EUADNE & IAMOS
Very-Holy? (eu-, hagnos)
Of the Violets (iamos, ia)
EUADNE (Evadne) was a daughter of Poseidon and the nymphe Pitane who was raised in the house of King Aipytos (Aepytus) of Arkadia. She was seduced by the god Apollon and bore him a son but, fearing the wrath of her guardian, abandoned him in the countryside. Lying in a patch of violets the infant was nurtured on honey by the bees. Her stepfather Aipytos, upon learning from the Delphic Oracle of the birth of the son of a god, commanded her recover the child. She named him Iamos, "Boy of the Violets," from his rustic bed.
IAMOS (Iamus) was instructed by his father Apollon in the art of prophecy. He later travelled to the shrine of Olympia and established himself in the sanctuary as the official diviner and seer. The Iamidai "House of Iamos" who held this illustrious position in historical times, claimed to be descendants of the hero.
FAMILY OF EVADNE & IAMUS
PARENTS OF EUADNE
[1.1] POSEIDON & PITANE (Pindar Olympian Ode 6.28)
[1.2] POSEIDON & LENA (Hyginus Fabulae 147)
PARENTS OF IAMOS
[1.1] APOLLON & EUADNE (Pindar Olympian Ode 6.28)
EVADNE (Euadnê), a daughter of Poseidon and Pitane. Immediately after her birth, she was carried to the Arcadian king Aepytus, who brought her up. She afterwards became by Apollo the mother of Jamus. (Pind. Ol. vi. 30; Hygin. Fab. 157.)
IAMUS (Iamos), a son of Apollo and Evadne, was initiated in the art of prophecy by his father, and was regarded as the ancestor of the famous family of seers, the Iamidae at Olympia. (Paus. vi. 2. § 3; Pind. Ol. vi. 43; Cic. De Divin. i. 41.) His story is related by Pindar thus: Pitana, the mother of Evadne, sent her newly-born child to the Arcadian Aepytus at Phaesana on the Alpheius. There Evadne became by Apollo the mother of a boy, who, when his mother for shame deserted him, was fed with honey by two serpents. As he was found lying amid violets, he was called by his mother Iamus. Aepytus, who consulted the Delphic oracle about the child, received for answer, that the boy would be a celebrated prophet, and the ancestor of a great family of prophets. When Iamus had grown up, he descended by night into the waters of the river Alpheius, and invoked Poseidon and Apollo, that they might reveal to him his destination. Apollo commanded him to follow his voice, and led him to Olympia, where he gave him the power to understand and explain the voices of birds, and to foretell the future from the sacrifices burning on the altars of Zeus, so soon as Heracles should have founded the Olympic games. (Pind. Ol. vi. 28, &c.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Pindar, Olympian Ode 6. 28 - 73 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Today must we begone beside Eurotas' stream, to journey . . . to Pitane. She [Pitane, eponym of the town,], so they tell, was loved of great Poseidon, son of Kronos (Cronus), and bore the babe Euadne (Evadne), child of the crown of violet tresses, hiding the pains of maiden motherhood beneath her robe. But when the month was come of labour's term, she sent her handmaids and bade them give the child for watch and ward to Eilatos' hero son [Aipytos (Aepytus)] at Phaisana, who ruled in Arkadia (Arcadia), and dwelt by Alpheios' (Alpheus') stream. There was the young babe nursed and grown, and by Apollon's love first knew the touch of Aphrodite's joy.
Yet could she not from Aipytos keep hidden through all her time the divine seed she bore. And he, struggling in bitter strain to hold within his heart a wrath unbearable, to Pytho straight departed, to seek a ruling of the oracle for this most grievous woe. But she laid by beneath a thicket's shade her silvered urn, and she let fall her crimson girdle and bore a son, inspired of heaven. And to serve at her side Apollon, god of the golden locks, sent Eileithyia the kindly goddess, and the Moira (Fates) divine.
And from her body's travail and the pains that were but sweet delight, was born Iamos (Iamus), sped forth to the bright light of day. And she in her soul's anguish left the babe there on the ground. But by the will of heaven there came to nourish him, with gentle care, the sweet and harmless venom of the bees.
Then came the king [Aipytos], riding in haste from rocky Pytho, and from all the household demanded of the child Euadne bore, saying he was begotten of Phoibos (Phoebus) [Apollon], and should be beyond all others a peerless prophet for the race of man, and that his seed should last for ever. So he declared it to them. But all vowed they had not heard nor seen aught of the babe, the five days of his infant being. For in a deep brake had he lain concealed, a pathless waste, and o'er his tender limbs flowers of gold and purple splendour, pansies [i.e. violets, Greek ia] shed their rays upon him; thence was it his mother for all time proclaimed that he be called of men Iamos, this his immortal name.
And when he won youth's joyous fruit, fair Hebe's gleaming crown, he went to the midwaters down of Alpheios' stream, and called aloud to the god of far-spreading might, Poseidon, his ancestor, and to the archer god ruler of heaven-built Delos, and this prayer he spoke, at night, beneath the starlit sky : that on his brow be laid the honour to be the shepherd of his people. Brief and clear called his father's voice, answering ‘Rise my son, hence to the place where all men meet, bearing my bidden word.’
And they came to the lofty rock, where rules the high-throned son of Kronos [i.e. Zeus at Olympia]. There he gave him of the seer's art this twofold treasure; first that he hear the voice that knows no lie; and when that Herakles, brave heart and hand, revered son of Alkides' seed, should come to establish to his father's name the feast where many a countless foot shall tread, with the ordinance of games and contests greatest of all [i.e. the Olympic Games], then shall the second honour, his oracle, high on the supreme altar of Zeus be set. Thus he ordained.
Thenceforth for all the sons of Iamos' seed [i.e. the Iamides] through all Hellas their race holds high renown; and fortune's day attended them; to deeds of noble grace paying due honour they tread their way of light."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 2. 4 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[Pausanias mentions the historical Iamid clan of seers at Olympia.]
[At Olympia is dedicated a statue of the] Elean diviner, Thrasyboulos, son of Aeneas of the Iamides (Iamid family), who divined for the Mantineans [Arkadians] in their [historical] struggle against the Lakedaimonians [Spartans] under Agis . . . On the statue of Thrasyboulos is a spotted lizard crawling towards his right shoulder, and by his side lies a dog, obviously a sacrificial victim, cut open and with his liver exposed."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 147 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Children of Neptunus [Poseidon] . . . Evadne by Lena [the name is corrupt], daughter of Leucippus."
- Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
- Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.