Kadmos (page 472)

Chapter 14: Thebes

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Pherekydes 3F89 FGrHDie Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker 1, p. 84, ed. F. Jacoby. 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Hes fr 141.1-4 MW – Hesiod, Ehoiai (The Catalogue of Women) – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 68-69, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

…and crossed the salty water…conquered by Zeus’s tricks. [And] the father [mingled with her in love] and gave a gift, a golden necklace that Hephaisos famed for his art… (Transl. Nick Gardner)

St: Theb 2.265-305 – Statius, Thebais

Nor was it wonderful: for thou wast wearing, Argia, the ill-starred ornament of thy husband’s giving, the dread necklace of Harmonia. Far back the story runs, but I will pursue the well-known tale of woes, whence came it that a new gift had such terrible power.

[269] The Lemnian, so they of old believed, long time distressed at Mars’ deceit and seeing that no punishment gave hindrance to the disclosed amour, and the avenging chains removed not the offence, wrought this for Harmonia on her bridal day to be the glory of her dower. Thereat, through taught mightier tasks, the Cyclopes labour, and the Telchines famed for their handiwork helped in friendly rivalry of skill; but for himself the sweat of toil was heaviest. There forms he a circlet of emeralds glowing with a hidden fire, and adamant stamped with figures of ill omen, and Gorgon eyes, and embers left on the Sicilian anvil from the last shaping of a thunderbolt, and the crests that shine on the heads of green serpents; then the dolorous fruit of the Hesperides and the dread gold of Phrixus’ fleece; then divers plagues doth he intertwine, and the king adder snatched from Tisiphone’s grisly locks, and the wicked power that commends the girdle; all these he cunningly anoints about with lunar foam, and pours over them the poison of delight. Not Pasithea, eldest of the gracious sisters, nor Charm nor the Idalian youth did mould it, but Grief, and all the Passions, and Anguish, and Discord, with all the craft of her right hand. The work first proved its worth, when Harmonia’s complaints turned to dreadful hissing, and she bore company to grovelling Cadmus, and with long trailing breast drew furrows in the Illyrian fields. Next, scarce had shameless Semele put the hurtful gift about her neck, when lying Juno crossed her threshold. Thou too, unhappy Jocasta, didst, as they say, possess the beauteous, baleful thing, and didst deck thy countenance with its praise – on what a couch, alas! to find favour; and many more beside. Last Argia shines in the splendour of the gift, and in pride of ornament and accursed gold surpassed her sister’s mean attiring. The wife of the doomed prophet had beheld it, and at every shrine and banquet in secret cherished fierce jealousy, if only it might ever be granted her to possess the terrible jewel, nought profited, alas! by omens near at hand. What bitter tears she doth desire! to what ruin tend her impious wishes! Worthy is she, indeed, but what hath her hapless consort deserved, and his deluded arms? And what the guiltless frenzy of her son?  Latin Text

VM I 151 – First Vatican Mythographer – Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, p. 48, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834.

 Latin Text

VM II 78 – Second Vatican Mythographer – Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti, 2 p. 101, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834.

Latin Text

Th 975-78 – Hesiod, Theogony

And Harmonia, the daughter of golden Aphrodite, bore to Cadmus Ino and Semele and fair-cheeked Agave and Autonoe whom long haired Aristaeus wedded, and Polydorus also in rich-crowned Thebes. Greek Text

Ol 2.78 – Pindar, Olympian Odes

Peleus and Cadmus are counted among them, and Achilles. Greek Text

Bkch 1330-39 – Euripides, Bakchai

Changing your  , you will become a dragon, and your wife, Harmonia, Ares’ daughter, whom you though mortal held in marriage, will be turned into a beast, and will receive in exchange the form of a serpent. And as the oracle of Zeus says, you will drive along with your wife a chariot of heifers, ruling over barbarians. You will sack many cities with a force of countless numbers. And when they plunder the oracle of Apollo, they will have a miserable return, but Ares will protect you and Harmonia and will settle your life in the land of the blessed. Greek Text

Bkch 1354-60 – Euripides, Bakchai

I shall reach a foreign land as an aged immigrant. Still it is foretold that I shall bring into Hellas a motley barbarian army. Leading their spears, I, having the fierce nature of a serpent, will bring my wife Harmonia, daughter of Ares, to the altars and tombs of Hellas. Greek Text

AR 517-18 – Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonatika

A fenced city by the dark deep Illyrian river, where is the tomb of Harmonia and Cadmus, dwelling among the Encheleans. Greek Text

ApB 3.5.4 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

But Cadmus and Harmonia quitted Thebes and went to the Encheleans. As the Encheleans were being attacked by the Illyrians, the god declared by an oracle that they would get the better of the Illyrians if they had Cadmus and Harmonia as their leaders. They believed him, and made them their leaders against the Illyrians, and got the better of them. And Cadmus reigned over the Illyrians, and a son Illyrius was born to him. But afterwards he was, along with Harmonia, turned into a serpent and sent away by Zeus to the Elysian Fields. Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, University of Georgia, March 2020

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