Codices 186-222

Portions © Les Belles Lettres, Paris.

186.  [Conon, Narrations]

I read the Narrations, Conon's little book, an exercise he dedicates to King Archelaos Philopator, which contains fifty narratives drawn together from many ancient sources.

1. In the first, about Midas and the Brigans, how chancing on a treasure he came into great wealth and having become an auditor of Orpheus at the Pierian mountain he reigned over the Brigans with many arts. And how Seilenos was sighted, while Midas was king, near Bremion mountain, at the foot of which his very numerous people were dwelling. And how the animal was brought to him, transformed to human appearance. And how everything, even the food put before him, became gold; and how on account of this he persuaded his subject people to cross the Hellespont from Europe to beyond Mysia and settled the Phrygians, instead of Brigans, renaming them with a small change of the word. Midas had many people reporting to him what was being said and done by his subjects, keeping his kingdom safe from conspiracies and reaching old age. For this reason, he was said to have long ears, and little by little rumor changed long ears into ass's ears, and from mockery in the beginning the story came to be believed as fact.

2. Second the account of Byblis, a child of Miletos, who had a brother Kaunos. They lived in Miletos of Asia, which later the Ionians and those who came with Neleos attacked and settled, but then was occupied by Carians, a large ethnos settled in villages. Helpless love sprang up in Kaunos for his sister Byblis. How, having failed in many efforts he left that land. And when he disappeared, Byblis was seized with infinite grief and she herself left her paternal home. Having wandered through a vast wasteland, she renounced her vain longings, fastened her belt as a noose to a chestnut tree and hanged herself. Where she wept her flowing tears opened a fountain, called Byblis by the locals. Kaunos arrives in Lycia during his wanderings and Pronoe (she was a Naiad) rises from her river and tells him what happened to Byblis, as Eros the judge had foretold, and persuades him to settle down with her on condition of taking up the rule of the country (for he has the hots for her too). Kaunos has a child with Pronoe, Aigialos, who takes over the kingdom when his father dies. He assembled the people, who were living scattered, and built a great and prosperous city on the river, called Kaunos after his father.

3. Third, the island Scheria in the Ionian sea, not far from the mainland and the Keraunian mountains, had the Phaiakians as the first settlers, autochthones, a people who got their name from some king of the locals. Later a segment of the Corinthians settled it and changed the name to Kerkyra, and ruled over the sea around. When Phaiax, who reigned on the island, died, his sons Alkinous and Lokros after quarreling came together again on the basis that Alkinous would be king of Phaiakis, and Lokros would take the heirlooms and part of the ethnos to make a colony. He sailed for Italy and was hosted by Latinus the king of the Italians, who gave him his daughter Laurine in marriage. For this reason the Phaiakians claim the Lokrians in Italy as relatives. Herakles at about that time was driving Geryon's beautiful cows from Erytheia. He arrived and was hosted kindly by Lokros. Latinus came to visit his daughter, saw and fancied the cows and drove them away. Discovering this, Herakles shot with his bow and killed him, and brought back the cows. Lokros, fearing Herakles might suffer something terrible at the hands of Latinus, who was strong in body and spirit, had hastened to the aid of his guest, having put on military gear. Herakles seeing him running and thinking he was someone rushing to support Latinus, loosed a shaft and killed him. After he learned he mourned loudly and conducted the rites for him. And when he had passed from among men he appeared to the people as a ghost and ordered them to establish a city by the tomb of Lokros. And the city keeps the name in honor of Lokros. So this is the third narrative. But why should I recopy these things almost, when much more weighty matters impend?

4. Now then, the fourth narrative talks about Olynthos the city and Strymon, who ruled the Thracians and gave his name to the river formerly known as Eioneus. He had three sons, Brangas and Ressos and Olynthos. Ressos went to fight alongside Priam at Troy and was killed by Diomedes. Olynthos confronted a lion in a hunt and died. Brangas his brother mourned the misfortune greatly and buried Olynthos where he fell. Then coming to Sithonia he built a great and prosperous city which he named Olynthos after the boy.

5. In the fifth he tells the story about Reginos and Eunomos the son of Lokros, the cithara players, and how they were coming to Delphi, the Regians and Lokrians are separated by a river (Alex is the river's name), and though the cicadas of the former are voiceless, Lokris has cicadas that sing. And how Eunomos, when he was competing with Reginos, prevailed over his adversary with the song of a cicada. At that time, harmony was seven-stringed, and when one of the strings broke, a cicada landed on the kithara and filled in the missing part of the music.

6. Sixth, how Mopsos the seer, the son of Apollo, when his mother died inherited the oracle of Apollon in Klaros. Kalchas arrived in Kolophon, wandering after the fall of Troy, just when Mopsos had take over the oracle. They contended with one another for a long time, and Amphimachos king of the Lycians ended their strife. For Mopsos would prevent him from going to war by foretelling his defeat. Kalchas permitted him, indicating victory. He was defeated, and while Mopsos was honored greatly, Kalchas did away with himself.

7. The seventh narrates how Philammon was the son of Philonis, who was born from Heosphoros and Kleoboia in Thorikos of Attika. This Philammon was unnaturally beautiful. One of the nymphs seduced the youth and became pregnant. Ashamed she leaves the Peloponnese and comes to the Akte (shore) where she gives birth to a boy, Thamyris, who when he reached puberty became so accomplished in singing to the cithara that the Scythians made him their king even though he was an interloper. When he competed with the Muses in singing, and prizes were set for the victor, his prize would be marriages with the Muses, whereas if they won they could take whatever they wanted of his. He was defeated and slashed out his eyes.

8. The eighth tells about Proteus the Egyptian seer, whose daughter Theonoe fell in love with Kanobos (the steersman of Menelaus from Troy), unrequited. And how Kanobos, who was handsome and young, was bitten by a viper and his leg rotted when Menelaus was taking Helen away from Egypt and they landed their ship. After a little he died and Menelaus and Helen buried him in Egypt where the city named for him now stands. And the last mouth of the Nile, Kanobos or Kanobic, takes its name from the steersman.

9. The ninth talks about Semiramis, not the wife of Ninos as others say but the daughter. And for one reason, that what others write about Atossa the Assyrian, he ascribes to Semiramis, I cannot say whether he thinks the same woman was called by two names or the things about Semiramis were mistaken. He says that Semiramis having slept with her son whether secretly and unaware or else knowingly, took him openly as her husband and from that, what was disgusting before, having sex with your mother, became good and legal for the Medes and Persians.

10. The tenth, how Sithon the son of Poseidon and Ossa, was king of the Thracian Cherronesos. He had a daughter Pallene with the nymph Mendeis. Since she had many suitors, he made his daughter and his kingdom the prize to the victor in battle against him. So Merops the king of Anthemousia and Periphetes of Mygdonia are killed contending for the marriage. So then Sithon decrees that the suitors will not fight him but each other, with the same prize to the victor. Now Dryas and Klitos compete, and Dryas falls through Pallene's cheating. When this was detected, Sithon was about to condemn Pallene to death, had not Aphrodite by consorting with all the citizens snatched the girl from death. And when the father died Pallene and Klitos inherited the kingdom, and from her the country took the name Pallene.

11. The eleventh tells about the sacrifice for Herakles, which the Lindians make to him with imprecations, and how it began from some Lindian plowman. When Herakles asked for food for his son Hyllos, who, quite young, was accompanying him on the road, he insulted them instead of providing food. Herakles took it badly. Slaughtering one of the oxen he had a feast and gave some to the child. The plowman cursed from afar. And Herakles laughed off the curses, and loudly opined that he had never enjoyed a pleasanter feast then the one with imprecations.

12. The twelfth, about Troos the son of Erichthonios the Dardanian, who reigned over the villages around Ida. With Kallirroe the daughter of Skamandros he had Ilos (whence the name Ilion), Asarakos, and Ganymede, the one Zeus snatched. Asarakos ruled Dardania together with his father, and this was the realm of the Trojans. Ilos, who founded Ilion, defeated in battle the king of the Bebrykes, named Byzos, and raised Ilion up greatly.

13. The 13th recounts the tale of Aithilla, who was the daughter of Laomedon and sister of Priam. Protesilaos took her away from Ilion in his ships along with other captives. After many storms they just landed between Mende and Skione and Protesilaos and all his men went up from the shore to get water. Aithilla told her fellow captives various things, and that if they came with the Greeks to Greece, the ills of Troy would seem like gold to them. She persuaded them to set fire to the ships. So the Greece remained with them in the country, though against their will, and founded a city Skione and lived together.

14. The 14th tells the history of Endymion, how he was the child of Aethnos the son of Zeus and of Protogeneia the daughter of Deukalion. He had two children Eurypyle and Aitolos. The latter left his ancestral rule in the Peloponnese and crossed to the land opposite followed by part of his people. He threw out the Kouretes, settled the land, and caused the land to be called Aitolis rather than Kouretis. Elis, the son of Eurypyle and Poseidon, succeeded to the kingdom when Endymion, his mother's father, died. He gave his name to Elis, the city founded by Endymion.

15. The 15th, about the Pheneates and Demeter and Kore, whom Plouton kidnapped and, evading her mother, took to his underground domain. And how, because the Pheneates showed Demeter the place where the descent took place (a certain chasm in Kyllene), she granted them other good things and never to permit the death of one hundred men of Pheneos in war.

16. The 16th about Promachos and Leukokomas the Knossians (Knossos is a city of Crete). Promachos yearned for the handsome youth Leukokomas, and offered to perform great trials for him full of risk. Promachos undertakes all these in hopes of success, but doesn't win the boy, so he spites Leukokomas by putting the last prize (a celebrated helmet) on another handsome young man while Leukokomas is watching. Unable to bear his jealousy he took a sword and did away with himself.

17. The 17th, how the brothers Dikaios and Syleus, sons of Poseidon, lived near Mt. Pelion in Thessaly. And one of them was indeed just [dikaios], as he was named, while the other was a transgressor and Herakles killed him. Herakles was being hosted by Dikaios, and he fell in love with the daughter of Syleos when he saw her being brought up there, and he took her to wife. When Herakles departed, she died, overcome by love and yearning for him. Herakles returned just in time for the funeral and would have burned himself with her on the pyre, had the others present not managed to prevent him with consoling words. After Herakles went away the locals the locals built up her tomb but called it a shrine of Herakles instead of a funerary monument.

