This webpage reproduces a portion of
The Library of History
published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1939
The text is in the public domain.
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(Vol. III) Diodorus Siculus
Library of History
Book V, 47‑84 (end)
p227 47 1 We shall now give an account of the islands which lie in the neighbourhood of Greece and in the Aegean Sea, beginning with Samothrace. This p229 island, according to some, was called Samos in ancient times, but when the island now known as Samos came to be settled, because the names were the same, the ancient Samos came to be called Samothrace from the land of Thrace which lies opposite it. 2 It was settled by men who were sprung from the soil itself; consequently no tradition has been handed down regarding who were the first men and leaders on the island. But some say that in ancient days it was called Saonnesus1 and that it received the name of Samothrace because of the settlers who emigrated to it from both Samos and Thrace. 3 The first and original inhabitants used an ancient language which was peculiar to them and of which many words are preserved to this day in the ritual of their sacrifices. And the Samothracians have a story that, before the floods which befell their peoples, a great one took place among them, in the course of which the outlet2 at the Cyanean Rocks was first rent asunder and then the Hellespont. 4 For the Pontus, which had at the time the form of a lake, was so swollen by the rivers which flow into it, that, because of the great flood which had poured into it, its waters burst forth violently into the Hellespont and flooded a large part of the coast of Asia3 and made no small amount of the level part of the land of Samothrace into a sea; and this is the reason, we are told, why in later times fishermen have now and then brought up in their nets the stone capitals of columns, since even cities were covered by the inundation. 5 The inhabitants who had been caught by the flood, the account continues, ran up p231 to the higher regions of the island; and when the sea kept rising higher and higher, they prayed to the native gods, and since their lives were spared, to commemorate their rescue they set up boundary stones about the entire circuit of the island and dedicated altars upon which they offer sacrifices even to the present day. For these reasons it is patent that they inhabited Samothrace before the flood.
48 1 After the events we have described one of the inhabitants of the island, a certain Saon, who was a son, as some say, of Zeus and Nymphê, but, according to others, of Hermes and Rhenê, gathered into one body the peoples who were dwelling in scattered habitations and established laws for them; and he was given the name Saon after the island, but the multitude of the people he distributed among five tribes which he named after his sons. 2 And while the Samothracians were living under a government of this kind, they say that there were born in that land to Zeus and Electra, who was one of the Atlantids, Dardanus and Iasion and Harmonia. 3 Of these children Dardanus, who was a man who entertained great designs and was the first to make his way across to Asia in a make-shift boat, founded at the outset a city called Dardanus, organized the kingdom which lay about the city which was called Troy at a later time, and called the peoples Dardanians after himself. They say also that he ruled over many nations throughout Asia and that the Dardani who dwell beyond Thrace were colonists sent forth by him. 4 But Zeus desired that the other4 of his two sons might also attain to honour, and so he instructed him in the initiatory rite of the mysteries, p233 which had existed on the island since ancient times but was at that time, so to speak, put in his hands; it is not lawful, however, for any but the initiated to hear about the mysteries. 5 And Iasion is reputed to have been the first to initiate strangers into them and by this means to bring the initiatory rite to high esteem. And after this Cadmus, the son of Agenor, came in the course of his quest for Europê to the Samothracians, and after participating in the initiation he married Harmonia, who was the sister of Iasion and not, as the Greeks recount in their mythologies, the daughter of Ares.
49 1 This wedding of Cadmus and Harmonia was the first, we are told, for which the gods provided the marriage-feast, and Demeter, becoming enamoured of Iasion, presented him with the fruit of the corn,º Hermes gave a lyre, Athena the renowned necklace and a robe and a flute, and Electra the sacred rites of the Great Mother of the Gods, as she is called, together with cymbals and kettledrums and the instruments of her ritual; and Apollo played upon the lyre and the Muses upon their flutes, and the rest of the gods spoke them fair and gave the pair their aid in the celebration of the wedding. 2 After this Cadmus, they say, in accordance with the oracle he had received, founded Thebes in Boeotia, while Iasion married Cybelê and begat Corybas. And after Iasion had been removed into the circle of the gods, Dardanus and Cybelê and Corybas conveyed to Asia the sacred rites of the Mother of the Gods and removed with them to Phrygia. 3 Thereupon Cybelê, joining herself to the first Olympus, begat Alcê and called the goddess Cybelê after herself; and Corybas gave the name p235 of Corybantes to all who, in celebrating the rites of his mother, acted like men possessed, and married Thebê, the daughter of Cilix. 4 In like manner he also transferred the flute from Samothrace to Phrygia and to Lyrnessus the lyre which Hermes gave and which at a later time Achilles took for himself when he sacked that city. To Iasion and Demeter, according to the story the myths relate, was born Plutus or Wealth, but the reference is, as a matter of fact, to the wealth of the corn, which was presented to Iasion because of Demeter's association with him at the time of the wedding of Harmonia. 5 Now the details of the initiatory rite are guarded among the matters not to be divulged and are communicated to the initiates alone; but the fame has travelled wide of how these gods5 appear to mankind and bring unexpected aid to those initiates of theirs who call upon them in the midst of perils. 6 The claim is also made that men who have taken part in the mysteries become both more pious and more just and better in every respect than they were before. And this is the reason, we are told, why the most famous both of the ancient heroes and of the demi-gods were eagerly desirous of taking part in the initiatory rite; and in fact Jason and the Dioscori,6 and Heracles and Orpheus as well, after their initiation attained success in all the campaigns they undertook, because these gods appeared to them.
50 1 Since we have set forth the facts concerning Samothrace, we shall now, in accordance with our plan, discuss Naxos. This island was first called Strongylê and its first settlers were men from Thrace, the reasons for their coming being somewhat p237 as follows. 2 The myth relates that two sons, Butes and Lycurgus, were born to Boreas, but not by the same mother; and Butes, who was the younger, formed a plot against his brother, and on being discovered he received no punishment from Lycurgus beyond that he was ordered by Lycurgus to gather ships and, together with his accomplices in the plot, to seek out another land in which to make his home. 3 Consequently Butes, together with the Thracians who were implicated with him, set forth, and making his way through the islands of the Cyclades he seized the island of Strongylê, where he made his home and proceeded to plunder many of those who sailed past the island. And since they had no women they sailed here and there and seized them from the land.7 4 Now some of the islands of the Cyclades had no inhabitants whatsoever and others were sparsely settled; consequently they sailed further, and having been repulsed once from Euboea, they sailed to Thessaly, where Butes and his companions, upon landing, came upon the female devotees of Dionysus as they were celebrating the orgies of the god near Drius, as it is called, in Achaea Phthiotis. 5 As Butes and his companions rushed at the women, these threw away the sacred objects, and some of them fled for safety to the sea, and others to the mountain called Dius; but Coronis, the myth continues, was seized by Butes and forced to lie with him. And she, in anger at the seizure and at the insolent treatment she had received, called upon Dionysus to lend her his aid. And the god struck Butes with madness, because of p239 which he lost his mind and, throwing himself into a well, met his death. 6 But the rest of the Thracians seized some of the other women, the most renowned of whom were Iphimedeia, the wife of Aloeus, and Pancratis, her daughter, and taking these women along with them, they sailed off to Strongylê. And in place of Butes the Thracians made Agassamenus king of the island, and to him they united in marriage Pancratis, the daughter of Aloeus, who was a woman of surpassing beauty; 7 for, before their choice fell on Agassamenus, the most renowned among their leaders, Sicelus and Hecetorus, had quarrelled over Pancratis and had slain each other. And Agassamenus appointed one of his friends his lieutenant and united Iphimedeia to him in marriage.
51 1 Aloeus dispatched his sons Otus and Ephialtes in search of his wife and daughter, and they, sailing to Strongylê, defeated the Thracians in battle and reduced the city. 2 Some time afterward Pancratis died, and Otus and Ephialtes essayed to take the island for their dwelling and to rule over the Thracians, and they changed the name of the island to Dia. But at a later time they quarrelled among themselves, and joining battle they slew many of the other combatants and then destroyed one another, and from that time on these two men have received at the hands of the natives the honours accorded to heroes. 3 The Thracians dwelt on the island for more than two hundred years and then were driven out of it by a succession of droughts. And after that Carians removed to the island from Latmia, as it is now called, and made it their home; their king was Naxos, the son of Polemon, and he called the island Naxos after himself, in place of p241 Dia. Naxos was an upright and famous man and left behind him a son Leucippus, whose son Smerdius became king of the island. 4 And it was during the reign of Smerdius that Theseus, on his voyage back from Crete together with Ariadnê, was entertained as a guest by the inhabitants of the island; and Theseus, seeing in a dream Dionysus threatening him if he would not forsake Ariadnê in favour of the god, left her behind him there in his fear and sailed away. And Dionysus led Ariadnê away by night to the mountain which is known as Drius; and first of all the god disappeared, and later Ariadnê also was never seen again.
