Akrisios and Danae (page 300)

Chapter 10: Perseus and Bellerophontes, Part 1

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Pau2.25.7Pausanias, Description of Greece

Here took place a fight for the throne between Proetus and Acrisius; the contest, they say, ended in a draw, and a reconciliation resulted afterwards, as neither could gain a decisive victory.  Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 135 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 65-66, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

 . . . Abas; and he be[got a son,] Akrisios. . . . [Pe]rseus, whom . . . [in a che]st into the sea . . . [b]rought up for Zeus . . . gold . . . dear Perseus . . . [and from him and] Andromeda [daughter of] Kepheus [were born Alkaios] and [S]thenelos and the force [of Elektryon] . . . by the cattle . . . for [the Te]leboai . . . [A]mphitryon.  (Transl. Silvio Curtis)

Pherekydes of Athens 3F10 FGrH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1p. 61, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Pherekydes records in book 2 how Akrisios marries Eurydike daughter of Lakedaimon; and from them Danae is born. And the god at Pytho, when he was consulting it about a male child, prophesied to him that he would have no male child, but his daughter would have one, by whom he would be destroyed. And he goes back to Argos and makes a bronze chamber in the court of his house underground, where he takes Danae with a nurse, in which he guarded her so no child would be born from her. But Zeus desires the girl and flows from the roof as something like gold. And she receives him in her lap, and Zeus reveals himself and mixes with the girl. And Perseus is born from them, and Danae and the nurse raise him, concealing it from Akrisios. But when Perseus had turned three or four years old, he heard his voice when he was playing, and after calling back Danae with the nurse through his servants, he kills one woman, but carries Danae with the boy down to the altar of Zeus of the Courtyard, and alone he asks her where her son had been conceived from. And she said he was fathered by Zeus. And he doesn’t believe her, but sets her in a chest with the boy, and closes it and puts it out to sea. And they arrive by floating at the island of Seriphos and Diktys son of Peristhenes pulls them out, fishing with a net. Then Danae supplicates him to open the chest. And when he opens it and learns who they are, he brings them into his house and takes care of them for being relatives of his. (Transl. Silvio Curtis)  Greek Text

Py 12.17-18 – Pindar, Pythian Odes

Perseus, the son of Danae, who they say was conceived in a spontaneous shower of gold.  Greek Text

ΣAb Il 14.319 – Scholia Ab to Homer, Iliad Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem 2, p. 50, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1875.

Of Danaë]  Danaë, daughter of Akrisios, who, having lain with Zeus, gave birth to Perseus.  For (they say), when Akrisios consulted the oracle about the birth of male children, the god answered that a boy would be born from his daughter and would kill him.  Fearful of this, Akrisios prepared an underground chamber made of bronze, and confined Danaë there.  But she (as Pindar says, along with several others) was seduced by her paternal uncle, Proitos, for which reason discord arose against them.  But (as some say), it was Zeus who, transformed to gold, pouring down through the roof to Danaë’s lap, was united with her.  Akrisios realized later that Perseus had been born from her; since he had no faith that the seducer of his daughter was Zeus, he tossed her into a large chest with the child and threw it into the sea.  These [two] came safe to the island of Seriphos, one of the Cyclades, and it happened that the child was cared for at the house of Polydiktes or (as some say) by Diktys, the brother of Polydiktes. But later when Akrisios had fled, Perseus took over the kingdom of the Argives.  (Transl.Mary Emerson).  Greek Text

same as

Pindar fr 284 SM – Pindarus 2, p. 146 (and p. 77, apparatus), ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1975.

See above

ApB 2.4.1 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

However, she [Danae] was seduced, as some say, by Proetus, whence arose the quarrel between them [Acrisius and Proetus].  Greek Text

Nem 10.11 – Pindar, Nemean Odes

Zeus made this saying clear by visiting Alcmena and Danae.  Greek Text

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Edited by Silvio Curtis, Teaching assistant, Department of Classics, Univ. of Georgia, spring 2014

Updated by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, May 2023.

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