Classical Texts Library >> Diodorus Siculus, Library of History >> Book 5.47-67



BOOK IV. 1 - 18

BOOK IV. 19 - 39

BOOK IV. 40 - 58

BOOK IV. 59 - 85

BOOK V. 1 - 8

BOOK V. 47 - 67

1. Samothrace & the Deluge
2. Saon
3. Dardanus, Iasion & Cybele
4. Butes
5. Pancratis & the Aloadae
6. Naxos
7. Ariadne
8. The Nursing of Dionysus
9. Chthonius & Nireus
10. Thettalus
11. The Telchines
12. The Eastern Daemones
13. The Heliadae
14. The Heliad Actis
15. The Heliad Cercaphus
16. Danaus & Cadmus in Rhodes
17. Phorbas
18. Althaemenes
19. Tlepolemus
20. Curetes in the Chersonese
21. Cyrnus
22. Triopas
23. Hemithea, Molpadia & Rhoeo
24. Cres
25. The Dactyls
26. The Dactyl Heracles
27. The Curetes
28. The Titans
29. Cronus
30. Hyperion & Prometheus
31. Mnemosyne & Themis

BOOK V. 68 - 84




[5.47.1] We shall now give an account of the islands which lie in the neighbourhood of Greece and in the Aegean Sea, beginning with Samothrace. This island, according to some, was called Samos in ancient times, but when the island now known as Samos came to be settled, because the names were the same, the ancient Samos came to be called Samothrace from the land of Thrace which lies opposite it.

[5.47.2] It was settled by men who were sprung from the soil itself; consequently no tradition has been handed down regarding who were the first men and leaders on the island. But some say that in ancient days it was called Saonnesus1 and that it received the name of Samothrace because of the settlers who emigrated to it from both Samos and Thrace.

[5.47.3] The first and original inhabitants used an ancient language which was peculiar to them and of which many words are preserved to this day in the ritual of their sacrifices. And the Samothracians have a story that, before the floods which befell other peoples, a great one took place among them, in the course of which the outlet2 at the Cyanean Rocks was first rent asunder and then the Hellespont.

[5.47.4] For the Pontus, which had at the time the form of a lake, was so swollen by the rivers which flow into it, that, because of the great flood which had poured into it, its waters burst forth violently into the Hellespont and flooded a large part of the coast of Asia3 and made no small amount of the level part of the island of Samothrace into a sea; and this is the reason, we are told, why in later times fishermen have now and then brought up in their nets the stone capitals of columns, since even cities were covered by the inundation.

[5.47.5] The inhabitants who had been caught by the flood, the account continues, ran up to the higher regions of the island; and when the sea kept rising higher and higher, they prayed to the native gods, and since their lives were spared, to commemorate their rescue they set up boundary stones about the entire circuit of the island and dedicated altars upon which they offer sacrifices even to the present day. For these reasons it is patent that they inhabited Samothrace before the flood.


[5.48.1] After the events we have described one of the inhabitants of the island, a certain Saon, who was a son, as some say, of Zeus and Nymphê, but, according to others, of Hermes and Rhenê, gathered into one body the peoples who were dwelling in scattered habitations and established laws for them; and he was given the name Saon after the island, but the multitude of the people he distributed among give tribes which he named after his sons.


[5.48.2] And while the Samothracians were living under a government of this kind, they say that there were born in that land to Zeus and Electra, who was one of the Atlantides, Dardanus and Iasion and Harmonia.

[5.48.3] Of these children Dardanus, who was a man who entertained great designs and was the first to make his way across to Asia in a make-shift boat, founded at the outset a city called Dardanus, organized the kingdom which lay about the city which was called Troy at a later time, and called the peoples Dardanians after himself. They say also that he ruled over many nations throughout Asia and that the Dardani who dwell beyond Thrace were colonists sent forth by him.

[5.48.4] But Zeus desired that the other4 of his two sons might also attain to honour, and so he instructed him in the initiatory rites of the mysteries, which had existed on the island since ancient times but was at that time, so to speak, put in his hands; it is not lawful, however, for any but the initiated to hear about the mysteries.

[5.48.5] And Iasion is reputed to have been the first to initiate strangers into them and by this means to bring the initiatory rite to high esteem. And after this Cadmus, the son of Agenor, came in the course of his quest for Europê to the Samothracians, and after participating in the initiation he married Harmonia, who was the sister of Iasion and not, as the Greeks recount in their mythologies, the daughter of Ares.

[5.49.1] This wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia was the first, we are told, for which the gods provided the marriage-feast, and Demeter, becoming enamoured of Iasion, presented him with the fruit of the corn, Hermes gave a lyre, Athena the renowned necklace and a robe and a flute, and Electra the sacred rites of the Great Mother of the Gods, as she is called, together with cymbals and kettledrums and the instruments of her ritual; and Apollo played upon the lyre and the Muses upon their flutes, and the rest of the gods spoke them fair and gave the pair their aid in the celebration of the wedding.

