Laomedon, Hesione, and Troy (page 401, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Ai 434-36 – Sophokles, Aias

Look, I am one whose father’s prowess won him the fairest prize of all the army, whose father brought every glory home from this same land of Ida. Greek Text

Ai 1299-1303 – Sophokles, Aias

I am the son of Telamon, who won my mother for his consort as prize for valor supreme in the army. And she was the daughter of Laomedon, of royal blood, and it was as the flower of the spoil that Alcmena’s son gave her to Telamon. Greek Text

Hellanikos 4F26b FGrH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 114, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Vatican Museums 16545: Attic red-figure cup by Douris, interior with Iason (name inscribed) being disgorged by large serpent; behind serpent is tree with Golden Fleece; on right, Athena watches intently; courting scenes on two exterior sides of cup (see upper left and upper right in second illustration below)

Ancient Rome

Monumenti inediti pubblicati dall’Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica 2 (1834-38) pl. 35

Vatican Museums

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Digital LIMC (no photo)

Attic Vase Inscriptions

Lyk 33-37 – Lykophron, Alexandra

But he, a living carver of the monster’s liver, seething in steam of cauldron on a flameless hearth, shed to ground the bristles of his head; he the slayer of his children, the destroyer of my fatherland.  Greek Text

Pal 37 – Palaiphatos, Peri Apiston (On Unbelievable things) – Mythographi Graeci 2, pp. 54-55, ed. N. Festa. Leipzig 1902.

This is said about Cetus, that from the sea it used to frequent the Trojans, but if they gave it young girls to devour, it would go away; otherwise, it would lay waste to their land. Is there anyone who doesn’t know that it is pointless for men to make treaties with fish? This was it: A great and powerful king with a large navy destroyed all the coastal part of Asia, so those people used to pay a tax, which they called tribute. But people then didn’t use silver coinage, but furnishings. Some cities were ordered to give horses, others cows, others young girls.  Greek Text

DS 4.42 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

When the oracle, then, became known, which told that the cause was the anger of Poseidon and that only then would it cease when the Trojans should of their free will select by lot one of their children and deliver him to the monster for his food, although all the children submitted to the lot, it fell upon the king’s daughter Hesionê. Consequently Laomedon was constrained by necessity to deliver the maiden and to leave her, bound in chains, upon the shore. Here Heracles, when he had disembarked with the Argonauts and learned from the girl of her sudden change of fortune, rent asunder the chains which were about her body and going up to the city made an offer to the king to slay the monster. When Laomedon accepted the proposal and promised to give him as his reward his invincible mares, Heracles, they say, did slay the monster and Hesionê was given the choice either to leave her home with her saviour or to remain in her native land with her parents. The girl, then, chose to spend her life with the stranger, not merely because she preferred the benefaction she had received to the ties of kinship, but also because she feared that a monster might again appear and she be exposed by citizens to the same fate as that from which she had just escaped. As for Heracles, after he had been splendidly honoured with gifts and the appropriate tokens of hospitality, he left Hesionê and the mares in keeping with Laomedon, having arranged that after he had returned from Colchis, he should receive them again; he then set sail with all haste in the company of the Argonauts to accomplish the labour which lay before them. Greek Text

ApB 2.5.9 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

But it chanced that the city was then in distress consequently on the wrath of Apollo and Poseidon. For desiring to put the wantonness of Laomedon to the proof, Apollo and Poseidon assumed the likeness of men and undertook to fortify Pergamum for wages. But when they had fortified it, he would not pay them their wages. Therefore Apollo sent a pestilence, and Poseidon a sea monster, which, carried up by a flood, snatched away the people of the plain. But as oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea. Seeing her exposed, Hercules promised to save her on condition of receiving from Laomedon the mares which Zeus had given in compensation for the rape of Ganymede. On Laomedon’s saying that he would give them, Hercules killed the monster and saved Hesione. But when Laomedon would not give the stipulated reward, Hercules put to sea after threatening to make war on Troy. Greek Text

Fab 89 – Hyginus, Fabulae

LAOMEDON: Neptune and Apollo are said to have built a wall around Troy. King Laomedon vowed that he would sacrifice to them from his flocks whatever should be born that year in his kingdom. This vow he defaulted on through avarice. Other writers say that he promised too little. Because of this Neptune sent a sea-monster to plague Troy, and for this reason the king sent to Apollo for advice. Apollo angrily replied that if Trojan maidens were bound and offered to the monster, there would be an end to the plague. When many girls had been devoured, and the lot fell on Hesione, and she was bound to the rocks, Hercules and Telamon came there, the Argonauts being on their way to Colchis, and killed the monster. They delivered Hesione to her father on condition that when they returned they should take her with them to their country, as well as the horses which walk over water standing ears of grain. Laomedon defaulted in this, too, and refused to give up Hesione. Laomedon defaulted in this, too, and refused to give up Hesione. And so Hercules, assembling ships to attack Troy, came and slew Laomedon, and gave the kingdom to his infant son Podarces, who was afterward called apo tou priasthai, from being redeemed, Priam. He recovered Hesione and gave her in marriage to Telamon. Their child was Teucer. Latin Text

VM I 136 –Vatican Mythographer IScriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, pp. 43-44, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834

Latin Text

Σ Aen 1.550 – Servius, Scholia to Vergil, Aeneid

Latin Text

Σ Aen  5.30 – Servius, Scholia to Vergil, Aeneid

Latin Text

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#Iason, #Golden+Fleece, #Athena

Artistic source 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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