Document belonging to the Greek Mythology Link, a web site created by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology
Characters • Places • TopicsImagesBibliographyPDF Editions
AboutCopyright © 1997 Carlos Parada and Maicar Förlag.

Summaries of the Trojan Cycle
Introduction and Definition of terms

9216: Battle scene, mosaic (info n/a). The Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagen.

The so called Epic Cycle is sometimes referred to with the term Epic Fragments since just fragments is all that remain of them. Some of these fragments contain details about the Theban wars (the war of the SEVEN and that of the EPIGONI), others about the prowesses of Heracles 1 and Theseus, others about the origin of the gods, and still others about events related to the Trojan War. The latter, called Trojan Cycle, narrate events that occurred before the war (Cypria), during the war (Aethiopis, Little Iliad, and Sack of Ilium ), and after the war (Returns, and Telegony).

The term epic (derived from Greek épos = word, song) is generally applied to narrative poems which describe the deeds of heroes in war, an astounding process of mutual destruction that periodically and frequently affects mankind. This kind of poetry was composed in early times, being chanted by minstrels during the 'Dark Ages'—before 800 BC—and later written down during the Archaic period—from c. 700 BC). Greek Epic is the earliest surviving form of Greek (and therefore "Western") literature, and precedes lyric poetry, elegy, drama, history, philosophy, mythography, etc.

The word cycle (from Greek kúklos = circle ) is generally applied to any group of poems, tales, or plays revolving about a central theme. Since the legends of the Theban wars and the Trojan War represent two different constellations of events, we may then say that the "Epic Cycle" (epikòs kúklos) contains both a "Theban Cycle" and a "Trojan Cycle".

The poems of the "Trojan Cycle" are not extant but the prose summaries of Proclus' Chrestomathy (or volume of selected passages) are. Proclus has not yet been identified, but scholars believe that he could be either a grammarian of the second century, or else the Neoplatonist philosopher, from ca. AD 412-485. According to A. Severyns (see Bibliography) there are nine manuscripts reproducing the Cypria, but only one (Venetus A) reproducing the rest of the cycle. In addition, Photius (Byzantine scholar and Patriarch of Constantinople in AD 858-67 and 878-86) wrote an outline [1] of Proclus' summaries in his Bibliotheca (or Library); also other authors, such as Athenaeus and Pausanias, have mentioned the Cyclic poems, thus adding details not referred to by Proclus in his Chrestomathy. In certain editions, these fragments are usually appended to Proclus' text (as can be seen in Evelyn-White's translation below) in order to provide a more complete picture of the lost poems.

The manuscript Venetus A containing the text of "the rest" (Cetera), that is, summaries of all poems except the Cypria (Aethiopis, Little Iliad, Sack of Ilium, Returns, and Telegony ) was discovered in 1781 by Jean-Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de Villoison, and a first edition—the editio princeps—including both Cypria and Cetera was published in 1786 by the distinguished hellenist Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812). The Cypria had been discovered by Thomas Tychsen (1758-1834) in a manuscript of the 11th century. [2]

We are often reminded that the Library of Apollodorus—a cardinal mythological source—lacks an account of the Trojan War, and that his Epitome—which indeed narrates events of the Trojan War—was first discovered in 1891. Before this year, additional information about the Trojan War was to be found in scholia to Homer, and in the work of later poets and mythographers such as Hyginus, Quintus Smyrnaeus, Colluthus, Tryphiodorus, and Tzetzes (the latter's Antehomerica, Homerica and Posthomerica became known in 1763).

Works in order of events

Position in the Trojan Cycle

Authorship and dates are uncertain

The Cypria

Before the war

Eleven books ascribed to Stasinus of Cyprus, or to Hegesinus (Hegesias) of (Cyprian) Salamis.

The Iliad

During the war

Homer (fl. ca. 800).

The Aethiopis

Five books by Arctinus of Miletos (fl. ca. 776 BC).

The Little Iliad

Four books by Lesches of Mytilene or Pyrrha (fl. ca. 660 BC), or by Thestorides of Phocaea, or by Cinaethon, or by Diodorus of Erythrae.

The Sack of Ilium

Two books by Arctinus of Miletos (fl. ca. 776 BC), or by Lesches.

The Returns

After the war

Five books by Agias or Hegias of Troezen, or by Eumelus.

The Odyssey

Homer (fl. ca. 800).

The Telegony

Two books by Eugammon of Cyrene (fl. 568 BC).

The term Cyclic poems coventionally excludes both the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, but if these two were combined with the Cyclic poems according to the order of events, we would get the following "Trojan Cycle":

There has also been another division of the material into 'Antehomerica' (Cypria), 'Homerica' (Iliad), and 'Posthomerica' (events after those described in the Iliad). This division honours the name of one author (Homer), but must paradoxically place one of Homer's works (the Odyssey) under the heading 'Posthomerica'.

Below (left column) is Hugh G. Evelyn-White's translation, originally published (1914) in the collection of the Loeb Classical Library (LCL). In each case Proclus' text comes first (the 'Argument'). Then follow a number of shorter references to the Cyclic poems found in other authors, and finally the notes written by Evelyn-White. The names and numbers added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the uniform spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link and have been inserted to facilitate further consultation within this site. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary. Our own 'Additional notes' are in the right column.

The Cypria



Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

The Cypria were eleven books ascribed to Stasinus of Cyprus or to Hegesinus of Salamis (Hegesias), or to Homer (see fr.2). The name of this epic (explains M. Davies) has been thought to derive from Stasinus' place of origin, or else from Aphrodite, who is closely connected with the island of Cyprus. The fragments in Evelyn-White's edition (left column) are in this column referred to with the initials "E-W"; those of the more recent edition by Martin L. West (LCL 2003) are marked "West". For other authors mentioned, see Bibliography below.

Fragment 1. [Argument] Proclus, Chrestomathy, i:
This [
1] is continued by the epic called Cypria which is current is eleven books. Its contents are as follows.
Zeus plans with Themis to bring about the Trojan war. Strife <Eris> arrives while the gods are feasting at the marriage of Peleus and starts a dispute between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite as to which of them is fairest. The three are led by Hermes at the command of Zeus to Alexandrus <Alexander = Paris> [2] on Mount Ida for his decision, and Alexandrus <Paris>, lured by his promised marriage with Helen, decides in favor of Aphrodite.

The reasons why this war was conceived are explained below (E-W frag. 3).
The dispute of the goddesses leads to the Judgement of Paris on Mt. Ida. The first mention of this event is in Hom.Il.24.25-30. The famous apple of Eris appears first in Apd.Ep.3.2, and Hyg.Fab.92 and then in other authors. Apollodorus mentions an inscription on the apple (a dedication to beauty or to the most beautiful) whereas Hyginus says that Eris simply exhorted the fairest to pick the apple up. Whether this apple is golden or not depends on the version.

Then Alexandrus <Paris> builds his ships at Aphrodite's suggestion, and Helenus <1> foretells the future to him, and Aphrodite order Aeneas to sail with him, while Cassandra prophesies as to what will happen afterwards. Alexandrus <Paris> next lands in Lacedaemon and is entertained by the sons of Tyndareus <= the DIOSCURI>, and afterwards by Menelaus in Sparta, where in the course of a feast he gives gifts to Helen.

Dares (8, and 9) mentions the prophecies of Cassandra, and says that those accompanying Paris to Hellas were Polydamas, Deiphobus 1 and Aeneas. Quintus Smyrnaeus (The Fall of Troy 2.41ff.) represents Polydamas (Hector 1 now being dead) as wishing to render Helen back to the Achaeans. In Dares 5-10, the reason for this voyage is to recover Hesione 2, or, this failing, to abduct a woman from Hellas.

After this, Menelaus sets sail for Crete, ordering Helen to furnish the guests with all they require until they depart. Meanwhile, Aphrodite brings Helen and Alexandrus <Paris> together, and they, after their union, put very great treasures on board and sail away by night. Hera stirs up a storm against them and they are carried to Sidon, where Alexandrus <Paris> takes the city. From there he sailed to Troy and celebrated his marriage with Helen.

Menelaus sailed to Crete to perform the obsequies of his mother's father Catreus (Apd.Ep.3.3), who had recently died at Rhodes (Apd.3.2.2; Dio.5.59).

