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Listed 48 sub titles with search on: Homeric world  for wider area of: "LACONIA Prefecture PELOPONNISOS" .

Homeric world (48)

Ancient myths

Heracles' 12th Labor - Cerberus

  The most dangerous labor of all was the twelfth and final one. Eurystheus ordered Hercules to go to the Underworld and kidnap the beast called Cerberus (or Kerberos). Eurystheus must have been sure Hercules would never succeed at this impossible task!
   The ancient Greeks believed that after a person died, his or her spirit went to the world below and dwelled for eternity in the depths of the earth. The Underworld was the kingdom of Hades, also called Pluto, and his wife, Persephone. Depending on how a person lived his or her life, they might or might not experience never-ending punishment in Hades. All souls, whether good or bad, were destined for the kingdom of Hades.
  Cerberus was a vicious beast that guarded the entrance to Hades and kept the living from entering the world of the dead. According to Apollodorus, Cerberus was a strange mixture of creatures: he had three heads of wild dogs, a dragon or serpent for a tail, and heads of snakes all over his back. Hesiod, though, says that Cerberus had fifty heads and devoured raw flesh. "...A monster not to be overcome and that may not be described, Cerberus who eats raw flesh, the brazen-voiced hound of Hades, fifty-headed, relentless and strong." (Hesiod, Theogony 310).
   Cerberus' parents were the monster Echinda (half-woman, half-serpent) and Typhon (a fire-breathing giant covered with dragons and serpents). Even the gods of Olympus were afraid of Typhon.
   Among the children attributed to this awful couple were Orthus (or Othros), the Hydra of Lerna, and the Chimaera. Orthus was a two-headed hound which guarded the cattle of Geryon. With the Chimaera, Orthus fathered the Nemean Lion and the Sphinx. The Chimaera was a three-headed fire-breathing monster, part lion, part snake, and part goat. Hercules seemed to have a lot of experience dealing with this family: he killed Orthus, when he stole the cattle of Geryon, and strangled the Nemean Lion. Compared to these unfortunate family members, Cerberus was actually rather lucky.
   Before making the trip to the Underworld, Hercules decided that he should take some extra precautions. This was, after all, a journey from which no mortal had ever returned. Hercules knew that once in the kingdom of Hades, he might not be allowed to leave and rejoin the living. The hero went to Eleusis and saw Eumolpus, a priest who began what were known as the Eleusinian Mysteries. The mysteries were sacred religious rites which celebrated the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The ancients believed that those who learned the secrets of the mysteries would have happiness in the Underworld. After the hero met a few conditions of membership, Eumolpus initiated Hercules into the mysteries.
   Hercules went to a place called Taenarum in Laconia. Through a deep, rocky cave, Hercules made his way down to the Underworld. He encountered monsters, heroes, and ghosts as he made his way through Hades. He even engaged in a wrestling contest! Then, finally, he found Pluto and asked the god for Cerberus. The lord of the Underworld replied that Hercules could indeed take Cerberus with him, but only if he overpowered the beast with nothing more than his own brute strength. 
   A weaponless Hercules set off to find Cerberus. Near the gates of Acheron, one of the five rivers of the Underworld, Hercules encountered Cerberus. Undaunted, the hero threw his strong arms around the beast, perhaps grasping all three heads at once, and wrestled Cerberus into submission. The dragon in the tail of the fierce flesh-eating guard dog bit Hercules, but that did not stop him. Cerberus had to submit to the force of the hero, and Hercules brought Cerberus to Eurystheus. Unlike other monsters that crossed the path of the legendary hero, Cerberus was returned safely to Hades, where he resumed guarding the gateway to the Underworld. Presumably, Hercules inflicted no lasting damage on Cerberus, except, of course, the wound to his pride!