52 1 The myth which the Naxians have to relate about Dionysus is like this:8 He was reared, they say, in their country, and for this reason the island has been most dear to him and is called by some Dionysias. 2 For according to the myth which has been handed down to us, Zeus, on the occasion when Semelê had been slain by his lightning before the time for bearing the child, took the babe and sewed it up within his thigh, and when the appointed time came for its birth, wishing to keep the matter concealed from Hera, he took the babe from his thigh in what is now Naxos and gave it to the Nymphs of the island, Philia, Coronis, and Cleidê, to be reared. The reason Zeus slew Semelê with his lightning before she could give birth to her child was his desire that the babe should be born, not of a mortal woman but of two immortals, and thus should be immortal from its very birth. 3 And because of the kindness which the inhabitants of Naxos had shown to Dionysus in connection with his rearing they received marks of his gratitude; for the island p243 increased in prosperity and fitted out notable naval forces, and the Naxians were the first to withdraw from the naval forces of Xerxes and to aid in the defeat at sea which the barbarian suffered,9 and they participated with distinction in the battle of Plataeae.10 Also the wine of the island possesses an excellence which is peculiarly its own and offers proof of the friendship which the god entertains for the island.11
53 1 As for the island which is called Symê and was uninhabited in ancient times, its first settlers were men who came together with Triops, under the leadership of Chthonius, the son of Poseidon and Symê, from whom the island received the name it bears. 2 At a later time its king was Nireus, the son of Charops and Aglaïa, an unusually handsome man who also took part with Agamemnon in the war against Troy both as ruler of the island and as lord of a part of Cnidia. But after the period of the Trojan War Carians seized the island, during the time when they were rulers of the sea. At a later time, however, when droughts came, the Carians fled the island and made their home in Uranium, as it is called. Thereupon Symê continued to be uninhabited, until the expedition which the Lacedaemonians and the Argives made came to these parts, and at that time the island became settled again in the following manner. 3 One of the companions of Hippotes, a certain Nausus by name, was a member of the colony, and taking those who had come too late to share in the allotment of the land he settled Symê, which was uninhabited at that time, and later, when certain other men, under the leadership of Xuthus, put in at the island, he gave p245 them a share in the citizenship and in the land, and all of them in common settled the island. And we are told that both Cnidians and Rhodians were members of this colony.
54 1 Calydna and Nisyros were settled in ancient times by Carians, and after that Thettalus, the son of Heracles, took possession of both islands. And this explains why both Antiphus and Pheidippus,12 who were kings of the Coans, in the expedition against Troy led those who sailed from the two islands just mentioned. 2 And on the return from Troy four of Agamemnon's ships were wrecked off Calydna, and the survivors mingled with the natives of the island and made their home there. 3 The ancient inhabitants of Nisyros were destroyed by earthquakes, and at a later time the Coans settled the island, as they had done in the case of Calydna; and after that, when an epidemic had carried away the population of the island, the Rhodians dispatched colonists to it.
4 As for Carpathos, its first inhabitants were certain men who joined with Minos in his campaigns at the time when he was the first of the Greeks to be master of the sea; and many generations later Iolcus, the son of Demoleon, an Argive by ancestry, in obedience to a certain oracle dispatched a colony to Carpathos.
55 1 The island which is called Rhodes was first inhabited by the people who were known as Telchines; these were children of Thalatta,13 as the mythical tradition tells us, and the myth relates that they, together with Capheira, the daughter of Oceanus, nurtured Poseidon, whom Rhea had committed as a babe to their care. 2 And we are told p247 that they were also the discoverers of certain arts and that they introduced other things which are useful for the life of mankind. They were also the first, men say, to fashion statues of gods, and some of the ancient images of gods have been named after them; so, for example, among the Lindians there is an "Apollo Telchinius," as it is called, among the Ialysians a Hera and Nymphae, both called "Telchinian," and among the Cameirans a "Hera Telchinia." 3 And men say that the Telchines were also wizards and could summon clouds and rain and hail at their will and likewise could even bring snow; these things, the accounts tell us, they could do even as could the Magi of Persia; and they could also change their natural shapes and were jealous of teaching their arts to others.
4 Poseidon, the myth continues, when he had grown to manhood, became enamoured of Halia, the sister of the Telchines, and lying with her he begat six male children and one daughter, called Rhodos, after whom the island was named. 5 And at this period in the eastern parts of the island there sprung up the Giants, as they were called; and at the time when Zeus is said to have subdued the Titans, he became enamoured of one of the nymphs, Himalia by name, and begat by her three sons, Spartaeus, Cronius, and Cytus. 6 And while these were still young men, Aphroditê, they say, as she was journeying from Cytherae to Cyprus and dropped anchor near Rhodes, was prevented from stopping there by the sons of Poseidon, who were arrogant and insolent men; whereupon the goddess, in her wrath, brought p249 a madness upon them, and they lay with their mother against her will and committed many acts of violence upon the natives. 7 But when Poseidon learned of what had happened he buried his sons beneath the earth, because of their shameful deed, and men called them the "Eastern Demons"; and Halia cast herself into the sea, and she was afterwards given the name of Leucothea and attained to immortal honour in the eyes of the natives.
56 1 At a later time, the myth continues, the Telchines, perceiving in advance the flood that was going to come, forsook the island and were scattered. Of their number Lycus went to Lycia and dedicated there beside the Xanthus river a temple of Apollo Lycius. 2 And when the flood came the rest of the inhabitants perished, — and since the waters, because of the abundant rains, overflowed the island, its level parts were turned into stagnant pools — but a few fled for refuge to the upper regions of the island and were saved, the sons of Zeus being among their number. 3 Helius,14 the myth tells us, becoming enamoured of Rhodos, named the island Rhodes after her and caused the water which had overflowed it to disappear. But the true explanation is that, while in the first forming of the world the island was still like mud and soft, the sun dried up the larger part of its wetness and filled the land with living creatures, and there came into being the Heliadae,15 who were named after him, seven in number, and other peoples who were, like them, sprung from the land itself. 4 In consequence of these events the p251 island was considered to be sacred to Helius, and the Rhodians of later times made it their practice to honour Helius above all the other gods, as the ancestor and founder from whom they were descended. 5 His seven sons were Ochimus, Cercaphus, Macar, Actis, Tenages, Triopas, and Candalus, and there was one daughter, Electryonê, who quit this life while still a maiden and attained at the hands of the Rhodians to honours like those accorded to the heroes. And when the Heliadae attained to manhood they were told by Helius that the first people to offer sacrifices to Athena would ever enjoy the presence of the goddess; and the same thing, we are told, was disclosed by him to the inhabitants of Attica. 6 Consequently, men say, the Heliadae, forgetting in their haste to put fire beneath the victims, nevertheless laid them on the altars at the time,16 whereas Cecrops, who was king at the time of the Athenians, performed the sacrifice over fire, but later than the Heliadae. 7 This is the reason, men say, why the peculiar practice as regards the manner of sacrificing persists in Rhodes to this day, and why the goddess has her seat on the island.
Such, then, is the account which certain writers of myths give about the antiquities of the Rhodians, one of them being Zenon,17 who has composed a history of the island.