18. The 18th; when the Lokrians fought, since Ajax was a relative of theirs, they used to leave an empty space in the formation, in which Ajax supposedly stationed himself. When they were arrayed in battle against the Krotoniats, Autoleon of Kroton advised that they burst through the gap and surround the enemy. Tormented by a ghost he turned his thigh and was becoming gangrenous, until, in accordance with an oracle, he showed up at the island of Achilles in the Pontus (reached by sailing past the Ister river beyond the Tauric peninsula) and appeased the other heroes and particularly the soul of Ajax the Lokrian. He was healed, and returning from there he conveyed to Stesichoros Helen's command that he sing her a retraction if sight was dear to him. Stesichoros straightaway composed hymns to Helen and recovered his vision.

19. The 19th, how Psamathe the daughter of Krotopos got pregnant by Apollo and because she feared her father she exposed the child, whom she named Linos. The shepherd who received him raised him as his own, and one day the sheepdogs tore him apart. Deeply grieving, she was detected by her father, who sentenced her to death, assuming she had been a harlot and lied about Apollo. Apollo, however, is incense at the killing of his lover and punishes the Argives with plague. To those consulting the oracle on how to be freed of it he responds that they must appease Psamathe and Linos. They honored them in other ways and sent women and girls to mourn Linos. They mixed the laments with entreaties and wept for his fate and their own. And thus the mourning over Linos was distinguished. And from this, by later poets Linos is sung as a counterpoint of any pathos. They named the month Arneion (lamb-month) because Linos was raised together with lambs. And they conduct a sacrifice and Arnis festival, on that day killing all the dogs they find. But not even in this way did the evil abate, until Krotopos in accordance with an oracle left Argos and founded a city in the Megarid. He called it Tripodiskion, and settled there.

20. The 20th, how Theoklos the Chalcidian, taken captive by the Bisaltians (a Thracian ethnos, living across from Pallene), sent secretly to the Chalcidians to betray the Bisaltians. And first they harassed the Bisaltians with a surprise attack, then walled them off. Through the treachery of a cowherd they captured they took the city and expelled the Bisaltians. Violating their treaty they killed the traitor cowherd, which provoked the wrath of the gods. So in accordance with an oracle they heaped up a beautiful tomb for the cowherd and by sacrificing to him as a hero they freed themselves of the evil.

21. The 21st; Dardanos and Iason were the sons of Zeus with Electra the daughter of Atlantis, and they lived on the island of Samothrace. But Iason was struck by lightning while attempting to dishonor a phantasm of Demeter. Dardanos distraught at what happened to his brother crossed over by a raft (there was not yet any use of ships) to the opposite shore, where there was much flat land and Mt. Ida. Then the country was ruled by Teukros the son of a nymph and the river Scamandros, whence the Teukrian inhabitants and Teukria the country. Dardanos comes to terms with him, by which he takes half of it and builds a city Dardania where he disembarked from the raft. Later when Teukros died all the land came under his rule.

22. The 22nd; the lover of a Cretan youth gives him the offspring of a serpent. He nursed and cared for it until the serpent grew large and inspired fear in the locals. They in turn forced the young man to abandon the beast in the desert, and he did so with much weeping. Later, when the young man went out hunting and fell into the hands of pirates, the serpent recognized his voice when he was calling for help and destroyed the pirates, coiling around each of them, while indicating his old feeling for the boy, and was freed of suspicion.

23. The 23rd, how the boy Korythos was born to Alexandros son of Paris and Oinone, whom he married before kidnapping Helen. He excelled his father in beauty. His mother sent him to Helen, arousing the jealousy of Alexandros and plotting something bad against Helen. As usual, Korythos went to Helen, and Alexandros passing into the room and seeing Korythos sitting beside Helen, was inflamed by suspicion and killed him straightaway. After this outrage to her and killing of her son Oinone cursed Alexandros, and prayed (for she was inspired with prophecy and the knowledge of preparing potions) that he would be wounded by the Achaeans and, unable to find treatment, would ask for her. And she went home. Later Alexandros was wounded by Philoctetes in the battle for Troy with the Achaeans. Suffering terribly, he was taken to Mt. Ida in a wagon, and sending ahead a herald asked for Oinone. She insultingly rejected the herald, saying Alexandros should go to Helen instead. And Alexandros died of his wound on the road. She meanwhile, not knowing of his end, had repented and was feeling terrible. Having harvested herbs she was hastening to reach him. How she learned from the herald that he had died and that she killed him, and she killed the herald, smashing his head with a stone for the insult. After draping herself over the dead Alexandros and reproaching their shared daimon, she hanged herself with her belt.

24. The 24th; in Thespeia of Boeotia (a city not far from Helikon) a child was born, Narcissus, very handsome and dismissive of both Eros and lovers. While all the other lovers tried and gave up, Ameinias kept insisting and beseeching. Narcissus did not yield and sent him a sword instead. He did away with himself at Narcissus' doorway, after beseeching the god to avenge him. Narcissus saw his own image and shape reflected in the water of a spring and becomes his own first and only true love, an unnatural one. Finally, at a loss and thinking he was suffering justly for having insulted the love of Ameinias, he did himself in. And from that the Thespians honor and reverence Eros especially, and learned to sacrifice to him both in the common rituals and privately. The locals believe that the narcissus flower first sprang up on that ground where the blood of Narcissus was spilt.

25. The 25th, how Minos the son of Zeus and Europa, who ruled Crete, sailed to Sikania (now called Sicily) with his fleet to search for Daidalos and was killed by the daughters of Kokalos (who reigned over the Sikels). The Cretan force goes to war with the Sikels on account of their king, and is defeated. Retreating, they are driven by a storm to Iapygia, where they settle, become Iapygians instead of Cretans. After a time a certain part of them is driven out of the country during an internal dispute. They get an oracular response that they should settle wherever someone holds out earth and water to them. So they settled Bottiaia, because some children there were playing with figures of bread and other foods they had formed out of clay, and when they asked for bread they gave them the clay loaves instead. Believing the oracle had been fulfilled they asked the king of the Macedonians and got permission to live in the land of the Bottiaians, and though the Bottiaians are Cretans by race they changed their lot and now are Macedonians.

26. The 26th tells how a spectral appearance [phasma, other writers say lover] of Apollo named Karnos was following the Dorians, and Hippotes one of the descendants of Herakles killed it when the Herakleidai were going down into the Peloponnese. When a plague fell upon them in consequence, they consulted the oracle and expelled Hippotes from the camp. The spectre was a seer for the Dorians. The Herakleidai made their descent into the Peloponnese. The outcast Ippotes has a son whom he calls Aletes (vagabond) from the circumstances who grows up and collects a detachment of Dorians and expels the Sisyphids who were kings of Corinth, and the Ionians with them, and resettles the city. And he attacks Attica, when he gets an oracle that he will conquer if keeps his hands off of the Athenian king. When the Athenians learn of the oracle, they persuade Kodros, now 70 years old, to voluntarily sacrifice himself for the fatherland. So changing his gear, to appear as one of the wood-carriers, he gets killed by one of the Dorians. The Dorians afterwards learn this and despairing of victory made peace with the Athenians.

27. The 27th tells about Deukalion, who was ruling Phthiotis, and the great flood in Greece during his time. And about Hellen his son, whom some say was the child of Zeus, who succeeded to the kingdom when Deukalion died, and had three children, of whom Aiolos the first claimed by right to reign over the land, delimiting his realm by two rivers, Asopos and Enipeos, whence the Aiolic race is descended. Doros, the second, took part of the people from his father to emigrate, and built cities under Mt. Parnassos, Boion, Kytinion, Erineos, whence the Dorians. The youngest came to Athens and built the so-called Attic Tetrapolis, and wedded Kreousa the daughter of Erechtheus, and had Achaios and Ion with her. And Achaios having committed involuntary homicide was driven out and came to the Peloponnese, where he built a tetrapolis, whence the Achaians. Ion, when his mother's father died, because of his manly virtue and merit was chosen to rule the Athenians, from which the Athenians began to be called Ionians and all the rest Ionic.

28. The 28th, how Tennes and Hemithea were children of Kyknos, king of the Troad, and Kyknos, when his wife died brought in another woman. She becomes infatuated with Tennes and not getting her way falsely denounces the child, and the father without trial locks Tennes in a chest, along with Hemithea who is grieving for her brother, and throws it in the sea. It floats to an island, and the locals carry off the chest. Tennes and Hemithea take over control of the land, which is renamed Tenedos instead of Leukophrys. Kyknos repents and anchors by the island, and from the ship asks his son to forgive and forget. But he, in order that his father not land on the island, grabs an axe and cuts the anchor ropes of the ship. And from this people invoke the axe of Tennes for any sudden act.

29. The 29th, how the Magnetes, who now inhabit the Magnesia in Asia, first lived around the Peneios river and Mt. Pelion and joined the expedition with the Achaians against Troy, led by Prothoos, and they were called Magnetes. Then the Magnesians who were bringing a tithe from Troy settled at Delphi in accordance with a vow. After time they rose up from the sanctuary and going down to the sea crossed over to Crete. Later they were force to leave Crete. They sailed to Asia and rescued from their plight the newly settled Ionia and Aiolis, fighting alongside them against the attackers. From there they came to where they now are, and built a city which they named Magnesia from their ancient homeland.

30. The 40th about Peithenios the Apolloniate who pastured the sacred flocks of the sun and when sixty wolves tore them to pieces, thinking he had been neglectful, the citizens cut out his eyes. Then the land ceased to bear fruit for the Apolloniates because the god was angry at them, until they propitiated Peithenios by craft, and by two suburbs and a house he picked out, and they escaped the blight. Peithenios was one of the notables, and so were the others with hereditary oversight of the sacred flocks. And Apollonia is a Greek city in Illyria; it lies on the sea and the river Aoos runs through it and flows into the Ionian Sea.