This text is cited July 2004 from Perseus Project URL bellow, which contains interesting hyperlinks

  A twelfth labour imposed on Hercules was to bring Cerberus from Hades. Now this Cerberus had three heads of dogs, the tail of a dragon, and on his back the heads of all sorts of snakes. When Hercules was about to depart to fetch him, he went to Eumolpus at Eleusis, wishing to be initiated. However it was not then lawful for foreigners to be initiated: since he proposed to be initiated as the adoptive son of Pylius. But not being able to see the mysteries because he had not been cleansed of the slaughter of the centaurs, he was cleansed by Eumolpus and then initiated. And having come to Taenarum in Laconia, where is the mouth of the descent to Hades, he descended through it. But when the souls saw him, they fled, save Meleager and the Gorgon Medusa. And Hercules drew his sword against the Gorgon, as if she were alive, but he learned from Hermes that she was an empty phantom. And being come near to the gates of Hades he found Theseus and Pirithous, him who wooed Persephone in wedlock and was therefore bound fast. And when they beheld Hercules, they stretched out their hands as if they should be raised from the dead by his might. And Theseus, indeed, he took by the hand and raised up, but when he would have brought up Pirithous, the earth quaked and he let go. And he rolled away also the stone of Ascalaphus. And wishing to provide the souls with blood, he slaughtered one of the kine of Hades. But Menoetes, son of Ceuthonymus, who tended the king, challenged Hercules to wrestle, and, being seized round the middle, had his ribs broken; howbeit, he was let off at the request of Persephone. When Hercules asked Pluto for Cerberus, Pluto ordered him to take the animal provided he mastered him without the use of the weapons which he carried. Hercules found him at the gates of Acheron, and, cased in his cuirass and covered by the lion's skin, he flung his arms round the head of the brute, and though the dragon in its tail bit him, he never relaxed his grip and pressure till it yielded. So he carried it off and ascended through Troezen. But Demeter turned Ascalaphus into a short-eared owl, and Hercules, after showing Cerberus to Eurystheus, carried him back to Hades.
  Ancient writers differ as to the number of Cerberus's heads. Hesiod assigned him fifty; Pindar raised the number to a hundred, a liberal estimate which was accepted by Tzetzes in one place and by Horace in another. Others reduced the number to three. Apollodorus apparently seeks to reconcile these contradictions, and he is followed as usual by Tzetzes, who, however, at the same time speaks of Cerberus as fifty-headed. The whole of the present passage of Apollodorus, from the description of Cerberus down to Herakles's slaughter of one of the kine of Hades, is quoted, with a few small variations, by a Scholiast on Hom. Il. viii.368.
  As to the initiation of Herakles at Eleusis, according to Diodorus, the rites were performed on this occasion by Musaeus, son of Orpheus. Elsewherethe same writer says that Demeter instituted the lesser Eleusinian mysteries in honour of Herakles for the purpose of purifying him after his slaughter of the centaurs. The statement that Pylius acted as adoptive father to Herakles at his initiation is repeated by Plutarch, who mentions that before Castor and Pollux were initiated at Athens they were in like manner adopted by Aphidnus. Herodotus says that any Greek who pleased might be initiated at Eleusis. The initiation of Herakles is represented in ancient reliefs.
  Sophocles seems to have written a Satyric drama on the descent of Herakles into the infernal regions at Taenarum. According to another account, Herakles descended, not at Taenarum but at the Acherusian Chersonese, near Heraclea Pontica on the Black Sea. The marks of the descent were there pointed out to a great depth.
  So Bacchilides represents Herakles in Hades drawing his bow against the ghost of Meleager in shining armour, who reminds the hero that there is nothing to fear from the souls of the dead; so, too, Vergilius describes Aeneas in Hades drawing his sword on the Gorgons and Harpies, till the Sibyl tells him that they are mere flitting empty shades. Apollodorus more correctly speaks of the ghost of only one Gorgon (Medusa ), because of the three Gorgons she alone was mortal.
  On Theseus and Pirithous in hell, the general opinion seems to have been that Herakles rescued Theseus, but that he could not save Pirithous. Others, however, alleged that he brought up both from the dead; others again affirmed that he brought up neither. A dull rationalistic version of the romantic story converted Hades into a king of the Molossians or Thesprotians, named Aidoneus, who had a wife Persephone, a daughter Cora, and a dog Cerberus, which he set to worry his daughter's suitors, promising to give her in marriage to him who could master the ferocious animal. Discovering that Theseus and Pirithous were come not to woo but to steal his daughter, he arrested them. The dog made short work of Pirithous, but Theseus was kept in durance till the king consented to release him at the intercession of Herakles.

