, which is the main "oint of the stor#, rather than as meanin%
Hleather ba%>, a reference to her control of the winds.
7. It a""ears that H0elam"$s>, a leader of Aeolians from P#l$s, seiAed
"art of Ar%olis from the (anaanite settlers who called themselves 4on
of Abas .the 4emitic word for Hfather>/, namel# the %od 0elkarth, and
instit$ted a do$ble kin%dom. is winnin% of the cattle from Ph#lac$s
.H%$ardian>/, who has an $nslee"in% do%, recalls eracles> 6enth
'abo$r, and the m#th is similarl# based on the ellenic c$stom of
b$#in% a bride with the "roceeds of a cattle raid.
8. HProet$s> seems to be another name for 5"hion, the :emi$r%. 6he
mother of his da$%hters was 4theneboea, the 0oon1%oddess as cowI
namel# Io, who was maddened in m$ch the same wa#Iand their
names are titles of the same %oddess in her destr$ctive ca"acit# as
'amia, and as i""ol#te, whose wild mares tore the sacred kin% to
"ieces at the end of his rei%n. ;$t the or%# for which the 0oon1
"riestesses dressed as mares, sho$ld be distin%$ished from the rain1
makin% %adfl# dance for which the# dressed as heifers- and from the
a$t$mn %oat1c$lt revel, when the# tore children and animals to "ieces
$nder the to3ic infl$ence of mead, wine, or iv#1beer. 6he Aeolians>
ca"t$re of the %oddess>s shrine at '$si, recorded here in m#thic form,
wo$ld have "$t an end to the wild1mare or%ies- :emeter>s ra"e b#
Poseidon records the same event. 'ibations "o$red to the 4er"ent1
%oddess in an Arcadian shrine between 4ic#on and '$si ma# acco$nt
for the stor# of I"hino@>s death.
5. 6he official reco%nition at :el"hi, (orinth, 4"arta, and Athens of
:ion#s$s>s ecstatic wine c$lt, %iven man# cent$ries later, was aimed at
the disco$ra%ement of all earlier, more "rimitive, rites- and seems to
have "$t an end to cannibalism and rit$al m$rder, e3ce"t in the wilder
"arts of Greece. At Patrae in Achaea, for instance, Artemis 6ridaria
.Hthreefold assi%ner of lots>/ had reD$ired the ann$al sacrifice of bo#s
and %irls, their heads wreathed with iv# and corn, at her harvest or%ies.
6his c$stom, said to atone for the desecration of the sanct$ar# b# two
lovers, 0elani""$s and (omaetho, "riestess of Artemis, was ended b#
the arrival of a chest containin% an ima%e of :ion#s$s, bro$%ht b#
&$r#"#l$s from 6ro# .Pa$sanias/.
+. 0elamo"odes .Hblack feet>/, is a common (lassical name for the
&%#"tians- and these stories of how 0elam"$s $nderstood what birds
or insects were sa#in% are likel# to be of African, not Aeolian, ori%in.
A;A4, Fin% of Ar%olis and %randson of :ana$s, was so renowned a
warrior that, after he died, rebels a%ainst the ro#al o$se co$ld be "$t
to fli%ht merel# b# dis"la#in% his shield. e married A%laia, to whose
twin sons, Proet$s and Acrisi$s, he beD$eathed his kin%dom, biddin%
them r$le alternatel#. 6heir D$arrel, which be%an in the womb, became
more bitter than ever when Proet$s la# with Acrisi$s>s da$%hter :ana@,
and barel# esca"ed alive. 4ince Acrisi$s now ref$sed to %ive $" the
throne at the end of his term, Proet$s fled to the co$rt of Iobates, Fin%
of '#cia, whose da$%hter 4theneboea, or Anteia, he married- ret$rnin%
"resentl# at the head of a '#cian arm# to s$""ort his claims to the
s$ccession. A blood# battle was fo$%ht, b$t since neither side %ained
the advanta%e, Proet$s and Acrisi$s rel$ctantl# a%reed to divide the
kin%dom between them. Acrisi$s>s share was to be Ar%os and its
environs- Proet$s>s was to be 6ir#ns, the erae$m .now "art of
0#cenae/, 0idea, and the coast of Ar%olis.
b. 4even %i%antic (#clo"es, called Gasterocheires, beca$se the#
earned their livin% as masons, accom"anied Proet$s from '#cia, and
fortified 6ir#ns with massive walls, $sin% blocks of stone so lar%e that a
m$le team co$ld not have stirred the least of them.
c. Acrisi$s, who was married to A%ani""e, had no sons, b$t onl# this
one da$%hter :ana@ whom Prote$s had sed$ced- and, when he asked
an oracle how to "roc$re a male heir, was told, HCo$ will have no sons,
and #o$r %randson m$st kill #o$.> 6o forestall this fate, Acrisi$s
im"risoned :ana@ in a d$n%eon with braAen doors, %$arded b# sava%e
do%s- b$t, des"ite these "reca$tions, <e$s came $"on her in a shower
of %old, and she bore him a son named Perse$s. When Acrisi$s learned
of :ana@>s condition, he wo$ld not believe that <e$s was the father,
and s$s"ected his brother Proet$s of havin% renewed his intimac# with
her- b$t, not darin% to kill his own da$%hter, locked her and the infant
Perse$s in a wooden ark, which he cast into the sea. 6his ark was
washed towards the island of 4eri"hos, where a fisherman named
:ict#s netted it, ha$led it ashore, broke it o"en and fo$nd both :ana@
and Perse$s still alive. e took them at once to his brother, Fin%
Pol#dectes, who reared Perse$s in his own ho$se.
d. 4ome #ears "assed and Perse$s, %rown to manhood, defended
:ana@ a%ainst Pol#dectes who, with his s$bGects> s$""ort, had tried to
force marria%e $"on her. Pol#dectes then assembled his friends and,
"retendin% that he was abo$t to s$e for the hand of i""odameia,
da$%hter of Pelo"s, asked them to contrib$te one horse a"iece as his
love1%ift. H4eri"hos is onl# a small island,> he said,> b$t I do not wish to
c$t a "oor fi%$re beside the wealth# s$itors from the mainland. Will
#o$ be able to hel" me, noble Perse$sJ>
HAlas,> answered Perse$s, HI "ossess no horse, nor an# %old to b$# one.
;$t if #o$ intend to marr# i""odameia, and not m# mother, I will
contrive to win whatever %ift #o$ name.> e added rashl#, H&ven the
Gor%on 0ed$sa>s head, if need be.>
e. H6hat wo$ld indeed "lease me more than an# horse in the world,>
re"lied Pol#dectes at once. ?ow, the Gor%on 0ed$sa had ser"ents for
hair, h$%e teeth, "rotr$din% ton%$e, and alto%ether so $%l# a face that
all who %aAed at it were "etrified with fri%ht.
f. Athene overheard the conversation at 4eri"hos and, bein% a sworn
enem# of 0ed$sa>s, for whose fri%htf$l a""earance she had herself
been res"onsible, accom"anied Perse$s on his advent$re. !irst she led
him to the cit# of :eicterion in 4amos, where ima%es of all the three
Gor%ons are dis"la#ed, th$s enablin% him to distin%$ish 0ed$sa from
her immortal sisters 4theno and &$r#ale- then she warned him never to
look at 0ed$sa directl#, b$t onl# at her reflection, and "resented him
with a bri%htl#1"olished shield.
%. ermes also hel"ed Perse$s, %ivin% him an adamantine sickle with
which to c$t off 0ed$sa>s head. ;$t Perse$s still needed a "air of
win%ed sandals, a ma%ic wallet to contain the deca"itated head, and
the dark helmet of invisibilit# which belon%ed to ades. All these
thin%s were in the care of the 4t#%ian ?#m"hs, from whom Perse$s
had to fetch them- b$t their whereabo$ts were known onl# to the
Gor%ons> sisters, the three swan1like Graeae, who had a sin%le e#e and
tooth amon% the three of them. Perse$s accordin%l# so$%ht o$t the
Graeae on their thrones at the foot of 0o$nt Atlas. (ree"in% $" behind
them, he snatched the e#e and tooth, as the# were bein% "assed from
one sister to another, and wo$ld not ret$rn either $ntil he had been
told where the 4t#%ian ?#m"hs lived.
h. Perse$s then collected the sandals, wallet, and helmet from the
n#m"hs, and flew westwards to the 'and of the #"erboreans, where
he fo$nd the Gor%ons aslee", amon% rain1worn sha"es of men and wild
beasts "etrified b# 0ed$sa. e fi3ed his e#es on the reflection in the
shield, Athene %$ided his hand, and he c$t off 0ed$sa>s head with one
stroke of the sickle- where$"on, to his s$r"rise, the win%ed horse
Pe%as$s, and the warrior (hr#saor %ras"in% a %olden falchion, s"ran%
f$ll#1%rown from her dead bod#. Perse$s was $naware that these had
been be%otten on 0ed$sa b# Poseidon in one of Athene>s tem"les, b$t
decided not to anta%oniAe them f$rther. $rriedl# thr$stin% the head
into his wallet, he took fli%ht- and tho$%h 4theno and &$r#ale,
awakened b# their new ne"hews, rose to "$rs$e him, the helmet made
Perse$s invisible, and he esca"ed safel# so$thward.
i. At s$nset, Perse$s ali%hted near the "alace of the 6itan Atlas to
whom, as a "$nishment for his inhos"italit#, he showed the Gor%on>s
head and th$s transformed him into a mo$ntain- and on the followin%
da# t$rned eastward and flew across the )lb#an desert, ermes
hel"in% him to carr# the wei%ht# head. ;# the wa# he dro""ed the
Graeae>s e#e and tooth into 'ake 6riton- and some dro"s of Gor%on
blood fell the desert sand, where the# bred a swarm of venomo$s
ser"ents, one of which later killed 0o"s$s the Ar%ona$t.
G. Perse$s "a$sed for refreshment at (hemmis in &%#"t, where he is
still worshi""ed, and then flew on. As he ro$nded the coast of Philistia
to the north, he ca$%ht si%ht of a naked woman chained to a sea1cliff,
and instantl# fell in love with her. 6his was Andromeda, da$%hter of
(e"he$s, the &thio"ian Fin% of 2o""a, and (assio"eia. (assio"eia had
boasted that both she and her da$%hter were more bea$tif$l than the
?ereids, who com"lained of this ins$lt to their "rotector Poseidon.
Poseidon sent a flood and a female sea1monster to devastate Philistia-
and when (e"he$s cons$lted the 5racle of Ammon, he was told that
his onl# ho"e of deliverance la# in sacrificin% Andromeda to the
monster. is s$bGects had therefore obli%ed him to chain her to a rock,
naked e3ce"t for certain Gewels, and leave her to be devo$red.
k. As Perse$s flew towards Andromeda, he saw (e"he$s and
(assio"eia watchin% an3io$sl# from the shore near b#, and ali%hted
beside them for a h$rried cons$ltation. 5n condition that, if he resc$ed
her, she sho$ld be his wife and ret$rn to Greece with him, Perse$s took
to the air a%ain, %ras"ed his sickle and, divin% m$rdero$sl# from
above, beheaded the a""roachin% monster, which was deceived b# his
shadow on the sea. e had drawn the Gor%on>s head from the wallet,
lest the monster mi%ht look $", and now laid it face downwards on a
bed of leaves and sea1weed .which instantl# t$rned to coral/, while he
cleansed his hands of blood, raised three altars and sacrificed a calf, a
cow, and a b$ll to ermes, Athene, and <e$s res"ectivel#.
l. (e"he$s and (assio"eia %r$d%in%l# welcomed him as their son1in1law
and, on Andromeda>s insistence, the weddin% took "lace at once- b$t
the festivities were r$del# interr$"ted when A%enor, Fin% ;el$s>s twin
brother, entered at the head of an armed "art#, claimin% Andromeda
for himself. e was do$btless s$mmoned b# (assio"eia, since she and
(e"he$s at once broke faith with Perse$s, "leadin% that the "romise of
Andromeda>s hand had been forced from them b# circ$mstances, and
that A%enor>s claim was the "rior one.
HPerse$s m$st dieO> cried (assio"eia fiercel#.
m. In the ens$in% fi%ht, Perse$s str$ck down man# of his o""onents
b$t, bein% %reatl# o$tn$mbered, was forced to snatch the Gor%on>s
head from its bed of coral and t$rn the remainin% two h$ndred of them
to stone.
n. Poseidon set the ima%es of (e"he$s and (assio"eia amon% the stars
Ithe latter, as a "$nishment for her treacher#, is tied in a market1
basket which, at some seasons of the #ear, t$rns $"side1down, so that
she looks ridic$lo$s. ;$t Athene afterwards "laced Andromeda>s ima%e
in a more hono$rable constellation, beca$se she had insisted on
marr#in% Perse$s, des"ite her "arents> ill faith. 6he marks left b# her
chains are still "ointed o$t on a cliff near 2o""a- and the monster>s
"etrified bones were e3hibited in the cit# itself $ntil 0arc$s Aemili$s
4ca$r$s had them taken to Rome d$rin% his aedileshi".
o. Perse$s ret$rned h$rriedl# to 4eri"hos, takin% Andromeda with
him, and fo$nd that :ana@ and :ict#s, threatened b# the violence of
Pol#dectes who, of co$rse, never intended to marr# i""odameia, had
taken ref$%e in a tem"le. e therefore went strai%ht to the "alace
where Pol#dectes was banD$etin% with his com"anions, and
anno$nced that he had bro$%ht the "romised love1%ift. Greeted b# a
storm of ins$lts, he dis"la#ed the Gor%on>s head, avertin% his own %aAe
as he did so, and t$rned them all to stone- the circle of bo$lders is still
shown in 4eri"hos. e then %ave the head to Athene, who fi3ed it on
her aegis- and ermes ret$rned the sandals, wallet, and helmet to the
%$ardianshi" of the 4t#%ian n#m"hs.
". After raisin% :ict#s to the throne of 4eri"hos, Perse$s set sail for
Ar%os, accom"anied b# his mother, his wife, and a "art# of (#clo"es.
Acrisi$s, hearin% of their a""roach, fled to Pelas%ian 'arissa- b$t
Perse$s ha""ened to be invited there for the f$neral %ames which Fin%
6e$tamides was holdin% in hono$r of his dead father, and com"eted in
the five1fold contest. When it came to the disc$s1throw, his disc$s,
carried o$t of its "ath b# the wind and the will of the Gods, str$ck
Acrisi$s>s foot and killed him.
D. Greatl# %rieved, Perse$s b$ried his %randfather in the tem"le of
Athene which crowns the local acro"olis and then, bein% ashamed to
rei%n in Ar%os, went to 6ir#ns, where Proet$s had been s$cceeded b#
his son 0e%a"enthes, and arran%ed to e3chan%e kin%doms with him.
4o 0e%a"enthes moved to Ar%os, while Perse$s rei%ned in 6ir#ns and
"resentl# won back the other two "arts of Proet$s>s ori%inal kin%dom.
r. Perse$s fortified 0idea, and fo$nded 0#cenae, so called beca$se,
when he was thirst#, a m$shroom UmcosV s"ran% $", and "rovided
him with a stream of water. 6he (#clo"es b$ilt the walls of both cities.
s. 5thers %ive a ver# different acco$nt of the matter. 6he# sa# that
Pol#dectes s$cceeded in marr#in% :ana@, and reared Perse$s in the
tem"le of Athene. 4ome #ears later, Acrisi$s heard of their s$rvival and
sailed to 4eri"hos, resolvin% this time to kill Perse$s with his own hand.
Pol#dectes intervened and made each of them solemnl# swear never
to attem"t the other>s life. owever, a storm arose and, while
Acrisi$s>s shi" was still ha$led $" on the beach, weather1bo$nd,
Pol#dectes died. :$rin% his f$neral %ames, Perse$s threw a disc$s
which accidentall# str$ck Acrisi$s on the head and killed him. Perse$s
then sailed to Ar%os and claimed the throne, b$t fo$nd that Proet$s
had $s$r"ed it, and therefore t$rned him into stone- th$s he now
rei%ned over the whole of Ar%olis, $ntil 0e%a"enthes aven%ed his
father>s death b# m$rderin% him.
t. As for the Gor%on 0ed$sa, the# sa# that she was a bea$tif$l
da$%hter of Phorc#s, who had offended Athene, and led the 'ib#ans of
'ake 6ritonis in battle. Perse$s, comin% from Ar%os with an arm#, was
hel"ed b# Athene to assassinate 0ed$sa. e c$t off her head b# ni%ht,
and b$ried it $nder a mo$nd of earth in the market "lace at Ar%os. 6his
mo$nd lies close to the %rave of Perse$s>s da$%hter Gor%o"hone,
notorio$s as the first widow ever to remarr#.
1. 6he m#th of Acrisi$s and Proet$s records the fo$ndation of an Ar%ive
do$ble1kin%dom, instead of the kin%>s d#in% ever# mids$mmer, and
bein% s$cceeded b# his tanist for the rest of the #ear, each rei%ned in
t$rn for fort#1nine or fift# monthsInamel# half a Great Cear. 6his
kin%dom was later, it seems, divided in halves, with co1kin%s r$lin%
conc$rrentl# for an entire Great Cear. 6he earlier theor#, that the bri%ht
s"irit of the Wa3in% Cear, and his tanist twin, the dark s"irit of the
Wanin% Cear, stand in endless rivalr# "ervades (eltic and Palestinian
m#th, as well as the Greek and 'atin.
*. 6wo s$ch "airs of twins occ$r in Genesis, &sa$ and 2acob- and
PhareA and <arah, both of whom D$arrel for "recedence in the womb,
like Acrisi$s and Proet$s. In the sim"ler Palestinian m#th of 0ot and
Ale#n, the twins D$arrel abo$t a woman, as do Acrisi$s and Proet$s-
and as their co$nter"arts do in (eltic m#thIfor instance, Gw#n and
Gw#th$r, in the Mabinogion, d$el ever# 0a# &ve $ntil the end of the
world for the hand of (reidd#lad, da$%hter of 'l#r .(ordelia, da$%hter
of Fin% 'ear/. 6his woman is, in each case, a 0oon1"riestess, marria%e
to whom confers kin%shi".
7. 6he b$ildin% of Ar%os and 6ir#ns b# the seven Gasterocheires
.Hbellies with hands>/, and the death of Acrisi$s, are a""arentl#
ded$ced from a "ict$re of a walled cit#, seven s$n1disks, each with
three limbs b$t no head, are "laced above it, and the sacred kin% is
bein% killed b# an ei%hth s$n1disk, with win%s, which strikes his sacred
heel. 6his wo$ld mean that seven #earl# s$rro%ates die for the kin%,
who is then himself sacrificed at the "riestess>s orders- his s$ccessor,
Perse$s, stands b#.
8. 6he m#th of :ana@, Perse$s, and the ark seems related to that of
Isis, 5siris, 4et, and the (hild or$s. In the earliest version, Proet$s is
Perse$s>s father, the Ar%ive 5siris- :ana@ is his sister1wife, Isis-
Perse$s, the (hild or$s- and Acrisi$s, the Gealo$s 4et who killed his
twin 5siris and was taken ven%eance on b# or$s. 6he ark is the
acacia1wood boat in which Isis and or$s searched the :elta for
5siris>s bod#. A similar stor# occ$rs in one version of the 4emele m#th,
and in that of Rhoeo. ;$t :ana@, im"risoned in the braAen d$n%eon,
where she bears a child, is the s$bGect of a familiar ?ew Cear icon-
<e$s>s im"re%nation of :ana@ with a shower of %old m$st refer to the
rit$al marria%e of the 4$n and the 0oon, from which the ?ew Cear kin%
was born. It can also be read as "astoral alle%or#, Hwater of %old> for
the Greek she"herd, and <e$s sends th$nder1showers on the earthI
:ana@. 6he name H:eicterion> means that the Gor%on>s head was
shown there to Perse$s.
5. :#nastic dis"$tes at Ar%os were com"licated b# the e3istence of an
Ar%ive colon# in (ariaIas a""ears both in this m#th and in that of
;ellero"hon- when (noss$s fell abo$t 18== ;(, the (arian nav# was,
for a while, one of the stron%est in the 0editerranean. 6he m#ths of
Perse$s and ;ellero"hon are closel# related. Perse$s killed the
monstro$s 0ed$sa with the hel" of win%ed sandals- ;ellero"hon $sed
a win%ed horse, born from the deca"itated bod# of 0ed$sa, to kill the
monstro$s (himaera. ;oth feats record the $s$r"ation b# ellenic
invaders of the 0oon1%oddess>s "owers, and are $nified in an archaic
;oeotian vase1"aintin% of a Gor%on1headed mare. 6his mare is the
0oon1%oddess, whose calendar1s#mbol was the (himaera- and the
Gor%on1head is a "ro"h#lactic mask, worn b# her "riestesses to scare
awa# the $ninitiated, which the ellenes stri""ed from them.
+. In the second and sim"ler version of the m#th, Perse$s fi%hts a
'ib#an D$een, deca"itates her, and b$ries her head in the market
"lace of Ar%os. 6his m$st record an Ar%ive conD$est of 'ib#a, the
s$""ression there of the matriarchal s#stem, and the violation of the
%oddess ?eith>s m#steries. 6he b$rial of the head in the market "lace
s$%%ests that sacred relics were locked in a chest there, with a
"ro"h#lactic mask "laced above them, to disco$ra%e m$nici"al di%%ers
from dist$rbin% the ma%ic. Perha"s the relics were a "air of little "i%s,
like those said in the Mabinogion to have been b$ried b# Fin% '$d in a
stone chest at (arfa3, 53ford, as a "rotective charm for the whole
Fin%dom of ;ritain- tho$%h "i%s, in that conte3t, ma# be an
e$"hemism for children.
9. Andromeda>s stor# has "robabl# been ded$ced from a Palestinian
icon of the 4$n1%od 0ard$k, or his "redecessor ;el, mo$nted on his
white horse and killin% the sea1monster 6iamat. 6his m#th also formed
"art of ebrew m#tholo%#, Isaiah mentions that 2ehovah .0ard$k/
hacked Rahab in "ieces with a sword- and accordin% to Fob, Rahab was
the 4ea. In the same icon, the Gewelled, naked Andromeda, standin%
chained to a rock, is A"hrodite, or Ishtar, or Astarte, the lechero$s 4ea1
%oddess, Hr$ler of men>. ;$t she is not waitin% to be resc$ed- 0ard$k
has bo$nd her there himself, after killin% her emanation, 6iamat the
sea1ser"ent, to "revent f$rther mischief. In the ;ab#lonian (reation
&"ic, it was she who sent the !lood. Astarte, as 4ea1%oddess, had
tem"les all alon% the Palestinian coast, and at 6ro# she was esione,
HL$een of Asia>, whom eracles is said to have resc$ed from another
sea1monster. A Greek colon# "lanted at (hemmis, a""arentl# towards
the end of the second millenni$m ;(, identified Perse$s with the %od
(hem, whose hiero%l#"h was a win%ed bird and a solar disk- and
erodot$s em"hasiAes the connection between :ana@, Perse$s>s
mother, and the 'ib#an invasion of Ar%os b# the :anaans. 6he m#th of
Perse$s and the m$shroom is of $n$s$al interest. !or a theor# that this
was the into3icatin% m$shroom of :ion#s$s, to whose worshi" he had
been converted, read the Fore#ord to this revised edition.
9. 6he second, sim"ler version of the m#th s$%%ests that Perse$s>s
visit to the Graeae, his acD$isition of the e#e, tooth, wallet, sickle, and
helmet of darkness, and his "$rs$it b# the other Gor%ons after the
deca"itation of 0ed$sa are e3traneo$s to his D$arrel with Acrisi$s. In
The White Goddess, I "ost$late that these fair#1tale elements are
misreadin%s of a wholl# different icon, which shows ermes, wearin%
his familiar win%ed sandals and helmet, bein% %iven a ma%ic e#e b#
the 6hree !ates. 6his e#e s#mboliAes the %ift of "erce"tion, ermes is
enabled to master the tree1al"habet, which the# have invented. 6he#
also %ive him a divinator# tooth, like the one $sed b# !ionn in the Irish
le%end- a sickle, to c$t al"habetic twi%s from the %rove- a crane1skin
ba%, in which to stow these safel#- and a Gor%on1mask, to scare awa#
the c$rio$s. ermes is fl#in% thro$%h the sk# to 6artess$s, where the
Gor%ons had a sacred %rove, escorted, not "$rs$ed, b# a triad of
%oddesses wearin% Gor%on1masks. 5n the earth below, the %oddess is
shown a%ain, holdin% $" a mirror which reflects a Gor%on>s face, to
em"hasiAe the secrec# of his lesson. ermes>s association with the
Graeae, the 4t#%ian ?#m"hs, and the helmet of invisibilit# "roves that
he is the s$bGect of this "ict$re- the conf$sion between him and
Perse$s ma# have arisen beca$se ermes, as the messen%er of :eath,
had also earned the title of Pterseus, Hthe destro#er>.
The Riva6 T9i3s
W&? the male line of Pol#caon>s o$se had died o$t after five
%enerations, the 0essenians invited Perieres, the son of Aeol$s, to be
their kin%, and he married Perse$s>s da$%hter Gor%o"hone. 4he
s$rvived him and was the first widow to remarr#, her new h$sband
bein% 5ebal$s the 4"artan. itherto it had been c$stomar# for women
to commit s$icide on the death of their h$sbands, as did 0elea%er>s
da$%hter Pol#dora, whose h$sband Protesila$s was the first to lea"
ashore when the Greek fleet reached the coast of 6ro#- 0ar"essa-
(leo"atra- and &vadne, da$%hter of Ph#lac$s, who threw herself on the
f$neral "#re when her h$sband "erished at 6hebes.
b. A"hare$s and 'e$ci""$s were Gor%o"hone>s sons b# Perieres,
whereas 6#ndare$s and Icari$s were her sons b# 5ebal$s. 6#ndare$s
s$cceeded his father on the throne of 4"arta, Icari$s actin% as his co1
kin%- b$t i""ocoEn and his twelve sons e3"elled both of them, tho$%h
some, indeed, sa# that Icari$s .later to become 5d#sse$s>s father1in1
law/ took i""ocoEn>s side. 6akin% ref$%e with kin% 6hest$s in Aetolia,
6#ndare$s married his da$%hter 'eda, who bore him (astor and
(l#taemnestra, at the same time bearin% elen and Pol#de$ces to
<e$s. 'ater, havin% ado"ted Pol#de$ces, 6#ndare$s %ained the 4"artan
throne, and was one of those whom Ascle"i$s raised from the dead.
is tomb is still shown at 4"arta.
c. 0eanwhile, his half1brother A"hare$s had s$cceeded Perieres on the
throne of 0essene, where 'e$ci""$sIfrom whom, the 0essenians sa#,
the cit# of 'e$ctra took its nameIacted as his co1kin% and enGo#ed the
lesser "owers. A"hare$s took to wife his half1sister Arene, who bore
him Idas and '#nce$s- tho$%h Idas was, in tr$th, Poseidon>s son. ?ow,
'e$ci""$s>s da$%hters, the 'e$ci""ides, namel# Phoebe, a "riestess of
Athene, and ilaeira, a "riestess of Artemis, were betrothed to their
co$sins, Idas and '#nce$s- b$t (astor and Pol#de$ces, who are
commonl# known as the :iosc$ri, carried them off, and had sons b#
them, which occasioned a bitter rivalr# between the two sets of twins.
d. 6he :iosc$ri, who were never se"arated from one another in an
advent$re, became the "ride of 4"arta. (astor was famo$s as a soldier
and tamer of horses, Pol#de$ces as the best bo3er of his da#- both won
"riAes at the 5l#m"ic Games. 6heir co$sins and rivals were not
devoted to each other- Idas had %reater stren%th than '#nce$s,
'#nce$s s$ch shar" e#es that he co$ld see in the dark or divine the
whereabo$ts of b$ried treas$re.
e. ?ow, &ven$s, a son of Ares, had married Alci""e, b# whom he
became the father of 0ar"essa. In an attem"t to kee" her a vir%in, he
invited each of her s$itors in t$rn to r$n a chariot race with him- victor
wo$ld win 0ar"essa, the vanD$ished wo$ld forfeit his head. 4oon man#
heads were nailed to the walls of &ven$s>s ho$se and A"ollo, fallin% in
love with 0ar"essa, e3"ressed his dis%$st of so barbaro$s a c$stom-
and said that he wo$ld soon end it b# challen%in% &ven$s to a race.
;$t Idas had also set his heart on 0ar"essa, and be%%ed a win%ed
chariot from his father Poseidon. ;efore A"ollo co$ld act, he had driven
to Aetolia, and carried 0ar"essa awa# from the midst of a band of
dancers. &ven$s %ave chase, b$t co$ld not overtake Idas, and felt s$ch
mortification that, after killin% his horses, he drowned himself in the
river '#cormas, ever since called the &ven$s.
f. When Idas reached 0essene, A"ollo tried to take 0ar"essa from him.
6he# fo$%ht a d$el, b$t <e$s "arted them, and r$led that 0ar"essa
herself sho$ld decide whom she "refers. Fnowin% that A"ollo wo$ld
cast her off when she %rew old, as he had done with man# another of
his loves, she chose Idas for her h$sband.
%. Idas and '#nce$s were amon% the (al#donian h$nters, and sailed in
the Ar%o to (olchis. 5ne da#, after the death of A"hare$s, the# and the
:iosc$ri "atched $" their D$arrel s$fficientl# to Goin forces in a cattle1
raid on Arcadia. 6he raid "roved s$ccessf$l, and Idas was chosen b# lot
to divide the boot# amon% the fo$r of them. e therefore D$artered a
cow, and r$led that half the s"oil sho$ld %o to the man who ate his
share first, the remainder to the ne3t D$ickest. Almost before the
others had settled themselves to be%in the contest, Idas bolted his own
share and then hel"ed '#nce$s to bolt his- soon down went the last
%obbet, and he and '#nce$s drove the cattle awa# towards 0essene.
6he :iosc$ri remained, $ntil Pol#de$ces, the slower of the two, had
finished eatin%- where$"on the# marched a%ainst 0essene, and
"rotested to the citiAens that '#nce$s had forfeited his share b#
acce"tin% hel" from Idas, and that Idas had forfeited his b# not waitin%
$ntil all the contestants were read#. Idas and '#nce$s ha""ened to be
awa# on 0o$nt 6a#%et$s, sacrificin% to Poseidon- so the :iosc$ri seiAed
the dis"$ted cattle, and other "l$nder as well, and then hid inside a
hollow oak to await their rivals> ret$rn. ;$t '#nce$s had ca$%ht si%ht of
them from the s$mmit of 6a#%et$s- and Idas, h$rr#in% down the
mo$ntain slo"e, h$rled his s"ear at the tree and transfi3ed (astor.