31. The 31st, how Tereus, king of the Thracians near Daulia and the rest of Phokis, took Prokne to wife, the daughter of Pandion who ruled Athens, and how in a mad passion he had sex with Philomela the sister of Prokne against her will, and cut out her tongue fearing the triumph (sic) of her words. She wove a peplos with her sufferings written into the knots. And Prokne learned and retaliated by serving his own offspring for dinner. Tereus learning her defilement of the dinner drove her away and killed her sister with a sword as her accomplice. From there the myth makes Prokne a nightingale and Philomela a swallow, and they sing perpetually of their misfortune. But Tereus as well gets turned into a hoopoe in the myth, and they say these birds never gave up their anger, but hoopoes always chase nightingales and swallows.

32. The 32nd, about Europa the daughter of Phoinix who disappears, and so the father sent his sons to look for their sister, one of whom was Kadmos, and Proteus of Egypt goes with him, fearing the reign of Bousiris. And how, after much wandering and finding nothing they end up in Pallene, and how Proteus hosted Klitos and became his friend (Klitos was a wise and just king of the Sithonians, a Thracian ethnos). Proteus married his daughter Chrysonoe. And when the Bisaltians were driven out of their land by the war Klitos and Proteus fought against them, Proteus ruled over the country. But he had children not like himself but instead crude lawbreakers, whom Herakles, who hated evildoers, killed. And the father heaped a mound of dirt over them and cleansed Herakles (who was polluted by this bloodshed) of the murder.

33. The 33rd, how Demoklos the Delphian had a handsome son named Smikros. He sailed to Miletos in accordance with an oracle, his adolescent son with him. And in his haste to sail away he unknowingly left the thirteen-year-old behind. A goatherd, the son of Eritharses, noticed the despairing Smikros and took him to his father. Eritharses, no less than his son, when he learned Smikros's lineage and misfortune, treated him kindly. How a swan was caught by both of the boys and their strife, and how the spectre of Leukothea told the boys to tell the Milesians to honor her and hold a boys' athletic contest for her, since she delighted in boys' strife. How Smikros married the daughter of a distinguished Milesian and she, when giving birth, saw an image of the sun coming in through her mouth, passing through her stomach, and emerging from her genitals. To the seers the vision was a fine one. She had a son, and called him Branchos because the sun had passed through her bronchia. And this boy was the handsomest of men. Apollo found him working as a shepherd, fell in love, and kissed him, and an altar of Apollo of the Kiss was established there. And Branchos, having had the gift of prophecy breathed into him by Apollo, established himself in the hamlet of Didyma. And up to the present day the oracle of the Branchidai is recognized as the best, after Delphi, of all the Greek oracular sites we know.

34. The 34th, how after the end of Alexandros the son of Paris the children of Priam Helenos and Deiphobos quarreled over who would wed Helen, and Deiphobos prevailed by force and by paying court to the powerful, despite being younger than Helenos. Helenos was unable to bear this outrage and went away to Ida where he calmed down. By the advice of Kalchas the Greeks besieging Troy captured Helenos in an ambush. And partly by threats and partly with gifts, but more because of his anger at the Trojan, Helenos disclosed to them that it was Ilion's destiny to be taken with a wooden horse, and last, when the Achaians took the Palladion of Athena, which fell from Zeus and was the smallest of many. Diomedes and Oydsseus are sent to steal the Palladion, and Diomedes climbs on the wall, standing on the shoulders of Odysseus. But he doesn't pull up Odysseus although he reaches up his hands; he goes to the Palladion and takes it and turns back toward Odysseus. And as they go down through the plain, when Odysseus questions him Diomedes knows the cunning of the man and answers that he didn't take the Palladion Helenos had said but a different one. Then the Palladion moved, by some daimon, and Odysseus understood it was that one, and a little later draws his sword, wanting to kill Diomedes and bring the Palladion to the Achaians himself. But as he is about to strike (there was a moon), Diomedes saw the glint of the sword. Odysseus was prevented from killing him, since he too drew his sword, and reproaching him for cowardice for not wanting to go in front, Diomedes drove him along striking his back with the flat of his sword. From this comes the proverb "Diomedean Necessity" used for everything done unwillingly.

35. The 35th introduces two shepherds grazing under Mt. Lysson in the Ephesian territory who spot a swarm of bees in some deep and inaccessible cave. However, one of them gets into a basket to go down, and well tethered he descends. The one who descends finds honey and also much gold, and filling up the basket three times he called for it to be drawn up. When the gold was finished he shouted that he himself was going to get in, but as he said it the idea of treachery came to him, so he put a stone in the basket instead of himself, and called for it to be drawn up. When it was near the crown, the lifter let go. Then, thinking he had killed the other he went away to some gorge and buried the gold. He then crafted plausible excuses to use with those who asked about the disappeared shepherd. Completely at a loss how to save himself, the shepherd in the cave was commanded by Apollo in a dream to slash his body with a sharp rock and to lie quiet. When he does what is commanded, vultures grabbed onto him as to a corpse with their claws; some to his cloak, others fixing onto his clothing, they lifted up and bore him safe to the hollow below. He came to the archive and told everything. And the Ephesians questioned the plotter and punished him after making him divulge the buried gold. Half the gold they gave to the wronged man, and and other half they allotted to Artemis and Apollo. The rescued shepherd, now very rich, installed an altar of Apollo at the summit of the mountain, and he called it Gypaieus (Vulturian) as a memorial of those who lifted him up together.

36. The 36th, how Philonomos the Spartiate betrayed Lakedaimon to the Dorians and took Amyklai as a gift, which he settles from Imbros and Lemnos. In the third generation there is an uprising against the Dorians in which Amyklai takes part, and collecting some of the Spartiates, with Polis and Delphos as their leaders they sail to Crete. When the fleet sails by, Apodasmos settles Melos, and the race of the Melians here claims the Spartiates as kinsmen. All the rest took Gortyn, no one hindering them, and settled it together with the Cretans living nearby.

37. The 37th, how the island of Thasos got its name from Thasos the brother of Kadmos. For his brother left him there, giving him part of the army. Also how Kadmos, himself very powerful among the Phoenicians, was sent by the king of the Phoenicians after Europa. The Phoenicians were then (the story says) very strong and had destroyed much of Asia and seized the kingship in Egyptian Thebes. Kadmos was sent, not as the Greeks say to look for Europa, who was a child of Phoinix kidnapped by Zeus in the shape of a bull, but plotting domination in Europe, so he contrived the story of searching for a kidnapped sister. The myth of Europa reached the Greeks from this. Sailing around Europe he left his brother Thasos, as mentioned, on the island, and he himself sailed to Boiotia and went inland to what is now called Thebes, which he named from his own fatherland. When the Boiotians united in battle against them, the Phoenicians were defeated. But then they prevailed by means of surprises and ambushes and by the unaccustomed form of their weapons. For helmet and shield were as yet unknown to the Greeks. And Kadmos conquered the land of the Boiotians. Once the survivors fled to their own cities he settled Phoenicians in Thebes and married Harmonia the daugher of Ares and Aphrodite. Due to the surprise of their weapons and ambushes and surprise attacks, they gained the reputation among the Boiotians, of springing up from the ground with their weapons, and they called them Spartous (sown men) from their seeming to sprout up from the place. This is the true account of Kadmos and the founding of Thebes. The other is a myth to charm the hearer.

38. The 38th, how a certain Milesian, when his homeland was threatened by Harpagos the son of Cyrus, went to Tauromenion in Sicily and deposited his gold with a friend there, a banker. He sailed home. Miletos was then subjugated by Cyrus, but suffered nothing else terrible of the things he had suspected. The Milesian came to Tauromenion to take back his deposit. The recipient, however, admitted having taken it but claimed he had given it back. So after much strife and shouting the Milesian challenged the unjust man to swear an oath. The banker devised the following. He hollowed out a fennel stalk like a flute and melting the deposit he poured it into the fennel and sealed it. Going to the oath-taking, he brought it and leaned on it as if it were a cane, on the pretext of a weakness in the legs. As he was about to swear he handed the fennel to the Milesian, who was standing next to him, as if he were going to take it back again immediately after. As he lifted his hands and swore that he had given back the deposit to the depositor, the Milesian in outrage threw down the fennel stalk to leave in disgust, while denouncing human faithlessness. But the fennel broke open, and the sight of the gold made the cunning of the perjury evident to all. So the Milesian got his property back, and the banker, out of shame and the abuse showered upon him by everyone, ended his life with a noose.

39. The 39th; Melanthos was by descent one of the Neleids who ruled in Pylos and Messene from Poseidon. The Herakleidai rose up in war and took the land. He in accordance with an oracle came to Athens and became a citizen, and was among those honored. War arose between the Athenians and Boiotians over Oinoe and it was decided to settle the issue by single combat of the kings. Thymoites who was king of the Athenians feared the struggle, and he gave over the kingdom to anyone willing to run the risk against Xanthos, who ruled the Boiotians. And Melanthos, to gain the kingdom as his prize, undertakes the contest, and the agreement goes foreward. When they come into battle, Melanthos sees the likeness of a beardless man following behind Xanthos. So he shouts that Xanthos is behaving unjustly in violation of the agreement by bringing a helper. Xanthos turns, startled by the accusation, and just then Melanthos launches his spear and kills him, so in one contest the Athenians gain Oinoe and he gains the kingdom. The lineage of the Erechtheids yields to the Melanthids, of whom Kodros was one, from this. The Athenians later in accordance with an oracle founded a sanctuary of Melanthid Dionysos and sacrifice every year, and they make offerings to Zeus Apatourios because the victorious outcome was the result of deception (apate).

