HYGINUS, FABULAE 1 - 49
HYGINUS CONTENTS0. Preface
4. Ino of Euripides
8. Antiopa of Euripides
11. Children of Niobe
14. Argonauts Assembled
15. Women of Lemnos
21. Sons of Phrixus
24. Jason. Daughters of Pelias
26. Medea in Exile
28. Otus and Ephialtes
30. Twelve Labors of Hercules
31. Incidental Labors Hercules
38. Labors of Theseus
42. Theseus and the Minotaur
48. Kings of the Athenians
GAIUS JULIUS HYGINUS was a Latin writer who flourished in Roman Spain in the C1st AD. Two extant collections of fables were attributed to him: the Fabulae (or Fables) and Astronomica (or Astronomy). The poor quality of these works lead most to believe they are either wrongly attributed to this distinguished scholar or are a later abridgement of his works composed by a C2nd grammarian. In spite of the poor writing style and numerous errors, the works do preserve many myths and alternative versions of myths not found elsewhere.
The Myths of Hyginus, translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies, no. 34. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1960.
Mary Grant's translation is long out of print and second hand copies of this book are very hard to come by. The work includes an introduction and copious footnotes, neither of which have not been reproduced here. Recent translation of Hyginus' Astronomica can be found in the book titled Star Myths by Condos and a selection of both the Fables and Astronomy are included in the Anthology of Greek Myth by T. G. Palaima (see book list right).
FABLES 1 - 49, TRANSLATED BY MARY GRANT
KEY: * = corrupt text . . . = missing text
Excerpts from the Genealogiae of Hyginus, commonly called the Fabulae Preface
From Mist (was born) Chaos; from Chaos and Caligine: Night, Day, Erebus, Aether.
From Night and Erebus: Fate, Old Age, Death, Dissolution, *Continence, Sleep, Dreams, Love – that is, Lysimeles, *Epiphron, Porphyrion, Epaphus, Discord, Wretchedness, Wantonness, Nemesis, Euphrosyne, Friendship, Compassion, Styx; the three Fates, namely, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; the Hesperides, Aegle, Hesperie, *aerica.
From Aether and Day, Earth, Heaven Sea.
From Aether and Earth: Grief, Deceit, Wrath, Lamentation, Falsehood, Oath, Vengeance, Intemperance, Altercation, Forgetfulness, Sloth, Fear, Pride, Incest, Combat, Ocean, Themis, Tartarus, Pontus; and the Titans, Briareus, Gyges, Steropes, Atlas, Hyperion, and Polus, Saturn, Ops, Moneta, Dione; and three Furies – namely, Alecto, Megaera, Tisiphone.
From Earth and Tartarus, Giants: Enceladus, Coeus, *elentes, *mophius, Astraeus, Pelorus, Pallas, Emphytus, Rhoecus, *ienios, Agrius, *alemone, Ephialtes, Eurytus, *effracorydon, Themoises, Theodamas, Otus, Typhon, Polybo[e}tes, *menephriarus, *abesus, *colophonus, Iapetus.
From Pontus and Sea, the tribes of fishes.
From Ocean and Tethys the Oceanides - namely *yaea Melite, Ianthe, Admete, Stilbo, Pasiphae, Polyxo, Eurynome, Euagoreis, Rhodope, *lyris, Clytie, *teschinoeno, *clitenneste, Metis, Menippe, Argia. Of the same descent Rivers: Strymon, Nilus, Euphrates, Tanais, Indus, Cephisus, Ismenus, Axenus, Achelous, Simois, Inachus, Alpheus, Therodoon, Scamandrus, Tigris, Maeandrus, Orontes.
From Pontos and Earth, Thaumas, *tusciuersus, *cepheus
From Nereus and Doris fifty Nereids: Glauce, Thalia, Cymodoce, Nesaea, Spio, Thoe, Cymothoe[a], Actaea, Limnoria, Melite, Iaera, Amphithoe, Agaue, Doto, Prot[h]o, Pherusa, Dynamene, Dexamene, Amphnome, Callianassa, Doris, Panope, Galat[h]ea, Nemertes, Apseudes, Clymene, Ianira, [Panopea], Ianassa, Maera, Orithyia, Amathia, Drymo, Xantho, Ligea, Phyllodoce, Cydippe, Lycorias, Cleio, Beroe, Ephyre, Opis, Asia, Deiopea, Arethusa, [Clymene], Creneis, Eurydice, Leucothea.
From Phorcus and Ceto: Phorcides Pemphredo, Enyo and Persis (for this last others say Dino).
From Gorgon and Ceto, Sthenno, Eurylae, Medusa
From Polus and Phoebe, Latone, Asterie, *aphirape . . . Perses, Pallas.
From Iapetus and Clymene, Atlas, Epimetheus, Prometheus.
From Hyperion and Aethra, Sol, Luna, Aurora.
From Saturn and Ops, Vesta, Ceres, Iuno, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune.
From Saturs and Philyra, Chiron, Dolops.
From Astraeus and Aurora, Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, Favonius.
From Atlas and Pleione, Maia, Calypso, Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Celaeno.
From Pallas the giant and Styx, Scylla, Force, Envy, Power, Victory, Fountains, Lakes.
From Neptune and Amphitrite, Triton.
From Dione and Jove, Venus.
From Jove and Juno, Mars.
From Jove’s head, Minerva.
From Juno without father, Vulcan.
From Jove and Eurynome, Graces.
Again from Jove and Juno, Youth, Liberty.
From Jove and Themis, the Hours.
From Jove and Ceres, Proserpina.
From Jove and Moneta, the Muses.
From Jove and Luna, Pandia.
From Venus and Mars, Harmonia, and Formido.
From Acheloos and Melpomene, the Sirens, Thelxiepe, Molpe and Pisinoe.
From Jove and Clymene, Mnemosyne.
From Jove ant Maia, Mercury.
From Jove and Latona, Apollo and Diana.
From Earth, Python, a divine (prophetic) snake.
From Thaumas and Electra: Iris, Harpies, Celaeno, Ocypete, Podarce.
From Sol and Persa, Circe, Pasiphae, Aeeta, Perses.
From Aeeta and Clytia, Medea.
From Sol and Clymene, Phaethon and the Phaethontides, Merope, Helie, Aetherie, Dioxippe.