In the meantime Castor and Polydeuces <the DIOSCURI>, while stealing the cattle of Idas <2> and Lynceus <1>, were caught in the act, and Castor <1> was killed by Idas, and Lynceus and Idas by Polydeuces. Zeus gave them immortality every other day.

Of the DIOSCURI Castor 1 was mortal and Polydeuces immortal, but they shared immortality every other day (as we also learn in Apd.3.11.2, Vir.Aen.6.120, and Hyg.Ast.2.22). They are brothers of Helen and Clytaemnestra.

Iris <1> next informs Menelaus of what has happened at his home. Menelaus returns and plans an expedition against Ilium with his brother, and then goes on to Nestor. Nestor in a digression tells him how Epopeus <1> was utterly destroyed after seducing the daughter of Lycus <5?>, and the story of Oedipus, the madness of Heracles <1>, and the story of Theseus and Ariadne. Then they travel over Hellas and gather the leaders, detecting Odysseus when he pretends to be mad, not wishing to join the expedition, by seizing his son Telemachus for punishment at the suggestion of Palamedes.

Epopeus 1, whom Hyginus calls Epaphus 2 (Fabulae 7 and 8) married Antiope 3, daughter of Nycteus 2 (Apd.3.5.5; Pau.2.6.1; Hyg.Fab.7;Prop.1.4.5, 3.15.14), or of the river god Asopus (Pau.2.6.1; Hom.Od.11.260). "Daughter of Lycus" is probably a mistake, but Lycus 5, brother of Nycteus 2, was her uncle. While ruling Thebes, Lycus 5 attacked Sicyon, slew Epopeus 1 and captured Antiope 3, whom he seduced (Apd.3.5.5; Hyg.Fab.7). See also Amphion 1.
On the 'madness' of Odysseus and the trick of Palamedes different versions are told by Apollodorus, Epitome 3.7, and by Hyginus, Fabulae, 95.

All the leaders then meet together at Aulis and sacrifice. The incident of the serpent and the sparrows [3] takes place before them, and Calchas foretells what is going to befall. After this, they put out to sea, and reach Teuthrania and sack it, taking it for Ilium. Telephus comes out to the rescue and kills Thersander <1> the son of Polyneices <Polynices>, and is himself wounded by Achilles. As they put out from Mysia a storm comes on them and scatters them, and Achilles first puts in at Scyros and married Deidameia <Deidamia 1>, the daughter of Lycomedes <1>, and then heals Telephus, who had been led by an oracle to go to Argos, so that he might be their guide on the voyage to Ilium.


The incident of the serpent and the sparrows is related in Hom.Il.2.299ff., Apd.Ep.3.15, Ov.Met.12.11ff., etc.
Thersander 1 was one of the EPIGONI and king of Thebes. According to Hyg.Fab.108 and Vir.Aen.2.61, Thersander 1 was among those who hid inside the WOODEN HORSE at the end of the Trojan War.

When the expedition had mustered a second time at Aulis, Agamemnon, while at the chase, shot a stag and boasted that he surpassed even Artemis. At this the goddess was so angry that she sent stormy winds and prevented them from sailing. Calchas then told them of the anger of the goddess and bade them sacrifice Iphigeneia to Artemis. This they attempt to do, sending to fetch Iphigeneia <Iphigenia> as though for marriage with Achilles. Artemis, however, snatched her away and transported her to the Tauri, making her immortal, and putting a stag in place of the girl upon the altar.

This second expedition implied a considerable delay. Apollodorus counts time as follows:

"So the Greeks returned at that time, and it is said that the war lasted twenty years. For it was in the second year after the rape of Helen that the Greeks, having completed their preparations, set out on the expedition and after their retirement from Mysia to Greece eight years elapsed before they again returned to Argos and came to Aulis." (Epitome, 3.18).

and thereby explains why Helen says to Hector 1 at Troy:

"For this is now the twentieth year from the time when I went from thence and am gone from my native land..." (Hom.Il.24.765).

Next they sail as far as Tenedos: and while they are feasting, Philoctetes is bitten by a snake and is left behind in Lemnos because of the stench of his sore. Here, too, Achilles quarrels with Agamemnon because he is invited late. Then the Greeks tried to land at Ilium, but the Trojans prevent them, and Protesilaus is killed by Hector <1>. Achilles then kills Cycnus <1>, the son of Poseidon, and drives the Trojans back. The Greeks take up their dead and send envoys to the Trojans demanding the surrender of Helen and the treasure with her. The Trojans refusing, they first assault the city, and then go out and lay waste the country and cities round about. After this, Achilles desires to see Helen, and Aphrodite and Thetis contrive a meeting between them. The Achaeans next desire to return home, but are restrained by Achilles, who afterwards drives off the cattle of Aeneas, and sacks Lyrnessus and Pedasus and many of the neighbouring cities, and kills Troilus. Patroclus <1> carries away Lycaon <1> to Lemnos and sells him as a slave, and out of the spoils Achilles receives Briseis as a prize, and Agamemnon Chryseis <3>. Then follows the death of Palamedes, the plan of Zeus to relieve the Trojans by detaching Achilles from the Hellenic confederacy, and a catalogue of the Trojan allies.

Philoctetes' accident, occurred in Tenedos (Apd.Ep.3.27), or in the island of Chryse (Soph.Phi.263ff.), or in Lemnos (Hyg.Fab.102).
For Protesilaus, see comment to fragment 17.
For Palamedes, see comment to fragment 19.
In the Cypria, Zeus plans to detach Achilles in order to relieve the Trojans whereas in the Iliad, the Trojans are relieved for the sake of Achilles.
The catalogue of Trojan allies is in Apd.Ep.3.34ff. See also TROJAN LEADERS.

Tzetzes, Chil. xiii. 638:

Stasinus composed the Cypria which the more part say was Homer's work and by him given to Stasinus as a dowry with money besides.

Scholiast on Homer, Il. i. 5:

"There was a time when the countless tribes of men, though wide-dispersed, oppressed the surface of the deep-bosomed earth, and
Zeus saw it and had pity and in his wise heart resolved to relieve the all-nurturing earth of men by causing the great struggle of the Ilian war, that the load of death might empty the world. And so the heroes were slain in Troy, and the plan of Zeus came to pass."

The scholiast writes: "The story is found in Stasinus, the author of the Cypria, who says:", and then quotes what appears in Evelyn-White's translation (left column). But a fuller version of this scholion is supplied, for example, in Allen's edition (frag. 1) and in the recent West edition (frag. 1). There we learn that Zeus first planned 'the Theban War' (either that of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES or that of the EPIGONI) which destroyed large numbers of men. According to the same scholiast, Zeus' adviser on the Trojan War was Momos [i] (not Themis). Zeus can destroy everyone by thunderbolts or floods, but Momos proposed both the marriage of Thetis to a mortal and the birth of a beautiful daughter (Helen) as instruments of a war conceived to achieve the lightening of the earth. Here the argument of Proclus (see above frag. 1) is not in agreement with the scholiast's account on the Cypria (West, frag. 1). Malcom Davies (p. 35), who does not find Momos as appropriate and adviser to Zeus as Themis, believes that this scholion must have a different source to the Cypria. The phrase "the plan of Zeus came to pass" occurs in Iliad 1.5 as well. One may think that this "plan" refers to the many dead who in the Iliadic proem are already "lightening the earth" as a result of Achilles' wrath, but scholars do not fully agree on this matter (see also J. S. Burgess, p.149).

Volumina Herculan, II. viii. 105:

The author of the Cypria says that Thetis, to please
Hera, avoided union with Zeus, at which he was enraged and swore that she should be the wife of a mortal.


Thetis refused Zeus to please Hera, and consequently the enraged god decided she should be the wife of a mortal man (Peleus). The same idea is found in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.794.

Scholiast on Homer, Il. xvii. 140:
For at the marriage of
Peleus and Thetis, the gods gathered together on Pelion to feast and brought Peleus gifts. Cheiron <Chiron> gave him a stout ashen shaft which he had cut for a spear, and
Athena, it is said, polished it, and Hephaestus fitted it with a head. The story is given by the author of the Cypria.