40. The 40th story tells the history of Andromeda quite differently from the myth of the Greeks. Two brothers were born, Kepheus and Phineas, and the kingdom of Kefeus is what is later renamed Phoenicia but at the time was called Ioppa, taking its name from Ioppe the seaside city. And the borders of his realm ran from our sea [the Mediterranean] up to the Arabs who live on the Red Sea. Kepheus has a very fair daughter Andromeda, and Phoinix woos her and so does Phineas the brother of Kepheus. Kepheus decides after much calculation on both sides to give her to Phoinix but, by having the suitor kidnap her, conceal that it was intentional. Andromeda was snatched from a desert islet where she was accustomed to go and sacrifice to Aphrodite. When Phoinix kidnapped her in a ship (which was called Ketos [sea monster], whether by chance or because it had a likeness to the animal), Andromeda began screaming, assuming she was being kidnapped without her father's knowledge, and called for help with groans. Perseus the son of Danae by some daimonic chance was sailing by, and at first sight of the girl, was overcome by pity and love. He destroyed the ship Sea Monster and killed those aboard, who were only surprised, not actually turned to stone. And for the Greeks this became the sea monster of the myth and the people turned to stone by the Gorgon's head. So he makes Andromeda his wife and she sails with Perseus to Greece and they live in Argos where he becomes king.

41. The 41st, how the Pelasgians settled Antandros; some say Askanios gave it to them as ransom when he was captured by them in an ambush, and released, hence the name Antandros, because they took the city in exchange for a man (anti andros). Askanios was the son of Aineias, and after the sack of Troy he ruled over Ida. Others say the Pelasgians settled Antandros from the following: Anios was the son of Apollo and Kreousa, and his son was Andros, who settled one of the islands and left it his name. Driven out of there in an revolution, and seeing a place under Ida very similar to Andros, he builds a city there and names it Antandros from the similarity. Since Andros was deserted, people of the Pelasgians settled in it. Also Kyzikos had Pelasgian settlers. For Kyzikos the son of Apollo, who ruled the Pelasgians in Thessaly, and being deposed by the Aiolians along with the Pelasgians, builds cities in the peninsula of Asia giving his name to it. And the realm of Kyzikos, modest at first, grew great, after he married Kleite the daughter of Meropos, who ruled the lands around the Rhyndakos. Iason and his crew tied up the Argo at Kyzikos as they went for the Fleece. When the Pelasgians learned that the ship was Thessalian, still angry at their expulsion they attacked the Argo at night. Iason accidentally killed Kyzikos who was intervening to stop the battle, and other Pelasgians fell. And the Argo sailed for Kolchis. But the Pelasgians were excessively grieved at the death of the king, and entrusted affairs of the city to the powerful among them (there was no child of Kyzikos to succeed him). Later they were removed by the Tyrrhenians, and Tyrrhenians held the peninsula. These were defeated in battle by a group of Milesians, who settled Kyzikos.

42. The 42nd, how Gelon the Sicilian intending to impose a tyranny flattered the commonwealth [demos] of the Himerans and fought on their behalf as much as possible, and the crowd loved him and hastened to give him a bodyguard when he requested it. Stesichoros the Himeran poet suspected that he would attempt a tyranny, and stood up to tell the crowd a parable, a picture of its future plight. A horse in pasture, he said, used to drink from a spring. A deer used to run through the plain trampling the grass and disrupting the flow of water. And the horse, yearning to punish the offender but lacking the speed of foot necessary, called a hunter for help, who readily promised to defend the horse if it would accept a bit and rider. And so it happened, and the deer lay dead, pierced by javelins, and the horse felt enslaved by the hunter. This, he said, he himself feared, O Himerans, lest while still a commonwealth you use Gelon to overcome your enemies and later you end up slaves to Gelon. For the recipient enjoys all power over the giver whenever the giver can no long take it back in the same way he handed it over.

43. The 43rd; the craters of Aitna gushed forth once with a river of fire descending on the country, and the Katanaians (Katane is a Greek city in Sicily) thought their city would be completely destroyed and left as quickly as they could, some of them carrying gold and silver, others whatever would help them in their flight. But Anapias and Amphinomos fled carrying their aged parents on their shoulders instead. The flame caught up with and destroyed all the others, but the fire parted on either side of these ones and the space around them formed an island in the flames. Because of this the Sicilians called that space the land of the pious and set up statues of them there, a memorial of divine and human deeds.

44. The 44th story tells how Leodamas and Phitres quarreled over the kingship of the Milesians, both being of royal lineage. The people being harmed by their conflict after much suffering from their rivalry, judged that he would rule who brought about the greatest benefits for the Milesians. They had two wars then, with the Karystians and the Melians. And Phitres led an army against Melos [or Melia] (for drawing lots that was the war he picked) but came back without results. Leodamas behaved with brilliant courage against the Karystians and took the city by storm and enslaved them. He returned to Miletos and reigned in accordance with the decision. In accordance with an oracle he sent a captive Karystian woman, carrying an infant she was nursing, up to Branchidai along with many other offerings, which made up the tenth of the spoils. Branchos himself then presided over the sanctuary and the oracle that dealt with the captive woman and her son. The boy grew not in the ordinary way but by some divine fortune and took on wisdom beyond his years. Branchos made him the messenger of the oracular pronouncements, naming him Euangelos. When he came to adulthood he inherited the oracle from Branchos and became the beginning of the lineage of the Euangelids among the Milesians.

45. The 45th, how Orpheus, the son of Oiagros and Kalliope, one of the Muses, ruled over the Macedonians and Odrysians and practiced music and particularly singing to the kithara. And (for the Thracians and Macedonians are a muse-loving race) he pleased the crowd outstandingly. He had the repute of having gone into Hades for love of his wife Eurydike, and how he charmed Plouton and Kore with his songs and took his wife as a gift. But he did not benefit from the favor of having her brought back to life, because he forgot his instructions regarding her. He was so wise in charming and enchanting with his songs that beasts and birds and even sticks and stones followed along out of pleasure. He died when the Thracian and Macedonian women tore him apart because he did not give them a share in his rites (orgia), and perhaps for other reasons too. He says that having been made unhappy by a woman he became the enemy of the whole race of women. On fixed days he used to gather with a crowd of armed Thracians and Macedonians in Libethra, in a large building well built for ceremonies. Whenever they went in to conduct their rites they left their weapons outside the doors. The women observed this and seizing the weapons fell upon them in rage at his disrespect, defeating them utterly. They dismembered Orpheus and scattered his limbs in the sea. The country was then hit by a plague, because the women did not pay a penalty, and they received an oracle that they must find and bury the head of Orpheus to obtain relief. And it was found by a fisherman at the outflow of the Melas river, still singing and having suffered nothing from the sea, nor any of the other disfigurements dead bodies suffer, but in the bloom of health and still with living blood despite the long time. They took it and buried it under a great tomb, fencing it around, and it was formerly a hero shrine but then it prevailed as a holy place. For it is honored with the same sacrifices and other rites with which the gods are honored. Entry is completely barred to women.

46. The 46th, how when Troy was besieged Priam sent two sons of Hektor, Oxynios and Skamandros, to Lydia for safety. When Ilion was taken, Aineias the son of Anchises and Aphrodite, escaping the Achaians, first settled Ida, but when Oxynios and Skamandros came from Lydia and claimed the lands around Ilion as their ancestral portion, he took his father Anchises and as many of his fellow refugees as he could and set out toward the sunset in accordance with the injunction of Aphrodite. So he crossed the Hellespont and when he came to the Thermaic gulf Anchises died and he buried him, and he, when the locals asked him to be their king, did not accept. Then he came to the land of Brousias. He charmed everyone he met thanks to the favor of Aphrodite. There, when the cow that had followed him from Ida bellowed (for this was what Aphrodite ordained) he took command of the land the locals gave him and sacrificed the cow to Aphrodite and built the city which then was Aineia from the founder but later by alteration of the name was called Ainos. So this is one account told by the Greeks among many others. The other, which makes him the origin of the Roman race and the founder of Alba, where the oracle permits him to settle when he and his companions have sacrificed and after eating the food then eat the tables, this one is very old and stale.

47. The 47th, how Althaimenes of the lineage of the Herakleidai, the third generation from Temenos, rebelled against his brothers (he was the youngest) and emigrated from the Peloponnese, taking an army of Dorians and some of the Pelasgians. The Athenians were then sending a colony with Neleus and the Kodrides. Similarly the Lakedaimonians were sending out the people of Philonomos, led by Delphos and Polis. Each group asked Althaimenes to join with them, the Dorians to sail to Crete, since it was also Dorian, the Ionians to cross over to Asia with their own kind. It seemed best to him to sail with neither side but, in accordance with an oracle he had been given, to attend to Zeus and the Sun, and from them to ask land to settle. Crete belongs to Zeus, and Rhodes to Helios. Setting forth from the Peloponnnese he approached Crete, and he left behind part of his people, the ones who wanted to settle there. He himself with most of the Dorians sailed to Rhodes. In ancient times an autochthonous people dwelt on Rhodes, ruled by the lineage of the Heliads. The Phoenicians forced them out and held the island. Expelling the Phoenicians, the Carians held it, when they also settled the other islands around the Aegean. The Dorians sailed against them and destroyed the Carian force in a war. They built three cities, Lindos, Ialysos, and Kameiros. So the Dorians who began from Althaimenes ended up here. But the three cities, closing up into one large and prosperous one, gave it the same name as the island, Rhodes.

48. The 48th tells about Romos and Romylos, diverging from other accounts in some things. He says that Amolios plotted to kill his brother Nemetor and made his daughter Ilia the priestess of Hestia so she would not have a child or husband. Ares had sex with her and when their intercourse was over he declared who he was and that she would bear two sons from him and she should be brave. But Amolios put her in prison as she was giving birth, and gave the newborns to a certain shepherd he trusted to kill them. But he who took them did not accept having the pollution on his own hands and cast them loose in a boat to be carried down the Tiber. After a long journey it was caught in the roots of a huge wild fig tree that grew where the bank jutted out. And there the boat dumped the children on the soft, sandy earth of the bank. A wolf that had just given birth came across the boys and straddling them offered her teats when they wailed and reached out their hands. She nursed them, and they relieved the wolf's distress. Phaistylos a shepherd saw this and thought it supernatural. He took the children and raised them as his own. At a later time he meets the shepherd who was to expose them and learns all about the children, and he tells them, now adolescents already, that they are of royal lineage and offspring of Ares, and what their mother and grandfather had suffered. They (both were handsome of appearance and of indomitable strength and brave in daring) immediately grabbed and concealed their daggers and left for Alba. Meeting Amolios, they exacted their punishment, killing him with swords, since it was unexpected and he took no precaution against a plot. They freed their mother from her bonds and were accepted by the crowd and reigned in Alba and the lands around it. When a great crowd of people came to join them, they emigrate from Alba and built a city naming it Rome, meaning having dominance over humanity. There is on display among the Romans as witness of what happened then a sacred wild fig tree by the forum, fenced round by the bronze latticework of the council house, and a hut in the sanctuary of Zeus, a testament to the way of life of Phaistylos, which they preserve by incorporating new sticks and scraps.

