THE EPIC CYCLE was a series of old epic style poems composed between the C8th and 6th BC. Only fragments of the ten poems survive, one of which describes the Titan war, three the Theban saga, and six the Trojan War.
They are as follows:
(1) The War of the Titans or Titanomachy attributed to either Eumelus of Corinth or Arctinus of Miletus C8th BC;
(2) The Story of Oedipus or Oedipodea attributed to Cinaethon of Sparta C8th BC;
(3) The Thebaid once attributed by the Greeks to Homer;
(4) The Epigoni also formerly attributed to Homer;
(5) The Cypria attributed to Stasinus of Cyprus or Hegesias of Salamis or Cyprias of Halicarnassus, perhaps C6th BC;
(6) The Aethiopis attributed to Arctinus of Miletus C8th BC;
(7) The Little Iliad attributed to Lesches of Pyrrha C7th BC or Cinaethon of Sparta C8th BC;
(8) The Sack of Ilium or Iliupersis attributed to Arctinus C8th BC;
(9) The Returns or Nostoi attributed to Agias of Troezen C7th or C6th BC;
The Telegony attributed to Cinaethon of Sparta C8th BC or Eugammon of Cyrene C6th BC.
Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica. Translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914.
The Evelyn-White volume is no longer in print but second-hand copies might be obtained from Amazon.com sellers (click on image right for details). In addition to fragments of the Epic Cylce, the volume also contains Hesiod's Theogony, Works and Days, Shield of Heracles, Hesiodic fragments, and the Homeric Hymns.
Loeb has now replaced this volume with three new translations, one containing the works Hesiod, another fragments of early Greek Epic and the third the Homeric Hymns and Homerica. These, as well as several other more recent translations and academic commentaries, appear in the booklist (right).
EPIC CYCLE INDEX
1. The War of the Titans
2. The Story of Oedipus
3. The Thebaid
4. The Epigoni
5. The Cypria
6. The Aethiopis
7. The Little Iliad
8. The Sack of Ilium
9. The Returns
10. The Telegony
EPIC CYCLE, TRANSLATED BY H. G. EVELYN-WHITE
THE WAR OF THE TITANS
FRAGMENT 1: HECATONCHEIRES & CYCLOPES
Photius, Epitome of the Chrestomathy of Proclus:
The Epic Cycle begins with the fabled union of Heaven and Earth,
by which they make three hundred-handed sons and three Cyclopes
to be born to him.
FRAGMENT 2: URANUS
Anecdota Oxon. (Cramer) i. 75:
According to the writer of the "War of the Titans" Heaven was the
son of Aether.
FRAGMENT 3: AEGAEON
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 1165:
Eumelus says that Aegaeon was the son of Earth and Sea and,
having his dwelling in the sea, was an ally of the Titans.
Athenaeus, vii. 277 D:
The poet of the "War of the Titans", whether Eumelus of Corinth
or Arctinus, writes thus in his second book: `Upon the shield
were dumb fish afloat, with golden faces, swimming and sporting
through the heavenly water.'
FRAGMENT 5: ZEUS
Athenaeus, i. 22 C:
Eumelus somewhere introduces Zeus dancing: he says -- `In the
midst of them danced the Father of men and gods.'
FRAGMENT 6: CRONUS & PHILYRA
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 554:
The author of the "War of the Giants" says that Cronos took the shape of a horse and lay with Philyra, the daughter of Ocean. Through this cause Cheiron was born a centaur: his wife was
FRAGMENT 7: HERACLES
Athenaeus, xi. 470 B:
Theolytus says that he (Heracles) sailed across the sea in a
cauldron; but the first to give this story is the author of
the "War of the Titans".
FRAGMENT 8: HESPERIDES
Philodemus, On Piety:
The author of the "War of the Titans" says that the apples (of
the Hesperides) were guarded.
THE STORY OF OEDIPUS
C.I.G. Ital. et Sic. 1292. ii. 11:
.... the "Story of Oedipus" by Cinaethon in six thousand six
FRAGMENT 2: OEDIPUS & EURYGANEIA
Pausanias, ix. 5.10:
Judging by Homer I do not believe that Oedipus had children by
Iocasta: his sons were born of Euryganeia as the writer of the
Epic called the "Story of Oedipus" clearly shows.