Athenaeus, xv. 682 D, F:
The author of the Cypria, whether Hegesias or Stasinus, mentions flowers used for garlands. The poet, whoever he was, writes as follows in his first book: "She clothed herself with garments which the Graces
<CHARITES> and Hours <HORAE> had made for her and dyed in flowers of spring—such flowers as the Seasons wear—in crocus and hyacinth and flourishing violet and the rose's lovely bloom, so sweet and delicious, and heavenly buds, the flowers of the narcissus and lily. In such perfumed garments is
Aphrodite clothed at all seasons. [*Lacuna*] Then laughter-loving Aphrodite and her handmaidens wove sweet-smelling crowns of flowers of the earth and put them upon their heads—the bright-coiffed goddesses, the Nymphs and Graces <CHARITES>, and golden Aphrodite too, while they sang sweetly on the mount of many-fountained Ida."

Here is meant Iliad 16.140 (not 17.140).
The ashen spear is mentioned by Homer ad loc. and by Apd.3.13.5.

Clement of Alexandria, Protrept ii. 30. 5:

<1> was mortal, and the fate of death was destined for him; but Polydeuces, scion of
Ares, was immortal."

"Scion of Ares" figuratively speaking, that is. Castor 1 and Polydeuces (the DIOSCURI) are called sons of Zeus and Leda (Apd.1.8.2). Being more specific, the same source (Apd.3.10.7) tells that Zeus consorted with Leda, and on the same night also Tyndareus consorted with her. She then bore Polydeuces and Helen to Zeus, and Castor 1 and Clytaemnestra to Tyndareus as also Hyginus says (Fabulae 77; see also Hyg.Ast.2.8). This explains why Polydeuces and Helen were immortal whereas Castor 1 and Clytaemnestra were mortal. Polydeuces refused to accept immortality while Castor 1 was dead, and finally shared life and death with his mortal brother (Apd.3.11.2; Vir.Aen.6.120; Hyg.Ast.2.22).

Athenaeus, viii. 334 B:

"And after them she bare a third child,
Helen, a marvel to men. Rich-tressed Nemesis once gave her birth when she had been joined in love with Zeus the king of the gods by harsh violence. For Nemesis tried to escape him and liked not to lie in love with her father Zeus the Son of
Cronos; for shame and indignation vexed her heart: therefore she fled him over the land and fruitless dark water. But Zeus ever pursued and longed in his heart to catch her. Now she took the form of a fish and sped over the waves of the loud-roaring sea, and now over Ocean's stream and the furthest bounds of Earth, and now she sped over the furrowed land, always turning into such dread creatures as the dry land nurtures, that she might escape him."

Several authors say that Helen was daughter of Nemesis, among which Apd.3.10.7, Hyg.Ast.2.8, and Pau.1.33.7ff. Apollodorus says that Nemesis, trying to escape the god, changed herself into a goose, but Zeus conquered her, having assumed the shape of a swan. In the Catalogue of Women E. (66 in E-W), the mother of Helen is "an Oceanid".

Scholiast on Euripides, Andr. 898:

The writer [
4] of the Cyprian histories says that (Helen's third child was) Pleisthenes <Plisthenes 3> and that she took him with her to Cyprus, and that the child she bore Alexandrus <Paris> was Aganus.

If Plisthenes 3 is the third child, then Aganus must be the second, and Hermione the first. Plisthenes 3 should be Helen's child by Menelaus. After the Trojan War, Menelaus sailed to Cyprus and other places (Apd.Ep.6.29). According to the Catalogue of Women E. (69 and 70 in E-W), Menelaus was son of Plisthenes 1, son of Atreus (Hyg.Fab.86).

Herodotus, ii. 117:

For it is said in the Cypria that Alexandrus
<Paris> came with
Helen to Ilium from Sparta in three days, enjoying a favorable wind and calm sea.

Herodotus' remark is not in agreement with Proclus' Argument: "Hera
stirs up a storm against them and they are carried to Sidon ..." (see above E-W, frag. 1).

Scholiast on Homer, Il. iii. 242:

Helen had been previously carried off by Theseus, and it was in consequence of this earlier rape that Aphidna, a town in Attica, was sacked and Castor <1> was wounded in the right thigh by Aphidnus <2> who was king at that time. Then the Dioscuri, failing to find Theseus, sacked Athens. The story is in the Cyclic writers.

Aphidnus 2 is said to have adopted the DIOSCURI, who had demanded to be initiated in the mysteries. The privilege could not be granted before they had been adopted (Plu.The.33.2).
Iphigenia could have been the fruit of that abduction. In Pau.2.22.6-7 and Lib.Met.27, she is called daughter of Theseus and Helen.

Plutarch, Thes. 32:
Hereas relates that Alycus was killed by
Theseus himself near Aphidna, and quotes the following verses in evidence: "In spacious Aphidna Theseus slew him in battle long ago for rich-haired Helen's sake." [5]

Alycus was son either of Sciron and Pandion 4's Daughter, or of Sciron and Chariclo 3 (Plu.The.32.5), daughter of Cychreus (Plu.The.10.3), son of Poseidon and Salamis (Dio.4.72.4). Alycus' sister is Endeis, mother of Peleus.

Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. x. 114:

"Straightway Lynceus
<1>, trusting in his swift feet, made for Taygetus. He climbed its highest peak and looked throughout the whole isle of Pelops <1>, son of Tantalus <1>; and soon the glorious hero with his dread eyes saw horse-taming Castor and athlete Polydeuces both hidden within a hollow oak."

Philodemus, On Piety:
(Stasinus?) writes that Castor
<1> was killed with a spear shot by Idas <2> the son of Aphareus <1>.

Lynceus 1, who excelled in sharpness of sight so that he could even see things under ground (Apd.3.10.3; AO.1188) was, soon after this, killed either by Castor 1 (Hyg.Fab.80) or by Polydeuces (Apd.3.11.2).

Philodemus' account coincides with those of Apollodorus and Pindar, who also say that Castor 1 was killed by Idas 2 (Apd.3.11.2; Pin.Nem.10.60). In Ov.Fast.5.709, he is killed by Lynceus 1. In Hyg.Ast.2.22, he dies in Aphidnae (which would preclude the DIOSCURI receiving Paris, as mentioned by Proclus in the Argument), or else when Lynceus 1 and Idas 2 attacked Sparta.

Athenaeus, 35 C:
"Menelaus, know that the gods made wine the best thing for mortal man to scatter cares."

Athenaeus adds immediately after: "The writer of the Cypria, whoever he may be, is the authority for this." And that is why this fragment is included.

Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, Elect. 157:

Either he follows Homer who spoke of the three daughters of Agamemnon, or—like the writer of the Cypria—he makes them four, (distinguishing) Iphigeneia
<Iphigenia> and Iphianassa <1>.

Iphianassa 1 is daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra in Hom.Il.9.145, and Soph.Ele.158.

15. [6]
Contest of Homer and Hesiod:
"So they feasted all day long, taking nothing from their own houses; for Agamemnon, king of men, provided for them."

Louvre Papyrus:

"I never thought to enrage so terribly the stout heart of Achilles, for very well I loved him."

Pausanias, iv. 2. 7:
The poet of the Cypria says that the wife of Protesilaus—who, when the Hellenes reached the Trojan shore, first dared to land—was called Polydora
<3>, and was the daughter of
Meleager, the son of Oeneus <2>.

Protesilaus' wife is Polydora, says Pausanias 4.2.7, following the Cypria. Apollodorus, in Epitome 3.30, calls her Laodamia (these two we record as Polydora 3 and Laodamia 2). Laodamia 2 was daughter of Acastus (Hyg.Fab.104; Apd.Ep.3.30), son of Pelias 1.

Eustathius, 119. 4:

Some relate that Chryseis
<3> was taken from Hypoplacian [
7] Thebes, and that she had not taken refuge there nor gone there to sacrifice to Artemis, as the author of the Cypria states, but was simply a fellow townswoman of Andromache.

Pausanias, x. 31. 2:
I know, because I have read it in the epic Cypria, that
Palamedes was drowned when he had gone out fishing, and that it was
Diomedes <2> and Odysseus who caused his death.

According to Apd.Ep.3.8, 6.8 and Hyg.Fab.105, Palamedes was stoned to death through the machinations of Odysseus: Having taken a prisoner, Odysseus compelled him to write a letter of treasonable purport ostensibly sent by Priam 1 to Palamedes; and having buried gold in the quarters of Palamedes, he dropped the letter in the camp. Agamemnon read the letter, found the gold, and delivered up Palamedes to be stoned as a traitor.