49. The 49th, how in Anaphe island (which is beyond Thera island not far from the Lakedaimonians) a sanctuary of Aigletan Apollo has been established in which the locals sacrifice with taunts for the following reason. When Iason was sailing home from the Kolchians after kidnapping Medeia, a blinding storm surrounded them and they were at a loss. After those in the Argo had vowed many things and beseeched him, Apollo lifted his bow over them and dispelled all the fearful things, and a ray of light darted across, and the earth raised up an island from the depths. They came to shore there, and since it was seen by the sun then for the first time, they called it Anaphe from the circumstances. They founded a shrine of Aigletan Apollo, and they celebrated their unexpected escape from evils with other feasting. Medeia and the women with her, who were a wedding present from Iason, were playing drunkenly, and they mocked the heroes during the all-night feast. The heroes mocked the women in turn. From this, accordingly, the people of Anaphe (for the island became settled) every year have a festival to Aigletan Apollo where they taunt each other in imitation of them.

50. The 50th, how Alexandros the tyrant is killed by Thebe his own wife. She was the daughter of Iason, who was then tyrant of Thessaly, and had three brothers, Tisiphonos, Lykophron, and Pytholaos, by the same mother but their father was Eualkes. This Alexandros of Pherai held them in suspicion and planned to kill them. Knowing that Thebe could not ignore the murder of her half-brothers, he decided to kill her too. While he was sober he hid the plot, but getting drunk (wine was his weakness) he let slip and uncovered it. Thebe learned of the plot. Giving her brothers daggers she urged them to ready themselves for the slaughter. Drowning Alexandros with much wine and putting him to bed she sent the guards from the bedroom on the pretext of using the bath. And she summoned her brothers for the deed. They were losing their nerve, particularly the youngest of them. She made various threats, including that she would wake up Alexandros right there and accuse them of murder, and blackmailed them to take courage. They killed Alexandros as he slept. Thebe called in the chiefs of the guards and partly by threats, partly wooing them with promises, she persuaded them to be complicit in her tyranny. So they permitted her, and she took the power while giving the name and prestige of the tyranny to Tisiphonos the oldest of her brothers.

51. This much from the Narrations of Konon. He is Attic in his diction, graceful and seductive in his syntax and vocabulary, a bit compressed and in many places recondite.

[Conon, Fifty Narrations, surviving as highly compressed one-paragraph summaries in the Bibliotheca (Library) of Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (ca. 810-893), translated from the Greek by Brady Kiesling (corrections solicited!). A version of the Greek text is on-line (3/2016) at, digitized by Marc Szwajcer together with an 18th century French rendering by Abbe Gedoyn. Conon's dedication of his text to Archelaos, the last king of Cappadocia, places the text somewhere between 36 BCE and 17 CE. Conon's versions of the myths are sometimes unique, with an effort to explain away miraculous events. For a scholarly treatment, consult Malcolm Brown, The Narratives of Konon: Text, Translation and Commentary of the Diegeseis (Beitr GE Zur Altertumskunde, 2003).]


188.  [Alexander of Mindos, Collection of Marvels -- Protagoras, Universal Geography]

Read Alexander 1, A collection of marvels.  He relates in this books a number of prodigious and unbelievable things, but he lists first other authors who have reported these facts before him and who are not without renown.  He speaks of animals, of plants of certain countries, of rivers, springs, plants and of other subjects of the same type; he has a clear and concise style and which is not disagreeable

In the same volume, a work of Protagoras 2 entitled Universal Geography in six books.  The first five, without being as serious or exact as the geographers followed, form a description of Asia, Libya and Europe.  The sixth book is in the same vein as the collection of Alexander, because it reports exotic stories which circulate everywhere; he attributes part of this to earlier authors and pretends to have seen himself much no less strange than the rest.  This author equally has a clear and concise style, above all in his sixth book.

1 This refers to Alexander of Mindos, who lived in the first part of the 1st century A.D., and not as has been long believed, Alexander Polyhistor.  He is cited by Ptolemy Chennos (Cod. 190) and Elian used him.  He himself used the Libuka& of King Juba.  The work is lost.

2 Protagoras lived in the second or third century AD.

[Translated from Henry.]

189.  [Sotion, Strange Stories about water -- Nicolas of Damascus, Strange customs -- Acestorides, Urban Fables]

Read Sotion 1, on the strange stories which are given in various places about rivers, springs and lakes.  This little work is itself of the same genre as the sixth book of Protagoras and as the collection of Alexander, except that in this particular book, he only reports marvellous stories about springs and lakes while in the others there are a fair number on other subjects.  The style is close to that of those works.

Likewise I read in the same volume a work of Nicolas 2 dedicated to Herod, king of the Jews, which contains a collection of strange customs.  It agrees precisely with some of the strange stories collected by Alexander and adds a number of details to the legends collected by Conon; all the same, he omits some because he reports them elsewhere.  In style he is equally sober and lacks nothing in clarity, but he is more concise and has more talent than those preceding.

He reports certain facts which, while very strange, are admitted by many people and some others which are not known, but which are not in flagrant opposition to those which are believable, because these are most often customs he assigns to certain peoples, but one can find among them some of which the unreality is evident.  This Nicolas, I think, is Nicolas of Damascus who achieved the peak of his career under Augustus and who was considered as his friend; it is for that reason that the emperor called a type of cake "nicolai" 3, which Nicolas had sent him; he wanted to honour someone who had shown him this courtesy.  This author has also left us, if my memory of past reading is right, a voluminous History of Assyria.

In the same volume, I have also read in four books a work by Acestorides on Urban Fables.  This author appears to me to have had much more ability than many others in the choice of his title.  In fact the histories which others have transmitted, the more moderate among them without comment, the others asserting that these are true, by him in his desire to be accurate are called fables and are assembled as a collection or even a book of legends, as he is happy to call it.

Among these stories, one may find many which are in the collection of Conon and which Apollodore has recounted in his Library, which have been collected by Alexander, dedicated to Augustus by Nicolas, and treated earlier by Protagoras.  But this Acestorides has included many which the others have omitted; indeed in many of the stories handled by himself and others, one can see that the versions diverge.

This author relates in his own writings many facts which are attested in famous accounts.  He is one of those who could demonstrate their truth clearly and it seems that he has entitled them as fables not to criticise the character of their composition, but to emphasise their agreeableness and charm.  But in my opinion one may recognise his wisdom because, in proposing to join together carefully fables and real facts, he avoids blame by the ambiguity of his title.  In styles he resembles likewise the preceding authors.

1 Sotion was a Peripatetic philosopher, of uncertain date.

2 He was born c. 64 BC.  As a young man he was tutor to the children of Antony and Cleopatra; later he became a friend of Augustus, and historiographer for Herod the Great, although he was not himself a Jew.  His principal works were a universal history in 144 books, a life of Augustus, an autobiography and a work on national customs in various countries.  Some fragments of the work are extant.  For the remains of his works see F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (no 90), Berlin (1926) 324-430; esp. vol. 2 A, pp.384-390.  

3 The story is also told by Plutarch, Quaestiones convivales 8.723D and Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 15.652A.  However in these versions dates, not cakes, are involved.

[Translated from Henry.  Some notes from Wilson]

190. [Ptolemy Chennus, New History]

Read Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History, intended for scholarship in six books, a work really useful for those who undertake to attempt erudition in history; it can, in fact, give the method to know in a short time connected elements, whereas a long life would be consumed in the effort of locating them in the books through which they are scattered.  It abounds in extraordinary and badly imagined information; and the peak of absurdity is that he attempts, for certain trivial fables, to explain the reasons for their appearance.

As for the collector who has assembled these stories, he is a somewhat credulous spirit, inclined to boastfulness and who has no other distinction in his language.  He dedicates his work to a certain Tertulla whom he celebrates as his "lady" and whose love for letters and scholarship he praises.  He attacks some of his detractors whom he accuses of having approached the subject in an unhealthy way.  In any case, the majority of his stories which are free of things impossible to believe, offer a knowledge above the ordinary, but which is not unpleasing. 

The first book contains a story on the death of Sophocles and, before this, one on that of Protesilas.  Then comes that of Heracles, who killed himself by fire because he was unable at the age of fifty to draw his bow (?) ; a story about Croesus saved from the pyre, one on the death of Achilles, and on the courtesan Lais, who choked on an olive-stone.  In treating each of these subjects, he pretends that his detractors have committed errors when they learned them and passed them on.

He then recounts concerning king Alexander that when he saw at Ephesus a picture which represented Palamedes assassinated by a ruse, he was troubled because the victim resembled Aristonicus, the partner of Alexander when playing ball-games; such was in fact the character of Alexander, full of goodwill and kindness for his companions.  He then pretends that the sense of the passage discussed by Euphorion in his Hyacinth, "Only Cocytus washed the wounds of Adonis", was as follows: Cocytus was the name of a pupil to whom Chiron had taught medicine and who cared for Adonis when he was wounded by the wild boar.

He says that the person in the first book of Herodotus' Histories who was killed by Adrastus, son of Gordias, was called Agathon and that he was killed in the course of a quarrel about a quail. He says that Cadmus and Harmonius were changed into lions and that Tiresias underwent seven metamorphoses, and he explains why the Cretans call him daughter of Phorbas.  Erymanthos, son of Apollo, was punished because eh had seen Aphrodite after her union with Adonis and Apollo, irritated, changed himself into a wild boar and killed Adonis by striking through his defenses.