FRAGMENT 3: THE SPHINX
Scholiast on Euripides Phoen., 1750:
The authors of the "Story of Oedipus" (say) of the Sphinx: `But
furthermore (she killed) noble Haemon, the dear son of blameless
Creon, the comeliest and loveliest of boys.'
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
Homer travelled about reciting his epics, first the "Thebaid", in
seven thousand verses, which begins: `Sing, goddess, of parched
Argos, whence lords ...'
FRAGMENT 2: OEDIPUS & POLYNEICES
Athenaeus, xi. 465 E:
`Then the heaven-born hero, golden-haired Polyneices, first set
beside Oedipus a rich table of silver which once belonged to
Cadmus the divinely wise: next he filled a fine golden cup with
sweet wine. But when Oedipus perceived these treasures of his
father, great misery fell on his heart, and he straight-way
called down bitter curses there in the presence of both his sons.
And the avenging Fury of the gods failed not to hear him as he
prayed that they might never divide their father's goods in
loving brotherhood, but that war and fighting might be ever the
portion of them both.'
FRAGMENT 3: OEDIPUS & POLYNEICES
Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, O.C. 1375:
`And when Oedipus noticed the haunch he threw it on the
ground and said: "Oh! Oh! my sons have sent this mocking me ..."
So he prayed to Zeus the king and the other deathless gods that
each might fall by his brother's hand and go down into the house
FRAGMENT 4: ADRASTUS & AREION
Pausanias, viii. 25.8:
Adrastus fled from Thebes `wearing miserable garments, and took
black-maned Areion with him.'
FRAGMENT 5: ADRASTOS
Pindar, Ol. vi. 15 (who according to Asclepiades, derives the passage from the "Thebais"):
`But when the seven dead had received their last rites in Thebes,
the Son of Talaus lamented and spoke thus among them: "Woe is me,
for I miss the bright eye of my host, a good seer and a stout
FRAGMENT 6: OENEUS & PERIBOEA
Apollodorus, i. 74:
Oeneus married Periboea the daughter of Hipponous. The author of
the "Thebais" says that when Olenus had been stormed, Oeneus
received her as a prize.
FRAGMENT 7: PARTHENOPAEUS
Pausanias, ix. 18.6:
Near the spring is the tomb of Asphodicus. This Asphodicus
killed Parthenopaeus the son of Talaus in the battle against the
Argives, as the Thebans say; though that part of the "Thebais"
which tells of the death of Parthenopaeus says that it was
Periclymenus who killed him.
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
Next (Homer composed) the "Epigoni" in seven thousand verses,
beginning, `And now, Muses, let us begin to sing of younger men.'
FRAGMENT 2: TEUMESSIAN FOX
Teumesia. Those who have written on Theban affairs have given a
full account of the Teumesian fox. They relate that the
creature was sent by the gods to punish the descendants of
Cadmus, and that the Thebans therefore excluded those of the
house of Cadmus from kingship. But (they say) a certain
Cephalus, the son of Deion, an Athenian, who owned a hound which
no beast ever escaped, had accidentally killed his wife Procris,
and being purified of the homicide by the Cadmeans, hunted the
fox with his hound, and when they had overtaken it both hound and
fox were turned into stones near Teumessus. These writers have
taken the story from the Epic Cycle.
FRAGMENT 3: MANTO
Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 308:
The authors of the "Thebais" say that Manto the daughter of
Teiresias was sent to Delphi by the Epigoni as a first fruit of
their spoil, and that in accordance with an oracle of Apollo she
went out and met Rhacius, the son of Lebes, a Mycenaean by race.
This man she married -- for the oracle also contained the command
that she should marry whomsoever she might meet -- and coming to
Colophon, was there much cast down and wept over the destruction
of her country.
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, i:
This is continued by the epic called "Cypria" which is
current is eleven books. Its contents are as follows.
Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan war. Strife
arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of Peleus and
starts a dispute between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as to which
of them is fairest. The three are led by Hermes at the command
of Zeus to Alexandrus on Mount Ida for his decision, and
Alexandrus, lured by his promised marriage with Helen, decides in
favour of Aphrodite.
Then Alexandrus builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and
Helenus foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite order Aeneas
to sail with him, while Cassandra prophesies as to what will
Alexandrus next lands in Lacedaemon and is
entertained by the sons of Tyndareus, and afterwards by Menelaus
in Sparta, where in the course of a feast he gives gifts to
After this, Menelaus sets sail for Crete, ordering Helen to
furnish the guests with all they require until they depart.