Plato, Euthyphron, 12 A:

"That it is
Zeus who has done this, and brought all these things to pass, you do not like to say; for where fear is, there too is shame."

Plato introduces this quotation with the words:
"What I mean is the opposite of what the poet said, who wrote:"
An scholiast ad loc. remarked: "It is a quotation of Stasinus' Cypria." (West, frag. 29), and that is why this fragment was added to this collection.

Herodian, On Peculiar Diction:

"By him she conceived and bare the Gorgons, fearful monsters who lived in Sarpedon, a rocky island in deep-eddying

This quotation is preceded by the words:
"And Sarpedon in the special sense of the island in Oceanus, where the Gorgons live, as the author of the Cypria says:" (West, frag.30).
For the GORGONS, see Medusa 1.

Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vii. 2. 19:

Again, Stasinus says:
"He is a simple man who kills the father and lets the children live."

NOTES by Evelyn-White:

[1] The preceding part of the Epic Cycle (?).
[2] sc. Paris.
[3] While the Greeks were sacrificing at Aulis, a serpent appeared and devoured eight young birds from their nest and lastly the mother of the brood. This was interpreted by Calchas to mean that the war would swallow up nine full years. Cp. Iliad ii, 299 ff.
[4] i.e. Stasinus (or Hegesias: cp. fr. 6): the phrase "Cyprian histories" is equivalent to "The Cypria".
[5] Cp. Allen "C.R." xxvii. 190.
[6] These two lines possibly belong to the account of the feast given by Agamemnon at Lemnos.
[7] sc. the Asiatic Thebes at the foot of Mt. Placius.


[i] Momos is a child of Nyx (Night) in Hesiod, Theogony 214. This name is translated as 'Blame', 'Mockery', 'Cavil', etc. In one of Aesop's Fables (Babrius 59 = Gibbs 518 = Towsend 252 = Chambry 124), the nature of fault-finder Momos is illustrated thus:

"The story goes that Zeus, Poseidon and Athena were arguing about who could make something truly good. Zeus made the most excellent of all animals, man, while Athena made a house for people to live in, and, when it was his turn, Poseidon made a bull. Momus was selected to judge the competition, for he was still living among the gods at that time. Given that Momus was inclined to dislike them all, he immediately started to criticize the bull for not having eyes under his horns to let him take aim when he gored something; he criticized man for not having been given a window into his heart so that his neighbour could see what he was planning; and he criticized the house because it had not been made with iron wheels at its base, which would have made it possible for the owners of the house to move it from place to place when they went traveling."

Brief summary of The Iliad


Following the Cypria is the Iliad of Homer.

The story begins by describing how Agamemnon dismisses the priest of Apollo who had come to the Achaean camp to ransom his daughter (Chryseis 3). As a result, Apollo comes from heaven "darker than night" and decimates the Achaean army by plague. The calamity makes Agamemnon to yield, but he compensates himself by taking BriseisAchilles' prize of war—for himself. Achilles then, withdraws in anger from the war, and asks his mother Thetis to persuade Zeus to avenge the outrage by granting victory to the Trojans. This she obtains.

Misled by a dream, Agamemnon prepares to fight without Achilles. During a truce Menelaus and Paris meet in single combat, the latter being saved by Aphrodite by a hair's-breadth and taken back to Troy. There follow a love scene between Paris and Helen, and, in the field, the wounding of Menelaus by Pandarus 1, a treacherous action that breaks the truce.

During the ensuing battle Diomedes 2 manages to wound two deities (Aphrodite and Ares), and the Trojans are forced to return to the city, where Hector 1 meets his mother, and his wife and son. As Hector 1 returns to battle, he meets Ajax 1 in combat, but the fight is suspended when night falls. Then follows a truce to cremate the dead.

Next the Achaeans build a wall to protect the ships while in heaven Zeus forbids the gods to interfere in the war. As war resumes, the Trojans are victorious, and spend the night in the open plain. An embassy comes to Achilles, offering gifts if he will return to battle, which he refuses. As several leaders are wounded, the Trojans break through the wall and begin attacking the ships. Against the will of Zeus, who has been beguiled by Hera, Poseidon helps the Achaeans to drive the Trojans back. As Zeus wakes up, the Trojans are able again to threaten the ships. It is then that Achilles agrees to send his men under the command of his friend Patroclus 1, who runs into battle wearing Achilles' armour. Patroclus 1 kills many Trojans, among which Zeus' son Sarpedon 1, but is finally slain by Hector 1.

When these news reach Achilles, he resolves to avenge his friend's death even though his mother warns him that he—by Fate's decree—will be killed immediately after Hector 1's death. A new set of armour for Achilles is made by Hephaestus at Thetis' request.

Being reconciled with Agamemnon, Achilles returns to battle slaughtering Trojans in great numbers, including those who had plunged into the river Scamander to save themselves. The river god—seeing the pollution of the waters—complains, but since Achilles would not stop, the god attempts to drown him by overflowing the banks. Yet the god is forced to yield through the intervention of Hera, who incites Hephaestus to burn the waters.

As the Trojans find themselves shut up in the city, follows the single combat during which Achilles slays Hector 1 before the walls of Troy and outrages his body by tying him by the feet and dragging him behind his chariot.

Then comes the cremation of Patroclus 1, and the funeral games in his honour. As Hector 1's body is still thrown down in front of Achilles' tent, King Priam 1 comes by night to the Achaean camp—led by Hermes—to ransom it. Achilles is moved to pity by the old king, receiving him hospitably into his tent, and the next day surrenders the body. A truce is decreed for the burial ceremony, and the funeral of Hector 1 closes the poem.

The Aethiopis



Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

Five books by Arctinus of Miletos (fl. ca. 776 BC). This epic is called "Aethiopis" because it describes the deeds of the Ethiopian prince Memnon, a newly-arrived Trojan ally.

Fragment 1. [Argument]
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:

The Cypria, described in the preceding book, has its sequel in the Iliad of Homer, which is followed in turn by the five books of the Aethiopis, the work of Arctinus of Miletus. Their contents are as follows. The Amazon Penthesileia
<Penthesilia>, the daughter of
Ares and of Thracian race, comes to aid the Trojans, and after showing great prowess, is killed by Achilles and buried by the Trojans. Achilles then slays Thersites for abusing and reviling him for his supposed love for Penthesileia <Penthesilia>. As a result a dispute arises amongst the Achaeans over the killing of Thersites, and Achilles sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from bloodshed.

Penthesilia's death is described in QS.1.610ff., and mentioned in Hyg.Fab.112 and Try.35. See also Thersites.


Then Memnon, the son of Eos, wearing armour made by Hephaestus, comes to help the Trojans, and Thetis tells her son about Memnon. A battle takes place in which Antilochus is slain by Memnon and Memnon by Achilles. Eos then obtains of Zeus and bestows upon her son immortality; but Achilles routs the Trojans, and, rushing into the city with them, is killed by Paris and Apollo. A great struggle for the body then follows, Aias taking up the body and carrying it to the ships, while Odysseus drives off the Trojans behind. The Achaeans then bury Antilochus and lay out the body of Achilles, while Thetis, arriving with the Muses and her sisters, bewails her son, whom she afterwards catches away from the pyre and transports to the White Island. After this, the Achaeans pile him a cairn and hold games in his honour. Lastly a dispute arises between Odysseus and Aias <Ajax 1> over the arms of Achilles.


Achilles "is killed by Paris and Apollo", as Hector 1 foretells in Hom.Il.22.359, and also the immortal horse (Xanthus 1) says ("by a god and a mortal") in 19.416. Yet we also learn that Thetis had foretold Achilles that he would die by the arrows of Apollo (Hom.Il.21.275ff.), a prophecy that Quintus Smyrnaeus evokes in Fall of Troy 3.95.
Apollo guides Paris' shaft in Ov.Met.12.605, and Vir.Aen.6.56-58. But Hyginus (fabula 107) says that Apollo himself killed Achilles, having taken the form of Paris.
No mention of Paris is made by Sophocles: (Philoctetes 334: "Dead—not by a mortal hand, but by a god's," says Neoptolemus), or by Euripides (Andromache 1108: "I demanded once that the god pay the penalty for my father's death," says Neoptolemus) or by Quintus Smyrnaeus:

"From mortal sight he [Apollo] vanished into cloud,
And cloaked with mist a baleful shaft he shot
Which leapt to
Achilles' ankle..." (Fall of Troy 3.70)

However, Euripides, in Andromache 655, mentions only Paris as the slayer of Achilles, and in his Hecuba, he makes Hecabe 1 say:

" was I that bore Paris, whose fatal shaft laid low the son of Thetis."

