Heroes I contains information on the heroes and heroines before the time of the Trojan War.

Heroes I has been divided into two sections: Early Heroes and the Golden Age of Heroes.

The stories of Deucalion, Perseus, Heracles and Theseus were written to separate pages, because of the size of each story. Follow the above links to go to these stories.

  Early Heroes
  Golden Age of Heroes


All heroines, previous listed in this page, have been moved to a new page, titled Heroines.

Related Pages:
    Heroes II
    Heroines
    Amazons






Listed below, are some of the famous heroes, before the time of Golden Age of heroes:

  Deucalion     (See the Creation / Deluge page)
  Perseus
  Bellerophon
  Melampus
  Autolycus


Βελλεροφόντης
Bellerophon
 

Bellerophon (Βελλεροφόντης) was the son of Glaucus, king of Ephyra (Corinth), and Eurynome or Eurymede, the daughter of Nisus. His name was Hipponous at birth. But in the Catalogues of Women, Zeus cursed Glaucus that the king may never have a child of his own. So it was Poseidon who made his wife pregnant, not Glaucus. Therefore, Bellerophon was really the son of Poseidon.

When Bellerophon killed his brother, Deliades, or else Bellerus, tyrant of Ephyra, whom he was named after, he was exiled. He came to Tiryns, where he was welcomed into court of Proëtus (Proetus).

Stheneboea, wife of Proëtus, fell in love with the youth and tried to seduce Bellerophon. When Bellerophon rejected her advance, the enraged queen, secretly went to her husband and falsely accused the youth of trying to violate her. Fearing to anger the gods by killing a guest and suppliant, Proëtus decided to send Bellerophon to his father-in-law Iobates, king of Lycia, with a message to kill the youth.

Fortunately, when Bellerophon arrived in Lycia, Iobates, father of Stheneboea, also greeted and received him as a guest, before he read Proëtus' letter. Iobates also could not kill his young guest, but decided later to send Bellerophon upon a dangerous errand.

A monster, known as the Chimaera, one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, was ravaging the countryside. The body of Chimaera, were part lion, goat and with a tail of snake. The monster could also breathe fire. Iobates asked the youth to kill the monster, hoping instead that Bellerophon would be killed. Bellerophon agreed with the king's request.

The gods aided him in his quest, by sending the winged horse, Pegasus (Πήγασος), to him. He received the golden bridle from the goddess Athena. On Pegasus' back, he flew to the countryside and killed Chimaera with his arrows, safely out of range of the fire-breathing monster.

Still determined to have the young hero killed, Iobates send the hero against first the Solymi, later the Amazons. But on both missions, Bellerophon successfully defeated Lycia's enemies.

Realising that the gods must favoured the young hero and he became very popular amongst the Lycians for his heroic deeds, Iobates married his other daughter, Philonoë, to Bellerophon, as well as offered half of his kingdom to him.

Stheneboea having heard the news that Bellerophon married her sister, Stheneboea killed herself in despair.

Though no one gave account about his death, his downfall came when he arrogantly decided to fly to Mount Olympus, home of the gods. For this presumption, Zeus sent a gadfly that stung Pegasus, which threw him off the beast's back. Bellerophon fell to earth, and became lamed from his fall. Bellerophon lost popularity with the Lycians who drove him out of the country.

 
Related Information
Name
Bellerophon, Bellerphontes, Βελλεροφόντης
Hipponous.

Sources
The Iliad was written by Homer.

Theogony was written by Hesiod.

Catalogues of Women was written by Hesiod.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Olympian VIII was written by Pindar.

The birth of Pegasus can be found in Metamorphoses, which was written by Ovid.

Library of History was written by Diodorus Siculus.

Fabulae was written by Hyginus.

Related Articles
Glaucus, Proëtus, Iobates, Athena.

Pegasus, Chimaera. Amazons.

Genealogy: Aeolid House of Lycia.


