Tyndareos and the Wooing of Helen (page 566)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 202 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, p. 99, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

The Kretan Lykomedes, as Hesiod says listing Helen’s suitors.  (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Stesichoros 190 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 102, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

IA 49-71 – Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis

Leda, the daughter of Thestius, had three children, maidens, [50] Phoebe, Clytemnestra my wife, and Helen; the foremost of the favored sons of Hellascame to woo Helen; but terrible threats of spilling his rival’s blood were uttered by each of them, if he should fail to win the girl. [55] Now the matter filled Tyndareus, her father, with perplexity, whether to give her or not, how he might best succeed. This thought occurred to him: the suitors should swear to each other and join right hands and pour libations [60] with burnt-sacrifice, binding themselves by this curse: whoever wins the child of Tyndareus for wife, they will assist that man, in case a rival takes her from his house and goes his way, robbing her husband of his rights; and march against that man in armed array and raze his city to the ground, [65] Hellene no less than barbarian. Now when they had once pledged their word and old Tyndareus with no small cleverness had beguiled them by his shrewd device, he allowed his daughter to choose from among her suitors the one towards whom the sweet breezes of Aphrodite might carry her. [70] Her choice fell on Menelaus; would she had never taken him!  Greek Text

ApB 30.10.8 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Now the kings of Greece repaired to Sparta to win the hand of Helen. The wooers were these:— Ulysses, son of Laertes; Diomedes, son of Tydeus; Antilochus, son of Nestor; Agapenor, son of Ancaeus; Sthenelus, son of Capaneus; Amphimachus, son of Cteatus; Thalpius, son of Eurytus; Meges, son of Phyleus; Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus; Menestheus, son of Peteos; Schedius and Epistrophus, sons of Iphitus; Polyxenus, son of Agasthenes; Peneleos, son of Hippalcimus; Leitus, son of Alector; Ajax, son of Oileus; Ascalaphus and Ialmenus, sons of Ares; Elephenor, son of Chalcodon; Eumelus, son of Admetus; Polypoetes, son of Perithous; Leonteus, son of Coronus; Podalirius and Machaon, sons of Aesculapius; Philoctetes, son of Poeas; Eurypylus, son of Evaemon; Protesilaus, son of Iphiclus; Menelaus, son of Atreus; Ajax and Teucer, sons of Telamon; Patroclus, son of Menoetius.  Greek Text

Fab 81 – Hyginus, Fabulae

SUITORS OF HELEN: Antilochus, Ascalaphus, Ajax, son of Oileus, Amphimachus, [Ancaeus], Blanirus, Agapenor, Ajax, son of Telamon, Clytius the Cyanean, Menelaus, Patroclus, Diomedes, Peneleus, Phemius, Nireus, Polypoetes, Elephenor, Eumelus, Sthenelus, Tlepolemus, Protesilaus, Podalirius, Eurypylus, Idomeneus, Leonteus, Thalpius, Polyxenus, Prothous, Menestheus, Machaon, Thoas, Ulysses, Phidippus, Meriones, Meges, Philoctetes. Older writers mention others.  Latin Text

Fab 78 – Hyginus, Fabulae

TYNDAREUS: Tyndareus, son of Oibalus, by Leda, daughter of Thestius, became father of Clytemnestra and Helen; he gave Clytemnestra in marriage to Agamemnon, son of Atreus. Because of her exceeding beauty many suitors from many states sought Helen in marriage. Tyndareus, since he feared that Agamemnon might divorce his daughter Clytemnestra, and that discord might arise from this, at the advice of Ulysses bound himself by an oath, and gave Helen leave to put a wreath on whomever she wished to marry. She put it on Menelaus, and Tyndareus gave her to him in marriage and at his death left him his kingdom.  Latin Text

Paus 3.20.9 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

Further on is what is called the Tomb of Horse. For Tyndareus, having sacrificed a horse here, administered an oath to the suitors of Helen, making them stand upon the pieces of the horse. The oath was to defend Helen and him who might be chosen to marry her if ever they should be wronged. When he had sworn the suitors he buried the horse hereGreek Text

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

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