The Landing: Protesilaos, Kyknos, and the Embassy to Troy (page 593)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Paus 4.2.7 – Pausanias, Description of Greece

The writer of the epic Cypria says that the wife of Protesilaus, the first who dared to land when the Greeks reached Troy, was named Polydora, whom he calls a daughter of Meleager the son of OeneusGreek Text

Sophokles, Poimenes fr 497 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, p. 395, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

Sophokles, Poimenes fr 500 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, p. 396, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

neither bronze nor iron takes hold of (someone’s) flesh (Transl. T. Gantz)

Sophokles, Poimenes fr 501 R –   Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, p. 396, ed. S.L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.

Euripides, Protesilaos p. 563 Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. A. Nauck, 2nd ed. Leipzig 1889.

Greek Text

Her 13Ovid, Heroides

Greetings and health Haemonian Laodamia sends her Haemonian lord, and desires with loving heart they go where they are sent.

[3] Report says you are held in Aulis by the wind. Ah, when you were leaving me behind, where then was this wind? Then should the seas have risen to stay your oars; that was the fitting time for the floods to rage. I could have given my lord more kisses and laid upon him more behests; and many are the things I wished to say to you. But you were swept headlong hence; and the wind that invited forth your sails was one your seamen longed for, not I; it was a wind suited to seamen, not to one who loved. I must needs loose myself from your embrace, Protesilaus, and my tongue leave half unsaid what I would enjoin; scarce had a time to say that sad “Farewell!”

[15] Boreas came swooping down, seized on and stretched your sails, and my Protesilaus soon was far away. As long as I could gaze upon my lord, to gaze was my delight, and I followed your eyes ever with my own; when I could no longer see you, I still could see your sails, and long your sails detained my eyes. But after I descried no more either you or your flying sails, and what my eyes rested on was naught but only sea, the light, too, went away with you, the darkness rose about me, my blood retreated, and with failing knee I sank, they say, upon the ground. Scarce your sire Iphiclus, scarce mine, the aged Acastus, scarce my mother, stricken with grief, could bring me back to life with icy-cold. They did their kindly task, but it had no profit for me. ‘Tis shame I had not in my misery the right to die!

[20] When consciousness returned, my pain returned as well. The wifely love I bore you has torn at my faithful heart. I care not now to let my hair be dressed, nor does it pleasure me to be arrayed in robes of gold. Like those who he of the two horns is believed to have touched with his vine-leafed rod, hither and thither I go, where madness drives. The matrons of Phylace gather about, and cry to me: “Put on they royal robes, Laodamia!” Shall I, then, go clad in stuffs that are saturate with costly purple, while my lord goes warring under the walls of Ilion? Am I to dress my hair, while his head is weighed down by the helm? Am I to wear new apparel while my lord wears hard and heavy arms? In what I can, they shall say I imitate your toils – in rude attire; and these times of war I will pass in gloomContinue Reading  Latin Text

DMor 28 (23) – Loukianos, Dialogi Mortuorum (Dialogues of the Dead)

Protesilaus, Pluto and Persephone

Lord, King, our Zeus! and thou, daughter of Demeter! Grant a lover’s boon!

What do you want? who are you?

Protesilaus, son of Iphiclus, of Phylace, one of the Achaean host, the first that died at Troy. And the boon I ask is release and one day’s life.

Ah, friend, that is the love that all these dead men love, and none shall ever win.

Nay, dread lord, ’tis not life I love, but the bride that I left new wedded in my chamber that day I sailed away—ah me, to be slain by Hector as my foot touched land! My lord, that yearning gives me no peace. I return content, if she might look on me but for an hour.

Did you miss your dose of Lethe, man?

Nay, lord; but this prevailed against it.

Oh, well, wait a little; she will come to you one day; it is so simple; no need for you to be going up.

My heart is sick with hope deferred; thou too, O Pluto, hast loved; thou knowest what love is.

What good will it do you to come to life for a day, and then renew your pains?

I think to win her to come with me, and bring two dead for one.

It may not be; it never has been.

Bethink thee, Pluto. ‘Twas for this same cause that ye gave Orpheus his Eurydice; and Heracles had interest enough to be granted Alcestis; she was of my kin.

Would you like to present that bare ugly skull to your fair bride? will she admit you, when she cannot tell you from another man? I know well enough; she will be frightened and run from you, and you will have gone all that way for nothing.

Husband, doctor that disease yourself: tell Hermes, as soon as Protesilaus reaches the light, to touch him with his wand, and make him young and fair as when he left the bridal chamber.

Well, I cannot refuse a lady. Hermes, take him up and turn him into a bridegroom. But mind, you sir, a strictly temporary oneGreek Text

ApE 3.29-30 – Apollodoros, Epitome

These were, however, saved by Antenor; but the Greeks, exasperated at the insolence of the barbarians, stood to arms and made sail against them. Now Thetis charged Achilles not to be the first to land from the ships, because the first to land would be the first to die. Being apprized of the hostile approach of the fleet, the barbarians marched in arms to the sea, and endeavored by throwing stones to prevent the landing. [30] Of the Greeks the first to land from his ship was Protesilaus, and having slain not a few of the barbarians, he fell by the hand of Hector. His wife Laodamia loved him even after his death, and she made an image of him and consorted with it. The gods had pity on her, and Hermes brought up Protesilaus from Hades. On seeing him, Laodamia thought it was himself returned from Troy, and she was glad; but when he was carried back to Hades, she stabbed herself to death.  Greek Text

Fab 103 – Hyginus, Fabulae

PROTESILAUS: An oracle warned the Achaeans that the man who first reached the shore of the Trojans would perish. When the Greek fleet had neared shore, and the others were delaying, Iolaus, son of Iphiclus and Diomedia, was first to leap from his ship, and was promptly killed by Hector. All called him Protesilaus, since he was the first of all to die. When his wife Laodamia, daughter of Acastus, heard that he had died, she wept and begged the gods that she be allowed to speak with him for three hours. It was granted, and when he was led back by Mercury, she spoke with him for three hours. But when Protesilaus died a second time, Laodamia, could not endure her grief.  Latin Text

Fab 104 – Hyginus, Fabulae

LAODAMIA: When Ladomia, daughter of Acastus, after her husband’s loss had spent the three hours which she had asked from the gods, she could not endure her weeping and grief. And so she made a bronze likeness of her husband Protesilaus, put it in her room under pretense of sacred rites, and devoted herself to it. When a servant early in the morning had brought fruit for the offerings, he looked through a crack in the door and saw her holding the image of Protesilaus in her embrace and kissing it. Thinking she had a lover he told her her father Acastus. When he came and burst into the rom, he saw the statue of Protesilaus. To put an end to her torture he had the statue and the sacred offerings burned on a pyre he had made, but Laodamia, not enduring her grief, threw herself on it and was burned to death.  Latin 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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