[5.49.2] After this Cadmus, they say, in accordance with the oracle he had received, founded Thebes in Boeotia, while Iasion married Cybelê and begat Corybas. And after Iasion had been removed into the circle of the gods, Dardanus and Cybelê and Corybas conveyed to Asia the sacred rites of the Mother of the Gods and removed with them to Phrygia.

[5.49.3] Thereupon Cybelê, joining herself to the first Olympus, begat Alcê and called the goddess Cybelê after herself; and Corybas gave the name of Corybantes to all who, in celebrating the rites of his mother, acted like men possessed, and married Thebê, the daughter of Cilix.

[5.49.4] In like manner he also transferred the flute from Samothrace to Phrygia and to Lyrnessus the lyre which Hermes gave and which at a later time Achilles took for himself when he sacked that city. To Iasion and Demeter, according to the story the myths relate, was born Plutus or Wealth, but the reference is, as a matter of fact, to the wealth of the corn, which was presented to Iasion because of Demeter’s association with him at the time of the wedding of Harmonia.

[5.49.5] Now the details of the initiatory rite are guarded among the matters not to be divulged and are communicated to the initiates alone; but the fame has travelled wide of how these gods5 appear to mankind and bring unexpected aid to those initiates of their who call upon them in the midst of perils.

[5.49.6] The claim is also made that men who have taken part in the mysteries become both more pious and more just and better in every respect than they were before. And this is the reason, we are told, why the most famous both of the ancient heroes and of the demi-gods were eagerly desirous of taking part in the initiatory rite; and in fact Jason and the Dioscuri,6 and Heracles and Orpheus as well, after their initiation attained success in all the campaigns they undertook, because these gods appeared to them.


[5.50.1] Since we have set forth the facts concerning Samothrace, we shall now, in accordance with our plan, discuss Naxos. This island was first called Strongylê and its first settlers were men from Thrace, the reason for their coming being somewhat as follows.

[5.50.2] The myth relates that two sons, Butes and Lycurgus, were born to Boreas, but not by the same mother; and Butes, who was the younger, formed a plot against his brother, and on being discovered he received no punishment from Lycurgus beyond that he was ordered by Lycurgus to gather ships and, together with his accomplices in the plot, to see out another land in which to make his home.

[5.50.3] Consequently Butes, together with the Thracians who were implicated with him, set forth, and making his way through the islands of Cyclades he seized the island of Strongylê, where he made his home and proceeded to plunder many of those who sailed past the island. And since they had no women they sailed here and there and seized them from the land.7

[5.50.4] Now some of the islands of the Cyclades had no inhabitants whatsoever and others were sparsely settled; consequently they sailed further, and having been repulsed once from Euboea, they sailed to Thessaly, where Butes and his companions, upon landing, came upon the female devotees of Dionysus as they were celebrating the orgies of the god near Drius, as it is called, in Achaea Phthiotis.

[5.50.5] As Butes and his companions rushes at the women, these threw away the sacred objects, and some of them fled for safety to the sea, and others to the mountain called Drius; but Coronis, the myth continues, was seized by Butes and forced to lie with him. And she, in anger at the seizure and at the insolent treatment she had received, called upon Dionysus to lend her his aid. And the god struck Butes with madness, because of which he lost his mind and, throwing himself into a well, met his death.


[5.50.6] But the rest of the Thracians seized some of the other women, the most renowned of whom were Iphimedeia, the wife of Aloeus, and Pancratis, her daughter, and taking these women along with them, they sailed off to Strongylê. And in place of Butes the Thracians made Agassamenus king of the island, and to him they united in marriage, Pancratis, the daughter of Aloeus, who was a woman of surpassing beauty;

[5.50.7] For, before their choice fell on Agassamenus, the most renowned among their leaders, Sicelus and Hecetorus, had quarrelled over Pancratis and had slain each other. And Agassamenus appointed one of his friends his lieutenant and united Iphimedeia to him in marriage.

[5.51.1] Aloeus dispatched his sons Otus and Ephialtes in search of his wife and daughter, and they, sailing to Strongylê, defeated the Thracians in battle and reduced the city.

[5.51.2] Some time afterward Pancratis died, and Otus and Ephialtes essayed to take the island for their dwelling and to rule over the Thracians, and they changed the name of the island to Dia. But at a later time they quarrelled among themselves, and joining battle they slew many of the other combatants and then destroyed one another, and from that time on these two men have received at the hands of the natives the honours accorded to heroes.


[5.51.3] The Thracians dwelt on the island for more than two hundred years and then were driven out of it by a succession of droughts. And after that the Carians removed to the island from Latmia, as it is now called, and made it their home; their king was Naxos, the son of Polemon, and he called the island Naxos after himself, in place of Dia. Naxos was an upright and famous man and left behind him a son Leucippus, whose son Smerdius became king of the island.


