The Children of Tyro: Amythaon, Aison, Pheres (page 195, with art)

Chapter 5: The Line of Deukalion

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Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 4.50-51

While the return of the chieftains was as yet not known in Thessaly, a rumour, they say, went the rounds there that all the companions of Jason in the expedition had perished in the region of Pontus. Consequently Pelias, thinking that an occasion was now come to do away with all who were waiting for the throne,​ forced the father of Jason to drink the blood of a bull,​ and murdered his brother Promachus, who was still a mere lad in years.  Greek Text

ApB 1.9.27 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Now Pelias, despairing of the return of the Argonauts, would have killed Aeson; but he requested to be allowed to take his own life, and in offering a sacrifice drank freely of the bull’s blood and died. And Jason’s mother cursed Pelias and hanged herself, leaving behind an infant son Promachus; but Pelias slew even the son whom she had left behind.  Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 38 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, p. 26, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

Pherekydes 3F104c – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 88, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Scholion at Homer, Odyssey 12.69: According to Hesiod, Iason was the offspring of Aison and Polymele; according to Pherekydes he was born by Alkimede.  (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Ibykos 301 PMG Poetae Melici Graeci, p. 154 ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Formerly Berlin, Antikensammlung, F1655 (now lost): Late Corinthian column krater by the Amphiaraos Painter; funeral games of Pelias: chariot race

A. Furtwaengler and K. Reichhold, Griechische Vasenmalerei: Auswahl hervorragender Vasenbilder (Serie III, 1932), pl. 121: detail of Akastos, Argeios and Pheres, spectators or judges at chariot race

A. Furtwaengler and K. Reichhold, Griechische Vasenmalerei: Auswahl hervorragender Vasenbilder (Serie III, 1932), pl. 121: detail of racers Kastor, Admetos, Alastor, Amphiaraos and Hippasos

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Homer, Iliad 2.763-64

Of horses best by far were the mares of the son of Pheres, those that Eumelas drave, swift as birds.  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 2.713-15

These were led by the dear son of Admetus with eleven ships, even by Eumelus, whom Alcestis, queenly among women, bare to Admetus, [715] even she, the comeliest of the daughters of Pelias.  Greek Text

ApB 1.9.15 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

When Admetus reigned over Pherae, Apollo served him as his thrall, while Admetus wooed Alcestis, daughter of Pelias. Now Pelias had promised to give his daughter to him who should yoke a lion and a boar to a car, and Apollo yoked and gave them to Admetus, who brought them to Pelias and so obtained Alcestis. Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 50

ADMETUS: When great numbers of suitors were seeking Alcestis, daughter of Pelias, in marriage, and Pelias was refusing many of them, he set a contest for them, promising that he would give her to the one who yoked wild beasts to a chariot. [He could take away whomever he wished.] And so Admetus begged Apollo to help him. Apollo, since he had been kindly treated when given in servitude to him, provided him with a wild boar and lion yoked together, and with these he bore off Alcestis in marriage.  Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 51

ALCESTIS: Many suitors sought in marriage Alcestis, daughter of  Pelias and Anaxibia, Bias’ daughter; but Pelias, avoiding their proposals, rejected them, and set a contest promising that he would give her to the one who yoked wild beast to a chariot and bore her off. Admetus asked Apollo to help him, and Apollo, because he had been kindly received by him while in servitude gave to him a wild boar and a lion yoked together, with which he carried off Alcestis. He obtained this, too, from Apollo, that another could voluntarily die in his place. When neither his father nor his mother was willing to die for him, his wife Alcestis offered herself, and died for him in vicarious death. Later Hercules called her back from the dead.  Latin Text

Throne of Apollo at Amyklai (known through Pausanias’ description and modern reconstructions)

Pausanias Description of Greece 3.18.16

Lastly there is Admetus yoking a boar and a lion to his chariot (Greek Text).


Reconstruction of whole throne by A. Furtwängler, from J.G. Frazer, Pausanias’s Description of Greece, vol. III, Commentary (2nd ed. 1913), p. 352

 New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery 1913.111: Attic black-figure lekythos with Apollo and chariot of Admetos?

Yoking of lion, boar, wolf and panther in presence of Hermes

Apollo mounting chariot and Leto?

Yoked animals and Artemis?

Yale University Art Gallery

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

ApB 1.9.14 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Pheres, son of Cretheus, founded Pherae in Thessaly and begat Admetus and Lycurgus. Lycurgus took up his abode at Nemea, and having married Eurydice, or, as some say, Amphithea, he begat Opheltes, afterwards called Archemorus.  Greek Text

Naupaktia fr 1 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 123, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Pindar, Pythian 4.125-27 

And both his father’s brothers [125] came when they heard the report of Jason. Pheres was near by; he came from the Hypereian spring, and Amythaon came from Messene. Admetus and Melampus came quickly, showing kindness to their cousin.  Greek Text

Phrinikos, Alkestis fr 3 Sn – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 1, p. 73, ed. B. Snell. Göttingen 1971.

Orcus carrying a sword with which to cut Alkestis’ Hair  (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Aischylos, Eumenides 723-28 

You did such things also in the house of Pheres, when you persuaded the Fates to make mortals free from death.

Is it not right, then, to do good for a worshipper, [725] especially when he is in need?

It was you who destroyed the old dispensations when you beguiled the ancient goddesses with wine.  Greek Text

Plato, Symposium 179b

Furthermore, only such as are in love will consent to die for others; not merely men will do it, but women too. Sufficient witness is borne to this statement before the people of Greece by Alcestis, daughter of Pelias, who alone was willing to die for her husband. Greek Text

ApB 1.9.15 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And when the day of his death came neither his father nor his mother would die for him, but Alcestis died in his stead. But the Maiden sent her up again, or, as some say, Hercules fought with Hades and brought her up to him.  Greek Text

Homer, Iliad 2.763-65

Of horses best by far were the mares of the son of Pheres, those that Eumelas drave, swift as birds, [765] like of coat, like of age, their backs as even as a levelling line could make.  Greek Text

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#Admetos, #Apollo, #boar, #lion, #Pheres

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, January 2020.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2022

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