Chapter 10, Perseus and Bellerophontes: Part 1
♠ Pherekydes of Athens 3F4 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 60, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.
Since Diktys and Polydektes were sons of Androthoe daughter of Perikastor and Peristhenes son of Damastor son of Nauplios son of Poseidon and Amymone, as Pherekydes says in the first book. (Transl. Silvio Curtis). Greek Text
♠ Pherekydes of Athens 3F11 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, pp. 61-62, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.
When Perseus was living in Seriphos with his mother and had grown into a young man, Polydektes, Diktys’s brother through his mother, king of Seriphos, happened to see Danae and desired her, but he was at a loss how to sleep with her. And he prepared a lunch and invited both many others and Perseus himself. And when Perseus asked what price the meal was being celebrated for, and he said for a horse, Perseus said for the head of the Gorgon. But after the meal on the next day, when the other participants brought in the horse, Perseus did too. And Polydektes wouldn’t accept it, but demanded the head of the Gorgon according to the promise. And he said that if he didn’t bring it to him, he would take his mother. And Perseus went away sorrowfully, mourning the disaster, to the end of the island. But Hermes, seen by him and bringing the question to him, learns the reason for the lament. And he leads him first, telling him to cheer up, to the Graiai, daughters of Phorkos, Pemphredo and Enyo and Deino, with Athena preceding them, and he steals away their eye and their tooth as they hand them to each other. And they, noticing, cry out and supplicate him to give back the eye and the tooth, because the three of them made use of one by taking turns. And Perseus says he has it and he will give it back if they direct him to the nymphs who have the cap of Aides and the winged sandals and the pouch. And they tell him, and Perseus gives back what he took. And he goes away to the nymphs with Hermes, and after asking and getting them he ties on the winged sandals and hangs the pouch on his shoulders and sets the cap of Aides over his head. Then, flying, he goes to the ocean and the Gorgons, with Hermes and Athena following with him. And he finds them sleeping. And the gods with him explain to him how he must cut off the head while turned away, and they show him Medousa, who alone was mortal of the Gorgons. And he gets near and cuts it off, and puts it into the pouch and flees. But they notice and chase him and don’t see him. And Perseus gets to Seriphos, goes to Polydektes, and tells him to collect his people so he can show them the Gorgon’s head, knowing that if they saw it they were going to be rocks. And Polydektes assembles the crowd and tells him to show it. And, turning himself away, he takes it out of the pouch and shows it. And when they saw it they turned to rocks. But Athena takes the head from Perseus and sets it in her aegis. And he gives the pouch away to Hermes, and the sandals and the cap; and Hermes gives them back to the nymphs. And Pherekydes records it in the second book. (Transl. Silvio Curtis) Greek Text
♠ Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library) 2.4.2
So he [Polydectes] called together his friends, including Perseus, under the pretext of collecting contributions towards a wedding gift for Hippodamia, daughter of Oenomaus. Greek Text
♠ Euripides, Diktys (see I. Karamanou, Euripides, Danae and Dictys: introduction, text and commentary , and a review by A. Markantonatos, p. 143)
… It was a baneful [feast] for those present who had fared sumptuously … [Perseus showed the] head and thus they were turned to stone.
… [for] when Danae was forced by Polydectes, it came to pass that she [fled to] the altar of <Poseidon>, and that [Polydectes], being suspicious, sent Perseus on a mission for the beheading [of Medusa], in the hopes that he might die; and that Polydectes, having looked upon [the Gorgon’s] head, was turned to stone and [Danae] was saved. (Transl. Mary Emerson)
Reaching Seriphos, he found his mother taking refuge at the altars with Dictys because of the violence of Polydectes; then, arriving at the palace where Polydectes had gathered a party of his friends, he unwrapped the Gorgon’s head, and revealed it. All who beheld it, in whatever pose they happened to be at that moment, became stone. He then appointed Dictys as king of Seriphos, and he returned the sandals, the pouch and the helmet to Hermes, and gave the head of the Gorgon to Athene. Hermes gave the aforementioned items back to the nymphs, while Athene placed the Gorgon’s head in the centre of her shield. (Transl. Mary Emerson)
Meanwhile, Polydectes, the king of Seriphos, was turned to stone by Perseus by means of the Gorgon’s head, having sent Perseus to get the Gorgon’s head on account of the marriage which he sought with Perseus’s mother; he intended death to occur to someone else, but in accordance with the providence of Justice (Dike) he himself received it.
You dared, Polydectes, to pollute the couch of Danae,
casting blame on Zeus for the shameful marriage-bed;
in return for which, Perseus let loose the eyes of the Gorgon in this place,
turning limbs into stone, and doing favour to his mother. (Transl. Mary Emerson)
Fragment 1 (330b Kn., 1 J.-v.L)
Seriphos, washed by the salt sea … (Transl. Mary Emerson)
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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