[5.51.4] And it was during the reign of Smerdius that Theseus, on his voyage back from Crete together with Ariadnê, was entertained as a guest by the inhabitants of the island; and Theseus, seeing in a dream Dionysus threatening him if he would not forsake Ariadnê in favour of the god, left her behind him there in his fear and sailed away. And Dionysus led Ariadnê away by night to the mountain which is known as Drius; and first of all the god disappeared, and later Ariadnê also was never seen again.


[5.52.1] The myth which the Naxians have to relate about Dionysus is life this:8 He was reared, they say, in their country, and for this reason the island has been most dear to him and is called by some Dionysias.

[5.52.2] For according to the myth which has been handed down to us, Zeus, on the occasion when Semelê had been slain by his lightning before the time for bearing the child, took the babe and sewed it up within his thigh, and when the appointed time came for its birth, wishing to keep the matter concealed from Hera, he took the babe from his thigh in what is now Naxos and gave it to the Nymphs of the island, Philia, Coronis, and Cleidê, to be reared. The reason Zeus slew Semelê with his lightning before she could give birth to her child was his desire that the babe should be born, not of a mortal woman but of two immortals, and thus should be immortal from its very birth.

[5.52.3] And because of the kindness which the inhabitants of Naxos had shown to Dionysus in connection with his rearing they received marks of his gratitude; for the island increased in prosperity and fitted out notable naval forces, and the Naxians were the first to withdraw from the naval forces of Xerxes and to aid in the defeat at sea which the barbarian suffered,9 and they participated with distinction in the battle of Plataeae.10 Also the wine of the island possesses an excellence which is peculiarly its own and offers proof of the friendship which the god entertains for the island.11


[5.53.1] As for the island which is called Symê and was uninhabited in ancient times, its first settlers were men who came together with Triops, under the leadership of Chthonius, the son of Poseidon and Symê, from whom the island received the name it bears.

[5.53.2] At a later time its king was Nireus, the son of Charops and Aglaïa, an unusually handsome man who also took part with Agamemnon in the war against Troy both as ruler of the island as lord of a part of Cnidia. But after the period of the Trojan War Carians seized the island, during the time when they were rulers of the sea. At a later time, however, when droughts came, the Carians fled the island and made their home in Uranium, as it is called. Thereupon Symê continued to be uninhabited, until the expedition which the Lacedaemonians and the Argives made came to these parts, and at that time the island became settled in the following manner.

[5.53.3] One of the companions of Hippotes, a certain Nausus by name, was a member of the colony, and taking those who had come too late to share in the allotment of the land he settled Symê, which was uninhabited at that time, and later, when certain other men, under the leadership of Xuthus, put in at the island, he gave them a share in the citizenship and in the land, and all of them in common settled the island. And we are told that both Cnidians and Rhodians were members of this colony.


[5.54.1] Calydna and Nisyros were settled in ancient times by Carians, and after that Thettalus, the son of Heracles, took possession of both islands. And this explains why both Antiphus and Pheidippus,12 who were kings of the Coans, in the expedition against Troy led those who sailed from the two islands just mentioned.

[5.54.2] And on the return from Troy four of Agamemnon’s ships were wrecked off Calydna, and the survivors mingled with the natives of the island and made their home there.

[5.54.3] The ancient inhabitants of Nisyros were destroyed by earthquakes, and at a later time the Coans settled the island, as they had done in the case of Calydna; and after that, when an epidemic had carried away the population of the island, the Rhodians dispatched colonists to it.

[5.54.4] As for Carpathos, its first inhabitants were certain men who joined with Minos in his campaigns at the time when he was the first of the Greeks to be master of the sea; and many generations later Iolcus, the son of Demeleon, an Argive by ancestry, in obedience to a certain oracle dispatched a colony to Carpathos.


[5.55.1] The island which is called Rhodes was first inhabited by the people who were known as Telchines; these were children of Thalatta,13 as the mythical tradition tells us, and the myth relates that they, together with Capheira, the daughter of Oceanus, nurtured Poseidon, whom Rhea committed as a babe to their care.

[5.55.2] And we are told that they were also the discoverers of certain arts and that they introduced other things which are useful for the life of mankind. They were also the first, men say, to fashion statues of the gods, and some of the ancient images of gods have been named after them; so, for example, among the Lindians there is an “Apollo Telchinius,” as it is called, among the Ialysians a Hera and Nymphae, both called “Telchinian,” and among the Cameirans a “Hera Telchinia.”

[5.55.3] And men say that the Telchines were also wizards and could summon clouds and rain and hail at their will and likewise could even bring snow; these things, the accounts tell us, they could do even as could the Magi of Persia; and they could also change their natural shapes and were jealous of teaching their arts to others.

[5.55.4] Poseidon, the myth continues, when he had grown to manhood, became enamoured of Halia, the sister of the Telchines, and lying with her he begat six male children and one daughter, called Rhodos, after whom the island was named.