Meanwhile, Aphrodite brings Helen and Alexandrus together, and
they, after their union, put very great treasures on board and
sail away by night. Hera stirs up a storm against them and they
are carried to Sidon, where Alexandrus takes the city. From
there he sailed to Troy and celebrated his marriage with Helen.
In the meantime Castor and Polydeuces, while stealing the cattle
of Idas and Lynceus, were caught in the act, and Castor was
killed by Idas, and Lynceus and Idas by Polydeuces. Zeus gave
them immortality every other day.
Iris next informs Menelaus of what has happened at his home.
Menelaus returns and plans an expedition against Ilium with his
brother, and then goes on to Nestor. Nestor in a digression
tells him how Epopeus was utterly destroyed after seducing the
daughter of Lycus, and the story of Oedipus, the madness of
Heracles, and the story of Theseus and Ariadne. Then they travel
over Hellas and gather the leaders, detecting Odysseus when he
pretends to be mad, not wishing to join the expedition, by
seizing his son Telemachus for punishment at the suggestion of
All the leaders then meet together at Aulis and sacrifice. The
incident of the serpent and the sparrows takes place before
them, and Calchas foretells what is going to befall. After this,
they put out to sea, and reach Teuthrania and sack it, taking it
for Ilium. Telephus comes out to the rescue and kills
Thersander and son of Polyneices, and is himself wounded by
Achilles. As they put out from Mysia a storm comes on them and
scatters them, and Achilles first puts in at Scyros and married
Deidameia, the daughter of Lycomedes, and then heals Telephus,
who had been led by an oracle to go to Argos, so that he might be
their guide on the voyage to Ilium.
When the expedition had mustered a second time at Aulis,
Agamemnon, while at the chase, shot a stag and boasted that he
surpassed even Artemis. At this the goddess was so angry that
she sent stormy winds and prevented them from sailing. Calchas
then told them of the anger of the goddess and bade them
sacrifice Iphigeneia to Artemis. This they attempt to do,
sending to fetch Iphigeneia as though for marriage with Achilles.
Artemis, however, snatched her away and transported her to the
Tauri, making her immortal, and putting a stag in place of the
girl upon the altar.
Next they sail as far as Tenedos: and while they are feasting,
Philoctetes is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos
because of the stench of his sore. Here, too, Achilles quarrels
with Agamemnon because he is invited late. Then the Greeks tried
to land at Ilium, but the Trojans prevent them, and Protesilaus
is killed by Hector. Achilles then kills Cycnus, the son of
Poseidon, and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks take up their
dead and send envoys to the Trojans demanding the surrender of
Helen and the treasure with her. The Trojans refusing, they
first assault the city, and then go out and lay waste the country
and cities round about. After this, Achilles desires to see
Helen, and Aphrodite and Thetis contrive a meeting between them.
The Achaeans next desire to return home, but are restrained by
Achilles, who afterwards drives off the cattle of Aeneas, and
sacks Lyrnessus and Pedasus and many of the neighbouring cities,
and kills Troilus. Patroclus carries away Lycaon to Lemnos and
sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils Achilles receives
Briseis as a prize, and Agamemnon Chryseis. Then follows the
death of Palamedes, the plan of Zeus to relieve the Trojans by
detaching Achilles from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue
of the Trojan allies.
Tzetzes, Chil. xiii. 638:
Stasinus composed the "Cypria" which the more part say was
Homer's work and by him given to Stasinus as a dowry with money
FRAGMENT 3: PLAN OF ZEUS
Scholiast on Homer, Il. i. 5:
`There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though wide-
dispersed, oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and
Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to
relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great
struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the
world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of
Zeus came to pass.'
FRAGMENT 4: THETIS & ZEUS
Volumina Herculan, II. viii. 105:
The author of the "Cypria" says that Thetis, to please Hera,
avoided union with Zeus, at which he was enraged and swore that
she should be the wife of a mortal.
FRAGMENT 5: PELEUS & THETIS
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xvii. 140:
For at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the gods gathered
together on Pelion to feast and brought Peleus gifts. Cheiron
gave him a stout ashen shaft which he had cut for a spear, and
Athena, it is said, polished it, and Hephaestus fitted it with a
head. The story is given by the author of the "Cypria".