When Pol#de$ces r$shed o$t to aven%e his brother, Idas tore the
carved headstone from A"hare$s>s tomb, and threw it at him. Altho$%h
badl# cr$shed, Pol#de$ces contrived to kill '#nce$s with his s"ear- and
at this "oint <e$s intervened on behalf of his son, strikin% Idas dead
with a th$nderbolt.
h. ;$t the 0essenians sa# that (astor killed '#nce$s, and that Idas,
distracted b# %rief, broke off the fi%ht and be%an to b$r# him. (astor
then a""roached and insolentl# demolished the mon$ment which Idas
had G$st raised, den#in% that '#nce$s was worth# of it. HCo$r brother
"$t $" no better fi%ht than a woman wo$ld have doneO> he cried
ta$ntin%l#. Idas t$rned, and "l$n%ed his sword into (astor>s bell#- b$t
Pol#de$ces took instant ven%eance on him.
i. 5thers sa# that it was '#nce$s who mortall# wo$nded (astor in a
battle fo$%ht at A"hidna- others a%ain, that (astor was killed when
Idas and '#nce$s attacked 4"arta- and still others, that both :iosc$ri
s$rvived the fi%ht, (astor bein% killed later b# 0elea%er and
G. It is %enerall# a%reed, at least, that Pol#de$ces was the last s$rvivor
of the two sets of twins and that, after settin% $" a tro"h# beside the
4"artan race1co$rse to celebrate his victor# over '#nce$s, he "ra#ed to
<e$s, H!ather, let me not o$tlive m# dear brotherO> 4ince, however, it
was fated that onl# one of 'eda>s sons sho$ld die, and since (astor>s
father 6#ndare$s had been a mortal, Pol#de$ces, as the son of <e$s,
was d$l# carried $" to eaven. Cet he ref$sed immortalit# $nless
(astor mi%ht share it, and <e$s therefore allowed them both to s"end
their da#s alternatel# in the $""er air, and $nder the earth at
6hera"ne. In f$rther reward of their brotherl# love, he set their ima%es
amon% the stars as the 6wins.
k. After the :iosc$ri had been deified, 6#ndare$s s$mmoned 0enela$s
to 4"arta, where he resi%ned the kin%dom to him- and since the o$se
of A"hare$s was now also left witho$t an heir, ?estor s$cceeded to the
throne of all 0essenia, e3ce"t for the "art r$led over b# the son of
l. 6he 4"artans still show the ho$se where the :iosc$ri lived. It was
afterwards owned b# one Phormio, whom the# visited one ni%ht,
"retendin% to be stran%ers from (#rene. 6he# asked him for lod%in%,
and be%%ed leave to slee" in their old room. Phormio re"lied that the#
were welcome to an# other "art of the ho$se b$t that, re%rettabl#, his
da$%hter was now occ$"#in% the room of which the# s"oke. ?e3t
mornin%, the %irl and all her "ossessions had vanished, and the room
was em"t#, e3ce"t for ima%es of the :iosc$ri and some herb1benGamin
laid $"on a table.
m. Poseidon made (astor and Pol#de$ces the savio$rs of
shi"wrecked sailors, and %ranted them "ower to send favo$rable
winds- in res"onse to a sacrifice of white lambs offered on the shi",
the# will come hastenin% thro$%h the sk#,
n. 6he :iosc$ri fo$%ht with the 4"artan fleet at Ae%os"otamos, and
the victors afterwards h$n% $" two %olden stars in their hono$r at
:el"hi- b$t these fell down and disa""eared shortl# before the fatal
battle of 'e$ctra.
o. :$rin% the second 0essenian War, a co$"le of 0essenians aro$sed
the :iosc$ri>s an%er b# im"ersonaliAin% them. It ha""ened that the
4"artan arm# was celebratin% a feast of the demi1%ods, when twin
s"earmen rode into the cam" at f$ll %allo", dressed in white t$nics,
"$r"le cloaks, and e%%1shell ca"s. 6he 4"artans fell down to worshi"
them, and the "retended :iosc$ri, two 0essenian #o$ths named
Goni""$s and Panorm$s, killed man# of them. After the battle of the
;oar>s Grave, therefore, the :iosc$ri sat on a wild "ear1tree, and
s"irited awa# the shield belon%in% to the victorio$s 0essenian
commander Aristomenes, which "revented him from "ressin% on the
4"artan retreat, and th$s saved man# lives- a%ain, when Aristomenes
attem"ted to assa$lt 4"arta b# ni%ht, the "hantoms of the :iosc$ri and
of their sister elen t$rned him back. 'ater, (astor and Pol#de$ces
for%ave the 0essenians, who sacrificed to them when &"aminondas
fo$nded the new cit# of 0essene.
". 6he# "reside at the 4"artan Games, and beca$se the# invented the
war1dance and war1like mimic are the "atrons of all bards who sin% of
ancient battles. In ilaeira and Phoebe>s sanct$ar# at 4"arta, the two
"riestesses are still called 'e$ci""ides, and the e%% from which 'eda>s
twins were hatched is s$s"ended from the roof. 6he 4"artans re"resent
the :iosc$ri b# two "arallel wooden beams, Goined b# two transverse
ones. 6heir co1kin%s alwa#s take these into battle and when, for the
first time, a 4"artan arm# was led b# one kin% alone, it was decreed
that one beam sho$ld also remain at 4"arta. Accordin% to those who
have seen the :iosc$ri, the onl# noticeable difference between them is
that Pol#de$ces>s face bears the scars of bo3in%. 6he# dress alike,
each has his half e%%1shell s$rmo$nted b# a star, each his s"ear and
white horse. 4ome sa# that Poseidon %ave them their horses- others,
that Pol#de$ces>s 6hessalian char%er was a %ift from ermes.
1. In order to allow the sacred kin% "recedence over his tanist, he was
$s$all# described as the son of a %od, b# a mother on whom her
h$sband s$bseD$entl# tithered a mortal twin. 6h$s eracles is <e$s>s
son b# Alcmene, b$t his twin I"hicles is the son of her h$sband
Am"hitr#on, similar stor# is told both abo$t the :iosc$ri of 'aconia,
and abo$t their rivals, Idas and '#nce$s of 0essenia. 6he "erfect
harmon# e3istin% between the twins themselves marks a new sta%e in
the develo"ment of kin%shi", when the tanist acts as viAier and chief1
of1staff, bein% nominall# less "owerf$l than the sacred kin%. (astor
therefore, not Pol#de$ces, is the a$thorit# on warIhe even instr$cts
eracles in militant arts, th$s identif#in% himself with I"hiclesIand
'#nce$s, not Idas, %ifted with ac$te vision. ;$t $ntil the do$ble1
kin%dom s#stem had been evolved, the tanist was not re%arded as
immortal, nor %ranted the same "osth$mo$s stat$s as his twin.
*. 6he 4"artans were freD$entl# at war with the 0essenians and, in
(lassical times, had s$fficient militar# "ower, and infl$ence over the
:el"hic 5racle, to im"ose their twin heroes on the rest of Greece, as
enGo#in% %reater favo$r with !ather <e$s than an# other "air- and the
4"artan kin%dom did indeed o$tlast all its rivals. ad this not been so,
the constellation of the 6wins mi%ht have commemorated eracles and
I"hicles, or Idas and '#nce$s, or Acrisi$s and Proet$sIinstead of
merel# (astor and Pol#de$ces, who were not even the onl# heroes
"rivile%ed to ride white horses, ever# hero worth# of a hero1feast was a
horseman. It is these s$nset feasts, at which a whole o3 was eaten b#
the hero>s descendants, that acco$nt for the %l$tton# attrib$ted to
'e"re$s and eracles- and here to Idas, '#nce$s and their rivals.
7. 0arria%e to the 'e$ci""ides enro#alled the 4"artan co1kin%s. 6he#
were described as "riestesses of Athene and Artemis, and %iven moon1
names, bein%, in fact, the 0oon1%oddess>s re"resentatives- th$s, in
vase1"aintin%s, the chariot of 4elene is freD$entl# attended b# the
:iosc$ri. As the 4"irit of the Wa3in% Cear, the sacred kin% wo$ld
nat$rall# mate with Artemis, a 0oon1%oddess of s"rin% and s$mmer-
and his tanist, as 4"irit of the Wanin% Cear, with Athene, who had
become a 0oon1%oddess of a$t$mn and winter. 6he m#tho%ra"her is
s$%%estin% that the 4"artans defeated the 0essenians, and that their
leaders forcibl# married the heiresses of Arene, a "rinci"al cit# of
0essenia, where the 0are1headed 0other was worshi""ed- th$s
establishin% a claim to the s$rro$ndin% re%ion.
8. 4imilarl# with 0ar"essa, a""arentl# the 0essenians made a raid on
the Aetolians in the &ven$s valle#, where the 4ow1mother was
worshi""ed, and carried off the heiress, 0ar"essa .Hsnatcher> or
H%obbler>/. 6he# were o""osed b# the 4"artans, worshi""ers of A"ollo,
who %r$d%ed them their s$ccess- the dis"$te was then referred to the
central a$thorit# at 0#cenae, which s$""orted the 0essenians. ;$t
&ven$s>s chariot1race with Idas recalls the Pelo"s15enoma$s and the
eracles1(#en$s m#ths. In each case the sk$lls of the kin%>s rivals are
mentioned. 6he icon from which all these stories are ded$ced m$st
have shown the old kin% headin% for his destined chariot crash after
havin% offered seven ann$al s$rro%ates to the %oddess. is horses are
sacrificed as a "reliminar# to the installation of the new kin%. 6he
drownin% of &ven$s is "robabl# misread, it shows Idas bein% "$rified
before marria%e and then ridin% off tri$m"hantl# in the L$een>s
chariot. Cet these Pelas%ian marria%e rites have been combined in the
stor# with the ellenic c$stom of marria%e b# ca"t$re. 6he fatal cattle1
raid ma# record a historical incident, a D$arrel between the 0essenians
and 4"artans abo$t the sharin% of s"oil in a Goint e3"edition a%ainst
5. (astor and Pol#de$ces>s visit to Phormio>s ho$se is disin%en$o$sl#
described, the a$thor is relatin% another trick "la#ed on the st$"id
4"artans b# an im"ersonation of their national heroes. (#rene, where
the :iosc$ri were worshi""ed, s$""lied herb1benGamin, a kind of
asafetida, the stron% smell and taste of which made it val$ed as a
condiment. 6he two (#renian merchants were obvio$sl# what the#
"rofessed themselves to be, and when the# went off with Phormio>s
da$%hter, left their war behind in "a#ment- Phormio decided to call it a
+. Wild "ear1trees were sacred to the 0oon beca$se of their white
blossom, and the most ancient ima%e of the :eath1%oddess era, in
the erae$m at 0#cenae, was made of "ear1wood. Pl$tarch and Aelian
mention the "ear as a fr$it "ec$liarl# venerated at Ar%os and 6ir#ns-
hence the Pelo"onnese was called $&ia Hof the "ear1tree>. Athene, also
a :eath1%oddess, had the name 5nc@ .H"ear1tree>/ at her "ear1
sanct$ar# in ;oeotia. 6he :iosc$ri chose this tree for their "erch in
order to show that the# were %en$ine heroes- moreover, the "ear1tree
forms fr$it towards the end of 0a#, when the s$n is in the ho$se of the
6wins- and when the sailin% season be%ins in the &astern
0editerranean. 4"arrows that follow the :iosc$ri, when the# a""ear in
answer to sailors> "ra#ers, belon% to the 4ea1%oddess A"hrodite-
X$th$s .Hs"arrow>/, the father of Aeol$s, was an ancestor of the
:iosc$ri, who worshi""ed her.
9. In the omeric !mn to the +ioscuri, it is not made clear whether
(astor and Pol#de$ces are followed b# s"arrows or whether the# come
dartin% on Hs"arrow# win%s> thro$%h the $""er air, to aid distressed
sailors- b$t on &tr$scan mirrors the# are sometimes "ict$red as
win%ed. 6heir s#mbol at 4"arta, the docana, re"resented the two
s$""ortin% "illars of a shrine- another s#mbol consisted of two
am"hora each entwined b# a ser"entIthe ser"ents bein% the
incarnate :iosc$ri who came to eat food "laced in the am"horas.
8. Gor%o"hone defied the Indo1&$ro"ean convention of s$ttee
marr#in% a%ain.
;&''&R5P5?, son of Gla$c$s and %randson of 4is#"h$s, left
(orinth $nder a clo$d, dis%raced b# havin% first killed one ;eller$sI
which earned him nickname ;ellero"hontes, shortened to ;ellero"hon
Iand then own brother, whose name is $s$all# %iven as :eliades. e
fled as s$""liant to Proet$s, Fin% of 6ir#ns- b$t .so ill l$ck/ wo$ld have
Anteia, Proet$s>s wife whom some call 4theneboea, fell in love wit him
at si%ht. When he reGected her advances, she acc$sed him of havin%
tried to sed$ce her, and Proet$s, who believed the stor#, %rew
incensed. Cet he dared not risk the !$ries> ven%eance b# the direct
m$rder of a s$""liant, and therefore sent him to Anteia>s father
Iobates, Fin% of '#cia, carr#in% a sealed letter, which read, HPra#
remove the bearer from this world- he has tried to violate m# wife,
#o$r da$%hter.>
b. Iobates, eD$all# loth to ill1treat a ro#al %$est, asked ;ellero"hon to
do him the service of destro#in% the (himaera, a fire1breathin% she1
monster with lion>s head, %oat>s bod#, and ser"ent>s tail. H4he is>, he
e3"lained, Ha da$%hter of &chidne, whom m# enem#, the Fin% of (aria,
has made a ho$sehold "et.> ;efore settin% abo$t this task, ;ellero"hon
cons$lted the seer Pol#eid$s, and was advised to catch and tame the
win%ed horse Pe%as$s, beloved b# the 0$ses of 0o$nt elicon, for
whom he had created the well i""ocrene b# stam"in% his moon1
sha"ed hoof.
c. Pe%as$s was absent from elicon, b$t ;ellero"hon fo$nd him
drinkin% at Peirene, on the Acro"olis of (orinth, another of his wells-
and threw over his head a %olden bridle, Athene>s timel# "resent. ;$t
some sa# that Athene %ave Pe%as$s alread# bridled to ;ellero"hon-
and others, that Poseidon, who was reall# ;ellero"hon>s father, did so.
;e that as it ma#, ;ellero"hon overcame the (himaera b# fl#in% above
her on Pe%as$s>s back, riddlin% her with arrows, and then thr$stin%
between her Gaws a l$m" of lead which he had fi3ed to the "oint of his
s"ear. 6he (himaera>s fier# breath melted the lead, which trickled
down her throat, searin% her vitals.
d. Iobates, however, far from rewardin% ;ellero"hon for this darin%
feat, sent him at once a%ainst the warlike 4ol#mians and their allies,
the AmaAons- both of whom he conD$ered b# soarin% above them, well
o$t of bow1shot, and dro""in% lar%e bo$lders on their heads. ?e3t, in
the '#cian Plain of Xanth$s, he beat off a band of (arian "irates led b#
one (heimarrh$s, a fier# and boastf$l warrior, who sailed in a shi"
adorned with a lion fi%$rehead and a ser"ent stern. When Iobates
showed no %ratit$de even then b$t, on the contrar#, sent the "alace
%$ards to amb$sh him on his ret$rn, ;ellero"hon dismo$nted and
"ra#ed that, while he advanced on foot, Poseidon wo$ld flood the
Xanthian Plain behind him. Poseidon heard his "ra#er, and sent %reat
waves rollin% slowl# forward as ;ellero"hon a""roached Iobates>s
"alace- and, beca$se no man co$ld "ers$ade him to retire, the
Xanthian women hoisted their skirts to the waist and came r$shin%
towards him f$ll b$tt, offerin% themselves to him one and all, if onl# he
wo$ld relent. ;ellero"hon>s modest# was s$ch that he t$rned tail and
ran- and the waves retreated with him.
e. (onvinced now that Proet$s m$st have been mistaken abo$t the
attem"t on Anteia>s virt$e, Iobates "rod$ced the letter, and demanded
an e3act acco$nt of the affair. 5n learnin% the tr$th, he im"lored
;ellero"hon>s for%iveness, %ave him his da$%hter Philono@ in marria%e,
and made him heir to the '#cian throne. e also "raised the Xanthian
women for their reso$rcef$lness and ordered that, in f$t$re, all
Xanthians sho$ld reckon descent from the mother, not the father.
f. ;ellero"hon, at the hei%ht of his fort$ne, "res$m"t$o$sl# $ndertook
a fli%ht to 5l#m"$s, as tho$%h he were an immortal- b$t <e$s sent a
%adfl#, which st$n% Pe%as$s $nder the tail, makin% him rear and flin%
;ellero"hon in%lorio$sl# to earth. Pe%as$s com"leted the fli%ht to
5l#m"$s, where <e$s now $ses him as a "ack1beast for th$nderbolts-
and ;ellero"hon, who had fallen into a thorn1b$sh, wandered abo$t the
earth, lame, blind, lonel# and acc$rsed, alwa#s avoidin% the "aths of
men, $ntil death overtook him.
1. Anteia>s attem"ted sed$ction of ;ellero"hon has several Greek
"arallels, besides a Palestinian "arallel in the stor# of 2ose"h and
Poti"har>s wife, and an &%#"tian "arallel in The Tale of the T#o
Brothers0 6he "rovenience of the m#th is $ncertain.
*. &chidne>s da$%hter, the (himaera, who is de"icted on a ittite
b$ildin% at (archemish, was a s#mbol of the Great Goddess>s tri"artite
4acred CearIlion for s"rin%, %oat for s$mmer, ser"ent for winter. A
dama%ed %lass "laD$e fo$nd at :endra near 0#cenae shows her
t$sslin% with a lion, from the back of which emer%es what a""ears to
be a %oat>s head- the tail is lon% and ser"entine. 4ince the "laD$e
dates from a "eriod when the %oddess was still s$"reme, this iconI
"aralleled in an &tr$scan fresco at 6arD$inia, tho$%h the hero here is
mo$nted, like ;ellero"honIm$st be read as a kin%>s coronation
combat a%ainst men in beast dis%$ise who re"resent the different
seasons of the #ear. After the Achaean reli%io$s revol$tion which
s$bordinated the %oddess era to <e$s, the icon became ambivalent,
it co$ld also be read as recordin% the s$""ression, b# ellenic
invaders, of the ancient (arian calendar.
7. ;ellero"hon>s tamin% of Pe%as$s, the 0oon1horse $sed in rain1
makin%, with a bridle "rovided b# Athene, s$%%ests that the candidate
for the sacred kin%shi" was char%ed b# the 6ri"le 0$se .Hmo$ntain
%oddess>/, or her re"resentative, with the ca"t$re of a wild horse- th$s
eracles later rode Arion .Hmoon1creat$re on hi%h>/ when he took
"ossession of &lis. 6o G$d%e from "rimitive :anish and Irish "ractice,
the flesh of this horse was sacramentall# eaten b# the kin% after his
s#mbolic rebirth from the 0are1headed 0o$ntain1%oddess. ;$t this "art
of the m#th is eD$all# ambivalent, it can also be read as recordin% the
seiA$re b# ellenic invaders of the 0o$ntain1%oddess>s shrines at Ascra
on 0o$nt elicon, and (orinth. A similar event is recorded in
Poseidon>s violation of the 0are1headed Arcadian :emeter, on whom
he be%ot this same 0oon1horse Arion- and of 0ed$sa, on whom he
be%ot Pe%as$s- which e3"lains Poseidon>s intr$sion into the stor# of
;ellero"hon. ow <e$s h$mbled ;ellero"hon is a moral anecdote told
to disco$ra%e revolt a%ainst the 5l#m"ian faith- ;ellero"hon, the dart1
bearer, fl#in% across the sk#, is the same character as his %randfather
4is#"h$s, or 6es$", a solar hero whose c$lt was re"laced b# that of
solar <e$s- he is therefore %iven a similarl# l$ckless end, which recalls
that of eli$s>s son Pha@thon.
8. ;ellero"hon>s enemies, the 4ol#mians, were (hildren of 4alma.
4ince all titles and ca"es be%innin% with the s#llable salm have an
easterl# sit$ation, she was "robabl# the Goddess of the 4"rin%
&D$ino3- b$t she soon became masc$liniAed as the 4$n1%od 4ol#ma, or
4elim, 4olomon, or Ab14alom, who %ave his name to 2er$salem. 6he
AmaAons were the 0oon1%oddess>s fi%htin% "riestesses.
5. ;ellero"hon>s retreat from the Xanthian women ma# have been
ded$ced from an icon which showed the Wild Women maddened with
hi&&omanesIeither a herb, or the slim# va%inal iss$e of a mare in
heat, or the black membrane c$t from the forehead of a new1born foal
Iclosin% in on the sacred kin% b# the seashore at the end of his rei%n.
6heir skirts were hoisted, as in the erotic worshi" of &%#"tian A"is
.:iodor$s 4ic$l$s/, so that when the# dismembered him, his s"$rtin%
blood wo$ld D$icken their wombs. 4ince Xanth$s .H#ellow>/ is the name
of one of Achilles>s horses, and of one belon%in% to ector, and of one
%iven to Pele$s b# Poseidon, these women "erha"s wore rit$al horse1
masks with moon1#ellow manes, like those of &alominos- for wild mares
had eaten ;ellero"hon>s father Gla$c$s b# the seashore of (orinth. Cet
this reformed m#th retains a "rimitive element, the a""roach, naked
women from the chieftain>s own clan, with whom interco$rse was
forbidden, wo$ld force him to retreat and hide his face, and in Irish
le%end this same r$se was em"lo#ed a%ainst ($ch$lain, when his f$r#
co$ld not otherwise be checked. 6he acco$nt of the Xanthian
matrilineal reckonin% of descent has been t$rned inside o$t, it was the
ellenes who, on the contrar#, mana%ed to enforce "atrilineal
reckonin% on all (arians e3ce"t the conservative Xanthians.
+. (heimarrh$s>s name is derived from chimaros, or chimaera .H%oat>/-
both his fier# nat$re and his shi" with the lion fi%$re1head and ser"ent
stern have been introd$ced into ;ellero"hon>s stor# b# some
e$hemerists to e3"lain awa# the fire1breathin% (himaera. 0o$nt
(himaera .H%oat mo$ntain>/ was also the name of an active volcano
near Phaselis in '#cia .Plin#, Natural !istor/, which acco$nts for the
fierce breath.
450& sa# that when <e$s sed$ced Antio"e, da$%hter of ?#cte$s
the 6heban, she fled to the Fin% of 4ic#on, who a%reed to marr# her,
and th$s occasioned a war in which ?#cte$s was killed. Antio"e>s $ncle
'#c$s "resentl# defeated the 4ic#onians in a blood# battle and bro$%ht
her back, a widow, to 6hebes. After %ivin% birth in a wa#side thick to
the twins Am"hion and <eth$s, whom '#c$s at once e3"osed at 0o$nt
(ithaeron, she was cr$ell# ill1treated for man# #ears b# her a$nt, :irce.
At last, she contrived to esca"e from the "rison in which she was
imm$red, and fled to the h$t where Am"hion and <eth$s, whom a
"assin% cattle1man had resc$ed, were now livin%. ;$t the# mistook
Antio"e for a r$nwa# slave, and ref$sed to shelter her. :irce then came
r$shin% $" in a ;acchic frenA#, seiAed hold of Antio"e, and dra%%ed her
H0# lads,> cried the cattle1man, H#o$ had better beware of the !$ries.>
HWh# the !$riesJ> the# asked.
H;eca$se #o$ have ref$sed to "rotect #o$r mother, who is now bein%
carried off for e3ec$tion b# that sava%e a$nt of hers.>
6he twins at once went in "$rs$it, resc$ed Antio"e, and tied :irce b#
the hair to the horns of a wild b$ll, which made short work of her.
b. 5thers sa# that the river Aso"$s was Antio"e>s father, and that one
ni%ht the Fin% of 4ic#on im"ersonated '#c$s, to whom she was
married, and sed$ced her. '#c$s divorced Antio"e in conseD$ence and
married :irce, th$s leavin% <e$s free to co$rt the lonel# Antio"e, and
%et her with child. :irce, s$s"ectin% that this was '#c$s>s doin%,
im"risoned Antio"e in a dark d$n%eon- from which, however, she was
freed b# <e$s G$st in time to brin% forth Am"hion and <eth$s on 0o$nt
(ithaeron. 6he twins %rew $" amon% the cattle1men with whom
Antio"e had taken ref$%e and, when the# were old eno$%h to
$nderstand how $nkindl# their mother had been treated, she
"ers$aded them to aven%e her. 6he# met :irce roamin% the slo"es of
0o$nt (ithaeron in a ;acchic frenA#, tied her b# the hair to the horns
of a wild b$ll and, when she was dead, fl$n% her bod# on the %ro$nd-
where a s"rin% welled $", afterwards called the :ircaean 4tream. ;$t
:ion#s$s aven%ed this m$rder of his votar#, he sent Antio"e ra%in%
madl# all over Greece $ntil at last Phoc$s, a %randson of 4is#"h$s,
c$red and married her in Phocis.
c. Am"hion and <eth$s visited 6hebes, where the# e3"elled Fin% 'ai$s
and b$ilt the lower cit#, (adm$s havin% alread# b$ilt the $""er. ?ow,
<eth$s had often ta$nted Am"hion for his devotion to the l#re %iven
him b# ermes. HIt distracts #o$>, he wo$ld sa#, Hfrom $sef$l work.> Cet
when the# became masons, Am"hion>s stones moved to the so$nd of
his l#re and %entl# slid into "lace, while <eth$s was obli%ed to $se
main force, la%%in% far behind his brother. 6he twins r$led Gointl# in
6hebes, where <eth$s married 6hebe, after whom the cit#I"revio$sl#
known as (admeiaIis now named- and Am"hion married ?iobe. ;$t
all her children e3ce"t two were shot dead b# A"ollo and Artemis,
whose mother 'eto she had ins$lted. Am"hion was himself killed b#
A"ollo for tr#in% to take ven%eance on the :el"hic "riests, and f$rther
"$nished in 6artar$s. Am"hion and <eth$s are b$ried in one %rave at
6hebes, which is %$arded caref$ll# when the s$n is in 6a$r$s- for then
the "eo"le of Phocian 6ithorea tr# to steal earth from the mo$nd and
"lace it on the %rave of Phoc$s and Antio"e. An oracle once said that
this act wo$ld increase the fertilit# of all Phocis at the e3"ense of
1. 6hese two versions of the :irce m#th show how free the
m#tho%ra"hers felt to make their narrative fit the main elements of a
literar# tradition which, in this case, seems to have been ded$ced from
a series of sacred icons. Antio"e, emer%in% Go#f$ll# o$t of her d$n%eon
and followed b# the scowlin% :irce, recalls (ore>s ann$al rea""earance
in ecate>s com"an#. 4he is called Antio"e .Hconfrontin%>/ in this
conte3t, beca$se her face is $"t$rned to the sk#, not bent towards the
)nderworld, and H:a$%hter of ?i%ht>I?#cteis, not ?#cte$sIbeca$se
she emer%es from the darkness. 6he Hra%in% on the mo$ntain> b# :irce
and Antio"e has been misinter"reted as a ;acchic or%#- theirs was
clearl# an erotic %adfl# dance, for which the# behaved like 0oon1
heifers in heat. :irce>s name .Hdo$ble>/ stands for the horned moon,
and the icon from which the m#th is taken will have shown her not
bein% tied to the b$ll in "$nishment, b$t rit$all# marr#in% the b$ll1kin%.
A secondar# meanin% ma# be concealed in dirce, namel# Hcleft>, that is,
Hin an erotic condition>. 6he :ircaean s"rin%, like i""ocrene, will have
been moon1sha"ed. Antio"e>s sons are the familiar ro#al twins borne
b# the 0oon1%oddess, her sacred kin% and his tanist.
*. Am"hion>s three1strin%er l#re, with which he raised the walls of
'ower 6hebesIsince ermes was his em"lo#er, it can have had onl#
three strin%sIwas constr$cted to celebrate the 6ri"le1%oddess, who
rei%ned in the air, on earth, and in the )nderworld, and will have been
"la#ed d$rin% the b$ildin% to safe%$ard the cit#>s fo$ndations, %ates,
ant towers. 6he name HAm"hion> .Hnative of two lands>/ records his
citiAenshi" of 4ic#on and 6hebes.
?I5;&, sister of Pelo"s, had married Am"hion, Fin% of 6hebes an
borne him seven sons and seven da$%hters, of whom she was so
inordinatel# "ro$d that, one da#, she dis"ara%ed 'eto herself for
havin% onl# two children, A"ollo and Artemis. 0anto, the "ro"hetic
da$%hter of 6eiresias, overhearin% this rash remark, advised the
6heban women to "lacate 'eto and her children at once, b$rnin% frank1
incense and wreathin% their hair with la$rel branches. When the scent
of incense was alread# floatin% in the air, ?iobe a""eared, followed b#
a thron% of attendants and dressed in a s"lendid Phr#%ian robe, her
lon% hair flowin% loose. 4he interr$"ted the sacrifice and f$rio$sl#
asked wh# 'eto, a woman of obsc$re "arenta%e, with a mannish
da$%hter and a womanish son, sho$ld be "referred to her, ?iobe,
%randchild of <e$s and Atlas, the dread of the Phr#%ians, and a D$een
of (adm$s>s ro#al ho$seJ 6ho$%h fate or ill1l$ck mi%ht carr# off two or
three of her children, wo$ld she not still remain the richerJ
b. Abandonin% the sacrifice, the terrified 6heban women tried to
"lacate 'eto with m$rm$red "ra#ers, b$t it was too late. 4he had
alread# sent A"ollo and Artemis, armed with bows, to "$nish ?iobe>s
"res$m"tion. A"ollo fo$nd the bo#s h$ntin% on 0o$nt (ithaeron and
shot them down one b# one, s"arin% onl# Am#clas, who had wisel#
offered a "ro"itiator# "ra#er to 'eto. Artemis fo$nd the %irls s"innin% in
the "alace and, with a D$iverf$l of arrows, des"atched all of them,
e3ce"t 0elibo@a, who had followed Am#clas>s e3am"le. 6hese two
s$rvivors hastened to b$ild 'eto a tem"le, tho$%h 0elibo@a had t$rned
so "ale with fear that she was still nicknamed (hloris when she
married ?ele$s some #ears later. ;$t some sa# that none of ?iobe>s
children s$rvived, and that her h$sband Am"hion was also killed b#
c. !or nine da#s and nine ni%hts ?iobe bewailed her dead, and fo$nd
no one to b$r# them, beca$se <e$s, takin% 'eto>s "art, had t$rned all
the 6hebans into stone. 5n the tenth da#, the 5l#m"ians themselves
dei%ned to cond$ct the f$neral. ?iobe fled overseas to 0o$nt 4i"#l$s,
the home of her father 6antal$s, where <e$s, moved b# "it#, t$rned
her into a stat$e which can still be seen wee"in% co"io$sl# in the earl#
d. All men mo$rned for Am"hion, de"lorin% the e3tinction of his race,
b$t none mo$rned for ?iobe, e3ce"t her eD$all# "ro$d brother Pelo"s.
1. 6he n$mber of ?iobe>s children is %iven b# omer as twelve and
.accordin% to vario$s scholiasts/ b# esiod as twent#, b# erodot$s as
fo$r, and b# 4a""ho as ei%hteen- b$t the acco$nt followed b# &$ri"ides
and A"ollodor$s, which makes the best sense, is that she had seven
and seven da$%hters. 4ince ?iobe, in the 6heban version of the m#th
was a %rand1da$%hter of the 6itan Atlas and, in the Ar%ive version,
da$%hter or mother of Phorone$s, also described as a 6itan, and
Pelas%$s- and co$ld claim to be the first mortal woman violated b#
<e$s, the m#th ma# concern the defeat of the seven 6itans and
6itanesses b# the 5l#m"ians. If so, it records the s$""ression of the
calendar s#stem "revailin% in Pelas%ian Greece, Palestine, 4#ria, and
?orth1western &$ro"e- which was based on a month divided into fo$r
weeks of seven da#s, each r$led b# one of the seven "lanetar# bodies.
Am"hion and his twelve children, in omer>s version of the m#th,
"erha"s stand for the thirteen months of this calendar. 0o$nt 4i"#l$s
ma# have been the last home in Asia 0inor of the 6itan>s c$lt, as
6hebes was in Greece. 6he stat$e of ?iobe is a cra% of ro$%hl# h$man
sha"e, which seems to wee" when the s$n>s arrows strike its winter
ca" of snow, and the likeness is reinforced b# a ittite Goddess mother
carved in rock on the same mo$ntain and datin% from "erha"s the late
fifteenth cent$r# ;(. H?iobe> "robabl# means snow#Ithe b
re"resentin% the ) in the 'atin ni)is, or the &h in the Greek ni&ha. 5ne
of her da$%hters is called (hiade b# #%in$s, a word which makes no
sense in Greek, $nless it be a worn1down form of chionos ni&hades,
%. Partheni$s .Lo)e StoriesE %ives a different acco$nt of ?iobe>s
"$nishment, b# 'eto>s contrivance, ?iobe>s father fell incest$o$sl# love
with her and, when she re"$lsed him, b$rned her children to death- her
h$sband was then man%led b# a wild boar, and she threw herself from
a rock. 6his stor#, confirmed b# the scholiast on &$ri"ides>s Phoenician
Women, is infl$enced b# the m#ths of (in#ras, 4m#rna and Adonis, and
b# the c$stom of b$rnin% children to the %od 0oloch.