[5.55.5] And at this period in the eastern parts of the island there sprung up the Giants, as they were called; and at the time when Zeus is said to have subdued the Titans, he became enamoured of one of the nymphs, Himalia by name, and begat by her three sons, Spartaeus, Cronius, and Cytus.

[5.55.6] And while these were still young men, Aphroditê, they say, as she was journeying from Cytherae to Cyprus and dropping anchor near Rhodes, was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon, who were arrogant and insolent men; whereupon the goddess, in her wrath, brought a madness upon them, and they lay with their mother against her will and committed many acts of violence upon the natives.

[5.55.7] But when Poseidon learned of what had happened he buried his sons beneath the hearth, because of their shameful deed, and men called them the “Eastern Demons”; and Halia cast herself into the sea, and she was afterwards given the name of Leucothea and attained to immortal honour in the eyes of the natives.

[5.56.1] At a later time, the myth continues, the Telchines, perceiving in advance the flood that was going to come, forsook the island and were scattered. Of their number Lycus went to Lycia and dedicated there beside the Xanthus river a temple of Apollo Lycius.

[5.56.2] And when the flood came the rest of the inhabitants perished, – and since the waters, because of the abundant rains, overflowed the island, its level parts were turned into stagnant pools – but a few fled for refuge to the upper regions of the island and were saved, the sons of Zeus being among their number.


[5.56.3] Helius,14 the myth tells us, becoming enamoured of Rhodos, named the island Rhodes after her and caused the water which had overflowed it to disappear. But the true explanation is that, while in the first forming of the world the island was still like mud and soft, the sun dried up the larger part of its wetness and filled the land with living creatures, and there came into being the Heliadae,15 who were named after him, seven in number, and other peoples who were, like them, sprung from the land itself.

[5.56.4] In consequence of these events the island was considered to be sacred to Helius, and the Rhodians of later times made it their practice to honour Helius above all other gods, as the ancestor and founder from whom they were descended.

[5.56.5] His seven sons were Ochimus, Cercaphus, Macar, Actis, Tenages, Triopas, and Candalus, and there was one daughter, Electryonê, who quit this life while still a maiden and attained at the hands of the Rhodians to honours like those accorded to the heroes. And when the Heliadae attained to manhood they were told by Helius that the first people to offer sacrifices to Athena would ever enjoy the presence of the goddess; and the same thing, we are told, was disclosed by him to the inhabitants of Attica.

[5.56.6] Consequently, men say, the Heliadae, forgetting in their haste to put fire beneath the victims, nevertheless laid them on the altars at the time,16 whereas Cecrops, who was king at that time of the Athenians, performed the sacrifice over fire, but later than the Heliadae.

[5.56.7] This is the reason, men say, why the peculiar practice as regards the manner of sacrificing persists in Rhodes to this day, and why the goddess has her seat on the island.

Such then, is the account which certain writers of myths give about the antiquities of the Rhodians, one of them being Zenon,17 who has composed a history of the island.

[5.57.1] The Heliadae, besides having shown themselves superior to all other men, likewise surpassed them in learning and especially in astrology; and they introduced many new practices in seamanship and established the division of the day into hours.


[5.57.2] The most highly endowed of them by nature was Tenages, who was slain by his brothers because of their envy of him; but when their treacherous act became known, all who had had a hand in the murder took flight. Of their number Macar came to Lesbos, and Candalus to Cos; and Actis, sailing off to Egypt, founded there the city men call Heliopolis, naming it after his father; and it was from him that the Egyptians learned the laws of astrology.

[5.57.3] But when at a later time there came a flood among the Greeks and the majority of mankind perished by reason of the abundance of rain, it came to pass that all written monuments were also destroyed in the same manner as mankind;

[5.57.4] and this is the reason why the Egyptians, seizing the favourable occasion, appropriated themselves the knowledge of astrology, and why, since the Greeks, because of their ignorance, no longer laid any claim to writing, the belief prevailed that the Egyptians were the first men to effect the discover of the stars.

[5.57.5] Likewise the Athenians, although they were the founders of the city in Egypt men call Saïs, suffered from the same ignorance because of the flood. And it was because of reasons such as these that many generations later men supposed that Cadmus, the son of Agenor, had been the first to bring the letters from Phoenicia to Greece; and after the time of Cadmus onwards the Greeks were believed to have kept making new discoveries in the science of writing, since a sort of general ignorance of the facts possessed by the Greeks.18


[5.57.6] Triopas sailed to Caria and seized a promontory which was called Triopium after him. But the rest of the sons of Helius, since they had had no hand in the murder, remained behind in Rhodes and made their homes in the territory of Ialysus, where they founded the city of Achaea.

[5.57.7] Ochimus, who was the oldest of them and their king, married Hegetoria, one of the Nymphs of that region, and begat by her a daughter Cydippê, whose name was afterwards changed to Cyrbia; and Cercaphus, another of the brothers, married Cyrbia and succeeded to the throne.