57 1 The Heliadae, besides having shown themselves superior to all other men, likewise surpassed them in learning and especially in astrology; and they introduced many new practices in seamanship and established the division of the day into hours. 2 The p253 most highly endowed of them by nature was Tenages, who was slain by his brothers because of their envy of him; but when their treacherous act became known, all who had had a hand in the murder took to flight. Of their number Macar came to Lesbos, and Candalus to Cos; and Actis, sailing off to Egypt, founded there the city men call Heliopolis, naming it after his father; and it was from him that the Egyptians learned the laws of astrology. 3 But when at a later time there came a flood among the Greeks and the majority of mankind perished by reason of the abundance of rain, it came to pass that all written monuments were also destroyed in the same manner as mankind; 4 and this is the reason why the Egyptians, seizing the favourable occasion, appropriated to themselves the knowledge of astrology, and why, since the Greeks, because of their ignorance, no longer laid any claim to writing, the belief prevailed that the Egyptians were the first men to effect the discovery of the stars. 5 Likewise the Athenians, although they were the founders of the city in Egypt men call Saïs, suffered from the same ignorance because of the flood. And it was because of reasons such as these that many generations later men supposed that Cadmus, the son of Agenor, had been the first to bring the letters from Phoenicia to Greece; and after the time of Cadmus onwards the Greeks were believed to have kept making new discoveries in the science of writing, since a sort of general ignorance of the facts possessed the Greeks.18
6 Triopas sailed to Caria and seized a promontory which was called Triopium after him. But the rest p255 of the sons of Helius, since they had had no hand in the murder, remained behind in Rhodes and made their homes in the territory of Ialysus, where they founded the city of Achaea. 7 Ochimus, who was the oldest of them and their king, married Hegetoria, one of the Nymphs of that region, and begat by her a daughter Cydippê, whose name was afterwards changed to Cyrbia; and Cercaphus, another of the brothers, married Cyrbia and succeeded to the throne. 8 Upon the death of Cercaphus his three sons, Lindus, Ialysus, and Cameirus, succeeded to the supreme power; and during their lifetime there came a great deluge and Cyrbê was buried beneath the flood and laid waste, whereupon the three divided the land among themselves, and each of them founded a city which bore his name.
58 1 About this time Danaüs together with his daughters fled from Egypt, and when he put ashore at Lindus in Rhodes and received the kindly welcome of the inhabitants, he established there a temple of Athena and dedicated in it a statue of the goddess. Of the daughters of Danaüs three died during their stay in Lindus, but the rest sailed on to Argos together with their father Danaüs. 2 And a little after this time Cadmus, the son of Agenor, having been dispatched by the king to seek out Europê, put ashore at Rhodes. He had been severely buffeted by tempests during the voyage and had taken a vow to found a temple to Poseidon, and so, since he had come through with his life, he founded in the island a sacred precinct to this god and left there certain of the Phoenicians to serve as its overseers. These men mingled with the Ialysians and continued to live as fellow-citizens with them, and from them, we p257 are told, the priests were drawn who succeeded to the priestly office by heredity. 3 Now Cadmus honoured likewise the Lindian Athena with votive offerings, one of which was a striking bronze cauldron worked after the ancient manner, and this carried an inscription in Phoenician letters, which, men say, were first brought from Phoenicia to Greece.
4 Subsequent to these happenings, when the land of Rhodes brought forth huge serpents, it came to pass that the serpents caused the death of many of the natives; consequently the survivors dispatched men to Delos to inquire of the god how they might rid themselves of the evil. 5 And Apollo commanded them to receive Phorbas and his companions and to colonize together with them the island of Rhodes — Phorbas was a son of Lapithes and was tarrying in Thessaly together with a considerable number of men, seeking a land in which he might make his home — and the Rhodians summoned him as the oracle had commanded and gave him a share in the land. And Phorbas destroyed the serpents, and after he had freed the island of its fear he made his home in Rhodes; furthermore, since in other respects he proved himself a great and good man, after his death he was accorded honours like those offered to heroes.
59 1 At a later time than the events we have described Althaemenes, the son of Catreus the king of Crete, while inquiring of the oracle regarding certain other matters, received the reply that it was fated that he should slay his father by his own hand. 2 So wishing to avoid such an abominable act, he fled of his own free will from Crete together with such as desired to sail away with him, these being a considerable p259 company. Althaemenes, then, put ashore on Rhodes at Cameirus, and on Mount Atabyrus he founded a temple of Zeus who is called Zeus Atabyrius; and for this reason the temple is held in special honour even to this day, situated as it is upon a lofty peak from which one can descry Crete. 3 So Althaemenes with his companions made his home in Cameirus, being held in honour by the natives; but his father Catreus, having no male children at home and dearly loving Althaemenes, sailed to Rhodes, being resolved upon finding his son and bringing him back to Crete. And now the fated destiny prevailed: Catreus disembarked by night upon the land of Rhodes with a few followers, and when there arose a hand-to‑hand conflict between them and the natives, Althaemenes, rushing out to aid them, hurled his spear, and struck in ignorance his father and killed him. 4 And when he realized what he had done, Althaemenes, being unable to bear his great affliction, shunned all meetings and association with mankind, and betook himself to unfrequented places and wandered about alone, until the grief put an end to his life; and at a later time he received at the hands of the Rhodians, as a certain oracle had commanded, the honours which are accorded to heroes.
5 Shortly before the Trojan War Tlepolemus,19 the son of Heracles, who was a fugitive because of the death of Licymnius, whom he had unwittingly slain, fled of his free will from Argos; and upon receiving an oracular response regarding where he should go to found a settlement, he put ashore at Rhodes together with a few people, and being kindly received p261 by the inhabitants he made his home there. 6 And becoming king of the whole island he portioned out the land in equal allotments and continued in other respects as well to rule equitably. And in the end, when he was on the point of taking part with Agamemnon in the war against Ilium, he put the rule of Rhodes in the hands of Butas, who had accompanied him in his flight from Argos, and he gained great fame for himself in the war and met his death in the Troad.
60 1 Since the affairs of Rhodes, as it happened, became interwoven with certain events occurring in the Cherronesus which lies opposite the island, I think it will not be foreign to my purpose to discuss the latter. The Cherronesus, as some men say, received in ancient times the name it bears from the fact that the natural shape of the region is that of an isthmus, but others have written that the name Cherronesus is given it from the man who once ruled over those parts. 2 The account runs like this: Not long after Cherronesus had ruled, five Curetes passed over to it from Crete, and these were descendants of those who had received Zeus from his mother Rhea and had nurtured him in the mountains of Idê in Crete.20 3 And sailing to the Cherronesus with a notable expedition they expelled the Carians who dwelt there, and settling down in the land themselves they divided it into five parts, each of them founding a city which he named after himself. 4 Not long after this Inachus, the king of the Argives, since his daughter Io had disappeared, sent forth Cyrnus, one of his men in high command, fitting him out with a considerable fleet, and ordered him to hunt for p263 Io in every region and not to return unless he had got possession of her. 5 And Cyrnus, after having wandered over many parts of the inhabited world without being able to find her, put ashore in Caria on the Cherronesus we are discussing; and despairing of ever returning to his house, he made his home in the Cherronesus, where, partly by persuasive means and partly by the use of force, he became king of a part of the land and founded a city which bore his name Cyrnus. And by administering affairs in a popular fashion he enjoyed great favour among his fellow-citizens.
61 1 After this, the account continues, Triopas, one of the sons of Helius and Rhodos, who was a fugitive because of the murder of his brother Tenages, came to the Cherronesus. And after he had been purified there of the murder by Elisseus the king, he sailed to Thessaly to give assistance as an ally to the sons of Deucalion, and with their aid he expelled from Thessaly the Pelasgians and took for his portion the plain which is called Dotium. 2 There he cut down the sacred grove of Demeter and used the wood to build a palace; and for this reason he incurred the hatred of the natives, whereupon he fled from Thessaly and put ashore, together with the peoples who sailed with him, in the territory of Cnidus, where he founded Triopium, as it was called after him. 3 And setting out from this place as his base he won for himself both the Cherronesus and a large part of neighboring Caria. But as regards the ancestry of Triopas there is disagreement among many of the historians and poets; for some have recorded that p265 he was the son of Canachê, the daughter of Aeolus and Poseidon, but others that he was born of Lapithes, the son of Apollo, and Stilbê, the daughter of Peneius.
62 1 In Castabus, on the Cherronesus, there is a temple which is sacred to Hemithea, and there is no reason why we should omit to mention the strange occurrence which befell this goddess. Now many and various accounts have been handed down regarding her, but we shall recount that which has prevailed and is in accord with what the natives relate.