"$EI* $D "$EE!*
P54&I:5? once la# with the ?#m"h (aenis, da$%hter of &lat$s the
0a%nesian or, some sa#, of (oron$s the 'a"ith, and asked her to name
a love1%ift.
H6ransform me>, she said, Hinto an inv$lnerable fi%hter. I am wear# of
bein% a woman.>
Poseidon obli%in%l# chan%ed her se3, and she became (aene$s,
wa%in% war with s$ch s$ccess that the 'a"iths soon elected her their
kin%- and she even be%ot a son, (oron$s, whom eracles killed man#
#ears later while fi%htin% for Ae%imi$s the :orian. &3alted b# this new
condition, (aene$s set $" a s"ear in the middle of the market1"lace,
where the "eo"le con%re%ated, and made them sacrifice to it as if to a
%od, and hono$r no other deit# whatsoever.
b. <e$s, hearin% of (aene$s>s "res$m"tion, insti%ated the (enta$rs to
an act of m$rder. :$rin% the weddin% of Peiritho$s the# made a s$dden
attack on her, b$t she had no diffic$lt# in killin% five or si3 of them,
witho$t inc$rrin% the sli%htest wo$nd, beca$se their wea"ons
rebo$nded harmlessl# from her charmed skin. owever, the remainin%
(enta$rs beat her on the head with fir lo%s, $ntil the# had driven her
$nder the earth, and then "iled a mo$nd of lo%s above. 4o (aene$s
smothered and died. Presentl# o$t flew a sand#1win%ed bird, which the
seer 0o"s$s, who was "resent, reco%niAed as her so$l- and when the#
came to b$r# her, the cor"se was a%ain a woman>s.
1. 6his m#th has three distinct strands. !irst, a c$stom which still
"revails in Albania, of %irls Goinin% a war1band and dressin% in men>s
clothes, so that when the# are killed in battle the enem# is s$r"rised to
discover their se3. 4econd, a ref$sal of the 'a"iths to acce"t ellenic
overlordshi"- the s"ear set $" for worshi" is likel# to have been a ma#1
"ole in hono$r of the ?ew 0oon1%oddess (aenis, or &late .Hfir1tree>/, to
whom the fir was sacred. 6he 'a"iths were then defeated b# the
Aeolians of Iolc$s who, with the hel" of their allies the (enta$rs,
s$bGected them to their %od Poseidon, b$t did not interfere with tribal
law. 5nl#, as at Ar%os, the clan chieftainess will have been obli%ed to
ass$me an artificial beard to assert her ri%ht to act as ma%istrate and
commander, th$s (aenis became (aene$s, and &late became &lat$s. A
similar chan%e of se3 is still anno$nced b# the L$een of the 4o$th, a
Goint r$ler of the 'oAi Fin%dom in the <ambesi basin, when she enters
the co$ncil chamber, HI am transformed to a manO> Ib$t this is
beca$se one of her ancestresses $s$r"ed a "atriarchal throne. 6hird,
the rit$al recorded on a black1fi%$red oil Gar, in which naked men,
armed with mallets, beat an effi%# of 0other &arth on head, a""arentl#
to release (ore, the 4"irit of the ?ew Cear- H(aenisT means Hnew>.
*. 6he variet# of sand#1win%ed bird released from the effi%# de"ends
on the season at which the rite was "erformed. If s"rin%, it ma# have
been a c$ckoo.
A'65)G 5ene$s was the first mortal to be %iven a vine "lant b#
:ion#s$s, Icari$s antici"ated him in the makin% of wine. e offered a
sam"le from his trial Garf$l to a "art# of she"herds in the 0arathonian
woods beneath 0o$nt Pentelic$s, who, failin% to mi3 it with water, as
5eno"ion later advised, %rew so dr$nk that the# saw ever#thin%
do$ble, believed themselves bewitched, and killed Icari$s. is ho$nd
0aera watched while the# b$ried him $nder a "ine1tree and,
afterwards, led his da$%hter &ri%one to the %rave b# catchin% at her
robe, and then d$% $" the cor"se. In des"air, &ri%one han%ed herself
from the "ine, "ra#in% that the da$%hters of Athens sho$ld s$ffer the
same fate as hers while Icari$s remained $naven%ed. 5nl# the %ods
heard her, and the she"herds fled overseas, b$t man# Athenian
maidens were fo$nd han%in% from the "ine one after another, $ntil the
:el"hic 5racle e3"lained that it was &ri%one who demanded their lives.
6he %$ilt# she"herds were so$%ht o$t at once and han%ed, and the
"resent Binta%e !estival instit$ted, d$rin% which libations are "o$red to
Icari$s and &ri%one, while %irls swin% on ro"es from the branches of the
tree, their feet restin% on small "latforms- this is how swin%s were
invented. 0asks are also h$n% from the branches, which twist aro$nd
with the wind.
b. 6he ima%e of 0aera the ho$nd was set in the sk#, and became the
'esser :o%1star- some, therefore, identif# Icari$s with ;ootes, and
&ri%one with the constellation of the Bir%in.
1I. 0aera was the name %iven to Priam>s wife ecabe, or ec$ba, after
her transformation into a do%, and since ec$ba was reall# the three1
headed :eath1%oddess ecate, the libations "o$red to &ri%one and
Icari$s were "robabl# meant for her. 6he valle# in which this ceremon#
took "lace is now called H:ion#s$s>. &ri%one>s "ine will have been the
tree $nder which Attis the Phr#%ian was castrated and bled to death,
and the e3"lanation of the m#th seems to be that when the 'esser
:o%1star was in the ascendant, the she"herds of 0arathon sacrificed
one of their n$mber as an ann$al victim to the %oddess called &ri%one.
*. Icari$s means Hfrom the Icarian 4ea>, i.e. from the (#clades, whence
the Attis c$lt came to Attica. 'ater, the :ion#s$s c$lt was
s$"erim"osed on it- and the stor# of the Athenian %irls> s$icide ma#
have been told to acco$nt for the masks of :ion#s$s, h$n% from a
"ine1tree in the middle of a vine#ard, which t$rned with the wind and
were s$""osed to fr$ctif# the vines wherever the# looked. :ion#s$s
was $s$all# "ortra#ed as a lon%1haired, effeminate #o$th, and his
masks wo$ld have s$%%ested han%ed women. ;$t it is likel# that dolls
re"resentin% the fertilit# %oddess Ariadne or elen were "revio$sl#
h$n% from fr$it1trees. 6he %irls> swin%in% at the vinta%e festival will
have been ma%ical in its ori%inal intention, the# re"resented bird1
%oddesses, and their swin%s made a semi1circle in hono$r of the new
moon. 6his c$stom ma# have been bro$%ht to Attica from (rete, since
a terracotta %ro$" fo$nd at a%ia 6riada shows a %irl swin%in% between
two "illars, on each of which a bird is "erched.
7. 6he name &ri%one is e3"lained b# the m#tho%ra"her as Hchild of
strife>, beca$se of the tro$ble she occasioned- b$t its obvio$s meanin%
is H"lentif$l offs"rin%>, a reference to the "lentif$l cro" ind$ced b# the
The "a6ydo3ia3 -oar
5&?&)4, Fin% of (al#don in Aetolia, married Althaea. 4he first bore
him 6o3e$s, whom 5ene$s killed with his own hands for r$del# lea"in%
over the fosse which had been d$% in defence of the cit#- and then
0elea%er, said to have been, in realit#, her son b# Ares. When
0elea%er was seven da#s old, the !ates came to Althaea>s bedroom
am anno$nced that he co$ld live onl# so lon% as a certain brand on the
hearth remained $nb$rned. 4he at once snatched the brand from the
fire, e3tin%$ishin% it with a "itcherf$l of water, and then hid it in a
b. 0elea%er %rew $" to be a bold and inv$lnerable fi%hter, and the best
Gavelin1thrower in Greece, as he "roved at Acast$s>s f$neral %ames. e
mi%ht still be alive b$t for an indiscretion committed b# 5ene$s who,
one s$mmer, for%ot to incl$de Artemis in his #earl# sacrifices to the
twelve %ods of 5l#m"$s. Artemis, when informed of this ne%lect b#
eli$s, sent a h$%e boar to kill 5ene$s>s cattle and labo$rers, and to
rava%e his cro"s- b$t 5ene$s des"atched heralds, invitin% all the
bravest fi%hters of Greece to h$nt the boar, and "romisin% that
whoever killed it sho$ld have its "elt and t$sks.
c. 0an# answered the call, amon% them (astor and Pol#de$ces from
4"arta- Idas and '#nce$s from 0essene- 6hese$s from Athens and
Peiritho$s from 'arissa- 2ason from Iolc$s and Admet$s from Pherae-
?estor from P#l$s- Pele$s and &$r#tion from Phthia- I"hicles from
6hebes- Am"hiara$s from Ar%os- 6elamon from 4alamis- (aene$s from
0a%nesia- and finall# Ancae$s and (e"he$s from Arcadia, followed b#
their com"atriot, the chaste, swift1footed Atalanta, onl# da$%hter of
Ias$s and (l#mene. Ias$s had wished for a male heir and Atalanta>s
birth disa""ointed him so cr$ell# that he e3"osed her on the
Parthenian ill near (al#don, where she was s$ckled b# a bear which
Artemis sent to her aid. Atalanta %rew to womanhood amon% a clan of
h$nters who fo$nd and reared her, b$t remained a vir%in, and alwa#s
carried arms. 5n one occasion she came faintin% from thirst to
(#"hanta and there, callin% on Artemis, and strikin% a rock with the
"oint of her s"ear, made a s"rin% of water %$sh o$t. ;$t she was not
#et reconciled to her father.
d. 5ene$s entertained the h$ntsmen ro#all# for nine da#s- and tho$%h
Ancae$s and (e"he$s at first ref$sed to h$nt in com"an# with a
woman, 0elea%er declared, on 5ene$s>s behalf, that $nless the#
withdrew their obGection he wo$ld cancel the chase alto%ether. 6he
tr$th was that 0elea%er had married Idas>s da$%hter (leo"atra, b$t
now felt a s$dden love for Atalanta and wished to in%ratiate himself
with her. is $ncles, Althaea>s brothers, took an immediate dislike to
the %irl, convinced that her "resence co$ld lead onl# to mischief,
beca$se he ke"t si%hin% dee"l# and e3claimin%, HAh, how ha""# the
man whom she marries her> 6h$s the chase be%an $nder bad a$s"ices-
Artemis herself had seen to this.
e. Am"hiara$s and Atalanta were armed with bows and arrows- others
with boar1s"ears, Gavelins, or a3es, each bein% so an3io$s to win the
"elt for himself that h$nt disci"line was ne%lected. At 0elea%er>s,
s$%%estion, the com"an# advanced in a half1moon, at some "aces
interval, thro$%h the forest where the boar had its lair.
f. 6he first blood shed was h$man. When Atalanta "osted herself on the
e3treme ri%ht flank at some distance from her fellow1h$nters, two
(enta$rs, #lae$s and Rhaec$s, who had Goined the chase, decided to
ravish her, each in t$rn assistin% the other. ;$t as soon as the# ran
towards her, she shot them both down and went to h$nt at 0elea%er>s
%. Presentl# the boar was fl$shed from a water1co$rse over%rown with
willows. It came bo$ndin% o$t, killed two of the h$nters, hamstr$n%
another, and drove #o$n% ?estor, who afterwards fo$%ht at 6ro#, $" a
tree. 2ason and several others fl$n% ill1aimed Gavelins at the boar,
I"hicles alone contrivin% to %raAe its sho$lder. 6hen 6elamon and
Pele$s went in boldl# with boar1s"ears- b$t 6elamon tri""ed over a tree
root and, while Pele$s was "$llin% him to his feet, the boar saw them
and char%ed. Atalanta let fl# a timel# arrow, which sank in behind the
ear, and sent it sc$rr#in% off. Ancae$s sneered, H6hat is no wa# to h$ntO
Watch meO> e sw$n% his battle1a3e at the boar as it char%ed, b$t was
not D$ick eno$%h- the ne3t instant he la# castrated and
disembowelled. In his e3citement, Pele$s killed &$r#tion with a Gavelin
aimed at the boar, which Am"hiara$s had s$cceeded in blindin% with
an arrow. ?e3t, it r$shed at 6hese$s, whose Gavelin flew wide- b$t
0elea%er also fl$n% and transfi3ed its ri%ht flank, and then, as the boar
whirled aro$nd in "ain, tr#in% to dislod%e the missile, drove his
h$ntin%1s"ear dee" $nder its left sho$lder1blade to the heart. 6he boar
fell dead at last. At once, 0elea%er fla#ed it, and "resented the "elt to
Atalanta, sa#in%, HCo$ drew first blood, and had we left the beast alone
it wo$ld soon have s$cc$mbed to #o$r arrow.>
b. is $ncles were dee"l# offended. 6he eldest, Ple3i""$s, ar%$ed that
0elea%er had won the "elt himself and that, on his ref$sal, it sho$ld
have %one to the most hono$rable "erson "resentInamel# himself, as
5ene$s>s brother1in1law. Ple3i""$s>s #o$n%er brother s$""orted him
with the contention that I"hicles, not Atalanta, had drawn first blood.
0elea%er, in a lover>s ra%e, killed them both.
i. Althaea, as she watched the dead bodies bein% carried home, set a
c$rse $"on 0elea%er- which "revented him from defendin% (al#don
when his two s$rvivin% $ncles declared war on the cit# and killed man#
of its defenders. At last his wife (leo"atra "ers$aded him to take $"
arms, and he killed both these $ncles, des"ite their s$""ort b# A"ollo-
where$"on the !$ries instr$cted Althaea to take the $nb$rned brand
from the chest and cast it on the fire. 0elea%er felt a s$dden scorchin%
of his inwards, and the enem# overcame him with ease. Althaea and
(leo"atra han%ed themselves, and Artemis t$rned all b$t two of
0elea%er>s shriekin% sisters into %$inea1hens, which she bro$%ht to her
island of 'eros, the home of evil1livers.
G. :eli%hted b# Atalanta>s s$ccess, Ias$s reco%niAed her at last as his
da$%hter- b$t when she arrived at the "alace his first words were, H0#
child, "re"are to take a h$sbandO>Ia disa%reeable anno$ncement,
since the :el"hic 5racle had warned her a%ainst marria%e. 4he
answered, H!ather, I consent on one condition. An# s$itor for m# hand
m$st either beat me in a foot race, or else let me kill him.> H4o be it,>
said Ias$s.
k. 0an# $nfort$nate "rinces lost their lives in conseD$ence, beca$se
she was the swiftest mortal alive- b$t 0elanion, a son of Am"hidamas
the Arcadian, invoked A"hrodite>s assistance. 4he %ave him three
%olden a""les, sa#in%, H:ela# Atalanta b# lettin% these fall, one after
the other, in the co$rse of the race.> 6he strata%em was s$ccessf$l.
Atalanta stoo"ed to "ick $" each a""le in t$rn and reached the
winnin%1"ost G$st behind 0elanion.
l. 6he marria%e took "lace, b$t the 5racle>s warnin% was G$stified
beca$se, one da#, as the# "assed b# a "recinct of <e$s, 0elanion
"ers$aded Atalanta to come inside and lie with him there. Be3ed that
his "recinct had been defiled, <e$s chan%ed them both into lions, for
lions do not mate with lions, b$t onl# with leo"ards, and the# were th$s
"revented from ever a%ain enGo#in% each other. 6his was A"hrodite>s
"$nishment first for Atalanta>s obstinac# in remainin% a vir%in, and
then for her lack of %ratit$de in the matter of the %olden a""les. ;$t
some sa# that before this Atalanta had been $ntr$e to 0elanion and
borne 0elea%er a child called Partheno"ae$s, whom she e3"osed on
the same hill where the she1bear had s$ckled her. e too s$rvived and
afterwards defeated Idas in Ionia and marched with the 4even
(ham"ions a%ainst 6hebes. Accordin% to others, Ares, not 0elea%er,
was Partheno"ae$s>s father- Atalanta>s h$sband was not 0elanion b$t
i""omenes- and she was the da$%hter of 4choene$s, who r$led
;oeotian 5nchest$s. It is added that she and he "ro"haned a
sanct$ar# not of <e$s b$t of (#bele, who t$rned them into lions and
#oked them to her chariot.
1. Greek "h#sicians credited the marshmallow .althaia, from
althainein, Hto c$re>/ with healin% virt$e and, bein% the first s"rin%
flower from which bees s$ck hone#, it had m$ch the same m#thic
im"ortance as iv#1blossom, the last. 6he (al#donian h$nt is heroic
sa%a, based "erha"s on a famo$s boar h$nt, and on an Aetolian clan
fe$d occasioned b# it. ;$t the sacred kin%>s death at the onset of a
boarIwhose c$rved t$sks dedicated it to the moonIis ancient m#th,
and e3"lains the introd$ction into the stor# of heroes from several
different Greek states who had s$ffered this fate. 6he boar was
"ec$liarl# the emblem of (al#don, and sacred to Ares, 0elea%er>s
re"$ted father.
*. 6o3e$s>s lea" over the fosse is "aralleled b# Rem$s>s lea" over
Rom$l$s>s wall- it s$%%ests the wides"read c$stom of sacrificin% a
ro#al "rince at the fo$ndation of a cit# .I Aings/. 0elea%er>s brand
recalls several (eltic m#ths, a hero>s death takin% "lace when some
e3ternal obGectIa fr$it, a tree, or an animalIis destro#ed.
7. Artemis was worshi""ed as a meleagris, or %$inea1hen, in the island
of 'eros, and on the Athenian Acro"olis- the c$lt is of &ast African
ori%in, to G$d%e from this "artic$lar variet# of %$inea1fowlIwhich had a
bl$e wattle, as o""osed to the red1wattled Italian bird introd$ced from
?$midiaIand its D$eer cl$ckin%s were taken to be so$nds of
mo$rnin%. :evotees of neither Artemis nor Isis mi%ht eat %$inea1fowl.
6he 'erians> re"$tation for evil1livin% ma# have been d$e to their
reli%io$s conservatism, like the (retans> re"$tation for l#in%.
8. 4he1bears were sacred to Artemis, and Atalanta>s race a%ainst
0elanion is "robabl# ded$ced from an icon which showed the doomed
kin%, with the %olden a""les in his hand, bein% chased to death b# the
%oddess. A com"anion icon will have shown an ima%e of Artemis
s$""orted b# two lions, as on the %ate at 0#cenae, and on several
0#cenaean and (retan seals. 6he second version of the m#th seems to
be the older, if onl# beca$se 4choene$s, Atalanta>s father, stands for
4choenis, a title of A"hrodite>s- and beca$se <e$s does not fi%$re in it.
5. Wh# the lovers were "$nishedIhere the m#tho%ra"hers
mistakenl# refer to Plin#, tho$%h Plin# sa#s, on the contrar#, that lions
vi%oro$sl# "$nish lionesses for matin% with leo"ards .Natural !istor/I
is a "roblem of %reater interest than 4ir 2ames !raAer in his notes on
A"ollodor$s allows. It seems to record an old e3o%amic r$lin%,
accordin% to which members of the same totem clan co$ld not marr#
one another, nor co$ld lion clansmen marr# into the leo"ard clan,
which belon%ed to the same s$b1"hratr#- as the lamb and %oat clans
co$ld not intermarr# at Athens.
+. 5ene$s was not the onl# ellenic kin% who withheld a sacrifice
from Artemis. er demands were m$ch more severe than those of
other 5l#m"ian deities, and even in (lassical times incl$ded holoca$sts
of livin% animals. 6hese 5ene$s will hardl# have denied her- b$t the
Arcadian and ;oeotian "ractice was to sacrifice the kin% himself, or a
s$rro%ate, as the Actaeon sta%- and 5ene$s ma# well have ref$sed to
be torn in "ieces.
Te6a0o3 $3d )e6e2s
6& mother of Aeac$s>s two elder sons, namel# 6elamon and
Pele$s, was &ndeis, 4ciron>s da$%hter. Phoc$s, the #o$n%est, was a son
of the ?ereid Psamathe, who had t$rned herself into a seal while
$ns$ccessf$ll# tr#in% to esca"e from Aeac$s>s embraces. 6he# all lived
to%ether in the island of Ae%ina.
b. Phoc$s was Aeac$s>s favo$rite, and his e3cellence at athletic %ames
drove 6elamon and Pele$s wild with Gealo$s#. !or the sake of "eace,
therefore, he led a "art# of Ae%inetan emi%rants to Phocis, where
another Phoc$s, a son of 5rn#tion the (orinthian, had alread#
coloniAed the nei%hbo$rhood of 6ithorea and :el"hiIand in the co$rse
of time his sons e3tended the state of Phocis to its "resent limits.
5ne da# Aeac$s sent for Phoc$s, "erha"s intendin% to beD$eath him
the island kin%dom- b$t, enco$ra%ed b# their mother, 6elamon and
Pele$s "lotted to kill him on his ret$rn. 6he# challen%ed Phoc$s to a
five1fold athletic contest, and whether it was 6elamon who felled him,
as if accidentall#, b# throwin% a stone disc$s at his head, and Pele$s
who then des"atched him with an a3e, or whether it was the other wa#
abo$t, has been m$ch dis"$ted ever since. In either case, 6elamon and
Pele$s were eD$all# %$ilt# of fratricide, and to%ether hid the bod# in a
wood, where Aeac$s fo$nd it. Phoc$s lies b$ried close to the Aeace$m.
c. 6elamon took ref$%e in the island of 4alamis, where (#chre$s was
kin%, and sent back a messen%er, den#in% an# "art in the m$rder.
Aeac$s, in re"l#- forbade him ever a%ain to set foot in Ae%ina, tho$%h
"ermittin% him to "lead his case from the sea. Rather than stand and
sho$t on the rockin% deck of his shi" anchored behind the breakers,
6elamon sailed one ni%ht into what is now called the 4ecret arbo$r,
and sent masons ashore to b$ild a mole, which wo$ld serve him as
rostr$m- the# finished this task before dawn, and it is still to be seen.
Aeac$s, however, reGected his eloD$ent "lea that Phoc$s>s death was
accidental, and 6elamon ret$rned to 4alamis, where he married the
kin%>s da$%hter Gla$ce, and s$cceeded to (#chre$s>s throne.
d. 6his (#chre$s, a son of Poseidon and 4alamis, da$%hter of the river
Aso"$s, had been chosen Fin% of 4alamis when he killed a ser"ent to
end its wides"read rava%es. ;$t he ke"t a #o$n% ser"ent of the same
breed which behaved in the same destr$ctive wa# $ntil e3"elled b#
&$r#loch$s, a com"anion of 5d#sse$s- :emeter then welcomed it at
&le$sis as one of her attendants. ;$t some e3"lain that (#chre$s
himself, called H4er"ent> beca$se of his cr$elt#, was banished b#
&$r#loch$s and took ref$%e at &le$sis, where he was a""ointed to a
minor office in :emeter>s sanct$ar#. e became, at all events, one of
the %$ardian heroes of 4alamis, the 4er"ent Isle- there he was b$ried,
his face t$rned to the west, and a""eared in ser"ent form amon% the
Greek shi"s at the famo$s victor# of 4alamis. 4acrifices were offered at
his tomb, and when the Athenians dis"$ted the "ossession of the
island with the 0e%arians, 4olon the famo$s law1%iver sailed across b#
ni%ht and "ro"itiated him.
e. 5n the death of his wife Gla$ce, 6elamon married Periboea of
Athens, a %rand1da$%hter of Pelo"s, who bore him Great AGa3- and later
the ca"tive esione, da$%hter of 'aomedon, who bore him the eD$all#
well1known 6e$cer.
f. Pele$s fled to the co$rt of Actor, Fin% of Phthia, b# whose ado"ted
son &$r#tion he was "$rified. Actor then %ave him his da$%hter
Pol#mela in marria%e, and a third "art of the kin%dom. 5ne da#
&$r#tion, who r$led over another third "art, took Pele$s to h$nt the
(al#donian hoar, b$t Pele$s s"eared him accidentall# and fled to
Iolc$s, where he was once more "$rified, this time b# Acast$s, son of
%. Acast$s>s wife, (retheis, tried to sed$ce Pele$s and, when he
reb$ffed her advances, l#in%l# told Pol#mela, He intends to desert #o$
and marr# m# da$%hter 4tero"e.> Pol#mela believed (retheis>s
mischievo$s tale, and han%ed herself. ?ot content with the harm she
had done, (retheis went wee"in% to Acast$s, and acc$sed Pele$s of
havin% attem"ted her virt$e.
h. 'oth to kill the man whom he had "$rified, Acast$s challen%ed him
to a h$ntin% contest on 0o$nt Pelion. ?ow, in reward for his chastit#,
the %ods had %iven Pele$s a ma%ic sword, for%ed b# :aedal$s which
had the "ro"ert# of makin% its owner victorio$s in battle and eD$all#
s$ccessf$l in the chase. 6h$s he soon "iled $" a %reat hea" of sta%s,
bears, and boars- b$t when he went off to kill even more Acast$s>s
com"anions claimed the "re# as their master>s and Geered a his want
of skill. H'et the dead beasts decide this matter with their own mo$thsO>
cried Pele$s, who had c$t o$t their ton%$es, and now "rod$ced them
from a ba% to "rove that he had easil# won the contest.
i. After a festive s$""er, in the co$rse of which he o$tdid all other as a
trencher1man, Pele$s fell fast aslee". Acast$s then robbed him of his
ma%ic sword, hid it $nder a "ile of cow1d$n%, and stole awa# with his
followers. Pele$s awoke to find himself deserted, disarmed, and
s$rro$nded b# wild (enta$rs, who were on the "oint of m$rderin% him
however, their kin% (heiron not onl# intervened to save his life, b$t
divined where the sword la# hidden and restored it to him.
G. 0eanwhile, on the advice of 6hemis, <e$s chose Pele$s to be the
h$sband of the ?ereid 6hetis, whom he wo$ld have married himself
had he not been disco$ra%ed b# the !ates> "ro"hec# that an# son born
to 6hetis wo$ld become far more "owerf$l than his father. e was also
ve3ed that 6hetis had reGected his advances, for her foster1mother
era>s sake, and therefore vowed that she sho$ld never marr# an
immortal. era, however, %ratef$ll# decided to match her with the
noblest of mortals, and s$mmoned all 5l#m"ians to the weddin% when
the moon sho$ld ne3t be f$ll, at the same time sendin% her messen%er
to Fin% (heiron>s cave with an order for Pele$s to make read#.
k. ?ow, (heiron foresaw that 6hetis, bein% immortal, wo$ld at first
resent the marria%e- and, actin% on his instr$ctions, Pele$s concealed
himself behind a b$sh of "atti1colo$red m#rtle1berries on the shores of
a 6hessalian islet, where 6hetis often came, ridin% naked on a
harnessed dol"hin, to enGo# her midda# slee" in the cave which this
b$sh half screened. ?o sooner had she entered the cave and fallen
aslee" than Pele$s seiAed hold of her. 6he str$%%le was silent and
fierce. 6hetis t$rned s$ccessivel# into fire, water, a lion, and a ser"ent-
b$t Pele$s had been warned what to e3"ect, and cl$n% to her
resol$tel#, even when she became an enormo$s sli""er# c$ttle1fish
and sD$irted ink at himIa chan%e which acco$nts for the name of
(a"e 4e"ias, the near1b# "romontor#, now sacred to the ?ereids.
6ho$%h b$rned, drenched, ma$led, st$n%, and covered with stick#
se"ia ink, Pele$s wo$ld not let her %o and, in the end, she #ielded and
the# la# locked in a "assionate embrace.
1. 6heir weddin% was celebrated o$tside (heiron>s cave on 0o$nt
Pelion. 6he 5l#m"ians attended, seated on twelve thrones. era
herself raised the bridal torch, and <e$s, now reconciled to his defeat,
%ave 6hetis awa#. 6he !ates and the 0$ses san%- Gan#medes "o$red
nectar- and the fift# ?ereids "erformed a s"iral dance on the white
sands. (rowds of (enta$rs attended the ceremon#, wearin% cha"lets of
%rass, brandishin% darts of fir, and "ro"hes#in% %ood fort$ne.
m. (heiron %ave Pele$s a s"ear- Athene had "olished its shaft, which
was c$t from an ash on the s$mmit of Pelion- and e"haest$s had
for%ed its blade. 6he Gods> Goint %ift was a ma%nificent s$it of %olden
armo$r, to which Poseidon added the two immortal horses ;ali$s and
Xanth$sIb# the West Wind o$t of the ar"# Podar%e.
n. ;$t the %oddess &ris, who had not been invited, was determined to
"$t the divine %$ests at lo%%er1heads, and while era, Athene, and
A"hrodite were chattin% amicabl# to%ether, arm in arm, she rolled a
%olden a""le at their feet. Pele$s "icked it $", and stood embarrassed
b# its inscri"tion, H6o the !airestO>, not knowin% which of the three
mi%ht be intended. 6his a""le was the "roto1catarctical ca$se of the
6roGan War.
o. 4ome describe Pele$s>s wife 6hetis as (heiron>s da$%hter, and a
mere mortal- and sa# that (heiron, wishin% to hono$r Pele$s, s"read
the r$mo$r that he had married the %oddess, her mistress.
". 0eanwhile Pele$s, whose fort$nes the kindl# (heiron had restored,
and who now also acD$ired lar%e herds of cattle as a dowr#, sent some
of these to Phthia as an indemnit# for his accidental killin% of &$r#tion-
b$t, when the "a#ment was ref$sed b# the Phthians, let them to roam
at will abo$t the co$ntr#side. 6his "roved to have been a fort$nate
decision, beca$se a fierce wolf which Psamathe had sent after him, to
aven%e the death of her son Phoc$s, so %l$tted its h$n%er on these
masterless cattle that it co$ld hardl# crawl. When Pele$s and 6hetis
came face to face with the wolf, it made as if to s"rin% at Pele$s>s
throat, b$t 6hetis %lowered balef$ll# with "rotr$ded ton%$e, and t$rned
it into a stone, which is still "ointed o$t on the road between 'ocris and
D. 'ater, Pele$s ret$rned to Iolc$s, where <e$s s$""lied him with an
arm# of ants transformed into warriors- and th$s he became known as
Fin% of the 0#rmidons. e ca"t$red the cit# sin%le1handed, killed first
Acast$s, then the cowerin% (retheis- and led his 0#rmidons into the
cit# between the "ieces of her dismembered bod#.
r. 6hetis s$ccessivel# b$rned awa# the mortal "arts of her si3 sons b#
Pele$s, in order to make them immortal like herself, and sent each of
them in t$rn $" to 5l#m"$s. ;$t Pele$s contrived to match the seventh
from her when she had alread# made all his bod#, e3ce"t the ankle1
bone, immortal b# la#in% it on the fire and afterwards r$bbin% it with
ambrosia- the half1charred ankle1bone had esca"ed this final
treatment. &nra%ed b# his interference, 6hetis said farewell to Pele$s,
and ret$rned to her home in the sea, namin% her son HAchilles>,
beca$se he had as #et "laced no li"s to her breast. Pele$s "rovided
Achilles with a new ankle1bone, taken from the skeleton of the swift
%iant :am#s$s, b$t this was fated to "rove his $ndoin%.
s. 6oo old to fi%ht at 6ro# himself, Pele$s later %ave Achilles the %olden
armo$r, the ashen s"ear, and the two horses which had been his
weddin% "resents. e was event$all# e3"elled from Phthia b#
Acast$s>s sons, who no lon%er feared him when the# heard of Achilles>s
death- b$t 6hetis instr$cted him to visit the cave b# the m#rtle1b$sh,
where he had first mastered her, and wait there $ntil she took him
awa# to live with her for ever in the de"ths of the sea. Pele$s went to
the cave, and ea%erl# watched the "assin% shi"s, ho"in% that one of
them mi%ht be brin%in% his %randson ?eo"tolem$s back from 6ro#.
t. ?eo"tolem$s, meanwhile, was refittin% his shattered fleet in 0olossia
and, when he heard of Pele$s>s banishment, dis%$ised himself as a
6roGan ca"tive and took shi" for Iolc$s, there contrivin% to kill Acast$s>s
sons and seiAe the cit#. ;$t Pele$s, %rowin% im"atient, had chartered a
vessel for a vo#a%e to 0olossia- ro$%h weather drove her to the island
of Fos, near &$boea, where he died and was b$ried, th$s forfeitin% the
immortalit# which 6hetis had "romised him.