From Typhon and Echidna: Gorgon, Cerberus, the dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece at Colchis, Scylla who was woman above but dog-forms below [whom Hercules killed]; Chimaera, Sphinx who was in Boeotia, Hydra serpent which had nine heads which Hercules killed, and the dragon of the Hesperides.
From Neptune and Medusa, the horse Pegasus.
From Chrysaor and Callirhoe,: three-formed Geryon.
Athamas, son of Aeolus, had by his wife Nebula a son Phrixus and a daughter Helle, and by Themisto, daughter of Hypseus, two son, Sphincius and Orchomenus, and by Ino, daughter of Cadmus, two sons, Learchus and Melicertes. Themisto, robbed of her marriage by Ino, wished to kill Ino’s children. She hid, therefore, in the palace, and when an opportunity presented itself, thinking she was killing the sons of her rival, unwittingly killed her own, deceived by the nurse who had put the wrong garments on them. When Themisto discovered this, she killed herself.
Ino, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, wishing to kill Phrixus and Helle, Nebula’s children, formed a plan with the women of the entire tribe, and conspired to parch the seed grain to make it unfertile, so that, when the sterility and scarcity of grain resulted, the whole state should perish, some by starvation, others by sickness. With regard to this situation Athamas sent a servant to Delphi, but Ino instructed him to bring back a false reply that the pestilence would end if he sacrificed Phrixus to Jove. When Athamas refused to do this, Phrixus voluntarily and readily promised that he alone would free the state from its distress. Accordingly he was led to the altar, wearing fillets (of sacrifice), but the servant, out of pity for the youth, revealed Ino’s plans to Athamas. The king, thus informed of the crime, gave over his wife Ino and her son Melicertes to be put to death, but Father Liber cast mist around her, and saved Ino his nurse. Later, Athamas, driven mad by Jove, slew his son Learchus. But Ino, with Melicertes her son, threw herself into the sea. Liber would have her called Leucothea, and Melicertes, her son the god Palaemon, butwe call her Mater Matuta, and him Portunus. In his honor every fifth year gymnastic contests are held, which are called Isthmian.
While Phrixus and Helle under madness sent by Liber were wandering in a forest, Nebula their mother is said to have come there bringing a gilded ram, offspring of Neptune and Theophane. She bade her children to mount it, and journey to Colchis to King Aeetes, son of Sol, and there sacrifice the ram to Mars. This they were said to have done, but when they had mounted, and the ram had carried them over the sea, Helle fell from the ram; from this sea was called Hellespont. Phrixus, however, was carried to Colchis, where, as his mother had bidden, he sacrificed the ram, and placed its gilded fleece in the temple of Mars - the very fleece which, guarded by a dragon, it is said Jason, son of Aeson and Alcimede, came to secure. But Aeetes gladly welcomed Phrixus, and gave him his daughter Chalciope in marriage. She later bore him children, but Aeetes feared that they would drive him from his kingdom, because he had been warned by prodigies to beware of death at the hands of a foreigner, a son of Aeolus. Therefore he killed Phrixus. But Phrixus’ sons – Argus, Melas, and Cylindrus – took ship to go to their grandfather Athamas. They were shipwrecked, however, and Jason, on his trip for the fleece, rescued them from the island of Dia, and took them back to their mother Chalciope. By her favour he was recommended to her sister Medea.
When Athamas, king in Thessaly, thought that his wife Ino, by whom he begat two sons, had perished, he married Themisto, the daughter of a nymph, and had twin sons by her. Later he discovered that Ino was on Parnassus, where she had gone for the Bacchic revels. He sent someone to bring her home, and concealed her when she came. Themisto discovered she had been found, but didn’t know her identity. She conceived the desire of killing Ino’s sons, and made Ino herself, whom she believed to be a captive, a confidant in the plan, telling her to cover her children with white garments, but Ino’s with black. Ino covered her own with white, and Themisto’s with dark; then Themisto mistakenly slew her own sons. When she discovered this, she killed herself. Moreover, Athamas, while hunting, in a fit of madness killed his older son Learchus; but Ino with the younger, Melicertes, cast herself intot he sea and was made a goddess.
Because Semele had lain with Jove, Juno was hostile to her whole race; and so Athamas, son of Aeolus, through madness killed his son with arrows while hunting.
Cadmus, son of Agenor and Argiope, along with Harmonia his wife, daughter of Venus and Mars, after their children had been killed, were truned into snakes in the region of Illyria by the wrath of Mars, because Cadmus ahd slain the dragon, guardian of the fountain of Castalia.
Antiopa, daughter of Nycteus, was by a trick violated by Epaphus, and as a consequence was cast of by her husband Lycus. Thus widowed, Jupiter embraced her. But Lycus married Dirce. She, suspecting that her husband had secretly lain with Antiopa, ordered her servants to keep her bound in darkness. When her time was approaching, by the will of Jove she escaped from her chains to Mount Cithaeron, and when birth was imminent and she sought for a place to bear he child, pain compelled her to give birth at the very crossroads. Shephers reared her sons as their own, and called one Zetos, from “seeking a place,” and the other Amphion, because “she gave birth at the crossroads, or by the road.”
When the sons found out who their mother was, they put Dirce to death by binding her to an untamed bull; by the kindness of Liber, whose votary she was, on Mount Cithaeron a spring was formed from her body, which was called Dirce.
Antiopa was the daughter of Nycteus, king in Boeotia; entranced by her great beauty, Jupiter made her pregnant. When her father wished to punish her on account of her disgrace, and threatened harm, Antiopa fled. By chance Epaphus, a Sicyonian, was staying in the place to which she came, and he brought the woman to his house and married her. Nycteus took this hard, and as he was dying, bound by oath his brother Lycus, to whom he left his kingdom, not to leave Antiopa unpunished. After his death, Lycus came to Sicyon, and slaying Epaphus, brought Antiopa bound to Cithaeron. She bore sons, and left them there, but a shepherd reared them, naming them Zetus and Amphion. Antiopa had been given over to Dirce, Lycus’ wife, for punishment. When opportunity presented itself, she fled, and came to her sons. But Zetus, thinking her a runaway, did not accept her. Dirce, in the revels of Liber, was brought to the same place. There she found Antiopa and was dragging her to death. But the youths, informed by the shepherd who had reared them that she was their mother, quickly pursued and rescued their mother, but slew Dirce, binding her by the hair to a bull. When they were about to kill Lycus, Mercurius forbade them, and at the same time ordered Lycus to yield the kingdom to Amphion.