[5.57.8] Upon the death of Cercaphus his three sons, Lindus, Ialysus, and Cameirus, succeeded to the supreme power; and during their lifetime there came a great deluge and Cyrbê was buried beneath the flood and laid waste, whereupon the three divided the land among themselves, and each of them founded a city which bore his name.


[5.58.1] About this time Danaüs together with his daughters fled from Egypt, and when he put ashore at Lindus in Rhodes and received the kindly welcome of the inhabitants, he established there a temple of Athena and dedicated in it a statue of the goddess. Of the daughters of Danaüs three died during their stay in Lindus, but the rest sailed on to Argos together with their father Danaüs.

[5.58.2] And a little after this time Cadmus, the son of Agenor, having been dispatched by the king to seek our Europê, put ashore at Rhodes. He had been severely buffeted by tempests during the voyage and had taken a vow to found a temple of Poseidon, and so, since he had come through with his life, he founded in the island a sacred precinct to this god and left there certain of the Phoenicians to serve as its overseers. These men mingled with the Ialysians and continued to live as fellow-citizens with them, and from them, we are told, the priests were drawn who succeeded to the priestly office by hereditary.

[5.58.3] Now Cadmus honoured likewise Lindian Athena with votive offerings, one of which was a striking bronze cauldron worked after the ancient manner, and this carried an inscription in Phoenician letters, which, men say, were first brought from Phoenicia to Greece.


[5.58.4] Subsequent to these happenings, when the land of Rhodes brought forth huge serpents, it came to pass that the serpents caused the death of many of the natives; consequently the survivors dispatched men to Delos to inquire of the god how they might rid themselves of the evil.

[5.58.5] And Apollo commanded them to receive Phorbas and his companions and to colonize together with them the island of Rhodes – Phorbas was a son of Lapithes and was tarrying in Thessaly together with a considerable number of men, seeking a land in which he might make his home – and the Rhodians summoned him as the oracle had commanded and gave him a share in the land. And Phorbas destroyed the serpents, and after he had freed the island of its fear he made his home in Rhodes; furthermore, since in other respects he proved himself a great and good man, after his death he was accorded honours like those offered to heroes.


[5.59.1] At a later time than the events we have described Althaemenes, the son of Catreus the king of Crete, while inquiring of the oracle regarding certain other matters, received the reply that it was fated that he should slay his father by his own hand.

[5.59.2] So wishing to avoid such an abominable act, he fled of his free will from Crete together with such as desired to sail away with him, these being a considerable company. Althaemenes, then, put ashore on Rhodes at Cameirus, and on Mount Atabyrus he founded a temple of Zeus who is called Zeus Atabyrius; and for this reason the temple is held in special honour even to this day, situated as it is upon a lofty peak from which one can descry Crete.

[5.59.3] So Althaemenes with his companions made his home in Cameirus, being held in honour by the natives; but his father Catreus, having no male children at home and dearly loving Althaemenes, sailed to Rhodes, being resolved upon finding his son and bringing him back to Crete. And now the fated destiny prevailed: Catreus disembarked by night upon the land of Rhodes with a few followers, and when there arose a hand-to-hand conflict between them and the natives, Althaemenes, rushing out to aid them, hurled his spear, and struck in ignorance his father and killed him.

[5.59.4] And when he realized what he had done, Althaemenes, being unable to bear his great affliction, shunned all meetings and association with mankind, and betook himself to unfrequented places and wandered about alone, until the grief put an end to his life; and at a later time he received at the hands of the Rhodians, as a certain oracle had commanded, the honours which are accorded to heroes.


[5.59.5] Shortly before the Trojan War Tlepolemus,19 the son of Heracles, who was a fugitive because of the death of Licymnius, whom he had unwittingly slain, fled of his free will from Argos; and upon receiving an oracular response regarding where he should go to found a settlement, he put ashore at Rhodes together with a few people, and being kindly received by the inhabitants he made his home there.

[5.59.6] And becoming king of the whole island he portioned out the land in equal allotments and continued in other respects as well to rule equitably. And in the end, when he was on the point of taking part with Agamemnon in the war against Ilium, he put the rule of Rhodes in hands of Butas, who had accompanied him in his flight from Argos, and he gained great fame for himself in the war and met his death in the Troad.


[5.60.1] Since the affairs of Rhodes, as it happened, became interwoven with certain events occurring in the Cherronesus which lies opposite the island, I think it will not be foreign to my purpose to discuss the latter. The Cherronesus, as some men say, received in ancient times the name it bears from the fact that the natural shape of the region is that of an isthmus, but others have written that the name Cherronesus is give it from the man who once ruled over those parts.