1. 6he m#th of Aeac$s, Psamathe .Hsand# shore>/, and Phoc$s .Hseal>/
occ$rs in the folklore of almost ever# &$ro"ean co$ntr#. )s$all# the
hero sees a flock of seals swimmin% towards a deserted shore $nder a
f$ll moon, and then ste""in% o$t of their skins to reveal themselves as
#o$n% women. e hides behind a rock, while the# dance naked on the
sand, then seiAes one of the seal skins, th$s winnin% "ower over its
owner, whom he %ets with child. &vent$all# the# D$arrel- she re%ains
her skin and swims awa#. 6he dance of the fift# ?ereids at 6hetis>s
weddin%, and her ret$rn to the sea after the birth of Achilles, a""ear to
be fra%ments the same m#thIthe ori%in of which seems to have been
a rit$al dance of fift# seal1"riestesses, dedicated to the 0oon, which
formed a "roem to the (hief1"riestess>s choice of a sacred kin%. ere
the scene is set Ae%ina b$t, to G$d%e from the stor# of Pele$s>s str$%%le
near (a"e 4e"ias, a similar rit$al was "erformed in 0a%nesia b# a
colle%e of c$ttle1fish "riestessesIthe c$ttle1fish a""ears "rominentl#
in (retan works art, incl$din% the standard wei%ht from the Ro#al
6reas$r# at (noss$s, and also on me%alithic mon$ments at (arnac and
elsewhere in ;rittan#. It has ei%ht tentacles, as the sacred anemone of
Pelion has ei%ht "etalsIei%ht bein% the n$mber of fertilit# in
0editerranean m#th. Pele$s .Hm$dd#>/ ma# have become the sacred
kin%>s title after he had been anointed with se"ia, since he is described
as the son of &ndeis, Hthe entan%ler>, a s#non#m for the c$ttle1fish.
*. Acast$s>s h$ntin% "art#, the s$bseD$ent banD$et, and the loss of
Pele$s>s ma%ic sword seem to be mistakenl# ded$ced from an icon
which showed the "reliminaries to a coronation ceremon#, coronation
im"l#in% marria%e to the tribal heiress. 6he scene a""arentl# incl$ded
the kin%>s rit$al combat with men dressed as beasts, and the drawin% a
re%al sword from a cleft rock .misinter"reted b# the m#tho%ra"her as a
hea" of cow d$n%/Ias in the m#ths of 6hese$s and Fin% Arth$r of
'#onesse. ;$t the ashen s"ear c$t b# (heiron from 0o$nt Pelion is an
earlier s#mbol of soverei%nt# than the sword.
7. 6hetis>s transformations s$%%est a dis"la# of the %oddess>s seasonal
"owers "resented in a seD$ence of dances. 6he m#rtle behind which
Pele$s first met her, emblemiAed the last month of his "redecessor>s
rei%n- and therefore served as their rendeAvo$s when his own rei%n
ended. 6his m#th seems to record a treat#1marria%e, attended b#
re"resentatives of twelve confederate tribes or clans, between a
Phthian "rince and the 0oon1"riestess of Iolc$s in 6hessal#.
8. It ma# well be that the a$thor of the old &n%lish Seege or
Battale of Tro drew on a lost (lassical so$rce when he made Pele$s
Hhalf man, half horse>, that is to sa#, Pele$s was ado"ted into an Aeacid
horse1oak clan. 4$ch an ado"tion will have im"lied a sacrificial horse1
feast, which e3"lains the weddin% %ift of ;ali$s and Xanth$s witho$t a
chariot for them to draw. 6he (enta$rs of 0a%nesia and the
6hessalians of Iolc$s seem to have been bo$nd b# an e3o%amic
alliance, hence the statement b# the scholiast on A"olloni$s Rhodi$s
that Pele$s>s wife was, in realit#, (heiron>s da$%hter.
5. Pele$s>s embarrassment when he looked at the a""le thrown
down b# &ris s$%%ests a "ict$re of the 0oon1%oddess, in triad,
"resentin% the a""le of immortalit# to the sacred kin%. Acast$s>s
m$rder, and Pele$s>s march into the cit# between the dismembered
"ieces of (retheis>s bod#, ma# be a misinter"retation of an icon which
showed a new kin% abo$t to ride thro$%h the streets of his ca"ital after
havin% rit$all# hacked his "redecessor in "ieces with an a3e.
+. 6he freD$ent m$rders, accidental or intentional, which ca$sed
"rinces to leave home and be "$rified b# forei%n kin%s, whose
da$%hters the# then married, are an invention of later m#tho%ra"hers.
6here is no reason to s$""ose that Pele$s left Ae%ina, or Phthia, $nder
a clo$d- at a time when kin%shi" went b# matrilineal s$ccession,
candidates for the throne alwa#s came from abroad, and the new kin%
was reborn into the ro#al ho$se after rit$all# m$rderin% his
"redecessor. e then chan%ed his name and tribe, which was e3"ected
to throw the ven%ef$l %host of the m$rdered man off his scent.
4imilarl#, 6elamon of Ae%ina went to 4alamis, was chosen as the new
kin%, killed the old kin%Iwho became an orac$lar heroIand married
the chief1"riestess of an owl colle%e. It was fo$nd convenient, in more
civiliAed times, when m$ch the same rit$al was $sed to "$rif# ordinar#
criminals, to for%et that kin%shi" im"lied m$rder, and to s$%%est that
Pele$s, 6elamon, and the rest had been involved in crimes or scandals
$nconnected with their accession to the throne. 6he scandal is
freD$entl# a false acc$sation of havin% attem"ted a D$een>s virt$e.
(#chre$s>s connection with the &le$sinian 0#steries and 6elamon>s
marria%e to an Athenian "rincess became im"ortant when, in +*= ;(,
Athens and 0e%ara dis"$ted the "ossession of 4alamis. 6he 4"artans
G$d%ed the case, and the Athenian ambassadors s$ccessf$ll# based
their claim on 6elamon>s connection with Attica .Pl$tarch, Solon/.
9. Phoc$s>s death b# the disc$s, like that of Acrisi$s, seems to be a
misinter"retation of an icon which showed the end of the seal1kin%>s
rei%nIthe fl#in% disc$s bein% a s$n1disk- as the m#th makes "lain, the
sacrificial wea"on was an a3e. 4everal heroes besides Achilles were
killed b# a heel wo$nd, and not onl# in Greek b$t in &%#"tian, (eltic,
'#dian, Indian, and ?orse m#tholo%#.
8. 6he b$rnin% of 6hetis>s sons was common "ractice, the #earl#
sacrifice of bo# s$rro%ates for the sacred kin%. At the close of the
ei%hth #ear the kin% himself died. A "arallel in the Indian Mahabharata
is the drownin% b# the Gan%es1%oddess of her seven sons b# the God
Frishna. e saves the last, ;hishma- then she deserts him. Actor>s
division of his kin%dom into three "arts is "aralleled in the m#th of
Proet$s, the sacred kin%, instead of lettin% himself be sacrificed when
his rei%n was d$e to end, retailed one "art of his kin%dom, and
beD$eathed the remainder to his s$ccessors. 4$bseD$ent kin%s
insisted on a lifetime ten$re of soverei%nt#.
9. Pele$s>s death at (os s$%%ests that his name was a ro#al title
there as well as at Phthia, Iolc$s, and 4alamis. e became kin% of the
0#rmidons beca$se the Phthians worshi""ed their %oddess as 0#rme3
.Hant>/. Antonin$s 'iberalis>s stor# of 6hetis and the wolf seems to have
been ded$ced from an icon which showed a "riestess of Wolfish
A"hrodite .Pa$sanias/ wearin% a Gor%on mask as she sacrifices cattle.
CP4&)4, a hi%h1kin% of the 'a"iths, whom the ?aiad (re$sa bore
to the River1%od Penei$s, married (hlidano"e, another ?aiad, and had
b# her a da$%hter, (#rene. (#rene des"ised s"innin%, weavin%, and
similar ho$sehold tasks- instead, she wo$ld h$nt wild beasts on 0o$nt
Pelion all da# and half the ni%ht, e3"lainin% that her father>s flocks and
herds needed "rotection. A"ollo once watched her wrestlin% with a
"owerf$l lion- he s$mmoned Fin% (heiron the (enta$r to witness the
combat .from which (#rene, as $s$al, emer%ed tri$m"hant/ askin% her
name, and whether she wo$ld make him a s$itable bride. (heiron
la$%hed. e was aware that A"ollo not onl# knew her name, b$t had
alread# made $" his mind to carr# her off, either when he saw her
%$ardin% #"se$s>s flocks b# the river Penei$s, or when she received
two h$ntin% do%s from his hands as a "riAe for winnin% the foot race at
Pelias>s f$neral %ames.
b. (heiron f$rther "ro"hesied that A"ollo wo$ld conve# (#rene
overseas to the richest %arden of <e$s, and make her the D$een of a
%reat cit#, havin% first %athered an island "eo"le abo$t a hill risin%
from a "lain. Welcomed b# )lb#a to a %olden "alace, she wo$ld win a
D$eendom eD$all# beneficent to h$nters and farmers, and there bear
him a son. ermes wo$ld act as man1midwife and carr# the child,
called Ariste$s, or Aristae$s, to the enthroned o$rs and 0other &arth,
biddin% them feed him on nectar and ambrosia. When Aristae$s %rew
to manhood, he wo$ld win the titles of HImmortal <e$s>, HP$re A"ollo>,
and HG$ardian of the !locks>.
c. A"ollo d$l# took (#rene awa# in his %olden chariot, to the site of
what is now the cit# of (#rene- A"hrodite was waitin% to %reet their
arrival, and bedded them witho$t dela# in 'ib#a>s %olden chamber.
6hat evenin% A"ollo "romised (#rene a lon% life in which to ind$l%e her
"assion for h$ntin% and rei%n over a fertile co$ntr#. e then left her to
the care of certain 0#rtle1n#m"hs, children of ermes, on the near1b#
hills, where she bore Aristae$s and, after a second visit from A"ollo,
Idmon the seer. ;$t she also la# with Ares one ni%ht, and bore him the
6hracian :iomedes, owner of the man1eatin% mares.
d. 6he 0#rtle1n#m"hs, nicknamin% Aristae$s HA%re$s> and H?omi$s>,
ta$%ht him how to c$rdle milk for cheese, b$ild bee1hives, and make
the oleaster #ield the c$ltivated olive. 6hese $sef$l arts he "assed on
to others, who %ratef$ll# "aid him divine hono$rs. !rom )lb#a he sailed
to ;oeotia, after which A"ollo led him to (heiron>s cave for instr$ction
in certain 0#steries.
e. When Aristae$s had %rown to manhood, the 0$ses married him to
A$tono@, b# whom he became the father of the ill1fated Actaeon, and
of 0acris, n$rse to :ion#s$s. 6he# also ta$%ht him the art of healin%
and "ro"hec#, and set him to watch over their shee" which %raAed
across the Athamantian Plain of Phthia, and abo$t 0o$nt 5thr#s, and in
the valle# of the river A"idan$s. It was here that Aristae$s "erfected
the art of h$ntin%, ta$%ht him b# (#rene.
f. 5ne da# he went to cons$lt the :el"hic 5racle, and was told to visit
the island of (eos, where he wo$ld be %reatl# hono$red. 4ettin% sail at
once, Aristae$s fo$nd that the scorchin% :o%1star had ca$sed a "la%$e
amon% the islanders, in ven%eance of Icari$s whose secret m$rderers
were shelterin% amon% them. Aristae$s s$mmoned the "eo"le, raised
a %reat altar in the mo$ntains, and offered sacrifices on it to <e$s, at
the same time "ro"itiatin% the :o%1star b# "$ttin% the m$rderers to
death. <e$s was %ratified and ordered the &tesian Winds, in f$t$re, to
cool Greece and its adGacent islands for fort# da#s from the :o%1star>s
risin%. 6h$s the "la%$e ceased, and the (eans not onl# showered
Aristae$s with %ratit$de, b$t still contin$e to "ro"itiate the :o%1star
ever# #ear before its a""earance.
%. e then visited Arcadia and, later, settled at 6em"e. ;$t there all his
bees died and, %reatl# distressed, he went to a dee" "ool in the rive
Penei$s where he knew that (#rene wo$ld be sta#in% with her ?aiad
sisters. is a$nt, Areth$sa, heard an im"lorin% voice thro$%h the water-
"$t o$t her head, reco%niAed Aristae$s, and invited him down to the
wonderf$l "alace of the ?aiads. 6hese washed him with water drawn
from a "er"et$al s"rin% and, after a sacrificial feast, he was advised b#
(#rene, H;ind m# co$sin Prote$s, and force him to e3"lain wh# #o$r
bees sickened.>
h. Prote$s was takin% his midda# rest in a cave on the island Pharos,
shelterin% from the heat of the :o%1star, and Aristae$s, havin%
overcome him, des"ite his chan%es, learned that the bees> sickness
was his "$nishment for havin% ca$sed &$r#dice>s death- and it was
tr$e that when he had made love to her on the river1bank near 6em"e,
she had fled from him and been bitten b# a ser"ent.
i. Aristae$s now ret$rned to the ?aiads> "alace, where (#rene
instr$cted him to raise fo$r altars in the woods to the :r#ads,
&$r#dice>s com"anions, and sacrifice fo$r #o$n% b$lls and fo$r heifers-
then to "o$r a libation of blood, leavin% the carcasses where the# la#
and finall# to ret$rn in the mornin%, nine da#s later, brin%in% "o""ies of
for%etf$llness, a fatted calf, and a black ewe to "ro"itiate the %host of
5r"he$s, who had now Goined &$r#dice below. Aristae$s obe#ed and,
on the ninth mornin%, a swarm of bees rose from the rottin% carcasses
and settled on a tree. e ca"t$red the swarm, which he "$t into a hive-
and the Arcadians now hono$r him as <e$s for havin% ta$%ht them this
method of raisin% new swarms of bees.
G. 'ater, distressed b# the death of his son Actaeon, which arose in him
a hatred of ;oeotia, he sailed with his followers to 'ib#a, where he
asked (#rene for a fleet in which to emi%rate. 4he %ladl# com"lied, and
soon he was at sea a%ain, makin% north1westward. &nchanted b# the
sava%e bea$t# of 4ardinia, his first landfall, he be%an to c$ltivate it
and, havin% be%otten two sons there, was "resentl# Goined b#
:aedal$s- b$t is said to have fo$nded no cit# there.
k. Aristae$s visited other distant islands, and s"ent some #ears in
4icil#, where he received divine hono$rs, es"eciall# from the olive1
%rowers. !inall# he went to 6hrace, and s$""lemented his ed$cation b#
takin% "art in the 0#steries of :ion#s$s. After livin% for a while near
0o$nt aem$s, and fo$ndin% the cit# of Aristae$m, he disa""eared
witho$t trace, and is now worshi""ed as a %od both b# the 6hracian
barbarians and b# civiliAed Greeks
1. Aristae$s>s ori%ins have been embroidered $"on b# Pindar, to flatter
a descendant of ;att$s who, in +91 ;( led a colon# from 6hera to
'ib#a, where he fo$nded (#rene, and was the first kin% of a lon%
d#nast#. 6he (#reneans claimed their ancestor Aristae$sIaccordin% to
2$stin, ;att$s .Hton%$e1tied>/ was onl# his nickname as the son of
A"ollo, beca$se A"ollo had been worshi""ed in 6hera- and the "ort of
(#rene was conseD$entl# called A"ollonia. ;$t (#rene was a
m#tholo%ical fi%$re lon% before ;att$s>s time. er association with the
(enta$rs shows that she was %oddess of a 0a%nesian horse c$lt
im"orted to 6hera- for (heiron>s name also a""ears in earl# 6heran
rock inscri"tions. 6he m#th of Idmon>s birth from (#rene and Ares
refers to this earlier %oddess.
*. 0#rtle is ori%inall# a death1tree, and the 0#rtle1n#m"hs were
therefore "ro"hetesses ca"able of instr$ctin% #o$n% Aristae$s- b$t it
became s#mbolic of coloniAation, beca$se emi%rants took m#rtle
bo$%hs with them to demonstrate that the# had ended an e"och.
7. Aristae$s was a c$lt1title of Arcadian and (ean <e$s- and elsewhere
of A"ollo and ermes. Accordin% to 4ervi$s esiod called Aristae$s Ha
"astoral A"ollo>. At 6ana%ra in ;oeotia .Pa$sanias/ ermes was known
as HRam1bearer>, and fish were sacred to him at Pharae in Achaea
.Pa$sanias/. 6h$s a tomb1"aintin% at (#rene shows HAristae$s>
s$rro$nded b# shee" and fish and carr#in% a ram. is wanderin%s are
offered in e3"lanation of the c$ltItitle Aristae$s, which occ$rs in 4icil#,
4ardinia, (eos, ;oeotia, 6hessal#, 0acedonia, and Arcadia. 6he :o%1
star is the &%#"tian %od 6hoth, identified with ermes, who was known
as Aristae$s b# the (eans.
8. is raisin% of bees from the carcasses of cattle has been mistold
b# Bir%il. 6he# will have swarmed, rather, from the lion which (#rene
lolled, or which was killed in her hono$r. 6his m#th, like that of
4amson>s bees which swarmed from a lion>s carcass, seems to be
ded$ced from a "rimitive icon showin% a naked woman t$sslin%
amoro$sl# with a lion, while a bee hovers above the carcass of another
lion. 6he naked woman is the 'ion1%oddess (#rene, or e"at$ the
ittite, or Anatha of 4#ria, or era the 'ion1%oddess of 0#cenae, and
her "artner is the sacred kin%, who is d$e to die $nder the mids$mmer
si%n of 'eo, emblemiAed b# a knife in the &%#"tian <odiac. 'ike
6hese$s or eracles, he wears a lion mask and skin, and is animated
b# the s"irit of the dead lion, his "redecessor, which a""ears as a bee.
6his is s"rin%1time, when bees first swarm, b$t afterwards, as the
0ids$mmer ;ee1%oddess, she will stin% him to death, and emasc$late
him. 6he lion which the sacred kin% himself killedIas did both eracles
and his friend Ph#li$s the Pelo"onnese- or (#Aic$s on 0o$nt :ind#m$m
in the 4ea of 0armara- or 4amson in Philistia .Fudges/-or :avid at
;ethlehem .Samuel/Iwas one of the beasts which challen%ed him to a
rit$al combat at his coronation.
5. Bir%il>s acco$nt of Aristae$s>s visit to the river Penei$s ill$strates
the irres"onsible $se of m#th, Prote$s, who lived at Pharos in the ?ile
:elta, has been dra%%ed into the stor# b# the heelsIthere was a
famo$s oracle of A"ollo at 6em"e, which Aristae$s, his son- wo$ld
nat$rall# have cons$lted- Areth$sa, a Pelo"onnesian stream, had no
b$siness in the Penei$s- and Aristae$s is shown different chambers in
the ?aiads> "alace, where the so$rces of the 6iber, the Po, the Anio,
the Phasis, and other widel# se"arated rivers are ke"tIa
m#tholo%icall# abs$rd conce"tion.
+. &3"ort of oil to 4icil# will have been more "rofitable to the
(retans than that of olive1%rafts- b$t once ellenic colonies had been
fo$nded on the so$thern coast in late 0#cenaean times, olive1c$lt$re
was established there. 6he Aristae$s who visited 4icil# ma# be
identified with <e$s 0ori$s, who was res"onsible for distrib$tin% %rafts
of the sacred olive1trees descended from the one "lanted b# Athene on
the Athenian Acro"olis. e ma# also have introd$ced the science of
bee1kee"in% which came to Athens from 0inoan (rete, where
"rofessional beekee"ers had a bee and a %love as their trade device,
and $sed terracotta hives. 6he Greek word for bee1bread, cerinthos, is
(retan- and so m$st all the related words beIs$ch as cerion, hone#1
comb, cerinos, wa3en, and cera&his, Hbee1moth>Ia kind of loc$st. (er,
in fact, whose name .also s"elt (ar or L>re/ came %enerall# to mean
Hfate>, Hdoom>, or Hdestin#> m$lti"lied into ceres, Hs"ites, "la%$es, or
$nseen illnesses>Im$st have been the (retan ;ee1%oddess, a %oddess
of :eath in 'ife. 6h$s the 4"hin31%oddess of 6hebes is called b#
Aesch#l$s .Se)en $gainst ThebesE Hthe man1snatchin% (er>.
0I:A4, son of the Great Goddess of Ida, b# a sat#r whose name is
not remembered, was a "leas$re1lovin% Fin% of 0acedonian ;romi$m,
where he r$led over the ;ri%ians .also called 0oschians/ and "lanted
his celebrated rose %ardens. In his infanc#, a "rocession of ants was
observed carr#in% %rains of wheat $" the side of his cradle and "lacin%
them between his li"s as he sle"tIa "rodi%# which the soothsa#ers
read as an omen of the %reat wealth that wo$ld accr$e to him- and
when he %rew older, 5r"he$s t$tored him.
b. 5ne da#, the deba$ched old sat#r 4ilen$s, :ion#s$s>s former
"eda%o%$e, ha""ened to stra%%le from the main bod# of the rioto$s
:ion#sian arm# as it marched o$t of 6hrace into ;oeotia, and was
fo$nd slee"in% off his dr$nken fit in the rose %ardens. 6he %ardeners
bo$nd him with %arlands of flowers and led him before 0idas, to whom
he told wonderf$l tales of an immense continent l#in% be#ond the
5cean stream1alto%ether se"arate from the conGoined mass of &$ro"e,
Asia, or AfricaIwhere s"lendid cities abo$nd, "eo"led b# %i%antic,
ha""#, and lon%1lived inhabitants, and enGo#in% a remarkable le%al
s#stem. A %reat e3"editionIat least ten million stron%Ionce set o$t
thence across the 5cean in shi"s to visit the #"erboreans- b$t on
learnin% that theirs was the best land that the old world had to offer,
retired in dis%$st. Amon% other wonders, 4ilen$s mentioned a fri%htf$l
whirl"ool be#ond which no traveller ma# "ass. 6wo streams flow close
b#, and trees %rowin% on the banks of the first bear fr$it that ca$ses
those who eat it to wee" and %roan and "ine awa#. ;$t fr$it %rowin% b#
the other 4tream renews the #o$th even of the ver# a%ed, in fact, after
"assin% backwards thro$%h middle a%e, #o$n% manhood, and
adolescence, the# become children a%ain, then infantsIand finall#
disa""earO 0idas, enchanted b# 4ilen$s>s fictions, entertained him for
five da#s and ni%hts, and then ordered a %$ide to escort him to
:ion#s$s>s headD$arters.
c. :ion#s$s, who had been an3io$s on 4ilen$s>s acco$nt, sent to ask
how 0idas wished to be rewarded. e re"lied witho$t hesitation, HPra#
%rant that all I to$ch be t$rned into %old.> owever, not onl# stones,
flowers, and the f$rnishin%s of his ho$se t$rned to %old b$t, when he
sat down to table, so did the food he ate and the water drank. 0idas
soon be%%ed to be released from his wish, beca$se he was fast d#in%
of h$n%er and thirst- where$"on :ion#s$s, hi%hl# entertained, told him
to visit the so$rce of the river Pactol$s, near 0o$nt 6mol$s, and there
wash himself. e obe#ed, and was at once freed from the %olden
to$ch, b$t the sands of the river Pactol$s are bri%ht with %old to this
d. 0idas, havin% th$s entered Asia with his train of ;ri%ians, was
ado"ted b# the childless Phr#%ian Fin% Gordi$s. While onl# a "oor
"easant, Gordi$s had been s$r"rised one da# to see a ro#al ea%le
"erch on the "ole of his o31cart. 4ince it seemed "re"ared to settle
there all da#, he drove the team towards Phr#%ian 6elmiss$s, now a
"art of Galatia, where there was a reliable oracle- b$t at the %ate of the
cit# he met a #o$n% "ro"hetess who, when she saw the ea%le still
"erched on the "ole, insisted on his offerin% immediate sacrifices to
<e$s the Fin%. H'et me come with #o$, "easant,> she said, Hto make
s$re that #o$ choose the correct victims.> H;# all means,> re"lied
Gordi$s. HCo$ a""ear to be a wise and considerate #o$n% woman. Are
#o$ "re"ared to marr# meJ> HAs soon as the sacrifices have been
offered,> she answered.
e. 0eanwhile, the Fin% of Phr#%ia had died s$ddenl#, witho$t iss$e,
and an oracle anno$nced, HPhr#%ians, #o$r new kin% is a""roachin%
with his bride, seated in an o31cartO> When the o31cart entered the
market "lace of 6elmiss$s, the ea%le at once attracted "o"$lar
attention, and Gordi$s was $nanimo$sl# acclaimed kin%. In %ratit$de,
he dedicated the cart to <e$s, to%ether with its #oke, which he had
knotted to the "ole in a "ec$liar manner. An oracle then declared that
whoever discovered how to $ntie the knot wo$ld become the lord of all
Asia. Coke and "ole were conseD$entl# laid $" in the Acro"olis at
Gordi$m, a cit# which Gordi$s had fo$nded, where the "riests of <e$s
%$arded them Gealo$sl# for cent$riesI$ntil Ale3ander the 0acedonian
"et$lantl# c$t the knot with his sword.
f. After Gordi$s>s death, 0idas s$cceeded to the throne, "romoted the
worshi" of :ion#s$s, and fo$nded the cit# of Anc#ra. 6he ;ri%ians who
had come with him became known as Phr#%ians, and the kin%s of
Phr#%ia are alternatel# named 0idas and Gordi$s to this da#- so that
the first 0idas is now mistakenl# described as a son of Gordi$s.
%. 0idas attended the famo$s m$sical contest between A"ollo and
0ars#as, $m"ired b# the River1%od 6mol$s. 6mol$s awarded the "riAe
to A"ollo who, when 0idas dissented from the verdict, "$nished him
with a "air of ass>s ears. !or a lon% time, 0idas mana%ed to conceal
these $nder a Phr#%ian ca"- b$t his barber, made aware of the
deformit#, fo$nd it im"ossible to kee" the shamef$l secret close, as
0idas had enGoined him to do on "ain of death. e therefore d$% a hole
in the river1bank and, first makin% s$re that nobod# was abo$t,
whis"ered into it, HFin% 0idas has ass>s earsO> 6hen he filled $" the
hole, and went awa#, at "eace with himself $ntil a reed s"ro$ted from
the bank and whis"ered the secret to all who "assed. When 0idas
learned that his dis%race had become "$blic knowled%e, he
condemned the barber to death, drank b$ll>s blood, and "erished
1. 0idas has been "la$sibl# identified with 0ita, Fin% of the 0oschians
.Hcalf1men>/, or 0$shki, a "eo"le of Pontic ori%in who, in the middle of
the second millenni$m ;(, occ$"ied the western "art of 6hrace,
afterwards known as 0acedonia- the# crossed the elles"ont abo$t the
#ear 1*== ;(, broke the "ower of the ittites in Asia 0inor, and
ca"t$red Pteria, their ca"ital. H0oschians> refers "erha"s to a c$lt of
the b$ll1calf as the s"irit of the sacred #ear. 0idas>s rose %ardens and
the acco$nt of his birth s$%%est an or%iastic c$lt of A"hrodite, to whom
the rose was sacred. 6he stor# of the %olden to$ch has been invented
to acco$nt for the riches of the 0ita d#nast#, and for the "resence of
%old in the Pactol$s river- and it is often said that the ass>s ears were
s$%%ested b# 0idas>s re"resentation as a sat#r, with hideo$sl#
len%thened ears, in Athenian comic drama.
*. ;$t since asses were sacred to his benefactor :ion#s$s, who set
a "air of them amon% the stars .#%in$s, Poetic $stronom/, it is likel#
that the ori%inal 0idas %loried in his ass dis%$ise. A "air of ass>s ears at
the ti" of a reed sce"tre was the token of ro#alt# carried b# all
&%#"tian d#nastic %ods, in memor# of the time when ass1eared 4et
r$led their "antheon. 4et had %reatl# declined in "ower $ntil his
tem"orar# revival b# the #ksos kin%s of the earl# second millenni$m
;(- b$t beca$se the ittites formed "art of the %reat horde of northern
conD$erors led b# the #ksos, ass1eared 0idas ma# well have claimed
soverei%nt# over the ittite &m"ire in 4et>s name. In "re1d#nastic
times, 4et has r$led the second half of the #ear, and ann$all#
m$rdered his brother 5siris, the s"irit of the first half, whose emblem
was a b$ll, the# were, fact, the familiar rival twins "er"et$all#
contendin% for the favo$rs their sister, the 0oon1%oddess Isis.
7. It is likel# that the icon from which the stor# of 0idas>s barber
derives showed the death of the ass1kin%. is s$n1ra# hair, the seat
ro#al "ower, is shorn off, like 4amson>s- his deca"itated bod# is b$ried
in a hole to %$ard the cit# of Anc#ra from invasion. 6he reed an
ambivalent s#mbol, as the Htree> of the twelfth month, %ives him
orac$lar warnin% of imminent death- it also enro#als his s$ccessor.
;eca$se of the %reat ma%ical "otenc# of b$ll>s blood, onl# "riestesses
of the &arth1mother co$ld drink it witho$t harm, and bein% the blood of
5siris, it wo$ld be "ec$liarl# "oisono$s an ass1kin%.
8. 6he secret of the Gordian knot seems to have been a reli%io$s
one, "robabl# the ineffable name of :ion#s$s, a knotIc#"her tied in
the hide thon%. Gordi$m was the ke# to Asia .Asia 0inor/ beca$se its
citadel commanded the onl# "racticable trade ro$te from 6ro# to
Antioch- an the local "riestess or "riest will have comm$nicated the
secret to the Fin of Phr#%ia alone, as the i%h1"riest alone was
entr$sted with the ineffable name of 2ehovah at 2er$salem. Ale3ander>s
br$tal c$ttin% of the knot when he marshalled his arm# at Gordi$m for
the invasion of Greater Asia, ended an ancient dis"ensation b# "lacin%
the "ower of the sword above that of reli%io$s m#ster#. Gordi$s .from
gru%ein, Hto %r$nt> or H%r$mble>/ was "erha"s so named from the
m$tterin% at his orac$lar shrine.
5. Wh# the stor# of the Atlantic (ontinent sho$ld have been attrib$ted
to the dr$nken 4ilen$s ma# be divined from three incidents re"orted b#
Pl$tarch .Life of Solon/. 6he first is that 4olon travelled e3tensivel# in
Asia 0inor and &%#"t- the second, that he believed the stor# of Atlantis
and t$rned it into an e"ic "oem- the third that he D$arrelled with
6hes"is the dramatist who, in his "la#s abo$t :ion#s$s, "$t l$dicro$s
s"eeches, a""arentl# f$ll of to"ical all$sion into the mo$ths of sat#rs.
4olon asked, H$re ou not alarmed, Thes&is, to tell so man lies to so
large an audience/> When 6hes"is answered HWhat does it matter
#hen the #hole &la is a Go(e0>, 4olon str$ck %ro$nd violentl# with his
staff, H,ncourage such Go(es in our theatre, an the #ill soon cree& into
our contracts and treaties2> Aelian, who D$oted 6heo"om"$s as his
a$thorit#, seems to have had access at second or third hand to a
comed# b# 6hes"is, or his "$"il Pratinas, ridic$lin% 4olon for $to"ian
lies told in the e"ic "oem, and "resentin% him as 4ilen$s, footloose
abo$t &%#"t and Asia 0inor. 4ilen$s and 4olon are not dissimilar names
and as 4ilen$s was t$tor to :ion#s$s, so was t$tor to Peisistrat$s who
I"erha"s on his adviceIfo$nded rites at Athens
+. It is "ossible that 4olon d$rin% his travels had "icked $" scra"s of
which he incor"orated in his e"ic, and which lent them "arod#, s$ch as
the Gaelic le%end of a 'and of Co$th 5ceanIwhere ?iamh of the
Golden air took 5isin, and whence he ret$rned cent$ries later on a
visit to Ireland. 5isin, it is said, was dis%$sted of his own "eo"le
com"ared to ?iamh>s, and bitterl# re%retted havin% come back. 6he
$nnavi%able whirl"ool is the famo$s one, ass$med b# ancient
"h#sicists, where the ocean ret$rns and marks the end of the world
into nothin%ness. 4olon seems to have heard %eo%ra"hers disc$ssin%
the "ossible e3istence of an (ontinent of Atlantis, &ratosthenes, 0ela,
(icero, and 4trabo s"ec$lated and 4eneca foretold its discover# in the
second act of his MedeaIa which is said to have made a dee"
im"ression on the #o$n% 4olon.
