Neoptolemos (page 689)

Chapter 17, The Return from Troy

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Euripides, Troades 1123-28

Hecuba, one ship alone delays its plashing oars, [1125] and it is soon to sail to the shores of Phthia freighted with the remnant of the spoils of Achilles’ son; for Neoptolemus is already out at sea, having heard that new calamities have befallen Peleus, for Acastus, son of Pelias, has banished him from the realm.  Greek Text

Palatine Anthology 7.2

Greek Text

Diktys Cretensis 6.7-9

While these things were happening on Ithaca, Neoptolemus was among the Molossians repairing his ships, which had been wrecked in a storm. There he had learned that Acastus had driven Peleus out of his kingdom in Thessaly. Accordingly, as he desired to avenge this wrong to his grandfather, he sent Chrysippus and Aratus to explore the situation; they were very reliable men, and no one in Thessaly knew them.

These learned from Assandrus, a follower of Peleus, everything that had happened and how Acastus had treacherously attacked Peleus. This Assandrus had eluded the tyranny of Acastus and sided with Peleus, with whom he ahd become so intimate that he was able to tell, among other things, about Peleus’ marriage with Thetis, Chiron’s daughter.

At that time many kings had been invited from everywhere to the wedding, which was at Chiron’s home. During the banquet they had praised the bride and offered her toasts as if to a goddess, saying that she was a Nereid and that Chiron was Nereus. In the same way they had called any of their number who excelled in dancing or singing Apollo or Bacchus, and had given the names of Muses to many of the women. Accordingly, from that time on, this banquet was known as “a banquet of the gods.”

[8] When Chrysippus and Aratus had learned what they wanted to know, they returned to Neoptolemus and made a full report.

Thereupon Neoptolemus, though the sea was rough and there were reasons enough to stay where he was, equipped his fleet and set sail. Having been much harassed on sea by a savage storm and having been driven to the shore of the Sepiades (so called because of their dangerous rocks), he lost almost all of his ships; he himself and those who were sailing with him barely escaped. There he found his grandfather, Peleus, who was hiding in a dark, secluded cave. The old man, while avoiding the treacherous plots of Acastus, was keeping a lookout for all who happened to sail there, hoping his grandson would come.

When Peleus had told Neoptolemus all that had befallen his house, the latter was beginning to decide on a plan of attack when by chance he learned that the sons of Acastus, Menalippus and Plisthenes, were coming to hunt near Peleus’ cave. Accordinly, he changed into the clothes of that region; and then, pretending to be an Iolchian, he presented himself to the sons of Acastus and asked permission to join in their sport. This being granted, soon afterwards he came upon Menalippus and Plisthenes – they were close together but separated some distance from the rest of their party – and slew them. Then he captured and slew their faithful slave, Cinyras, who had come in search of his masters; but not before he had learned that Acasus also was coming.

[9] Thereupon Neoptolemus changed into Phrygian clothes, so as to look like Mestor, the son of Priam, whom he had brought along as a captive.2 When, dressed in this guise, he met with Acastus, he claimed to be Mestor and said that Neoptolemus was wearied from sailing and was sleeping there in the cave.

Since Acastus desired to trap this most hated of enemies, he went straight to the cave. But Thetis was there and kept him from entering. (She, having learned what was happening, had come to be with Peleus.) She roundly berated Acastus for his crimes against the house of Achilles and against the laws of the gods. But then she used her influence to save him from Neoptolemus’ power, for she urged her grandson to refrain from further vengeance and slaughter.

Acastus, being grateful for his unexpected escape, willingly, right then and there, gave Neoptolemus complete control of the kingdom.

Then Neoptolemus, having gained control of the kingdom, went to the city with his grandfather, Peleus, and his grandmother, Thetis, and those of his men who had survived the voyage. All the citizens and all the people round about who were under his power welcomed him joyously and with a devotion which, as he was soon to pove, was not misplaced.  Latin Text

Apollodoros, Epitome 6.12-13

After remaining in Tenedos two days at the advice of Thetis, Neoptolemus set out for the country of the Molossians by land with Helenus, and on the way Phoenix died, and Neoptolemus buried him; and having vanquished the Molossians in battle he reigned as king and begat Molossus on Andromache. And [13] Helenus founded a city in Molossia and inhabited it, and Neoptolemus gave him his mother Deidamia to wife. And when Peleus was expelled from Phthia by the sons of Acastus and died, Neoptolemus succeeded to his father’s kingdom.  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.11.1

Now Pyrrhus was the first who after the capture of Troy disdained to return to Thessaly, but sailing to Epeirus dwelt there because of the oracles of Helenus. By Hermione Pyrrhus had no child, but by Andromache he had Molossus, Pielus, and Pergamus, who was the youngest. Helenus also had a son, Cestrinus, being married to Andromache after the murder of Pyrrhus at Delphi.  Greek Text


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

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