FRAGMENT 6: APHRODITE, JUDGEMENT PARIS
Athenaeus, xv. 682 D, F:
The author of the "Cypria", whether Hegesias or Stasinus,
mentions flowers used for garlands. The poet, whoever he was,
writes as follows in his first book:
`She clothed herself with garments which the Graces and
Hours had made for her and dyed in flowers of spring -- such
flowers as the Seasons wear -- in crocus and hyacinth and
flourishing violet and the rose's lovely bloom, so sweet and
delicious, and heavenly buds, the flowers of the narcissus and
lily. In such perfumed garments is Aphrodite clothed at all
Then laughter-loving Aphrodite and her handmaidens
wove sweet-smelling crowns of flowers of the earth and put them
upon their heads -- the bright-coiffed goddesses, the Nymphs and
Graces, and golden Aphrodite too, while they sang sweetly on the
mount of many-fountained Ida.'
FRAGMENT 7: DIOSCURI
Clement of Alexandria, Protrept ii. 30. 5:
`Castor was mortal, and the fate of death was destined for him;
but Polydeuces, scion of Ares, was immortal.'
FRAGMENT 8: ZEUS & NEMESIS
Athenaeus, viii. 334 B:
`And after them she bare a third child, Helen, a marvel to men.
Rich-tressed Nemesis once gave her birth when she had been joined
in love with Zeus the king of the gods by harsh violence. For
Nemesis tried to escape him and liked not to lie in love with her
father Zeus the Son of Cronos; for shame and indignation vexed
her heart: therefore she fled him over the land and fruitless
dark water. But Zeus ever pursued and longed in his heart to
catch her. Now she took the form of a fish and sped over the
waves of the loud-roaring sea, and now over Ocean's stream and
the furthest bounds of Earth, and now she sped over the furrowed
land, always turning into such dread creatures as the dry land
nurtures, that she might escape him.'
FRAGMENT 9: SONS OF HELEN
Scholiast on Euripides, Andr. 898:
The writer of the Cyprian histories says that (Helen's third
child was) Pleisthenes and that she took him with her to Cyprus,
and that the child she bore Alexandrus was Aganus.
FRAGMENT 10: PARIS & HELEN
Herodotus, ii. 117:
For it is said in the "Cypria" that Alexandrus came with Helen to
Ilium from Sparta in three days, enjoying a favourable wind and
FRAGMENT 11: THESEUS & HELEN
Scholiast on Homer, Il. iii. 242:
For Helen had been previously carried off by Theseus, and it was
in consequence of this earlier rape that Aphidna, a town in
Attica, was sacked and Castor was wounded in the right thigh by
Aphidnus who was king at that time. Then the Dioscuri, failing
to find Theseus, sacked Athens. The story is in the Cyclic
Plutarch, Thes. 32:
Hereas relates that Alycus was killed by Theseus himself near
Aphidna, and quotes the following verses in evidence: `In
spacious Aphidna Theseus slew him in battle long ago for rich-
haired Helen's sake.'
FRAGMENT 12: LYNCEUS & THE DIOSCURI
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. x. 114:
`Straightway Lynceus, trusting in his swift feet, made
for Taygetus. He climbed its highest peak and looked throughout
the whole isle of Pelops, son of Tantalus; and soon the glorious
hero with his dread eyes saw horse-taming Castor and athlete
Polydeuces both hidden within a hollow oak.'
Philodemus, On Piety:
(Stasinus?) writes that Castor was killed with a spear shot by
Idas the son of Aphareus.
Athenaeus, 35 C:
`Menelaus, know that the gods made wine the best thing for mortal
man to scatter cares.'
FRAGMENT 14: DAUGHTERS OF AGAMEMNON
Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, Elect. 157:
Either he follows Homer who spoke of the three daughters of
Agamemnon, or -- like the writer of the "Cypria" -- he makes them
four, (distinguishing) Iphigeneia and Iphianassa.
FRAGMENT 15: AGAMEMNON
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
`So they feasted all day long, taking nothing from their own
houses; for Agamemnon, king of men, provided for them.'
FRAGMENT 16: ACHILLES
`I never thought to enrage so terribly the stout heart of
Achilles, for very well I loved him.'
