Auge and Telephos (page 430)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 4.33.7-12

From this campaign Heracles returned into Arcadia, and as he stopped at the home of Aleos the king he lay secretly with his daughter Augê, brought her with child, and went back to Stymphalus. [8] Aleos was ignorant of what had taken place, but when the bulk of the child in the womb betrayed the violation of his daughter he inquired who had violated her. And when Augê disclosed that it was Heracles who had done violence to her, he would not believe what she had said, but gave her into the hands of Nauplius his friend with orders to drown her in the sea. [9] But as Augê was being led off to Nauplia and was near Mount Parthenium, she felt herself overcome by the birth-pains and withdrew into a near-by thicket as if to perform a certain necessary act; here she gave birth to a male child, and hiding the babe in some bushes she left it there. After doing this Augê went back to Nauplius, and when she had arrived at the harbour of Nauplia in Argolis she was saved from death in an unexpected manner. [10] Nauplius, that is, decided not to drown her, as he had been ordered, but to make a gift of her to some Carians who were setting out for Asia; and these men took Augê to Asia and gave her to Teuthras the king of Mysia. [11] As for the babe that had been left on Parthenium by Augê, certain herdsmen belonging to Corythus the king came upon it as it was getting its food from the teat of a hind and brought it as a gift to their master. Corythus received the child gladly, raised him as if he were his own son, and named him Telephus after the hind (elaphos) which had suckled it. After Telephus had come to manhood, being seized with the desire to learn who his mother was, he went to Delphi and received the reply to sail to Mysia to Teuthras the king. [12] Here he discovered his mother, and when it was known who his father was he received the heartiest welcome. And since Teuthras had no male children he joined his daughter Argiopê in marriage to Telephus and named him his successor to the kingdom.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Library 2.7.4

Passing by Tegea, Hercules debauched Auge, not knowing her to be a daughter of Aleus. And she brought forth her babe secretly and deposited it in the precinct of Athena. But the country being wasted by a pestilence, Aleus entered the precinct and on investigation discovered his daughter’s motherhood. So he exposed the babe on Mount Parthenius, and by the providence of the gods it was preserved: for a doe that had just cast her fawn gave it suck, and shepherds took up the babe and called it Telephus. And her father gave Auge to Nauplius, son of Poseidon, to sell far away in a foreign land; and Nauplius gave her to Teuthras, the prince of Teuthrania, who made her his wife.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Library 3.9.1

Auge was seduced by Hercules and hid her babe in the precinct of Athena, whose priesthood she held. But the land remaining barren, and the oracles declaring that there was impiety in the precinct of Athena, she was detected and delivered by her father to Nauplius to be put to death, and from him Teuthras, prince of Mysia, received and married her. But the babe, being exposed on Mount Parthenius, was suckled by a doe and hence called Telephus. Bred by the neatheards of Corythus, he went to Delphi in quest of his parents, and on information received from the god he repaired to Mysia and became an adopted son of Teuthras, on whose death he succeeded to the princedom.  Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 99

AUGE: Auge, daughter of Aleus, ravished by Hercules, when her time was near, gave birth to a child on Mount Parthenius, and there exposed him. At the same time Atalanta, daughter of Iasius, exposed a son by Meleager. A doe, however, sucked the child of Hercules. Shepherds found these boys and took them away and reared them, giving the name Telephus to the son of Hercules because a doe had suckled him, and to Atalanta’s child the name Parthenopaeus, because she had exposed him on Mount Parthenius [pretending to be virgin]. Auge, however, fearing her father, fled to Moesia to King Teuthras, who took her as a daughter since he was without children.  Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 100

TEUTHRAS: Idas, son of Aphareus, wished to rob Teuthras, king of Moesia, of his kingdom. When Telephus, Hercules’ son, with Parthenopaeus his friend, had come there seeking his mother in accordance with the oracle, Teuthras promised he would give him his kingdom and his daughter Auge in marriage if he would protect him from his enemy. Telephus did not disregard the proposal of the king, and with Parthenopaeus’ help overcame Idas in one battle. The king fulfilled his promise, and gave him his kingdom and Auge as wife, unaware of the relationship. Since she [faithful to Hercules] wished no mortal to violate her body, she intended to kill Telephus, not realizing he was her son. And so when they had entered the wedding-chamber, Auge drew a sword to slay Telephus. Then by the will of the gods a serpent of huge size is said to have glided between them, and at the sight Auge dropped the sword and revealed her attempt to Telephus. Telephus, when he heard this, not realizing she was his mother, was about to kill her, but she called for help on Hercules her ravisher, and by that means Telephus recognized his mother, and took her back to her own country.  Latin Text

Aelianus, De Natura Animalium 3.47

Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 101

TELEPHUS: Telephus, son of Hercules and Auge, is said to have been wounded by Achilles in battle with the spear of Chiron. When for days he suffered cruel torture from the wound, he sought oracular advice from Apollo for a remedy. The answer came that no one could heal him except the very spear that wounded him. When Telephus heard this, he went to King Agamemnon, and by Clytemnestra’s advice snatched the infant Orestes from his cradle, threatening to kill him if the Achaeans did not heal him. Then since the Achaeans had been given an oracle too, that Troy could not be taken without the leadership of Telephus, they readily made peace with him, and begged Achilles to heal him. Achilles replied that he didn’t know the art of healing. Then Ulysses said: Apollo does not mean you, but calls the spear the inflictor of the wound.” When they scraped it, he was healed. When they begged him to go with them to attack Troy, they did not obtain their request, because he had as wife Laodice, daughter of Priam. But in return for their kindness in healing him, he led them there, pointing out places and ways. From there he departed to Moesia.  Latin Text

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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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