P. 377 (with art)

Herodoros 31F15 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, pp. 218-19, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957. 

Tzetzes,  Scholia to Lykophron, Alexandra 932 – Lykophronis Alexandra 2, pp. 883-86, ed E. Scheer. Berlin 1908

Greek Text

Ovid, Ibis 361-62

Nor let his daughter be more pious and friendly towards her father’s head

than Pterelaos’ daughter was towards him, or yours was towards you, Nisus. (Transl. E. Bianchelli) Latin Text


Pindar, Nemean 10.13-18

And Zeus nourished the spear of Amphitryon, who attained the height of prosperity and entered into kinship with that god, when, clad in bronze armor, he slew the Teleboae. Taking on the appearance of Amphitryon, the king of the immortals entered the hall of that hero, bearing the fearless seed of Heracles; whose bride Hebe, the most beautiful of the goddesses, walks forever in Olympus beside her mother Hera, goddess of marriage. Greek Text

Pindar, Isthmian 7. 5-7

Or when you received, as a snow-shower of gold in the middle of the night, the greatest of the gods, when he stood in the doorway of Amphitryon, and then went in to the wife to beget Heracles? Greek Text

Pindar, Nemean 1.33-72

But as for me, I cling to the theme of Heracles gladly, rousing an ancient story from among the great heights of his excellence, how, when the son of Zeus suddenly came out of his mother’s womb into the brilliant light, escaping her birth-pangs, with his twin brother, he did not escape the notice of gold-throned Hera when he was placed in his saffron swaddling-clothes. But the queen of the gods, stung in her heart, immediately sent serpents. The doors opened, and they crept into the spacious inner-chamber, eager to coil their swift jaws around the babies. But Heracles lifted his head straight up, and had his first experience of battle, seizing the two necks of the serpents in his two irresistible hands. When they were strangled, time squeezed the breath of life out of their unspeakable limbs. Unbearable fear struck the women who were then helping Alcmena at her bedside; for she herself leapt to her feet from her bed, unrobed as she was, and tried to ward off the violent attack of the monsters. And swiftly the chiefs of the Cadmeans rushed in together in their bronze armor, and Amphitryon came brandishing a sword bared from its scabbard, stricken with sharp distress. For each man alike is oppressed by his own trouble, but the heart recovers quickly from someone else’s grief. He stood, possessed by overwhelming astonishment and delight. For he saw the supernatural courage and power of his son; the immortals had turned the story of the messengers to falsehood for him. And he called his neighbor, the outstanding prophet of Zeus the highest, the truthful seer Teiresias. And the prophet told him and all the men what fortunes the boy would encounter: how many he would slay on land, and how many lawless monsters at sea. And he told of a certain one, most hateful, who walked with crooked insolence towards men, whom the boy would send to his doom. For he said that when the gods meet the giants in battle on the plain of Phlegra, the shining hair of the giants will be stained with dirt beneath the rushing arrows of that hero. But he himself will have allotted to him in peace, as an extraordinary reward for his great hardship, continuous peace for all time among the homes of the blessed. He will receive flourishing Hebe as his bride and celebrate the wedding-feast, and in the presence of Zeus the son of Cronus he will praise the sacred law. Greek Text

Paris, Musee de Louvre G192.  Atic stamnos by the Berlin Painter.  Infant Herakles strangling the snakes.


Wikimedia commons

Pherekydes 3F69 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1pp. 79-80, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957. 

Aischylos, Alkmene (p. 130 R) – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 3, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1985.

Sophokles, Amphitryon – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, pp. 154-55, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

Euripides, AlkmeneTragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, pp. 386-89, ed. A. Nauck  2nd  ed. Leipzig 1889. 

Greek Text

Taranto, Museo Nazionale Archeologico 4600: Apulian red-figure calyx krater with Alkmene on the altar surrounded by firewood


London, British Museum F 149.  Apulian red figure krater, Alkmene seated on altar surrounded by firewood.


British Museum on line

London, British Museum F193.  Campanian neck amphora by the Painter of Louvre K491.  Alkmene seated on altar.


Brtish Museum on line


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, September, 2017.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, December 2020

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