Bellerophon Fights the Chimaera
Illustration from the Tanglewood Tales. 1920



Μελάμπους
Melampus
 

The greatest seer in Greek mythology. Melampus (Melampous or Μελάμπους) was a son of Amythaon and Idomene. He was also the brother of Bias. Melampus was an Aeolid (descendant of Aeolus) from Thessaly.

When Pelias drove his brother and half-brothers from Iolcus, Amythaon and his family moved to Pylos, where Pelias' brother, Neleus, ruled.

There are two variations as to how Melampus gained his gift in divination.

In the Great Eoiae, he was staying with a friend named Polyphantes, who was sacrificing an ox to the god, when a serpent killed some of Polyphantes' servants. Polyphantes angrily killed the snake, but Melampus saved the dead serpent's offspring and brought it up.

But according to Apollodorus, it was Melampus' servants who killed the snake and he saved and reared the dead snake's young ones; here there was no mention of Polyphantes.

Which ever was the case, the young snakes rewarded him by licking his ears while he was asleep, cleaning or purifying his ears out, so that Melampus could understand the languages of animals, such as the birds.

Melampus loved his brother enough to use his skill for Bias, on several occasions. He helped Bias win his first wife, Pero, who was daughter of Neleus. Neleus wanted cattle of King Phylacus of Phylace, as his bride price. Melampus went to Phylacus, but was capture and imprisoned. In his cell, after a year had past, he learned from the woodworms that they had nearly eaten through the wooden rafter. Melampus ask the warder to be moved to another cell. As Melampus left his cell, the roof collapsed in his cell.

Phylacus learning of Melampus' remarkable skills, the king wanted the seer to help cure his son, Iphiclus. Iphiclus was an Argonaut and one of the fastest mortals alive, able to run on top of crops without bending the stalks. Iphiclus was suffering from sexual impotence. Melampus agreed to cure the king's son in return for some of the cattle.

A vulture remembered how the young Iphiclus came to this condition, when Iphiclus saw his father coming to him with a bloody knife that it frightened the boy. Phylcus left knife buried in the tree, and went to comfort his son. Melampus told the king to scraped the rust off the knife and put it into the cup of wine. When Iphiclus drank the wine he was cured. Iphiclus' sons, Protesilaus and Podarces, would later fight a war in Troy. Melampus returned to Pylos with the cattle and Bias married Neleus' daughter.

The brothers stayed in Pylos, until Pero died. The brothers then moved to Argos. They were ask to come, when Proëtus hearing of Melampus' ability. Proëtus (Proetus) was the king of Argos (or Tiryns) and he was the father of three daughters, Iphinoë, Iphianassa and Lysippe. His daughters were suffering from madness and leprosy, and roaming through the countryside and mountains. Different sources give different causes of the madness. Some say that Proetus refused to honour Dionysus, while other say that Hera brought about this affliction.

Melampus demanded that he would receive a third of the kingdom in return for the cure of Proëtus' daughters. Proëtus was indignant at this fee, so the king refused. But after some times had passed, the madness spread to the other part of community.

Proëtus and his advisers realised the danger of further spreading the affliction, decided to accept Melampus' term. However, Melampus demanded another third of the kingdom, which was to be given to his brother. The king accepted all of Melampus' demands.

Melampus took some Argive youths with him, driving the women out of the mountains to Sicyon. Iphinoë, Proëtus' eldest daughter had died in the journey. His other two daughters and the Argive women were cured, after they had all undergone through purification.

In return for curing his daughters, he married off his daughters to Bias and Melampus. Bias married Iphianassa, while Lysippe became Melampus' wife. Melampus became the father of Antiphates, Abas and Mentius, while his brother was the father of Anaxibia. Many of his descendants were also gifted seers, like Polyeidus and Amphiaraus. See the genealogy, the Houses of Seers and the House of Proteus.

Their descendants would fight in the ill-fated war against Thebes, known as the Seven Against Thebes.

 
Related Information
Name
Melampus, Melampous, Μελάμπους.

Sources
Library was written by Apollodorus.

The Odyssey was written by Homer.

Catalogues of Women and the Great Eoiae were ascribed to Hesiod.

Library of History was written by Diodorus Siculus.

