Neleus and Hippokoon (page 427)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Isokrates 6 Archidamus 19

for Heracles, when he had been robbed of the cattle from Erytheia, by Neleus and all his sons except Nestor, had taken the country captive and slain the offenders.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Library 2.6.2

Not long after, some cattle were stolen from Euboea by Autolycus, and Eurytus supposed that it was done by Hercules; but Iphitus did not believe it and went to Hercules. And meeting him, as he came from Pherae after saving the dead Alcestis for Admetus, he invited him to seek the kine with him. Hercules promised to do so and entertained him; but going mad again he threw him from the walls of Tiryns. Wishing to be purified of the murder he repaired to Neleus, who was prince of the Pylians. And when Neleus rejected his request on the score of his friendship with Eurytus, he went to Amyclae and was purified by Deiphobus, son of Hippolytus. But being afflicted with a dire disease on account of the murder of Iphitus he went to Delphi and inquired how he might be rid of the disease. As the Pythian priestess answered him not by oracles, he was fain to plunder the temple, and, carrying off the tripod, to institute an oracle of his own. But Apollo fought him, and Zeus threw a thunderbolt between them. When they had thus been parted, Hercules received an oracle, which declared that the remedy for his disease was for him to be sold, and to serve for three years, and to pay compensation for the murder to Eurytus.  Greek Text

Hesiod, Aspis (Shield of Herakles) 359-61

Another time ere this I declare he has made trial [360] of my spear, when he defended sandy Pylos and stood against me, fiercely longing for fight. Greek Text

Apollodoros, Library 2.7.3

After the capture of Elis he marched against Pylus, and having taken the city he slew Periclymenus, the most valiant of the sons of Neleus, who used to change his shape in battle. And he slew Neleus and his sons, except Nestor; for he was a youth and was being brought up among the Gerenians. In the fight he also wounded Hades, who was siding with the PyliansGreek Text

Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 4.33.5-6

After this Hippocoön exiled from Sparta his brother Tyndareüs, and the sons of Hippocoön, twenty in number, put to death Oeonus who was the son of Licymnius and a friend of Heracles; whereupon Heracles was angered and set out against them, and being victorious in a great battle he made a slaughter of every man of them. Then, taking Sparta by storm he restored Tyndareüs, who was the father of the Dioscori, to his kingdom and bestowed upon him the kingdom on the ground that it was his by right of war, commanding him to keep it safe for Heracles’ own descendants. [6] There fell in the battle but a very few of the comrades of Heracles, though among them were famous men, such as Iphiclus and Cepheus and seventeen sons of Cepheus, since only three of his twenty sons came out alive; whereas of the opponents Hippocoön himself fell, and ten sons along with him, and vast numbers of the rest of the Spartans.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Library 2.7.3

Having taken Pylus he marched against Lacedaemon, wishing to punish the sons of Hippocoon, for he was angry with them, both because they fought for Neleus, and still angrier because they had killed the son of Licymnius. For when he was looking at the palace of Hippocoon, a hound of the Molossian breed ran out and rushed at him, and he threw a stone and hit the dog, whereupon the Hippocoontids darted out and despatched him with blows of their cudgels. It was to avenge his death that Hercules mustered an army against the Lacedaemonians. And having come to Arcadia he begged Cepheus to join him with his sons, of whom he had twenty. But fearing lest, if he quitted Tegea, the Argives would march against it, Cepheus refused to join the expedition. But Hercules had received from Athena a lock of the Gorgon’s hair in a bronze jar and gave it to Sterope, daughter of Cepheus, saying that if an army advanced against the city, she was to hold up the lock of hair thrice from the walls, and that, provided she did not look before her, the enemy would be turned to flight. That being so, Cepheus and his sons took the field, and in the battle he and his sons perished, and besides them Iphicles, the brother of Hercules. Having killed Hippocoon and his sons and subjugated the city, Hercules restored Tyndareus and entrusted the kingdom to him.  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.15.4-5

The following incident, too, helped to begin the feud. Oeonus, a stripling cousin of Heracles—he was the son of Licymnius the brother of Alcmene—came to Sparta along with Heracles, and went round to view the city. When he came to the house of Hippocoon, a house-dog attacked him. Oeonus happened to throw a stone which knocked over the dog. So the sons of Hippocoon ran out, and dispatched Oeonus with their clubs. [5] This made Heracles most bitterly wroth with Hippocoon and his sons, and straightway, angry as he was, he set out to give them battle. On this occasion he was wounded, and made good his retreat by stealth but afterwards he made an expedition against Sparta and succeeded in avenging himself on Hippocoon, and also on the sons of Hippocoon for their murder of Oeonus. The tomb of Oeonus is built by the side of the sanctuary of Heracles.  Greek Text

Alkman Louvre Partheneion 1 PMG – Poetae Melici Graeci, pp. 2-5, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

♠ Scholia to Clement: Protrepticus 36.2

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, November 2023

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