Otherwise Achilles is said to have been killed in the temple of Apollo when he was about to meet Polyxena 1 (Hyg.Fab.110, Dictys 4.11, Dares 34, etc.) with a view to marrying her.

Scholiast on Homer, Il. xxiv. 804:

Some read: "Thus they performed the burial of
Hector <1>. Then came the Amazon, the daughter of great-souled Ares the slayer of men."

"The Amazon" is Penthesilia. See AMAZONS, Thersites, etc.

Scholiast on Pindar, Isth. iii. 53:

The author of the Aethiopis says that Aias
<Ajax 1> killed himself about dawn.

For the death of Ajax 1, see for example Soph.Aj.815ff.; Hyg.Fab.242; Eur.Hel.96; Pin.Nem.7.26; Pin.Isth.4.35; QS.5.482; Pau.3.19.12.


The Little Iliad

Little Iliad


Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

Four books by Lesches of Mytilene (fl. ca. 660 BC).

Fragment 1. [Argument]
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:

Next comes the Little Iliad in four books by Lesches of Mitylene: its contents are as follows. The adjudging of the arms of
Achilles takes place, and Odysseus, by the contriving of Athena, gains them. Aias <Ajax 1> then becomes mad and destroys the herd of the Achaeans and kills himself. Next Odysseus lies in wait and catches Helenus <1>, who prophesies as to the taking of Troy, and Diomede <Diomedes 2> accordingly brings Philoctetes from Lemnos. Philoctetes is healed by Machaon, fights in single combat with Alexandrus <Paris> and kills him: the dead body is outraged by Menelaus, but the Trojans recover and bury it. After this Deiphobus <1> marries Helen, Odysseus brings Neoptolemus from Scyros and gives him his father's arms, and the ghost of Achilles appears to him.

The judgement on the arms is first mentioned in Hom.Od.11.544; for a detailed account see Ov.Met.13.1ff.
For the death of Ajax 1, see above the additional notes to Aethiopis frag. 3.
Philoctetes was brought by Odysseus and Diomedes 2 (Apd.Ep.5.8; Hyg.Fab 102; QS.9.325ff.), or by Odysseus and Neoptolemus (Soph.Phi.). According to Apd.Ep.5.8, it was Podalirius who cured Philoctetes. The single combat between Paris and Philoctetes is described in QS.10-206ff.
Apollodorus says (Ep.5.9) that Helenus 1 and Deiphobus 1 quarrelled as to which of them should marry Helen.
Concerning the fetching of Philoctetes and Neoptolemus, the oracles of Helenus 1, the Palladium, etc., see Conditions to take Troy.

Eurypylus <6> the son of Telephus arrives to aid the Trojans, shows his prowess and is killed by Neoptolemus. The Trojans are now closely beseiged, and Epeius <2>, by Athena's instruction, builds the wooden horse. Odysseus disfigures himself and goes in to Ilium as a spy, and there being recognized by Helen, plots with her for the taking of the city; after killing certain of the Trojans, he returns to the ships. Next he carries the Palladium out of Troy with help of Diomedes <2>. Then after putting their best men in the wooden horse and burning their huts, the main body of the Hellenes sail to Tenedos. The Trojans, supposing their troubles over, destroy a part of their city wall and take the wooden horse into their city and feast as though they had conquered the Hellenes.

The arrival of Eurypylus 6 is described by Apollodorus (Ep.5.12) and Quintus Smyrnaeus (8.128ff.).
According to Apollodorus (Ep.5.14), the stratagem of the WOODEN HORSE was conceived by Odysseus. This stratagem is mentioned by Homer, Od.4.274ff. where it is related the incident of Helen imitating the voices of the wives of the Achaean chieftains who were inside the fatal device (see also Apd.Ep.5.19, and Try.454ff.). Tryphiodorus says that it was Aphrodite who disclosed to Helen that the Achaeans were inside the WOODEN HORSE.

Pseudo-Herodotus, Life of Homer:

"I sing of Ilium and Dardania, the land of fine horses, wherein the Danai, followers of
Ares, suffered many things."

Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights 1056 and Aristophanes ib.:

The story runs as follows: Aias
<Ajax 1> and
Odysseus were quarrelling as to their achievements, says the poet of the Little Iliad, and Nestor advised the Hellenes to send some of their number to go to the foot of the walls and overhear what was said about the valour of the heroes named above. The eavesdroppers heard certain girls disputing, one of them saying that Aias <Ajax 1> was by far a better man than Odysseus and continuing as follows:

"For Aias <Ajax 1> took up and carried out of the strife the hero, Peleus' son: this great Odysseus cared not to do."

To this another replied by Athena's contrivance:

"Why, what is this you say? A thing against reason and untrue! . . . . Even a woman could carry a load once a man had put it on her shoulder; but she could not fight. For she would fail with fear if she should fight."

They quarrel as to their achievements in order to obtain the arms of Achilles. See above additional notes to fragment 1, and Aethiopis frag. 3.

Eustathius, 285. 34:

The writer of the Little Iliad says that Aias
<Ajax 1> was not buried in the usual way [
1], but was simply buried in a coffin, because of the king's anger.


According to Apd.Ep.5.7, Ajax 1 alone of all who fell at Troy was buried in a coffin, his grave beeing at Rhoeteum. He adds that Agamemnon forbade his body to be burnt.

Eustathius on Homer, Il. 326:

The author of the Little Iliad says that
Achilles after putting out to sea from the country of Telephus came to land there: "The storm carried Achilles the son of Peleus to Scyros, and he came into an uneasy harbour there in that same night."


As it is related in the Cypria (fr. 1), see above.

Scholiast on Pindar, Nem. vi. 85:

"About the spear-shaft was a hoop of flashing gold, and a point was fitted to it at either end."

Scholiast on Euripides ,Troades, 822:

"... the vine which the son of
Cronos gave him as a recompense for his son. It bloomed richly with soft leaves of gold and grape clusters; Hephaestus wrought it and gave it to his father Zeus: and he bestowed it on Laomedon <1> as a price for Ganymedes."

Pausanias, iii. 26. 9:

The writer of the epic Little Iliad says that Machaon was killed by Eurypylus
<6>, the son of

Apollodorus, Ep.5.1, says that Machaon was killed by Penthesilia.

Homer, Odyssey iv. 247 and Schol.:

"He disguised himself, and made himself like another person, a beggar, the like of whom was not by the ships of the Achaeans."

The Cyclic poet uses "beggar" as a substantive, and so means to say that when Odysseus had changed his clothes and put on rags, there was no one so good for nothing at the ships as Odysseus.

10. [2]
Plutarch, Moralia, p. 153 F:
And Homer put forward the following verses as Lesches gives them:

"Muse, tell me of those things which neither happened before nor shall be hereafter."

And Hesiod answered:

"But when horses with rattling hoofs wreck chariots, striving for victory about the tomb of Zeus."

And it is said that, because this reply was specially admired, Hesiod won the tripod (at the funeral games of Amphidamas).

Scholiast on Lycophr., 344:

Sinon, as it had been arranged with him, secretly showed a signal-light to the Hellenes. Thus Lesches writes: "It was midnight, and the clear moon was rising."

The attempts to define the month and day of the fall of Troy began with this line ("It was midnight, and the clear moon was rising.") according to John Forsdyke, who writes in his Greece Befor Homer, Ancient Chronology and Mythology:

"That guileless statement was twisted by an exchange of prepositions, ana (up) for epi (on), to mean that a bright moon was rising; and a slight extension of the sense made the bright moon a full moon. The full moon cannot of course rise at midnight, but the time when it comes nearest to doing so, that is to say when a midnight rising comes nearest to the full moon, is said to be in the last lunation before the summer solstice. The Greeks were unable to compute astronomical conditions of this phenomenon, but they identified it empirically as to the day, with a possible variation of one month. The scholiast on the Hecuba of Euripides explains that such a moon rises at midnight on the eighth day from the end of the month and not on any other day. Euripides recognised that fact. Euripides merely makes his Chorus of Trojan Women say, 'In the middle of the night I was destroyed.' A further statement of the scholiast implies that another day, the twelfth of Thargelion, adopted by Hellanicos and others was not derived from lunar observation. The astronomical date is defined at length by Dionysius:

'Troy was taken towards the close of summer, 17 days before the solstice, on the eighth day from the end of the month Thargelion by the Attic calendar. There remained 20 days after the solstice to complete that year.'