Related Articles
Neleus, Proëtus, Protesilaus.

Genealogy: Houses of Seers and Houses of Argolis.

Autolycus
 

Autolycus was not a hero, but a famous master thief in classical mythology, known for his cunning and craftiness. But before I begin the tale of Autolycus, I would like to tell of his lovely mother, Chione.


  Chione
  The Master Thief



Chione

According to the Roman poet, Ovid, the hero Peleus sought refuge in Trachis, the kingdom of King Ceyx. Ceyx still anguished with grief told the hero of what happened to his brother Daedalion.

Daedalion was the son of Eosphorus, the "Dawn Bringer" or the Roman equivalent Lucifer, "Light Bringer"; both names referred to the "Morning Star", hence the planet Venus. Daedalion was a fierce warrior and was the father of Chione (Χιόνη).

Chione grew into a very beautiful maiden that by the age of 14, she already had a thousand suitors.

One day, two gods Apollo and Hermes saw and fell in love with the young maiden. Both gods had decided to ravish the same girl. Apollo decided to wait a night before he seduce her. Hermes, who was impatient, wouldn't wait a moment longer, so he didn't wait for nightfall. Hermes cast a spell on her, to put her to sleep, before he raped her. At night, Apollo had disguised himself into an old woman, which the unsuspecting maiden had allowed into her home. At once, Apollo threw off his disguise and ravished her.

That entire day, Chione conceived twins to two different gods. To Hermes, she bore Autolycus, the master thief, who had inherited his father's cunning and skill in thievery. While to Apollo, she had another son named Philammon, who was a gifted in singing and playing the musical instrument cithera.

Yet, despite being loved by two gods, Chione allowed her vanity to speak and she insulted Apollo's sister, by claiming that her beauty surpassed Artemis'. Artemis immediately responded by shooting her arrow, which ripped off her offensive tongue. She bled to death.

Ceyx had unsuccessfully tried to comfort his brother. Daedalion seeing his daughter's pyre burning, the distraught father had tried to throw himself into the flame several times, but he was driven back by Ceyx's warriors. Daedalion ran off into the forest. Driven mad by his despair and grief, Daedalion threw himself off the cliff. The god taking pity on Daedalion, Apollo transformed the falling father into a fierce hawk.


The Master Thief

Autolycus was the son of the god Hermes and Chione. Autolycus was the half-brother of his twin, Philammon. Autolycus married either Mestra, the daughter of Erysichthon, or Neaera, the daughter of Pereus. Autolycus became the father of Anticleia and probably of Polymede, the wife of Aeson and mother of Jason.

Unlike, his brother who was a poet and musician, Autolycus was a thief by trade. Autolycus was also famous for his cunning and resourcefulness. Probably a gift from his father (Hermes), Autolycus had the ability to change the colour or shape of the stolen property.

Autolycus was responsible for stealing the helmet of Amyntor, the son of Ormenus and the king of Eleon, near Mount Pelion. Amyntor was one of the hunters of the Calydonian Boar. The helmet had passed on to several people before Odysseus, his grandson, received the helmet from the Meriones, a Cretan warrior in the Trojan War. Autolycus had given the helmet to Amphidamas of Cythera, who gave it to Molus. Meriones had inherited the helm from his father.

According to Apollodorus, Autolycus had taught Heracles how to wrestle, and he had also listed the thief as one of the Argonauts. Heracles was falsely blamed for the stolen cattle of Eurytus. Iphitus, Eurytus' son, did not believe his father's accusation against the hero, so he tried to help Heracles in recovering the cattle stolen by Autolycus. Once again, Hera inflicted madness on Heracles, who murdered Iphitus.

However, Autolycus met his match in cunning from Sisyphus, the king of Ephyre (Corinth), reputedly the shrewdest mortal in the world. Autolycus had frequently stolen the cattle of Sisyphus, by changing the colour of the cattle. Though Sisyphus suspected that Autolycus was the one who was stealing his cattle, he couldn't prove this. So Sisyphus decided to mark the hoofs on all of his cattle. Only then Sisyphus was able to prove that Autolycus was the thief. Sisyphus had not only recovered his cattle, but to punish Autolycus further, Sisyphus had raped Anticleia, Autolycus' daughter. It is generally believed that Sisyphus was Odysseus' real biological father, not Laertes, who was the husband of Anticleia.