Amphion and Zetus, sons of Jove and Antiopa, daughter of Nycteus, by the command of Apollo surrounded Thebes with a wall up to [corrupt], and driving Laius, son of King Labdacus, into exile, themselves held he royal power there. Amphion took in marriage Niobe, daughter of Tantalus and Dione, by whom he had seven sons and as many daughters. These children Niobe placed above those of Latona, and spoke rather contemptuously against Apollo and Diana because Diana was girt in man’s attire, and Apollo wore long hair and a woman’s gown. She said, too, that she surpassed Latona in number of children. Because of this Apollo slew her sons with arrows as they were hunting in the woods, and Diana shot and killed the daughters in the palace, all except Chloris. But the mother, bereft if her children, is said to have been turned into stone by weeping on Mount Sipylus, and her tears today are said to trickle down. Amphion, however, tried to storm the temple of Apollo, and was slain by the arrows of Apollo.
Chloris was the only daughter of Niobe and Amphion who survived. Neleus, Hippocoon’s son, married her, and she bore to him twelve sons. When Hercules was besieging Pylus he slew Neleus and ten of his sons, but the eleventh, Periclymenus, was changed to an eagle by the favour of Neptune, his grandfather, and escaped death. Now the twelfth, Nestor, was the one at Ilium. He is said to have lived three generations by favour of Apollo, for the years which Apollo had taken from Chloris and her brothers he granted to Nestor.
Tantalus, Ismenus, Eupinytus, Phaedimus, Sipylus, Damasichthon, Archenor; Neara, Phthia, Astycratia, Chloris, [corrupt], Eudoxa, Ogygia. These are the sons and daughters of Niobe, wife of Amphion.
An oracle bade Pelias, son of Cretheus and Tyro, sacrifice to Neptune, and told him his death was drawing near if a monocrepis, that is, a man wearing only one sandal, arrived. While he was making the yearly offerings to Neptune, Jason, son of Aeson, Pelias’ brother, himself eager to make sacrifice, lost his sandal as he was crossing the river Evenus, and in order to arrive promptly at the ceremonies, failed to recover it. When Pelias noticed this, remembering the warning of the oracle, he bade him procure from King Aeetes, his enemy, the golden fleece of the ram which Phrixus had dedicated to Mars at Colchis. Jason, calling together the leaders of the Greeks, set out for Colchis.
When Juno, near the river Evenus, had changed her form to that of an old woman, and was waiting to test men’s minds to se if they would carry her across the river Evenus, no one offered till Jason, son of Aeson and Alcimede, took her across. But, angry at Pelias for failing to sacrifice to her, she caused Jason to leave one sandal in the mud.
Jason, son of Aeson and Alcimede, Clymene’s daughter, leader of the Thessalians.
Orpheus, son of Oeagrus and the Muse Calliope, Thracian, from the city [corrupt] which is on Mount Olympus near the river Enipeus, prophet, player on the lyre.
Asterion, son of [corrupt] by Antigona, daughter of Pheres, from the city Pellene. Others call him son of Hyperasius, from the city Piresia, which is at the foot of Mount Phylleus in Thessaly, a place where two rivers, flowing separately, the Apidanus and the Enipeus, join into one.
Polyphemus, son of Elatus by Hippea, daughter of Antippus, a Thessalian from the city Larissa, lame of foot. Iphiclus, son of Phylacus, by Periclymene, daughter of Minyas, from Thessaly, Jason’s maternal uncle.
Admetus, son of Pheres, by Periclymene, daughter of Minyas, from Mount Chalcodonius, whence both town and river derive their names. His flocks they say Apollo pastured.
Eurytus and Echion, sons of Mercury and Antianira, daughter of Menetus, from the city Alope, which is now called Ephesus; some authors think them Thessalians.
Aethalides, son of Mercury and Eupolemia, daughter of Myrmidon; he was a Larissaean.
Coronus, son of Caeneus, from the city of Gyrton, which is in Thessaly. This Caeneus, son of Elatus, a Magnesian, proved that in no way could the Centaurs wound him with steel, but they did so with trunks of trees sharpened to a point. Some say that he was once a woman, and in answer to her petition, Neptune for her favors granted that she be turned into a man, and be invulnerable to any blow. This has never been done, nor is it possible for any mortal by invulnerability to escape death by steel, or be changed from a woman into a man.
Mopsus, son of Ampycus and Chloris; taught augury by Apollo, he came from Oechalia, or, as some think, he was a Titarensian.
Eurydamas, son of Irus and Demonassa; others call him son of Ctimenus, who dwelt in the city Dolopeis near Lake Xynius.
Theseus, son of Aegeus and Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, from Troezene; others say from Athens.
Perithous, son of Ixion, brother of the Centaurs, a Thessalian.
Menoetius, son of Actor, an Opuntian.
Eribotes, son of Teleon, ****
Eurytion, son of Irus and Demonassa.
*ixition from the town Cerinthus.
Oileus, son of Hodoedocus and Agrianome, daughter of Perseon, from the city Narycea.
Clytius and Iphitus, sons of Eurytus and Antiope, daughter of Pylo, kings of Oechalia. Others say they came from Euboea.
Eurytus, taught archery by Apollo, is said to have contended with the granter of the gift. His son Clytius was killed by Aeetes.
Peleus and Telamon, sons of Aeacus and Endeis, daughter of Chiron, from the island of Aegina. These left their country because of the slaughter of Phocus their brother, and sought different homes – Peleus, Phthia, and Telamon, Salamis, which Apollonius of Rhodes calls Atthis.
Butes, son of Teleon and Zeuxippe, daughter of the river Eridanus, from Athens.
Phaleros, son of Alcon, from Athens.
Tiphys, son of Phorbas and Hyrmine, a Boeotian; he was steersman of the ship Argo.
Argus, son of Polybus and Argia; some say son of Danaus. He was an Argive, waring a black-haired bull’s hide. He was the builder of the ship Argo.
Phliasus, son of Father Liber and Ariadne, daughter of Minos, from the city Phlius, which is in the Peloponnesus. Others call him a Theban.