[5.60.2] The account runs like this: Not long after Cherronesus had ruled, five Curetes passed over to it from Crete, and these were descendants of those who had received Zeus from his mother Rhea and had nurtured him in the mountains of Idê in Crete.20

[5.60.3] And sailing to the Cherronesus with a notable expedition they expelled the Carians who dwelt there, and settling down in the land themselves they divided it into five parts, each of them founding a city which he named after himself.


[5.60.4] Not long after this Inachus, the king of the Argives, since his daughter Io had disappeared, sent forth Cyrnus, one of his men in high command, fitting him out with a considerable fleet, and ordered him to hunt for Io in every region and not to return unless he had got possession of her.

[5.60.5] And Cyrnus, after having wandered over many parts of the inhabited world without being able to find her, put ashore in Caria on the Cherronesus we are discussing; and despairing of ever returning to his house, he made his home in the Cherronesus, where, partly by persuasive means and partly by the use of force, he became king of a part of the land and founded a city which bore his name Cyrnus. And by administering affairs in popular fashion he enjoyed great favour among his fellow-citizens.


[5.61.1] After this, the account continues, Triopas, one of the sons of Helius and Rhodos, who was a fugitive because of the murder of his brother Tenages, came to the Cherronesus. And after he had been purified there of the murder of his brother Tenages, came to the Cherronesus. And after he had been purified there of the murder by Melisseus the king, he sailed to Thessaly to give assistance as an ally to the sons of Deucalion, and with their aid he expelled from Thessaly the Pelasgians and took for his portion the plain which is called Dotium.

[5.61.2] There he cut down the sacred grove of Demeter and used the wood to build a palace; and for this reason he incurred the hatred of the natives, whereupon he fled from Thessaly and put ashore, together with the peoples who sailed with him, in the territory of Cnidus, where he founded Triopium, as it was called after him.

[5.61.3] And setting out from this place as his base he won for himself both the Cherronesus and a large part of neighbouring Caria. But as regards the ancestry of Triopas there is disagreement among many of the historians and poets; for some have recorded that he was the son of Canachê, the daughter of Aeolus, and Poseidon, but others that he was born of Lapithes, the son of Apollo, and Stilbê, the daughter of Peneius.


[5.62.1] In Castabus, on the Cherronesus, there is a temple which is sacred to Hemithea, and there is no reason why we should omit to mention the strange occurrence which befell this goddess. Now many and various accounts have been handed down regarding her, but we shall recount that which has prevailed and is in accord with what the natives relate. To Staphylus and Chrysothemis were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoeo, and Parthenos by name. Apollo lay with Rhoeo and brought her with child; and her father, believing that her seduction was due to a man, was angered, and in his anger he shut up his daughter in a chest and cast her into the sea.

[5.62.2] But the chest was washed up upon Delos, where she gave birth to a male child and called the babe Anius. And Rhoeo, who has been saved from death in this unexpected manner, laid the babe upon the altar of Apollo and prayed to the god to save its life if it was his child. Thereupon Apollo, the myth relates, concealed the child for the time, but afterwards he gave thought to its rearing, instructed it in divination, and conferred upon it certain great honours.

[5.62.3] And the others sisters of the maiden who had been seduced, namely, Molpadia and Parthenos, while watching their father’s wine, a drink which had only recently been discovered among men, fell asleep; and while they were asleep some swine which they were keeping entered in and broke the jar which contained the wine and so destroyed the wine. And the maidens, when they learned what had happened, in fear of their father’s severity fled to the edge of the sea and hurled themselves down from some lofty rocks.

[5.62.4] But Apollo, because of his affection for their sister, rescued the maidens and established them in the cities of the Cherronesus. The one named Parthenos, as the god brought it to pass, enjoyed honours and a sacred precinct in Bubastus of the Cherronesus, while Molpadia, who came to Castabus, was given the name Hemithea,21 because the god had appeared to men, and she was honoured by all who dwelt in the Cherronesus.

[5.62.5] And in the sacrifices which are held in her honour a mixture of honey and milk is used in the libations, because of the experience which she had had in connection with the wine, while anyone who has touched a hog or eaten of its flesh is not permitted to draw near the sacred precinct.

[5.63.1] In later times the temple of Hemithea enjoyed so great a development that not only was it held in special honour by the inhabitants of the place and of neighbouring regions, but even peoples from afar came to it in their devotion and honoured it with costly sacrifices and notable dedications. And most important of all, when the Persians were the dominant power in Asia and were plundering all the temples of Greece,22 the precinct of Hemithea was the sole shrine on which they did not lay hands, and the robbers who were pillaging everything they met left this shrine alone entirely unplundered, and this they did despite the fact that it was unwalled and the pillaging of it would have entailed no danger.

[5.63.2] And the reason which men advance for its continued development is the benefactions which the goddess confers upon all mankind alike; for she appears in visible shape in their sleep to those who are in suffering and gives them healing, and many who are in the grip of diseases for which no remedy is known are restored to health; furthermore, to women who are suffering in childbirth the goddess gives relief from the agony and perils of travail.