This extract is from: Apollodorus, Library and Epitome (ed. Sir James George Frazer, 1921). Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.

Heracles. 12. Cerberus. To fetch this monster from the lower world is the crown of the twelve labours of Heracles, and is therefore usually reckoned as the twelfth or last in the series. It is the only one that is expressly mentioned in the Homeric poems. (Od. xi. 623, &c.) Later writers have added to the simple story several particulars, such, e. g. that Heracles, previous to setting out on his expedition, was initiated by Eumolpus in the Eleusinian mysteries, in order to purify him from the murder of the Centaurs. Accompanied by Hermes and Athena, Heracles descended into Hades, near Cape Taenarum, in Laconia. On his arrival most of the shades fled before him, and he found only Meleager and Medusa, with whom he intended to fight; but, on the command of Hermes, he left them in peace. Near the gates of Hades he met Theseus and Peirithous, who stretched their arms imploringly towards him. He delivered Theseus, but, when lie attempted to do the same for Peirithous, the earth began to tremble. After having rolled the stone from Ascalaphus, he killed one of the oxen of Hades, in order to give the shades the blood to drink, and fought with Menoetius, the herdsman. Upon this, he asked Pluto permission to take Cerberus, and the request was granted, on condition of its being done without force of arms. This was accomplished, for Heracles found Cerberus on the Acheron, and, notwithstanding the bites of the dragon, he took the monster, and in the neighbourhood of Troezene he brought it to the upper world. The place where he appeared with Cerberus is not the same in all traditions, for some say that it was at Taenarum, others at Hermione, or Coroneia, and others again at Heracleia. When Cerberus appeared in the upper world, it is said that, unable to bear the light, he spit, and thus called forth the poisonous plant called aconitun. After having shown the monster to Eurystheus, Heracles took it back to the lower world. Some traditions connect the descent of Heracles into the lower world with a contest with Hades, as we see even in the Iliad (v. 397), and more particularly in the Alcestis of Euripides (24, 846, &c. See Apollod. ii. 5.12; Diod. iv. 25, &c.; Plut. Thes. 30; Paus. ii. 31.2, ix. 34.4, iii. 25.4, ii. 35.7; Ov. Met. vii. 415, Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 152, Aen. vi. 617).
  Such is the account of the twelve labours of Heracles. According to Apollodorus, Eurystheus originally required only ten, and commanded him to perform two more, because he was dissatisfied with two of them; but Diodorus represents twelve as the original number required. Along with these labours (athloi), the ancients relate a considerable number of other feats (parerga) which he performed without being commanded by Eurystheus; some of them are interwoven with the twelve Athloi, and others belong to a later period.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gods & demigods


SPARTI (Ancient city) LACONIA
Enyalius, (Enualios), the warlike, frequently occurs in the Iliad (never in the Odyssey) either as an epithet of Ares, or as a proper name instead of Ares. (xvii. 211, ii. 651, vii. 166, viii. 264, xiii. 519, xvii. 259, xviii. 309, xx. 69; comp. Pind. Ol. xiii. 102, Nem. ix. 37.) At a later time, however, Enyalius and Ares were distinguished as two different gods of war, and Enyalius was looked upon as a son of Ares and Enyo, or of Cronos and Rhea. (Aristoph. Pax, 457; Dionys. A. R. iii. 48; Eustath. ad Hom.) The name is evidently derived from Enyo, though one tradition derived it from a Thracian Enyalius, who received into his house those only who conquered him in single combat, and for the same reason refused to receive Ares, but the latter slew him. (Eustath. ad Hom.) The youths of Sparta sacrificed young dogs to Ares under the name of Enyalius (Paus. iii. 14.9), and near the temple of Hipposthenes, at Sparta, there stood the ancient fettered statue of Enyalius. (Paus. iii. 15.5.) Dionysus, too, is said to have been surnamed Enyalius. (Macrob. Sat. i. 19.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Greek leaders in the Trojan War

Menelaus & Helen

Menelaus, son of Atreus and brother of Agamemnon (Il. 7.470, 2.408), was the son-in-law of Tyndareus by Helen, whose abduction by Paris, son of the king of Troy, Priam, was the cause of the Trojan War.
Helen was the daughter of Zeus by Leda, wife of Menelaus and mother of Hermione. After the end of the Trojan War, she returned back to Sparta with Menelaus (Il. 2.161, 3.91 & 121, Od. 4.184).

