Omphale and the Kerkopes (page 439 lower, with art)

Chapter 13: Herakles

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Pherekydes 3F82 FGrHDie Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1p. 82-83, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Tr 248-53 – Sophokles, Trachiniae

No. The greater part of the time he was detained in Lydia, no free man, as he declares, [250] but sold into servitude. No offense should be taken at my tale, lady, when the deed is found to be Zeus’ work. He passed a whole year, as he himself says, a bought slave to the barbarian Omphale.  Greek Text

♠ Tr 274-78 – Sophokles, Trachiniae 

But in anger at that deed, the king, [275] the father of all, Olympian Zeus, sent him away to be sold, and did not tolerate that this once, he killed a man by guile.  Greek Text

Herodoros 31F33 FGrHDie Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 222, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Malibu, California 77.AE.45.  Attic amphora from Group E. Herakles and Omphale.

Greek Vases in the J. Paul Getty Museum

Berlin, Pergamon Museum VI 3414.  Boiotian skyphos.  Herakles and Omphale (?).

Paris, Musee de Louvre K545.  Lucanian pelike.  Herakles and Omphale (?).

Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg F3291.  Apulian hydria.  Herakles and Omphale (?).

DS 4.31.5-8 – Diodoros Siculus, Library of History

Heracles then went to Deïphobus, the son of Hippolytus, and prevailing upon him was given the rite of purification, but being still unable to rid himself of the disease he inquired of Apollo how to heal it. Apollo gave him the answer that he would easily rid himself of the disease if he should be sold as a slave and honourably pay over the purchase price of himself to the sons of Iphitus, and so, being now under constraint to obey the oracle, he sailed over to Asia in company with some of his friends. There he willingly submitted to be sold by one of his friends and became the slave of Omphalê, the daughter of Iardanus, who was still unmarried and was queen of the people who were called at that time Maeonians, but now Lydians. [6] The man who had sold Heracles paid over the purchase price to the sons of Iphitus, as the oracle had commanded, and Heracles, healed now of the disease and serving Omphalê as her slave, began to mete out punishment upon the robbers who infested the land. [7] As for the Cercopes, for instance, as they are called, who were robbing and committing many evil acts, some of them he put to death and others he took captive and delivered in chains to Omphalê. Syleus, who was seizing any strangers who passed by and was forcing to hoe his vineyards, he slew by a blow with his own hoe; and from the Itoni, who had been plundering a large part of the land of Omphalê, he took away their booty, and the city which they had made the base of their raids he sacked, and enslaving its inhabitants razed it to the ground. [8] Omphalê was pleased with the courage Heracles displayed, and on learning who he was and who had been his parents she marvelled at his valour, set him free, and marrying him bore him Lamus. Already before this, while he was yet a slave, there had been born to Heracles by a slave a son Cleodaeus.  Greek Text

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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, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, November 2023.

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