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Mythology (6)

Ancient myths

The Third Labor of Heracles - The Hind of Ceryneia

INOI (Ancient city) LYRKIA
As a third labour he (Eurystheus) ordered him (Heracles) to bring the Cerynitian hind alive to Mycenae. Now the hind was at Oenoe; it had golden horns and was sacred to Artemis; so wishing neither to kill nor wound it, Hercules hunted it a whole year. But when, weary with the chase, the beast took refuge on the mountain called Artemisius, and thence passed to the river Ladon, Hercules shot it just as it was about to cross the stream, and catching it put it on his shoulders and hastened through Arcadia. But Artemis with Apollo met him, and would have wrested the hind from him, and rebuked him for attempting to kill her sacred animal. Howbeit, by pleading necessity and laying the blame on Eurystheus, he appeased the anger of the goddess and carried the beast alive to Mycenae. (Apoll. 2.5.3)
1. Later Greek tradition, as we see from Apollodorus, did not place the native land of the hind so far away. Oenoe was a place in Argolis. Mount Artemisius is the range which divides Argolis from the plain of Mantinea. The Ladon is the most beautiful river of Arcadia, if not of Greece. The river Cerynites, from which the hind took its name, is a river which rises in Arcadia and flows through Achaia into the sea. The modern name of the river is Bouphousia.
2. (see also )

Eponymous founders or settlers

Lynceus & Hypermnestra

LYRKIA (Ancient city) ARGOLIS
Lynceus (Lunkeus). A son of Aegyptus and Argyphia, and husband of the Danaid Hypermnestra, by whom he became the father of Abas. He was king of Argos, whence that city is called Lulkeion Argos (Apollon. Rhod. i. 125). His story is, that when the Danaides, by the desire of their father, killed their husbands in one night, Hypermnestra alone spared the life of her husband Lynceus. Danaus thereupon kept his disobedient daughter in strict confinement, but was afterwards prevailed upon to give her to Lynceus, who succeeded him on the throne of Argos (Apollod. ii. 1.5, 2.1; Paus. ii. 16.1; Ov. Heroid. 14). The cause of Hypermnestra sparing Lynceus is not the same in all accounts (Schol. ad Pind. Nem. x. 10, ad Eurip. Hecub. 869, ad Pind. Pyth. ix. 200). It is also said that she assisted her husband in his eseape from the vengeance of Danaus, that he fled to Lyrceia (Lynceia), and from thence gave a sign with a torch that he had safely arrived there; Hypermnestra returned the sign from the citadel of Argos, and in commemoration of this event the Argives celebrated every year a festival with torches (Paus. ii. 25.4; comp. ii. 19.6, 21.1, 20.5). When Lynceus received the news of the death of Danaus from his son Abas, Lynceus gave to Abas the shield of Danaus, which had been dedicated in the temple of Hera, and instituted games in honour of Hera, in which the victor received a shield as his prize (Hygin. Fab. 273). According to some, Lynceus slew Danaus and all the sisters of Hypermnestra, in revenge for his brothers (Schol. ad Eurip. Hecub. 869; Serv. ad Aen. x. 497). Lynceus and his wife were revered at Argos as heroes, and had a common sanctuary, and their tomb was shown there not far from the altar of Zeus Phyxius (Hygin. Fab. 168; Paus. ii. 21.2). Their statues stood in the temple at Delphi, as a present from the Argives. (Paus. x. 10.2.)