According to the Odyssey, when Odysseus was born, the nurse Euryclea had place the infant on aging Autolycus' laps, so it was Autolycus who named his grandson - "Odysseus". Autolycus was said to have a number of sons, who took Odysseus hunting near Mount Parnassus. Odysseus was wounded by a wild boar that he had killed, and the young hero bore a permanent scar on his thigh. This scar would be the scene of recognition, for Odysseus' return to Ithaca. See Guest and Old Scar in the Odyssey.

There are no records on how Autolycus died, but judging by the Homer's Odyssey, it is more than likely the master theif died of ripe old age.

 
Related Information
Name
Autolycus, Autolycos, Αὐτόλυκος.

Sources
Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Fabulae was written by Hyginus.

The Iliad and the Odyssey were written by Homer.

Contents
Chione
The Master Thief

Related Articles
Hermes, Mestra, Erysichthon, Odysseus, Sisyphus, Apollo, Ceyx, Peleus.

Genealogy: House of Odysseus.








The Golden Age of heroes was set in the time just before the Trojan War, containing many great heroes and many fantastic adventures.

Some of the great adventures and wars took place in this period, which included the Argonauts, the Calydonian Boar Hunt, the battle between Lapiths and the Centaurs, and the ill-fated wars against Thebes.

Below is a list of some of the heroes who took part in these adventures.

  Heracles (Hercules)
  Theseus
  Jason
  Peleus
  Telamon
  Dioscuri (Castor & Polydeuces)
  Idas & Lynceus
  Cadmus, see House of Thebes
  Oedipus, see House of Thebes

See also the new Heroines page for articles on Medea, Atalanta and Antigone.



Ἰάσων
Jason
 

The leader of the Argonauts. Jason was the son of Aeson and of Polymede, Alcimede Amphinome. According to Diodorus Siculus, Jason had a younger brother named Promachus.

Being the eldest son of Cretheus, his father Aeson should have become king of Iolcus when his grandfather died, but Aeson's half-brother Pelias seized the throne. The Centaur, named Cheiron, brought up Jason.

An oracle told Pelias that an Aeolid with one sandal would one day bring about his death. Jason appeared to fulfil the oracle appearing with one sandal. Jason claimed the right to rule Iolcus. Pelias tricked him into fetching the Golden Fleece, which was within Aeëtes' possession, in Colchis. According to Pindar, Jason was 20-year of age, when appeared with one sandal.

Aided by the goddesses Hera and Athena, Jason had ship called Argo built and gathered heroes to join in the adventure. At Colchis, Jason received help from daughter of Aeëtes (Aeetes), Medea. Medea was the powerful sorceress, whom Hera and Aphrodite made fall madly in love with the young leader. Together they escaped with the Golden Fleece. After long journey and hardship, Jason and Medea were married and returned to Iolcus. In Iolcus, there are several accounts of Pelias' death, caused by Medea, when Pelias had Aeson murdered in prison.

One account says that Jason gave his throne to Acastus, son of Pelias, and an Argonaut. Another account says that he was banished from Iolcus for the death of Pelias, by Acastus and the angry Iolcans. Later Jason with the Dioscuri joined another fellow Argonaut, Peleus, in besieging Iolcus and killing Acastus.

After death of Pelias, Hera took no more part in Jason's life. Jason heroic pursuits were generally unimpressive after his quest. Jason's successes in his adventures were really the result of Medea's involvement or Hera's. Jason took part in the Calydonian boar hunt, where he only managed to kill a dog with his miscast spear.

With Medea, they lived in Corinth, city that her father, Aeëtes, once ruled before he moved to Colchis. There Creon, king of Corinth offered Jason his daughter's (Glauce's) hand in marriage. But Jason already had Medea as his wife who bore him several sons. In revenge for Jason abandoning her, she had Glauce wear a dress that she smeared with poison. When Glauce put the dress the venom consumed her. When Creon tried to tear the dress from his daughter, the king was also killed by venom.