The Attic year began at midsummer. The day specified in the Parian Chronicle, the seventh from the end of Thargelion (May-June), is the same as this, the apparent discrepancy being due to the allocation of the same night to different days. The Greek day began at sunset, the Roman day at midnight. The date expressed in modern terms is June 5th, 1209 B.C."

Pausanias, x. 25. 5:

<1> is represented [
3] wounded in the arm just as Lescheos the son of Aeschylinus of Pyrrha describes in his Sack of Ilium where it is said that he was wounded in the battle which the Trojans fought in the night by Admetus <2>, son of Augeias. Lycomedes <2> too is in the picture with a wound in the wrist, and Lescheos says he was so wounded by Agenor <8>...
Pausanias, x. 26. 4:
Lescheos also mentions Astynous
<2>, and here he is, fallen on one knee, while
Neoptolemus strikes him with his sword ...
Pausanias, x. 26. 8:
The same writer says that Helicaon
<1> was wounded in the night-battle, but was recognised by
Odysseus and by him conducted alive out of the fight ...
Pausanias, x. 27. 1:
Of them [
4], Lescheos says that Eion <Eioneus 4> was killed by Neoptolemus, and Admetus <2> by Philoctetes ... He also says that Priam <1> was not killed at the hearth of Zeus Herceius, but was dragged away from the altar and destroyed off hand by Neoptolemus at the doors of the house... Lescheos says that Axion <2> was the son of Priam <1> and was slain by Eurypylus <1>, the son of Euaemon <Evaemon 1>. Agenor <8>—according to the same poet—was butchered by Neoptolemus.

For Meges 1 see ACHAEAN LEADERS. For Lycomedes 2 see ACHAEANS. For Admetus 2, Agenor 8, Astynous 2, Helicaon 1, Eioneus 4 and Axion 2, see TROJANS.

Aristophanes, Lysistrata 155 and Schol.:

Menelaus at least, when he caught a glimpse somehow of the breasts of Helen unclad, cast away his sword, methinks." Lesches the Pyrrhaean also has the same account in his Little Iliad.

Pausanias, x. 25. 8:
Concerning Aethra
<2> Lesches relates that when Ilium was taken she stole out of the city and came to the Hellenic camp, where she was recognised by the sons of
Theseus; and that Demophon <1> asked her of Agamemnon. Agamemnon wished to grant him this favor, but he would not do so until Helen consented. And when he sent a herald, Helen granted his request.

Scholiast on Lycophron Alexandra, 1268:

"Then the bright son of bold
Achilles led the wife of Hector <1> to the hollow ships; but her son he snatched from the bosom of his rich-haired nurse and seized him by the foot and cast him from a tower. So when he had fallen bloody death and hard fate seized on Astyanax <2>. And Neoptolemus chose out Andromache, Hector's <1> well-girded wife, and the chiefs of all the Achaeans gave her to him to hold requiting him with a welcome prize. And he put Aeneas [5], the famous son of horse-taming Anchises <1>, on board his sea-faring ships, a prize surpassing those of all the Danaans."

NOTES by Evelyn-White:
[1] sc. after cremation.
[2] This fragment comes from a version of the Contest of Homer and Hesiod widely different from that now extant. The words "as Lesches gives them (says)" seem to indicate that the verse and a half assigned to Homer came from the Little Iliad. It is possible they may have introduced some unusually striking incident, such as the actual Fall of Troy.
[3] i.e. in the paintings by Polygnotus at Delphi.
[4] i.e. the dead bodies in the picture.
[5] According to this version Aeneas was taken to Pharsalia. Better known are the Homeric account (according to which Aeneas founded a new dynasty at Troy), and the legends which make him seek a new home in Italy.

The Sack of Ilium

Sack of Ilium


Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

Two books by Arctinus of Miletos (fl. ca. 776 BC).

Fragment 1. [Argument]
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:

Next come two books of the Sack of Ilium, by Arctinus of Miletus with the following contents. The Trojans were suspicious of the
wooden horse and standing round it debated what they ought to do. Some thought they ought to hurl it down from the rocks, others to burn it up, while others said they ought to dedicate it to Athena. At last this third opinion prevailed. Then they turned to mirth and feasting believing the war was at an end. But at this very time two serpents appeared and destroyed Laocoon <2> and one of his two sons, a portent which so alarmed the followers of Aeneas that they withdrew to Ida. Sinon then raised the fire-signal to the Achaeans, having previously got into the city by pretence. The Greeks then sailed in from Tenedos, and those in the wooden horse came our and fell upon their enemies, killing many and storming the city. Neoptolemus kills Priam <1> who had fled to the altar of Zeus Herceius [1]; Menelaus finds Helen and takes her to the ships, after killing Deiphobus <1>; and Aias <Ajax 2> the son of Ileus <Oileus 1>, while trying to drag Cassandra away by force, tears away with her the image of Athena. At this the Greeks are so enraged that they determine to stone Aias <Ajax 2>, who only escapes from the danger threatening him by taking refuge at the altar of Athena. The Greeks, after burning the city, sacrifice Polyxena <1> at the tomb of Achilles: Odysseus murders Astyanax <2>; Neoptolemus takes Andromache as his prize, and the remaining spoils are divided. Demophon <1> and Acamas <1> find Aethra <2> and take her with them. Lastly the Greeks sail away and Athena plans to destroy them on the high seas.

Cassandra said that there was an armed force inside the WOODEN HORSE, being confirmed by Laocoon 2 (Apd.Ep.5.17). No one believes Cassandra, and Laocoon 2 or his sons (or all of them) are killed by two serpents (Apd.Ep.5.18, Hyg.Fab.135, QS.12.444ff., Vir.Aen.2.201ff., etc.).
In Vir.Aen.2.256, it is Sinon who opens the WOODEN HORSE, letting the hidden warriors come out. The firs to come out was Echion 4, who was killed by leaping from the WOODEN HORSE; then the rest let themselves down by a rope (Apd.Ep.5.20).
Little Astyanax 2 was thrown from the battlements at Troy by the Achaeans (Apd.Ep.5.23, Ov.Met.13.415, Pau.10.25.9, Hyg.Fab.109, Eur.And.10, Eur.Tro.725ff, Eur.Tro.1121, QS.13.251), or thrown down from a tower by Neoptolemus (Little Iliad, fr. 14), or murdered by Odysseus, as the Sack of Ilium and Tryphiodorus 645 say.
For the sack of Troy see also Dictys' version at The Last Days of Troy.

Dionysus of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities. i. 68:

According to Arctinus, one
Palladium was given to Dardanus <1> by Zeus, and this was in Ilium until the city was taken. It was hidden in a secret place, and a copy was made resembling the original in all points and set up for all to see, in order to deceive those who might have designs against it. This copy the Achaeans took as a result of their plots.

See Palladium.

Scholiast on Euripides Andromache 10:

The Cyclic poet who composed the Sack says that Astyanax
<2> was also hurled from the city wall.

See above, fr. 1.

Scholiast on Euripides
Troades 31:
For the followers of Acamas
<1> and Demophon <1> took no share—it is said—of the spoils, but only Aethra <2>, for whose sake, indeed, they came to Ilium with Menestheus <1> to lead them. Lysimachus, however, says that the author of the Sack writes as follows:

"The lord Agamemnon gave gifts to the Sons of Theseus and to bold Menestheus <1>, shepherd of hosts."

Eustathius on Iliad, xiii. 515:

Some say that such praise as this [
1] does not apply to physicians generally, but only to Machaon: and some say that he only practised surgery, while Podaleirius <Podalirius> treated sicknesses. Arctinus in the Sack of Ilium seems to be of this opinion when he says:

"For their father the famous Earth-Shaker gave both of them gifts, making each more glorious than the other. To the one he gave hands more light to draw or cut out missiles from the flesh and to heal all kinds of wounds; but in the heart of the other he put full and perfect knowledge to tell hidden diseases and cure desperate sicknesses. It was he who first noticed Aias' <Ajax 1> flashing eyes and clouded mind when he was enraged."


