Rhadamanthys (page 259)

Chapter 8: Minos and Krete

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Il 6.152-55196-99 – Homer, Iliad

There is a city Ephyre in the heart of Argos, pasture-land of horses, and there dwelt Sisyphus that was craftiest of men, Sisyphus, son of Aeolus; and he begat a son Glaucus; [155] and Glaucus begat peerless Bellerophon. ”  Greek Text


[196] And the lady bare to wise-hearted Bellerophon three children, Isander and Hippolochus and Laodameia. With Laodameia lay Zeus the counsellor, and she bare godlike Sarpedon, the warrior harnessed in bronze.  Greek Text

Kinaithon fr 1 PEGPoetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 116, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Kinathon in his epic made Rhadamanthys the child of Hephaistos, Hephaistos the child of Talos, and Talos the child of Kres. (Transl. Nick Gardner).

 Od 7.322-24 – Homer, Odyssey

Aye though it be even far beyond Euboea, which those of our people who saw it, when they carried fair-haired Rhadamanthus to visit Tityus, the son of Gaea, say is the furthest of lands. Greek Text

Od 4.564 – Homer, Odyssey

But to the Elysian plain and the bounds of the earth will the immortals] convey thee, where dwells fair-haired Rhadamanthus, and where life is easiest for men.  Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 141 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 68-69, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

…and crossed the salty water…conquered by Zeus’s tricks. [And] the father [mingled with her in love] and gave a gift, a golden necklace that Hephaisos famed for his art…with his [know]ing wits…bringing [it to his fath]er; and he received the gift;…to the [daughter] of illustrious Pheonix…to the slender-ankled Europa he was about to…the father of gods and men…from beside the fair-haired maid. [And she bore sons] to the exceedingly mighty son of Kronos…commanders of many men, [lordly Minos] and just Rhadamanthys [and divine Sarpedon], noble and powerful…counselor Zeus distributed…ruled over [wi]de Lykia…well-inhabited cities…and much honor followed him…great-hearted sheperd of the people…of speech-possessing humans…counselor Zeus loved [him]…and he selected a great host…allies to the Trojans…experienced in war…showing forth omens on the le[ft…Zeus] knowing imperishable counsels…throwing round…it was a portent from Zeus…of man-slaying Hektor…caused woes…to the Argives  (Transl. Nick Gardner).

Theog 701 – Theognis, Elegiac Poems

 not though thou hadst the wisdom of great Rhadamanthus  Greek Text

Py 2.73-74 – Pindar, Pythian Odes

But Rhadamanthys has prospered, because his allotted portion was the blameless fruit of intelligence, and he does not delight his inner spirit with deceptions.  Greek Text

Ol 2.74-77 – Pindar, Olympian Odes

With these wreaths and garlands of flowers they entwine their hands [75] according to the righteous counsels of Rhadamanthys, whom the great father, the husband of Rhea whose throne is above all others, keeps close beside him as his partner. Greek Text

Ibykos, 309 PMG Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 157, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Ibykos says that Talos became the lover of Rhadamanthys the just. (Transl. Nick Gardner)

Aischylos, Kares fr 99 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, pp. 219-20, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

(lines 10-14)

And I began from my greatest offspring, birthing Minos…[next] Rhadamanthys, who of my children is undying; but he does not live in my eyesight, and that which is not present does not hold pleasure for loved ones. (Transl. Nick Gardner)

Plato, Gorgias 523-24

Give ear then, as they say, to a right fine story, which you will regard as a fable, I fancy, but I as an actual account; for what I am about to tell you I mean to offer as the truth. By Homer’s account, Zeus, Poseidon, and Pluto divided the sovereignty amongst them when they took it over from their father. Now in the time of Cronos there was a law concerning mankind, and it holds to this very day amongst the gods, that every man who has passed a just and holy life departs after his decease [523b] to the Isles of the Blest, and dwells in all happiness apart from ill; but whoever has lived unjustly and impiously goes to the dungeon of requital and penance which, you know, they call Tartarus. Of these men there were judges in Cronos’ time, and still of late in the reign of Zeus—living men to judge the living upon the day when each was to breathe his last; and thus the cases were being decided amiss. So Pluto and the overseers from the Isles of the Blest came before Zeus with the report that they found men passing over to either abode undeserving. [523c] Then spake Zeus: “Nay,” said he, “I will put a stop to these proceedings. The cases are now indeed judged ill and it is because they who are on trial are tried in their clothing, for they are tried alive. Now many,” said he, “who have wicked souls are clad in fair bodies and ancestry and wealth, and at their judgement appear many witnesses to testify that their lives have been just. Now, the judges are confounded not only by their evidence [523d] but at the same time by being clothed themselves while they sit in judgement, having their own soul muffled in the veil of eyes and ears and the whole body. Thus all these are a hindrance to them, their own habiliments no less than those of the judged. Well, first of all,” he said, “we must put a stop to their foreknowledge of their death; for this they at present foreknow. However, Prometheus has already been given the word [523e] to stop this in them. Next they must be stripped bare of all those things before they are tried; for they must stand their trial dead. Their judge also must be naked, dead, beholding with very soul the very soul of each immediately upon his death, bereft of all his kin and having left behind on earth all that fine array, to the end that the judgement may be just. Now I, knowing all this before you, have appointed sons of my own to be judges; two from Asia, Minos and Rhadamanthus, [524a] and one from Europe, Aeacus. These, when their life is ended, shall give judgement in the meadow at the dividing of the road, whence are the two ways leading, one to the Isles of the Blest, and the other to Tartarus. And those who come from Asia shall Rhadamanthus try, and those from Europe, Aeacus; and to Minos I will give the privilege of the final decision, if the other two be in any doubt; that the judgement upon this journey of mankind may be supremely just.