Not satisfied with murdering the king and his daughter, Medea murdered her own sons so that Jason would have no sons as well. Medea did all this before she fled to Athens. Unable to punish Medea, the Corinthians turned against the former Argo captain, and banished Jason from their city.

The Greek geographer Pausanias recorded a couple of different accounts. Pausanias say that it was the Corinthians who killed her two sons, by stoning the two boys near the spring, in which Glauce had died, while trying to quench Medea's burning poison. The gods punished the Corinthians, so that they died mysterious deaths. To atone for the boys' murder, they must annually sacrifice to them, and erect a temple with a bronze statue of Apollo, near Glauce's Spring.

Pausanias also tells of a totally different account, where Medea inherited the kingdom of Corinth, because Corinthus son of Marathon, died childless. It was the Corinthians who asked Medea to rule. She ruled Corinth with Jason, until he discovered that Medea was burying each of their sons in a sanctuary of Hera, thinking that she could make them immortal.

Again, there were several accounts of Jason's death. But the irony was Jason sitting under the hull of the Argo, was reminiscing his past glory, when a rotting beam fell on top of him, killing him instantly.

Different authors gave different name to their sons. Euripides and Apollodorus say their sons were named Mermerus and Pheres. According to Diodorus Siculus, Thessalus was the son of Jason and Medea, and succeeded Acastus to Iolcus, when his uncle died. Thessalus became the eponym of the Thessalians.

Medea wasn't the only woman whom Jason had child with. When the Argonauts were in Lemnos, Jason had stayed with the Lemnian queen, Hypsipyle, where she conceived a son or two, depending on the authors. Apollonius didn't say, but it was hinted that he did have one. Homer mentioned only one son to Jason and Hypsipyle, whose name was Euneus. While Apollodorus said that Hypsipyle bore twins – Euneus and Nebrophonus.

 
Related Information
Name
Jason, Iason, Ἰάσων (Greek).

Sources
Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Library was written by Apollodorus.

Related Articles
Medea, Peleus, Dioscuri, Pelias, Acastus, Cheiron, Hera.

Golden Fleece, Calydonian Boar.

Argonauts, Calydonian boar hunt.

Genealogy: Aeolid House of Thessaly.



Πηλεύς
Peleus
 

A king of Phthia, in Thessaly. Peleus (Πηλεύς) was the son of Aeacus (Aiacos), king of Aegina, and Endeïs.

He and his brother Telamon plotted to kill their half-brother Phocus, son of Aeacus by the Nereïd (Nereid) Psamathe because he excelled in sport. One of them (most likely Peleus) killed Phocus and hid the body, but his father found out about the murder and banished them from his island. (See Aegina and Aeacus for some more detail about the death of Phocus).

Peleus wandered all the way to Phthia where king Eurytion or his son Actor, purified him for murder. The king gave him a third of his land to Peleus as well as his daughter Antigone in marriage. Antigone bore him a daughter Polydora.

Peleus helped the Lapiths to fight Centaurs during the wedding of Peirithoüs (Peirithous) and Hippodameia. Peleus had killed the following Centaurs (according to Ovid): Demoleon, Phlegraeus, Hyles, Iphinous, Clanis and Dorylas.

Together with Telamon, they joined the Argonauts and the Calydonian Boar Hunt. But during the hunt, his miscast spear accidentally killed Eurytion, his father-in-law.

He was banished from Phthia for a year or two. He went to Iolcus, where Acastus, son of Pelias, purified him for the killing. As guest of Acastus, he had trouble with Acastus' wife, who fell in love with him and tried to seduce the hero. Peleus rejected her advances. In a rage, she told Acastus that Peleus tried to rape her.

