The Descendants of Inachos (page 205)

Other Early Families

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Σ Or 932 – Scholia to Euripides, Orestes – Scholia in Euripidem 1, pp. 189-90, ed. E. Schwartz. Berlin 1887.

Greek Text

ApB 2.1.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Reigning over the Egyptians Epaphus married Memphis, daughter of Nile, founded and named the city of Memphis after her, and begat a daughter Libya, after whom the region of Libya was called. Libya had by Poseidon twin sons, Agenor and Belus. Agenor departed to Phoenicia and reigned there, and there he became the ancestor of the great stock; hence we shall defer our account of him. But Belus remained in Egypt, reigned over the country, and married Anchinoe, daughter of Nile, by whom he had twin sons, Egyptus and Danaus, but according to Euripides, he had also Cepheus and Phineus. Danaus was settled by Belus in Libya, and Egyptus in Arabia; but Egyptus subjugated the country of the Melampods and named it Egypt < after himself>.  Greek Text

Paus 2.19.3-4 – Pausanias, Geography of Greece

The reason why Danaus founded a sanctuary of Apollo Lycius was this. On coming to Argos he claimed the kingdom against Gelanor, the son of Sthenelas. Many plausible arguments were brought forward by both parties, and those of Sthenelas were considered as fair as those of his opponent; so the people, who were sitting in judgment, put off, they say, the decision to the following day.

[4] At dawn a wolf fell upon a herd of oxen that was pasturing before the wall, and attacked and fought with the bull that was the leader of the herd. It occurred to the Argives that Gelanor was like the bull and Danaus like the wolf, for as the wolf will not live with men, so Danaus up to that time had not lived with them. It was because the wolf overcame the bull that Danaus won the kingdom.  Greek Text

PD 865-67 – Aischylos, Prometheus Desmotes (Prometheus Bound)

However, love’s desire shall charm one of the maidens not to slay her mate; rather, her resolve will lose its edge; for she will make her choice between two evil names to be called coward rather than murderess.  Greek Text

ApB 2.1.5 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

When they had got their brides by lot, Danaus made a feast and gave his daughters daggers; and they slew their bridegrooms as they slept, all but Hypermnestra; for she saved Lynceus because he had respected her virginity: wherefore Danaus shut her up and kept her under ward. But the rest of the daugters of Danaus buried the heads of their bridegrooms in Lerna and paid funeral honors to their bodies in front of the city; and Athena and Hermes purified them at the command of Zeus. Danaus afterwards united Hypermnestra to Lynceus; and bestowed his other daughters on the victors in an athletic contestGreek Text

Her 14 – Ovid, Heroides (Epistulae)


[1] Hypermnestra sends this letter to the one brother left of so many but now alive – the rest of the company lied dead by the crime of their brides. Kept close in the palace am I, bound with heavy chains; and the cause of my punishment is that I was faithful. Because my hand shrank from driving into your throat the steel, I am charged with crime; I should be praised, had I but dared the deed. Better be charged with crime than thus to have pleased my sire; I feel no regret at having hands free from the shedding of blood. My father may burn me with the flame1 I would not violate, and hold to my face the torches that shone at my marriage rites; or he may lay to my throat the sword he falsely gave me, so that I, the wife, may die the death my husband did not die – yet he will not bring my dying kips to say “I repent me!” She is not faithful who regrets her faith. Let repentance for crime come to Danaus and my cruel sisters; this is the wonted event that follows on wicked deeds....  Latin Text

Paus 2.19.6 – Pausanias, Geography of Greece

As to the wooden images of Aphrodite and Hermes, the one they say was made by Epeus, while the other is a votive offering of Hypermnestra. She was the only one of the daughters of Danaus who neglected his command, and was accordingly brought to justice by him, because be considered that his life was in danger so long as Lynceus was at large, and that the refusal to share in the crime of her sisters increased the disgrace of the contriver of the deed. On her trial she was acquitted by the Argives, and to commemorate her escape she dedicated an image of Aphrodite, the Bringer of Victory.  Greek Text

Aischylos, Danaides fr 44 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, pp. 159-60, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2024.

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