Laomedon, Hesione, and Troy (page 400 lower, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Il 5.628-51 – Homer, Iliad

but Tlepolemus, son of Heracles, a valiant man and tall, was roused by resistless fate against godlike Sarpedon. And when they were come near as they advanced one against the other, the son and grandson of Zeus the cloud-gatherer, then Tlepolemus was first to speak, saying: “Sarpedon, counsellor of the Lycians, why must thou be skulking here, that art a man unskilled in battle? They speak but a lie that say thou art sprung from Zeus that beareth the aegis, seeing thou art inferior far to those warriors that were sprung from Zeus in the days of men of old. Of other sort, men say, was mighty Heracles, my father, staunch in fight, the lionhearted, who on a time came hither by reason of the mares of Laomedon with but six ships and a scantier host, yet sacked the city of Ilios and made waste her streets. But thine is a coward’s heart, and thy people are minishing. In no wise methinks shall thy coming from Lycia prove a defence to the men of Troy, though thou be never so strong, but thou shalt be vanquished by my hand and pass the gates of Hades.” And to him Sarpedon, captain of the Lycians, made answer: “Tlepolemus, thy sire verily destroyed sacred Ilios through the folly of the lordly man, Laomedon, who chid with harsh words him that had done him good service, and rendered him not the mares for the sake of which he had come from afar. Greek Text

Il 8.283-84 – Homer, Iliad

Telamon, who reared thee when thou wast a babe, and for all thou wast a bastard cherished thee in his own house. Greek Text

Il 20.144-48 – Homer, Iliad

So saying, the dark-haired god led the way to the heaped-up wall of godlike Heracles, the high wall that the Trojans and Pallas Athene had builded for him, to the end that he might flee thither and escape from the monster of the deep, whenso the monster drave him from the seashore to the plain. Greek Text

DS 4.32.1 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

After this Heracles, returning to Peloponnesus, made war against Ilium, since he had a ground of complaint against its king, Laomedon. For when Heracles was on the expedition with Jason to get the golden fleece and had slain the sea-monster, Laomedon had withheld from him the mares which he had agreed to give him and of which we shall give a detailed account a little later in connection with the Argonauts. Greek Text

DS 4.32.2-3Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

At that time Heracles had not had the leisure, since he was engaged upon the expedition of Jason, but later he found an opportunity and made war upon Troy with eighteen ships of war, as some say, but, as Homer writes, with six in all, when he introduces Heracles’ son Tlepolemus as saying:

Aye, what a man, they say, was Heracles

In might, my father he, steadfast, with heart

Of lion, who once came here to carry off

The mares of King Laomedon, with but

Six ships and scantier men, yet sacked he then

The city of proud Ilium, and made

Her streets bereft.

When Heracles, then, had landed on the coast of the Troad, he advanced in person with his select troops against the city and left in command of the ships Oecles, the son of Amphiaraus. And since the presence of the enemy had not been expected, it proved impossible for Laomedon, on account of the exigencies of the moment, to collect a passable army, but gathering as many soldiers as he could he advanced with them against the ships, in the hope that if he could burn them he could bring an end to the war. Oecles came out to meet him, but when he, the general, fell, the rest succeeded in making good their flight to the ships and in putting out to sea from the land. Laomedon then withdrew and joining combat with the troops of Heracles near the city he was slain himself and most of the soldiers with him. Heracles then took the city by storm and after slaughtering many of its inhabitants in the action he gave the kingdom of the Iliadae to Priam because of his sense of justice. Greek Text

Hes fr 165 MW – Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 80-81, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

Peisandros fr 11 PEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 170, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

Peisandros says that Herakles gave Telamon a most beautiful cup for the expedition against Ilios. (Transl. E Bianchelli)

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 63.420: Late Corinthian column krater with Herakles wearing a quiver and shooting arrows at sea monster; between Herakles and sea monster stands Hesione, who is throwing rocks at monster; on left, a chariot and charioteer (probably Iolaos)

BostronHerakles monster

Boston Museum


Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Digital LIMC

Taranto, Museo Archeologico 52155: Attic black-figure cup with Herakles in lionskin seizing tongue of sea monster as he prepares to slice it off with a harpe; on the left, seated, distressed woman (Hesione?)


Details from Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Taranto, Museo Nazionale 3 (1925) pl. 25

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Digital LIMC (no image)

Nem 4.25-26 – Pindar, Nemean Odes

Heracles, with whom once powerful Telamon destroyed Troy and the Meropes. Greek Text

Is 6.26-30 – Pindar, Isthmian Odes

Telamon. The son of Alcmena led him in ships to Troy, the toil of heroes, for war that delights in bronze, as an eager ally along with the men of Tiryns because of Laomedon’s wrongdoing. Greek Text

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#Herakles, #Hesione, #sea+monster

Artistic sources edited by  Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, September 2023

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2021

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