FRAGMENT 17: PROTESILAUS & POLYDORA
Pausanias, iv. 2. 7:
The poet of the "Cypria" says that the wife of Protesilaus --
who, when the Hellenes reached the Trojan shore, first dared to
land -- was called Polydora, and was the daughter of Meleager,
the son of Oeneus.
FRAGMENT 18: CHRYSEIS
Eustathius, 119. 4:
Some relate that Chryseis was taken from Hypoplacian Thebes,
and that she had not taken refuge there nor gone there to
sacrifice to Artemis, as the author of the "Cypria" states, but
was simply a fellow townswoman of Andromache.
FRAGMENT 19: PALAMEDES
Pausanias, x. 31. 2:
I know, because I have read it in the epic "Cypria", that
Palamedes was drowned when he had gone out fishing, and that it
was Diomedes and Odysseus who caused his death.
FRAGMENT 20: ZEUS
Plato, Euthyphron, 12 A:
`That it is Zeus who has done this, and brought all these things
to pass, you do not like to say; for where fear is, there too is
FRAGMENT 21: GORGONS
Herodian, On Peculiar Diction:
`By him she conceived and bare the Gorgons, fearful monsters who
lived in Sarpedon, a rocky island in deep-eddying Oceanus.'
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vii. 2. 19:
Again, Stasinus says: `He is a simple man who kills the father
and lets the children live.'
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
The "Cypria", described in the preceding book, has its sequel in
the "Iliad" of Homer, which is followed in turn by the five books
of the "Aethiopis", the work of Arctinus of Miletus. Their
contents are as follows. The Amazon Penthesileia, the daughter
of Ares and of Thracian race, comes to aid the Trojans, and after
showing great prowess, is killed by Achilles and buried by the
Trojans. Achilles then slays Thersites for abusing and reviling
him for his supposed love for Penthesileia. As a result a
dispute arises amongst the Achaeans over the killing of
Thersites, and Achilles sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to
Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from
Then Memnon, the son of Eos, wearing armour made by Hephaestus,
comes to help the Trojans, and Thetis tells her son about Memnon.
A battle takes place in which Antilochus is slain by Memnon and
Memnon by Achilles. Eos then obtains of Zeus and bestows upon
her son immortality; but Achilles routs the Trojans, and, rushing
into the city with them, is killed by Paris and Apollo. A great
struggle for the body then follows, Aias taking up the body and
carrying it to the ships, while Odysseus drives off the Trojans
behind. The Achaeans then bury Antilochus and lay out the body
of Achilles, while Thetis, arriving with the Muses and her
sisters, bewails her son, whom she afterwards catches away from
the pyre and transports to the White Island. After this, the
Achaeans pile him a cairn and hold games in his honour. Lastly a
dispute arises between Odysseus and Aias over the arms of
FRAGMENT 2: PENTHESILEA
Scholiast on Homer, Il. xxiv. 804:
Some read: `Thus they performed the burial of Hector. Then came
the Amazon, the daughter of great-souled Ares the slayer of men.'
FRAGMENT 3: AIAS
Scholiast on Pindar, Isth. iii. 53:
The author of the "Aethiopis" says that Aias killed himself about
THE LITTLE ILIAD
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
Next comes the "Little Iliad" in four books by Lesches of
Mitylene: its contents are as follows. The adjudging of the arms
of Achilles takes place, and Odysseus, by the contriving of
Athena, gains them. Aias then becomes mad and destroys the herd
of the Achaeans and kills himself. Next Odysseus lies in wait
and catches Helenus, who prophesies as to the taking of Troy, and
Diomede accordingly brings Philoctetes from Lemnos. Philoctetes
is healed by Machaon, fights in single combat with Alexandrus and
kills him: the dead body is outraged by Menelaus, but the Trojans
recover and bury it. After this Deiphobus marries Helen,
Odysseus brings Neoptolemus from Scyros and gives him his
father's arms, and the ghost of Achilles appears to him.
