The Aiolidai: Athamas (page 178)

Chapter 5: The Line of Deukalion

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Hyginus Fabulae 1

THEMISTO: Athamas, son of Aeolus, had by his wife Nebula a son Phrixus and a daughter Helle, and by Themisto, daughter of Hypseus, two son, Sphincius and Orchomenus, and by Ino, daughter of Cadmus, two sons, Learchus and Melicertes. Themisto, robbed of her marriage by Ino, wished to kill Ino’s children. She hid, therefore, in the palace, and when an opportunity presented itself, thinking she was killing the sons of her rival, unwittingly killed her own, deceived by the nurse who had put the wrong garments on them. When Themisto discovered this, she killed herself. Latin Text

Hyginus Fabulae 2

INO: Ino, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, wishing to kill Phrixus and Helle, Nebula’s children, formed a plan with the women of the entire tribe, and conspired to parch the seed grain to make it unfertile, so that, when the sterility and scarcity of grain resulted, the whole state should perish, some by starvation, others by sickness. With regard to this situation Athamas sent a servant to Delphi,  but Ino instructed him to bring back a false reply that the pestilence would end if he sacrificed Phrixus to Jove. When Athamas refused to do this, Phrixus voluntarily and readily promised that he alone would free the state from its distress. Accordingly he was led to the altar, wearing fillets (of sacrifice), but the servant, out of pity for the youth, revealed Ino’s plans to Athamas. The king, thus informed of the crime, gave over his wife Ino and her son Melicertes to be put to death, but Father Liber cast mist around her, and saved Ino his nurse. Later, Athamas, driven mad by Jove, slew his son Learchus. But Ino, with Melicertes her son, threw herself into the sea. Liber would have her called Leucothea, and Melicertes, her son the god Palaemon, but we call her Mater Matuta, and him Portunus. In his honor every fifth year gymnastic contests are held, which are called Isthhmian. Latin Text

Hyginus Fabulae 3

PHRIXUS: While Phrixus and Helle under madness sent by Liber were wandering in a forest, Nebula their mother is said to have come there bringing a gilded ram, offspring of Neptune and Theophane. She bade her children to mount it, and journey to Colchis to King Aeetes, son of Sol, and there sacrifice the ram to Mars. This they were said to have done, but when they had mounted, and the ram had carried them over the sea, Helle fell from the ram; from this sea was called Hellespont. Phrixus, however, was carried to Colchis, where, as his mother had bidden, he sacrificed the ram, and placed its gilded fleece in the temple of Mars — the very fleece which, guarded by a dragon, it is said Jason, son of Aeson and Alcimede, came to secure. But Aeetes gladly welcomed Phrixus, and gave him his daughter Chalciope in marriage. She later bore him children, but Aeetes feared that they would drive him from his kingdom, because he had been warned by prodigies to beware of death at the hands of a foreigner, a son of Aeolus. Therefore he killed Phrixus. But Phrixus’ sons — Argus, Melas, and Cylindrus — took ship to go to their grandfather Athamas. They were shipwrecked, however, and Jason, on his trip for the fleece, rescued them from the island of Dia, and took them back to their mother Chalciope. By her favour he was recommended to her sister Medea. Latin Text

Euripides, Phrixos B: fr 827 N² – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, pp. 629, ed. A. Nauck  2nd  ed. Leipzig 1889.

Greek Text

POxy 2455 fr 17 – The Oxyrhynchus papyri, vol. 27. Texts (2452-2480) Indexes / edited with translations and notes by E.G. Turner [et al.]. 1962

Hypothesis 32 Aus – Recently recovered fragments by Euripides, cited according to Austin 1968

Hyginus Fabulae 2

See Above

1.9.1 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Of the sons of Aeolus, Athamas ruled over Boeotia and begat a son Phrixus and a daughter Helle by Nephele. And he married a second wife, Ino, by whom he had Learchus and Melicertes. But Ino plotted against the children of Nephele and persuaded the women to parch the wheat; and having got the wheat they did so without the knowledge of the men. But the earth, being sown with parched wheat, did not yield its annual crops; so Athamas sent to Delphi to inquire how he might be delivered from the dearth. Now Ino persuaded the messengers to say it was foretold that the infertility would cease if Phrixus were sacrificed to Zeus. When Athamas heard that, he was forced by the inhabitants of the land to bring Phrixus to the altar. But Nephele caught him and her daughter up and gave them a ram with a golden fleece, which she had received from Hermes, and borne through the sky by the ram they crossed land and sea. Greek Text

Σ Theogony 993a – Scholia vetera in Hesiodi Theogoniam, ed. L. Di Gregorio. Milan 1975.

A scholia to Iliad 7.86 – Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem I, pp. 253-54, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1875.

Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, University of Georgia, June 2020

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