Menelaus, king of Lacedaemon, was the leader of the cities of Pharis, Sparta, Messe, Bryseiae, Augeiae, Amyclae, Helus, Laas and Oetylus with 60 ships against Troy (Il. 2.581).

   (Menelaos and Meneleos). A son of Atreus, and younger brother of Agamemnon, with whom he was exiled by Thyestes, the murderer of Atreus, and fled to King Tyndareos, at Sparta, whose daughter Helen he married, and whose throne he inherited after the death of Helen's brothers, Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux). When Paris had robbed him of his wife and of great treasures, he went with Odysseus to Troy to demand restitution, and they were hospitably received there by Antenor. His just claims were refused, and his life was even put in danger. He and Agamemnon accordingly called on the Greek chieftains to join in an expedition against Troy, and himself furnished sixty ships. At Troy he distinguished himself in counsel and in action, and was specially protected by Athene and Here. In the single combat with Paris he was victorious, but his opponent was rescued and carried off by Aphrodite. On demanding that Helen and the treasures should be restored, he was wounded by an arrow shot by the Trojan Pandarus. He was also ready to fight Hector, and was only prevented by the entreaties of his friends. When Patroclus had fallen, he shielded the dead body, at first alone, and then with the aid of Aiax, and bore it from the field of battle with Meriones. He was also one of the heroes of the wooden horse. Having recovered Helen he hastened home, but on rounding the promontory of Malea was driven to Egypt with five ships, and wandered about for eight years among the peoples of the East, where he was kindly received everywhere, and received rich presents. He was finally detained at the isle of Pharos by contrary winds, and with the help of the marine goddess Eidothea artfully compelled her father Proteus to prophesy to him. He thus learned the reason for his being detained at the island, and was also told that, as husband of the daughter of Zeus, he would not die, but enter the Elysian plains alive. After appeasing the gods in Egypt with hecatombs, he returned prosperously to his home, where he arrived on the very day on which Orestes was burying Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra. He spent the rest of his life quietly with Helen, in Lacedaemon. Their only daughter Hermione was married to Neoptolemus, son of Achilles.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Helena, (Helen) The beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda, the wife of Tyndareos of Sparta. She was sister of the Dioscuri and of Clytaemnestra. The post-Homeric story represented her as carried off, while still a maiden, by Theseus, to the Attic fortress of Aphidnae, where she bore him a daughter, Iphigenia. She was afterwards set free by her brothers, who took her back to Sparta. She was wooed by a number of suitors, and at length gave her hand to Menelaus, by whom she became the mother of one child, Hermione. In the absence of her husband she was seduced and carried away to Troy by Paris, the son of Priam, taking with her great treasures. This was the origin of the Trojan War. The Trojans, in spite of the calamity she had brought upon them, loved her for her beauty, and refused to restore her to her husband. She, however, lamented the folly of her youth, and yearned for her home, her husband, and her daughter. After the death of Paris she was wedded to Deiphobus, assisted the Greeks at the taking of Troy, and betrayed Deiphobus into Menelaus's hands. With Menelaus she finally returned to Sparta after eight years' wandering, and lived thenceforth with him in happiness and concord.
   According to another story, mainly current after the time of Stesichorus, Paris carried off to Troy not the real Helen, but a phantom of her created by Here. The real Helen was wafted through the air by Hermes, and brought to King Proteus in Egypt, whence, after the destruction of Troy, she was taken home by Menelaus. After the death of Menelaus she was, according to one story, driven from Sparta by her step-sons, and fled thereupon to Rhodes to her friend Polyxo, who hanged her on a tree. Another tradition represented her as living after death in wedlock with Achilles on the island of Lence. She was worshipped as the goddess of beauty in a special sanctuary at Therapne in Laconia, where a festival was held in her honour. She was also invoked, like her brothers the Dioscuri, as a tutelary deity of sailors.
   In the Iliad, Helen is apparently regarded as one who is not responsible for the ruin that she works, two passages seeming to imply that she was carried off by force (ii. 356 and 390). In the Odyssey she is also excused by the fact that she sins because a god has so willed it. Mr. Gladstone in his Homeric studies even regards her as not only a type of womanly loveliness, but of almost Christian penitence as well! The story of Helen has received a splendid setting in the genius of poets of every age. She is the most famous woman of all antiquity. In Goethe's Faust she is allegorically introduced as typifying the classical spirit of beauty. In English, see the Hellenics of Walter Savage Landor, Tennyson's Dream of Fair Women, and Andrew Lang's poem Helen of Troy, with the appended essay.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Podargus was the horse of Menelaus (Il. 23.295).

