The First Mobilization at Aulis (page 579, with art)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Σ Acharnes 332 – Scholia to Aristophanes, Acharnes – Scholia Graeca in Aristophanem, ed. F. Dübner, p. 12. Paris 1877. 

Greek Text

London, British Museum, E382: Attic red-figure pelike with Agamemnon gesturing towards wounded Telephos, who sits on altar holding Orestes

British Museum

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

ApE 3.17-20 – Apollodoros, Epitome

But not knowing the course to steer for Troy, they put in to Mysia and ravaged it, supposing it to be Troy. Now Telephus son of Hercules, was king of the Mysians, and seeing the country pillaged, he armed the Mysians, chased the Greeks in a crowd to the ships, and killed many, among them Thersander, son of Polynices, who had made a stand. But when Achilles rushed at him, Telephus did not abide the onset and was pursued, and in the pursuit he was entangled in a vine-branch and wounded with a spear in the thigh.

[18] Departing from Mysia, the Greeks put to sea, and a violent storm coming on, they were separated from each other and landed in their own countries. So the Greeks returned at that time, and it is said that the war lasted twenty years. For it was in the second year after the rape of Helen that the Greeks, having completed their preparations, set out on the expedition and after their retirement from Mysia to Greece eight years elapsed before they again returned to Argos and came to Aulis.

[19] Having again assembled at Aulis after the aforesaid interval of eight years, they were in great perplexity about the voyage, because they had no leader who could show them the way to Troy.

[20] But Telephus, because his wound was unhealed, and Apollo had told him that he would be cured when the one who wounded him should turn physician, came from Mysia to Argos, clad in rags, and begged the help of Achilles, promising to show the course to steer for Troy. So Achilles healed him by scraping off the rust of his Pelian spear. Accordingly, on being healed, Telephus showed the course to steer, and the accuracy of his information was confirmed by Calchas by means of his own art of divinationGreek Text

ΣIl 1.59 – Scholia A to Homer, IliadScholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem I, pp. 16-17, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1875.

Greek Text

Prop 2.1.63-64 – Propertius, Elegies

and Telephus, the Mysian warrior, from Achilles’s Haemonian spear by which he had his wound, by that self-same spear, knew relief.  Latin Text

Latin Text and English Translation

Ovid, Ex Ponto 2.2.26

Achilles’ spear helped Mysian Telephus.  Latin Text

Undated painting seen by Pliny the Elder

NH 25.19 (25.42) – Pliny the Elder, Natural History

 Achilles too, the pupil of Chiron, discovered a plant which heals wounds, and which, as being his discovery, is known as the “achilleos.” It was by the aid of this plant, they say, that he cured Telephus. Other authorities, however, assert that He was the first to discover that verdigris [copper-rust] is an extremely useful ingredient in plasters; and hence it is that he is sometimes represented in pictures as scraping with his sword the rust from off a spear into the wound of Telephus. Some again, are of opinion that he made use of both remedies.  Latin Text (25.18)

NH 34.45 (34.152) – Pliny the Elder, Natural History


Rust itself, too, is classed among the remedial substances; for it was by means of it that Achilles cured Telephus, it is said, whether it was an iron weapon or a brazen one that he used for the purpose. So it is, however, that he is represented in paintings detaching the rust with his swordLatin Text (34.60)

Fab 101 – Hyginus, Fabulae

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 MoesiaLatin Text

Dik 2.2 – Diktys Cretensis, Journal of the Trojan War

It was in this battle that Thersander (the son of Polynices, as we mentioned above) attacked Telephus, and fell at his hands. Thersander had killed many of the Mysians, among whom was a doughty fighter, a favourite of Telephus, chosen by him as one of his generals because of his bravery, strength, and natural ability; these successes had gradually caused Thersander to become elated at the prospects of ultimate victory; and thus, daring to do greater deeds, he was killed. Thereupon Diomedes, remembering the friendship their fathers had started,1 shouldered Thersander’s bloody body and carried it off to be cremated and buried according to custom.  Greek Text

Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Hermitage St 1275: Attic red-figure fragmentary calyx krater by Phintias with Patroklos and Diomedes

J.C. Hoppin, Euthymides and his Fellows (1917), fig. p. 133

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

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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 2021

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

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