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Article

Laius  

Andrew Brown

Laius (Λάϊος), king of *Thebes (1), son of Labdacus, husband of Jocasta and father of *Oedipus. His abduction of Chrysippus son of *Pelops was said to be the origin of *homosexuality among men. The boy committed suicide and Pelops uttered a *curse which could be seen as the source of the troubles of Laius and his family.*Aeschylus wrote a Laius which was the first play of a tetralogy, being followed by Oedipus, the surviving Seven against Thebes, and Sphinx. It is uncertain whether he knew and used the Chrysippus story. Some think that the abduction is the ‘ancient transgression’ mentioned at Sept. 742–3, others that it could have been the invention of *Euripides, who certainly wrote a Chrysippus. *Sophocles (1) does not explicitly mention it.Be that as it may, Laius later received a *Delphic Oracle telling him to die childless (Sept.

Article

Leda  

Ken Dowden

Leda, mother of the *Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux/Polydeuces) and *Helen (as well as *Clytemnestra and the minor figures Timandra and Phylonoe), wife of *Tyndareos, daughter of King Thestius of *Pleuron (Aetolia). She is a mythic not a cult figure. Genealogically, she supports the linking of the Tyndarids with *Aetolia, as found in the earliest genealogical authors: see Hes. Cat. fr. 23a M-W, and *Asius, fr. 6 in West, GEF 256. This was reinforced by the hero-shrine of the eponym Pleuron in *Sparta (Paus. 3.13.8). Most striking is the myth that *Zeus in the form of a swan copulated with Leda, who subsequently produced an egg containing Helen (Eur.Hel. 17 ff., 257–9) and Polydeuces (Apollod. 3. 10. 7), an egg displayed in Sparta (Paus. 3. 16. 1). Castor, thus the mortal twin, was born to Tyndareos on the same night. In a different version, stemming from the cult of *Nemesis at *Rhamnus (*Attica) and its local Helen, Nemesis transforms herself to escape Zeus and finally in the form of a goose is fertilized by Zeus in the form of a swan (in the Cypria fr.

Article

Linus  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Eveline Krummen

Linus (Λίνος), an old song sung either at the vintage as in Il. 18. 570, where it is performed by a boy accompanied by the lyre and by a cheerfully dancing and shouting group of young people, or a song of lament using the ritual cry αἴλινον (‘alas for Linus’), which was interpreted as a mournful song in honour of Linus. Linus was also a mythical person for whom various *genealogies exist, e.g. son of *Apollo and Psamathe, a local princess of *Argos (1): after she exposed him, he was devoured by dogs and the city was plagued by Apollo till satisfaction was made (Paus. 1. 43. 7–8). He had strong connections with music: (a) he invented the threnos (Heraclid. Pont. in ps.-Plut. De mus. 3); (b) he was killed by Apollo in a music contest, because he had boasted that he was as good a singer as the god (Paus. 9. 29. 6 f.); (c) he was the music teacher of *Heracles and was killed by his pupil (Apollod.

Article

Andrew Brown

Melanippus, one of the Theban champions who opposed the *Seven against Thebes. AeschylusSept. 407–16 tells us only that he was a descendant of the Spartoi and defended the Gate of *Proetus against Tydeus. But a fuller story, attested at e.g. StatiusTheb. 8. 716–66 and ps.-Apollod. 3. 6. 8 and illustrated on 5th-cent. bce vases, must already have existed in epic. Here Melanippus wounds *Tydeus but is killed by him or by *Amphiaraus. Amphiaraus or *Capaneus brings the head of Melanippus to Tydeus, who sucks out the brains. *Athena, who had intended to give immortality to Tydeus, withholds the gift in disgust, and he dies.Herodotus 5. 67 records that *Cleisthenes(1) of Sicyon, being at war with *Argos(1), brought an image of Melanippus from Thebes and transferred to him certain rites that the Sicyonians had previously paid to his enemy, the Argive *Adrastus(1).