Menelaus & Helen: Various WebPages

Greeks of the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

Trojan War

EGIES (Ancient city) GYTHIO
Augeiae participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. The poet calls it "lovely" (Il. 2.583).

Trojan War

ELOS (Ancient city) LACONIA
Helus is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships and is called by Homer "citadel hard by the sea" (Il. 2.584). It declined probably because of the marshes in the region.

Trojan War

ITYLOS (Ancient city) LACONIA
Oetylus participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.585).


At Homer’s time the country included part of Messenia and Messene itself (Od. 21,15). Homer calls it "kili (= hollow)", "kitoessan (= full of ravines)" (Il. 2.581, Od. 4.5) and "evrichoron (= spacious)" (Od. 13.414, 15,5).

Trojan War

LAS (Ancient city) GYTHIO
Las participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.585).

Trojan War

MESSI (Ancient city) ITYLO
Messe participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. The poet calls it "the haunt of doves" (Il. 2.582).

Trojan War

SPARTI (Ancient city) LACONIA
Sparta participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.581). Homer calls Sparta "wide" (Od. 11.460) and "land of fair women" (Od. 13.412).

Trojan War

VRYSSES (Ancient city) SPARTI
Bryseiae participated in the Trojan War and is listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.583).



SPARTI (Ancient city) LACONIA
A herald of Agamemnon in Troy (Il. 1.320 etc.), who is also mentioned by Pausanias (Paus. 7,24,1).

Talthybius (Talthubios). The herald of Agamemnon at Troy. He was worshipped as a hero at Sparta and Argos, where sacrifices also were offered to him.


He was the son of Onetor, helmsman of Menelaus and died at Sunium (Od. 3.279).

Perseus Project



She was the daughter of Menelaus by Helen and got married to Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, to whom Menelaus had promised to give her as wife in Troy (Od. 4.14).

Hermione, the only daughter of Menelaus and Helena, and beautiful, like the golden Aphrodite. (Hom. Od. iv. 14, Il. iii. 175). As she was a grand-daughter of Leda, the mother of Helena, Virgil (Aen. iii. 328) calls her Ledaea. During the war against Troy, Menelaus promised her in marriage to Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus); and after his return he fulfilled his promise. (Od. iv. 4, &c.) This Homeric tradition differs from those of later writers. According to Euripides (Androm. 891, &c.; comp. Pind. Nem. vii. 43; Hygin. Fab. 123), Menelaus, previous to his expedition against Troy, had promised Hermione to Orestes. After the return of Neoptolemus, Orestes informed him of this, and claimed Hermione for himself; but Neoptolemus haughtily refused to give her up. Orestes, in revenge, incited the Delphians against him, and Neoptolemus was slain. In the meantime Orestes carried off IIermione from the house of Peleus, and she, in remembrance of her former love for Orestes, followed him. She had also reason to fear the revenge of Neoptolemus, for she had made an attempt to murder Andromache, whom Neoptolemus seemed to love more than her, but had been prevented from committing the crime. According to others, Menelaus betrothed her at Troy to Neoptolemus; but in the meantime her grandfather, Tyndareus, promised her to Orestes, and actually gave her in marriage to him. Neoptolemus, on his return, took possession of her by force, but was slain soon after either at Delphi or in his own home at Phthia. (Virg. Aen. iii. 327, xi. 264; Sophocl. ap. Eustath. ad Hom.) Hermione had no children by Neoptolemus (Eurip. Androm. 33; Paus. i. 11.1; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. vii. 58), but by Orestes, whose wife she ultimately became, she was the mother of Tisamenus. (Paus. i. 33.7, ii. 18.5.) The Lacedaemonians dedicated a statue of her, the work of Calamis, at Delphi. (Paus. x. 16.2.) A scholiast on Pindar (Nem. x. 12) calls her the wife of Diomedes, and Hesychius (s. v.) states that Hermione was a surname of Persephone at Syracuse.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Tyndareus and Leda