"6eobis $3d -ito3
('&5;I4 and ;iton, two #o$n% Ar%ives, were the sons of era>s
"riestess at Ar%os. When the time came for her to "erform the rites of
the %oddess, and the white o3en which were to draw her sacred chariot
led not #et arrived from the "ast$re, (leobis and ;iton, harnessin% to
the chariot, dra%%ed it to the tem"le, a distance of nearl# five miles.
Pleased with their filial devotion, the "riestess "ra#ed that the %oddess
wo$ld %rant them the best %ift she co$ld bestow on mortals- and when
she had "erformed her rites, the# went to slee" in the tem"le, never to
wake a%ain.
b. A similar %ift was %ranted to A%amedes and 6ro"honi$s, sons of
&r%in$s. 6hese twins had b$ilt a stone threshold $"on fo$ndations laid
b# A"ollo himself for his tem"le at :el"hi. is oracle told them, H'ive
and ind$l%e #o$rselves in ever# "leas$re for si3 da#s- on the seventh
#o$r heart>s desire shall be %ranted.> 5n the seventh da# both were
fo$nd dead, in their beds. ence it is said, 6hose whom %ods love die
c. 6ro"honi$s, after death, was awarded own orac$lar shrine in
;oeotian 'ebadea.
1. 6he m#th of (leobis and ;iton a""arentl# refers to the h$man
sacrifices offered when a new tem"le was dedicated to the 0oon1
%oddess, at Ar%os, twin brothers were chosen as s$rro%ates for the co1
kin%s, and harnessed to a moon1chariot in "lace of the white b$lls, the
$s$al sacrifice. 6he# will have been b$ried $nder the tem"le threshold
to kee" awa# hostile infl$ences- "erha"s this was wh# the twins (astor
and Pol#de$ces were sometimes called *ebalides, which ma# mean
Hsons of the tem"le threshold> rather than Hof the s"eckled shee"1skin>.
6he "riests of A"ollo evidentl# ado"ted this "ractice at :el"hi,
altho$%h the# denied the 0oon1%oddess, to whom the sacrifice sho$ld
have been made, an# foothold in the tem"le.
*. 6he seventh da#, which was sacred to the 6itan (ron$s .and to
(ronian 2ehovah at 2er$salem/ had Hre"ose> as its "lanetar# f$nction-
b$t Hre"ose> si%nified death in the %oddess>s hono$rIhence the hero1
oracle awarded to 6ro"honi$s.
?AR(I44)4 was a 6hes"ian, the son of the bl$e ?#m"h 'eirio"e,
whom the River1%od (e"his$s had once encircled with the win%s of his
streams, and ravished. 6he seer 6eiresias told 'eirio"e, the first "erson
ever to cons$lt him, H?arciss$s will live to a ri"e old a%e, "rovided that
he never knows himself.> An#one mi%ht e3c$sabl# have fallen in love
with ?arciss$s, even as a child, and when he reached the a%e of
si3teen, his "ath was strewn with heartlessl# reGected lovers of both
se3es- for he had a st$bborn "ride in his own bea$t#.
b. Amon% these lovers was the n#m"h &cho, who co$ld no lon%er $se
her voice, e3ce"t in foolish re"etition of another>s sho$t, a "$nishment
for havin% ke"t era entertained with lon% stories while <e$s>s
conc$bines, the mo$ntain n#m"hs, evaded her Gealo$s e#e and made
%ood their esca"e. 5ne da# when ?arciss$s went o$t to net sta%s,
&cho stealthil# followed him thro$%h the "athless forest, lon%in% to
address him, b$t $nable to s"eak first. At last ?arciss$s, findin% that he
had stra#ed from his com"anions, sho$ted, HIs an#one hereJ>
HereO> &cho answered, which s$r"rised ?arciss$s, since no one was in
HWh# do #o$ avoid meJ>
HWh# do #o$ avoid meJ>
H'et $s come to%ether hereO>
H'et $s come to%ether hereO> re"eated &cho, and Go#f$ll# r$shed from
her hidin% "lace to embrace ?arciss$s. Cet he shook her off ro$%hl#,
and ran awa#. HI will die before #o$ ever lie with meO> he cried.
H'ie with meO> &cho "leaded.
;$t ?arciss$s had %one, and she s"ent the rest of her life in lonel#
%lens, "inin% awa# for love and mortification, $ntil onl# her voice
c. 5ne da#, ?arciss$s sent a sword to Ameini$s, his most insistent
s$itor, after whom the river Ameini$s is named- it is a trib$tar# of the
river elisson, which flows into the Al"hei$s. Ameini$s killed himself on
?arciss$s>s threshold, callin% on the %ods to aven%e his death.
d. Artemis heard the "lea, and made ?arciss$s fall in love, tho$%h
den#in% him love>s cons$mmation. At :onacon in 6hes"iae he came
$"on a s"rin%, clear as silver, and never #et dist$rbed b# cattle, birds,
wild beasts, or even b# branches dro""in% off the trees that shaded it-
and as he cast himself down, e3ha$sted, on the %rass# ver%e to slake
his thirst, he fell in love with his reflection. At first he tried to embrace
and kiss the bea$tif$l bo# who confronted him, b$t "resentl#
reco%nised himself, and la# %aAin% enra"t$red into the "ool, ho$r after
ho$r. ow co$ld he end$re both to "ossess and #et not to "ossessJ
Grief was destro#in% him, #et he reGoiced in his torments- knowin% at
least that his other self wo$ld remain tr$e to him, whatever ha""ened.
e. &cho, altho$%h she had not for%iven ?arciss$s, %rieved with him- she
s#m"atheticall# echoed HAlasO AlasO> as he "l$n%ed a da%%er in breast,
and also the final Hah, #o$th, beloved in vain, farewellO> e3"ired. is
blood soaked the earth, and $" s"ran% the white narciss$s flower with
its red corollar#, from which an $n%$ent balm is now distilled at
(haeronea. 6his is recommended for affections of the ear .tho$%h a"t
to %ive headaches/, and as a v$lnerar#, and for the c$re of frost1bite.
1. 6he Hnarciss$s> $sed in the ancient wreath of :emeter and
Perse"hone .4o"hocles, *edi&us at Colonus/, and also called leirion
was the three1"etalled bl$e fle$r1de1l#s or iris, sacred to the 6ri"le1
%oddess, and worn as a cha"let when the 6hree 4olemn 5nes, or
&rinn#es, were bein% "lacated. It flowers in late a$t$mn, shortl# before
the H"oet>s narciss$s>, which is "erha"s wh# 'eirio"e has been
described as ?arciss$s>s mother. 6his fancif$l moral taleIincidentall#
acco$ntin% for the medicinal "ro"erties of narciss$s1oil, a well1known
narcotic, as the first s#llable of H?arciss$s> im"liesIma# be ded$ced
from an icon which showed the des"airin% Alcmaeon, or 5restes, l#in%
crowned with lilies, beside a "ool in which he has vainl# tried to "$rif#
himself after m$rderin% his mother- the &rinn#es havin% ref$sed to be
"lacated. &cho, in this icon, wo$ld re"resent the mockin% %host of his
mother, and Ameini$s his m$rdered father.
%. ;$tIissus, likeIinthus, is a (retan termination, and both ?arciss$s
and #acinth$s seem to have been names for the (retan s"rin%flower1
hero whose death the %oddess bewails on the %old rin% from the
0#cenaean Acro"olis- elsewhere he is called Anthe$s a s$rname of
:ion#s$s. 0oreover, the lil# was the ro#al emblem of the (nossian
kin%. In a "ainted relief fo$nd amon% the Palace r$ins, he walks,
sce"tre in hand, thro$%h a lil#1meadow, wearin% a crown and necklace
of fle$r1de1l#s.
)hy66is $3d "arya
PC''I4, a 6hracian "rincess, was in love with Acamas, a son of
6hese$s, who had %one to fi%ht at 6ro#. When 6ro# fell, and the
Athenian fleet ret$rned, Ph#llis "aid freD$ent visits to the shore, ho"in%
to si%ht his shi"- b$t this had been dela#ed b# a leak, and she died of
%rief after her ninth fr$itless visit, at a "lace called &nneodos. 4he was
metamor"hosed b# Athene into an almond1tree, and Acamas, arrivin%
on the followin% da#, embraced onl# her ro$%h bark. In res"onse to his
caresses the branches b$rst into flower instead of leaf, which has been
a "ec$liarit# of almond1trees ever since. &ver# #ear, the Athenians
dance in her hono$r, and in his.
b. And (ar#a, da$%hter of a 'aconian kin%, was beloved of :ion#s$s,
b$t died s$ddenl# at (ar#ae, and was metamor"hosed b# him into a
waln$t1tree. Artemis bro$%ht the news to the 'aconians, who
there$"on b$ilt a tem"le to Artemis (ar#atis, from which (ar#atidsI
female stat$es $sed as col$mnsItake their name. At (ar#ae too, the
'aconian women dance ann$all# in the %oddess>s hono$r, havin% been
instr$cted b# the :iosc$ri.
1. ;oth these m#ths are told to acco$nt for the festal $se of almond
or waln$t, in hono$r of (ar, or (ar#a, otherwise known as 0etis, the
6itaness of Wisdom- and are a""arentl# ded$ced from an icon which
showed a #o$n% "oet worshi""in% a n$t1tree in the %oddess>s
"resence, while nine #o$n% women "erformed a ro$nd dance.
&nneodos, which occ$rs also in the le%end of the 6hracian Ph#llis who
drove :emo"hon mad, means Hnine Go$rne#s>, and the n$mber nine
was connected with n$ts b# the Irish bards, and n$ts with "oetic
ins"iration- and in their tree1al"habet the letter coll .Hc>/, meanin%
HhaAel>Ialso e3"ressed the n$mber nine. Accordin% to the Irish
+innschenchas, the fo$ntain of ins"iration in the river ;o#1ne was
overh$n% b# the nine haAels of "oetic art, and inhabited b# s"otted fish
which san%. Another (ar#ae .Hwaln$t1trees>/ in Arcadia, stood close to a
stream re"orted b# Pa$sanias to contain the same "ec$liar kind of fish
*. 6he %oddess (ar, who %ave her name to (aria, became the Italian
divinator# %oddess (armenta, H(ar the Wise>, and the (ar#atids are her
n$t1n#m"hsIas the 0eliae are ashn#m"hs- the 0@liae, a""le1n#m"hs-
and the :r#ads, oak1n#m"hs. Plin# has "reserved the tradition that (ar
invented a$%$r# .Natural !istor/. Ph#llis .Hleaf#>/ ma# be a h$mble
Greek version of the Palestinian and 0eso"otarnian Great Goddess
;elili- in the :emo"hon m#th she is associated with Rhea.
ARI5? of 'esbos, a son of Poseidon and the ?#m"h 5neaea, was a
master of the l#re, and invented the dith#ramb in :ion#s$s>s hono$r.
5ne da# his "atron Periander, t#rant of (orinth, rel$ctantl# %ave him
"ermission to visit 6aenar$s in 4icil#, where he had been invited to
com"ete in a m$sical festival. Arion won the "riAe, and his admirers
showered on him so man# rich %ifts that these e3cited the %reed of the
sailors en%a%ed to brin% him back to (orinth.
HWe m$ch re%ret, Arion, that #o$ will have to die,> remarked the
ca"tain of the shi".
HWhat crime have I committedJ> asked Arion.
HCo$ are too rich,> re"lied the ca"tain.
H4"are m# life, and I will %ive #o$ all m# "riAes,> Arion "leaded.
HCo$ wo$ld onl# retract #o$r "romise on reachin% (orinth,> said the
ca"tain, Hand so wo$ld I, in #o$r "lace. A forced %ift is no %ift.>
HBer# well,> cried Arion resi%nedl#. H;$t "ra# allow me to sin% a last
When the ca"tain %ave his "ermission, Arion, dressed in his finest robe,
mo$nted on the "row, where he invoked the %ods with im"assioned
strains, and then lea"ed overboard. 6he shi" sailed on.
b. owever, his son% had attracted a school of m$sic1lovin% dol"hins,
one of which took Arion on his back, and that evenin% he overtook the
shi" and reached the "ort of (orinth several da#s before it cast anchor
there. Periander was overGo#ed at his mirac$lo$s esca"e, and the
dol"hin, lath to "art from Arion, insisted on accom"an#in% him to
co$rt, where it soon s$cc$mbed to a life of l$3$r#. Arion %ave it a
s"lendid f$neral.
When the shi" docked, Periander sent for the ca"tain and crew, whom
he asked with "retended an3iet# for news of Arion.
He has been dela#ed at 6aenar$s,> the ca"tain answered, Hb# the
lavish hos"italit# of the inhabitants.>
Periander made them all swear at the dol"hin>s tomb that this was the
tr$th, and then s$ddenl# confronted them with Arion. )nable to den#
their %$ilt, the# were e3ec$ted on the s"ot. A"ollo later set the ima%es
of Arion and his l#re amon% the stars.
c. ?or was Arion the first man to have been saved b# a dol"hin. A
dol"hin resc$ed &nables when he lea"ed overboard to Goin his
sweetheart Phonies who, in accordance with an oracle, had been
chosen b# lot and thrown into the sea to a""ease Am"hitrichaIfor this
was the e3"edition which the sons of Pentho$se were leadin% to 'esbos
as the island>s first colonistsIand the dol"hin>s mate resc$ed Phonies.
Another dol"hin saved elianth$s from drownin% in the (r$stacean 4ea
on his wa# to Ital#. 'ikewise (adies, the (retan brother of Ca"s, when
shi"wrecked on a vo#a%e to Ital#, was %$ided b# a dol"hin to :el"hi
and %ave the "lace its name- for the dol"hin was A"ollo in dis%$ise.
1. ;oth Arion and Periander are historical characters of the seventh,
cent$r# ;(, and a fra%ment of Arian>s !mn to Poseidon s$rvives. 6he
stor# is "erha"s based "artl# on a tradition that Arian>s son%s attracted
a school of dol"hins and th$s diss$aded some sailors from m$rderin%
him for his mone#Idol"hins and seals are notorio$sl# s$sce"tible to
m$sicI"artl# on a misinter"retation of a stat$e which showed the %od
Palimon#, l#re in hand, arrivin% at (orinth on dol"hin1back. 0#thic color
is lent to the stor# b# makin% Arion a son of Poseidon, as was his
namesake, the wild horse Arion, and b# %ivin% his name to the '#re
constellation. Pa$sanias, a level1headed and tr$thf$l writer, do$bts
erodot$s>s hearsa# stor# abo$t Arion- b$t re"orts that he has seen
with his own e#es the dol"hin at Prosel#te, which was ma$led b#
fishermen, b$t had its wo$nds dressed b# a bo#, comin% in answer to
the bo#>s call and %ratef$ll# allowin% him to ride on its back. 6his
s$%%ests that the rit$al advent of the ?ew Cear (hild was dramaticall#
"resented at (orinth with the aid of a tame dol"hin trained b# the 4$n1
*. 6he m#th of &nables and Phonies is "robabl# ded$ced from an
icon which showed Am"hitricha and 6riton ridin% on dol"hins. &nables
is also associated b# Pl$tarch with an octo"$s c$lt, and his name
recalls that of 5edi"$s, the (orinthian ?ew Cear (hild, he will have
been at 0#tilene, as elianth$s was in Ital#. 6aras, a son of Poseidon b#
0inos>s da$%hter 4at#raea .Hof the sat#rs>/, was the dol"hin1ridin% ?ew
Cear (hild of 6arent$m, which he is said to have fo$nded, and where he
had a hero shrine .Pa$sanias/- elianth$s, the fo$nder of :orian
6arent$m in 9=8 ;(, took over the dol"hin c$lt from the (retaniAed
4icilians whom he fo$nd there.
7. Icadi$s>s name, which means Htwentieth>, is connected "erha"s with
the date of the month on which his advent was celebrated.
Mi3os $3d &is -rothers
W&? <e$s left &$ro"e, after havin% lathered 0inos,
Rhadamanth#s, and 4ar"edon on her in (rete, she married Asteri$s,
the rei%nin% kin%, whose father 6ectam$s son of :or$s had bro$%ht a
mi3ed colon# of Aeolian and Pelas%ian settlers to the island and there
married a da$%hter of (rethe$s the Aeolian.
b. 6his marria%e "rovin% childless, Asteri$s ado"ted 0inos,
Rhadamanth#s, and 4ar"edon, and made them his heirs. ;$t when the
brothers %rew to manhood, the# D$arrelled for the love of a bea$tif$l
bo# named 0ilet$s, be%otten b# A"ollo on the ?#m"h Areia, whom
some call :eione, and others, 6heia. 0ilet$s havin% decided that he
liked 4ar"edon best, was driven from (rete b# 0inos, and sailed with a
lar%e fleet to (aria in Asia 0inor, where he fo$nded the cit# and
kin%dom of 0ilet$s. !or the "revio$s two %enerations, this co$ntr#,
then called Anactoria, had been r$led b# the %iant Ana3, a son of
)ran$s and 0other &arth, and b# his eD$all# %i%antic son Asteri$s. 6he
skeleton of Asteri$s, whom 0ilet$s killed and afterwards b$ried on an
islet l#in% off 'ade, has latel# been disenterred- it is at least ten c$bits
lon%. 4ome, however, sa# that 0inos s$s"ected 0ilet$s of "lottin% to
overthrow him and seiAe the kin%dom- b$t that he feared A"ollo, and
therefore refrained from doin% more than warn 0ilet$s, who fled to
(aria of his own accord. 5thers sa# that the bo# who occasioned the
D$arrel was not 0ilet$s b$t one At#mni$s, a son of <e$s and
(assio"eia, or of Phoeni3.
c. After Asteri$s>s death, 0inos claimed the (retan throne and, "roof of
his ri%ht to rei%n, boasted that the %ods wo$ld answer whatever "ra#er
he offered them. !irst dedicatin% an altar to Poseidon, and makin% all
"re"arations for a sacrifice, he then "ra#ed that a b$ll mi%ht emer%e
from the sea. At once, a daAAlin%l#1white b$ll swam ashore, b$t 0inos
was so str$ck b# its bea$t# that he sent it to Goin his own herds, and
sla$%htered another instead. 0inos>s claim to the throne was acce"ted
b# ever# (retan, e3ce"t 4ar"edon who, still %rievin% for 0ilet$s,
declared that it had been Asteri$s>s intention to divide the kin%dom
eD$all# between his three heirs- and, indeed, 0inos himself had
alread# divided the island into three "arts, and chosen a ca"ital for
d. &3"elled from (rete b# 0inos, 4ar"edon fled to (ilicia in Asia 0inor,
where he allied himself with (ili3 a%ainst the 0il#ans, conD$ered them,
and became their kin%. <e$s %ranted him the "rivile%e of livin% for
three %enerations- and when he finall# died, the 0il#an kin%dom was
called '#cia, after his s$ccessor '#c$s, who had taken ref$%e with him
$"on bein% banished from Athens b# Ae%e$s.
e. 0eanwhile, 0inos had married Pasi"ha@, a da$%hter of eli$s and
the n#m"h (rete, otherwise known as Perseis. ;$t Poseidon, to aven%e
the affront offered him b# 0inos, made Pasi"ha@ fall in love with the
white b$ll which had been withheld from sacrifice. 4he confided her
$nnat$ral "assion to :aedal$s, the famo$s Athenian craftsman, who
now lived m e3ile at (noss$s, deli%htin% 0inos and his famil# with the
animated wooden dolls he carved for them. :aedal$s "romised to hel"
her, and b$ilt a hollow wooden cow, which he $"holstered with a cow>s
hide, set on wheels concealed in its hooves, and "$shed into the
meadow near Gort#s, where Poseidon>s b$ll was %raAin% $nder the
oaks amon% 0inos>s cows. 6hen, havin% shown Pasi"ha@ how to o"en
the foldin% doors in the cow>s back, and sli" inside with her le%s thr$st
down into its hindD$arters, he discreetl# retired. 4oon the white b$ll
ambled $" and mo$nted the cow, so that Pasi"ha@ had all her desire,
and later %ave birth to the 0inota$r, a monster with a b$ll>s head and
a h$man bod#.
f. ;$t some sa# that 0inos, havin% ann$all# sacrificed to Poseidon the
best b$ll in his "ossession, withheld his %ift one #ear, and sacrificed
merel# the ne3t best- hence Poseidon>s wrath- others sa# that it was
<e$s whom he offended- others a%ain, that Pasi"ha@ had failed for
several #ears to "ro"itiate A"hrodite, who now "$nished her with this
monstro$s l$st. Afterwards, the b$ll %rew sava%e and devastated the
whole of (rete, $ntil eracles ca"t$red and bro$%ht it to Greece, where
it was event$all# killed b# 6hese$s.
%. 0inos cons$lted an oracle to know how he mi%ht best avoid scandal
and conceal Pasi"ha@>s dis%race. 6he res"onse was, HInstr$ct :aedal$s
to b$ild #o$ a retreat at (noss$sO> 6his :aedal$s did, and 0inos s"ent
the remainder of his life in the ine3tricable maAe called the 'ab#rinth,
at the ver# heart of which he concealed Pasi"ha@ and the 0inota$r.
h. Rhadamanth#s, wiser than 4ar"edon, remained in (rete- he lived at
"eace with 0inos, and was awarded a third "art of Asteri$s>s
dominions. Renowned as a G$st and $"ri%ht law1%iver, ine3orable in
"$nishment of evildoers, he le%islated both for the (retans and for the
islanders of Asia 0inor, man# of whom vol$ntaril# ado"ted G$dicial
code. &ver# ninth #ear, he wo$ld visit <e$s>s cave and brin% back a
hew set of laws, a c$stom afterwards followed b# his brother 0inos.
;$t some den# that Rhadamanth#s was 0inos>s brother, and call him a
son of e"haest$s- as others den# that 0inos was <e$s>s son, makin%
him the son of '#cast$s and the n#m"h of Ida. e beD$eathed land in
(rete to his son Gort#s, after whom the (retan cit# is named, altho$%h
the 6e%eans insist that Gort#s was an Arcadian, the son of 6e%eates.
Rhadamanth#s also beD$eathed land in Asia 0inor to his son &r#thr$s-
and the island of (hios to 5eno"ion, the son of Ariadne, whom
:ion#s$s first ta$%ht how to make wine- and 'emnos to 6hoas, another
of Ariadne>s sons- and (o$rnos to &n#$es- and Pe"arethos to
4ta"h#l$s- and 0aroneia to &$anthes- and Paros to Alcae$s- and :elos
to Ani$s- and Andros to Andr$s.
i. Rhadamanth#s event$all# fled to ;oeotia beca$se he had killed
kinsman, and lived there in e3ile at 5caleae, where he married
Alcmene, eracles>s mother, after the death of Am"hitr#on. is tomb,
and that of Alcmene, are shown at aliart$s, close to a "lantation of
the to$%h canes bro$%ht from (rete, from which Gavelins and fl$tes are
c$t. ;$t some sa# that Alcmene was married to Rhadamanth#s in the
&l#sian !ields, after her death. !or <e$s had a""ointed him one of the
three 2$d%es of the :ead- his collea%$es were 0inos and Aeac$s, and
he resided in the &l#sian !ields.
1. 4ir Arth$r &vans>s classification of s$ccessive "eriods of "re1
(lassical (retan ($lt$re as 0inoan I, II, and III, s$%%ests that the r$ler
of (rete was alread# called 0inos in the earl# third millenni$m ;(- b$t
this is misleadin%. 0inos seems to have been the ro#al title of an
ellenic d#nast# which r$led (rete earl# in the second millenni$m,
each kin% rit$all# marr#in% the 0oon1"riestess of (noss$s and takin%
his title of H0oon1bein%> from her. 0inos is anachronisticall# made the
s$ccessor of Asteri$s, the %randson of :or$s, whereas the :orians did
not invade (rete $ntil the close of the second millenni$m. It is more
likel# that the Aeolians and Pelas%ians ."erha"s incl$din% HIonians from
Attica>/ bro$%ht in b# 6ectam$s .Hcraftsman>/Ia name which identifies
him with :aedal$s, and with e"haest$s, Rhadamanth#s>s alle%ed
fatherIwere 0inos>s ori%inal com"anions- and that Asteri$s .Hstarr#>/ is
a masc$liniAation of Asteri@, the %oddess as L$een of eaven and
creatri3 of the "lanetar# "owers. (rete itself is a Greek word, a form of
crateia, Hstron%, or r$lin%, %oddess>Ihence (rete$s, and (rethe$s.
0essrs 0. Bentris and 2. (hadwick>s recent researches into the hitherto
$ndeci"hered 'inear 4cri"t ;, e3am"les of which have been fo$nd at
P#l$s, 6hebes, and 0#cenae, as well as amon% the r$ins of the
(nossian "alace sacked in 18== ;.(., show that the official lan%$a%e at
(noss$s in the middle of the second millenni$m was an earl# form of
Aeolic Greek. 6he scri"t seems to have been ori%inall# invented for $se
with a non1Ar#an lan%$a%e and ada"ted to Greek with some diffic$lt#.
.Whether inscri"tions in 'inear 4cri"t A are written in Greek or (retan
has not #et been established, %reat n$mber of names from Greek
m#tholo%# occ$r in both (retan and mainland tablets, amon% them,
Achilles, Idomene$s, 6hese$s, (rethe$s, ?estor, &"hialtes, X$th$s,
AGa3, Gla$c$s, and Aeol$sIwhich s$%%ests that man# of these m#ths
date back be#ond the !all of 6ro#.
*. 4ince 0ilet$s is a masc$line name, the familiar m#th of two brothers
who D$arrel for the favo$rs of a woman was %iven a homose3$al t$rn.
6he tr$th seems to be that, d$rin% a "eriod of disorder followin% the
Achaean sack of (noss$s in abo$t 18== ;(, n$mero$s Greek1s"eakin%
(retan aristocrats of Aeolo1Pelas%ian or Ionian stock, for whom the
0oon1%oddess was the s$"reme deit#, mi%rated with their native
de"endants to Asia 0inor, es"eciall# to (aria, '#cia, and '#dia- for,
disre%ardin% the tradition of 4ar"edon>s d#nast# in '#cia, erodot$s
records that the '#cians of his time still reckoned b# matrilineal
descent .erodot$s- 4trabo/, like the (arians. Miletos ma# be a native
(retan word, or a transliteration of milteios, Hthe colo$r of red ochre, or
red lead>- and therefore a s#non#m for &r#thr$s, or Phoeni3, both of
which mean Hred>. (retan com"le3ions were redder than ellenic ones,
and the '#cians and (arians came of "artl# (retan stock- as did the
P$resati .Philistines/, whose name also means Hred men>.
7. 6he %i%antic r$lers of Anactoria recall the Anakim of Genesis, %iants
.Foshua/ o$sted b# (aleb from the orac$lar shrine which had once
belon%ed to &"hron the son of eth .6eth#sJ/. &"hron %ave his name to
ebron .Genesis/, and ma# be identified with Phorone$s. 6hese
Anakim seem to have come from Greece, as members of the 4ea1
"eo"les> confederation which ca$sed the &%#"tians so m$ch tro$ble in
the fo$rteenth cent$r# ;(. Lade, the b$rial "lace of Ana3>s son
Asteri$s, was "robabl# so called in hono$r of the %oddess 'at, 'eto, or
'atona, and that this Asteri$s bears the same name as 0inos>s father
s$%%ests that the 0ilesians bro$%ht it with them from the (retan
0ilet$s. Accordin% to a "la$sible tradition in, the Irish Boo( In)asions,
the Irish 0ilesians ori%inated in (rete, fled to 4#ria b# wa# Asia 0inor,
and thence sailed west in the thirteenth cent$r# ;( to Gaet$lia in
?orth Africa, and finall# reached Ireland b# wa# of ;ri%anti$m
.(om"ostela, in ?orth1western 4"ain/.
8. 0ilet$s>s claim to be A"ollo>s son s$%%ests that the 0ilesian kin%s
were %iven solar attrib$tes, like those of (orinth.
5. 6he tri$m"h of 0inos, son of <e$s, over his brothers refers to the
:orians> event$al master# of (rete, b$t it was Poseidon to whom 0inos
sacrificed the b$ll, which a%ain s$%%ests that the earlier holders of the
title H0inos> were Aeolians. (rete had for cent$ries been a ver# rich
co$ntr# and, in the late ei%hth cent$r# ;(, was shared between the
Achaeans, :orians, Pelas%ians, (#donians .Aeolians/, and in the far
west of the island, Htr$e (retans> .*dsseE. :iodor$s 4ic$l$s tried to
distin%$ish 0inos son of <e$s from his %randson, 0inos son of
'#cast$s- b$t two or three 0inos d#nasties ma# have s$ccessivel#
rei%ned in (noss$s.
+. 4ar"edon>s name .HreGoicin% in a wooden ark>/ s$%%ests that he
bro$%ht with him to '#cia the rit$al of the 4$n1hero who, at ?ew Cear,
makes his ann$al rea""earance as a child floatin% in an arkIlike
0oses, Perse$s, Ani$s, and others. A (retan connection with the
Perse$s m#th is "rovided b# Pasi"ha@>s mother Perseis. <e$s>s
concession to 4ar"edon, that he sho$ld live for three %enerations,
means "erha"s that instead of the $s$al ei%ht #earsIa Great Cear1
which was the len%th of 0inos>s rei%n, he was allowed to kee" his
throne $ntil the nineteenth #ear, when a closer s#nchroniAation of solar
and l$nar time occ$rred than at the end of ei%ht- and th$s broke into
the third Great Cear.
9. 4ince HPasi&ha@1, accordin% to Pa$sanias, is a title of the 0oon-
and HItone>, her other name, a title of Athene as rain1maker
.Pa$sanias/, the m#th of Pasi"ha@ and the b$ll "oints to a rit$al
marria%e $nder an oak between the 0oon1"riestess, wearin% cow>s
horns, and the 0inos1kin%, wearin% a b$ll>s mask. Accordin% to
es#chi$s .s$b (arten/, HGort#s> stands for Carten, the (retan word for
a cow- and the marria%e seems to have been $nderstood as one
between 4$n and 0oon, since there was a herd of cattle sacred to the
4$n in Gort#s .4ervi$s on Bir%il>s ,clogues/. :aedal$s>s discreet
retirement from the meadow s$%%ests that this was not cons$mmated
"$blicl# in the Pictish or 0oes#noechian st#le. 0an# later Greeks
disliked the Pasi"ha@ m#th, and "referred to believe that she had an
affair not with a b$ll, b$t with a man called 6a$r$s .Pl$tarch, Theseus-
Palae"hat$s/. White b$lls, which were "ec$liarl# sacred to the 0oon,
fi%$red in the ann$al sacrifice on the Alban mo$nt at Rome, in the c$lt
of 6hracian :ion#s$s, in the mistletoe1and1oak rit$al of the Gallic
:r$ids and, accordin% to the Boo( of the +un Co#, in the divinator#
rites which "receded an ancient Irish coronation.
8. 0inos>s "alace at (noss$s was a com"le3 of rooms, ante1rooms,
halls, and corridors in which a co$ntr# visitor mi%ht easil# lose his wa#.
4ir Arth$r &vans s$%%ests that this was the 'ab#rinth, so called from
the labrs, or do$ble1headed a3e- a familiar emblem of (retan
soverei%nt# sha"ed like a wa3in% and a wanin% moon Goined to%ether
back to back, and s#mboliAin% the creative as well as the destr$ctive
"ower of the %oddess. ;$t the maAe at (noss$s had a se"arate
e3istence from the "alace, it was a tr$e maAe, in the am"ton (o$rt
sense, and seems to have been marked o$t in mosaic on a "avement
as a rit$al dancin% "attern Ia "attern which occ$rs in "laces as far
a"art as Wales and ?orth1eastern R$ssia, for $se in the &aster maAe1
dance. 6his dance was "erformed in Ital# .Plin#, Natural !istor/, and
in 6ro# .4choliast on &$ri"ides>s $ndromache/, and seems to have been
introd$ced into ;ritain, towards the end of the third millenni$m ;(, b#
?eolithic immi%rant from ?orth Africa. omer describes the (noss$s
maAe .Iliad/, H+aedalus in Cnossus once contri)ed a dancing6floor for
fair6haired $riadne1< and '$cian refers to "o"$lar dances in (rete
connected with Ariadne and the 'ab#rinth .*n the +ance/.