Article

Andrew Brown

Odysseus (Ὀδυσσεύς, Latin Ulixes from one of several Greek variants; hence English Ulysses), king of *Ithaca; son of *Laertes and *Anticlea; husband of *Penelope; hero of *Homer'sOdyssey.In Homer's Iliad, despite his out-of-the-way kingdom, Odysseus is already one of the most prominent of the Greek heroes. He displays martial prowess (e.g. at 11. 310–488, where he delays the rout of the Greeks), courage and resourcefulness (e.g. in the Doloneia of book 10, a late addition), and above all wisdom and diplomacy (e.g. at 2. 169–335, where he prevents the Greek army from disbanding, and in the embassy to *Achilles, especially 9. 223–306). He shows little of the skill in deceit which is characteristic of him in the Odyssey, but such epithets as ‘much enduring’ and ‘cunning’, which occur in both epics, must refer to his exploits after the Trojan War (see troy), and show that these were always his principal claim to fame.

Article

Oedipus  

Andrew Brown

Oedipus (Οἰδίπους), son of Laius, the king of *Thebes (1) who killed his father and married his mother. The name appears to mean ‘with swollen foot’, but the reason for this is obscure, as the explanation given by ancient authors—that his feet were swollen because his ankles were pierced when he was exposed as a baby—looks like rationalizing invention.

Homer'sIliad mentions him only (23. 679) in the context of the funeral games held after his death, implying that he died at Thebes and probably in battle. Homer's Odyssey, however (11. 271–80), tells how he unwittingly killed his father and married his mother Epicaste (the later Iocasta), but the gods soon made this known (this version allows no time for the couple to have children) and Epicaste hanged herself. Oedipus continued to reign at Thebes, suffering all the woes that a mother's *Erinyes can inflict.

Article

Kenneth W. Yu

Over the course of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, descriptions of wonders and marvels developed into a discrete branch of literature known as paradoxography. Fragments of paradoxographical collections in both Greek and Latin reveal an abiding interest in natural wonders, but marvellous phenomena related to physiology, botany, zoology, and culture also frequently appear. Paradoxography shares thematic concerns with several historiographical, philosophical, and scientific genres, leading classicists of previous generations to spurn these texts as derivative of more serious, especially Aristotelian, scholarship. More recently, however, scholars have begun to appreciate the stylistic and expository features of paradoxography according to its own logic and principles. Nevertheless, how paradoxographical compendia were read and used in antiquity and in what scholarly or popular contexts they circulated remain difficult issues.Paradoxography refers to the stand-alone compilations (denoted by συναγωγή or ἐκλογή in titles), produced from the early Hellenistic period onward, of descriptions of natural, biological, ethnographic, and cultural wonders. .

Article

Peitho  

Ken Dowden

Peitho, the personification of ‘Winning Over’ (Buxton 49 f.), more loosely, ‘Persuasion’, that makes woman available to man in the context of love and marriage. Her divine status is not fixed, allowing *Euripides' wilful lines (fr. 170): ‘There is no shrine of Peitho except words, ǀ And her altar is in human nature.’ Thus she appears as a minor figure in the entourage of *Aphrodite (like Pothos and Himeros—‘longing' and ‘desire’), e.g. on vases from the early 5th cent. onwards, or as an epithet of Aphrodite or *Artemis. More substantially, she has a shrine at *Sicyon connected with Apollo and Artemis (Paus. 2. 7. 7), whilst at *Argos (1) there is a shrine of Artemis Peitho founded by Hypermestra (Paus. 2. 21. 1). At Athens *Theseus established the worship of Aphrodite Pandemos and (of?) Peitho (Paus. 1. 22. 3), where she has a priestess and receives annual sacrifices (Isoc. 15. 249). Her name is used at Argos for the aunt or wife of the culture-hero *Phoroneus (see culture-bringers), and in *Hesiod for an Oceanid (Theog.

