Theseus’ Journey around the Isthmos (page 253 with art)

Chapter 7: The Royal House of Athens

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DS 4.59.5 – Diodorus Siculus, Library of History

And near Eleusis he slew Cercyon, who wrestled with those who passed by and killed whomever he could defeat.  Greek Text

ApE 1.3 – Apollodoros, Epitome

Fifth, in Eleusis he slew Cercyon, son of Branchus and a nymph Argiope. This Cercyon compelled passers-by to wrestle, and in wrestling killed them. But Theseus lifted him up on high and dashed him to the ground.  Greek Text

Thes 11.1 – Plutarch, Theseus

In Eleusis, moreover, he out-wrestled Cercyon the Arcadian and killed him and going on a little farther, at Erineus, he killed Damastes, surnamed Procrustes, by compelling him to make his own body fit his bed, as he had been wont to do with those of strangers. And he did this in imitation of Heracles. For that hero punished those who offered him violence in the manner in which they had plotted to serve him, and therefore sacrificed Busiris, wrestled Antaeus to death, slew Cycnus in single combat, and killed Termerus by dashing in his skull.  Greek Text

Pherekydes of Athens 3F147 FGrH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 98, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

STEPH. BYZ. s. Alope:  a city of Thessaly, from Alope of Kerkyon, according to Pherekydes; or of Aktor, according to Philo (III) …  There is a second Alope of Attica … (Transl. Mary Emerson).  Greek Text

Hellanikos 4F43 FGrH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, pp. 119-20, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Paus 1.5.2 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

The eponymoi—this is the name given to them—are Hippothoon son of Poseidon and Alope daughter of Cercyon, Antiochus, one of the children of Heracles borne to him by Meda daughter of Phylas, thirdly, Ajax son of Telamon, and to the Athenians belongs Leos, who is said to have given up his daughters, at the command of the oracle, for the safety of the commonwealth. Among the eponymoi is Erechtheus, who conquered the Eleusinians in battle, and killed their general, Immaradus the son of Eumolpus. There is Aegeus also and Oeneus the bastard son of Pandion, and Acamas, one of the children of Theseus.   Greek Text

Paus 1.14.3 – Pausanias Description of Greece

But Choerilus, an Athenian, who wrote a play called Alope, says that Cercyon and Triptolemus were brothers, that their mother was the daughter of Amphictyon, while the father of Triptolemus was Rarus, of Cercyon, Poseidon.  Greek Text

Fab 187 – Hyginus Fabulae

ALOPE: Since Alope, daughter of Cercyon, was very beautiful, Neptune embraced her, and from this embrace she bore a child which she gave to her nurse to expose, since she did not know its father. When the child was exposed, a mare came and furnished it milk. A certain shepherd, following the mare, saw the child and took it up. When he had taken it home, clothed in its royal garments, a fellow shepherd asked that it be given to him. The first gave it without the garments, and when strife rose between them, the one who had taken the child demanding signs it was free-born, but the other refusing to give them, they came to King Cercyon and presented their arguments. The one who had taken the child again demanded the garments, and when they were brought, Cercyon knew that they were taken from the garments of his daughter. Alope’s nurse, in fear, revealed to the King that the child was Alope’s, and he ordered that his daughter be imprisoned and slain, and the child exposed. Again the mare fed it; shepherds again found the child, and took him up, and reared him, feeling that he was being guarded by the will of the gods. They gave him the name Hippothous. When Theseus was journeying from Troezene, he killed Cercyon; Hippothous, however, came to Theseus and asked for his father’s kingdom. Theseus willingly gave it to him when he learned he was the son of Neptune, from whom he claimed his own birth. The body of Alope, Neptune turned into a fountain, called by the name Alope.  Latin Text

Tübingen, Antikensammlung des Archäologischen Instituts der Eberhard-Karls-Universität 1610: Attic red-figure oinochoe with Hippothoon


L. Sechan, Etudes sur la tragedie grecque dans ses rapports avec la ceramique (1926), 252 fig. 74

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Paus 1.39.3 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

After the graves of the Argives is the tomb of Alope, who, legend says, being mother of Hippothoon by Poseidon was on this spot put to death by her father Cercyon.  Greek Text

Paus 1.14.3 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

But Choerilus, an Athenian, who wrote a play called Alope, says that Cercyon and Triptolemus were brothers, that their mother was the daughter of Amphictyon, while the father of Triptolemus was Rarus, of Cercyon, Poseidon.  Greek Text

Fab 38 – Hyginus, Fabulae

He killed by force of arms Cercyon, son of Vulcan.  Latin Text

Athen 13.557a (13.4) – Athenaios

Now by force were ravished Helen, Ariadne, Hippolyta, and the daughters of Cercyon and Sinis. Greek Text

Thes 29.1-2 – Plutarch, Theseus

There are, however, other stories also about marriages of Theseus which were neither honorable in their beginnings nor fortunate in their endings, but these have not been dramatized. For instance, he is said to have carried off Anaxo, a maiden of Troezen, and after slaying Sinis and Cercyon to have ravished their daughters; also to have married Periboea, the mother of Aias, and Phereboea afterwards, and Iope, the daughter of Iphicles; [2] and because of his passion for Aegle, the daughter of Panopeus, as I have already said, he is accused of the desertion of Ariadne, which was not honorable nor even decent; and finally, his rape of Helen is said to have filled Attica with war, and to have brought about at last his banishment and death, of which things I shall speak a little later.  Greek Text

Bak 18.27.30 – Bakchylides, Odes

Procoptes has met a better man and dropped the powerful hammer of Polypemon.  Greek Text

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Edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., July 2016; and by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, November 2016. Patrick Dix, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Georgia Classics Department, October 2017.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2023

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