Greek Mythology >> Heroines >> Agamede


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AGAMEDE was a princess of Elis, eldest daughter of King Augeias, and a practioner of pharmakeia--witchcraft and the mixing of medicinal herbs. She was loved by the god Poseidon and bore him a son named Diktys (Dictys) "the Fisherman."


[1.1] AUGEIAS (Homer Iliad 11.738, Strabo 8.3.5, Hyginus Fabulae 157)


[1.1] DIKTYS (by Poseidon) (Hyginus Fabulae 157)


AGAMEDE (Agamêdê), a daughter of Augeias and wife of Mulius, who, according to Homer (Il. xi. 739), was acquainted with the healing powers of all the plants that grow upon the earth. Hyginus (Fab. 157) makes her the mother of Dictys, by Poseidon.

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


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Homer, Iliad 11. 669 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Nestor of Pylos tells the tale of a war between the Pylians and Epeians from his youth:] Now when the battle came on between Pylians and Epeians, I [Nestor] was the first to kill a man, and I won his single-foot horses. It was Moulios (Mulius) the spearman who was son-in-law of Augeias (Augeas) and had as wife his eldest daughter, fair-haired Agamede who knew of all the medicines that are grown in the broad earth. As he came on I threw and hit him with the bronze-headed spear and he dropped in the dust, whereupon I sprinign into his chariot took my place among the champions, as the high-hearted Epeians fled one way and another in terror when they saw the man fall who was leader of their horsemen and the best of them all in fighting."

Theocritus, Idylls 2. 10 ff (trans. Edmonds) (Greek bucolic C3rd B.C.) :
"[From a love spell :] So shine me fair, sweet Selene (the Moon); for to thee, still Goddess, is my song, to thee and that Hekate (Hecate) infernal who makes e'en the whelps to shiver on her goings to and fro where these tombs be and the red blood lies. All hail to thee, dread and awful Hekate! I prithee so bear me company that this medicine of my making prove potent as any of Kirke's (Circe's) or Medea's or Perimede's of the golden hair. Wryneck, wryneck, draw him hither." [N.B. Perimede is the Eleian witch Agamede.]

Strabo, Geography 8. 3. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[On the Eleian town of Ephyra :] He [Homer] says of the corselet of Meges : ‘this corselet Phyleus once brought out of Ephyra, from the River Sellëeis.’ And thirdly, the man-slaying drugs : for Homer says that Odysseus came to Ephyra ‘in search of a man-slaying drug, that he might have wherewithal to smear his arrows’; and in speaking of Telemakhos (Telemachus) the wooers say : ‘or else he means to go to the fertile soil of Ephyra, that from there he may bring deadly drugs’; for Nestor in his narrative of his war against the Epeians, introduces the daughter of Augeas [i.e. Agamede], the king of the Epeians, as a mixer of drugs : ‘I was the first that slew a man, even the spearman Moulios (Mulius); he was a son-in-law of Augeias, having married his eldest daughter, and she knew all drugs that are nourished by the wide earth.’"

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 157 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Sons of Neptunus [Poseidon] . . . Dictys by Agamede, daughter of Augeas."
[N.B. The name Dictys is preceded by the names Belus, Actor and a lacuna. The lacuna probably contained a reference to another mother. However this is often ignored and the children applied to Agamede.]

Propertius, Elegies 2. 4 (trans. Katz) (Roman elegy C1st B.C.) :
"[From a lamentation on love :] Magic plants are worth nothing here, nor a Colchian witch of night, nor herbs distilled by Perimede's hand, since we see no cause or visible blow from anywhere : still, it's a dark path so many evils come by." [N.B. Perimede is the Eleian witch Agamede. The Colchian witch is Circe.]





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