This fragment is recorded as "Scholiast on Iliad" (fr. 2) in West's edition (LCL 2003). It does not appear in G. Kinkel (EGF, 1877).
Machaon and Podalirius are, in all other accounts, sons of Asclepius, and not of "the Earth-Shaker" (Poseidon).

Diomedes in Gramm. Lat. i. 477:

"Iambus stood a little while astride with foot advanced, that so his strained limbs might get power and have a show of ready strength."

NOTES by Evelyn-White:
[1] Zeus is so called because it was customary for an altar dedicated to him to be placed in the forecourt (hérkos) of a house. Cp. Homer, Odyssey xxii. 334-5.
[2] sc. knowledge of both surgery and of drugs.

The Returns



Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

Five books by Agias or Hegias of Troezen.

Fragment 1. [Argument]
Proclus, Chrestomathy:

After the Sack of Ilium follow the Returns in five books by Agias of
Troezen. Their contents are as follows.
Athena causes a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from Troy. Agamemnon then stays on to appease the anger of Athena. Diomedes <2> and Nestor put out to sea and get safely home. After them Menelaus sets out and reaches Egypt with five ships, the rest having been destroyed on the high seas. Those with Calchas, Leontes <Leonteus 1>, and Polypoetes <1> go by land to Colophon and bury Teiresias <Tiresias> who died there. When Agamemnon and his followers were sailing away, the ghost of Achilles appeared and tried to prevent them by foretelling what should befall them. The storm at the rocks called Capherides is then described, with the end of Locrian Aias <Ajax 2>. Neoptolemus, warned by Thetis, journeys overland and, coming into Thrace, meets Odysseus at Maronea, and then finishes the rest of his journey after burying Phoenix <2> who dies on the way. He himself is recognized by Peleus on reaching the Molossi. Then comes the murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, followed by the vengeance of Orestes <2> and Pylades. Finally, Menelaus returns home.

This quarrel is mentioned by Homer, Od.3.130ff., and Apollodorus, Ep.6.1.
The text says that 'Tiresias' dies and is buried, but this is obviously a mistake: the correct version is in Apd.Ep.6.2; see also Strab.14.1.27. Having met a better diviner than himself (Mopsus 2, son of Manto 1, daughter of Tiresias), Calchas dies of a broken heart.
The rocks Capherides, or cape Caphareus, at the southeastern tip of Euboea. The shripwreck suffered by the Achaeans in this place is generally attributed to the vindictive Nauplius 1, father of Palamedes (Hyg.Fab.116, 249; Apd.Ep.6.7, 6.11, 6.15, 6.15a). The infidelities of the Achaean women ( Clytaemnestra and others) were also said to have been provoked by Nauplius 1 (Apd.Ep.6.9, etc.)
Maronea is in the land of the Ciconians or Cicones in Thrace. Maron 1 was a priest of Apollo from Ismarus, a city of the Ciconians which Odysseus pillaged. Maron 1, who provided Odysseus with wine, was the only one that was spared (Apd.Ep.7.2, Hom.Od.9.197).
The death of Ajax 2 is told in Hom.Od.4.499ff., Apd.Ep.6.6, Hyg.Fab.116, QS.14.530ff., etc.).

Argument to Eur. Medea
Medea made Aeson a sweet young boy and stripped his old age from him by her cunning skill, when she had made a brew of many herbs in her golden cauldrons."

In West's edition (fr. 6), this line is included: "About Jason's father Aison the poet of the Returns says:"
It is also visible in Kinkel's edition (fr. 6), but not in Evelyn-White's.

Pausanias, i. 2:

The story goes that
Heracles <1> was besieging Themiscyra on the Thermodon and could not take it; but Antiope <4>, being in love with Theseus who was with Heracles <1> on this expedition, betrayed the place. Hegias gives this account in his poem.

Eustathius, 1796. 45:

The Colophonian author of the Returns says that
Telemachus afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus <3> the son of Circe correspondingly married Penelope.

Similar account in Hyg.Fab.127. See also Apd.Ep.7.16, 7.36-37, Hes.The.1014, Plu.PS.41. In the Telegony (fr. 2), the mother of Telegonus 3 is Calypso 3.

Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vi. 2. 12. 8:

"For gifts beguile men's minds and their deeds as well." [

Pausanias, x. 28. 7:

The poetry of Homer and the Returns—for here too there is an account of
Hades and the terrors there—know of no spirit named Eurynomus <3>.

Eurynomus 3, one of the demons in Hades, eats off all the flesh of the corpses, leaving only the bones.

Athenaeus, 281 B:
The writer of the Return of the Atreidae [
2] says that Tantalus <1> came and lived with the gods, and was permitted to ask for whatever he desired. But the man was so immoderately given to pleasures that he asked for these and for a life like that of the gods. At this Zeus was annoyed, but fulfilled his prayer because of his own promise; but to prevent him from enjoying any of the pleasures provided, and to keep him continually harassed, he hung a stone over his head which prevents him from ever reaching any of the pleasant things near by.

NOTES by Evelyn-White:
[1] Clement attributes this line to Augias: probably Agias is intended.
[2] Identical with the
Returns, in which the Sons of Atreus occupy the most prominent parts.



Brief Synopsis of the Odyssey


The Odyssey of Homer comes after the Returns.

This poem narrates Odysseus' return to Ithaca from Troy, a ten-year voyage. But the story begins when he is on the island of Ogygia, where Calypso 3 has kept him against his will for seven years. The gods feel sorry for him (except Poseidon), and Athena persuades Zeus to promise that Calypso 3 will be ordered to release Odysseus. Meanwhile the disguised Athena persuades Odysseus' son Telemachus to oppose his mother's SUITORS in an assembly. Despite the outrageous behavior of the SUITORS, the assembly achieves nothing. After this Telemachus, following Athena's instructions, travels to Pylos and Sparta, hoping he might hear something about his father's fate. Nestor at Pylos has no news of Odysseus, and Telemachus sets out for Sparta, where Menelaus tells him he had heard that Odysseus was held on Calypso 3's desert island. Meanwhile the SUITORS learn that Telemachus is abroad and conspire to ambush him on his return to Ithaca.

Hermes comes to Calypso 3 and forces her to release her prisoner whereupon she helps Odysseus to build a raft. Odysseus sets sail but Poseidon destroys the raft. He swims for two days and manages to reach the island of the Phaeacians. The princess Nausicaa finds him on the beach and shows him the way to her father's palace, where he is hospitably received. During the evening of the next day, Odysseus reveals his name and relates his misfortunes: the meeting with the Cicones, the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops Polyphemus 2, Aeolus 2, and the destruction of his fleet by the Laestrygonians. Then he relates his meeting with Circe, and his descent to Hades, how he sailed past the SIRENS, Scylla 1, Charybdis, and how his comrades slaughtered the Cattle of Helius (see Charybdis) which caused Zeus to destroy his ship and all men in his crew.

The Phaeacians honour their guest with gifts and send him to his native island, sailing on a miraculous ship, He wakes up on a deserted beach in Ithaca, where Athena briefs him about the conflict awaiting him. The goddes disguises him—turning him into a beggar—and sends him to the hut of Eumaeus 1, his faithful swineherd. Eumaeus 1 welcomes the unknown beggar.

Meanwhile Telemachus, who had been warned by Athena, returns to Ithaca. He escapes the SUITORS' ambush by disembarking in an unexpected beach, and goes to Eumaeus 1. Telemachus recognizes his father, and both start planning the downfall of the SUITORS.

Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, comes to his palace, where he is insulted by the SUITORS. Then Penelope publicly announces that, her son being grown up and her husband missing, she is now ready to marry again.

Penelope does not recognize her husband when the beggar assures her that Odysseus will soon return. But Odysseus' nurse Euryclia recognizes him from a small mark on his thigh as she washes his feet, and he swears her to silence.

