Lykaon and Kallisto (page 729 upper)

Chapter 18: Other Myths

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Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.199-243

Ardent in their wrath,
the astonished Gods demand revenge overtake
this miscreant; he who dared commit such crimes.
‘Twas even thus when raged that impious band
to blot the Roman name in sacred blood
of Caesar, sudden apprehensive fears
of ruin absolute astonished man,
and all the world convulsed. Nor is the love
thy people bear to thee, Augustus, less
than these displayed to Jupiter whose voice
and gesture all the murmuring host restrained:
and as indignant clamour ceased, suppressed
by regnant majesty, Jove once again
broke the deep silence with imperial words;
“Dismiss your cares; he paid the penalty
however all the crime and punishment
now learn from this:—An infamous report
of this unholy age had reached my ears,
and wishing it were false, I sloped my course
from high Olympus, and—although a God—
disguised in human form I viewed the world.
It would delay us to recount the crimes
unnumbered, for reports were less than truth.
“I traversed Maenalus where fearful dens
abound, over Lycaeus, wintry slopes
of pine tree groves, across Cyllene steep;
and as the twilight warned of night’s approach,
I stopped in that Arcadian tyrant’s realms
and entered his inhospitable home:—
and when I showed his people that a God
had come, the lowly prayed and worshiped me,
but this Lycaon mocked their pious vows
and scoffing said; ‘A fair experiment
will prove the truth if this be god or man.’
and he prepared to slay me in the night,—
to end my slumbers in the sleep of death.
So made he merry with his impious proof;
but not content with this he cut the throat
of a Molossian hostage sent to him,
and partly softened his still quivering limbs
in boiling water, partly roasted them
on fires that burned beneath. And when this flesh
was served to me on tables, I destroyed
his dwelling and his worthless Household Gods,
with thunder bolts avenging. Terror struck
he took to flight, and on the silent plains
is howling in his vain attempts to speak;
he raves and rages and his greedy jaws,
desiring their accustomed slaughter, turn
against the sheep—still eager for their blood.
His vesture separates in shaggy hair,
his arms are changed to legs; and as a wolf
he has the same grey locks, the same hard face,
the same bright eyes, the same ferocious look.

Thus fell one house, but not one house alone
deserved to perish; over all the earth
ferocious deeds prevail,—all men conspire
in evil. Let them therefore feel the weight
of dreadful penalties so justly earned,
for such hath my unchanging will ordained.”  Latin Text

ApB 3.8.1 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

and Lycaon, reigning over the Arcadians, begat by many wives fifty sons, to wit: Melaeneus, Thesprotus, Helix, Nyctimus, Peucetius, Caucon, Mecisteus, Hopleus, Macareus, Macednus, Horus, Polichus, Acontes, Evaemon, Ancyor, Archebates, Carteron, Aegaeon, Pallas, Eumon, Canethus, Prothous, Linus, Coretho, Maenalus, Teleboas, Physius, Phassus, Phthius, Lycius, Halipherus, Genetor, Bucolion, Socleus, Phineus, Eumetes, Harpaleus, Portheus, Plato, Haemo, Cynaethus, Leo, Harpalycus, Heraeeus, Titanas, Mantineus, Clitor, Stymphalus, Orchomenus, … These exceeded all men in pride and impiety; and Zeus, desirous of putting their impiety to the proof, came to them in the likeness of a day-laborer. They offered him hospitality and having slaughtered a male child of the natives, they mixed his bowels with the sacrifices, and set them before him, at the instigation of the elder brother Maenalus. But Zeus in disgust upset the table at the place which is still called Trapezus, and blasted Lycaon and his sons by thunderbolts, all but Nyctimus, the youngest; for Earth was quick enough to lay hold of the right hand of Zeus and so appease his wrath.  Greek Text

Plutarch, Moralia 300b – vol. 4, pp. 222-23, ed. F. C. Babbitt. Cambridge 1936.

Greek Text and English Translation

Hyginus, Fabulae 176

LYCAON: Jove is said to have come as guest to Lycaon, son of Pelasgus, and to have seduced his daughter Callisto. From them Arcas was born, who named the land from his own name. But the son of Lycaon wanted to test Jove, to see whether he was a god or not; they mixed human flesh with the other meat, and set it before him at a banquet. When he realized it, in anger he overturned the table, and slew the sons of Lycaon with a thunderolt. At that place Arcas later fortified a town which he called Trapezus. But for Lycaon, their father, Jupiter changed into the form lykon, that is, the form of a wolf.  Latin Text

Lykophron, Alexandra 480-81

one of the sons of the oak, the wolf-shaped devourers of the flesh of Nyctimus  Greek Text

Scholia at Lykophron, Alexandra 480, 481 – Lykophronis Alexandra, vol. 2, pp. 172-74, ed E. Scheer. Berlin 1908.

Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.2.3

But Lycaon brought a human baby to the altar of Lycaean Zeus, and sacrificed it, pouring out its blood upon the altar, and according to the legend immediately after the sacrifice he was changed from a man to a wolf (Lycos).  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.3.1

In the third generation after Pelasgus the land increased in the number both of its cities and of its population. For Nyctimus, who was the eldest son of Lycaon, possessed all the power, while the other sons founded cities on the sites they considered best.  Greek Text

ApB 3.9.1-2 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

Arcas had two sons, Elatus and Aphidas, by Leanira, daughter of Amyclas, or by Meganira, daughter of Croco, or, according to Eumelus, by a nymph Chrysopelia. These divided the land between them, but Elatus had all the power, and he begat Stymphalus and Pereus by Laodice, daughter of Cinyras, and Aphidas had a son Aleus and a daughter Stheneboea, who was married to Proetus. And Aleus had a daughter Auge and two sons, Cepheus and Lycurgus, by Neaera, daughter of Pereus. Auge was seduced by Hercules and hid her babe in the precinct of Athena, whose priesthood she held. But the land remaining barren, and the oracles declaring that there was impiety in the precinct of Athena, she was detected and delivered by her father to Nauplius to be put to death, and from him Teuthras, prince of Mysia, received and married her. But the babe, being exposed on Mount Parthenius, was suckled by a doe and hence called Telephus. Bred by the neatheards of Corythus, he went to Delphi in quest of his parents, and on information received from the god he repaired to Mysia and became an adopted son of Teuthras, on whose death he succeeded to the princedom.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.4.1-5.2

After the death of Nyctimus, Arcas the son of Callisto came to the throne. He introduced the cultivation of crops, which he learned from Triptolemus, and taught men to make bread, to weave clothes, and other things besides, having learned the art of spinning from Adristas. After this king the land was called Arcadia instead of Pelasgia and its inhabitants Arcadians instead of Pelasgians. [2] His wife, according to the legend, was no mortal woman but a Dryad nymph. For they used to call some nymphs Dryads, others Epimeliads, and others Naiads, and Homer in his poetry talks mostly of Naiad nymphs. This nymph they call Erato, and by her they say that Arcas had Azan, Apheidas and Elatus. Previously he had had Autolaus, an illegitimate son. [3] When his sons grew up, Arcas divided the land between them into three parts, and one district was named Azania after Azan; from Azania, it is said, settled the colonists who dwell about the cave in Phrygia called Steunos and the river Pencalas. To Apheidas fell Tegea and the land adjoining, and for this reason poets too call Tegea “the lot of Apheidas.”  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 3.31-32

Knowing even then of her sleeping with Ischys, son of Elatus, and of her lawless deceit, he sent his sister.  Greek Text

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2022.

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