He explains why the poet made doves the servants of the gods at their meals, and he reports what king Alexander and Aristotle said to each other above; he speaks also of Homer and the doves.  He says that the poet Epicharmus was descended from Achilles, son of Peleus.  Homer calls Patroclus the first horseman because he learned from Poseidon, who loved him, the art of riding horses.

Odysseus was first called "Outis" because he had large ears, but, he says, during a day of rain his mother who carried him was unable to stop him lying down at the side of the road and that is the reason why he was given the name of Odysseus. 

An Arcadian named Peritanos committed adultery with Helen when she lived with Alexander in Arcadia; Alexander, to punish him for this adultery emasculated him and it is since then that the Arcadians call eunuchs "peritanoi".

Aristonicus of Tarentum said that Achilles, when he lived among the young girls at the house of Lycomedes, was called Cercysera; he was also called Issa and Pyrrha and Aspetos and Prometheus.  Botryas of Mindos says that all the children of Niobe were killed by Apollo.  The father of Odysseus gave him a monitor caled Muiscos, a Cephallenian, to accompany him.  Achilles was also accompanied by a monitor called Noemon, of Carthaginian origin, and Patrocles had Eudorus.  And Antipater of Acanthe says that Dares, who wrote the Iliad before Homer, was the monitor of Hector and got him to promise not  to kill the companion of Achilles.  He says that the monitor of Protesilas was Dardanus, of Thessalian origin, and that Antilochus Chalcon was appointed rider and monitor by his father, Nestor.  These are the subjects treated in the first book.

The second treats of Heracles who after his spell of madness was cured with hellebore by Anticyreus who had discovered the remedy for this in Phocidus, where it was abundant; others each give a different version of this cure.  He says that Nestor was loved by Heracles; that it was not Philoctetes but the Trachinian Morsimos who lit the pyre of Heracles;  that Heracles, after the Nemean lion had bitten off one of his fingers had only nine and that there exists a tomb erected for this detached finger; other authors say that he lost his finger following a blow by a dart of a stingray and one can see at Sparta a stone lion erected on the tomb of the finger and which is the symbol of the power of the hero.  It is since then that stone lions have likewise been erected on the tombs of other important people; other authors give different explications of the lion statues.  From the pyre of Heracles a swarm of locusts flew out which ravaged the countryside like a plague before they were destroyed.

It was Aphrodite who, because of Adonis whom both she and Heracles loved, taught Nessus the centaur the trap with which to snare Heracles.  Nireus of Syme, who was loved by Heracles, helped him to beat down the lion of Helicon; others say that Nireus was the son of Heracles.

Who are the Charites referred to by the poet to whom he compared the hair of Euphorbus?  Heracles, says the author, was called Nilos at his birth; then, when he saved Hera in killing the nameless giant with the fiery breath who attacked her, he changed his name because he had escaped the danger of Hera.  Abderos, beloved of Heracles, was killed by Theseus when he came to announce the episode of the pyre.

Aristonicus of Tarentum says that the middle head of the hydra was of gold.  Alexander of Mindos says that a serpent born of earth fought with Heracles against the Nemean lion; fed by Heracles, it accompagnied him to Thebes and stayed in a tent; it was this that ate small sparrows and was changed to stone.

The Argo was constructed by Heracles on Ossa in Thessaly; her name was given because of Argos, son of Jason, who was loved by Heracles; it is becase of him that he undertook the voyage with Jason to Scythia.  He recounts that Hera who fought on the side of Geryon was wounded on her right by Heracles and all that followed him.  Corythos, an Iberian, who was also beloved of Heracles, was the first to manufacture a helmet; it is from this, says the author, that this piece of armour takes its name.

The tomb which passes for that of Zeus in Crete is that of Olympos of Crete, who received Zeus son of Cronos, raised him and taught divine things to him; but Zeus, he says, struck down his foster-parent and master because he had pushed the giants to attack him in his turn; but when he had struck, before his body he was full of remorse and, since he could appease his sorrow in no other way, he gave his own name to the tomb of his victim.

Of which author of verse did Alexander son of Philip say: "Proteus, well, drink wine now that you have eaten human flesh"?   And he spoke justly of Proteus.  Which song was Alexander accustomed to sing and whose were the words?  On who did the same Alexander son of Philip write a funeral chant?  Such are the chapters of the second book.

The third is devoted to Hyllos son of Heracles; he had a little horn on the right side of his face and Epopeus of Sicyon seized it after having killed Hyllos in single combat; he filled it with water of the Styx and became king of the country.  Concerning the water of the Styx in Arcadia he recounts the following: while Demeter was mourning for her daughter, Poseidon intruded on her sorrow and she in anger metamorphosed into a mare; she arrived at a fountain in this form and detesting it she made the water black.

Hecale and all those who took this name.  Alexander's father was not Philip but a man called Draco and of Arcadian origina; this was the origin of the legend of the serpent.  He speaks of Ptolemy's dog; it fought by the side of its master; it was opened when it died and found to have a hairy heart; it was of the Molossian race and was called Briareus.

This concerns Polydamas.  What do these words of the poet mean: "Daughter of Pandareus, 'la chanteuse verdière'...(?)", etc?  He speaks of the Palladium which Diomedes and Odysseus went together to steal, of the reed which repeated that Midas had the ears of an ass, of the acestalian birds which were sought in Stesichorus, of the raft of Gigo which is at the edge of the Ocean, which can only be moved with an asphodel and remains immovable by force.  Rhopalus was the son of Heracles; the same day, he rendered to his father the honours due to a hero and sacrificed to  him as a god.  Ampbiarus received this name because the parents of his mother had both prayed that she would give birth without grief.

Who wrote the hymn which is chanted at Thebes in honour of Heracles and where he is called son of Zeus and Hera?  Then those who composed hymns in different cities are discussed.  He says that the poet Philosthephanos of Mantinea never used a coat since he was born and that Matris the Theban, an author of hymns, lived all his life on myrtle leaves.  Eupompus of Samos raised, incredible wonder, a wild serpent; it was, it was said, a son to him; it was called Draco and had very piercing sight and could easily see at twenty stades; he placed it in the service of Xerxes for a thousand talents and, sat with him under the golden plane tree it described to him what it saw of the naval combat between the Greeks and barbarians and the exploit of Artemisus.  Plesirrhous the Thessalian, author of hymns, was loved by Herodotus and was his heir; it is he who composed the introduction of the first book of Herodotus of Halicarnassus; the authentic beginning of the Histories of Herodotus is in fact : "Those of the Persians who are knowledgeable say that the Phoenicians were the cause of the conflict".  Polyzelus of Cyrene never laughed, from which his surname of Agelastus.  The man who overrode everyone with his piety was, according to some, Antigonus of Ephesus, according to others Lucias of Hermione, of whom Theophrastus speaks in his letters.  Achilles and Deidamia had two children: Neoptolemus and Oneiros; Oneiros was killed by Orestes, who didn't recognise him, while fighting with him Phocidus for a place to pitch a tent.

The author then deals with coincidence in history.  At the tomb of Amycus there grows a red laurel and those who have tasted it have taken prizes in boxing; Antodoros, who had eaten some, gained thirteen crowns; all the same he was conquered by Dioscorus of Thera in his fourteenth combat, just as Amycus himself, it is said, had fallen to one of the Dioscurides.  Croesus, it is said, was conceived during a festival of Aphrodite, during which the Lydians have a procession for her decorating the goddess with all their wealth. The father of Themistocles sacrificed a bull when the birth of his son was announced; he drank the blood of the victim and died.  Darius, son of Hystapes, exposed by his mother, was fed on mares milk by a horse-guardian, Spargapises, and he became king thanks to the 'hennissement' of a horse.  A servitor of the lyric poet Ibycos, who was called Heracles, was burned alive for conspiring with brigands against his master.

Orestes came into the world during the festival of Demeter Erinys.  Philip as an child attempted in the evenings to strike shooting stars with his arrows and the divine Diognetus predicted that the infant would become master of many peoples; Aster was also the name of one who lost an eye to an arrow that way.  Marsyas the flutist, the one who was flayed, was born during a festival of Apollo, where the skins of all those victims one has flayed are offered to the god.

The author speaks of Tityos, who attempted to ambush Alexander.  The mother of Claudius, while pregnant, desired some of those mushrooms called boletus and ate some, and Claudius died from eating some of the same which had been poisoned.  He speaks of the centaur Lamios who, caught in adultery, was murdered according to some by the eunch Peirithos, according to others by Theseus; such are the numerous effects of coincidence in these stories.  Thus ends the third book.

The fourth recounts that Helen was the first to imagine drawing lots with the fingers and that she won at chance with Alexander; she was the daughter of Aphrodite.  There was born of Helen and Achilles in the fortunate isles a winged child named Euphorion after the fertility of this land; Zeus caught him and with a blow knocked him to earth in the isle of Melos, where he continued the pursuit and changed the nymphs there into frogs because they had given him burial.  Some say that Helen was taken away by Alexander when she hunted on the mount of the Virgin; struck by his beauty, she followed him like a dog.

The author speaks of the embroidered belt which Hera received from Aphrodite and gave to Helen: it was stolen by Helen's servant, Astyanassa and recovered from her by Aphrodite.

What is the significance of what Helen says in Homer: "Each imitating the voice of their spouse"?  Helen was the daughter of Helios and Leda and she was called Leonte; this was, it is said, following the resentment of Aphrodite against Menelaus who had arranged the abduction of Helen: he had promised a hecatomb to Aphrodite as the price of the marriage, and didn't offer it.

The Helen-flower grows in Rhodes; it received its name from her, because it grew under the tree on which Helen hanged herself; those who ate of it inevitably come to quarrel.  It was Helen who was taken by Menelaus and so married him.

Some authors report that Helen, arrived in Scythia Tauris with Menelaus in search of Orestes, was immolated to Artemis with Menelaus by Iphigenia; others say that she was removed during the voyage of the Greeks home by Thetis, metamorphosed into a seal.

It is said that Helen was called by her real name Echo because of her ability to imitate voices; her name of Helen came from the fact that Leda brought her into the world in a marshy place.  The place called Sandalion at Sparta takes its name from the sandal of Helen who fell in this place while Alexander pursued here.  Helen had a daughter by Alexander; they disagreed about the name to hive here; he wanted to call her Alexandra, she wanted to call her Helen; Helen carried her in a 'partie d'osselets' and the infant received the same name as her mother; this daught was killed, it is said, by Hecuba when Troy was taken.

