Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Dragons >> Rhodian Dragons (Drakones Rhodioi)


Greek Name

Δρακονες Ροδιοι


Drakones Rhodioi

Latin Spelling

Dracones Rhodii


Dragons of Rhodes

THE DRAKONES RHODIOI (Dragons of Rhodes) were giant serpents which terrorised the island of Rhodes. They were slain by the hero Phorbas who, along with the greatest of the serpents, was set amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiochus.


Presumably GAIA, though nowhere stated


Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 58. 4 (trans. Oldfather) (Greek historian C1st B.C.) :
"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. And Apollon commanded them to receive Phorbas [of Thessalia (Thessaly)] and his companions and to colonize together with them the island of Rhodes . . . 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."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 14 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Polyzelus the Rhodian [Greek historian of uncertain date], however, points out that this [the constellation Ophiuchus] is Phorbas, who was of great assistance to the Rhodians. The citizens called their island, overrun by a great number of snakes, Ophiussa. In this multitude of beasts was a snake of immense size, which had killed many of them; and when the deserted land began finally to lack men, Phorbas, son of Triopas by Hiscilla, Myrmidon's daughter, when carried there by a storm, killed all the beasts, as well as that huge snake. Since he was especially favored by Apollo, he was put among the constellations, shown killing the snake for the sake of praise and commemoration. And so the Rhodians, as often as they go with their fleet rather far from their shores, make offerings first for the coming of Phorbas, that such a happening of unexpected valor should befall the citizens as the opportunity for glory which brought Phorbas, unconscious of future praise, to the stars."





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