Eurypylus the son of Telephus arrives to aid the Trojans, shows
his prowess and is killed by Neoptolemus. The Trojans are now
closely beseiged, and Epeius, by Athena's instruction, builds the
wooden horse. Odysseus disfigures himself and goes in to Ilium
as a spy, and there being recognized by Helen, plots with her for
the taking of the city; after killing certain of the Trojans, he
returns to the ships. Next he carries the Palladium out of Troy
with help of Diomedes. Then after putting their best men in the
wooden horse and burning their huts, the main body of the
Hellenes sail to Tenedos. The Trojans, supposing their troubles
over, destroy a part of their city wall and take the wooden horse
into their city and feast as though they had conquered the
Pseudo-Herodotus, Life of Homer:
`I sing of Ilium and Dardania, the land of fine horses, wherein
the Danai, followers of Ares, suffered many things.'
FRAGMENT 3: AIAS & ODYSSEUS
Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights 1056 and Aristophanes ib:
The story runs as follows: Aias and Odysseus were quarrelling as
to their achievements, says the poet of the "Little Iliad", and
Nestor advised the Hellenes to send some of their number to go to
the foot of the walls and overhear what was said about the valour
of the heroes named above. The eavesdroppers heard certain girls
disputing, one of them saying that Aias was by far a better man
than Odysseus and continuing as follows:
`For Aias took up and carried out of the strife the hero, Peleus'
son: this great Odysseus cared not to do.'
To this another replied by Athena's contrivance:
`Why, what is this you say? A thing against reason and untrue!
Even a woman could carry a load once a man had put it on her
shoulder; but she could not fight. For she would fail with fear
if she should fight.'
FRAGMENT 4: AIAS
Eustathius, 285. 34:
The writer of the "Little Iliad" says that Aias was not buried in
the usual way, but was simply buried in a coffin, because of
the king's anger.
FRAGMENT 5: TELEPHUS & ACHILLES
Eustathius on Homer, Il. 326:
The author of the "Little Iliad" says that Achilles after putting
out to sea from the country of Telephus came to land there: `The
storm carried Achilles the son of Peleus to Scyros, and he came
into an uneasy harbour there in that same night.'
Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. vi. 85:
`About the spear-shaft was a hoop of flashing gold, and a point
was fitted to it at either end.'
FRAGMENT 7: LAOMEDON & GANYMEDES
Scholiast on Euripides Troades, 822:
`...the vine which the son of Cronos gave him as a recompense for
his son. It bloomed richly with soft leaves of gold and grape
clusters; Hephaestus wrought it and gave it to his father Zeus:
and he bestowed it on Laomedon as a price for Ganymedes.'
FRAGMENT 8: EURYPYLUS & MACHAON
Pausanias, iii. 26. 9:
The writer of the epic "Little Iliad" says that Machaon was
killed by Eurypylus, the son of Telephus.
FRAGMENT 9: ODYSSEUS
Homer, Odyssey iv. 247 and Scholiast:
`He disguised himself, and made himself like another person, a
beggar, the like of whom was not by the ships of the Achaeans.'
The Cyclic poet uses `beggar' as a substantive, and so means to
say that when Odysseus had changed his clothes and put on rags,
there was no one so good for nothing at the ships as Odysseus.
Plutarch, Moralia, p. 153 F:
And Homer put forward the following verses as Lesches gives them:
`Muse, tell me of those things which neither happened before nor
shall be hereafter.'
And Hesiod answered:
`But when horses with rattling hoofs wreck chariots, striving for
victory about the tomb of Zeus.'
And it is said that, because this reply was specially admired,
Hesiod won the tripod (at the funeral games of Amphidamas).
FRAGMENT 11: SINON
Scholiast on Lycophr., 344:
Sinon, as it had been arranged with him, secretly showed a
signal-light to the Hellenes. Thus Lesches writes: -- `It was
midnight, and the clear moon was rising.'
FRAGMENT 12: COMBATANTS
Pausanias, x. 25. 5:
Meges is represented [in the paintings by Polygnotus at Delphi] wounded in the arm just as Lescheos the
son of Aeschylinus of Pyrrha describes in his "Sack of Ilium"
where it is said that he was wounded in the battle which the
Trojans fought in the night by Admetus, son of Augeias.
Lycomedes too is in the picture with a wound in the wrist, and
Lescheos says he was so wounded by Agenor ...
Pausanias, x. 26. 4:
Lescheos also mentions Astynous, and here he is, fallen on one
knee, while Neoptolemus strikes him with his sword...
Pausanias, x. 26. 8:
The same writer says that Helicaon was wounded in the night-
battle, but was recognised by Odysseus and by him conducted alive
out of the fight...