Article

Ana Isabel Jiménez San Cristóbal

Persephone/Kore (Περσεφόνη/ Κόρη) is a goddess, Demeter’s daughter by Zeus, wife of Hades, and queen of the underworld. Her most important myth is that of her abduction by Hades, her father’s brother. In Orphic literature, she is Dionysus’ mother by Zeus. Persephone/Kore is often worshipped in association with Demeter and Hades, but independent cults of the goddess are also attested. Persephone was adopted by the Romans as Proserpina.In Mycenaean, the names Persephone (Περσεφόνη), and Kore (Κόρη), have been proposed without agreement for the lemmas pe-re- *82 in Pylos and ko-wa in Thebes (TH Fq 126.2). The name Persephone (Homeric Persephoneia, Lyric Phersephonā), whose etymology is dark, presents variants as Persephassa or Phersephassa (Tragic), Pherrephatta, Perrephatta, or Pherrophatta, Perophatta, Persōphata (on Attic vases of the 5th century bce). The term Persephone stresses her persona as Hades’ wife, whilst as Demeter’s daughter, she is often called Kore, “the Girl.” Mother and daughter are usually named together in expressions like “the Two Goddesses” (tō theō), “the Thesmophoroi” (tō Thesmoforō) or, sporadically, “the Demeters” (Dēmēteres). Kore is more usual as a formal title of the goddess in many state cults, but Persephone is also found in .

Article

phallus  

Richard Seaford

Phallus, an image of the penis, often as erect, to be found in various contexts, in particular (a) in certain rituals associated with fertility, notably Dionysiac *processions (see dionysus): see e.g. Ar. Ach.243 on the Attic rural Dionysia (see attic cults and myths), *Semos in Ath. 622b-c on groups of ‘ithyphallics’ and ‘phallus-bearers’, *Varro in Aug. Civ. 7. 21 ‘for the success of seeds’ at the Liberalia (see liber pater);(b) as a sacred object revealed in the Dionysiac *mysteries, as in the Villa of the Mysteries fresco at *Pompeii; *Iamblichus (2) (Myst. 1. 11) mentions it as a symbol of secret doctrine;(c) in the costume of comedy (see comedy (greek), old), *satyric drama, and various low theatrical genres; *Aristotle (Poet. 1449a11) says that comedy originated in phallic songs;(d) on permanent display, often as part of a statue such as those of *Priapus or the *herms identified with *Hermes;(e) as apotropaic: e.

Article

Pherecydes (1) of Syros, fl. 544 bce, reputed to be the first writer of Greek prose. His subject was the birth of the gods and the creation of the cosmos. Fragments and testimonia attest the following features:(1) Zas (*Zeus) was the first god, and with him Chronos (*Cronus) and Chthonie (Ge, ‘Earth’, see gaia);(2) subsequent gods were born from five (or seven) ‘recesses’ (μυχοί: their cosmogonic significance is variously interpreted);(3)Zas married Chthonie in a formal ceremony, and presented her with a robe he had decorated with Earth and Ogenos (Ocean (see oceanus (mythological))), providing the model for a human marriage-ritual;(4) Cronus battles Ophioneus (‘the snake’). Points of comparison exist with Hesiod's Theogony, the ‘Orphic’ cosmogony in the papyrus from Derveni (see orphic literature), and Near-Eastern cosmogonies. Biographical fragments attribute to Pherecydes world travels, miracles, and an uncanny death. His belief in the immortality of the soul led doxographers to make him the teacher of *Pythagoras (1).

Article

Simias or Simmias of Rhodes is primarily known as the inventor of pattern poetry (see technopaignia), but he was also a grammarian (see scholarship, ancient, Greek and gloss, glosses, Greek) and author of various poetic genres, including epigram and experimental lyric. He probably belonged to the first generation of Hellenistic poets, alongside Philitas of Cos. His poetry is characterized by learnedness and formal refinement.Nothing is known about Simias’ life (the form with the single m finds support in Rhodian epigraphy), but our scarce sources unanimously connect him with Rhodes, and this is confirmed by the Doric dialect of his poetic fragments, his self-characterization as a Doric poet in his sphragis (Ovum 4) and a likely allusion to the Rhodian cult of Helios in another fragment (fr. 7 Fränkel = Powell, Coll. Alex. p. 111, fr. 4).1 His date in the early Hellenistic period has been deduced from Hephaestion’s observation that Simias’ use of the choriambic hexameter was earlier than Philicus of Corcyra, a poet at the court of Ptolemy II (Heph.

Article

Tyro  

Richard Hunter

Tyro, in mythology, daughter of *Salmoneus and mother (by Cretheus) of *Jason(1)'s father Aeson and (by *Poseidon) of the twins *Pelias and *Neleus. Tyro loved the river *Enipeus, but Poseidon tricked her by assuming that river's form and lay with her (Hom. Od.