To Staphylus and Chrysothemis were born three daughters, Molpadia, Rhoeo, and Parthenos by name. Apollo lay with Rhoeo and brought her with child; and her father, believing that her seduction was due to a man, was angered, and in his anger he shut up his daughter in a chest and cast her into the sea. 2 But the chest was washed up upon Delos, where she gave birth to a male child and called the babe Anius. And Rhoeo, who had been saved from death in this unexpected manner, laid the babe upon the altar of Apollo and prayed to the god to save its life if it was his child. Thereupon Apollo, the myth relates, concealed the child for the time, but afterwards he gave thought to its rearing, instructed it in divination, and conferred upon it certain great honours. 3 And the other sisters of the maiden who had been seduced, namely, Molpadia and Parthenos, while watching their father's wine, a drink which had only recently been discovered among men, fell asleep; and while they were asleep some swine which they were keeping entered in and broke the jar which contained the wine and so destroyed the wine. And the maidens, when they learned what had happened, in fear of their father's severity fled to p267 the edge of the sea and hurled themselves down from some lofty rocks. 4 But Apollo, because of his affection for their sister, rescued the maidens and established them in the cities of the Cherronesus. The one named Parthenos, as the god brought it to pass, enjoyed honours and a sacred precinct in Bubastus of the Cherronesus, while Molpadia, who came to Castabus, was given the name Hemithea,21 because the god had appeared to men, and she was honoured by all who dwelt in the Cherronesus. 5 And in sacrifices which are held in her honour a mixture of honey and milk is used in the libations, because of the experience which she had had in connection with the wine, while anyone who has touched a hog or eaten of its flesh is not permitted to draw near to the sacred precinct.
63 1 In later times the temple of Hemithea enjoyed so great a development that not only was it held in special honour by the inhabitants of the place and of neighbouring regions, but even peoples from afar came to it in their devotion and honoured it with costly sacrifices and notable dedications. And most important of all, when the Persians were the dominant power in Asia and were plundering all the temples of the Greeks,22 the precinct of Hemithea was the sole shrine on which they did not lay hands, and the robbers who were pillaging everything they met left this shrine alone entirely unplundered, and this they did despite the fact that it was unwalled and the pillaging of it would have entailed no danger. 2 And the reason which men advance for its continued development is the benefactions which the p269 goddess confers upon all mankind alike; for she appears in visible shape in their sleep to those who are in suffering and gives them healing, and many who are in the grip of diseases for which no remedy is known are restored to health; furthermore, to women who are suffering in childbirth the goddess gives relief from the agony and perils of travail. 3 Consequently, since many have been saved in these ways from most ancient times, the sacred precinct is filled with votive offerings, nor are these protected by guards or by a strong wall, but by the habitual reverence of the people.
64 1 Now as regards Rhodes and the Cherronesus we shall rest content with what has been said, and we shall at this point discuss Crete. The inhabitants of Crete claim that the oldest people of the island were those who are known as Eteocretans,23 who were sprung from the soil itself, and that their king, who was called Cres, was responsible for the greatest number of the most important discoveries made in the island which contributed to the improvement of the social life of mankind. 2 Also the greater number of the gods who, because of their benefactions to all men alike, have been accorded immortal honours, had their origin, so their myths relate, in their land; and of the tradition regarding these gods we shall now give a summary account, following the most reputable writers who have recorded the affairs of Crete.
3 The first of these gods of whom tradition has left a record made their home in Crete about Mt. Idê and were called Idaean Dactyli. These, according to one tradition, were one hundred in number, but p271 others say that there were only ten to receive this name, corresponding in number to the fingers (dactyli) of the hands. 4 But some historians, and Ephorus is one of them, record that the Idaean Dactyli were in fact born on the Mt. Idê which is in Phrygia and passed over to Europe together with Mygdon; and since they were wizards, they practised charms and initiatory rites and mysteries and in the course of a sojourn in Samothrace they amazed the natives of that island not a little by their skill in such matters. And it was at this time, we are further told, that Orpheus, who was endowed with an exceptional gift of poesy and song, also became a pupil of theirs, and he was subsequently the first to introduce initiatory rites and mysteries to the Greeks.
5 However this may be, the Idaean Dactyli of Crete, so tradition tell us, discovered both the use of fire and what the metals copper and iron are, as well as the means of working them, this being done in the territory of the city of Aptera at Berecynthus, as it is called; 6 and since they were looked upon as the originators of great blessings for the race of men, they were accorded immortal honours. And writers tell us that one of them was named Heracles, and excelling as he did in fame, he established the Olympic Games, and that the men of a later period thought, because the name was the same, that it was the son of Alcmenê who had founded the institution of the Olympic Games. 7 And evidences of this, they tell us, are found in the fact that many women even to this day take their incantations from this god and make amulets in his name, on the ground that he was a wizard and practised the arts of initiatory p273 rites; but they add that these things were indeed very far removed from the habits of the Heracles who was born of Alcmenê.
65 1 After the Idaean Dactyli, according to accounts we have, there were nine Curetes. Some writers of myths relate that these gods were born of the earth, but according to others, they were descended from the Idaean Dactyli. The home they made in mountainous places which were thickly wooded and full of ravines, and which, in a word, provided a natural shelter and coverage, since it had not yet been discovered how to build houses. 2 And since these Curetes excelled in wisdom they discovered many things which are of use to men generally; so, for instance, they were the first to gather sheep into flocks, to domesticate the several other kinds of animals which men fatten, and to discover the making of honey. 3 In the same manner they introduced the art of shooting with the bow and the ways of hunting animals, and they showed mankind how to live and associate together in a common life, and they were the originators of concord and, so to speak, of orderly behaviour. 4 The Curetes also invented swords and helmets and the war-dance, by means of which they raised a great alarum and deceived Cronus.24 And we are told that, when Rhea, the mother of Zeus, entrusted him to them unbeknown to Cronus his father, they took him under their care and saw to his nurture; but since we purpose to set forth this affair in detail, we must take up the account at a little earlier point.
66 1 The myth the Cretans relate runs like this: When the Curetes were young men, the Titans, as they are called, were still living. These Titans had p275 their dwelling in the land about Cnosus, at the place where even to this day men point out foundations of a house of Rhea25 and a cypress grove, which has been consecrated to her from ancient times. 2 The Titans numbered six men and five women, being born, as certain writers of myths relate, of Uranus and Gê, but according to others, of one of the Curetes and Titaea, from whom as their mother they derive the name they have. 3 The males were Cronus, Hyperion, Coeus, Iapetus, Crius, and Oceanus, and their sisters were Rhea, Themis, Mnemosynê, Phoebê, and Tethys. Each one of them was the discoverer of things of benefit to mankind, and because of the benefaction they conferred upon all men they were accorded honours and everlasting fame.
4 Cronus, since he was the eldest of the Titans, became king and caused all men who were his subjects to change from a rude way of living to a civilized life, and visited many regions of the inhabited earth. Among all he met he introduced justice and sincerity of soul, and this is why the tradition has come down to later generations that the men of Cronus' time were good-hearted, altogether guileless, and blest with felicity. 5 His kingdom was strongest in the western regions, where indeed he enjoyed his greatest honour; consequently, down even to comparatively recent times, among the Romans and the Carthaginians, while their city still stood, and other neighbouring peoples, notable festivals and sacrifices were celebrated in honour of this god and many places bore p277 his name.26 6 And because of the exceptional obedience to laws no injustice was committed by any one at any time and all the subjects of the rule of Cronus lived a life of blessedness, in the unhindered enjoyment of every pleasure. To this the poet Hesiod also bears witness in the following words:27
And they who were of Cronus' day, what time
He reigned in heav'n, lived like the gods, no care
In heart, remote and free from ills and toils
Severe, from grievous sicknesses and cares;
Old age lay not upon their limbs, but they,
Equal in strength of leg and arm, enjoyed
Endless delight of feasting far from ills,
And when death came, they sank in it as in
A sleep. And many other things were theirs:
Grain-giving earth, unploughed, bore for them fruit
Abundantly and without stint; and glad
Of heart they dwelt upon their tilth throughout
The earth, in midst of blessings manifold,
Rich in their flocks, loved by the blessed gods.
This, then, is what the myths have to say about Cronus.
