Neoptolemos (page 693, with art)

Chapter 17, The Return from Troy

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Euripides, Orestes 1653-57

And it is destined, Orestes, that you will marry Hermione, at whose neck you are holding your sword; [1655] Neoptolemus shall never marry her, though he thinks he will; for he is fated to die by a Delphian sword, when he claims satisfaction of me for the death of his father Achilles.  Greek Text

Vicenza, Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Collezione Banca Intesa Sanpaolo F.G.00111A-E/BI (once Milan, H.A. Collection 239): Apulian red-figure volute krater by Ilioupersis Painter, believed to illustrate Euripides’ Andromache lines 1085 ff. (original Greek), with (upper tier) Pythia with temple key, tripod, temple of Apollo and Apollo himself; and (lower tier) a Delphian man with spear raised, wounded Neoptolemos kneeling on altar, omphalos, Orestes and palm tree

Annali dell’Instituto di Corrispondenza Archeologica 40 (1868) pl. E

Digital LIMC (no photo)

Diktys Cretensis 6.12

During the same time Neoptolemus, having consummated his marriage with Hermione, went to Delphi. He wanted to give thanks to Apollo for the fact that Alexander, who had murdered his father, had paid for his crime. Andromache was left behind at home, along with Laodamas, her only surviving son by Hector.

Now Hermione, after the departure of her husband, was tortured by the thought of her captive rival, and summoned her father, Menelaus. Then, bitterly complaining about her poor treatment – how Neoptolemus preferred a captive woman to her – she urged Menelaus to kill Hector’s son. Andromache, however, having learned of this plot, saved her son and escaped with the aid of the people, who pitied her fate; furthermore, these heaped abuses upon Menelaus, and were barely prevented from killing him.  Latin Text

Diktys Cretensis 6.13

Meanwhile Orestes arrived and learned all that was happening. Thereupon he urged Menelaus to carry out the plot, for he himself was planning to kill Neoptolemus when he returned. He hated Neoptolemus for having married Hermione; she had been promised to him. Accordingly, the first thing he did was to send some trusted scouts to Delphi to find out when Neoptolemus would come.

Menelaus, being thus apprised of Orestes’ plans, returned to Sparta, for he wanted no part in such a crime.

Then the scouts who had been sent to Delphi reported that Neoptolemus was not to be found in that place. And thus Orestes was forced to set out in search of his man.

When he returned – but not on the same day he had left – everyone believed that he had accomplished his purpose. Within a short time the popular story was that Neoptolemus was dead and that Orestes had treacherously slain him. Latin Text

Vergil, Aeneid 3.325-32

In Grecian ships unhappy we were borne,
Endur’d the victor’s lust, sustain’d the scorn:
Thus I submitted to the lawless pride
Of Pyrrhus, more a handmaid than a bride.
Cloy’d with possession, he forsook my bed,
And Helen’s lovely daughter sought to wed;
Then me to Trojan Helenus resign’d,
And his two slaves in equal marriage join’d;
Till young Orestes, pierc’d with deep despair,
And longing to redeem the promis’d fair,
Before Apollo’s altar slew the ravisher.  Latin Text

Servius Scholia at Vergil, Aeneid 3.332 – Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii Carmina commentarii: Aeneis, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 400-401, ed. G. Thilo and H. Hagen. Leipzig 1881.

Latin Text

Strabo, Geography 9.3.9

In the sacred precinct is to be seen the tomb of Neoptolemus, which was made in accordance with an oracle, Machaereus, a Delphian, having slain him because, according to the myth, he was asking the god for redress for the murder of his father; but according to all probability it was because he had attacked the temple.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Epitome 6.14

And when Orestes went mad, Neoptolemus carried off his wife Hermione, who had previously been betrothed to him in Troy; and for that reason he was slain by Orestes at Delphi. But some say that he went to Delphi to demand satisfaction from Apollo for the death of his father, and that he rifled the votive offerings and set fire to the temple, and was on that account slain by Machaereus the Phocian.  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.24.4

Here you may behold the hearth on which the priest of Apollo killed Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles.  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.13.9

if the Delphians were bidden by the Pythia to slay Pyrrhus, son of Achilles  Greek Text

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Artistic source edited by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, August 2022

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

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