Hylas, son of Theodamas and the nymph Menodice, daughter of Orion, a youth, from Oechalia; others say from Argos, a companion of Hercules.
Nauplius, son of Neptune and Amymone, daughter of Danaus, an Argive.
Idmon, son of Apollo, and the nymph Cyrene; some say of Abas, an Argive. He was skilled in augury, and though he knew of his coming death by birds that foretold it, he did not shun the fatal expedition.
Castor and Pollus, sons of Jove and Leda, daughter of Thestius, Lacedaemonians; others call them Spartans, both beardless youths. It is written that at the same time stars appeared on their heads, seeming to have fallen there.
Lynceus and Idas, sons of Aphareus and Arena, daughter of Oebalus, Messenians from the Peloponnesus. They say that one of these, Lynceus, saw things hidden underground, not hindered by any darkness. Others say that Lynceus saw nothing by night. He was said to see underground because he knew gold mines; when he went down and suddenly showed gold the rumor spread that he could see beneath the earth. Idas, too, was keen and spirited.
Periclymenus, son of Neleus and Chloris, daughter of Amphion and Niobe; he was from Pylos.
Amphidamas and Cepheus, sons of Aleus and Cleobule, from Arcadia.
Ancaeus, son of Lycurgus; others say grandson, from Tegea.
Augeas, son of Sol and Nausidame, daughter of Amphidamas; he was an Elean.
Asterion and Amphion, sons of Hyperasius, others say of Hippasus, from Pellene.
Euphemus, son of Neptune and Europe, daughter of Tityus, a Taenarian. It is said he could run over water with dry feet.
A second Ancaeus, son of Neptune by Althaea, daughter of Thestius, from the island Imbrasus, which was called Parthenia but is now called Samos.
Erginus, son of Neptune, from Miletus; some say son of Periclymenus, from Orchomenus.
Meleager, son of Oeneus and Althaea, daughter of Thestius; some think son of Mars, a Calydonian.
Laocoön, son of Porthaon, brother of Oeneus, a Calydonian.
A second Iphiclus, son of Thestius by Leucippe, brother of Althaea by the same mother, a Lacedaemonian; he was ****, a runner and javelin-thrower.
Iphitus, son of Naubolus, from Phocis; others say that he was the son of Hippasus from the Peloponnesus.
Zetes and Calais, sons of the wind Aquilo and Orithyia, daughter of Erechtheus. These are said to have had wings on head and feet and dark-blue locks, and travelled by air. They drove away the three Harpies, Aëllopous, Celaeno, and Ocypete, daughter of Thaumas and Oxomene, from Phiensu, son of Agenor, when Jason’s comrades were going to Colchis. They are said to have been feathered, with cocks’ heads, wings, and human arms, with great claws; breasts, bellies, and female parts human. Zetes and Calais, however, were slain by the weapons of Hercules. The stones placed over their tombs are moved by their father’s blasts. These, too, are said to be from Thrace.
Phocus and Priasus, son of Caeneus, from Magnesia.
Eurymedon, son of Father Liber and Ariadne, daughter of Minos, from Phlius.
Palaemonius, son of Lernus, a Calydonian.
Actor, son of Hippasus, from the Peloponnesus.
*****thersanon, son of Sol and Leucothoe, from Andros.
Hippalcimus, son of Pelops and Hippodamia, daughter of Oenomaus, from the Peloponnesus., from Pisa.
Asclepius, son of Apollo and coronis, from Tricca.
. . . Thestius’ daughter, an Argive.
Neleus, son of Hippocoon, from Pylos.
Iolaus, son of Iphiclus, an Argive.
Deucalion, son of Minos and Pasiphaë, daughter of Sol, from Crete.
Philoctetes, son of Poeas, from Meliboea.
Another Caeneus, son of Coronus, from Gortyn.
Acastus, son of Pelias and Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, from Iolchus, clad in a double mantle. He joined the Argonauts as a volunteer, a comrade of Jason of his own accord.
Morover, all these were called Minyae, either because daughters of Minyas bore most of them, or because Jason’s mother was a daughter of Clymene, daughter of Minyas.
But neither did all reach Colchis nor all return to their country. For in Moesia near Cios and the river Ascanius Hylas was snatched away by nymphs. While Hercules and Polyphemus were seeking him, they were left behind, a wind carrying the ship on. Polyphemus, too, was left by Hercules. After founding a city in Moesia, he perished among the Chalybes.
Again, Tiphys became ill and died among the Mariandyni in Propontis where Lycus was king; in his place Ancaeus, Neptune’s son, steered the ship to Colchis.
Idmon, too, son of Apollo, died there at Lycus’ court, wounded a wild boar, when he had gone out to fetch straw. His avenger was Idas, son of Aphareus, who killed the boar.
Butes, son of Teleon, though diverted by the singing and lyre of Orpheus, nevertheless was overcome by the sweetness of the Sirens’ song, and in an effort to swim to them threw himself into the sea. Venus saved him at Lilybaeum, as he was borne along by the waves.
These are the ones who did not reach Colchis.
One the return trip Eurybates, son of Teleon, died, and Canthus, son of *cerion. They were slain in Libya by the shepherd Cephalion, brother of Nasamon, son of the nymph Tritonis and Amphithemis, whose flocks they were plundering.
Mopsus, too, son of Ampycus, died of a serpent’s bite in Africa. He had joined the Argonauts on the trip after his father Ampycus had been slain.
There likewise joined them on the island of Dia the sons of Phrixus and Chalciope, Medea’s sister – Argus, Melas, Phrontides, and Cylindrus. Others say they were named Phronius, Demoleon, Autolycus, and Phlogius. When Hercules took them as companions when he went after the Girdle of the Amasons, he left them terror-struck [corrupt].