[5.63.3] Consequently, since many have been saved in these ways from most ancient times, the sacred precinct is filled with votive offerings, nor are these protected by guards or by a strong wall, but by the habitual reverence of the people.


[5.64.1] Now as regards Rhodes and the Cherronesus we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall at this point discuss Crete. The inhabitants of Crete claim that the oldest people of the island were those who are known as Eteocretans,23 who were sprung from the soil itself, and that their king, who was called Cres, was responsible for the greatest number of the most important discoveries made in the island which contributed to the improvement of the social life of mankind.


[5.64.2] Also the greater number of the gods who, because of their benefactions to all men alike, have been accorded immortal honours, had their origin, so their myths relate, in their land; and of the tradition regarding these gods we shall now give a summary account, following the most reputable writers who have recorded the affairs of Crete.

[5.64.3] The first of these gods of whom tradition has left a record made their home in Crete about Mt. Idê and were called Idaean Dactyli. These, according to one tradition, were one hundred in number, but others say that there were only ten to receive this name, corresponding in number to the fingers (dactyli) of the hands.

[5.64.4] But some historians, and Ephorus is one of them, record that the Idaean Dactyli were in fact born on the Mt. Idê which is in Phrygia and passed over to Europe together with Mygdon; and since they were wizards, they practised charms and initiatory rites and mysteries, and in the course of a sojourn in Samothrace they amazed the natives of that island not a little by their skill in such matters. And it was at this time, we are further told, that Orpheus, who was endowed with an exceptional gift of poesy and song, also became a pupil of theirs, and he was subsequently the first to introduce initiatory rites and mysteries to the Greeks.

[5.64.5] However this may be, the Idaean Dactyli of Crete, so tradition tells us, discovered both the use of fire and what the metals copper and iron are, as well as the means of working them, this being done in the territory of the city of Aptera at Berecynthus, as it is called;


[5.64.6] and since they were looked upon as the originators of great blessings for the race of men, they were accorded immortal honours. And writers tell us that one of them was named Heracles, and excelling as he did in fame, he established the Olympic Games, and that the men of a later period thought, because the name was the same, that it was the son of Alcmenê who had founded the institution of the Olympic Games.

[5.64.7] And evidences of this, they tell us, are found in the fact that many women even to this day take their incantations from this god and make amulets in his name, on the ground that he was a wizard and practised the art of initiatory rites; but they add that these things were indeed very far removed from the habits of the Heracles who was born of Alcmenê.


[5.65.1] After the Idaean Dactyli, according to accounts we have, there were nine Curetes. Some writers of myths relate that these gods were born of the earth, but according to others, they were descended from the Idaean Dactyli. Their home they made in mountainous places which were thickly wooded and full of ravines, and which, in a word, provided a natural shelter and coverage, wince it had not yet been discovered how to built houses.

[5.65.2] And since these Curetes excelled in wisdom they discovered may things which are of use to men generally; so, for instance, they were the first to gather sheep into flocks, to domesticate the several others kinds of animals which men fatten, and to discover the making of honey.

[5.65.3] In the same manner they introduced the art of shooting with the bow and the ways of hunting animals, and they showed mankind how to live and associate together in a common life, and they were the originators of concord and, so to speak, of orderly behaviour.

[5.65.4] The Curetes also invented swords and helmets and the war-dance, by means of which they raised a great alarum and deceived Cronus.24 And we are told that, when Rhea, the mother of Zeus, entrusted him to them unbeknown to Cronus his father, they took him under their care and saw to his nurture; but since we purpose to set forth this affair in detail, we must take up the account at a little earlier point.


[5.66.1] The myth the Cretans relate runs like this: When the Curetes were young men, the Titans, as they are called, were still living. These Titans had their dwelling in the land about Cnosus, at the place where even to this day men point out foundations of a house of Rhea25 and a cypress grove which has been consecrated to her from ancient times.

[5.66.2] The Titans numbered six men and five women, being born, as certain writers of myths relate, of Uranus and Gê, but according to others, of one of the Curetes and Titaea, from whom as their mother they derive the name they have.

[5.66.3] The males were Cronus, Hyperion, Coeus, Iapetus, Crius, and Oceanus, and their sisters were Rhea, Themis, Mnemosynê, Phoebê, and Tethys. Each one of them was the discoverer of things of benefit to mankind, and because of the benefaction they conferred upon all men they were accorded honours and everlasting fame.


[5.66.4] Cronus, since he was the eldest of the Titans, became king and caused all men who were his subjects to change from a rude way of living to civilized life, and for this reason he received great approbation and visited many regions of the inhabited earth. Among all he met he introduced justice and sincerity of soul, and this is why the tradition has come down to later generations that the men of Cronus’ time were good-hearted, altogether guileless, and blest with felicity.