9. 6he c$lt of Rhadamanth#s ma# have been bro$%ht from ;oeotia to
(rete, and not contrariwise. aliart$s, where he had a hero1shrine, was
a""arentl# sacred to the HWhite Goddess of ;read>, namel# :emeter,
for alia, Hof the sea>, was a title of the 0oon as 'e$cothea, Hthe White
Goddess> .:iodor$s 4ic$l$s/, and artos means Hbread>. Alcmene
.Hstron% in wrath>/ is another 0oon1title. 6ho$%h said to be (retan
word, 'hadamanths ma# stand for 'habdomantis, Hdivinin% with
wand>, a name taken from the reed1bed at aliart$s, where his s"irits
stirred the to"s orac$larl#. If so, the tradition of his havin% le%islated
for all (rete and the islands of Asia 0inor will mean that similar oracle
in (rete was cons$lted at the be%innin% of each new rei%n, and that its
"rono$ncements carried a$thorit# wherever (retan wei%hts, meas$res,
and tradin% conventions were acce"ted. e is called a son of <e$s,
rather than of e"haest$s, do$btless beca$se the Rhadamanthine
oracles came from the :ictaean (ave, sacred to <e$s.
1=. At Petsofa in (rete a hoard of h$man heads and limbs, of cla#,
have been fo$nd, each with a hole thro$%h which a strin% co$ld be
"assed. If once fi3ed to wooden tr$nks, the# ma# have formed "art of
:aedal$s>s Gointed dolls, and re"resented the !ertilit#1%oddess. 6heir
$se was "erha"s to han% from a fr$it1tree, with their limbs movin%
abo$t in the wind, to ens$re %ood cro"s. 4$ch a doll is shown han%in%
from a fr$it1tree in the famo$s %old rin% from the Acro"olis 6reas$re at
0#cenae. 6ree worshi" is the s$bGect of several 0inoan works of art,
and Ariadne, the (retan %oddess, is said to have han%ed herself, as the
Attic &ri%one did. Artemis the an%ed 5ne, who had a sanct$ar# at
(ond#leia in Arcadia .Pa$sanias/, and elen of the 6rees, who had a
sanct$ar# at Rhodes and is said to have been han%ed b# Pol#3o
.Pa$sanias/, ma# be variants of the same %oddess.
The #oves O8 Mi3os
0I?54 la# with the n#m"h Paria, whose sons coloniAed Paros anti
were later killed b# eracles- also with Andro%eneia, the mother of the
senior Asteri$s, as well as man# others- b$t es"eciall# he "$rs$ed
;ritomartis of Gort#na, a da$%hter of 'eto. 4he invented h$ntin%1nets
and was a close com"anion to Artemis, whose ho$nds she ke"t on a
b. ;ritomartis hid from 0inos $nder thick1leaved oak1sa"lin%s in the
water meadows, and then for nine months he "$rs$ed her over cra%%#
mo$ntains and level "lains $ntil, in des"eration, she threw herself into
the sea, and was ha$led to safet# b# fishermen. Artemis deified
;ritomartis $nder the name of :ict#nna- b$t on Ae%ina she is
worshi""ed as A"haea, beca$se she vanished- at 4"arta as Artemis,
s$rnamed Hthe 'ad# of the 'ake>- and on (e"hallonia as 'a"hria- the
4amians, however, $se her tr$e name in their invocations.
c. 0inos>s man# infidelities so enra%ed Pasi"ha@ that she "$t a s"ell
$"on him, whenever he la# with another woman, he dischar%ed not
seed, b$t a swarm of no3io$s ser"ents, scor"ions, and milli"edes,
which "re#ed on her vitals. 5ne da# Procris, da$%hter of the Athenian
Fin% &rechthe$s, whom her h$sband (e"hal$s had deserted, visited
(rete. (e"hal$s was "rovoked to this b# &os, who fell in love with him.
When he "olitel# ref$sed her advances, on the %ro$nd that he co$ld
not deceive Procris, with whom he had e3chan%ed vows of "er"et$al
faithf$lness, &os "rotested that Procris, whom she knew better than he
did, wo$ld readil# forswear herself for %old. 4ince (e"hal$s indi%nantl#
denied this, &os metamor"hosed him into the likeness of one Pteleon,
and advised him to tem"t Procris to his bed b# offerin% her a %olden
crown. e did so, and, findin% that Procris was easil# sed$ced, felt no
com"$nction abo$t l#in% with &os, of whom she was "ainf$ll# Gealo$s.
d. &os bore (e"hal$s a son named Pha@thon- b$t A"hrodite stole him
while still a child, to be the ni%ht1watchman of her most sacred shrines-
and the (retans call him Ad#mn$s, b# which the# mean the mornin%
and the evenin% star.
e. 0eanwhile, Procris co$ld not bear to sta# in Athens, her desertion
bein% the s$bGect of %eneral %ossi", and therefore came to (rete,
where 0inos fo$nd her no more diffic$lt to sed$ce than had the
s$""osed Pteleon. e bribed her with a ho$nd that never failed to
catch his D$arr#, and a dart that never missed its mark, both of which
had been %iven him b# Artemis. Procris, bein% an ardent h$ntress,
%ladl# acce"ted these, b$t insisted that 0inos sho$ld take a
"ro"h#lactic dra$%htIa decoction of ma%ical roots invented b# the
witch (irceIto "revent him from fillin% her with re"tiles and insects.
6his dra$%ht had the desired effect, b$t Procris feared that Pasi"ha@
mi%ht bewitch her, and therefore ret$rned h$rriedl# to Athens,
dis%$ised as a handsome bo#, havin% first chan%ed her name to
Pterelas. 4he never saw 0inos a%ain.
f. (e"hal$s, whom she now Goined on a h$ntin% e3"edition, did not
reco%niAe her and coveted 'aela"s, her ho$nd, and the $nerrin% dart
so m$ch, that he offered to b$# them, namin% a h$%e s$m of silver. ;$t
Procris ref$sed to "art with either, e3ce"t for love, and when he a%reed
to take her to his bed, tearf$ll# revealed herself as his wife. 6h$s the#
were reconciled at last, and (e"hal$s enGo#ed %reat s"ort with the and
the dart. ;$t Artemis was ve3ed that her val$able %ifts sho$ld be
bandied from hand to hand b# these mercenar# ad$lterers, and "lotted
reven%e. 4he "$t it into Procris>s head to s$s"ect that (e"hal$s was
still visitin% &os when he rose two ho$rs after midni%ht and went off to
%. 5ne ni%ht Procris, wearin% a dark t$nic, cre"t o$t after him in the
half li%ht. Presentl# he heard a r$stle in a thicket behind him, 'aela"s
%rowled and stiffened, (e"hal$s let fl# with the $nerrin% dart and
transfi3ed Procris. In d$e co$rse the Areio"a%$s sentenced him to
"er"et$al banishment for m$rder.
h. (e"hal$s retired to 6hebes, where Fin% Am"hitr#on, the s$""osed
father of eracles, borrowed 'aela"s to h$nt the 6e$messian vi3en
which was rava%in% (admeia. 6his vi3en, divinel# fated never to be
ca$%ht, co$ld be a""eased onl# b# the monthl# sacrifice of a child. ;$t,
since 'aela"s was divinel# fated to catch whatever he "$rs$ed, do$bt
arose in eaven as to how this contradiction sho$ld be resolved, in the
end, <e$s an%ril# settled it b# t$rnin% both 'aela"s and vi3en into
i. (e"hal$s ne3t assisted Am"hitr#on in a s$ccessf$l war a%ainst
6eleboans and 6a"hians. ;efore it be%an, Am"hitr#on made all his allies
swear b# Athene and Ares not to hide an# of the s"oils- onl# one,
Pano"e$s, broke this oath and was "$nished b# be%ettin% a coward,
the notorio$s &"ei$s. 6he 6eleboan kin% was Pterela$s, on whose head
Poseidon, bein% his %randfather, had "lanted a %olden lock of
immortalit#. is da$%hter (omaetho fell in love with Am"hitr#on and,
wishin% to %ain his affections, "l$cked o$t the %olden lock, so that
Pterela$s died and Am"hitr#on swiftl# conD$ered the 6eleboans with
the hel" of (e"hal$s- b$t he sentenced (omaetho to death for
G. (e"hal$s>s share of the 6eleboan dominions was the island of
(e"hallenia, which still bears his name. e never "ardoned 0inos for
havin% sed$ced Procris and %iven her the fatal dart- nor #et co$ld he
acD$it himself of res"onsibilit#. After all, he had been the first to
forswear himself, beca$se Procris>s affair with the s$""osed Pteleon
co$ld not be reckoned as a breach of faith- H?o, no,> he %rieved, HI
sho$ld never have bedded with &osO> 6ho$%h "$rified of his %$ilt, he
was ha$nted b# Procris>s %host and, fearin% to brin% misfort$ne on his
com"anions, went one da# to (a"e 'e$cas, where he had b$ilt a
tem"le to A"ollo of the White Rock, and "l$n%ed into the sea from the
cliff to". As he fell he called alo$d on the name of Pterelas- for it was
$nder this name that Procris had been most dear to him.
1. 0inos>s sed$ction of n#m"hs in the st#le of <e$s do$btless records
the (nossian kin%>s rit$al marria%e to 0oon1"riestesses of vario$s cit#
states in his em"ire.
*. 6he 0oon1%oddess was called ;ritomartis in &astern (rete. ence
the Greeks identified her with Artemis .:iodor$s 4ic$l$s- &$ri"ides-
es#chi$s/, and with ecate .&$ri"ides/. In Western (rete she was
:ict#nna, as Bir%il knew, HThe called the Moon +ictnna after our
name>. :ict#nna is connected in the m#th with dicton, which means a
net, of the sort $sed for h$ntin% or fishin%- and +icte is a""arentl# a
worn1down formIdictnnaeonIH:ict#nna>s "lace>. After the
introd$ction of the s#stem a m$rdero$s chase of the sacred kin% b# the
%oddess armed with a net was converted into a love chase of the
%oddess b# the sacred kin%. ;oth chases occ$r freD$entl# in &$ro"ean
folklore. 0inos>s "$rs$it of ;ritomartis, which is "aralleled in Philistia
b# 0o3$s>s, or 0o"s$s>s, chase of :erceto, be%ins when the oaks are
in f$ll leafI"robabl# in the :o% :a#s, which was when 4et "$rs$ed Isis
and the (hild or$s in the water meadows of the ?ile :eltaIand ends
nine months later, on 0a# &ve. <e$s>s sed$ction of &$ro"e was also a
0a# &ve event.
7. 6o G$d%e from the rit$al of the (eltic ?orth, where the %oddess is
called Goda .Hthe Good>/I?eanthes translates the s#llable brito as
H%ood> .Gree( !istorical Fragments/Ishe ori%inall# rode on a %oat,
naked e3ce"t for a net, with an a""le in one hand, and accom"anied
b# a hare and a raven, to her ann$al love1feast. 6he carved miserere
seat in (oventr# (athedral, where she was th$s "ortra#ed, recorded
the (hristian 0a# &ve ceremonies at 4o$tham and (oventr#, from the
le%end of 'ad# Godiva has been "io$sl# evolved. In (eltic German#,
4candinavia, and "robabl# &n%land too, Goda had rit$al connection
with the %oat, or with a man dressed in %oat1skinsIthe sacred kin%
who later became the :evil of the witch c$lt. er a""le is a token of
the kin a""roachin% death- the hare s#mboliAes the chase, d$rin%
which she transforms herself into a %re#ho$nd- her net will catch him
when he becomes a fish the raven will %ive oracles from his tomb.
8. It seems that, in (rete, the %oat1c$lt "receded the b$ll1c$lt, and that
Pasi"ha@ ori%inall# married a %oat1kin%. 'a"hria .Hshe who wins boot#>/,
:ict#nna>s title in Ae%ina, was also a title of the %oat1%oddess Athene,
who is said to have been assa$lted b# the %oatish Pallas, whose skin
she fla#ed and converted into her aegis/. H'a"hria> s$%%ests that the
%oddess was the "$rs$er, not the "$rs$ed. Inscri"tions from Ae%ina
show that the %reat tem"le of Artemis belon%ed to Artemis A"haea
.Hnot dark>, to distin%$ish her from ecate/- in the m#th, A"haea is
taken to mean a&hanes, Hdisa""earin%>.
5. 6he stor# of 0inos and Procris has "assed from m#th into anecdote,
and from anecdote into street1corner romance, recallin% some of the
tales in the Golden Ass. ;ein% linked with 0inos>s war a%ainst Athens,
and the event$al downfall of (noss$s, it records "erha"s the (retan
kin%>s demand for a rit$al marria%e with the i%h1"riestess of Athens,
which the Athenians resented. Pteleon .Helm1%rove>/, the name of
Procris>s sed$cer, ma# refer to the vine1c$lt which s"read from (rete in
the time of 0inos, since vines were trained on elms- b$t it ma# also be
derived from &telos, Hwild1boar>. In that case, (e"hal$s and Pteleon will
have ori%inall# been the sacred kin% and his tanist, dis%$ised as a wild
boar. Pasi"ha@>s witchcrafts are characteristic of an an%r# 0oon1
%oddess- and Procris co$nters them with the witchcrafts of (irce,
another title of the same %oddess.
+. (e"hal$s>s lea" from the white rock at (a"e 'e$cas ri%htl# reminds
4trabo that the 'e$cadians $sed ever# #ear to flin% a man, "rovided
with win%s to break his fall, and even with live birds corded to his bod#,
over the cliff into the sea. 6he victim, a &harmacos, or sca"e%oat,
whose removal freed the island from %$ilt, seems also to have carried a
white s$nshade as a "arach$te. ;oats were waitin% to "ick him $" if he
s$rvived, and conve# him to some other island.
9. 6he m#th of (omaetho and Pterela$s refers to the c$ttin% of the
solar kin%>s hair before his death- b$t the name Pterelaus s$%%ests
that the win%ed &harmacos fl$n% to his death was ori%inall# the kin%.
6he s#llable elaos, or elaios, stands for the wild olive which, like the
birch in Ital# and ?orth1western &$ro"e, was $sed for the e3"$lsion of
evil s"irits- and in the Rhodian dialect elaios meant sim"l# &harmacos.
;$t the fates of Pterela$s and (e"hal$s are m#thicall# linked b#
Procris>s ado"tion of the name Pterelas, and this s$%%ests that she was
reall# the "riestess of Athene, who la$nched the leathered (e"hal$s to
his death.
8. 6he fo3 was the emblem of 0essene .A"ollodor$s/- "robabl#
beca$se the Aeolians worshi""ed the 0oon1%oddess as a vi3en- and
the m#th of the 6e$messian vi3en ma# record Aeolian raids on
(admeia in search of child sacrifices, to which the <e$s1worshi""in%
Achaeans "$t an end.
9. Pha@thon and Ad#mn$s .from a6domenos, Hhe who does not
set>/ are both alle%orical names for the "lanet Ben$s. ;$t Pha@thon,
son of &os and (e"hal$s, has been conf$sed b# ?orm$s with Pha@thon,
son of eli$s, who drove the s$n1chariot and was drowned- and with
At#mni$s .from atos and hmnos, Hinsatiate of heroic "raise>/, a s$n1
hero worshi""ed b# the 0ilesians.
1=. &"ei$s, who b$ilt the wooden horse, a""ears in earl# le%ends as
an o$tstandin%l# co$ra%eo$s warrior- b$t his name was ironicall#
a""lied to boasters, $ntil it became s#non#mo$s with cowardice
.es#chi$s s$b &"ei$s/.
he "hi6dre3 O8 )asi4ha<(
A05?G Pasi"ha@>s children b# 0inos were Acacallis, Ariadne,
Andro%e$s, (atre$s, Gla$c$s, and Phaedra. 4he also bore (#don to
ermes, and 'ib#an Ammon to <e$s.
b. Ariadne, beloved first b# 6hese$s, and then b# :ion#s$s, bore man#
famo$s children. (atre$s, who s$cceeded 0inos on the throne, was
killed in Rhodes b# his own son. Phaedra married 6hese$s and won
notoriet# for her $nfort$nate love1affair with i""ol#t$s, her ste"son.
Acacallis was A"ollo>s first love- when he and his sister Artemis came
for "$rification to 6arrha, from Ae%ialae on the mainland, he fo$nd
Acacallis at the ho$se of (armanor, a maternal relative, and sed$ced
her. 0inos was ve3ed, and banished Acacallis to 'ib#a where, some
sa#, she became the mother of Garamas, tho$%h others claim that he
was the first man ever to be born.
c. Gla$c$s, while still a child, was "la#in% ball one da# in the "alace at
(noss$s or, "erha"s, chasin% a mo$se, when he s$ddenl# disa""eared.
0inos and Pasi"ha@ searched hi%h and low b$t, bein% $nable to find
him, had reco$rse to the :el"hic 5racle. 6he# were informed that
whoever co$ld %ive the best simile for a recent "ortento$s birth in
(rete wo$ld find what was lost. 0inos made enD$iries and learned that
a heifer1calf had been born amon% his herds which chan%ed its colo$r
thrice a da#Ifrom white to red, and from red to black. e s$mmoned
his soothsa#ers to the "alace, b$t none co$ld think of a simile $ntil
Pol#eid$s the Ar%ive, a descendant of 0elam"$s, said, H6his calf
resembles nothin% so m$ch as a ri"enin% blackberr# Uor m$lberr#V.>
0inos at once commanded him to %o in search of Gla$c$s.
d. Pol#eid$s wandered thro$%h the lab#rinthine "alace, $ntil he came
$"on an owl sittin% at the entrance to a cellar, fri%htenin% awa# a
swarm of bees, and took this for an omen. ;elow in the cellar he fo$nd
a %reat Gar $sed for the storin% of hone#, and Gla$c$s drowned in it,
head downwards. 0inos, when this discover# was re"orted to him,
cons$lted with the ($retes, and followed their advice b# tellin%
Pol#eid$s, H?ow that #o$ have fo$nd m# son>s bod#, #o$ m$st restore
him to lifeO> Pol#eid$s "rotested that, not bein% Ascle"i$s, he was
inca"able of raisin% the dead. HAh, I know better,> re"lied 0inos. HCo$
will be locked in a tomb with Gla$c$s>s bod# and a sword, and there
#o$ will remain $ntil m# orders have been obe#edO>
e. When Pol#eid$s %rew acc$stomed to the darkness of the tomb he
saw a ser"ent a""roachin% the bo#>s cor"se and, seiAin% his sword,
killed it. Presentl# another ser"ent, %lidin% $", and findin% that its mate
was dead, retired, b$t came back shortl# with a ma%ic herb in its
mo$th, which it laid on the dead bod#. 4lowl# the ser"ent came to life
a%ain. Pol#eid$s was asto$nded, b$t had the "resence of mind to a""l#
the same herb to the bod# of Gla$c$s, and with the same ha""# res$lt.
e and Gla$c$s then sho$ted lo$dl# for hel", $ntil a "asser1b# heard
them and ran to s$mmon 0inos, who was overGo#ed when he o"ened
the tomb and fo$nd his son alive. e loaded Pol#eid$s with %ifts, b$t
wo$ld not let him ret$rn to Ar%os $ntil he had ta$%ht Gla$c$s the art of
divination. Pol#eid$s $nwillin%l# obe#ed, and when he was abo$t to sail
home, told Gla$c$s, H;o#, s"it into m# o"en mo$thO> Gla$c$s did so,
and immediatel# for%ot all that he had learned.
%. 'ater, Gla$c$s led an e3"edition westward, and demanded a
kin%dom from the Italians- b$t the# des"ised him for failin% to be so
%reat a man as his father- however, he introd$ced the (retan militar#
%irdle and shield into Ital#, and th$s earned the name 'abic$s, which
means H%irdled>.
h. Andro%e$s visited Athens, and won ever# contest in the All1Athenian
Games. ;$t Fin% Ae%e$s knew of his friendshi" for the fift# rebellio$s
sons of Pallas and fearin% that he mi%ht "ers$ade his father 0inos to
s$""ort these in an o"en revolt, cons"ired with the 0e%areans to have
him amb$shed at 5eno@ on the wa# to 6hebes, where he was abo$t to
com"ete in certain f$neral %ames. Andro%e$s defended himself with
co$ra%e, and a fierce battle ens$ed in which he was killed.
i. ?ews of Andro%e$s>s death reached 0inos while he was sacrificin% to
the Graces on the island of Paros. e threw down the %arlands and
commanded the fl$te1"la#ers to cease, b$t com"leted the ceremon#-
to this da# the# sacrifice to the Graces of Paros witho$t either m$sic or
G. Gla$c$s son of 0inos has sometimes been conf$sed with
Anthedonian Gla$c$s, son of Anthedon, or of Poseidon, who once
observed the restorative "ro"ert# of a certain %rass, sown b# (ron$s in
the Golden A%e, when a dead fish .or, some sa#, a hare/ was laid $"on
it and came to life a%ain. e tasted the herb and, becomin% immortal,
lea"ed into the sea, where he is now a marine %od, famo$s for his
amoro$s advent$res. is $nderwater home lies off the coast of :elos,
and ever# #ear he visits all the "orts and islands of Greece, iss$in%
oracles m$ch "riAed b# sailors and fishermen1A"ollo himself is
described as Gla$c$s>s "$"il.
1. Pasi"ha@ as the 0oon has been credited with n$mero$s sons,
(#don, the e"on#mo$s hero of (#don near 6e%ea, and of the (#donian
colon# in (rete- Gla$c$s, a (orinthian sea1hero- Andro%e$s, in whose
hono$r ann$al %ames were celebrated at (eramic$s, and whom the
Athenians worshi""ed as H,urges1 .Hbroad1circlin%>/, to show that he
was a s"irit of the solar #ear .es#chi$s s$b Andro%e$s/- Ammon, the
orac$lar hero of the Ammon 5asis, later eD$ated with <e$s- and
(atre$s, whose name seems to be a masc$line form of (atarrhoa, the
0oon as rain1maker. er da$%hters Ariadne and Phaedra are
re"rod$ctions of herself- Ariadne, tho$%h read as ariagne, Hmost "$re>,
a""ears to be a 4$merian name, $r6ri6an6de, Hhi%h fr$itf$l mother of
the barle#>, and Phaedra occ$rs in 4o$th Palestinian inscri"tions as
*. 6he m#th of Acacallis .H$nwalled>/ a""arentl# records the ca"t$re,
b# invadin% ellenes from Ae%ialae, of the West (retan cit# of 6arrha
which, like other (retan cities, was $nwalled- and the fli%ht of the
leadin% inhabitants to 'ib#a, where the# became the r$lers of the
$nwarlike Garamantians.
7. White, red, and black, the colo$rs of 0inos>s heifer, were also
those of Io the 0oon1cow- those of A$%eias>s sacred b$lls- and on a
(aeretan vase those of the 0inos b$ll which carried off &$ro"e.
0oreover, cla# or "laster tri"ods sacred to the (retan %oddess fo$nd at
?ino$ Fhani, and a similar tri"od fo$nd at 0#cenae, were "ainted in
white, red, and black- and accordin% to (tesias>s Indica, these were the
colo$rs of the $nicorn>s hornIthe $nicorn, as a calendar s#mbol,
re"resented the 0oon1%oddess>s dominion over the five seasons of the
5sirian #ear, each of which contrib$ted "art of an animal to its
com"osition. 6hat Gla$c$s was chasin% a mo$se ma# "oint to a conflict
between the Athenian worshi""ers of Athene, who had an owl .glau-/
for her familiar, and the worshi""ers of A"ollo 4minthe$s .H0o$se
A"ollo>/- or the ori%inal stor# ma# have been that 0inos %ave him a
mo$se coated with hone# to swallowIa des"erate remed# "rescribed
for sick children in the ancient &astern 0editerranean. is manner of
death ma# also refer to the $se of hone# as an embalmin% fl$idIman#
Gar1b$rials of children occ$r in (retan ho$sesIand the owl was a bird
of death. 6he bees are "erha"s e3"lained b# a misreadin% of certain
c$t %ems .Weiseler/, which showed ermes s$mmonin% the dead from
b$rial Gars, while their so$ls hovered above in the form of bees.
8. Pol#eid$s is both the sha"e1shiftin% <a%re$s and the demi1%od
Ascle"i$s, whose re%enerative herb seems to have been mistletoe, or
its &astern1&$ro"ean co$nter"art, the loranth$s. 6he ;ab#lonian
le%end of Gil%amesh "rovides a "arallel to the ser"ent>s revivification.
is herb of eternal life is stolen from him b# a ser"ent, which
there$"on casts its slo$%h and %rows #o$n% a%ain- Gil%amesh, $nable
to recover the herb, resi%ns himself to death. It is described as
resemblin% b$ckthorn, a "lant which the Greeks took as a "$r%e before
"erformin% their 0#steries.
5. Gla$c$s>s s"ittin% into the o"en mo$th of Pol#eid$s recalls a similar
action of A"ollo when (assandra failed to "a# him for the %ift of
"ro"hec#- in (assandra>s case, however, the res$lt was not that she
lost the %ift, b$t that no one believed her.
+. 6he %oddesses to whom 0inos sacrificed witho$t the c$stomar#
fl$tes or flowers, when he heard that his son had died, were the Pariae,
or Ancient 5nes, "res$mabl# the 6hree !ates, e$"hemisticall# called
the HGraces>. 0#th has here broken down into street1corner anecdote.
Andro%e$s>s death is a device $sed to acco$nt for the (retan D$arrel
with Athens, based, "erha"s, on some irrelevant tradition of a m$rder
done at 5eno@.
9. Anthedonian Gla$c$s>s orac$lar %ifts, his name, and his love1
affairs, one of which was with 4c#lla s$%%est that he was a
"ersonification of (retan sea1"ower. ;oth 0inos .who received his
oracles from <e$s/ and Poseidon, "atron of the (retan confederac#,
had enGo#ed 4c#lla- and Anthedon .HreGoicin% in flowers>/ was
a""arentl# a title of the (retan 4"rin%1flower hero incarnate in ever#
late 0inoan kin%. 6he Fin% of (noss$s seems to have been connected
b# sacred marria%es with all member states of his confederac#- hence
Gla$c$s>s amator# re"$tation. It is "robable that a re"resentative from
(noss$s made an ann$al "ro%ress aro$nd the (retan overseas
de"endencies in the st#le of 6alos, %ivin% o$t the latest orac$lar edicts.
:elos was a (retan island and "erha"s a distrib$tion centre for oracles
bro$%ht from the :ictaean (ave at (noss$s. ;$t this Gla$c$s also
resembles Prote$s, the orac$lar sea1%od of (retan Pharos, and
0elicertes the sea1%od of (orinth, identified with another Gla$c$s.
(ron$s>s %rass of the Golden A%e ma# have been the ma%ical herbe
d1or of the :r$ids.
8. A version of the Gla$c$s m#th is D$oted from the '#dian historian
Xanth$s b# Plin# .Natural !istor/ and ?onn$s .+ionsiaea/, and
commemorated on a series of coins from 4ardis. When the hero 6#lon,
or 6#l$s .Hknot> or H"hall$s>/, was fatall# bitten in the heel b# a
"oisono$s ser"ent, his sister 0oera .Hfate>/ a""ealed to the %iant
:amasen .Hs$bd$er>/, who aven%ed him. Another ser"ent then fetched
Hthe flower of <e$s> from the woods, and laid it on the li"s of its dead
mate, which came to life a%ain- 0oera followed this e3am"le and
similarl# restored 6#l$s.
*:y66a $3d is2s
0I?54 was the first kin% to control the 0editerranean 4ea, which he
cleared of "irates, and in (rete r$led over ninet# cities. When the
Athenians had m$rdered his son Andro%e$s, he decided to take
ven%eance on them, and sailed aro$nd the Ae%ean collectin% shi"s and
armed levies. 4ome islanders a%reed to hel" him, some ref$sed.
4i"hnos #ielded to him b# the Princess Arne, whom he bribed with
%old- the %ods chan%ed her into a Gackdaw which loves %old and all
thin%s that %litter. e made an alliance with the "eo"le of Ana"he, b$t
reb$ffed b# Fin% Aeac$s of Ae%ina and de"arted, swearin% reven%e.
Aeac$s then answered an a""eal from (e"hal$s to Goin the Athenians
a%ainst 0inos.
b. 0eanwhile, 0inos was "art#in% the Isthm$s of (orinth. e laid sie%e
to ?isa, r$led b# ?is$s the &%#"tian, who had a da$%hter name 4c#lla.
A tower stood in the cit#, b$ilt b# A"ollo Uand PoseidonJV, an at its foot
la# a m$sical stone which, if "ebbles were dro""ed $"on from above,
ran% like a l#reIbeca$se A"ollo had once rested his l#re there while he
was workin% as a mason. 4c#lla $sed to s"end m$ch time at the to" of
the tower, "la#in% t$nes on the stone with a la"f$l "ebbles- and here
she climbed dail# when the war be%an, to watch
c. 6he sie%e of ?isa was "rotracted, and 4c#lla soon came to know the
name of ever# (retan warrior. 4tr$ck b# the bea$t# of 0inos, and b#
his ma%nificent clothes and white char%er, she fell "erversel# in love
with him. 4ome sa# that A"hrodite willed it so- others blame era.
d. 5ne ni%ht 4c#lla cre"t into her father>s chamber, and c$t off the
famo$s bri%ht lock on which his life and throne de"ended- then, takin%
from him the ke#s of the cit# %ate, she o"ened it, and stole o$t. 4he
made strai%ht for 0inos>s tent, and offered him the lock of hair in
e3chan%e for his love. HIt is a bar%ainO> cried 0inos- and that same
ni%ht, havin% entered the cit# and sacked it, he d$l# la# with 4c#lla-
b$t wo$ld not take her to (rete, beca$se he loathed the crime of
"arricide. 4c#lla, however, swam after his shi", and cl$n% to the stem
$ntil her father ?is$s>s so$l in the form of a sea1ea%le swoo"ed down
$"on her with talons and hooked beak. 6he terrified 4c#lla let %o and
was drowned- her so$l flew off as a cirr$s1bird, which is well known for
its "$r"le breast and red le%s. ;$t some sa# that 0inos %ave orders for
4c#lla to be drowned- and others that her so$l became the fish cirr$s,
not the bird of that name.
e. ?isa was afterwards called 0e%ara, in hono$r of 0e%are$s, a son of
5eno"e b# i""omenes- he had been ?is$s>s all# and married his
da$%hter I"hino@, and is said to have s$cceeded him on the throne.
f. 6his war dra%%ed on $ntil 0inos, findin% that he co$ld not s$bd$e
Athens, "ra#ed <e$s to aven%e Andro%e$s>s death- and the whole of
Greece was conseD$entl# afflicted with earthD$akes and famine. 6he
kin%s of the vario$s cit# states assembled at :el"hi to cons$lt the
5racle, and were instr$cted to make Aeac$s offer $" "ra#ers on their
behalf. When this had been done, the earthD$akes ever#where ceased,
e3ce"t in Attica.
%. 6he Athenians there$"on so$%ht to redeem themselves from the
c$rse b# sacrificin% to Perse"hone the da$%hters of #acinth$s,
namel# Antheis, Ae%leis, '#ctaea, and 5rthaea, on the %rave of the
(#clo"s Geraest$s. 6hese %irls had come to Athens from 4"arta. Cet
the earthD$akes contin$ed and, when the Athenians a%ain cons$lted
the :el"hic 5racle, the# were told to %ive 0inos whatever satisfaction
he mi%ht ask- which "roved to be a trib$te of seven #o$ths and seven
maidens, sent ever# nine #ears to (rete as a "re# for the 0inota$r.
h. 0inos then ret$rned to (noss$s, where he sacrificed a hecatomb of
b$lls in %ratit$de for his s$ccess- b$t his end came in the ninth #ear.