Acastus was unable to kill his guest outright, since he had purified him. Acastus invited Peleus to a hunting trip. They made a wager of who would make the most kills. Peleus won the wager, by cutting out the tongues of the animals, as proof of his kills. While, Peleus slept in the camp, Acastus and his men stole and hid his sword, before returning to Iolcus. Because they had camp in Centaur country, Peleus was unarmed and would be helpless, if he came across a group of Centaurs. However, a wise and friendly Centaur, named Cheiron, helped Peleus find his sword and took him to safety.

Outrage at Acastus' action, Peleus swore revenge. When his banishment ended, he became king of Phthia. Peleus gathered an army against Acastus. Aided by fellow-Argonauts, Jason and the Dioscuri, he captured Iolcus, killing Acastus and his wife.



When his wife Antigone died, the gods decided that the hero being the most worthy to marry the sea-goddess, Thetis. All the gods and goddesses except Eris were invited to the wedding. Peleus received many gifts from the gods. They included magically armour made by Hephaestus and a pair of immortal horses: Xanthus and Balius. The wedding of Peleus and Thetis was marred by disruption that would lead to event known as Judgement of Paris that ultimately caused the Trojan War. (See Thetis or Judgement of Paris for the cause of Trojan War)

The marriage with Thetis did not last long after the birth of their son, Achilles. They had seven sons. Thetis wanted to make all of them immortal, by protecting each infant with ambrosia and burning away their mortal part. However, Peleus disrupted Thetis while she was burning away Achilles' mortal body. Achilles' body was invulnerable against all weapons, except for his heels, where Thetis held him. Angry for the disruption, Thetis left Peleus and her son.

Peleus and the Centaur, Cheiron, brought Achilles up and trained in fighting and hunting. When Achilles decided to join the Greeks in their war against Troy, Peleus gave his son, his magic armour and a pair of immortal horses; he had received his wedding gifts from the gods.

Peleus however outlived his son and his grandson, Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. Achilles died fighting in the last year of the war. Neoptolemus also fought in the war. Neoptolemus had brought home Andromache, wife of Hector, was now his concubine. Neoptolemus and Andromache had several children.

Neoptolemus later married Hermione, daughter of Menelaüs (Menelaus) and Helen. But Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, also wanted to marry Hermione and plotted to have Neoptolemus kill. After Orestes had murdered Neoptolemus, the aged Peleus had to rescue his great-grandsons, children of Andromache and Neoptolemus. Peleus with Andromache and her sons fled to Epeirus, where his grandsons found kingdoms of their own.

Thetis later took Peleus to her home in the sea and made him immortal.

 
Related Information
Name
Peleus, Peleos, Πηλεύς.

Aeacides (descendants of Aeacus).
Asopids (descendants of Asopus).

Sources
Library and Epitome were written by Apollodorus.

Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Andromache and Iphigeneia in Aulis was written by Euripides.

Nemean V and Isthmian VII-VIII were written by Pindar.

The Iliad was written by Homer.

Description of Greece was written by Pausanias.

The Cypria, the Little Iliad and the Nostoi were part of the Epic Cycle.

Theogony was written by Hesiod.

Catalogues of Women and Aegimius were possibly written by Hesiod.

Related Articles
Aeacus, Telamon, Thetis, Achilles, Neoptolemus, Andromache, Cheiron.

Argonauts, Calydonian boar hunt, wedding of Peleus & Thetis.

Geneology: Descendants of Aeacus.



Τελαμών
Telamon
 

A king of Salamis. Telamon was the son of Aeacus (Aiacos), king of Aegina, and Endeïs (Endeis). He and his brother Peleus plotted to kill their half-brother Phocus, because he excelled them in sport. One of them killed Phocus and hid the body, but his father found out and banished them from his island. Telamon settled on a nearby island of Salamis.

With Peleus, they sailed with the Argonauts and joined hunters of the Calydonian boar. Telamon was one of the Argonauts who refused to sail without Heracles and Polyphemus, whom Calais and Zetes wanted to abandon in Mysia. Only with the sea god Glaucus' reassurance that Telamon and the other Argonauts agreed to sail on to Colchis, without Heracles.

Telamon and possibly with Theseus, joined Heracles, in the ninth labour, going to Amazon territory to fetch girdle of Hippolyte.