Then Penelope invites the SUITORS to a contest with Odysseus' bow. Yet, no one among them can even bend the bow. Then Odysseus gets hold of the bow and, having hit the marks, he begins the slaughter being helped by Telemachus, Eumaeus 1, and Philoetius (another faithful servant). But Penelope prolonged recognition till Odysseus presented a token which only they two knew.

Next Odysseus is recognized by his father, and after that a battle follows against the relatives of the slain SUITORS. Later the rival forces are reconciled and peace is established through the mediation of Athena.

The Telegony



Additional notes

Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White (LCL 1914). The names added between angular brackets are our own editorial insertion. They indicate the spelling used in the pages of the Greek Mythology Link. The numbers between angular brackets correspond to the "numbering of namesakes" used in this site for identifications purposes. Names of characters, places, or peoples that are not linked may be found in the Dictionary.

Two books by Eugammon of Cyrene (fl. 568 BC). The "Telegony" is called after Odysseus' son Telegonus 3.

Fragment 1. [Argument]
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:

After the Returns comes the Odyssey of Homer, and then the Telegony in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the following matters. The
suitors of Penelope are buried by their kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus <2> and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and Agamedes <1> and Augeas then follows. He next sails back to Ithaca and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias <Tiresias>, and then goes to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice <2>, queen of the Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians, led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After the death of Callidice <2> Polypoetes <4>, the son of Odysseus, succeeds to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca. In the meantime Telegonus <3>, while traveling in search of his father, lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly. Telegonus <3>, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe makes them immortal, and Telegonus <3> marries Penelope, and Telemachus Circe.

Polyxenus 2 is counted among the SUITORS OF HELEN and the ACHAEAN LEADERS (see Apd.3.10.8, Hom.Il.2.624, Hyg.Fab.97, Pau.5.3.4).
For the Thesprotian adventure, the death of Odysseus, and other sequels see Apollodorus, Ep.7.34-40.
After ten years of wanderings during which Odysseus longs for Ithaca and Penelope, he leaves home again and marries the Thesprotian queen. The reason for this new absence could be "the Mantinean story" about Penelope's infidelity. According to it (Pausanias 8.12.6), Odysseus accused her of bringing lovers to his home, or (Apd.Ep.7.38) of having been seduced by Antinous 2. He then cast her out, and Penelope went first to Sparta and then to Mantinea (in Arcadia), where she died. Penelope is curiously said to be the mother of Pan by Hermes (Apd.Ep.7.38). Apollodorus goes on to say that Penelope was killed by Odysseus when he learned that she had been seduced by Amphinomus 2. All these rumours might explain Odysseus' second absence.
On his return to Ithaca from Thesprotis, Odysseus finds Poliporthes, whom Penelope had borne to him (Apd.Ep.7.35). But Pausanias (8.12.6), while calling him Ptoliporthes, says that Odysseus found him at his return from Troy. Dictys 6.6. calls him Ptoliporthus and affirms that he is the son of Telemachus and Nausicaa.

Eustathius, 1796. 35:

The author of the Telegony, a Cyrenaean, relates that
Odysseus had by Calypso <3> a son Telegonus <3> or Teledamus <2>, and by Penelope Telemachus and Acusilaus.

Other remarkable accounts related to the Trojan War were composed in later times by ancient authors

The Fall of Troy by Quintus Smyrnaeus (fl. c. AD 400). On line version: The Online Medieval & Classical Library.
This poem starts where the Iliad closes. It relates the arrival of the AMAZONS and of Memnon, the death of Achilles and contest for his arms, the arrival of Philoctetes, the building of the WOODEN HORSE, and the sack of the city. Finally it describes how the anger of the Immortals fell upon the victorious army with huge tempests at sea.

The Taking of Ilios by Tryphiodorus (fl. c. AD 450)
This poem starts on the tenth year of the Trojan War; Achilles is dead. It ends with the sacrifice of Polyxena 1 and the division of the spoils.

The Rape of Helen by Colluthus (fl. c. AD 500)
This poem begins with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, followed by the Judgement of Paris. After that Helen lets herself be seduced by Paris and sails away with him while Hermione wails.

Dares & Dictys:
Dares the Phrygian's History of the Fall of Troy (De Exidio Troiae Historia), known to us through medieval Latin versions, is prefaced by what is believed to be a forged letter written by an historian (Cornelius Nepos, c. 99-c. 24 BC) to another historian (Gaius Sallustius Crispus 86-35 BC) in which he explains how he discovered Dares' work at Athens. Dares' work is regarded as an imposture, as are the Chronicles of Dictys, but these were the chief sources drawn upon by medieval writers on the Trojan War. R. M. Frazer (Assistant Professor of Classics in the Dept. of Classical Languages at Tulane University) translated both Dares and Dictys into English; this is a fully referenced work, with introduction, bibliography, etc. (Indiana University Press, Bloomington & London, 1966). The account of Dictys has been dated to the 2nd or 3rd century AD, and that of Dares to (perhaps) the 5th century AD.

Dares begins his story with the voyage of the Argonauts and the first expedition against Troy. See a summary of this work at Dares' Account of the destruction of Troy.

Dictys starts his account in Crete where the family of Atreus (an Atreus resembling Catreus) has gathered (including Agamemnon and Menelaus) after his death to receive their share of the inheritance. In the meantime Paris abducts Helen. Then follows a whole account of the Trojan War which includes the Returns of the Achaean Leaders and the death of Odysseus (a Telegony). A section of this work is summarized at: The Last Days of Troy


 [1] The most relevant section of Photius' comments on Proclus (as reproduced in Burgess's book. See Bibliography below) reads as follows (Bibliotheca 319a21):

"He [Proclus] explicates also the so-called Epic Cycle, which begins with the mythological union of Uranus and Gaea from which resulted for Uranus three children, the "Hundred-Handers," and three Cyclopes. He goes through myths about the gods told among the Greeks, and notably whether there is any historical truth in them. And the Epic Cycle, filled out from different poets, continues until the arrival of Odysseus at Ithaca, where he is killed by his unwitting son Telegonus. And he says that the poems of the Epic Cycle are preserved and of interest to most not for their worth but for the sequence of events in it. He gives also the names and fatherlands of those who composed the Epic Cycle."

[2] A critical "History of the Printed Text" (all editions from 1786 to 1960, described and examined with meticulous detail), precedes Severyns's own bilingual edition (see Bibliography below). Severyns's description of Evelyn-White's edition (the translation in this page) is as follows:

[...] "Conçue pour un public lettré, main non spécialiste, l'édition ne comporte aucun appareil critique: l'auteur, qui n'a pas voulu faire oeuvre originale, reconnaît avoir utilisé Kinkel et Allen [...] ... pour la partie qui nous intéresse spécialement, les sommaires de Proclos, Evelyn-White doit presque tout à l'édition d'Allen."

Numbering of namesakes. The numbers following the names of individuals do not belong to the original names, and are for identification purposes only. The numbers are consistent throughout all texts but they do not represent a chronological order. The absence of a number indicates that there is only one mythological character with that particular name. [return]


HUGH G. EVELYN-WHITE (translator & editor): Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica (LCL 1914).
MARTIN L. WEST: Greek Epic Fragments (LCL 2003).
A. SEVERYNS: Recherches sur la Chrestomathie de Proclos—la Vita Homeri et les sommaires du cycle (Société d'Édition «Les Belles Lettres», Paris 1963).
MALCOLM DAVIES. The Epic Cycle (Duckworth Publishing, Bristol, 1989).
THE OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY (Oxford University Press 1970), v. "Epic Cycle", M. L. West.
JOHN FORSDYKE: Greece Before Homer, Ancient Chronology and Mythology (Max Parrish, London 1956).
GEORGE CHRISTOPOULOS (ed.): History of the Hellenic World: The Archaic Period (Heinemann/Ekdotike, London/Athens 1975).
ANTONIO RUIZ DE ELVIRA: Mitología clásica (Editorial Gredos, Madrid 1995).

Recent evaluations of the Cyclic poems:

ROSS SCAIFE: "The Kypria and its Early Reception" (Classical Antiquity, Volume 14/No. 1/April 1995).
JONATHAN S. BURGESS: The Tradition of the Trojan War in Homer and the Epic Cycle (Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press, 2001).
Another on line translation of Proclus, the Epic Cycle (ed. Gregory Nagy) is at the 'Center for Hellenic Studies' (

Carlos Parada
Lund, Autumn 2004

Related sections