When the Argonauts started for Colchis, they wanted to have Hercules as leader. He declined, saying that Jason, at whose instigation they all were going, should be the leader. Jason, therefore, directed them. Argus, son of Danaus, was shipbuilder; Tiphys was pilot. After his death Ancaeus, son of Neptune, steered. Lynceus, son of Aphareus, who ahd keen sight, was the lookout man at the prow; helmsmen were Zetes and Calais, sons of Aquilo, who had wings on head and feet. At prow and oars sat Peleus and Telamon; at the centre [?] Hercules and Idas. The rest kept their positions. Orpheus, son of Oeagrus, gave the calls. Later, when Hercules left his place, Peleus, son of Aeacus, sat there. This is the ship Argo, which Minerva had put in the circle of stars because she built it. When first he ship was launched into the sea, it appeared among the stars from rudder to sail. Cicero in his Phaenomenna described its appearance and beauty in the following verses:
”Moving slowly near the tail of the Dog, the Argo glides along,
bearing her stern first, with its light;
not as other ships are wont to move their prows on the deep
cleaving the Neptunian meadows with their beaks,
but she bears herself backward through the turning[?] spaces of the sky
just as when sailors approach safe harbors,
they turn their ship with its great burden
and drag the stern backward to the longed-for shore;
so old Argo glides beyond[?] the turning heavens,
and her rudder, hanging from the moving stern,
touches the rear foot-tracks of the shining Dog.
”This ship ahs four stars on her stern; on the right of the rudder, five; on the left, four – all alive; in all, thirteen.
On the island of Lemnos the women for several years did not make offerings to Venus, and because of her anger their husbands married Thracian wives and scorned their former ones. But the Lemnian women (all except Hypsipyle), instigated by the same Venus, conspired to kill the whole tribe of men who were there. Hypsipyle secretly put her father Thoas on board a ship which a storm carried to the island Taurica. In the meantime, the Argonauts, sailing along, came to Lemnos. When Iphinoe, guardian of the harbour, saw them, she announced their coming to Hypsipyle the queen, to whom Polyxo, by virtue of her middle age, gave advice that she should put them under obligation to the gods of hospitality and invite them to a friendly reception. Hypsipyle bore sons to Jason, Euneus and Deipylus. Delayed many days there, they were chided by Hercules, and departed. Now when the Lemnian women learned that Hypsipyle ahd saved her father, they tried to kill her. She fled, but pirates captured her, took her to Thebes, and sold her as a slave to King Lycus. The Lemnian women gave the names of the Argonauts to the children they had conceived by them.
Cyzicus, son of Eusorus, king in an island of the Propontis, received the Argonauts with generous hospitality, but when they had left him, and had sailed a whole day, by a storm that arose in the night they were brought unaware to the same island. Cyzicus, thinking they were Pelasgican enemies attacked them on the shore at night, and was slain by Jason. On the next day, when he had come near the shore and saw that he had killed the king, he gave him burial and handed over the kingdom to his sons.
Amycus, son of Neptune and Melie, king of Bebrycia, compelled whoever came to his kingdom to contend with him in boxing, and slew the vanquished. When he had challenged the Argonauts to a boxing match, Pollux fought with him and killed him.
Lycus, king of an island of the Propontis, received the Argonauts hospitably, grateful because they had killed Amycus, who had often attacked[?] him. While the Argonauts were staying with Lycus, and had gone out to gather straw, Idmon, son of Apollo, was wounded by a wild boar and died.
Phineus, a Thracian, son of Agenor, had two sons by Cleopatra. Because of their stepmother’s charges, these two were blinded by their father. Now to this Phineus, Apollo is said to have given the gift of prophecy. But he, since he revealed the deliberations of the gods, was blinded by Jove, and Jove set over him the Harpies, who are called the hounds of Jove, to take the food from his lips. When the Argonauts came there and asked him to show them the way, he said he would show them if they would free him from the punishment. Then Zetes and Calais, sons of the North Wind and Orithyia, who are said to have had wings on head and feet, drove the Harpies to the Strophades Islands, and freed Phineus from the punishment. He showed them how to pass the Symplegades by sending out a dove; when the rocks rushed together, in their rebound . . . [they would pass through if the dove went through, and they exerted all their strength in rowing. But if she perished,] they should turn back. By the help of Phienus the Argonauts passed the Symplegades.
When the Argonauts had come to the island of Dia, and the birds were wounding them, using their feathers as arrows, they were not able to cope with the great numbers of birds. Following Phineus’ advice they seized shields and spears, and dispersed them by the noise, after the manner of the Curetes.
When the Argonauts had entered the sea called Euxine through the Cyanean Cliffs, which are called Rocks of the Symplegades, and were wandering there, by the will of Juno they were borne to the island of Dia. There they found shipwrecked men, naked and helpless – the sons of Phrixus and Chalciope – Argus, Phrontides, Melas, and Cylindrus. These told their misfortunes to Jason, how they had suffered shipwreck and been cast there when they were hastening to go to their grandfather Athamas, and Jason welcomed and aided them. They led Jason to Colchis, bade the Argonauts conceal the ship. They themselves went to their mother Chalciope, Medea’s sister, and made known the kindness of Jason, and why the had come. Then Chalciope told about Medea, and brought her with her sons to Jason. When she saw him, she recognized him as the one whom in dreams she had loved deeply by Juno’s urging, and promised him everything. They brought him to the temple.
An oracle told Aeetes, son of Sol, that he would keep his kingdom as long as the fleece which Phrixus had dedicated should remain the shrine of Mars. And so Aeetes appointed this task for Jason, if he wished to take away the golden fleece – to yoke with yoke of adamant the bronze-footed bulls which breathed flames from their nostrils, and plow, and sow from a helmet the dragon’s teeth, from which a tribe of armed men should arise and slay each other. Juno, however, whished to save Jason, because once when she had come to a river and wished to test the minds of men, she assumed an old woman’s form, and asked to be carried across. He had carried her across when others who had passed over despised her. And so since she knew that Jason could not perform the commands without help of Medea, she asked Venus to inspire Medea with love. At Venus’ instigation, Jason was loved by Medea. By her aid he as freed from all danger, for when he had plowed with the bulls, and the armed men had been born, by Medea’s advice he threw a stone among them. They then fought among themselves and slew each other. When the dragon was lulled to sleep with drugs he took the fleece from the shrine, and set off for his country with Medea.