Before Telamon followed Heracles in a war against Troy, Telamon's wife, Periboea or Eëriboea (Ertiboea), was about to give birth. Heracles prayed to his father Zeus that Telamon would have a brave son; Zeus granted his son's prayer, by sending an eagle as a sign of his assent. His son, Ajax was named after the eagle (aietos), who was one of bravest Greek warriors in the later Trojan War.

In Troy, Telamon distinguishes himself in being the first warrior to breech the wall, since he knew where the weakness of Troy's defence. Heracles would have killed him had Telamon's quick thinking, appeased the hero by piling rocks to erect an altar to Heracles the Victor. After taking Troy and killing Laomedon and all but one son (Priam), Heracles later gave Laomedon's daughter, Hesione to Telamon as his concubine. Hesione bore Teleamon a son named Teucer.

When Teucer returned from the Trojan War with his brother's concubine and son, Eurysaces, Telamon exiled Teucer for failing to protect his brother. So, in many ways, Telamon was like his father, Aeacus who had banished from Aegina. Teucer migrated to Cyprus and founded a city Salamis. Telamon's grandson by Ajax, Eurysaces, succeeded Telamon to the throne.

 
Related Information
Name
Telamon, Τελαμών.

Aeacides (descendants of Aeacus).
Asopids (descendants of Asopus).

Sources
Library was written by Apollodorus.

Metamorphoses was written by Ovid.

Helen was written by Euripides.

Argonautica was written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Fabulae was written by Hyginus.

Nemean III, Nemean X and Isthmian VI were written by Pindar.

Related Articles
Peleus, Ajax, Heracles, Hippolyte. Argonauts, Calydonian boar hunt.

Geneology: Descendants of Aeacus.



Διόσκουροι
Dioscuri (Castor & Polydeuces)
 

Twins, Castor (Κάστωρ) and Polydeuces (Πολυδεύκης; his name is Pollux in Latin) were the most famous Spartan heroes. Some recorded them both as sons of Tyndareüs (Tyndareus) and Leda, daughter of Thestius, while others say that they were sons of Zeus, thus they were called Dioscuri (Διόσκουροι). But most writers say that Castor with his sister Clytemnestra were Tyndareüs' children, while Polydeuces and Helen were Zeus', by Leda. Zeus visited and seduced Leda in the form of swan. So Castor was mortal, while his twin was immortal. The mother of Helen was quite often said to be Nemesis, the goddess of retribution, whom Zeus had seduced in the form of a swan. According to the Homeric Hymna, to the Dioscuri, Leda bore the twins on the peak of Mount Taygetus, but it doesn't state that their sister, Helen was born there too.

Castor became renowned as a horseman, and was given a title of Tamer of Horses. While Polydeuces was renown for his skills in boxing. The Dioscuri were identified riding a pair of white horses.

Castor had trained the youth Heracles in fencing. They sailed with the Argonauts, where Polydeuces killed Amycus, king of the Bebrycians, when challenging the crew in boxing match. They also joined with several members of the Argonauts in the Calydonian boar hunt. The Dioscuri and Jason also helped Peleus in capturing Iolcus from Acastus.

When Theseus and Peirithoüs (Peirithous) abducted their sister Helen, the Dioscuri captured Athens and returning Helen to Sparta, with Theseus' mother held as captive. Theseus also lost the throne to another Athenian named Menestheus whom the Dioscuri install as king of Athens. (Menestheus was later a suitor of Helen. He led fifty ships to Troy.)

Their main rival and enemies were their cousins: Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus. When Idas and Lynceus were going to married their cousins, Phoebe and Hilaera, daughters of Leucippus, the Dioscuri abducted them and married the girls themselves. Hilaera bore Anogon to Castor, while Phoebe bore Mnesilus to Polydeuces.

When they raided some cattle with Idas and Lynceus, they decided on the contest of who get all of the cattle. Idas and Lynceus won the contest and drove their prize back to Messene. Castor and Polydeuces decided to take the cattle back in a raid. Lynceus warned Idas of their approach and ambushed the Spartan twins. In the fighting that followed Polydeuces killed Lynceus, but was felled by rock hurled by Idas. Zeus protecting his son killed Idas with a thunderbolt.