In the time of the Trojan war, there were many celebrated Helens: the daughter of Aegistheus and Clytemnestra that Orestes killed; the one who assisted Aphrodite in her union with Adonis, the daughter of an inhabitant of Epidamnos, whom the people of that town honour under the attributes of Aphrodite because she distributed silver during a famine; the daughter of Faustulus who was the foster-father of Remus and Romulus.  The woman who ate three dogs a day was also called Helen, as well as the sister of Dicearcus, son of Telesinos, and eighteen others of which the Helen before Homer, daughter of the Athenian Museum and who recounted the war of Troy; it is of her, it is said, that Homer obtained the subject of his poem and it is her who had a lamb that could speak two languages; also among them, the daughter of the Aetolian Tityrus: she provoked Achilles to single combat and gave him a head-wound which was not mortal, but it was she who fell under his blows.

Helen the female painter also belongs to the list; she was the daughter of Timon the Egyptian: she painted the battle of Issus at the time when she was at the height of her poweres; the picture was displayed in the temple of Peace under Vespasian.  Archelaus of Cyprus says that there was a Helen of Himera who was the love of the poet Stesichorus; she was the daughter of Micythos; she left Stesichorus and went to live with Bougpalos.  The poet, wishing to defend himself from being a fool, wrote that Helen had left at his own wish, and the story that Stesichorus became blind is false.

The plant "moly" of which Homer speaks; this plant had, it is said, grown from the blood of the giant killed in the isle of Circe; it has a white flower; the ally of Circe who killed the giant was Helios; the combat was hard (mâlos) from which the name of this plant.

Dionysius was loved by Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations.  The author speaks of the  "Taraxippos" of Olympus and of the Myrtilloi, father and son.  Neoptolemus Makiotes was the only one to learn from Aithos, a Delphian, the oracle of 'Phemonoe'.  It is of this Aithos that Herodotus says, in the first book of his Histories: "although I know his name I will not quote  him".

The author speaks of double appellations in Homer; one is that used among the gods, the other current among men; the Xantho is the only river which is a son of Zeus.  He treats of other double names.  There is, he says, in the Tyrrhenian country a tower called Tower of the Sea, of the name of "Sea", a Tyrrhenian poisoner; she worked for Circe and fled from her mistress.  It was to her, says the author, that Odysseus came; with the aid of her drugs, she changed him into a horse and kept him with her until he died of old age.  Thanks to this anecdote, the difficulty of the Homeric text is resolved: "Then the sea will send you the softest of deaths".  Thus ends the fourth book.

It is said in the fifth book that it is reported that it was Jason and not Pollux who fought against Amycus and the place they fought witnesses this by its name, "Spear of Jason", and a spring appears near there which is called Helen.  Thanks to these facts, the sense of an epigram of Crinagoras is clarified.  "And the mares of Proclus will eat the green psalacanthus", a verse unknown to Callimachus, is a spoof of the comic Eubulus on Dionysius.  The author also deals with the parody of this verse.  As for the "psalacanthus", it's an Egyptian plant which gains health and victory when used to decorate horses.  It is said, on the other hand, that Psalacantha was a nympth of the isle of Icarus who, captured by Dionysius, helped him to obtain Ariane on the condition that he should also belong to her, and Dionysius refused; Psalacantha took herself to Ariane and the irritated god turned her into a plany; then, feeling remorse, he wanted to honour this plant by placing it in the crown of Ariane, who took her place among the celestial constellations.  As for the plant, some say it resembles the 'armoise', others the melilot.

He reports that Athenodorus of Eretria, in the eighth book of his commentaries, says that Thetis and Medea had a dispute in Thessaly as to which was the most beautiful; their judge was Idomeneus, who gave the victory to Thetis; Medea in anger said that the Cretans were always liars and in revenge she made the curse that he would never speak the truth, just as he had lied in his judgement; it is from that, he says, that Cretans pass as liars.  Athenodorus cites as author of this story Antiochus in his second book of Legends of the town.

Ilus, the father of Laomedon, had, he says, a plume of horsehair and, among the sons of Priam, Melanippos and Idaios likewise.  Xanthe and Balios, the horses of Achilles, once belonged to giants and they were the only ones to fight alongside the gods against their brothers.  When Odysseus had a shipwreck close to Thyla in Sicily, the shield of Achilles was thrown ashore near the monument of Ajax; placed next to the monument, it was struck by lightening the next day.

Heracles did not wear the skin of the Nemean lion, but that of a certain Lion, one of the giants killed by Heracles whom he had challenged to single combat.  The dragon which guarded the golden apples was the brother of the Nemean lion.  Irus, who appears in Homer, was a Boetian.  The wife of Candaulus, whose name isn't mentioned in Herodotus, was called Nysai; she acquired double pupils and a very piercing sight when she obtained the stone of the serpent; it was thanks to this gift that she saw Gyges leaving through the door; others say that she was called Tudun, and others Clytia; Abas says that she was called Abro.  The wife's name was, it is said, passed over in silence by Herodotus because Plesirrhous, whom Herodotus loved, was taken with a woman called Nysia and who was of a family of Halicarnassus, and that he hanged himself when he was unsuccesful with her.  It is for this reason that Herodotus does not mention the name of Nysia which was odious to him.

The centaurs who fled from Heracles through Tyrsenia perished of hunger, ensnared by the soft song of the sirens.  Abderos, who was loved by Heracles, was the brother of Patroclus.  Epipole of Carystos, daughter of Traction, hid her sex to go on campaign with the Greeks; denounced by Palamedes, she was stoned by the Greeks.  When Alexander abducted Helen, Menelaus offered a hecatomb to Zeus at Gortyne in Crete.  Palamedes commanded the Greeks in place of Agamemnon, in fact, at his arrival at Aulis, Agamemnon shot with an arrow wild goat sacred to Artemis; the Greeks finding it impossible to set sail, Calchas predicted that the prodigy would cease if Agamemnon sacrified his daughter Iphigenia to Poseidon; when he refused, the angry Greeks removed his command and nominated Palamedes king.

Philoctetes died bitten by a serpent and Alexander was killed by Menelaus with a blow of the spear in his thigh.  After the death of Demetrius of Scepsis, next to his head was found the book of Tellis, and the Divers of Alcmeon were found, it is said, next to the head of Tyronichos of Chalcis; the Violaters of Justice of Eupolis next to the head of Ephialtes and Cratinus, Eunides next to that of Alexander king of Macedon, and the Works and Days of Hesiod next to that of Seleucus Nicator.  And the legislator of Arcadia, Cercidas, ordered that books I and II of the Iliad should be buried with him.  And Pompey the Great never went to war without reading book XI of the Iliad because he was an admirer of Agamemnon.  And the Roman Cicero was beheaded while being carried in his litter where he was reading Euripides Medea.

Diognetus the Cretan boxer, winner in a competition, did not receive the crown but was even attacked by the Eleans because the adversary whom he had defeated and killed was called Heracles like the hero.  This Diognetus is honoured as a hero by the Cretans.  The line of Homer, at the moment where Menelaus is wounded: "You neither, Menelaus, you are not forgotten by the blessed immortals", has been parodied by the pythian god who substituted Menedernus for Menelaus.  During a festival given by the emperor Augustus, the question was asked: "Which verse of Homer was parodied by the oracle, and who is the personage of whom this oracle spoke?"  Menedemus the Elean, son of Bounias, showed to Heracles how to clean the stables of Augias by diverting a river; it is said also that he fought alongside Heracles in his fight with Augias; he was killed and buried in Lepreon close to a pine.  Heracles instituted games in his honour and he fought against Theseus; as the combat was equal, the spectators declared that Theseus was a second Heracles.

Phantasia, a woman of Memphis, daughter of Nicarchus, composed before Homer a tale of the Trojan War and of the adventures of Odysseus.  The books were deposited, it is said, at Memphis; Homer went there and obtained copies from Phanites, the temple scribe, and he composed under their inspiration.  Adonis, having become androgynous, behaved as a man for Aphrodite and as a woman for Apollo.

As a hommage to the river Alpheus, after a victory at Olympia, Heracles called with his name the letter "alpha" which he placed at the head of the alphabet.

Our mythographer, in emitting his twaddle, says that Moses the legislator of the Hebrews was called Alpha because he had a white scab on his body.  Galerius Crassus, who was a military tribune under Tiberius, was called Beta because he liked to eat white beet which the Romans called "betacium".  Horpullis, the courtesan of Cyzicus, was called Gamma and Antenor, author of the History of Crete, was called Delat because he was good and loved his city, because the Cretans called him rightly "Delton".  And Apollonius, who made himself famous in the time of Philopator for his knowledge of astronomy, was called Epsilon because the form of this letter matched the contours of the mooth, in the knowledge of which he was very skilled.  Satyros the friend of Aristarchus was called Zeta because of his love for research and Aesop, it is said, was called Theta by Idmon, his master, because he was of a servile and changing character; indeed slaves are called thetes.  The mother of Cypselos, who was lame, was called Lambda by the god of Delphi. And Democydos says that Pythagoras, who described all the numbers, was designated by the third letter.  Such is the content of the fifth book.

The sixth contains the following chapters.

Achilles, killed by Penthesileus, was resuscitated at the request of his mother Thetis to return to Hades once he had killed Penthesileus.  In the Alexandra which Lycophron wrote: "What sterile nightingale killer of centaurs...", these are the sirens who he called killers of centaurs.  Helenus, son of Priam, was beloved of Apollo and received from him the silver bow with which he wounded Achilles in the hand.