Pausanias, x. 27. 1:
Of them [the dead bodies in the picture], Lescheos says that Eion was killed by Neoptolemus,
and Admetus by Philoctetes ... He also says that Priam was not
killed at the heart of Zeus Herceius, but was dragged away from
the altar and destroyed off hand by Neoptolemus at the doors of
the house ... Lescheos says that Axion was the son of Priam and
was slain by Eurypylus, the son of Euaemon. Agenor -- according
to the same poet -- was butchered by Neoptolemus.
FRAGMENT 13: MENELAUS, HELEN & AETHRA
Aristophanes, Lysistrata 155 and Scholiast:
`Menelaus at least, when he caught a glimpse somehow of the
breasts of Helen unclad, cast away his sword, methinks.' Lesches
the Pyrrhaean also has the same account in his "Little Iliad".
Pausanias, x. 25. 8:
Concerning Aethra Lesches relates that when Ilium was taken she
stole out of the city and came to the Hellenic camp, where she
was recognised by the sons of Theseus; and that Demophon asked
her of Agamemnon. Agamemnon wished to grant him this favour, but
he would not do so until Helen consented. And when he sent a
herald, Helen granted his request.
FRAGMENT 14: NEOPTOLEMUS & ASTYANAX
Scholiast on Lycophr. Alex., 1268:
`Then the bright son of bold Achilles led the wife of Hector to
the hollow ships; but her son he snatched from the bosom of his
rich-haired nurse and seized him by the foot and cast him from a
tower. So when he had fallen bloody death and hard fate seized
on Astyanax. And Neoptolemus chose out Andromache, Hector's
well-girded wife, and the chiefs of all the Achaeans gave her to
him to hold requiting him with a welcome prize. And he put
Aeneas, the famous son of horse-taming Anchises, on board his sea-
faring ships, a prize surpassing those of all the Danaans.'
THE SACK OF ILIUM
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
Next come two books of the "Sack of Ilium", by Arctinus of
Miletus with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious
of the wooden horse and standing round it debated what they ought
to do. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks,
others to burn it up, while others said they ought to dedicate it
to Athena. At last this third opinion prevailed. Then they
turned to mirth and feasting believing the war was at an end.
But at this very time two serpents appeared and destroyed Laocoon
and one of his two sons, a portent which so alarmed the followers
of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida. Sinon then raised the fire-
signal to the Achaeans, having previously got into the city by
pretence. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in
the wooden horse came our and fell upon their enemies, killing
many and storming the city. Neoptolemus kills Priam who had fled
to the altar of Zeus Herceius; Menelaus finds Helen and takes
her to the ships, after killing Deiphobus; and Aias the son of
Ileus, while trying to drag Cassandra away by force, tears away
with her the image of Athena. At this the Greeks are so enraged
that they determine to stone Aias, who only escapes from the
danger threatening him by taking refuge at the altar of Athena.
The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena at the
tomb of Achilles: Odysseus murders Astyanax; Neoptolemus takes
Andromache as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided.
Demophon and Acamas find Aethra and take her with them. Lastly
the Greeks sail away and Athena plans to destroy them on the high
FRAGMENT 2: DARDANUS & THE PALLADIUM
Dionysus Halicarn, Rom. Antiq. i. 68:
According to Arctinus, one Palladium was given to Dardanus by
Zeus, and this was in Ilium until the city was taken. It was
hidden in a secret place, and a copy was made resembling the
original in all points and set up for all to see, in order to
deceive those who might have designs against it. This copy the
Achaeans took as a result of their plots.
FRAGMENT 3: ASTYANAX
Scholiast on Euripedes, Andromache 10:
The Cyclic poet who composed the "Sack" says that Astyanax was
also hurled from the city wall.
FRAGMENT 4: ACAMUS & DEMOPHON
Scholiast on Euripides, Troades 31:
For the followers of Acamus and Demophon took no share -- it is
said -- of the spoils, but only Aethra, for whose sake, indeed,
they came to Ilium with Menestheus to lead them. Lysimachus,
however, says that the author of the "Sack" writes as follows:
`The lord Agamemnon gave gifts to the Sons of Theseus and to bold
Menestheus, shepherd of hosts.'