When Aeetes knew that Medea had fled with Jason, he made ready a ship and sent Absyrtus, his son, with armed guards after her. When he had caught up with her in the Adriatic Sea in Histria at King Alcinous’ court, and would fight for her, Alcinous intervened to prevent their fighting. They took him as arbiter, and he put them off till the next day. When he seemed depressed and Arete, his wife, asked him the cause of his sadness, he said he had been made arbiter by two different states, to judge between Colchians and Argives. When Arete asked him what judgment he would give, Alcinous replied that if Medea were a virgin, he would give her to her father, but if not, to her husband. When Arete heard this from her husband, she sent word to Jason, and he lay with Medea by night in a cave. Then next day when they came to court, and Medea was found to be a wife she was given to her husband. Nevertheless, when they had left, Absyrtus, fearing his father’s commands, pursued them to the island of Minerva. When Jason was sacrificing there to Minerva, and Absyruts came upon him, he was killed by Jason. Medea gave him burial, and they departed. The Colchians who had come with Absyrtus, fearing Aeetes, remained there and founded a town which from Absyrtus’ name they called Absoros. Now this island is located in Histria, opposite Pola, joined[?] to the island [corrupt].
Since Jason has faced so many perils at the command of his uncle Pelias, he began to think how he might kill him without suspicion. This Medea proposed to do. And so, when they were now far from Colchis, she bade the ship be hidden in a secret place, and she herself in the guise of a priestess of Diana came to the daughters of Pelias. She promised to make their father Pelias a youth again instead of an old man, but this the eldest daughter Alcestis said could not be done. In order more easily to bend her to her will, Medea cast mist before them, and by means of drugs formed many strange things which seemed to be like reality, putting an old ram in a brazen vessel, from which a very fine young lamb seemed to spring. So in the same way the daughters of Pelias – namely, Alcestis, Pelopia, Medusa, Pisidice, and Hippothoe – at Medea’s instigation slew their father and cooked him in a brazen caldron. When they realized they had been deceived, they fled from the country. But Jason, at a given signal of Medea, made himself the master of the palace, and handed over the rule to Acastus, son of Pelias, brother of the Peliades, because he had gone with him to Colchis. He himself with Medea departed for Corinth.
When Medea, daughter of Aeetes and Idyia, had already borne to Jason sons – Mermerus and Pheres – and they were living in great harmony, it was cast in his teeth that a man so brave and handsome and noble should have as wife a foreigner and sorceress. To him, Creon, son of Menoecus, King of Corinth, gave his younger daughter Glauce as wife. When Medea saw that she, who had been Jason’s benefactress, was treated with scorn, with the help of poisonous drugs she made a golden crown, and she bade her sons give it as a gift to their stepmother. Creusa took the gift, and was burned to death along with Jason and Creon. When Medea saw that the palace was on fire, she slew Mermerus and Pheres, her sons by Jason, and fled from Corinth.
Medea, an exile from Corinth, came to Athens to the hospitality of Aegeus, son of Pandion, and married him; to him Medus was born. Later the priestess of Diana began to censure Medea, and tell the king that she could not perform sacrifices piously because there was a woman in that state who was a sorceress and criminal. She was exiled then for the second time. Medea, however, with her yoked dragons, returned to Colchis from Athens. On the way she came to Absoros where her brother Absyrtus was buried. There the people of Absoros could not cope with a great number of snakes. At their entreaties Medea gathered them up and put them in her brother’s tomb. They still remain there, and if any goes outside the tomb, it pays the debt to nature.
An oracle told Perses, son of Sol, Aeetes’ brother, that he should beware of death from Aeetes’ descendants. Medus, following his mother, was brought to him by a storm, and guards seized him and brought him to King Perses. When Medus, son of Aegeus and Medea, saw that he had come into the power of his enemy, he falsely asserted he was Hippotes, son of Creon. The king carefully investigated, and ordered him cast into prison. There sterility and scarcity of crops are said to have occurred. When Medea had come there in her chariot with the yoked dragons, she falsely claimed before the king to be a priestess of Diana. She said she could make atonement for the sterility, and when she heard from the king that Hippotes, son of Creon, was held in custody, thinking he had come to avenge the injury to his father . . . there, unknowingly, she betrayed her son. For she persuaded the king that he was not Hippotes, but Medus, son of Aegeus, sent by his father to dispatch the king, and begged that he be handed over to her to kill, convinced that he was Hippotes. And so when Medus was brought out to pay for his deceit by death, when she saw that things were otherwise than she had thought, she said she wished to talk with him, and gave him a sword, and bade him avenge the wrongs of his grandfather. Medus, at this news, killed Perses, and gained his grandfather’s kingdom; from his name he called the country Media.
Otos and Ephialtes, sons of Aloeus and Iphimede, . . . daughter [of Neptune], are said to have been of extraordinary size. They each grew nine inches every month, and so when they were nine years old, they tried to climb into heaven. They began this way: they placed Mount Ossa on Pelion (from this Mount Ossa is also called Pelion), and were piling up other mountains. But they were discovered by Apollo and killed. Other writers, however, say that they were invulnerable sons of Neptunus and Iphimede. When they wished to assault Diana, she could not resist their strength, and Apollo sent a deer between them. Driven mad by anger in trying to kill it with javelins, they killed each other. In the Land of the Dead they are said to suffer this punishment: they are bound by serpents to a column, back to back. Between them is a screech-owl, sitting on the column to which they are bound.
When Amphitryon was away subduing Oechalia, Alcimena, thinking Jove was her husband, received him in her chamber. When he had entered her room, and told her what he had done in Oechalia, she lay with him, thinking he was her husband. He lay with her with so much pleasure that he spent one day and doubled two nights, so that Alcimena wondered at such a long night. Later when the word came to her that her husband was at hand, a victor, she showed no concern, because she thought she had already seen her husband. When Amphitryon came into the palace, and saw her carelessly unconcerned, he began to wonder and to complain that she did not welcome him when he appeared. Alcimena replied: You already came and lay with me, and told me what you had done in Oechalia. When she had given him all the evidence, Amphitryon realized that some divinity had assumed his form, and from that day did not lie with her. But she, from the embrace of Jove, bore Hercules.
When he was an infant, he strangled with his two hands the two snakes which Juno had sent – whence his name, Primigenius.
The Nemean Lion, an invulnerable monster, which Luna had nourished in a two-mouthed cave, he slew and took the pelt for defensive covering.
He killed at the spring of Lerna the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, offspring of Typhon. This monster was so poisonous that she killed men with her breath, and if anyone passed by when she was sleeping, he breathed her tracks and died in the greatest torment. Under Minerva’s instructions he killed her, disembowelled her, and dipped his arrows in her gall; and so whatever later he hit with his arrows did not escape death, and later he himself perished in Phrygia from the same cause.