1. 6he historical settin% of the 4c#lla m#th is a""arentl# a dis"$te
between the Athenians and their (retan overlords not lon% before the
sack of (noss$s in 18== ;(. 6he m#th itself, almost e3actl# re"eated in
the 6a"hian stor# of Pterela$s and (omaetho, recalls those of 4amson
and :elilah in Philistia- ($roi, ;lathnat, and ($ch$lain in Ireland- 'lew
'law, ;lode$wedd, and Gronw in Wales, all variations on a sin%le
"attern. It concerns the rivalr# between the sacred kin% and his tanist
for the favo$r of the 0oon1%oddess who, at mids$mmer, c$ts off the
kin%>s hair and betra#s him. 6he kin%>s stren%th resides in his hair,
beca$se he re"resents the 4$n- and his lon% #ellow locks are com"ared
to its ra#s. :elilah shears 4amson>s hair before callin% in the
Philistines- ;lathnat ties ($roi>s to a bed1"ost before s$mmonin% her
lover ($ch$lain to kill him- ;lode$wedd ties 'lew 'law>s to a tree
before s$mmonin% her lover Gronw. 'lew 'law>s so$l takes the form of
an ea%le, and ;lode$wedd .Hfair flower as"ect>/, a woman ma%icall#
made of nine different flowers is metamor"hosed into an owlIas
4c#lla "erha"s also was in the ori%inal Greek le%end. A collation of
these five m#ths shows that 4c#lla1(omaetho1;lode$wedd1;lathnat1
:elilah is the 0oon1%oddess in her s"rin% and s$mmer as"ect as
A"hrodite (omaetho .Hbri%ht1haired>/- it the a$t$mn she t$rns into an
owl, or a cirr$s, and becomes the :eath %oddess AtheneIwho had
man# bird1e"i"hanies, incl$din% the owlIor era, or ecate. er name
Sclla indicates that the kin% was torn to "ieces after his head had
been shaven. As in the m#th of 'lew 'law, the "$nishment
s$bseD$entl# inflicted on the traitress is a later moral addition.
*. 5vid .$rt of Lo)e/ identifies this 4c#lla with a namesake whom
Am"hitrite t$rned into a do%1monster beca$se Poseidon had sed$ced
her, and sa#s that she harbo$red wild do%s in her womb and loins as a
"$nishment for c$ttin% off ?is$s>s lock. 5vid is rarel# mistaken in his
m#tholo%#, and he ma# here be recordin% a le%end that Pasi"ha@>s
c$rse $"on 0inos made him fill 4c#lla>s womb with "$""ies, rather
than with ser"ents, scor"ions, and milli"edes. Pasi"ha@ and Am"hitrite
are the same 0oon1and14ea1%oddess, and 0inos, as the r$ler of the
0editerranean, became identified with Poseidon.
7. 6he sacrifice of the da$%hters of #acinth$s on Geraest$s>s tomb
ma# refer to the H%ardens of Adonis> "lanted in hono$r of the doomed
kin%Ibein% c$t flowers, the# withered in a few ho$rs. ;$t Geraest$s
was one of "re1Achaean (#clo"s, and accordin% to the ,tmologicum
Magnum, his da$%hters n$rsed the infant <e$s at Gort#s- moreover,
Geraestion was a cit# in Arcadia where Rhea swaddled <e$s. 6he
#acinthides, then, were "robabl# the n$rses, not the da$%hters, of
#acinth$s, "riestesses of Artemis who, at (nid$s, bore the title
H#acinthotro"hos> .Hn$rse of #acinth$s>/, and identifiable with the
Geraestides, since the ann$all# d#in% (retan <e$s was
indistin%$ishable from #acinth$s. Perha"s, therefore, the m#th
concerns fo$r dolls h$n% from a blossomin% fr$it1tree, to face the
cardinal "oints of the com"ass- in a fr$ctif#in% ceremon# of the
Han%ed Artemis>.
8. 6he seven Athenian #o$ths dedicated to the 0inota$r were
"robabl# s$rro%ates sacrificed ann$all# in "lace of the (nossian kin%. It
will have been fo$nd convenient to $se forei%n victims, rather than
native (retans- as ha""ened with the (anaanite rit$al of (r$cifi3ion for
which, in the end, ca"tives and criminals s$fficed as 6amm$A>s
s$rro%ates. H&ver# ninth #ear> means Hat the end of ever# Great Cear of
one h$ndred l$nations>. After seven bo#s had been sacrificed for the
sacred kin%, he himself died. 6he seven Athenian maidens were not
sacrificed- the# became attendants on the 0oon1"riestess, and
"erformed b$ll1fi%hts, s$ch as are shown in (retan works of art, a
dan%ero$s b$t not necessaril# fatal s"ort.
5. A set of m$sical stones ma# have e3isted at 0e%ara on the model of
a 3#lo"hone- it wo$ld not have been diffic$lt to constr$ct. ;$t "erha"s
there is a recollection here of 0emnon>s sin%in% stat$e in &%#"t,
hollow, with an orifice at the back of the o"en mo$th, thro$%h which
the hot air was %ettin% o$t at dawn when the s$n warmed the stone.
D$ED$#!* $D T$#O*
a. 6he "arenta%e of :aedal$s is dis"$ted. is mother is named
Alci""e b# some- b# others, 0ero"e- b# still others, I"hino@- and all
%ive him a different father, tho$%h it is %enerall# a%reed that he
belon%ed to the ro#al ho$se of Athens, which claimed descent from
&rechthe$s. e was a wonderf$l smith, havin% been instr$cted in his
art b# Athene herself.
b. 5ne of his a""rentices, 6alos the son of his sister Pol#caste, or
Perdi3, had alread# s$r"assed him in craftsmanshi" while onl# twelve
#ears old. 6alos ha""ened one da# to "ick $" the Gawbone of a ser"ent
or, some sa#, of a fish>s s"ine- and, findin% that he co$ld $se it to c$t a
stick in half, co"ied it in iron and thereb# invented the saw. 6his, and
other inventions of his [ s$ch as the "otter>s wheel, and the com"ass
for markin% o$t circles [ sec$red him a %reat re"$tation at Athens, and
:aedal$s, who claimed himself to have for%ed the first saw, soon %rew
$nbearabl# Gealo$s. 'eadin% 6alos $" to the roof of Athene>s tem"le on
the Acro"olis, he "ointed o$t certain distant si%hts, and s$ddenl#
to""led him over the ed%e. Cet, for all his Gealo$s#, he wo$ld have done
6alos no harm had he not s$s"ected him of incest$o$s relations with
his mother Pol#caste. :aedal$s then h$rried down to the foot of the
Acro"olis, and thr$st 6alos>s cor"se into a ba%, "ro"osin% to b$r# it
secretl#. When challen%ed b# "assersIb#, he e3"lained that he had
"io$sl# taken $" a dead ser"ent, as the law reD$ired [ which was not
alto%ether $ntr$e, 6alos bein% an &rechtheid [ b$t there were
bloodstains on the ba%, and his crime did not esca"e detection,
where$"on the Areio"a%$s banished him for m$rder. Accordin% to
another acco$nt he fled before the trial co$ld take "lace.
c. ?ow, the so$l of 6alos [ whom some call (al$s, (ircin$s, or 6antal$s [
flew off in the form of a "artrid%e, b$t his bod# was b$ried where it had
fallen. Pol#caste han%ed herself when she heard of his death, and the
Athenians b$ilt a sanct$ar# in her hono$r beside the Acro"olis.
d. :aedal$s took ref$%e in one of the Attic demes, whose "eo"le are
named :aedalids after him- and then in (retan (noss$s, where Fin%
0inos deli%hted to welcome so skilled a craftsman. e lived there for
some time, at "eace and in hi%h favo$r, $ntil 0inos, learnin% that he
had hel"ed Pasi"ha@ to co$"le with Poseidon>s white b$ll, locked him
$" for a while in the 'ab#rinth, to%ether with his son Icar$s, whose
mother, ?a$crate, was one of 0inos>s slaves- b$t Pasi"ha@ freed them
e. It was not eas#, however, to esca"e from (rete, since 0inos ke"t all
his shi"s $nder militar# %$ard, and now offered a lar%e reward for his
a""rehension. ;$t :aedal$s made a "air of win%s for himself, and
another for Icar$s, the D$ill feathers of which were threaded to%ether,
b$t the smaller ones held in "lace b# wa3. avin% tied on Icar$s>s "air
for him, he said with tears in his e#es, H0# son, be warnedO ?either
soar too hi%h, lest the s$n melt the wa3- nor swoo" too low, lest the
feathers be wetted b# the sea.> 6hen he sli""ed his arms into his own
"air of win%s and the# flew off. H!ollow me closel#,> he cried, Hdo not set
#o$r own co$rseO>
f. 6he# had left ?a3os, :elos, and Paros behind them on the left hand,
and were leavin% 'eb#nthos and (al#mne behind on the ri%ht, when
Icar$s disobe#ed his father>s instr$ctions and be%an soarin% towards
the s$n, reGoiced b# the lift of his %reat swee"in% win%s. Presentl#,
when :aedal$s looked over his sho$lder, he co$ld no lon%er see Icar$s-
b$t scattered feathers floated on the waves below. 6he heat of the s$n
had melted the wa3, and Icar$s had fallen into the sea and drowned.
:aedal$s circled aro$nd, $ntil the cor"se rose to the s$rface, and then
carried it to the nearIb# island now called Icaria, where he b$ried it. A
"artrid%e sat "erched on a holmIoak and watched him, chatterin% for
deli%ht [ the so$l of his sister Pol#caste, at last aven%ed. 6his island
has now %iven its name to the s$rro$ndin% sea.
%. ;$t some, disbelievin% the stor#, sa# that :aedal$s fled from (rete
in a boat "rovided b# Pasi"ha@- and that, on their wa# to 4icil#, the#
were abo$t to disembark at a small island, when Icar$s fell into the sea
and drowned. 6he# add that it was eracles who b$ried Icar$s- in
%ratit$de for which, :aedal$s made so lifelike a stat$e of him at Pisa
that eracles mistook it for a rival and felled it with a stone. 5thers sa#
that :aedal$s invented sails, not win%s, as a means of o$tstri""in%
0inos>s %alle#s- and that Icar$s, steerin% carelessl#, was drowned
when their boat ca"siAed.
h. :aedal$s flew westward $ntil, ali%htin% at ($mae near ?a"les, he
dedicated his win%s to A"ollo there, and b$ilt him a %oldenIroofed
tem"le. Afterwards, he visited (amic$s in 4icil#, where he was
hos"itabl# received b# Fin% (ocal$s, and lived amon% the 4icilians,
enGo#in% %reat fame and erectin% man# fine b$ildin%s.
i. 0eanwhile, 0inos had raised a considerable fleet, and set o$t in
search of :aedal$s. e bro$%ht with him a 6riton shell, and wherever
he went "romised to reward an#one who co$ld "ass a linen thread
thoro$%h it, a "roblem which, he knew, :aedal$s alone wo$ld be able
to solve. Arrived at (amic$s, he offered the shell to (ocal$s, who
$ndertook to have it threaded- and, s$re eno$%h, :aedal$s fo$nd o$t
how to do this. !astenin% a %ossamer thread to an ant, he bored a hole
at the "oint of the shell and l$red the ant $" the s"irals b# smearin%
hone# on the ed%es of the hole. 6hen he tied the linen thread to the
other end of the %ossamer and drew that thro$%h as well. (ocal$s
ret$rned the threaded shell, claimin% the reward, and 0inos, ass$red
that he had at last fo$nd :aedal$s>s hidin%I"lace, demanded his
s$rrender. ;$t (ocal$s>s da$%hters were loth to lose :aedal$s, who
made them s$ch bea$tif$l to#s, and with his hel" the# concocted a
"lot. :aedal$s led a "i"e thro$%h the roof of the bathroom, down which
the# "o$red boilin% water or, some sa#, "itch $"on 0inos, while he
l$3$riated in a warm bath. (ocal$s, who ma# well have been
im"licated in the "lot, ret$rned the cor"se to the (retans, sa#in% that
0inos had st$mbled over a r$% and fallen into a ca$ldron of boilin%
G. 0inos>s followers b$ried him with %reat "om", and <e$s made him a
G$d%e of the dead in 6artar$s, with his brother Rhadamanth#s and his
enem# Aeac$s as collea%$es. 4ince 0inos>s tomb occ$"ied the centre
of A"hrodite>s tem"le at (amic$s, he was hono$red there for man#
%enerations b# %reat crowds of 4icilians who came to worshi"
A"hrodite. In the end, his bones were ret$rned to (rete b# 6heron, the
t#rant of Acra%as.
k. After 0inos>s death the (retans fell into com"lete disorder, beca$se
their main fleet was b$rned b# the 4icilians. 5f the crews who were
forced to remain overseas, some b$ilt the cit# of 0inoa, close to the
beach where the# had landed- others, the cit# of #ria in 0essa"ia-
still others, marchin% into the centre of 4icil#, fortified a hill which
became the cit# of &n%$os, so called from a s"rin% which flows close
b#. 6here the# b$ilt a tem"le of the 0others, whom the# contin$ed to
hono$r %reatl#, as in their native (rete.
l. ;$t :aedal$s left 4icil# to Goin Iola$s, the ne"hew and charioteer of
6ir#nthian eracles, who led a bod# of Athenians and 6hes"ians to
4ardinia. 0an# of his works s$rvive to this da# in 4ardinia- the# are
called :aedaleia Uor :aidalaV.
m. ?ow, 6alos was also the name of 0inos>s b$ll1headed servant,
%iven him b# <e$s to %$ard (rete. 4ome sa# that he s$rvivor of the
braAen race who s"ran% from the ash1trees- others, that he was for%ed
b# e"haest$s in 4ardinia, and that he had onl# one vein, which ran
from his neck down to his ankles, where it was sto""ered b# a bronAe
"in. It was his task to r$n thrice dail# aro$nd the island of (rete and
throw rocks at an# forei%n shi"- and also to %o thrice a #ear at a more
leis$rel# "ace, thro$%h the villa%es of (rete, anno$ncin% 0inos>s laws
inscribed on braAen tablets. When the 4ardinians tried to invade the
island, 6alos made himself red1hot in a fire and destro#ed them in his
b$rnin% embrace, %rinnin% fiercel#- hence the e3"ression H4ardonic
%rin>. In the end, 0edea killed 6alos b# "$llin% o$t the vein and lettin%
his life1blood esca"e- tho$%h some sa# that Poeas the transfi3ed him
with a "oisoned arrow.
1. e"haest$s is sometimes described as era>s son b# 6alos, and
6alos as :aedal$s>s #o$n% ne"hew- b$t :aedal$s was a G$nior member
of o$se of &rechthe$s, which was fo$nded lon% after the birth of
e"haest$s. 4$ch chronolo%ical discre"ancies are the r$le in
m#tholo%#. :aedal$s \Hbri%ht> or Hc$nnin%l# wro$%ht>/, 6alos
.Hs$fferer>/, and e"haest$s .Hhe who shines b# da#>/, are shown b# the
similarit# of attrib$tes to be merel# different titles of the same
m#thical character. Icar$s .from io6carios, Hdedicated to the 0oon1
%oddess (ar>/ ma# #et be another of his titles. !or e"haest$s the
smith1%od married to A"hrodite, to whom the "artrid%e was sacred- the
sister of :aedal$s the smith is called Perdi3 .H"artrid%e>/- the so$l of
6alos the smith flies off as a "artrid%e- a "artrid%e a""eared at the
b$rial of :aedal$s>s son Icar$s. ;esides, e"haest$s was fl$n% from
5l#m"$s- 6alos was fl$n% from the Acro"olis. e"haest$s hobbled
when he walked, one of 6alos>s names was 6antal$s .Hhobblin%, or
l$rchin%>/- a cock1"artrid%e hobbles in his love1dance, holdin% one heel
read# to strike at rivals. 0oreover, the 'atin %od B$lcan hobbled. is
c$lt had been introd$ced from (rete, where he was called Belchan$s
and had a cock for his emblem, beca$se the cock crows at dawn and
was therefore a""ro"riate to a 4$n1hero. ;$t the cock did not reach
(rete $ntil the si3th cent$r# ;( and is likel# to have dis"laced the
"artrid%e as Belchan$s>s bird.
*. It seems that in the s"rin% an erotic "artrid%e dance was "erformed
in hono$r of the 0oon1%oddess, and that the male dancers hobbled
and wore win%s. In Palestine this ceremon#, called the Pesach .Hthe
hobblin%>/ was, accordin% to 2erome, still "erformed at ;eth1o%lah
.Hthe 4hrine the obbler>/, where the devotees danced in a s"iral. ;eth1
o%lah is identified with Hthe threshin%1floor of Atad>, on which
mo$rnin% was made for the lame Fin% 2acob, whose name ma# mean
Fah $ceb .Hthe heel1%od>/. 2eremiah warns the 2ews not to take "art in
those or%iastic (anaanite rites, D$otin%, HThe &artridge gathereth
oung that she ha)e not brought forth.> Ana"he, an island sit$ated to
the north of (rete, with which 0inos made a treat#, was famo$s in
antiD$it# as a restin%1"lace for mi%rant "artrid%es.
7. 6he m#th of :aedal$s and 6alos, like its variant, the m#th :aedal$s
and Icar$s, seems to combine the rit$al of b$rnin% the solar kin%>s
s$rro%ate, who had "$t on ea%le>s win%s, in the s"rin% bonfireIwhen
the Palestinian ?ew Cear be%anIwith the rit$als flin%in% the "artrid%e1
win%ed &harmacos, a similar s$rro%ate, over a rock into the sea, and of
"rickin% the kin% in the heel with a "oisoned arrow. ;$t the fishermen>s
and "easants> admiration of fl#in% :aedal$s is "robabl# borrowed from
an icon of the win%ed Perse$s or 0ard$k.
8. In one sense the lab#rinth from which :aedal$s and Icar$s
esca"ed was the mosaic floor with the maAe "attern, which the# had to
follow in the rit$al "artrid%e dance- b$t :aedal$s>s esca"e to 4icil#,
($mae, and 4ardinia refers "erha"s to the fli%ht of the native bronAe
workers from (rete as the res$lt of s$ccessive ellenic invasions. A
r$se of the 6riton shell, and 0inos>s b$rial in a shrine of A"hrodite to
whom this shell was sacred, s$%%est that 0inos was also, in conte3t,
re%arded as e"haest$s, the 4ea1%oddess>s lover. is death in bath is
an incident that has a""arentl# become detached from the m#th of
?is$s and 4c#lla- ?is$s>s (eltic co$nter"art, 'lew 'law was killed in a
bath b# a trick- and so was another sacred Fin%, A%amemnon of
.5. 6he name ?a$crate .Hsea1"ower>/ records the historical
conseD$ences of 0inos>s defeat in 4icil#Ithe "assin% of sea1"ower
from r$lin% (retan into Greek bands. 6hat she was one of 0inos>s
slaves s$%%ests a "alace revol$tion of ellenic mercenaries at
+. If Pol#caste, the other name of 6alos>s mother Perdi3, means
&olcassitere, Hm$ch tin>, it belon%s to the m#th of the bronAe man,
6alos>s namesake. (retan s$"remac# de"ended lar%el# on "lentif$l
s$""lies of tin, to mi3 with (#"rian co""er- accordin% to Professor
(hristo"her awkes, the nearest so$rce was the island of 0allorca.
9. 6alos is said b# es#chi$s to be a name for the 4$n- ori%inall#,
therefore, 6alos will have co$rsed onl# once a da# aro$nd (rete.
Perha"s, however, the harbo$rs of (rete were %$arded a%ainst "irates
b# three cor"s of watches which sent o$t "atrols. And since 6alos the
4$n was also called 6a$r$s .Hthe b$ll>/, his thrice1#earl# visit to the
villa%es was "robabl# a ro#al "ro%ress of the 4$n1kin%, wearin% his
rit$al b$ll1maskIthe (retan #ear bein% divided into three seasons.
6alos>s red1hot embrace ma# record the h$man b$rnt sacrifices offered
to 0oloch, alias 0elkarth, who was worshi""ed in (orinth as
0elicertes, and "robabl# also known in (rete. 4ince this 6alos came
from 4ardinia, where :aedal$s was said to have fled when "$rs$ed b#
0inos, and was at the same time <e$s>s %ift to 0inos, the
m#tho%ra"hers have sim"lified the stor# b# %ivin% e"haest$s, rather
than :aedal$s, credit for its constr$ction- e"haest$s and :aedal$s
bein% the same character. 6he sardonicus risus, or rictus, stiffenin% of
the facial m$scles, s#m"tomatic of lock1Gaw, was "erha"s so called
beca$se the sta%1man of earl# 4ardinian bronAes wears the same
%a"in% %rin.
8. 6alos>s sin%le vein belon%s to the m#ster# of earl# bronAe castin% b#
the cire6&erdue method. !irst, the smith made a beeswa3 ima%e which
he covered with a la#er of cla#, and laid in an oven. As soon as the cla#
had been well baked he "ierced the s"ot between heel and ankle, so
that the wa3 ran o$t and deft a mo$ld, into which molten bronAe co$ld
be "o$red. When he had filled this, and the metal inside had cooled, he
broke the cla#, leavin% a bronAe ima%e of the same sha"e as the
ori%inal wa3 one. 6he (retans bro$%ht the cire6&erdue method to
4ardinia, to%ether with :aedal$s c$lt. 4ince :aedal$s learned his craft
from Athene, who was known as 0edea at (orinth, the stor# of 6alos>s
death ma# have been a misreadin% of an icon which showed Athene
demonstratin% the cire6&erdue method. 6he tradition that melted wa3
ca$sed Icar$s>s death seems to be referrin% rather, to the m#th of his
co$sin 6alos- beca$se 6alos the bronAe1man is closel# connected with
his namesake, the worker in ]bronAe and the re"$ted inventor of
9. (om"asses are "art of the bronAe1worker>s m#ster#, essential for
acc$rate drawin% of concentric circles when bowls, helmets, or masks
have to be beaten o$t. ence 6alos was known as (ircin$s, Hthe
circ$lar>, a title which referred both to the co$rse of the s$n and to the
$se of com"ass. is invention of the saw has been ri%htl# em"hasiAed-
the (retans had $sed do$ble1toothed t$rnin%1saws for free workers
which the# $sed with marvello$s de3terit#. 6alos is the son of an ash
n#m"h, beca$se ash1charcoal #ields a ver# hi%h heat for smeltin%. 6his
m#th sheds li%ht also on Promethe$s>s creation of man from cla#, in
ebrew le%end Promethe$s>s "art was "la#ed b# the Archan%el
0ichael who worked $nder the e#e of 2ehovah.
1=. Poeas>s shootin% of 6alos recalls Paris>s shootin% of Achilles in
the heel, and the deaths of the (enta$rs Phol$s and (heiron. 6hese
m#ths are closel# related. Phol$s and (heiron died from eracles>s
"oisoned arrows. Poeas was the father of Philoctetes and, when
eracles had been "oisoned b# another (enta$r, ordered him to kindle
the "#re. As a res$lt, Philoctetes obtained the same arrows, one of
which "oisoned him. Paris then borrowed 6hessalian A"ollo>s deadl#
arrows to kill Achilles, (heiron>s foster1son. !inall#, when Philoctetes
aven%ed Achilles b# shootin% Paris, he $sed another from eracles>s
D$iver. 6he 6hessalian sacred kin% was, it seems, killed b# an arrow
smeared with vi"er venom, which tanist drove between his heel and
ankle. In the 4anskrit Mahabharata, divine hero Frishna, whom
Ale3ander>s Greeks identified with eracles was shot in the heel and
killed b# the h$nter 2ara who, in some m#ths a""ears as his brother,
i.e. tanist.
11. In (eltic m#th the lab#rinth came to mean the ro#al tomb .White
Goddess/- and that it also did so amon% the earl# Greeks is s$%%ested
b# its definition in the ,tmologicum Magnum as Ha mo$ntain cave>,
and b# &$stathi$s .*n !omer1s *dsse/ as Ha s$bterranean cave.
&tr$scan 'ars Porsena made one for his tomb .Barro,/, and there were
lab#rinths in the H(#clo" caves>, i.e. "re1ellenic, caves near ?a$"lia
.4trabo/- on 4amos .Plin#/- and on 'emnos .Plin#/. 6o esca"e from the
lab#rinth, therefore, is to be reincarnated.
1*. Altho$%h :aedal$s ranks as an Athenian, beca$se of the deme
named in his hono$r, the :aedalic crafts were introd$ced Attica from
(rete, not contrariwise. 6he to#s that he made for da$%hters of
(ocal$s are likel# to have been dolls with movable limbs like those
which "leased Pasi"ha@ and her da$%hter Ariadne, and which seem to
have been $sed in the Attic tree c$lt of &ri%one. At an# rate, Pol#caste,
:aedal$s>s sister, han%ed herself, as did two &ri%one and Ariadne
17. 6he 0essa"ians of #ria, later )ria, now 5ria, were known in
(lassical times for their (retan c$stomsIkiss1c$rl, flower1embroidered
robes, do$ble1a3e, and so on- and "otter# fo$nd there can be dated
back from 18== ;.(., which bears o$t the stor#.
"atre2s $3d $6thae0e3es
(A6R&)4, 0inos>s eldest s$rvivin% son, had three da$%hters,
Aero"e, (l#mene, and A"emos#ne- and a son, Althaemenes. When an
oracle "redicted that (atre$s wo$ld be killed b# one of his own
children, Althaemenes and the swift1footed A"emos#ne "io$sl# left
(rete, with a lar%e followin%, in the ho"e of esca"in% the c$rse. 6he#
landed on the island of Rhodes, and fo$nded the cit# of (rethenia,
namin% it in hono$r of their native island. Althaemenes afterwards
settled at (ameir$s, where he was held in %reat hono$r b# the
inhabitants, and raised an altar to <e$s on the near1b# 0o$nt
Atab#ri$s, from the s$mmit of which, on clear da#s, he co$ld %ain a
distant view of his beloved (rete. Aro$nd this altar he set braAen b$lls,
which roared alo$d whenever dan%er threatened Rhodes.
b. 5ne da# ermes fell in love with A"emos#ne, who reGected his
and fled from him. 6hat evenin% he s$r"rised her near a s"rin%. A%ain
she t$rned to flee, b$t he had s"read sli""er# hides on the one "ath of
esca"e, so that she fell flat on her face and he s$cceeded in ravishin%
her. When A"emos#ne ret$rned to the "alace, and r$ef$ll# told
Althaemenes of this misadvent$re, he cried o$t H'iar and harlotO> and
"$t her to death.
c. 0eanwhile (atre$s, mistr$stin% Aero"e and (l#mene, the other
da$%hters, banished them from (rete, of which he was now kin%.
Aero"e, havin% been sed$ced b# 6h#estes the Pelo"id, married
Pleisthenes, brother of A%amenmon and 0enela$s- and (l#mene
married ?a$"li$s, the celebrated navi%ator. At last, in lonel# old a%e
and, so far as he knew, witho$t an heir to his throne, (atre$s went
search of Althaemenes, whom he loved dearl#. 'andin% one ni%ht on
Rhodes, he and his com"anions were mistaken for "irates, and slain b#
the (ameiran cowherds. (atre$s tried to e3"lain who he was and wh#
he had come, b$t the barkin% of do%s drowned his voice. Althaemenes
came from the "alace to beat off the s$""osed raid and, seein% his
father, killed him with a s"ear. When he learned that the oracle had
been f$lfilled after all, des"ite his lon%, self1im"osed e3ile, he "ra#ed to
be swallowed $" b# the earth. A chasm o"ened accordin%l# and he
disa""eared, b$t is "aid heroic hono$rs to this da#.
1. 6his artificial m#th, which records a 0#cenaeo10inoan occ$"ation
of Rhodes in the fifteenth cent$r# ;(, is intended also to acco$nt for
libations "o$red down a chasm to a Rhodian hero, as well as for erotic
s"orts in the co$rse of which women danced on the newl#1fla#ed hide
of sacrificial beasts. 6he termination brios, or buriash, occ$rs in the
ro#al title of the 6hird ;ab#lonian :#nast#, fo$nded in 195= ;(- and
deit# of Atab#ri$s in (rete, like that of Atab#ri$m .0o$nt 6abor/ in
Palestine, famo$s for its %olden calf worshi", was the ittite 6es$",
cattle1ownin% 4$n1%od. Rhodes first belon%ed to the 4$merian 0oon1
%oddess :am1Fina, or :ana@, b$t "assed into the "ossession of 6es$"-
and, on the breakdown of the ittite &m"ire, was coloniAed b# Greek1
s"eakin% (retans who retained the c$lt, b$t made Atab#ri$s a son of
Proet$s .Hfirst man>/ and &$r#nome the (reatri3. In :orian times <e$s
Atab#ri$s $s$r"ed 6es$">s Rhodian c$lt. 6he roar of b$lls will have
been "rod$ced b# the whirlin% of rhomboi, or b$ll1roarers, $sed to
fri%hten awa# evil s"irits.
%. A"emos#ne>s death at (ameir$s ma# refer to a br$tal re"ression, b#
the ittite rather than the (retan invaders, of a colle%e of 5rac$lar
"riestesses at (ameir$s. 6he three da$%hters of (atre$s, like the
:anaids, are the familiar 0oon1triad, A"emos#ne bein% the third
"erson, (ameira>s co$nter"art. (atre$s accidentall# m$rdered b#
Althaeamenes, 'ai$s accidentall# m$rdered b# his son 5edi"$s, and
5d#sse$s b# his son 6ele%on$s, will have been a "redecessor in sacred
kin%shi" rather than a father- b$t the stor# has been mistold, the son,
not the father, sho$ld land from the sea and h$rl the stin%1ra# s"ear.
The *o3s O8 )a3dio3
W&? &rechthe$s, Fin% of Athens, was killed b# Poseidon, his son
(ecro"s, Pandor$s, 0etion, and 5rne$s D$arrelled over the s$ccession
and X$th$s, b# whose verdict (ecro"s, the eldest, became kin%, had to
leave Attica in haste.
b. (ecro"s, whom 0etion and 5rne$s threatened to kill, fled first to
0e%ara and then to &$boea, where Pandor$s Goined him and fo$nded a
colon#. 6he throne of Athens fell to (ecro"s>s son Pandion, whose
mother was 0etiad$sa, da$%hter of &$"alam$s. ;$t he did not retain
lon% his "ower, for tho$%h 0etion died, his sons b# Alci""e, or I"hino@,
"roved to be as Gealo$s as himself. 6hese sons were named :aedal$s,
whom some, however, call his %randson- &$"alam$s, whom others call
his father- and 4ic#on. 4ic#on is also vario$sl# called the son of
&rechthe$s, Pelo"s, or 0arathon, these %enealo%ies bein% in %reat
c. When the sons of 0etion e3"elled Pandion from Athens he fled to the
co$rt of P#las, P#los, or P#lon, a 'ele%ian kin% of 0e%ara, whose
da$%hter P#lia he married. 'ater, P#las killed his $ncle ;ias and,
leavin% Pandion to r$le 0e%ara, took ref$%e in 0essenia, where he
fo$nded the cit# of P#l$s. :riven thence b# ?ele$s and the Pelas%ians
of Iolc$s, he entered &lis, and there fo$nded a second P#l$s. P#lia bore
Pandion fo$r sons at 0e%ara, Ae%e$s, Pallas, ?is$s, and '#c$s, tho$%h
Ae%e$s>s Gealo$s brothers s"read the r$mo$r that he was the bastard
son of 4c#ri$s. Pandion never ret$rned to Athens. e enGo#s a hero1
shrine in 0e%ara, where his tomb is still shown on the (liff of Athene
the diver1bird, in "roof that this territor# once belon%ed to Athens- it
was dis%$ised as this bird that Athene hid his father (ecro"s $nder her
aegis, and carried him in safet# to 0e%ara.
d. After Pandion>s death his sons marched a%ainst Athens, drove o$t
the sons of 0etion, and divided Attica into fo$r "arts, as their father
instr$cted them to do. Ae%e$s, bein% the eldest, was awarded the
soverei%nt# of Athens, while his brothers drew lots for the remainder
"arts kin%dom, ?is$s won 0e%ara and the s$rro$ndin% co$ntr# as far
east as (orinth- '#c$s won &$boea- and Pallas 4o$thern Attica, where
bred a r$%%ed race of %iants.
e. P#las>s son 4ciron, who married one of Pandion>s da$%hters,
disbarred ?is$s>s claim to 0e%ara, and Aeac$s, called in to G$d%e the
dis"$te, awarded the kin%shi" to ?is$s and his descendants, b$t the
commandment of its armies to 4ciron. In those da#s 0e%ara was called
?isa, and ?is$s also %ave his name to the "ort of ?isaea, which he
fo$nded. When 0inos killed ?is$s he was b$ried in Athens, where his
tomb is still shown behind the '#ce$m. 6he 0e%arans, however, who
do not admit that their cit# was ever ca"t$red b# the (retans, claim
that 0e%are$s married ?is$s>s da$%hter I"hino@ and s$cceeded him.
f. Ae%e$s, like (ecro"s and Pandion, fo$nd his life constantl#
threatened b# the "lots of his kinsmen, amon% them '#c$s, whom is
said to have e3iled from &$boea. '#c$s took ref$%e with 4ar"edon, and
%ave his name to '#cia, after first visitin% A"hare$s at Arene, initiatin%
the ro#al ho$sehold into the 0#steries of the Great Goddess :emeter
and Perse"hone, and also into those of Atthis, at the antiD$e
0essenian ca"ital of Andania. 6his Atthis, who %ave Attica its name
was one of the three da$%hters of (rana$s, the a$tochthono$s kin% of
Athens rei%nin% at the time of the :e$calonian !lood. 6he oak1co"s at
Andania, where '#c$s "$rified the initiates, still bears his name. e had
been %ranted the "ower of "ro"hec#, and it was his oracle which later
declared that if the 0essenians ke"t a certain secret thin% the# wo$ld
one da# recover their "atrimon#, b$t if not, the# wo$ld forfeit it for
ever. '#c$s was referrin% to an acco$nt of the 0#steries the Great
Goddess en%raved on a sheet of tin, which the 0essenians there$"on
b$ried in a braAen $rn between a #ew and a m#rtle, on s$mmit of
0o$nt Ithone- &"aminondas the 6heban event$all# desinterred it when
he restored the 0essenians to their former %lor#.
