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Homerica: The Returns and The Telegony (Fragments)

translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White



Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Sack of Ilium" follow the "Returns" in five books by Agias of Troezen. Their contents are as follows. Athena causes a quarrel between Agamemnon and Menelaus about the voyage from Troy. Agamemnon then stays on to appease the anger of Athena. Diomedes and Nestor put out to sea and get safely home. After them Menelaus sets out and reaches Egypt with five ships, the rest having been destroyed on the high seas. Those with Calchas, Leontes, and Polypoetes go by land to Colophon and bury Teiresias who died there. When Agamemnon and his followers were sailing away, the ghost of Achilles appeared and tried to prevent them by foretelling what should befall them. The storm at the rocks called Capherides is then described, with the end of Locrian Aias. Neoptolemus, warned by Thetis, journeys overland and, coming into Thrace, meets Odysseus at Maronea, and then finishes the rest of his journey after burying Phoenix who dies on the way. He himself is recognized by Peleus on reaching the Molossi.

Then comes the murder of Agamemnon by Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra, followed by the vengeance of Orestes and Pylades. Finally, Menelaus returns home.

Fragment #2 --
Argument to Euripides Medea:
`Forthwith Medea made Aeson a sweet young boy and stripped his old age from him by her cunning skill, when she had made a brew of many herbs in her golden cauldrons.'

Fragment #3 --
Pausanias, i. 2:
The story goes that Heracles was besieging Themiscyra on the Thermodon and could not take it; but Antiope, being in love with Theseus who was with Heracles on this expedition, betrayed the place. Hegias gives this account in his poem.

Fragment #4 --
Eustathius, 1796. 45:
The Colophonian author of the "Returns" says that Telemachus afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus the son of Circe correspondingly married Penelope.

Fragment #5 --
Clement of Alex. Strom., vi. 2. 12. 8:
`For gifts beguile men's minds and their deeds as well.' (1)

Fragment #6 --
Pausanias, x. 28. 7:
The poetry of Homer and the "Returns" -- for here too there is an account of Hades and the terrors there -- know of no spirit named Eurynomus.

Athenaeus, 281 B:
The writer of the "Return of the Atreidae" (2) says that Tantalus came and lived with the gods, and was permitted to ask for whatever he desired. But the man was so immoderately given to pleasures that he asked for these and for a life like that of the gods. At this Zeus was annoyed, but fulfilled his prayer because of his own promise; but to prevent him from enjoying any of the pleasures provided, and to keep him continually harassed, he hung a stone over his head which prevents him from ever reaching any of the pleasant things near by.


(1) Clement attributes this line to Augias: probably Agias is intended. (2) Identical with the "Returns", in which the Sons of Atreus occupy the most prominent parts.


Fragment #1 --
Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii:
After the "Returns" comes the "Odyssey" of Homer, and then the "Telegony" in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the following matters. The suitors of Penelope are buried by their kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and Agamedes and Augeas then follows. He next sails back to Ithaca and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias, and then goes to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice, queen of the Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians, led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After the death of Callidice Polypoetes, the son of Odysseus, succeeds to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca. In the meantime Telegonus, while travelling in search of his father, lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly. Telegonus, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe makes them immortal, and Telegonus marries Penelope, and Telemachus Circe.

Fragment #2 --
Eustathias, 1796. 35:
The author of the "Telegony", a Cyrenaean, relates that Odysseus had by Calypso a son Telegonus or Teledamus, and by Penelope Telemachus and Acusilaus.