67 1 Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and p279 their nature. 2 To Coeus and Phoebê was born Leto, and to Iapetus was born Prometheus, of whom tradition tells us, as some writers of myths record, that he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, though the truth is that he was the discoverer of those things which give forth fire and from which it may be kindled. 3 Of the female Titans they say that Mnemosynê discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes.28 And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mnemê) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received. 4 Themis, the myths tell us, was the first to introduce divinations and sacrifices and the ordinances which concern the gods, and to instruct men in the ways of obedience to laws and of peace. Consequently men who preserve what is holy with respect to the gods and the laws of men are called "law-guardians" (thesmophulakes) and "law-givers" (thesmothetai),29 and we say that Apollo, at the moment when he is to return the oracular responses, is "issuing laws and ordinances" (themisteuein), in view of the fact that Themis was the discoveress of oracular responses. 5 And so these gods, by reason of the many benefactions which they conferred upon the life of man, were not only accorded immortal honours, but it was also believed that they were the first to make their home on Mount Olympus after they had been translated from among men.
p281 68 1 To Cronus and Rhea, we are told, were born Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. Of these, they say, Hestia discovered how to build houses, and because of this benefaction of hers practically all men have established her shrine in every home, according her honours and sacrifices. And Demeter, since the corn still grew wild together with the other plants and was still unknown to men, was the first to gather it in, to devise how to prepare and preserve it, and to instruct mankind how to sow it. 2 Now she had discovered the corn before she gave birth to her daughter Persephonê, but after the birth of her daughter and the rape of her by Pluton, she burned all the fruit of the corn, both because of her anger at Zeus and because of her grief over her daughter. After she had found Persephonê, however, she became reconciled with Zeus and gave Triptolemus the corn to sow, instructing him both to share the gift with men everywhere and to teach them everything concerned with the labour of sowing. 3 And some men say that it was she also who introduced laws, by obedience to which men have become accustomed to deal justly with one another, and that mankind has called this goddess Thesmophoros30 after the laws which she gave them. And since Demeter has been responsible for the greatest blessings to mankind, she has been accorded the most notable honours and sacrifices, and magnificent feasts and festivals as well, not only by the Greeks, but also by almost all barbarians who have partaken of this kind of food.
69 1 There is dispute about the discovery of the fruit of the corn on the part of many peoples, who p283 claim that they were the first among whom the goddess was seen and to whom she made known both the nature and use of the corn. The Egyptians, for example, say that Demeter and Isis are the same, and that she was first to bring the seed to Egypt, since the river Nile waters the fields at the proper time and that land enjoys the most temperate seasons. 2 Also the Athenians, though they assert that the discovery of this fruit took place in their country, are nevertheless witnesses to its having been brought to Attica from some other region; for the place which originally received this gift they call Eleusis,31 from the fact that the seed of the corn came from others and was conveyed to them. 3 But the inhabitants of Sicily, dwelling as they do on an island which is sacred to Demeter and Corê, say that it is reasonable to believe that the gift of which we are speaking was made to them first, since the land they cultivate is the one the goddess holds most dear; for it would be strange indeed, they maintain, for the goddess to take for her own, so to speak, a land which is the most fertile known and yet to give it, the last of all, a share in her benefaction, as though it were nothing to her, especially since she has her dwelling there, all men agreeing that the Rape of Corê took place on this island. Moreover, this land is the best adapted for these fruits, even as the poet also says:32
But all these things grow there for them unsown
And e'en untilled, both wheat and barley.
This, then, is what the myths have to say about Demeter.
p285 4 As for the rest of the gods who were born to Cronus and Rhea, the Cretans say that Poseidon was the first to concern himself with sea-faring and to fit out fleets, Cronus having given him the lordship in such matters; and this is why the tradition has been passed along to succeeding generations that he controls whatever is done on the sea, and why mariners honour him by means of sacrifices. Men further bestow upon Poseidon the distinction of having been the first to tame horses and to introduce the knowledge of horsemanship (hippikê), because of which he is called "Hippius." 5 And of Hades it is said that he laid down the rules which are concerned with burials and funerals and the honours which are paid to the dead, no concern having been given to the dead before this time; and this is why tradition tells us that Hades is lord of the dead, since there were assigned to him in ancient times the first offices in such matters and the concern for them.
70 1 Regarding the birth of Zeus and the manner in which he came to be king, there is no agreement. Some say that he succeeded to the kingship after Cronus passed from among men into the company of the gods, not by overcoming his father with violence, but in the manner prescribed by custom and justly, having been judged worthy of that honour. But others recount a myth, which runs as follows: There was delivered to Cronus an oracle regarding the birth of Zeus which stated that the son who would be born to him would wrest the kingship from him by force. 2 Consequently Cronus time and again did away with the children whom he begot; but Rhea, grieved as she was, and yet lacking the power to change her husband's purpose, when she p287 had given birth to Zeus, concealed him in Idê, as it is called, and, without the knowledge of Cronus, entrusted the rearing of him to the Curetes who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Mount Idê. The Curetes bore him off to a certain cave where they gave him over to the Nymphs, with the command that they should minister to his every need. 3 And the Nymphs nurtured the child on a mixture of honey and milk and gave him upbringing at the udder of the goat which was named Amaltheia. And many evidences of the birth and upbringing of this god remain to this day on the island. 4 For instance, when he was being carried away, while still an infant, by the Curetes, they say that the umbilical cord (omphalos) fell from him near the river known as Triton, and that this spot has been made sacred and has been called Omphalus after that incident, while in like manner the plain about it is known as Omphaleium. And on Mount Idê, where the god was nurtured, both the cave in which he spent his days has been made sacred to him, and the meadows round about it, which lie upon the ridges of the mountain, have in like manner been consecrated to him. 5 But the most astonishing of all that which the myth relates has to do with the bees, and we should not omit to mention it: The god, they say, wishing to preserve an immortal memorial of his close association with the bees, changed the colour of them, making it like copper with the gleam of gold, and since the region lay at a very great altitude, where fierce winds blew about it and heavy snows fell, he made the bees insensible to such things and unaffected by them, since they must range over the most wintry stretches. 6 To the goat (aeg-) which suckled him p289 Zeus also accorded certain honours, and in particular took from it a surname, being called Aegiochus.33 And when he had attained to manhood he founded first a city in Dicta, where indeed the myth states that he was born; in later times this city was abandoned, but some stone blocks of its foundations are still preserved.
71 1 Now Zeus, the myth goes on to say, surpassed all others in manly spirit and wisdom and justice and in the other virtues one and all, and, as a consequence, when he took over the kingly power from Cronus, he conferred benefactions of the greatest number and importance upon the life of mankind. He was the first of all, for instance, to lay down rules regarding acts of injustice and to teach men to deal justly one with another, to refrain from deeds of violence, and to settle their differences by appeals to men and to courts of justice. In short, he contributed in abundance to the practices which are concerned with obedience to law and with peace, prevailing upon good men by persuasion and intimidating evil men by threat of punishment and by their fear. 2 He also visited practically the entire inhabited earth, putting to death robbers and impious men and introducing equality and democracy; and it was in this connection, they say, that he slew the Giants and their followers, Mylinus in Crete and Typhon in Phrygia. 3 Before the battle against the Giants in Crete, we are told, Zeus sacrificed a bull to Helius and to Uranus and to Gê; and in connection each of the rites there was revealed to him what was the will of the gods in the affair, the omens p291 indicating the victory of the gods and a defection to them of the enemy. And the outcome of the war accorded with the omens; for Musaeus deserted to him from the enemy, for which he was accorded peculiar honours, and all who opposed them were cut down by the gods.
4 Zeus also had other wars against the Giants, we are told, in Macedonia near Pallenê and in Italy on the plain which of old was named Phlegraean ("fiery") after the region about it which had been burned,34 but which in later times men called Cumaean. 5 Now the Giants were punished by Zeus because they had treated the rest of mankind in a lawless fashion and, confiding in their bodily superiority and strength, had enslaved their neighbours, and because they were also disobeying the rules of justice which he was laying down and were raising up war against those whom all mankind considered to be gods because of the benefactions they were conferring upon men generally. 6 Zeus, then, we are told, not only totally eradicated the impious and evil-doers from among mankind, but he also distributed honours as they were merited among the noblest of the gods and heroes and men. And because of the magnitude of his benefactions and his superior power all men accorded to him as with one voice both the everlasting kingship which he possesses and his dwelling upon Mount Olympus.