%. 6he Athenian '#ce$m is also named in hono$r of '#c$s- from ver#
earliest times it has been sacred to A"ollo who there first received the
s$rname H'#caean>, and e3"elled wolves from Athens b# the scent of
his sacrifices.
1. 0#thical %enealo%ies s$ch as these were D$oted whenever the
soverei%nt# of states or hereditar# "rivile%es came into dis"$te. 6he
division of 0e%ara between the sacred kin%, who "erformed necessar#
sacrifices, and his tanist, who commanded the arm#, is "aralleled at
4"arta. Ae%e$s>s name records the %oat c$lt in Athens, and name of
'#c$s the wolf c$lt- an# Athenian who killed a wolf was obli%ed to mend
it b# "$blic s$bscri"tion .4choliast on A"olloni$s Rhodi$s. 6he diver1
bird was sacred to Athene as "rotectress of shi"s and, since the (liff of
Athene overh$n% the sea, this ma# have been another of the cliffs from
which her "riestess la$nched the feathered &harmacos. Atthis .actes
thea, H%oddess of the r$%%ed coast>/ seems to have been a title of the
Attic 6ri"le1%oddess- her sisters were named (rana@ .Hston#>/ and
(ranaechme .Hrock# "oint/- and, since Procne and Philomela, when
t$rned into birds, were Gointl# called Atthis .0artial/, she is likel# to
have been connected with the same cliff1to" rit$al. Atthis, as Athene,
has several other bird e"i"hanies in omer. 6he 0#steries of the Great
Goddesses, which concerned res$rrection, had been b$ried between
#ew and m#rtle beca$se these stood, res"ectivel#, for the last vowel
and the last consonant of the tree al"habet, and were sacred to the
The -irth O8 These2s
A&G&)4>s first wife was 0elite, da$%hter of o"les- and his second,
(halcio""e, da$%hter of Rhe3enor- b$t neither bore him an# children.
Ascribin% this, and the misfort$nes of his sisters Procne and Philomela,
to A"hrodite>s an%er, he introd$ced her worshi" into Athens, and then
went to cons$lt the :el"hic 5racle. 6he 5racle warned him not to $ntie
the mo$th of his b$l%in% wine1skin $ntil he reached the hi%hest "oint of
Athens, lest he die one da# of %rief, a res"onse which Ae%e$s co$ld not
b. 5n his wa# home he called at (orinth- and here 0edea made him
swear a solemn oath that he wo$ld shelter her from all enemies if she
ever so$%ht ref$%e at Athens, and $ndertook in ret$rn to "roc$re him a
son b# ma%ic. ?e3t, he visited 6roeAen, where his old comrades
Pitthe$s and 6roeAen, sons of Pelo"s, had recentl# come from Pisa to
share a kin%dom with Fin% Aeti$s. Aeti$s was the s$ccessor of his
father Anthas, son of Poseidon and Alc#one who, havin% fo$nded the
cities Anthaea and #"erea, had latel# sailed off to fo$nd alicarnass
in (aria. ;$t Aeti$s seems to have enGo#ed little "ower, beca$se
Pitthe$s, after 6roeAen>s death, $nited Anthaea and #"erea into a
sin%le cit#, which he dedicated Gointl# to Athene and Poseidon, callin%
c. Pitthe$s was the most learned man of his a%e, and one of his most
known a"othe%ms on friendshi", is often D$oted, H;last not the ho"e
the friendshi" hath conceived- b$t fill its meas$re hi%hO> e fo$nded
sanct$ar# of 5rac$lar A"ollo at 6roeAen, which is the oldest s$rvivin%
shrine in Greece- and also dedicated an altar to the 6ri"le1%oddess
6hemis. 6hree white marble thrones, now "laced above his tomb
behind the tem"le of Artemis the 4avio$r, $sed to serve him and the
others as G$d%ement seats. e also ta$%ht the art of orator# in 0$ses>
sanct$ar# at 6roeAenIwhich was fo$nded b# e"haest$s>s son
Ardal$s, the re"$ted inventor of the fl$teIand a treatise on rhetoric b#
his hand is e3tant.
d. ?ow, while Pitthe$s was still livin% at Pisa, ;ellero"hon asked to
marr# his da$%hter Aethra, b$t had been sent awa# to (aria in
dis%race before the marria%e co$ld be celebrated- tho$%h still
attracted to ;ellero"hon, she had little ho"e of his ret$rn. Pitthe$s,
therefore, %rievin% at her enforced vir%init#, and infl$enced b# the s"ell
which 0edea was castin% on all of them from afar, made Ae%e$s dr$nk
and sent him to bed with Aethra. 'ater in the same ni%ht, Poseidon also
enGo#ed her. !or, in obedience to a dream sent b# Athene, she left the
dr$nken Ae%e$s, and waded across to the island of 4"haeria, which lies
close to the mainland of 6roeAen, carr#in% libations to "o$r at the tomb
of 4"haer$s, Pelo"s>s charioteer. 6here, with Athene>s %$idance,
Poseidon over"owered her, and Aethra s$bseD$entl# chan%ed the
name of the island from 4"haeria to iera, and fo$nded on tem"le of
A"at$rian Athene, establishin% a r$le that %irls sho$ld henceforth
dedicate her %irdle to the %oddess before marria%e. Poseidon, however,
%enero$sl# conceded to Ae%e$s the "arenta%e of an# child born to
Aethra in the d$e time.
e. Ae%e$s, when he awoke and fo$nd himself in Aethra>s bed, told her
that if a son were born to them he m$st not be e3"osed or sent awa#,
b$t secretl# reared in 6roeAen. 6hen he sailed back celebrate the All1
Athenian !estival, after hidin% his sword and sandals $nder a hollow
rock, known as Altar of 4tron% <e$s, that stood on the road from
6roeAen to ermi$m. If, when the bo# is born, he co$ld move this rock
and recover the tokens, he was to be sent with them to Athens.
0eanwhile, Aethra m$st kee" silence, lest Ae%e$s ne"hews, the fift#
children of Pallas, "lotted a%ainst her life. 6he sword was an heirloom
from (ecro"s.
f. At a "lace now called Genethli$m, on the wa# from the cit# to
harbo$r of 6roeAen, Aethra %ave birth to a bo#. 4ome sa# that she at
once named him 6hese$s, beca$se the tokens had been de&osited for
him, others that he afterwards won this name at Athens. e was $" in
6roeAen, where his %$ardian Pitthe$s discreetl# s"read r$mo$r that
Poseidon had been his father- and one (onnidas, to the Athenians still
sacrifice a ram on the da# before the 6hesean !easts, acted as his
"eda%o%$e. ;$t some sa# that 6hese$s %rew $" at 0arathon.
%. 5ne da# eracles, dinin% at 6roeAen with Pitthe$s, removed his
lion1skin and threw it over a stool. When the "alace children came in,
the# screamed and fled, all e3ce"t seven1#ear1old 6hese$s, who ran to
take a3e from the wood"ile, and ret$rned boldl#, "re"ared to attack a
real lion.
h. At the a%e of si3teen #ears he visited :el"hi, and offered his first
shaven hair1cli""in%s to A"ollo. e shaved, however, onl# the fore of
his head, like the Arabians and 0#sians, or like the war1like &$boeans,
who thereb# den# their enemies an# advanta%e in combat. 6his kind of
tons$re, and the "recinct where he "erformed the ceremon#, are both
still called 6hesean. e was now an intelli%ent and "r$dent #o$th- and
Aethra, leadin% him to the rock $nderneath which Ae%e$s had hidden
the sword and sandals, told stor# of his birth. e had no diffic$lt# in
movin% the rock, called the HRock of 6hese$s>, and recovered the
tokens. Cet, at Pitthe$s>s warnin%s and his mother>s entreaties, he
wo$ld not visit Athens b# the safe sea ro$te, b$t insisted on travellin%
over b# foot, im"elled b# a desire to em$late the feats of his co$sin1
%erman eracles, whom he %reatl# admired.
1. Pitthe$s is a masc$line form of Pitthea. 6he names of the towns
which he $nited to form 6roeAen s$%%ests a matriarchal calendar1triad,
consistin% of Anthea .Hflower#>/, the Goddess of 4"rin%, #"erea
.Hbein% overhead>/, the Goddess of 4$mmer, when the s$n is its Aenith-
and Pitthea .H"ine1%oddess>/, worshi""ed in a$t$mn when Attis1Adonis
was sacrificed on his "ine. 6he# ma# be identified with the 6ri"le1
%oddess 6hemis, to whom Pitthe$s raised an altar, since the name
6roeAen is a""arentl# a worn1down form of trion he%omenonI HUthe
cit#V of the three sitters>, which refers to the three white thrones which
served HPitthe$s and two others> as seats of G$stice.
*. 6hese$s m$st ori%inall# have had a twin, since his mother la#
with both a %od and a mortal on the same ni%ht- the m#ths of Idas and
'#nce$s, (astor and Pol#de$ces, eracles and I"hicles, make this
certain. 0oreover, he wore the lion1skin, like eracles, and therefore
have been the sacred kin%, not the tanist. ;$t when, after the Persian
Wars, 6hese$s became the chief national hero of Athens, "aternit# at
least had to be Athenian, beca$se his mother came from 6roeAen. 6he
m#tho%ra"hers then decided to have it both wa#s, he was an Athenian,
the son of Ae%e$s, a mortal- b$t whenever he needed to claim
Poseidon as his father, he co$ld do so. In either case, his mother
remained a 6roeAenian- Athens had im"ortant interests there. e was
also allowed an honorar# twin, Peiritho$s who, bein% mortal, co$ld not
esca"e from 6artar$sIas eracles, Pol#de$ces, and 6hese$s himself
did. ?o efforts were s"ared to connect 6hese$s with eracles, b$t the
Athenians never %rew "owerf$l eno$%h to make him into an 5l#m"ian
7. 6here seem, however, to have been at least three m#tholo%ical
characters called 6hese$s, one from 6roeAen, one from 0arathon in
Attica, and the third from 'a"ith territor#. 6hese were not $nified into a
sin%le character $ntil the si3th cent$r# ;(, when .as Professor Geor%e
6homson s$%%ests/ the ;$tads, a 'a"ith clan who had become leadin%
aristocrats at Athens and even $s$r"ed the native Pelas%ian "riesthood
of &rechthe$s, "$t forward the Athenian 6hese$s as a rival to :orian
eracles. A%ain, Pitthe$s was clearl# both an &lean and 6roeAenian title
Ialso borne b# the e"on#mo$s hero of an Attic deme belon%in% to the
(ecro"ian tribe.
8. Aethra>s visit to 4"haeria s$%%ests that the ancient c$stom of
sacral "rostit$tion b# $nmarried %irls s$rvived in Athene>s tem"le for
some time after the "atriarchal s#stem had been introd$ced. It can
hardl# have been bro$%ht from (rete, since 6roeAen is not a
0#cenaean site- b$t was "erha"s a (anaanite im"ortation, as at
5. 4andals and sword are ancient s#mbols of ro#alt#- the drawin% of
a sword from a rock seems to have formed "art of the ;ronAe A%e
coronation rit$al. 5din, Galahad, and Arth$r were all in t$rn reD$ired to
"erform a similar feat- and an immense sword, lion1hilted and "l$n%ed
into a rock, fi%$res in the sacred marria%e scene carved at attas$s.
4ince Ae%e$s>s rock is called both the Altar of 4tron% <e$s and the
Rock of 6hese$s, it ma# be ass$med that H<e$s> and H6hese$s> were
alternative titles of the sacred kin% who was crowned $"on it- b$t the
%oddess armed him. 6he HA"ollo> to whom 6hese$s dedicated his hair
will have been Far$ .Hson of the %oddess (ar>/, otherwise known as
(ar, or L>re, or (ar#s, the solar kin% whose locks were ann$all# shorn
before his death, like those of 6#rian 4amson and 0e%arean ?is$s. At a
feast called the (om#ria .Hhair trimmin%>/, #o$n% men sacrificed their
forelocks in #earl# mo$rnin% for him, and were afterwards known as
($retes. 6his c$stom, "robabl# of 'ib#an ori%in .erodot$s/, had
s"read to Asia 0inor and Greece- an inG$nction a%ainst it occ$rs in
Le)iticus0 ;$t, b# Pl$tarch>s time, A"ollo was worshi""ed as the
immortal 4$n1%od and, in "roof of this, ke"t his own hair ri%oro$sl# $n1
+. Aeti$s>s division of 6roeAenia between 6roeAen, Pitthe$s, and
himself, recalls the arran%ement made b# Proet$s with 0elam"$s and
;ias. 6he Pitthe$s who ta$%ht rhetoric and whose treatise s$rvived
$ntil (lassical times m$st have been a late historical character.
The #abo2rs O8 These2s
6&4&)4 set o$t to free the bandit1ridden coast road which led from
6roeAen to Athens. e wo$ld "ick no D$arrels b$t take ven%eance on all
who dared to molest him, makin% the "$nishment fit the crime, as was
eracles>s wa#. At &"ida$r$s, Peri"hetes the cri""le wa#laid attacked
him. Peri"hetes, whom some call Poseidon>s son, and others the son of
e"haest$s and Anticleia, owned a h$%e braAen cl$b, with which he
$sed to kill wa#farers- hence his nickname (or$netes, or Hc$d%el1man>.
6hese$s wrenched the cl$b from his hands and battered him to death.
:eli%hted with its siAe and wei%ht, he "ro$dl# carried it abo$t ever
afterwards- and tho$%h he himself had been able to "arr# its
m$rdero$s swin%, in his hands it never failed to kill.
b. At the narrowest "oint of the Isthm$s, where both the (orinthian and
4aronic G$lfs are visible, lived 4inis, the son of Pemon- or, some sa#, of
Pol#"emon and 4#lea, da$%hter of (orinth$s, who claimed to be
Poseidon>s bastard. e had been nicknamed Pit#ocam"tes, or
H"inebender>, beca$se he was stron% eno$%h to bend down the to"s of
"ine1trees $ntil the# to$ched the earth, and wo$ld often ask innocent
"assers1b# to hel" him with this task, b$t then s$ddenl# release his
hold. As the tree s"ran% $"ri%ht a%ain, the# were h$rled hi%h into the
air, and killed b# the fall. 5r he wo$ld bend down the to"s of two
nei%hbo$rin% trees $ntil the# met, and tie one of his victim>s arms to
each, so that he was torn as$nder when the trees were released.
e. 6hese$s wrestled with 4inis, over"owered him, and served him as he
had served others. At this, a bea$tif$l %irl ran to hide herself in a
thicket of r$shes and wild as"ara%$s. e followed her and, after a lon%
search, fo$nd her invokin% the "lants, "romisin% never to b$rn or
destro# them if the# hid her safel#. When 6hese$s swore not to do her
an# violence, she consented to emer%e, and "roved to be 4inis>s
da$%hter Peri%$ne. Peri%$ne fell in love with 6hese$s at si%ht, for%ivin%
the m$rder of her hatef$l father and, in d$e co$rse, bore him a son,
0elani""$s. Afterwards he %ave her in marria%e to :eione$s the
5echalian. 0elani""$s>s son Io3$s emi%rated to (aria, where he
became the ancestor of the Io3ids, who b$rn neither r$shes nor wild
as"ara%$s, b$t venerate both.
d. 4ome, however, sa# that 6hese$s killed 4inis man# #ears later, and
rededicated the Isthmian Games to him, altho$%h the# had been
fo$nded b# 4is#"h$s in hono$r of 0elicertes, the son of Ino.
e. ?e3t, at (romm#$m, he h$nted and destro#ed a fierce and
monstro$s wild sow, which had killed so man# (romm#onians that the#
no lon%er dared "lo$%h their fields. 6his beast, named after the crone
who bred it, was said to be the child of 6#"hon and &chidne.
f. !ollowin% the coast road, 6hese$s came to the "reci"ito$s cliffs
r$shin% sheer from the sea, which had become a stron%hold of the
bandit 4ciron- some call him a (orinthian, the son of Pelo"s, or of
Poseidon- others, the son of enioche and (aneth$s. 4ciron $sed to
seat himself $"on a rock and force "assin% travellers to wash his feet,
when the# stoo"ed to the task he wo$ld kick them over the cliff into
the sea, where a %iant t$rtle swam abo$t, waitin% to devo$r them.
.6$rtles closel# resemble tortoises, e3ce"t that the# are lar%er, and
have fli""ers instead of feet./ 6hese$s, ref$sin% to wash 4ciron>s feet,
lifted him from the rock and fl$n% him into the sea.
%. 6he 0e%areans, however, sa# that the onl# 4ciron with whom
6hese$s came in conflict was an honest and %enero$s "rince of
0e%ara, the father of &ndeis, who married Aeac$s and bore him Pele$s
and 6elamon- the# add, that 6hese$s killed 4ciron after the ca"t$re of
&le$sis, man# #ears later, and celebrated the Isthmian Games in his
hono$r $nder the "atrona%e of Poseidon.
h. 6he cliffs of 4ciron rise close to the 0ol$rian Rocks, and over them
r$ns 4ciron>s foot"ath, made b# him when he commanded the armies
of 0e%ara. A violent north1western breeAe which blows seaward across
these hei%hts is called 4ciron b# the Athenians.
i. ?ow, sciron means H"arasol>- and the month of 4ciro"horionis so
called beca$se at the Women>s !estival of :emeter and (ore, on the
twelfth da# of 4ciro"horionis, the "riest of &rechthe$s carries a white
"arasol, and a "riestess of Athene 4ciras carries another in solemn
"rocession from the Acro"olisIfor on that occasion the %oddess>s
ima%e is da$bed with sciras, a sort of %#"s$m, to commemorate the
white ima%e which 6hese$s made of her after he had destro#ed the
G. (ontin$in% his Go$rne# to Athens, 6hese$s met (erc#on the
Arcadian, whom some call the son of ;ranch$s and the n#m"h Ar%io"e-
others, the son of e"haest$s, or Poseidon. e wo$ld challen%e
"assers1b# to wrestle with him and then cr$sh them to death in his
"owerf$l embrace- b$t 6hese$s lifted him $" b# the knees and, to the
deli%ht of :emeter, who witnessed the str$%%le, dashed him headlon%
to the %ro$nd. (erc#on>s death was instantaneo$s. 6hese$s did not
tr$st to stren%th so m$ch as to skill, for he had invented the art of
wrestlin%, the "rinci"les of which were not hitherto $nderstood. 6he
Wrestlin%1%ro$nd of (erc#on is still shown near &le$sis, on the road to
0e%ara, close to the %rave of his da$%hter Alo"e, whom 6hese$s is
said to have ravished.
k. 5n reachin% Attic (oridall$s, 6hese$s slew 4inis>s father Pol#"emon,
s$rnamed Procr$stes, who lived beside the road and had two beds in
his ho$se, one small, the other lar%e. 5fferin% a ni%ht>s lod%in% to
travellers, he wo$ld la# the short men on the lar%e bed, and rack them
o$t, to fit it- b$t the tall men on the small bed, sawin% off as m$ch of
their le%s as "roGected be#ond it. 4ome sa#, however, that he $sed
onl# one bed, and len%thened or shortened his lod%ers accordin% to its
meas$re. In either case, 6hese$s served him as he had served others.
1. 6he killin% of Peri"hetes has been invented to acco$nt for 6hese$s>s
brass1bo$nd cl$b, like the one carried b# eracles. Peri"hetes is
described as a cri""le beca$se he was the son of :aedal$s the smith,
and smiths were often rit$all# lamed.
*. 4ince the ?orth Wind, which bent the "ines, was held to fertiliAe
women, animals, and "lants, HPit#ocam"tes> is described as the father
of Peri%$ne, a cornfield1%oddess. er descendants> attachment to wild
as"ara%$s and r$shes s$%%ests that the sacred baskets carried in the
6hesmo"horia !estival were woven from these, and therefore tabooed
for ordinar# $se. 6he (romm#onian 4ow, alias Phaea, is the white 4ow
:emeter, whose c$lt was earl# s$""ressed in the Pelo"onnese. 6hat
6hese$s went o$t of his wa# to kill a mere sow tro$bled the
m#tho%ra"hers, #%in$s and 5vid, indeed, make her a boar, and
Pl$tarch describes her as a woman bandit whose dis%$stin% behavio$r
earned her the nickname of Hsow>. ;$t she a""ears in earl# Welsh m#th
as the 5ld White 4ow, en Wen, tended b# the swineherd ma%ician
(oll a" (ollfrewr, who introd$ced wheat and bees into ;ritain- and
:emeter>s swineherd ma%ician &$b$le$s was remembered in the
6hesmo"horia !estival at &le$sis, when live "i%s were fl$n% down a
chasm in his hono$r. 6heir rottin% remains later served to fertiliAe the
seed1corn .4choliast on '$cian>s +ialogues Bet#een Whores/.
7. 6he stories of 4ciron and (erc#on are a""arentl# based on a series
of icons which ill$strated the ceremon# of h$rlin% a sacred kin% as a
&harmacos from the White Rock. 6he first hero who had met his death
here was 0elicertes, namel# eracles 0elkarth of 6#re who seems to
have been stri""ed of his ro#al tra""in%sIcl$b, lion1skin, and b$skins
Iand then "rovided with win%s, live birds, and a "arasol to break his
fall . 6his is to s$%%est that 4ciron, shown makin% read# to kick a
traveller into the sea, is the &harmacos bein% "re"ared for his ordeal at
the 4ciro"horia, which was celebrated in the last month of the #ear,
namel# at mids$mmer- and that a second scene, e3"lained as
6hese$s>s wrestlin% with (erc#on, shows him bein% lifted off his feet b#
his s$ccessor .as in the terracotta of the Ro#al (olonnade at AthensI
Pa$sanias/, while the "riestess of the %oddess looks on deli%htedl#.
6his is a common m#tholo%ical sit$ation, eracles, for instance,
wrestled for a kin%dom with Antae$s in 'ib#a, and with &r#3 in 4icil#-
5d#sse$s with Philomeleides on 6enedos. A third scene, taken for
6hese$s>s reven%e on 4ciron, shows the &harmacos h$rtlin% thro$%h
the air, "arasol in hand. In a fo$rth, he has reached the sea, and his
"arasol is floatin% on the wavesIthe s$""osed t$rtle, waitin% to
devo$r him, was s$rel# the "arasol, since there is no record of an Attic
t$rtle c$lt. 6he 4econd Batican 0#tho%ra"her makes :aedal$s, not
6hese$s, kill 4ciron, "robabl# beca$se of :aedal$s>s m#thic connection
with the &harmacos rit$al of the "artrid%e kin%.
8. All these feats of 6hese$s>s seem to be interrelated. Grammarians
associate the white "arasol with a %#"s$m ima%e of Athene. 6his
recalls the white &harmacos dolls, called HAr%ives> .Hwhite men>/,
thrown into r$nnin% water once a #ear at the 0a# "$rification of
tem"les- also the white cakes sha"ed like "i%s, and made of flo$r
mi3ed with %#"s$m .Plin#, Natural !istor/, which were $sed in the
6hesmo"horia to re"lace the "i% remains recovered from &$b$le$s>s
chasm Hin order not to defraud his sacred ser&ents1, e3"lains the
scholiast on '$cian>s +ialogues Bet#een Whores. 6he 4ciro"horia
!estival formed "art of the 6hesmo"horia. Thes has the same meanin%
in Thesmo&horia as in Theseus, namel# Htokens de"osited>Iin the
baskets woven of wild as"ara%$s and r$sh which Peri%$ne sanctified.
6he# were "hallic tokens, and the festival was an erotic one, this is
G$stified b# 6hese$s>s sed$ction of Peri%$ne, and also b# ermes>s
sed$ction of erse. 6he "riest of &rechthe$s carried a "arasol, beca$se
he was the "resident of the ser"ent c$lt, and the sacred f$nctions of
the ancient kin%s rested with him after the monarch# had been
abolished, as the# rested at Rome with the Priest of <e$s.
5. (erc#on>s name connects him with the "i% c$lt. 4o does his
"arenta%e, ;ranch$s refers to the %r$ntin% of "i%s, and Ar%io"e is a
s#non#m for Phaea. It will have been Poseidon>s son 6hese$s who
ravished Alo"e, that is to sa#, s$""ressed the worshi" of the 0e%arean
0oon1%oddess as Bi3en.
+. 4inis and 4ciron are both described as the hero in whose hono$r
the Isthmian Games were rededicated- 4inis>s nickname was
Pit#ocam"tes- and 4ciron, like Pit#ocam"tes, was a north1easterl#
wind. ;$t since the Isthmian Games had ori%inall# been fo$nded in
memor# of eracles 0elkarth, the destr$ction of Pit#ocam"tes seems
to record the s$""ression of the ;oreas c$lt in AthensIwhich was,
however, revived after the Persian Wars. In that case, the Isthmian
Games are analo%o$s to the P#thian Games, fo$nded in memor# of
P#thon, who was both the fertiliAin% ?orth Wind and the %host of the
sacred kin% killed b# his rival A"ollo. 0oreover, HProcrustes1, accordin%
to 5vid and the scholiast on &$ri"ides>s !i&&oltus, was onl# another
nickname for 4inisIPit#ocam"tes- and Procr$stes seems to be a
fictional character, invented to acco$nt for a familiar icon, the hair of
the old kin%I4amson, Pterela$s, ?is$s, ($roi, 'lew 'law, or whatever
he ma# have been calledIis tied to the bed"ost b# his treachero$s
bride, while his rival, a3e in hand, is "re"arin% to destro# him.
H6hese$s> and his ellenes abolished the c$stom of throwin% the old
kin% over the 0ol$rian Rock, and rededicated the Games to Poseidon
at Ino>s e3"ense, Ino bein% one of Athene>s earlier titles.
These2s $3d Medea
ABI?G arrived in Attica, 6hese$s was met beside the River
(e"hiss$s b# the sons of Ph#tal$s, who "$rified him from the blood he
had s"illed, b$t es"eciall# from that of 4inis, a maternal kinsman of his.
6he altar of Gracio$s <e$s, where this ceremon# was "erformed, still
stands b# the riverside. Afterwards, the Ph#talids welcomed 6hese$s as
their %$est, which was the first tr$e hos"italit# he had received since
leavin% 6roeAen. :ressed in a lon% %arment that reached to his feet
and with his hair neatl# "laited, he entered Athens on the ei%hth da# of
the month (ron$s, now called ecatomboeon. As he "assed the nearl#1
com"leted tem"le of A"ollo the :ol"hin, a %ro$" of masons workin% on
the roof mistook him for a %irl, and im"ertinentl# asked wh# he was
allowed to wander abo$t $nescorted. :isdainin% to re"l#, 6hese$s
$n#oked the o3en from the masons> cart and tossed one of them into
the air, hi%h above the tem"le roof.
b. ?ow, while 6hese$s was %rowin% $" in 6roeAen, Ae%e$s had ke"t his
"romise to 0edea. e %ave her shelter in Athens when she fled from
(orinth in the celebrated chariot drawn b# win%ed ser"ents, and
married her, ri%htl# confident that her s"ells wo$ld enable him to
be%et an heir- for he did not #et know that Aethra had borne him
c. 0edea, however, reco%niAed 6hese$s as soon as he arrived in the
cit#, and %rew Gealo$s on behalf of 0ed$s, her son b# Ae%e$s, who was
%enerall# e3"ected to s$cceed him on the Athenian throne. 4he
therefore "ers$aded Ae%e$s that 6hese$s came as a s"# or an
assassin, and had him invited to a feast at the :ol"hin 6em"le- Ae%e$s,
who $sed the tem"le as his residence, was then to offer him a c$" of
wine alread# "re"ared b# her. 6his c$" contained wolfsbane, a "oison
which she had bro$%ht from ;ith#nian Acher$sia, where it first s"ran%
from the deadl# foam scattered b# (erber$s when eracles dra%%ed
him o$t of 6artar$s- beca$se wolfsbane flo$rishes on bare rocks, the
"easants call it Haconite>.
d. 4ome sa# that when the roast beef was served in the :ol"hin
6em"le, 6hese$s ostentatio$sl# drew his sword, as if to carve, and th$s
attracted his father>s attention- b$t others, that he had $ns$s"ectin%l#
raised the c$" to his li"s before Ae%e$s noticed the &rechtheid
ser"ents carved on the ivor# sword1hilt and dashed the "oison to the
floor. 6he s"ot where the c$" fell is still shown, barred off from the rest
of the tem"le.
e. 6hen followed the %reatest reGoicin% that Athens had ever known.
Ae%e$s embraced 6hese$s, s$mmoned a "$blic assembl#, and
acknowled%ed ham as his son. e li%hted fires on ever# altar and
hea"ed the %ods> ima%es with %ifts- hecatombs of %arlanded o3en were
sacrificed and, thro$%ho$t the "alace and the cit#, nobles and
commoners feasted to%ether, and san% of 6hese$s>s %lorio$s deeds
that alread# o$tn$mbered the #ears of his life.
f. 6hese$s then went in ven%ef$l "$rs$it of 0edea, who el$ded him b#
castin% a ma%ic clo$d abo$t herself- and "resentl# left Athens with
#o$n% 0ed$s, and an escort which Ae%e$s %enero$sl# "rovided. ;$t
some sa# that she fled with Pol#3en$s, her son b# 2ason.
%. Pallas and his fift# sons, who even before this had declared
Ae%e$s was not a tr$e &rechtheid and th$s had no ri%ht to the throne
of Athens, broke into o"en revolt when this footloose stran%er
threatened to ba$lk their ho"es of ever r$lin% Athens. 6he# divided
their forces, Pallas with twent#1five of his sons and n$mero$s retainers
marched a%ainst the cit# from the direction of 4"hett$s, while the
other twent#1five la# in amb$sh at Gar%ett$s. ;$t 6hese$s, informed of
their "lan b# a herald named 'eos, of the A%nian clan, s"ran% the
amb$sh destro#ed and the entire force. Pallas there$"on disbanded his
corners and s$ed for "eace. 6he Pallantids have never for%otten 'eos>s
treacher#, and still will not intermarr# with the A%nians nor allow an#
herald to be%in a "roclama