Polydeuces was grief-stricken by death of Castor at Idas' hand. The immortal Polydeuces wanted to die with his brother. Taking pity on his mourning son, Zeus decided that the twins would share their immortality: they would spend their days living alternately both (or separately) in Olympus and the Underworld.

Zeus placed them as constellation, Gemini, in the heaven. They became gods in Sparta, where they were patrons of warlike youths and sailors in the stormy sea.

According to Homer in the Iliad, Helen wondered where her brothers were, because she did not see them among the Greeks fighting in the war, not realising that they had already died. This suggested that her brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, had died after she ran off with Paris to Troy.

 
Related Information
Name
Castor, Kastor, Κάστωρ.

Polydeuces, Polydeukes, Πολυδεύκης (Greek).
Pollux (Roman).

Dioscuri, Dioskuri, Dioskouroi, Διόσκουροι (sons of Zeus);

Tyndaridae (sons of Tyndareüs).

Sources
Argonautica, written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

The Iliad and Odyssey were written by Homer.

Library, written by Apollodorus.

Catalogues of Women.

Nemean X was written by Pindar.

Related Articles
Tyndareus, Leda, Helen, Clytemnestra, Idas, Lynceus, Peleus, Jason, Zeus.

House of Sparta, Argonauts, Calydonian boar hunt.

Genealogy:
  House of Sparta
  Children of Thestius

Facts and Figures: Astronomy, see Gemini.


The Rape of the Daughters
of Leucippus
Peter Paul Rubens
Oil on canvas, 1616
Alte Pinakothek, Munich



Idas & Lynceus
 

Messenian heroes. Idas (Ἴδας) and Lynceus (Λυγκεύς) were twin sons of Aphareus and Arene. Some say that Idas was the son of Poseidon and Arene. Idas was the stronger of the two, being skilled with javelins and bow, but Lynceus had extremely sharp-sighted that he sees through the bole of a tree.

They sailed with the Argonauts and joined the boar hunt in Calydon. On the Argo, the seer Idmon rebuked Idas for blasphemy, boasting that his spear was better was better weapons than Zeus' thunderbolts.

Their main rival and enemies were the Spartan cousins, Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux), known as the Dioscuri. When the brothers were going married their cousins, Phoebe and Hilaera, daughters of Leucippus, the Dioscuri abducted them and married the two girls.

When Idas later fell in love with Marpessa, daughter of Evenus, Apollo abducted her. Idas pursued them with spear and bow. Zeus separated Apollo and Idas from fighting, and asked the girl to choose between the god and hero, she chose Idas. Together they had daughter named Cleopatra.

Idas' last adventure with Lynceus was when they joined a cattle raid with the Dioscuri. They decided that whichever brothers ate their cows first would have all the cattle. Idas ate his cow quickly and helped Lynceus finished his, winning the contest. They had won the right to keep all the cattle.

As they drove the cattle back to Messene, Lynceus, who could see through great distance, told his brother that the Dioscuri were following them. They ambushed the Spartan heroes. In the ensuing fight, Polydeuces killed Lynceus, while Idas felled Polydeuces with a rock and killed Castor with his spear. Idas would have also killed Polydeuces, had Zeus not intervened and killed Idas with a thunderbolt.

It seemed that Zeus got his belated revenge for Idas' blasphemy, during the quest of the Golden Fleece, where Idas had boasted that his spear was better than Zeus' thunderbolt.

 
Related Information
Name
Idas, Ἴδας.
Lynceus, Λυγκεύς.

Sources
Argonautica, written by Apollonius of Rhodes.

The Iliad and Odyssey were written by Homer.

Library, written by Apollodorus.

Catalogues of Women.

Nemean X was written by Pindar.

Related Articles
Aphareus, Dioscuri, Jason, Poseidon, Apollo, Zeus.

Argonauts, Calydonian boar hunt.

Geneology: Aeolid House of Messenia.









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