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

Hypermnestra to Lynceus (The Epistles of Ovid)
Hypermnestra sends to the only survivor of so many brothers: the rest have all perished by the crime of their wives. I am closely confined, and loaded with a weight of chains. My piety is the sole cause of my punishment. I am deemed guilty, because my hand trembled to urge the sword to my husband's throat. Had I dared to commit the bloody deed, I should have been extolled. It is better to be thus deemed guilty, than please a father by an act of barbarity. I can never repent that my hands are unstained withmurder. Should my father torture me with the flames that I have not dared to violate, or throw in my face the torches used at the nuptial rites; should be pierce me with the very sword which he gave me for an inhuman purpose, and destroy the wife by the death from which she saved her husband; yet would all his cruelty be insufficient to make my dying lips own repentance: Hypermnestra is not one who will repent of her piety. Let Danaus and my bloody sisters testify penitence for their wickedness; this usually follows deeds of guilt. My heart sickens at the remembrance of that bloody night; and a sudden trembling enervates the joints of my right hand. That hand which was thought strong enough to engage in the murder of a husband, even dreads to write of a murder that it did not commit; yet will I attempt to describe the horrid scene. Twilight had overspread the earth; it was about the close of day, and night hastened on: we, the descendants of Inachus, are led to the palace of the great Pelasgus; and a father-in-law receives, into his house, daughters armed for the destruction of their husbands. Lamps adorned with gold shine through all the apartments, and impious incense is offered to the unwilling gods. The people invoke Hymen; but Hymen neglects their call: even the wife of Jove forsook her beloved city. The bridegrooms made their appearance, high in wine, and enlivened by the acclamations of their attendants; their anointed heads were adorned with garlands of flowers: they entered their bed-chambers (chambers doomed to be their graves), and reposed their limbs on beds fitter for their funeral piles. Thus they lay overcome with food, wine, and sleep; and a dead silence reigned in unsuspecting Argos. I seemed to hear around me the groans of dying men; I indeed heard them, and it was really as I feared. At this the blood forsook my limbs, the vital heat departed, and a coldness spread itself over all my joints. As the bending reeds are shaken by the mild zephyrs, or the rough northern blasts agitate the poplar leaves; a like, or more violent shaking seised me. You lay quiet, lulled to rest by the sleepy draught I had given. The commands of a violent father had banished fear. I started up, and seised with a trembling hand the deadly sword. Why should I deceive? Thrice I took hold of the pointed steel, and thrice my feeble hand dropped the hated load. I aimed at your throat; blame me not if I acknowlege the truth: I aimed at your throat the blade I had received of my father. But fear and piety opposed the bloody deed; and my blameless right hand refused the hated task. I tore my purple garments, I tore my hair, and with a faint voice uttered this mournful complaint: "A cruel father you have, Hypermnestra; think of executing his commands, and make Lynceus also a companion to his brothers. I am a woman and a virgin, mild both by nature and years; these gentle hands are unfit to wield the fatal steel: but take courage, and, while he lies defenceless, imitate the bravery of your resolute sisters; it is very probable that, ere now, all their husbands are slain. Alas! if this hand could perpetrate a cruel murder, it must first be dyed in the blood of its owner. How can they deserve death by possessing their uncle's realms, which yet must have been given to foreign sons-in-law? Even if our husbands have deserved death, what have we done? Why am I urged to a crime, which, if committed, robs me of my claim to piety? What have I to do with a drawn sword? Why are warlike weapons put into the hands of a girl? A spindle and distaff better suit these fingers." These things I revolved with myself; and, as I complained, the mournful words were accompanied with tears, which, gently falling from my eyes, bedewed your naked limbs. While you sought to embrace me, and half-awake stretched your clasping arms, your hand was almost wounded by the drawn sword. And now, I began to dread my father, the guards, and the approaching light; when these my words roused you from sleep: Rise speedily, grandson of Belus, now the only survivor of so many brothers; unless you are quick in escaping, this is fated to be your eternal night. You start up in a fright; the fetters of sleep are all loosened, and you behold in my hand the pointed weapon. As you ask the cause; Fly, interrupted I, while night permits. You escape, favored by the darkness of the night; while I remain. And now, morning coming on, Danaus numbers over his slaughtered sons; one only was wanting to complete the bloody crime. He storms at his disappointment in the death of a single kinsman, and complains that too little blood had been shed. I am torn from my father as I embrace his knees, and dragged by the hair to prison. Is this the due reward of my piety? So it is that Juno's resentment has ever pursued our race, since Jove transformed Io into a cow, and the cow into a goddess. But was it not sufficient punishment for the unhappy maid to lose her natural form, and, stripped of her beauty, be no longer able to please the almighty Jove? She stood amazed at her new shape, upon the banks of her flowing parent; and beheld, in this paternal mirror, the unusual horns. Striving to complain, her mouth was filled with lowings; and she was equally terrified at her form and voice. Unhappy maid, why this mad rage? Why do you wonder at your own shadow? Why do you number your feet formed to new joints? This beauteous rival, once dreaded by the sister of almighty Jove, now allays her raging hunger with leaves and grass: she drinks of the running stream, and is astonished to behold her own shape; she even trembles at the arms she wears, and thinks them aimed against herself. You, lately so rich as to be deemed worthy even of almighty Jove, now lie naked and defenceless in the unsheltered fields. You wildly run through the sea, over lands, and through kindred rivers. Even seas, lands and rivers, permit your wanderings. What is the cause of your flight? Why, Io, do you thus traverse the spacious main? It is impossible to fly from your own shadow. Whither, daughter of Inachus, do you run? It is the same individual who flies and who pursues; you lead, and at the same time follow the leader. The Nile, which pours into the ocean through seven floodgates, restored to her former shape this beloved of Jove. But why should I mention remote times, and accounts for which I am beholden to old age? Even the present years afford ground of complaint. My father and uncle are at war: we are driven from our kingdom and home, and wander exiles on earth's remotest verge. My savage uncle singly possesses the throne and sceptre; we, a destitute crowd, follow, disconsolate, a helpless old man. You only (how small a part!) remain of a whole nation of brothers. I mourn both for those who perished, and those who gave the fatal stroke. I have not only lost a multitude of brothers, but also a like number of sisters; and both losses equally demand my tears. Lo, even I am reserved to a cruel punishment, because I saved your life! What fate is left for the guilty, when I, who merit only praise, am thus accused? And must I, once the hundredth of a kindred tribe, suffer death for saving one of so many brothers? But, my dear Lynceus, if you have any regard to the piety of your sister, or any remembrance of her love, and the life she gave you, help me in this extremity; or, if death should set me free before you can arrive, bear privately my breathless frame to the funeral pile, and sprinkle my ashes with unfeigned tears. When you have faithfully performed the last obsequies, engrave upon my tomb this short inscription: Hypermnestra, an unhappy exile, was, as a reward for her piety, unjustly doomed to that death from which she had saved her brother. I wish to write more; but my hand fails, disabled by a weight of chains; and ill-boding fears deprive me of the power of reflection.
  Danaus, the son of Belus, had by several wives fifty daughters; Aegyptus his brother, who had the like number of sons, wished to have them for his daughters-in-law, and applied to Danaus for this purpose. But he having been told by an oracle that he should fall by the hands of a son-in-law, and willing, if possible, to avoid the danger, took shipping, and possessed himself of Argos. Aegyptus, enraged to find himself thus slighted, levied a great army; and, putting his sons at the head of it, sent it into Greece, with an express command not to return till they had either slain Danaus, or obliged him to consent to receive them as his sons-in-law. He, finding himself pressed by a close siege, was under the necessity of promising them his daughters: but they having all received swords from their father, by his command killed their husbands on the first night, while warm with wine and joy they lay fast asleep; Hypermnestra only excepted, who spared her husband Lynceus, and, acquainting him with the treachery of Danaus, advised him to fly with all speed to his father Aegyptus. Danaus, finding that his commands had been strictly followed by all his daughters, except Hypermnestra, was so enraged at her disobedience, that he loaded her with chains, and threw her into prison. Upon this she wrote the following epistle to her husband, in which she begs him to come to her assistance, or, if she should be put to death before he can bring her relief, to bestow upon her the rites of burial. Lynceus, after revenging the murder of his brothers by her father's death, restored her to liberty. Aeschylus treated this story in a connected trilogy. The first play, Suppliant Women, survives but the other two are lost. Pindar begins Nemean 10 with an allusion to the story. Hypermnestra, in her application to Lynceus, artfully begins with such a representation of her case as may most effectually awaken his resentment, and beget in him a desire of revenge. She reminds him that he was the only surviving brother of fifty, all the rest having been cut off by the barbarous contrivance of her father; and that all her sufferings were occasioned by her tenderness for him. Yet far from repenting of it, the reflection always gave her pleasure; nor would all the tortures and miseries in the world be able to make her own the contrary. How could Lynceus deny his aid to one that had treated him so generously, or avoid attempting to rescue her from that bondage into which she was thrown for preserving his life?