It was with Andromache and her sons that Priam came to beg Achilles for the bones of Hector.  Thetis burned in a secret place the children she had by Peleus; six were born; when she had Achilles, Peleus noticed and tore him from the flames with only a burnt foot and confided him to Chiron.  The latter exhumed the body of the giant Damysos who was buried at Pallene -- Damysos was the fastest of all the giants -- removed the 'astragale' and incorporated it into Achilles' foot using 'ingredients'.  This 'astragale' fell when Achilles was pursued by Apollo and it was thus that Achilles, fallen, was killed.  It is said, on the other hand, that he was called Podarkes by the Poet, because, it is said, Thetis gave the newborn child the wings of Arce and Podarkes means that his feet had the wings of Arce.  And Arce was the daughter of Thaumas and her sister was Iris; both had wings, but, during the struggle of the gods against the titans, Arce flew out of the camp of the gods and joined the titans.  After the victory Zeus removed her wings before throwing her into Tartarus and, when he came to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, he brought these wings as a gift for Thetis.  Peleus, it is said, received on the occasion of his marriage a sword from Hephaestus, from Aphrodite a piece of jewelry on which was engraved a Love, from Poseidon some horses, Xanthe and Balios, from Hera a 'chlamyde', from Athena a flute, from Nereus a basket of the salt called 'divine; and which has an irresistable virtue for the appetite, the taste of food and their digestion, whence the expression "...she poured the divine salt".

The author speaks of the Achilles son of the earth and of all the Achilles who have been celebrated since Trojan times; it is this son of the earth who, when Hera fled from the union with Zeus, received her in his cave and persuaded her to marry Zeus, and it is said that this was the first marriage of Zeus and Hero, and Zeus promised Achilles that he would make famouse all who bore his namel it is for that reason that Achilles son of Thetis is famous.  The master of Chiron was called Achilles and it of him that the name came which Chiron gave to the son of Peleus.  The promoter of ostracism at Athens was called Achilles, this was the son of Lyso; it is said that there was born also a son of Zeus and the Lamia called Achilles; he was of an irresistable beauty and like others was the object of a competition, he carried it than to the judgement of Pan.  Aphrodite was irritated and placed in the heart of Pan the love of Echo and she made him become as ugly and unattractive as he had been beautiful.  And the son of a certain Galates was called Achilles and the author says that he had grey hair from birth; and there are still forty other Achilles who were famous and two among them were dogs and their behaviour as dogs was astonishing.

Priam was beloved by Zeus and received from him the golden vine plant of which he made a gift to Eurypyles, son of Telephos, as the price of his alliance.  Aesop, killed by the people of Delphi, resuscited and fought alongside the Greeks at Thermopylae.  Philoctetes, at Lemnos, was cured by Pylios son of Hephaestus, from whom he learned how to draw the bow; the river Scamander had a son, Melos, who was beautiful; it is said that Hera, Athena and Aphrodite quarrelled on his account; who would have him as a priest; Alexander judged that Aphrodite carried it; it is for this reason the fable of the apple circulates.  Hypermenes, in his History of Chios, says that Homer had a servitor called Skindapsos; he was fined a thousand drachmas by the people of Chios because he hadn't burned the body of his master; and the man who  invented an instrument with the name of this person, the skindapsos, was a man of Eretria, son of the flute-player Poicius.  Such is the sixth book.

In the seventh, it is found that Theodore of Samothrace says that Zeus, after his birth, didn't stop laughing for seven days and that this is the reason why the number seven is considered perfect.  Achilles, because he was saved from the fire that his mother had lit to burn him, was called "saved from fire" and it is because one of his lips was burned that he was called Achilles by his father.  Telemachus was put to death by the Sirens when they learned that he was the son of Odysseus.  Odysseus, in the land of the Tyrrhenians, took part in the flute-playing competition which he won; he played the Fall of Illium by Demodocos.  Stichios the Aetolian, who was beloved of Heracles, was opened and found to have a hairy heart; he had been killed by Heracles himself when, in his madness, he killed his own children and it is said that he was the only one the hero lamented.

Hermes, beloved of Pollux, one of the Dioscurides, made him a gift of Dotor, the Thessalian horse.  Apollo organised funeral games in honour of Python; Hermes contributed to it, like Aphrodite; she won and accepted as prize a zither which she gave as a gift to Alexander.  It is of her that Homer says : "But what could help bring your zither to you..."  In Bacchylides, what is the word attributed to Silenus and to whom did he address it?

The rock of Leucade received its name from Leucos, the companion of Odysseus, who was originally from Zacynthos and who was, says the Poet, killed by Antiphos; this is the person, it is said, who raised the temple of Apollo Leukates.  Thus those who dive from the top of the rock were, it is said, freed from their love and for this reason: after the death of Adonis, Aphrodite, it is said, wandered around searching for this.  She found it in Argos, a town of Cyprus, in the sanctuary of Apollo Erithios and ' l'emporta' after having told Apollo in confidence the secret of her love for Adonis.  And Apollo brought her to the rock of Leucade and ordered her to throw herself from the top of the rock; she did so and was freed from her love.  When she sought the reason of this, Apollo told her, it is said, in his capacity as a soothsayer, he knew that Zeus, always enamoured of Hera, had sat on this rock and been delivered from his love. 

And many others, men and women, suffering from the evil of love, were delivered from their passion in jumping from the top of the rock, such as Artemesa, daughter of Lygdamis, who made war with Persia; enamoured of Dardarnus of Abydos and scorned, she scratched out his  eyes while he slept but as her love increased under the inflence of divine anger, she came to Leucade at the instruction of an oracle, threw herself from the top of the rock, killed herself and was buried.  Hippomedon of Epidamnos, says the author, was enamoured of a young boy of his land and, unable to obtain any success as the boy had a penchant for another, he killed him, then went to Leucade, jumped and killed himself.  And the comic poet Nicostratus, in love with Tetigidaia of Mirina, jumped and was cured of his love.  Maces of Buthrotum was, it is said, surnamed "White rock" because he had been cured of the evils of love after he jumped from the rock four times.

A crowd of other people pass to be relieved in this way.  Boulagoras the Phanagorite, enamoured of the flutist Diodorus, threw himself from the rock and was killed at an advanced age.  Rhodope of Amisene killed herself also in jumping for the love of two twin lads who belonged to the guards of king Antiochus and were called Antiphon and Cyrus.  And Charinus, a iambic poet, was in love with the eunuch Eros, Eupator's butler; trusting the legend of the rock he jumped, broke his leg, and died of pain while making these iambics: 

"To the devil with you, deceptive and murderous rock of Leukos!
Charinus, alas! alas! this iambic muse,
You have turned to cinders by your vain words of hope.
Can Eupator suffer so much for Eros."

And Nireus of Catana, in love with Athena of Athens, came to the rock and jumped and was delivered of his pain.  In jumping he fell into the net of a fishman in which when he was pulled out was also found a box filled with gold.  He went to law with the fisherman for the gold, but Apollo appeared to him in the night in a dream and told him to desist since he should give thanks for his safety and he threatened him; it was not right in addition to try to appropriate gold which belonged to others. 

The pan is, it is said, a sea fish of the whale family and of which the appearance reminds one of Pan; in his body is found a stone, the "asterite" which, exposed to the sun, catches fire; it is useful otherwise to make a charm.  Helen was in possession of this stone, which carried graven on it the image of the pan fish itself, and she used it as a seal.  Such are the chapters of the seventh book of the New History for the use of scholars of Ptolemy Hephaestion.

1  Many of the people and details given may be the invention of Ptolemy Hephaestion (also known as Ptolemy Chennos or Chennus) himself, rather than the product of his research.  According to the Suda, this fantasist lived in the times of Trajan and Hadrian.  For more details, R. HERCHER, Ueber die Glaubwürdigkeit der neuen Geschichte des Ptolemaeus Chennus, Jahrbuch für Kl. Philol., Suppl., Bd. I (1855-6), pp.269-293.

[Translated from Henry]

191.  [St. Basil of Caesarea, The Ascetics]

Read by St. Basil, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, the work called The Ascetics in two books.  The work is useful for all of those who choose the way of piety to attain the benefits of eternity and above all to those who engage in the combat of asceticism in the communities.  It contains, moreover, solutions and brief clarifications for numerous difficulties of the Scriptures, which increase the reputation of the natural ability of the author.

In these writings, thus, appears the natural ability of which the author is accustomed, as well as his quite pure clarity.  All the same, certain problems which he handles are somewhat allusive.  It isn't that the language contains juvenile innovations of vocabulary nor that the construction is obscured by "duplications", and it isn't the presence of any research which is strange and lacking the new ability and smoothness, whether in the familiar manner of the author or the classical language; but, while conserving the qualities which are habitual to him, it is as if he scatters the allusions in places without giving any idea of what is important about it, except where he sacrifices concision. as for the clarity, considering that he represents his work as a summary, he didn't work at this most of the time since he didn't need to.  What often appears from the solutions of his researches is the depth with persuasiveness, and what comes out from it everywhere is the salutary utility for souls.  It isn't only the brevity that destroys the clarity, nor the fact that he didn't arrange the reasoning for his solution in the form of a conclusion; but it is the fact that, in the arrangement of the arguments and in the lack of force and cohesion of the demonstrations, the thought is mislaid.  The cause of these defects is due to the various types of reflection, of which I leave the examination to your informed spirit.

The allusiveness, otherwise, is not continual in these two books; there is not much in the first book, in fact; all the same, in one passage, he treats obscene words with reticence; for the rest, great is his simplicity and his equal purity and also the clarity and, from one end to the other of these two books appears a great simplicity and a great familiarity in the use of words and syntax, as well as a concern to be understood by the vulgar and to come down to their level having their safety in view.

His first book exposes thus the cause and the danger of a very grave divergence of views and of a very great separation between the church of God and between men.  In the second place, that a transgression of all the divine order is punished with a redoutable vigour, and he shows this from the Scriptures.  He treats thirdly of our holy faith, that is to say of our pure and clear doctrine on the thrice-holy Trinity.

The second book exposes briefly so to speak the main traits of the character of a Christian and the very similar picture of those who are called to teach.  Then he develops in a way some rules for ascetisicm in the form of questions and responses, fifty-five of them, then, in a more summary fashion, three-hundred and thirteen other rules.

1 This codex has already been briefly mentioned in codex 144. The work extant under this title does not correspond to this description.

[Translated from Henry, amended slightly from Wilson]

This page has been online since 15th July 2002.

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