He killed the Erymanthian Boar.
The wild stag with golden horns in Arcadia he brought alive to show Eurystheus.
He killed with his arrows on the island of Mars the Stymphalian Birds which shoot their feathers out as arrows.
He cleaned in one day the ox dung of King Augeas, Jove helping him for the most part. By letting in a river he washed away all the dung.
The bull with which Pasiphaë lay he brought alive from the island of Crete to Mycenae.
Diomede, King of Thrace, and his four horses which fed on human flesh he killed along with the slave Abderus. The horses’ names were Podargus, Lampon, Xanthus, and Dinus.
[He slew] Hippolyte, daughter of Mars and Queen Otrera, and took from her the belt of the Amazon Queen; then he presented Antiopa as captive to Theseus.
The triple-bodied Geryon, son of Chrysaor, he killed with a single weapon.
The huge dragon, Typhon’s son, which used to guard the golden apples of the Hesperides, he killed near Mount Atlas, and brought the apples to King Eurystheus.
He brought from the Lower World for the king to see, the dog Cerberus, offspring of Typhon.
He slew Antaeus, son of Earth, in Libya. This man would compel visitors to wrestle with him, and when they were exhausted would kill them. He slew them in wrestling.
[He slew] in Egypt, Busiris, whose custom it was to sacrifice visitors. When Hercules heard of his customary practice, he allowed himself to be led to the altar with the fillet of sacrifice, but when Busiris was about to invoke the gods, Hercules with his club killed him and the attendants at the sacrifice as well.
He killed Cygnus, son of Mars, conquering him by force of arms. When Mars came there, and wanted to contend with him in arms because of his son, Jove hurled a thunderbolt between them.
He killed at Troy the sea-monster to whom Hesione was offered. Laomedon, Hesione’s father, he killed with arrows because he did not give her back.
The shining eagle which was eating out the heart of Prometheus he killed with arrows.
He killed Lycus, son of Neptune, because he was planning to kill his wife Megara, daughter of Creon, and their sons Therimachus and Ophites.
The River Achelous used to change himself into all sorts of shapes. When he fought with Hercules to win Dejanira in marriage, he changed himself into a bull. Hercules tore of his horn, presenting it to the Hesperides or the Nymphs, and the goddesses filled it with fruits and called it Cornucopia.
He killed Neleus and his ten sons for refusing to cleanse him or purify him at the time when he ahd killed his wife Megara, daughter of Creon, and his sons Therimachus and Ophites.
He killed Eurytus because he refused him when he sought his daughter Iole in marriage.
He killed the centaur Nessus because he tried to violate Dejanira.
He killed Eurytion the Centaur because he wooed Dejanira, daughter of Dexamenus, his hoped-for bride.
When Hercules had been sent for the three-headed dog by King Eurystheus, and Lycus, son of Neptune, though he had perished, he planned to kill his wife Megara, daughter of Creon, and his sons, Therimachus and Ophites, and seize the kingdom. Hercules prevented him and killed Lycus. Later, when madness was sent upon him by Juno, he killed Megara and his sons Therimachus and Ophites. When he came to his right mind, he begged Apollo to give him an oracular reply on how to expiate his crime. Because Apollo was unwilling, Hercules wrathfully carried off the tripod from his shrine. Later, at the command of Jove, he returned it, and bade him give the reply, though unwilling. Hercules because of this offence was given in servitude to Queen Omphale by Mercury.
When Hercules had come to the court of King Dexamenus and had violated his daughter Dejanira, promising he would marry her, Eurytion a centaur, son of Ixion and Nubes, after his departure sought Dejanira as a wife. Her father, fearing violence, promised her to him. On the appointed day he came with his brothers to the wedding. Hercules intervened, and killed the Centaur, and led home his betrothed.
Likewise at another marriage, when Pirithous was taking Hippodamia, daughter of Adrastus, Centaurs, full of wine, attempted to carry off the wives of the Lapithae. The Centaurs killed many of them, but by them perished.
Nessus, son of Ixion and Nubes, a centaur, was asked by Dejanira to carry her across the river Evenus, but as he was carrying her, in the very river he tried to ravish her. When Hercules came there, and Dejanira implored his aid, he pierced Nessus with his arrows. As he died, Nessus, knowing how poisonous the arrows were, since they had been dipped in the gall of the Lernaean Hydra, drew out some of his blood and gave it to Dejanira, telling her it was a love-charm. If she wanted her husband not to desert her, she should have his garments smeared with this blood. Dejanira, believing him, kept it carefully preserved.
Hercules, when he had sought in marriage Iole, daughter of Eurytus, and had been refused, attacked Oechalia. In order to bend the girl to his will[?], he threatened to kill her relatives in her presence. She, with resolute mind, suffered them to be slain before her eyes. When he had killed them all, he sent Iole as captive before him to Dejanira.
When Dejanira, daughter of Oeneus and wife of Hercules, saw the captive Iole, a maiden of remarkable beauty, arrive, she feared that she would steal her marriage. So mindful of the instructions of Nessus, she sent a servant named Lichas to take to Hercules a robe dipped in the blood of the centaur. A little of it fell to the earth, and when the sun touched it, it began to burn. When Dejanira saw this, she knew that Nessus had spoken falsely, and sent a man to recall the one to whom she had given the garment. Hercules had already put it on, and it started at once to blaze; when he leaped into a stream to put out the blaze, still greater flames burst forth; when he tried to take off the garment the flesh came with it. Then Hercules, whirling Lichas, who had brought the garment, round and round, threw him into the sea, and at the place where he fell a rock appeared which is called Lichas. Then Philoctetes, son of Poeas, is said to have built a pyre for Hercules on Mount Oeta, and he mounted it . . . [and cast off his] mortality. For this service he gave Philoctetes his bow and arrows. But Dejanira, because of what had happened to Hercules, killed herself.
Neptune and Aegeus, son of Pandion, one night in the shrine of Minerva both lay with Aethra, daughter of Pittheus. Neptune conceded the child to Aegeus. Now he, on the point of returning to Athens from Troezene, put his sword under a stone, and told Aethra that when the boy could lift the stone and take his father’s sword, she should send him to him. He would recognize his son by that. And so later Aethra bore Theseus. When he had reached young manhood, his mother told him Aegeus’ instructions, showed him the stone so that he could get the sword, and bade him set out for Athens to Aegeus . . . and he killed all those who made the road unsafe.