FRAGMENT 5: MACHAON & PODALEIRIUS
Eustathius on Iliad, xiii. 515:
Some say that such praise as this does not apply to
physicians generally, but only to Machaon: and some say that he
only practised surgery, while Podaleirius treated sicknesses.
Arctinus in the "Sack of Ilium" seems to be of this opinion when
he says: `For their father the famous Earth-Shaker gave both of
them gifts, making each more glorious than the other. To the one
he gave hands more light to draw or cut out missiles from the
flesh and to heal all kinds of wounds; but in the heart of the
other he put full and perfect knowledge to tell hidden diseases
and cure desperate sicknesses. It was he who first noticed Aias'
flashing eyes and clouded mind when he was enraged.'
FRAGMENT 6: IAMBUS
Diomedes in Gramm., Lat. i. 477:
`Iambus stood a little while astride with foot advanced, that so
his strained limbs might get power and have a show of ready
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Sack of Ilium" follow the "Returns" in five books by
Agias of Troezen. Their contents are as follows. Athena causes
a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from
Troy. Agamemnon then stays on to appease the anger of Athena.
Diomedes and Nestor put out to sea and get safely home. After
them Menelaus sets out and reaches Egypt with five ships, the
rest having been destroyed on the high seas. Those with Calchas,
Leontes, and Polypoetes go by land to Colophon and bury Teiresias
who died there. When Agamemnon and his followers were sailing
away, the ghost of Achilles appeared and tried to prevent them by
foretelling what should befall them. The storm at the rocks
called Capherides is then described, with the end of Locrian
Aias. Neoptolemus, warned by Thetis, journeys overland and,
coming into Thrace, meets Odysseus at Maronea, and then finishes
the rest of his journey after burying Phoenix who dies on the
way. He himself is recognized by Peleus on reaching the Molossi.
Then comes the murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus and
Clytaemnestra, followed by the vengeance of Orestes and Pylades.
Finally, Menelaus returns home.
FRAGMENT 2: MEDEA & AESON
Argument to Euripides Medea:
`Forthwith Medea made Aeson a sweet young boy and stripped his
old age from him by her cunning skill, when she had made a brew
of many herbs in her golden cauldrons.'
FRAGMENT 3: HERACLES & THE AMAZONS
Pausanias, i. 2:
The story goes that Heracles was besieging Themiscyra on the
Thermodon and could not take it; but Antiope, being in love with
Theseus who was with Heracles on this expedition, betrayed the
place. Hegias gives this account in his poem.
FRAGMENT 4: TELEMACHUS, TELEGONUS, CIRCE, PENELOPE
Eustathius, 1796. 45:
The Colophonian author of the "Returns" says that Telemachus
afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus the son of Circe
correspondingly married Penelope.
Clement of Alex. Strom., vi. 2. 12. 8:
`For gifts beguile men's minds and their deeds as well.' (1)
FRAGMENT 6: HADES, TANTALUS
Pausanias, x. 28. 7:
The poetry of Homer and the "Returns" -- for here too there is an
account of Hades and the terrors there -- know of no spirit named
Athenaeus, 281 B:
The writer of the "Return of the Atreidae" says that Tantalus
came and lived with the gods, and was permitted to ask for
whatever he desired. But the man was so immoderately given to
pleasures that he asked for these and for a life like that of the
gods. At this Zeus was annoyed, but fulfilled his prayer because
of his own promise; but to prevent him from enjoying any of the
pleasures provided, and to keep him continually harassed, he hung
a stone over his head which prevents him from ever reaching any
of the pleasant things near by.
FRAGMENT 1: SYNOPSIS
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Returns" comes the "Odyssey" of Homer, and then the
"Telegony" in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the
following matters. The suitors of Penelope are buried by their
kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to
Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus
and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and
Agamedes and Augeas then follows. He next sails back to Ithaca
and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias, and then goes
to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice, queen of the
Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians,
led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After
the death of Callidice Polypoetes, the son of Odysseus, succeeds
to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca. In the
meantime Telegonus, while travelling in search of his father,
lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to
defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly.
Telegonus, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body
with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe makes them immortal, and Telegonus marries Penelope, and
FRAGMENT 2: SONS OF ODYSSEUS
Eustathias, 1796. 35:
The author of the "Telegony", a Cyrenaean, relates that Odysseus
had by Calypso a son Telegonus or Teledamus, and by Penelope
Telemachus and Acusilaus.