Minor Divinities (page 147)

Chapter 3: Olympos, the Underworld, and Minor Divinities

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Homer, Iliad 2.742-44

even him whom glorious Hippodameia conceived to Peirithous on the day when he got him vengeance on the shaggy centaurs, and thrust them forth from Pelium, and drave them to the Aethices.  Greek Text

Sophokles, Trachiniai (Women of Trachis) 714-15

For I know that the arrow which made the wound harmed even the god Cheiron  Greek Text

ApB 2.5.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

So passing through Pholoe he was entertained by the centaur Pholus, a son of Silenus by a Melian nymph. He set roast meat before Hercules, while he himself ate his meat raw. When Hercules called for wine, he said he feared to open the jar which belonged to the centaurs in common. But Hercules, bidding him be of good courage, opened it, and not long afterwards, scenting the smell, the centaurs arrived at the cave of Pholus, armed with rocks and firs. The first who dared to enter, Anchius and Agrius, were repelled by Hercules with a shower of brands, and the rest of them he shot and pursued as far as Malea. Thence they took refuge with Chiron, who, driven by the Lapiths from Mount Pelion, took up his abode at Malea. As the centaurs cowered about Chiron, Hercules shot an arrow at them, which, passing through the arm of Elatus, stuck in the knee of Chiron. Distressed at this, Hercules ran up to him, drew out the shaft, and applied a medicine which Chiron gave him. But the hurt proving incurable, Chiron retired to the cave and there he wished to die, but he could not, for he was immortal. However, Prometheus offered himself to Zeus to be immortal in his stead, and so Chiron died.  Greek Text

ApB 2.5.11 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And having crossed to the opposite mainland he [Herakles] shot on the Caucasus the eagle, offspring of Echidna and Typhon, that was devouring the liver of Prometheus, and he released Prometheus, after choosing for himself the bond of olive, and to Zeus he presented Chiron, who, though immortal, consented to die in his stead.  Greek Text

Aischylos, Prometheus Desmotes (Prometheus Bound) 1026-30

Look for no term of this your agony until some god shall appear to take upon himself your woes and of his own free will descend into the sunless realm of Death and the dark deeps of Tartarus. Therefore be advised. Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 3.1-4

If it were proper for this commonplace prayer to be made by my tongue, I would want Cheiron the son of Philyra to be alive again, he who has departed, the wide-ruling son of Cronus son of Uranus; and I would want him to reign again in the glens of Pelion, the beast of the wilds.  Greek Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.649-54

“And thou, dear father Chiron, brought to birth
with pledge of an immortal life, informed
with ever-during strength, when biting flames
of torment from the baneful serpent’s blood
are coursing in thy veins, thou shalt implore
a welcome death; and thy immortal life
the Gods shall suffer to the power of death.—
and the three Destinies shall cut thy thread.”  Latin Text

Loukianos, Dialogi Mortuorum (Dialogues of the Dead) 8

CHIRON
No; it is variety, as I take it, and not monotony, that constitutes pleasure. Living on and on, everything always the same; sun, light, food, spring, summer, autumn, winter, one thing following another in unending sequence,—I sickened of it all. I found that enjoyment lay not in continual possession; that deprivation had its share therein.  Greek Text

Diodoros Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica 4.12.8

A peculiar thing also happened in the case of him who was called Pholus, the friend of Heracles. While he was burying the fallen Centaurs, since they were his kindred, and was extracting an arrow from one of them, he was wounded by the barb, and since the wound could not be healed he came to his death. Heracles gave him a magnificent funeral and buried him at the foot of the mountain, which serves better than a gravestone to preserve his glory; for Pholoê makes known the identity of the buried man by bearing his name and no inscription is needed. Likewise Heracles unwittingly by a shot from his bow killed the Centaur Cheiron, who was admired for his knowledge of healing. But as for the Centaurs let what we have said suffice.  Greek Text

Lasos 704 PMG – Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 365 ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

♠ Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 10a17-19 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

Strabo, Geography 10.3.19

Further, one might also find, in addition to these facts concerning these genii and their various names, that they were called, not only ministers of gods, but also gods themselves. For instance, Hesiod says that five daughters were born to Hecaterus and the daughter of Phoroneus,“from whom sprang the mountain-ranging nymphs, goddesses, and the breed of Satyrs, creatures worthless and unfit for work, and also the Curetes, sportive gods, dancers.” And the author of Phoronis speaks of the Curetes as “flute-players” and “Phrygians”; and others as “earth-born” and “wearing brazen shields.”  Greek Text

Phoronis fr 3 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 119, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

The author of the Phoronis calls the Kouretes flute players and Phrygians (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.10.111

He [Epimenides] wrote a poem On the Birth of the Curetes and Corybantes and a Theogony, 5000 lines in all.  Greek Text

3A1 DK – Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 1, pp. 27-29, ed. H. Diels and W. Kranz. 6th ed. Berlin 1951.

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, April 2021.

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