He slew Corynetes, son of Neptune, by force of arms.
He killed Pityocamptes, who forced travellers to help him bend a pine tree to the ground. When they had taken hold of it with him, he let it rebound suddenly with force. Thus they were dashed violently to the ground and died.
He killed Procrustes, son of Neptune. When a guest came to visit him, if he was rather tall, he brought a shorter bed, and cut off the rest of his body; if rather short, he gave him a longer bed, and by hanging anvils to him stretched him to match the length of the bed.
Sciron used to sit near the sea at a certain point, and compel those who passed by to wash his feet; then he kicked them into the sea. Theseus cast him into the sea by a similar death, and from this the rocks are called those of Sciron.
He killed by force of arms Cercyon, son of Vulcan.
He killed the boar which was at Cremyon.
He killed the bull at Marathon, which Hercules had brought to Eurystheus from Crete.
He killed the Minotaur in the town of Cnossus.
Daedalus, son of Eupalamus, who is said to have received the art of craftsmanship from Athena, threw down from the roof Perdix, son of his sister, envying his skill, because he first invented the saw. Because of this crime he went into exile from Athens to Crete to King Minos.
Pasiphae, daughter of Sol and wife of Minos, for several years did not make offerings to the goddess Venus. Because of this Venus inspired in her an unnatural love for a bull [corrupt]. At the time when Daedalus came there as an exile, he asked her to help him. For her he made a wooden heifer, and put in it the hide of a real heifer, and in this she lay with the bull. From this intercourse she bore the Minotaur, with bull’s head but human body. Then Daedalus made for the Minotaur a labyrinth with an undiscoverable exit in which it was confined. When Minos found out the affair he cast Daedalus into prison, but Pasiphae freed him from his chains. And so Daedalus made wings and fitted them to himself and to his son Icarus, and they flew away from that place. Icarus flew too high, and when the wax was melted by the sun, fell into the sea which was named Icarian for him. Daedalus flew on to King Cocalus in the island of Sicily. Others say that after Theseus killed the Minotaur he brought Daedalus back to Athens, his own country.
When Minos, son of Jove and Europa, fought with the Athenians, his son Androgeus was killed in the fight. After he conquered the Athenians their revenues became his; he decreed, moreover, that each year they should send seven of their children as food for the Minotaur. After Theseus had come from Troezene, and had learned what a calamity afflicted the state, of his own accord he promised to go against the Minotaur. When his father sent him off, he charged him to have white sails for his ships if he came back as victor; those who were sent to the Minotaur journeyed with black sails.
When Theseus came to Crete, Ariadne, Minos’ daughter, loved him so much that she betrayed her brother and saved the stranger, or she showed Theseus the way out of the Labyrinth. When Theseus had entered and killed the Minotaur, by Ariadne’s advise he got out by unwinding the thread. Ariadne, because she had been loyal to him, he took away, intending to marry her.
Theseus, detained by a storm on the island of Dia, though it would be a reproach to him if he brought Ariadne to Athens, and so he left her asleep on the island of Dia. Liber, falling in love with her, took her from there as his wife. However, when Theseus left, he forgot to change the black sails, and so his father Aegeus judged that he had been devoured by the Minotaur. He threw himself into the sea, which was called Aegean from this. But Theseus married Phaedra, Ariadne’s sister.
Minos, because many misfortunes had come to him through the agency of Daedalus, followed him to Sicily, and asked King Cocalus to surrender him. When Cocalus had promised this, and Daedalus found it out, he sought help from the daughters of the king, and they killed Minos.
While Tereus, son of Mars, a Thracian, was married to Progne, daughter of Pandion, he came to Athens to his father-in-law Pandion to ask for his other daughter in marriage, stating that Progne had died. Pandion granted him the favour, and sent Philomela and guards along with her. But Tereus threw the guards into the sea, and finding Philomela on a mountain, violated her. After he returned to Thrace, he gave Philomela to king Lynceus, whose wife Lathusa, because Progne was her friend, at once sent the concubine to her. When Progne recognized her sister and knew the impious deed of Tereus, the two planned to return the favour to the King. Meanwhile it was revealed to Tereus by prodigies that death by a relative’s hand was coming to his son Itys. When he heard this, thinking that his brother Dryas was plotting his son’s death, he killed the innocent man. Progne, however, killed her son Itys by Tereus, served him at his father’s table, and fled with her sister. When Tereus, cognizant of the crime, was pursuing them as they fled, by the pity of the gods it came about that Progne was changed into a swallow, and Philomela into a nightingale. They say, too, that Tereus was made a hawk.
Erechtheus, son of Pandion, had four daughters who promised each other that if one met death, the others would kill themselves. Eumolpus, son of Neptune, came to attack Athens because he said the Attic land was his father’s. When he and his army were defeated and he was slain by the Athenians, Neptune demanded that Erechtheus’ daughter be sacrificed to him so that Erechtheus would not rejoice at his son’s death. And so when Chthonia, his daughter, had been sacrifided, the others in accordance with their oaths killed themselves. Erechtheus himself at Neptune’s request was smitten with a thunderbolt by Jove.
Phaedra , daughter of Minos and wife of Theseus, loved her stepson Hippolytus. When she could not bend him to her desire, she sent a letter to her husband saying that she had been attacked by Hippolytus, and slew herself by hanging. Theseus, when he heard this, ordered his son to leave the city and prayed Neptune his father for his son’s death. And so when Hippolytus was driving his team of horses, a bull suddenly appeared from the sea. The horses, terrified at its bellowing, dragged Hippolytus, rending him limb from limb, and caused his death.
Cecrops, son of Terra (Earth); Cephalus, son of Deione; Erichthonius, son of Vulcan; Pandion, son of Erichthonius; Erechtheu, son of Pandion; Aegeus, son of Pandion; Theseus, son of Aegeus; Demophoon, son of Theseus.
Aesculapius, son of Apollo, is said to have restored life either to Glaucus, son of Minos, or to Hippolytus, and Jupiter because of this struck him with a thunderbolt. Apollo, not being able to injure Jupiter, killed the ones who had made the thunderbolt, that is, the Cyclopes. On account of this deed Apollo was given in servitude to Admetus, King in Thessaly.