[5.66.5] His kingdom was strongest in the western regions, where indeed he enjoyed his greatest honour; consequently, down even to comparatively recent times, among the Romans and Carthaginians, while their city still stood, and other neighbouring peoples, notable festivals and sacrifices were celebrated in honour of this god and many places bore his name.26

[5.66.6] And because of the exceptional obedience to laws no injustice was committed by any one at any time and all the subjects of the rule of Cronus lived a life of blessedness, in the unhindered enjoyment of every pleasure. To this the poet Hesiod also bears witness in the following words:27

And they who were of Cronus’ day, what time
He reigned in heav’n, lived like the gods, no care
In heart, remote and free from ills and toils
Severe, from grievous sicknesses and cares;
Old age lay not upon their limbs, but they,
Equal in strength of leg and arm, enjoyed
Endless delight of feasting far from ills,
And when death came, they sank in it as in
A sleep. And many other things were theirs:
Grain-giving earth, unploughed, bore for them fruit
Abundantly and without stint; and glad
Of heart they dwelt upon their tilth throughout
The earth, in midst of blessings manifold,
Rich in their flocks, loved by the blessed gods.

This then, is what the myths have to say about Cronus.


[5.67.1] Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature.

[5.67.2] To Coeus and Phoebê was born Leto, and to Iapetus was born Prometheus, of whom tradition tells us, as some writers of myths record, that he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, though the truth is that he was the discoverer of those things which give forth fire and from which it may be kindled.


[5.67.3] Of the female Titans they say that Mnemosynê discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes.28 And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mnemê) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received.

[5.67.4] Themis, the myths tell us, was the first to introduce divinations and sacrifices and the ordinances which concern the gods, and to instruct men in the ways of obedience to laws and of peace. Consequently men who preserve what is holy with respect to the gods and the laws of men are called "law-guardians” (thesmophulakes) and “law-givers” (thesmothetai),29 and we say that Apollo, at the moment when he is to return the oracular responses, is “issuing laws and ordinances” (themisteuein), in view of the fact that Themis was the discoveress of oracular responses.

[5.67.5] And so these gods, by reason of the many benefactions which they conferred upon the life of man, were not only accorded immortal honours, but it was also believed that they were the first to make their home on Mount Olympus after they had been translated from among men.

1. Island of Saon.
2. i.e. the Black Sea. The Cyanean Rocks (Symplegades) are described by Strabo, 7. 6. 1, where see the note of Jones in the L.C.L.
3. Asia Minor.
4. i.e. Iasion.
5. The Cabeiri; cp. Book 4. 43. 1 f.
6. Cp. Book 4. 43.
7. i.e. they got their pillage from the ships they seized, but their women by raids on the continent.
8. Cp. the following account with that in Book 3. 64.
9. In the battle of Salamis, 480 B.C.
10. In 479 B.C.

11. The poet Archilochus (Athenaeus, 1. 30F) compared the wine of Naxos to the nectar of the gods.
12. Sons of Thettalus; cp. the Iliad, 2. 676 ff.
13. The Sea.
14. The sun.
15. “Children o the Sun.” J. L. Myres (Who Were the Greeks?, 139-40) sees in these “Children of the Sun” the early Minoan inhabitants of Rhodes.
16. That is, the Heliadae performed the sacrifice as soon as they were told and so before Cecrops did, but in their haste they forgot to light the fire before putting the victims on the kindling; Cecrops observed the correct custom of putting the victims on the blazing fire, but later than the Heliadae.
17. Polybius (16. 14) considered Zenon of sufficient importance as a historian to criticize his local patriotism.
18. Book 1, passim, presents the claims put forward by the Egyptians for the priority of their civilization; the counter claims of the Greeks here set forth are empty boasting. On Cadmus and the “Phoenician letters” see Book 3. 67.
19. Cp. the similar account about Tlepolemus in Book 4. 58. 7-8.
20. See chap. 65 below.

21. Half-goddess.
22. Cicero (Laws, 2. 26) tells us that Xerxes burned the temples of Greece in accordance with the advice of the Magi, “on the ground that the Greeks shut up the gods within walls, whereas all places consecrated to them ought to be open and free, seeing that this whole universe is their temple and home” (tr. of Keyes in the L.C.L.).
23. “Genuine Cretans.”
24. When Cronus was searching for the baby Zeus in order to destroy it, the Curetes drowned out its wailing by the din raised by their war-dance.
25. This “House of Rhea” has been found, in the opinion of Sir Arthur Evans (Palace of Minos, 2. 6 ff.) in the remains of an Hellenic temple lying within the palace area.
26. The Saturnalia of the Romans is well known; Diodorus elsewhere (13. 86; 20. 14) mentions the ancient practice of the Carthaginians of sacrificing children to Cronus.
27. Works and Days, 111-120; but Diodorus’ Greek differs radically in several places from the present text of Hesiod.
28. Cp. Book 1. 16. 1.
29. Themis (“law”) and thesmos (“ordinance”) are both derived from the stem the (“establish”).