72 1 And it was ordained, the myth continues, that sacrifices should be offered to Zeus surpassing those offered to all the other gods, and that, after he passed from earth into the heavens, a just belief should spring up in the souls of all who had received p293 his benefactions that he is lord of all the phenomena of heaven, that is, both of rain and of thunder and of lightning and of everything else of that nature. 2 It is for this reason also that names have been given him: Zên,35 because in the opinion of mankind he is the cause of life (zên), bringing as he does the fruits to maturity by tempering the atmosphere; Father, because of the concern and goodwill he manifests toward all mankind, as well as because he is considered to be the first cause of the race of men; Most High and King, because of the preëminence of his rule; Good Counsellor and All-wise, because of the sagacity he manifests in the giving of wise counsel.
3 Athena, the myths relate, was likewise begotten of Zeus in Crete, at the sources of the river Triton, this being the reason why she has been given the name Tritogeneia.36 And there stands, even to this day, at these sources a temple which is sacred to this goddess, at the spot where the myth relates that her birth took place. 4 Men say also that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Cnosians, at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which with tradition tells it was originally performed.
5 To Zeus also were born, they say, the goddesses Aphroditê and the Graces, Eileithyia and her helper Artemis, the Hours, as they are called, Eunomia and Dikê and Eirenê, and Athena and the Muses, and p295 the gods Hephaestus and Ares and Apollo, and Hermes and Dionysus and Heracles.
73 1 To each one of the deities we have named, the myth goes on to relate, Zeus imparted the knowledge of the things which he had discovered and was perfecting, and likewise assigned to them the honour of their discovery, wishing in this way with to endow them with immortal fame among all mankind. 2 To Aphroditê was entrusted the youth of maidens, the years in which they are expected to marry, and the supervision of such matters as are observed even yet in connection with weddings, together with the sacrifices and drink-offerings which men perform to this goddess. Nevertheless, all men make their first sacrifices to Zeus the Perfecter and Hera the Perfectress, because they are the originators and discoverers of all things, as we have stated above. 3 To the Graces was given the adornment of personal appearance and the beautifying of each part of the body with an eye to making it more comely and pleasing to the gaze, and the further privilege of being the first to bestow benefactions and, on the other hand, of requiting with appropriate favours37 such men as have performed good acts. 4 Eileithyia received the care of expectant mothers and the alleviation of the travail of childbirth; and for this reason women when they are in perils of this nature call first of all upon this goddess. 5 And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos.38 6 And as for the Hours, p297 as they are called, to each of them, according as her name indicates, was given the ordering and adornment of life, so as to serve to the greatest advantage of mankind; for there is nothing which is better able to build a life of felicity than obedience to law (Eunomia) and justice (Dikê) and peace (Eirenê).
7 To Athena men ascribe the gift to mankind of the domestication and cultivation of the olive-tree, as well as the preparation of its fruit; for before the birth of this goddess this kind of tree was found only along with the other wild woody growths, and this goddess is the source of the care and the experience which men even to this day devote to these trees. 8 Furthermore, Athena introduced among mankind the making of clothing and carpentry and many of the devices which are used in the other arts; and she also was the discoverer of the making of the pipes and of the music which they produce and, in a word, of many works of cunning device, from which she derives her name of Worker.
74 1 To the Muses, we are further told, it was given by their father Zeus to discover the letters and to combine words in the way which is designated poetry. And in reply to those who say that the Syrians are the discoverers of the letters, the Phoenicians having learned them from the Syrians and then passed them on to the Greeks, and that these Phoenicians are those who sailed to Europe together with Cadmus and this is the reason why the Greeks call the letters "Phoenician," men tell us, on the other hand, that the Phoenicians were not the first to make this discovery, but that they did no more than to change the forms of the letters, whereupon the majority of mankind made use of the way of writing them as p299 the Phoenicians devised it, and so the letters received the designation we have mentioned above.39
2 Hephaestus, we are told, was the discoverer of every manner of working iron and copper and gold and silver and everything else which requires fire for working, and he also discovered all the other uses to be made of fire and turned them over both to the workers in the crafts and to all other men as well. 3 Consequently the workmen who are skilled in these crafts offer up prayers and sacrifices to this god before all others, and both they and all mankind as well call the fire "Hephaestus," handing down in this way to eternal remembrance and honour the benefaction which was bestowed in the beginning upon man's social life. 4 Ares, the myths record, was the first to make a suit of armour, to fit out soldiers with arms, and to introduce the battle's fury of contest, slaying himself those who were disobedient to the gods. 5 And of Apollo men recount that he was the discoverer of the lyre and of the music which is got from it; that he introduced the knowledge of healing, which is brought about through the faculty of prophecy, whereby it was the practice in ancient times that the sick were healed;40 and as the discoverer of the bow he taught the people of the land41 all about the use of the bow, this being the reason why the art of archery is especially cultivated by the Cretans and the bow is called "Cretan." 6 To Apollo and Coronis was born Asclepius, who learned from his father many matters which pertain to the p301 healing art, and then went on to discover the art of surgery and the preparations of drugs and the strength to be found in roots, and, speaking generally, he introduced such advances into the healing art that he is honoured as if he were its source and founder.
75 1 To Hermes men ascribe the introduction of the sending of embassies to sue for peace, as they are used in wars, and negotiations and truces and also the herald's wand, as a token of such matters, which is customarily borne by those who are carrying on conversations touching affairs of this kind and who, by means of it, are accorded safe conduct by the enemy; and this is the reason why he has been given the name "Hermes Koinos" because the benefit is common (koinê) to both the parties when they exchange peace in time of war.42 2 They also say that he was the first to devise measures and weights and the profits to be gained through merchandising, and how also to appropriate the property of others all unknown to them. Tradition also says that he is the herald of the gods and their most trusted messenger, because of his ability to express clearly (hermêneuein) each command that has been given him; and this is the reason why he has received the name he bears, not because he was the discoverer of words and of speech, as some men say, but because he has perfected, to a higher degree than all others, the art of the precise and clear statement of a message. 3 He also introduced wrestling-schools and invented the lyre out of a tortoise-shell after the contest in skill between Apollo and Marsyas, in which, we are told, Apollo was victorious and thereupon exacted an excessive punishment of his defeated adversary, but he afterwards repented p303 of this and, tearing the strings from the lyre, for a time had nothing to do with its music.43
4 As for Dionysus, the myths state that he discovered the vine and its cultivation, and also how to make wine and to store away many of the autumn fruits and thus to provide mankind with the use of them as food over a long time. This god was born in Crete, men say, of Zeus and Persephonê, and Orpheus has handed down the tradition in the initiatory rites that he was torn in pieces by the Titans. And the fact is that there have been several who bore the name Dionysus, regarding whom we have given a detailed account at greater length in connection with the more appropriate period of time.44 5 The Cretans, however, undertake to advance evidences that the god was born in their country, stating that he formed two islands near Crete in the Twin Gulfs, as they are called, and called them after himself Dionysiadae, a thing which he has done, they say, nowhere else in the inhabited earth.
76 1 Of Heracles the myths relate that he was sprung from Zeus many years before that Heracles who was born of Alcmenê. As for this son of Zeus, tradition has not given us the name of his mother, but only states that he far excelled all others in vigour of body, and that he visited the inhabited earth, inflicting punishment upon the unjust and destroying the wild beasts which were making the land uninhabitable; for men everywhere he won their freedom, while remaining himself unconquered and unwounded, and because of his good deeds he p305 attained to immortal honour at the hands of mankind. 2 The Heracles who was born of Alcmenê was very much later, and, since he emulated the plan of life of the ancient Heracles, for the same reasons he attained to immortality, and, as time were on, he was thought by men to be the same as the other Heracles because both bore the same name, and the deeds of the earlier Heracles were transferred to the later one, the majority of men being ignorant of the actual facts.45 And it is generally agreed that the most renowned deeds and honours which belong to the older god were concerned with Egypt, and that these, together with a city which he founded, are still known in that country.
3 Britomartis, who is also called Dictynna, the myths relate, was born at Caeno in Crete of Zeus and Carmê, the daughter of Eubulus who was the son of Demeter; she invented the nets (dictya) which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Dictynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Dictynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess; and the Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honour of this goddess. 4 But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Dictynna because she fled into some fishermen's nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth; for it is not a probable story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods, nor is it right to ascribe such an impious deed to Minos, p307 who tradition unanimously declares avowed just principles and strove to attain a manner of life which was approved by men.
