The Children of Athamas: Phrixos and Helle (page 184 upper)

Chapter 5: The Line of Deukalion

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Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Katasterismoi 19 – Mythographi Graeci vol. 3.1, p. 23, ed. A. Olivieri. Leipzig 1897.

Greek Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.20.1

Many have said that Helle fell into the Hellespont, was embraced by Neptune, and bore Paeon, or, as some say, Edonus.  Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 3

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.  Latin Text

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 1.41-45

Thou hast heard how Phrixus of the seed of Cretheus our kinsman fled from the altars of his father. Him the savage Aeetes who dwells in Scythia and the frost-bound Phasis (alas! for the shame of the great Sun!), murdered amid the genial cups and ceremonial of the stricken banquet, recking nought of me or of heaven.  Latin Text

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5.224-25

By now had Phrixus, now grown old in the Scythian city of the Sun, fulfilled the appointed term of his long life of toil.  Latin Text

Hyginus, De Astronomia 2.20.2

Phrixus came to the Colchians, and, as we have said, hung up the fleece of the slain ram in a temple. He himself was brought back to Athamas by Mercury, who proved to his father that, relying on innocence, he had fled.  Latin Text

Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautika 2.1093-1156

The sons of Phrixus were faring towards the city of Orchomenus from Aea, coming from Cytaean Aeetes, on board a Colchian ship, to win the boundless wealth of their father; for he, when dying, had enjoined this journey upon them. And lo, on that day they were very near that island. But Zeus had impelled the north wind’s might to blow, marking by rain the moist path of Arcturus; and all day long he was stirring the leaves upon the mountains, breathing gently upon the topmost sprays; but at night he rushed upon the sea with monstrous force, and with his shrieking blasts uplifted the surge; and a dark mist covered the heavens, nor did the bright stars anywhere appear from among the clouds, but a murky gloom brooded all around. And so the sons of Phrixus, drenched and trembling in fear of a horrible doom, were borne along by the waves helplessly. And the force of the wind had snatched away their sails and shattered in twain the hull, tossed as it was by the breakers. And hereupon by heaven’s prompting those four clutched a huge beam, one of many that were scattered about, held together by sharp bolts, when the ship broke to pieces. And on to the island the waves and the blasts of wind bore the men in their distress, within a little of death. And straightway a mighty rain burst forth, and rained upon the sea and the island, and all the country opposite the island, where the arrogant Mossynoeci dwelt. And the sweep of the waves hurled the sons of Phrixus, together with their massy beam, upon the beach of the island, in the murky night; and the floods of rain from Zeus ceased at sunrise, and soon the two bands drew near and met each other, and Argus spoke first: “We beseech you, by Zeus the Beholder, whoever ye are, to be kindly and to help us in our need. For fierce tempests, falling on the sea, have shattered all the timbers of the crazy ship in which we were cleaving our path on business bent. Wherefore we entreat you, if haply ye will listen, to grant us just a covering for our bodies, and to pity and succour men in misfortune, your equals in age. Oh, reverence suppliants and strangers for Zeus’ sake, the god of strangers and suppliants. To Zeus belong both suppliants and strangers; and his eye, methinks, beholdeth even us.”

And in reply the son of Aeson prudently questioned him, deeming that the prophecies of Phineus were being fulfilled: “All these things will we straightway grant you with right good will. But come tell me truly in what country ye dwell and what business bids you sail across the sea, and tell me your own glorious names and lineage.”

And him Argus, helpless in his evil plight, addressed: “That one Phrixus an Aeolid reached Aea from Hellas you yourselves have clearly heard ere this, I trow; Phrixus, who came to the city of Aeetes, bestriding a ram, which Hermes had made all gold; and the fleece ye may see even now. The ram, at its own prompting, he then sacrificed to Zeus, son of Cronos, above all, the god of fugitives. And him did Aeetes receive in his palace, and with gladness of heart gave him his daughter Chalciope in marriage without gifts of wooing. From those two are we sprung. But Phrixus died at last, an aged man, in the home of Aeetes; and we, giving heed to our father’s behests, are journeying to Orehomenus to take the possessions of Athamas. And if thou dost desire to learn our names, this is Cytissorus, this Phrontis, and this Melas, and me ye may. call Argus.”  Greek Text

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2022

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