Tyndareus was the son of Oebalus and Gorgophone, who was expelled by Lacedaemon by his step-brother Hippocoon (Paus. 3,1,4). Leda was the daughter of Thestius and wife of Tyndareus. She raised Helen and gave birth to Castor and Pollux by Zeus or, according to Homer, by Tyndareus (Od. 11.298 etc.). She was also the mother of Clytaemnestra by the latter.

Tyndareus, Tyndareos. The son of Perieres and Gorgophone, or, according to others, son of Oebalus, by the nymph Batia or by Gorgophone. Tyndareus and his brother Icarius were expelled by their step-brother Hippocoon and his sons; whereupon Tyndareus fled to Thestius in Aetolia, and assisted him in his wars against his neighbours. In Aetolia Tyndareus married Leda, the daughter of Thestius, and was afterwards restored to Sparta by Heracles. By Leda, Tyndareus became the father of Timandra, Clytaemnestra, and Philopoe. One night Leda was embraced both by Zeus and by Tyndareus, and the result was the birth of Pollux and Helena, the children of Zeus, and of Castor and Clytaemnestra, the children of Tyndareus. The patronymic Tyndaridae is frequently given to Castor and Pollux, and the female patronymic Tyndaris to Helen and Clytaemnestra. When Castor and Pollux had been received among the immortals, Tyndareus invited Menelaus to come to Sparta, and surrendered his kingdom to him.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Leda. A daughter of King Thestius and Eurythemis, who married Tyndareos, king of Sparta. According to the common account, she became, by Zeus (who assumed for that purpose the form of a swan), the mother of Pollux and Helen, and on the same night by her own husband, the parent of Castor and Clytaemnestra. Two eggs, it seems, were brought forth by her, from which respectively came the children just named, Pollux and Helen being in one, and Castor and Clytaemnestra in the other. Other versions, however, are given of the legend, for which consult Homer ( Od.xi. 298) and the articles Dioscuri and Helena. See also Calverley's Sons of Leda, from Theocritus. The story of Leda and the swan has formed the subject of many beautiful works of art in both ancient and modern times.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Leda, a daughter of Thestius, whence she is called Thestias (Apollod. iii. 10.5; Paus. iii. 13.8; Eurip. Iph. Aul. 49); but others call her a daughter of Thespius, Thyestes, or Glaucus, by Laophonte, Deidamia, Leucippe, Eurythemis, or Paneidyia (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 146, 201; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 130; Hygin, Fab. 14; Apollod. i. 7.10). She was the wife of Tyndareus, by whom she became the mother of Timandra, Clytaemnestra, and Philonoe. (Apollod. iii. 10.6; Hom. Od. xxiv. 199). One night she was embraced both by her husband and by Zeus, and by the former she became the mother of Castor and Clytaemnestra, and by the latter of Polydeuces and Helena (Hygin. Fab. 77). According to Homer (Od. xi. 298, &c.) both Castor and Polydeuces were sons of Tyndareus and Leda, while Helena is described as a daughter of Zeus (Il. iii. 426; comp. Ov. Fast. i. 706; Horat. Carm. i. 12, 25; Martial, i. 37). Other traditions reverse the story, making Castor and Polydeuces the sons of Zeus, and Helena the daughter of Tyndareus (Eurip. Helen. 254, 1497, 1680; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 808 ; Herod. ii. 112). According to the common legend Zeus visited Leda in the disguise of a swan, and she produced two eggs, from the one of which issued Helena, and from the other Castor and Polydeuces (Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 453; Ov. Her. xvii. 55; Paus. iii. 16.1; Horat. Ars Poet. 147; Athen. ii., ix.; Lucian, Dial. Deor. ii. 2, xxiv. 2, xxvi.; comp. Virgil, Cir. 489; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 88). The visit of Zeus to Leda in the form of a swan was frequently represented by ancient artists. It should be observed that Phoebe is also mentioned as a daughter of Tyndareus and Leda (Eurip. Iph. Aul. 50), and that, according to Lactantius (i. 21), Leda was after her death raised to the rank of a divinity, under the name of Nemesis.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Icarius & Periboea