77 1 Plutus, we are told, was born in Cretan Tripolus to Demeter and Iasion, and there is a double account of his origin. For some men say that the earth, when it was sowed once by Iasion and given proper cultivation, brought forth such an abundance of fruits that those who saw this bestowed a special name upon the abundance of fruits when they appear and called it plutus (wealth); consequently it has become traditional among later generations to say that men who have acquired more than they actually need have plutus. 2 But there are some who recount the myth that a son was born to Demeter and Iasion whom they named Plutus, and that he was the first to introduce diligence into the life of man and the acquisition and safeguarding of property, all men up to that time having been neglectful of amassing and guarding diligently any store of property.
3 Such, then, are the myths which the Cretans recount of the gods who they claim were born in their land. They also assert that the honours accorded to the gods and their sacrifices and the initiatory rites observed in connection with the mysteries were handed down from Crete to the rest of men, and to support this they advance the following most weighty argument, as they conceive it: The initiatory rite which is celebrated by the Athenians in Eleusis, the most famous, one may venture, of them all, and that of Samothrace, and the one practised in Thrace among the Cicones, whence Orpheus came who introduced them — these p309 are all handed down in the form of a mystery,46 whereas at Cnosus in Crete it has been the custom for ancient times that these initiatory rites should be handed down to all openly, and what is handed down among other peoples as not to be divulged, this the Cretans conceal from no one who may wish to inform himself upon such matters. 4 Indeed, the majority of the gods, the Cretans say, had their beginning in Crete and set out from there to visit many regions of the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the races of men and distributing among each of them the advantage which resulted from the discoveries they had made. Demeter, for example, crossed over into Attica and then removed from there to Sicily and afterwards to Egypt; and in these lands her choicest gift was that of the fruit of the corn and instructions in the sowing of it, whereupon she received great honours at the hands of those whom she had benefited. 5 Likewise Aphroditê made her seat in Sicily in the region of Eryx, among the islands near Cythera and in Paphos in Cyprus, and in Asia in Syria; because of the manifestation of the goddess in their country and her extended sojourn among them the inhabitants of the lands appropriated her to themselves, calling her, as the case might be, Erycinian Aphroditê, and Cytherian, and Paphian, and Syrian.47 6 And in the same manner Apollo revealed himself for the longest time in Delos and Lycia48 and Delphi, and Artemis in Ephesus and the Pontus and Persis and Crete; 7 and the consequence has been that, either from the names of these regions or as a result of the deeds which they performed in each of them, Apollo has been called Delian and Lycian and Pythian, and Aphroditê p311 has been called Ephesian and Cretan and Tauropolian and Persian, although both of them were born in Crete. 8 And this goddess is held in special honour among the Persians,49 and the barbarians hold mysteries which are performed among other peoples even down to this day in honour of the Persian Artemis. And similar myths are also recounted by the Cretans regarding the other gods, but to draw up an account of them would be a long task for us, and it would not be easily grasped by our readers.
78 1 Many generations after the birth of the gods, the Cretans go on to say, not a few heroes were to be found in Crete, the most renowned of whom were Minos and Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. These men, their myth states, were born of Zeus and Europê, the daughter of Agenor, who, men say, was brought across to Crete upon the back of a bull by the design of the gods. 2 Now Minos, by virtue of his being the eldest, became king of the island, and he founded on it not a few cities, the most renowned of which were the three, Cnosus in those parts of the island which look toward Asia, Phaestus on the sea-shore to the south, and Cydonia in the regions to the west facing the Peloponnesus. 3 And Minos established not a few laws for the Cretans, claiming that he had received them from his father Zeus when conversing with him in a certain cave. Furthermore, he came to possess a great naval power, and he subdued the majority of the islands and was the first man among the Greeks to be master of the sea. 4 And after he had gained great renown for his manly p313 spirit and justice, he ended his life in Sicily in the course of his campaign against Cocalus, the details of which we have recounted in connection with our account of Daedalus, because of whom the campaign was made.50
79 1 Of Rhadamanthys the Cretans say that of all men he rendered the most just decisions and inflicted inexorable punishment upon robbers and impious men and all other malefactors. He came also to possess no small number of islands and a large part of the sea coast of Asia, all men delivering themselves into his hands of their free will because of his justice. Upon Erythrus, one of his sons, Rhadamanthys bestowed the kingship over the city which was named after him Erythrae, and to Oenopion, the son of Minos' daughter Ariadnê, he gave Chios, we are told, although some writers of myths state that Oenopion was a son of Dionysus and learned from his father the art of making wine. 2 And to each one of his other generals, the Cretans say, he made a present of an island or a city, Lemnos to Thoas, Cyrnus to Enyeus, Peparethos to Staphylus, Maroneia to Euanthes, Paros to Alcaeus, Delos to Anion, and to Andreus the island which was named after him Andros. Moreover, because of his very great justice, the myth has sprung up that he was appointed to be judge in Hades, where his decisions separate the good from the wicked. And the same honour has also been attained by Minos, because he ruled wholly in accordance with law and paid the greatest heed to justice.
3 The third brother, Sarpedon, we are told, crossed over into Asia with an army and subdued the regions p315 about Lycia. Euandrus, his son, succeeded him in the kingship in Lycia, and marrying Deïdameia, the daughter of Bellerophon, he begat that Sarpedon who took part in the expedition against Troy,51 although some writers have called him a son of Zeus. 4 Minos' sons, they say, were Deucalion and Molus, and to Deucalion was born Idomeneus and to Molus was born Meriones. These two joined with Agamemnon in the expedition against Ilium with ninety ships, when they had returned in safety to their fatherland they died and were accorded a notable burial and immortal honours. And the Cretans point out their tomb at Cnosus, which bears the following inscription:
Behold Idomeneus the Cnosian's tomb,
And by his side am I, Meriones,
The son of Molus.
These two the Cretans hold in special honour as heroes of renown, offering up sacrifices to them and calling upon them to come to their aid in the perils which arise in war.
80 1 But now that we have examined these matters it remains for us to discuss the peoples who have become intermixed with the Cretans. That the first inhabitants of the island were known as Eteocretans and that they are considered to have sprung from the soil itself, we have stated before;52 and many generations after them Pelasgians, who were in movement by reason of their continuous expeditions and migrations, arrived at Crete and made their home in a part of the island. 2 The third people to cross over to the island, we are told, were Dorians, p317 under the leadership of Tectamus53 the son of Dorus; and the account states that the larger number of these Dorians was gathered from the regions about Olympus, but that a part of them consisted of Achaeans from Laconia, since Dorus had fixed the base of his expedition in the region about Cape Malea. A fourth people to come to Crete and to become intermixed with the Cretans, we are told, was a heterogeneous collection of barbarians who in the course of time adopted the language of the native Greeks. 3 But after these events Minos and Rhadamanthys, when they had attained to power, gathered the peoples on the island into one union. And last of all, after the Return of the Heracleidae,54 Argives and Lacedaemonians sent forth colonies which they established on certain other islands and likewise took possession of Crete, and on these islands they colonized certain cities; with regard to these cities, however, we shall give a detailed account in connection with the period of time to which they belong. 4 And since the greatest number of writers who have written about Crete disagree among themselves, there should be no occasion for surprise if what we report should not agree with every one of them; we have, indeed, followed as our authorities those who give the more probable account and are the most trustworthy, in some matters depending upon Epimenides who has written about the gods, in others upon Dosiades, Sosicrates, and Laosthenidas.55
81 1 Now that we have discussed the subject of p319 Crete at sufficient length, we shall undertake at this point to speak about Lesbos. This island has been inhabited in ancient times by many peoples, since it has been the scene of many migrations. The first people to seize it, while it was still uninhabited, was the Pelasgians, and in the following manner: 2 Xanthus, the son of Triopas, who was king of the Pelasgians of Argos, seized a portion of Lycia, and, making his home there, at the outset he became king over the Pelasgians who had accompanied him; but later he crossed over to Lesbos, which was uninhabited, and divided the land among the folk, and he named the island, which had formerly been called Issa, Pelasgia after the people who had settled it. 3 And seven generations later, after the flood of Deucalion had taken place and much of mankind had perished, it came to pass that Lesbos was also laid desolate by the deluge of waters. 4 And after these events Macareus came to the island, and, recognizing the beauty of the land, he made his home in it. This Macareus was the son of Crinacus, the son of Zeus, as Hesiod and certain any other poets state, and was a native of Olenus in what was then called Ias, but is now called Achaïa. The folk with him had been gathered from here and there, some being Ionians and the rest those who had streamed to him from every sort of people. 5 Now at first Macareus made his home in Lesbos, but later, as his power kept steadily increasing because of the fertility of the island and also of his own fairness and sense of justice, he won for himself the neighbouring islands and portioned out the land, which was uninhabited. 6 And it was during this time that Lesbos, the son of Lapithes, the son of Aeolus, the p321 son of Hippotes, in obedience to an oracle of Pytho, sailed with colonists to the island we are discussing, and, marrying Methymna,º the daughter of Macareus, he made his home there with her; and when he became a man of renown, he named the island Lesbos after himself and called the folk Lesbians. 7 And there was born to Macareus, in addition to other daughters, Mytilenê and Methymna, from whom the cities in the island got their names. Moreover, Macareus, essaying to bring under his control the neighbouring islands, dispatched a colony to Chios first of all, entrusting the leadership of the colony to one of his own sons; 8 and after this he dispatched another son, Cydrolaüs by name, to Samos, where he settled, and after portioning out the island in allotments to the colonists he became king over it. The third island he settled was Cos, and he appointed Neandrus to be its king; and then he dispatched Leucippus, together with a large body of colonists, to Rhodes, and the inhabitants of Rhodes received them gladly, because there was a lack of men among them, and they dwelt together as one people on the island.