“This, Callicles, is what I have heard and believe to be true; [524b] and from these stories, on my reckoning, we must draw some such moral as this: death, as it seems to me, is actually nothing but the disconnection of two things, the soul and the body, from each other. And so when they are disconnected from one another, each of them keeps its own condition very much as it was when the man was alive, the body having its own nature, with its treatments and experiences all manifest upon it. For instance, [524c] if anyone’s body was large by nature or by feeding or by both when he was alive, his corpse will be large also when he is dead; and if he was fat, it will be fat too after his death, and so on for the rest; or again, if he used to follow the fashion of long hair, long-haired also will be his corpse. Again, if anyone had been a sturdy rogue, and bore traces of his stripes in scars on his body, either from the whip or from other wounds, while yet alive, then after death too his body has these marks visible upon it; or if anyone’s limbs were broken or distorted in life, these same effects are manifest in death. [524d] In a word, whatever sort of bodily appearance a man had acquired in life, that is manifest also after his death either wholly or in the main for some time. And so it seems to me that the same is the case with the soul too, Callicles: when a man’s soul is stripped bare of the body, all its natural gifts, and the experiences added to that soul as the result of his various pursuits, are manifest in it. So when they have arrived [524e] in presence of their judge, they of Asia before Rhadamanthus, these Rhadamanthus sets before him and surveys the soul of each, not knowing whose it is; nay, often when he has laid hold of the Great King or some other prince or potentate, he perceives the utter unhealthiness of his soul, striped all over with the scourge, and a mass of wounds, the work of perjuries and injustice.  Greek Text

AntLib 33 – Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses – Mythography Graeci 2.1, pp. 114-15, ed. E. Martini. Leipzig 1896.

ALCMENE: This is told by Pherecydes. After Heracles had passed out of the sight of mankind, Eurystheus drove his children from their paternal lands and ruled them himself. The Heraclidae fled to Demophon, son of Theseus, and dwelt in the Four Towns of Attica. Eurystheus sent a messenger to Athensthreatening war with the Athenians if they did not drive out the Heraclidae. The Athenians did not refuse war and Eurystheus invaded Attica and, after line of battle had been established, he himself died in battle. Most of the Argives were put to flight. With Eurystheus dead, Hyllus and the other Heraclidae and their allies re-established themselves in Thebes. At that time Alcmene died of old age and the Heraclidae performed her obsequies. They dwelled by the Electran Gate where Heracles led his public life. Zeus sent Hermes, ordering him to steal Alcmene’s body and to take her to the Isle of the Blest and give her as wife to Rhadamanthys. Obeying, Hermes stole away Alcmene leaving a stone instead of her in the coffin. When the Heraclidae were carrying the casket, they found it to be very heavy. They put it on the ground and took off the lid. They found a stone instead of Alcmene. They took this and set it up in the grove where now stands the heroon of Alcmene in Thebes.  Greek Text

same as

Pherekydes of Athens 3F84 FGrH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 83, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

ALKMENE.  Pherekydes recounts. After the disappearance of Herakles from among men, Eurystheus drove out his sons [the Herakleidai] from the fatherland and reigned himself.  The Herakleidai fleeing to Demophon, the son of Theseus, dwelt in the tetrapolis of Attika.  Eurystheus sent a messenger to Athens, threatening war on the Athenians unless they would drive out the sons of Herakles.  [2] The Athenians did not decline war, so Eurystheus made an attack on Attica and having drawn up his battle line himself died in the fight, but the bulk of the Argives was turned back.  Hyllos and the other sons of Herakles and those with them, after the death of Eurystheus, went back to live in Thebes.  [3] In the meanwhile, Alkmene died of old age and the sons of Herakles made a funeral for her.  They lived next to the Elektra gate where Herakles had lived in the agora.  Zeus sent Hermes with orders to take the body of Alkmene and to carry it away to the isles of the blessed and to give her as wife to Rhadamanthys.  Hermes obediently took Alkmene, and in exchange for her body he laid a stone in the coffin.  [4] The sons of Herakles, when they were carrying the bier found it heavy and put it down; on investigation, instead of Alkmene they found a stone, and, taking it out, they erected it in a grove where is the hero shrine of Alkmene in Thebes (Transl. Mary Emerson).  Greek Text

PA 3.13 – Palatine Anthology (Greek Anthology)

Heracles leading his mother Alcmene to the Elysian Plains to wed her to Rhadamanthys, and his own reception into the number of gods.

Bold Heracles gave this his mother Alcmene in holy wedlock to Rhadamanthys.  Greek Text

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Edited by Nick Gardner, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Classics, Univ. of Georgia, April 24, 2016; Dan Mills, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Classics, Univ. of Georgia, February 2018.

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

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