Icarius was the brother of Tyndareus and father of Penelope (Od. 1.329, 2.53 etc.). He was married to the nymph Periboea. When Odysseus returned back to Ithaca, he sent away Penelope because she had entertained the suitors and she went to live at her parents' house. Icarius was forced to abandon his homeland and left to Acarnania, where he died, while Penelope went to Mantinea.

Icarius (Ikarios). A son of Oebalus of Lacedaemon. He gave his daughter Penelope in marriage to Odysseus, king of Ithaca, but he was so tenderly attached to her that he wished her husband to settle at Lacedaemon. Odysseus refused; and when he saw the earnest petitions of Icarius, he told Penelope, as they were going to embark, that she might choose freely either to follow him to Ithaca or to remain with her father. Penelope blushed in silence, and covered her head with her veil. Icarius, upon this, permitted his daughter to go to Ithaca, and immediately erected a temple to the goddess of modesty, on the spot where Penelope had covered her blushes with her veil.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Apr 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Icarius, a Lacedaemonian, a son of Perieres and Gorgophone, a grandson of Aeolus or Cynortas, and a brother of Aphareus, Leucippus, and Tyndareus (Apollod. i. 9.5, iii. 10.3; Tzetz ad Lycoph. 511). Others called him a grandson of Perieres, and a son of Oebalus by Bateia (Apollod. iii. 10.4; Eustath. ad Hom.), or a son of Oebalus and Gorgophone, and a grandson of Cynortas (Paus. iii. 1.4). Hippocoon, a natural son of Oebalus, expelled his two brothers, Tyndareus and Icarius, from Lacedaemon: they fled to Thestius at Pleuron, and dwelt beyond the river Achelous. Subsequently, when Heracles had slain Hippocoon and his sons, Tyndareus returned to Sparta, while Icarius remained in Acarnania. According to Apollodorus (iii. 10.5), however, Icarius also returned. Another tradition relates that Icarius, who sided with Hippocoon, assisted him ia expelling Tyndareus from Sparta (Paus. iii. 1.4; Eustath. l. c.; Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 447). While in Acarnania, Icarius became the father of Penelope, Alyzeus, and Leucadius, by Polycaste, the daughter of Lygaeus: according to others he was married to Dorodoche, or Asterodeia (Strab. x.; Eustath. ad Hom.; Schol. ad Hom. Od. xv. 16). Others again relate that by the Naiad Periboea he became the father of Thoas, Damasippus, Imeusimus, Aletes (or Semus and Auletes), Perileus, and Penelope (Apollod. iii. 10.6; Paus. viii. 31.2; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 511; Schol. ad Hom. Od. xv. 16; Eustath. ad Hom.). In the Odyssey (iv. 797, i. 329) Iphthime also is mentioned as one of his daughters. When his daughter Penelope had grown up, he promised her hand to the victor in a foot-race, in which he desired the suitors to contend, and Odysseus won the prize (Paus. iii. 12.2); but according to others, Tyndareus sued for the hand of Penelope for Odysseus, from gratitude for a piece of advice which Odysseus had given him. (Apollod. iii. 10.9). When Penelope was betrothed to Odysseus, Icarius tried to persuade the latter to remain at Sparta, but Odysseus declined doing this, and departed with Penelope. Icarius followed his daughter, entreating her to remain ; and as Odysseus demanded of her to give a decided answer as to what she meant to do, she was silent, but at length she modestly covered her face, and declared that she would follow her husband. Icarius then desisted from further entreaties, and erected a statue of Modesty on the spot (Paus. iii. 20.10).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Icarius and Periboea, a Naiad nymph, had five sons, Thoas, Damasippus, Imeusimus, Aletes, Perileos, and a daughter Penelope, whom Ulysses married (Apoll. 3.10.6)
Commentary: According to the Scholiast on Hom. Od. xv.16, the wife of Icarius was Dorodoche, daughter of Ortilochus; but he adds that according to Pherecydes she was Asterodia, daughter of Eurypylus.