82 1 The mainland opposite the islands, we find, had suffered great and terrible misfortunes, in those times, because of the floods. Thus, since the fruits were destroyed over a long period by reason of the deluge, there was a dearth of the necessities of life and a pestilence prevailed among the cities because of the corruption of the air. 2 The islands, on the other hand, since they were exposed to the breeze and supplied the inhabitants with wholesome air, and since they also enjoyed good crops, were filled with greater and greater abundance, and they quickly made the inhabitants objects of envy. p323 Consequently they have been given the name Islands of the Blessed, the abundance they enjoy of good things constituting the reason for the epithet. 3 But there are some who say that they were given the name Islands of the Blessed (macarioi) after Macareus, since his sons were the rulers over them. And, speaking generally, the islands we have mentioned have enjoyed a felicity far surpassing that of their neighbours, not only in ancient times but also in our own age; 4 for being as they the finest of all in richness of soil, excellence of location, and mildness of climate, it is with good reason that they are called, what in truth they are, "blessed." As for Macareus himself, while he was king of Lesbos he issued a law which contributed much to the common good, and he called the law the "Lion," giving it this name after the strength and courage of that beast.
83 1 When a considerable time had elapsed after the settlement of Lesbos, the island known as Tenedos came to be inhabited in somewhat the following manner. Tennes was a son of Cycnus, who had been king of Colonê in the Troad, and was a man who had gained renown because of his high achievements. 2 Gathering together colonists and using as his base the mainland opposite to it, he seized an uninhabited island called Leucophrys; this island he portioned out in allotments among his followers, and he founded a city on it which he named Tenedos after himself. 3 And since he governed uprightly and conferred many benefactions upon the inhabitants, during his lifetime he was in high favour, and upon his death p325 he was granted immortal honours; for they built for him a sacred precinct and honoured him with sacrifices as though he were a god, and these sacrifices they have continued to perform down to modern times.
4 But we must not omit to mention what the myths of the Tenedians have to tell about Tennes, the founder of the city. Cycnus his father, they say, giving credence to the unjust slanders of his wife, put his son Tennes in a chest and cast it into the sea; this chest was borne along by the waves and brought to shore on Tenedos, and since Tennes had been saved alive in this astonishing fashion by the providence of some one of the gods, he became king of the island, and becoming distinguished by reason of the justice he displayed and his other virtues, he was granted immortal honours. But it had happened, when his step-mother was slandering him, that a certain flute player had borne false witness against him, and so the Tenedians passed a law that no flute player should ever enter his sacred precinct. 5 And when Tennes was slain by Achilles in the course of the Trojan War, on the occasion when the Greeks sacked Tenedos, the Tenedians passed a law that no man should ever pronounce the name of Achilles in the sacred precinct of the founder of their city. Such, then, is the account which the myths give regarding Tenedos and its ancient inhabitants.
84 1 Since we have set forth the facts concerning the most notable islands, we shall now give an account of the smaller ones. While in ancient times the Cyclades were still uninhabited, Minos, the son of Zeus and Europê, who was king of Crete and possessed great forces both land and naval, was p327 master of the sea and sent forth from Crete many colonies, and he settled the greater number of the Cyclades, portioning the islands out in allotments among the folk, and he seized no small part of the coast of Asia.56 2 And this circumstance explains why harbours on the islands as well as on the coast of Asia have the same designation as those of Crete, being called "Minoan." The power of Minos advanced to great heights; and having his brother Rhadamanthys as co‑ruler, he envied him because of his fame for righteousness, and wishing to get Rhadamanthys out of the way he sent him off to the farthest parts of his dominion. 3 Rhadamanthys went to the islands which lie off Ionia and Caria, spending his time upon them, and caused Erythrus to found the city which bears his name57 in Asia, while he established Oenopion, the son of Minos' daughter Ariadnê, as lord of Chios. 4 Now these events took place before the Trojan War; and after Troy was taken the Carians steadily increased their power and became masters of the sea; and taking possession of the Cyclades, some of the islands they appropriated to themselves, expelling the Cretans who had their homes on them, but in some islands they settled jointly with the Cretans who had been the first to dwell there. And at a later time, when the power of the Greeks increased, the major number of the Cyclades came to be inhabited by them, and the Carians, who were non-Greeks, were driven out of them. But of these matters we shall give a detailed account in connection with the appropriate period of time.
The Loeb Editor's Notes:
1 Island of Saon.
3 Asia Minor.
4 i.e. Iasion.
7 i.e. they got their pillage from the ships they seized, but their women by raids on the continent.
9 In the battle of Salamis, 480 B.C.
10 In 479 B.C.
12 Sons of Thettalus; cp. the Iliad, 2.676 ff.
13 The Sea.
14 The sun.
15 "Children of the Sun." J. L. Myres (Who Were the Greeks?, 139‑40) sees in these "Children of the Sun" the early Minoan inhabitants of Rhodes.
16 That is, the Heliadae performed the sacrifice as soon as they were told and so before Cecrops did, but in their haste they forgot to light the fire before putting the victims on the kindling; Cecrops observed the correct custom of putting the victims on the blazing fire, but later than the Heliadae.
18 Book 1, passim, presents the claims put forward by the Egyptians for the priority of their civilization; the counter claims of the Greeks here set forth are empty boasting. On Cadmus and the "Phoenician letters" see Book 3.67.
22 Cicero (Laws, 2.26) tells us that Xerxes burned the temples of Greece in accordance with the advice of the Magi, "on the ground that the Greeks shut up the gods within walls, whereas all places consecrated to them ought to be open and free, seeing that this whole universe is their temple and home" (tr. of Keyes in the L. C. L.).
23 "Genuine Cretans."
24 When Cronus was searching for the baby Zeus in order to destroy it, the Curetes drowned out its wailing by the din raised in their war-dance.
25 This "House of Rhea" has been found, in the opinion of Sir Arthur Evans (Palace of Minos, 2.6 ff.), in the remains of an Hellenic temple lying within the palace area.
27 Works and Days, 111‑120; but Diodorus' Greek differs radically in several places from the present text of Hesiod.
29 Themis ("law") and thesmos ("ordinance") are both derived from the stem the ("establish").
31 Place of Advent.
32 Odyssey, 9.109 f.
33 "Aegis-bearing," a common epithet of Zeus, from aegis ("goat-skin").
37 The same word as "Graces" above.
41 i.e. where the invention was made.
42 But the expression has the meaning of "Hermes Share the Luck" in Menander, Epit. 67, 100.
46 i.e. secretly.
47 As the Syro-Phoenician Astartê.
48 At Didyma near Miletus.
49 As the great Persian goddess Anaïtis or Anahita, a chief deity of Mazdaism.
51 The MSS. state that he took part "with Agamemnon," but Sarpedon was an ally of the Trojans.
55 These writers on Cretan history are little more than names to us.
56 i.e. Asia Minor.
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