Historic figures


INOI (Ancient city) LYRKIA
Son of Porthaon, king of Calydon, dethroned by sons of Agrius, invited by Diomede to Argos, marries Althaea, marries Periboea, father of Meleager, Tydeus, Deianira and Gorge, Artemis sends against him the Calydonian boar, feasts with Herakles, deposed and killed by the sons of Agrius, buried at Oenoe in Argolis.

Oeneus. A son of Portheus, brother of Agrius and Melas and huslband of Althaea, by whom he became the father of Tydeus and Meleager, and was thus the grandfather of Diomedes. He was king of Pleuron and Calydon in Aetolia (Hom. Il. v. 813, ix. 543, xiv. 115). According to the tragic poets he was a son of Porthaon and Euryte, and besides the two brothers mentioned above, Alcathous, Laocoon, Leucopeus, and Sterope, are likewise called his brothers and sister (Apollod. i. 7.10; Apollon. Rhod. i. 192; Hygin. Fab. 14). His children are said to have been Toxeus, whom he himself killed, Thyreus (Phereus), Clymenus, Periphas, Agelaus, Meleager, Gorge, Eurymede, Melanippe, Mothone, and Deianeira (Apollod. i. 8.1; Paus. iv. 35.1; Anton. Lib. 2). His second wife was Melanippe, the daughter of Hipponous, and by her he is said by some to have become the father of Tydeus, who according to others was his son by his own daughter Gorge (Apollod. i. 8.4; Diod. iv. 35). He is said to have been deprived of his kingdom by the sons of Agrius, who imprisoned him and ill used him. But he was subsequently avenged by Diomedes, who slew Agrius and his sons, and restored the kingdom either to Oeneus himself, or to his son-in-law Andraemon, as Oeneus was too old. Diomedes took his grandfather with him to Peloponnesus, but some of the sons who lay in ambush, slew the old man, near the altar of Telephus in Arcadia. Diomedes buried his body at Argos, and named the town of Oenoe after him (Apollod. i. 8.5; Anton. Lib. 37; Diod. iv. 65). According to others Oeneus lived to a very old age with Diomedes at Argos, and died a natural death (Paus. ii. 25.2). Homer knows nothing of all this; he merely relates that Oeneus once neglected to sacrifice to Artemis, in consequence of which she sent a monstrous boar into the territory of Calydon, which was hunted by Meleager (Il. ix. 532). The hero Bellerophon was hospitably received by him, and received a costly girdle as a present from him (vi. 216). At the time of the Trojan war the race of Oeneus had become extinct, and hence Thoas, the son of Andraemon, the son-in-law of Oeneus, led the Aetolians against Troy (ii. 638).

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


LYRKIA (Ancient city) ARGOLIS

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