Homer calls the mountain "perimiketon (= lofty)" (Od. 6.103).

Mythical monsters


Cerberus (Kerberos), the many-headed dog that guarded the entrance of Hades, is mentioned as early as the Homeric poems, but simply as "the dog", and without the name of Cerberus (Il. viii. 368, Od. xi. 623). Hesiod, who is the first that gives his name and origin, calls him (Theog. 311) fifty-headed and a son of Typhaon and Echidna. Later writers describe him as a monster with only three heads, with the tail of a serpent and a mane consisting of the heads of various snakes (Apollod. ii. 5.12; Eurip. Here. fur. 24, 611; Virg. Aen. vi. 417; Ov. Met. iv. 449). Some poets again call him many-headed or hundred-headed (Horat. Carm. ii. 13. 34; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 678; Senec. Here. fur. 784). The place where Cerberus kept watch was according to some at the mouth of the Acheron, and according to others at the gates of Hades, into which he admitted the shades, but never let them out again.

  Men say that Typhaon the terrible, outrageous and lawless, was joined in love to her (Echidna), the maid with glancing eyes. So she conceived and brought forth fierce offspring; first she bore Orthus the hound of Geryones, and then again she bore a second, a monster not to be overcome and that may not be described, Cerberus who eats raw flesh, the brazen-voiced hound of Hades, fifty-headed, relentless and strong.
(Hesiod, Theogony. 304)

Cerberus, (Kerberos). The famous dog of Hades, the fruit of Echidna's union with Typhon. He was stationed at the entrance of hell, as a watchful keeper, to prevent the living from entering the infernal regions, and the dead from escaping from their confinement. Orpheus lulled him to sleep with his lyre; and Heracles dragged him from hell in the performance of his twelfth and last labour. The poets differ in their descriptions of this fabled animal. Hesiod assigns him fifty heads, calling him kuon pentekontakarenos. Sophocles styles him Haidou trikranon skulaka, "the three-headed dog of Pluto," and in this last account the Latin poets generally coincide, describing him also as having serpents coiled about his neck. Horace, however, calls him belua centiceps, either by poetic amplification, or else in accordance with some Greek authority. Champollion traces a curious analogy between the Egyptian and the Grecian mythology as regards the dog of Hades.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Other persons


SPARTI (Ancient city) LACONIA
He was the son of Boethous and a servant of Menelaus (Od. 4.25, 15.95).


She was one of the maids of Helen (Od. 4.123).


A handmaid of Helen (Od. 4.124).


A servant of Menelaus (Od. 4.216).


Clymene, A relative of Menelaus and a companion of Helena, together with whom she was carried off by Paris (Hom. Il. iii. 144; Dictys Cret. i. 3, v. 13). After the taking of Troy, when the booty was distributed, Clymene was given to Acamas. She was represented as a captive by Polygnotus in the Lesche of Delphi (Paus. x. 26.1; comp. Ov. Her. xvii. 267). There are several other mythical personages of this name (Hom. Il. xviii. 47; Hygin. Fab. 71; Apollod. iii. 2.1, &c.; Paus. x. 24.3).

Territories - Kingdoms

Kingdom of Menelaus

It participated in the Trojan War with 60 ships under the leadership of Menelaus. The cities listed in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships are: 1. Lacedaemon (Sparta), 2. Pharis, 3. Messe, 4. Bryseiae, 5. Augeiae, 6. Amyclae, 7. Helus, 8. Laas, 9. Oetylus (Il. 2.581-590).

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