Eurytus

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For the Pythagorean philosopher, see Eurytus (Pythagorean).

Eurytus (/ˈjʊərɨtəs/), Erytus (Greek: Ἔρυτος), or Eurytos (Εὔρυτος) is the name of several characters in Greek mythology, and of at least one historical figure.

King of Oechalia[edit]

King Eurytus of Oechalia (Οἰχαλίᾱ, Oikhalíā), Thessaly, was the son of Melaneus and either Stratonice or the eponymous heroine Oechalia.

He married Antiope, daughter of Pylon (son of Naubolus) and had these children: Iphitus, Clytius, Toxeus, Deioneus, Molion, Didaeon, and a very beautiful daughter, Iole. A late legend also attributes Eurytus as the father of Dryope, by his first wife.

Eurytus' grandfather was Apollo, the archer-god, and was also a famed archer. Eurytus has been noted by some as the one who taught Heracles the art of archery.

According to Homer, Eurytus became so proud of his archery skills that he challenged Apollo. The god killed Eurytus for his presumption, and Eurytus' bow was passed to Iphitus, who later gave the bow to his friend Odysseus. It was this bow that Odysseus used to kill the suitors who had wanted to take his wife, Penelope.

A more familiar version Eurytus' death involves a feud with Heracles. Eurytus promised the hand of his daughter Iole to whoever who could defeat him and his sons in an archery contest. Heracles won the archery contest, but Eurytus reneged on his promise, fearing that Heracles would go mad and kill any children he had with Iole, just as he has slew the children he had with Megara.

Heracles left in anger, and soon after twelve of Eurytus' mares were stolen. Some have written that Heracles stole the mares himself, while others have said Autolycus stole the mares and sold them to Heracles.

In the search for the mares, Iphitus, who was convinced of Heracles' innocence, invited Heracles to help and stayed as Heracles' guest at Tiryns. Heracles invited Iphitus to the top of the palace walls and, in a fit of anger, threw Iphitus to his death. For this crime, Heracles was forced to serve the Lydian queen Omphale as a slave for either one or three years.

After Heracles had married Deianeira, he returned to Oechalia with an army. Revenge-driven, Heracles sacked the city and killed Eurytus and his sons, then took Iole as his concubine. The act eventually led to Heracles' own death, as Deianeira, fearing that Heracles loved Iole more, gave Heracles a robe smeared with the blood of the Centaur Nessus, believing it was a love-charm. The robe was poisoned by the blood of the hydra (which the arrow that Heracles shot Nessus with had been dipped in). When the robe goes to Heracles, it eats into Heracles' flesh and causes his death.[1]

Others[edit]

  • Eurytus was the father of Hippasus, one of the men who hunted the Calydonian Boar.[5]
  • Eurytus was a chieftain at the court of king Cepheus, and was killed by Perseus during the battle between the latter and Phineus.[8]
  • Eurytus was the king of Caria and the father of Eidothea, who was one of the possible spouses of Miletus.[9]
  • Eurytus was one of the Giants, sons of Gaia, killed by Dionysus during the Gigantomachy, the battle of the Giants versus the Olympian gods.[10]
  • Eurytus was a Centaur present at the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia, and the one that caused the conflict between the Lapiths and the Centaurs by trying to carry the bride off. The most violent of the centaurs involved in the battle with the Lapiths, he was killed by Theseus.[11]
  • Eurytus was the father of Clonus. His son was known for having made the belt of Pallas.[12]

Eurytus, the Spartan Warrior[edit]

Eurytus or Eurýtos was the name of a Spartan warrior, one of the Three Hundred sent to face the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Eurytus and a companion, Aristodemus were stricken with an ophthalmic disease and ordered to return home.[13] Eurytus turned back and ordered his helot attendant to lead him back to the battle. He entered the battle blind and was slain. Aristodemus returned to Sparta disgraced, but redeemed himself at the battle of Plataea the following year, by fighting with berserker-like rage.

References[edit]

  • March, J., Cassell's Dictionary Of Classical Mythology, London, 1999. ISBN 0-304-35161-X
  1. ^ "Eurytus". Mlahanas.de. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  2. ^ Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 52 - 56
  3. ^ Bibliotheca 1. 9. 16
  4. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 14, 160, 173
  5. ^ CALYDONIAN BOAR : Giant boar of Aetolia, labor Meleager ; Greek mythology ; pictures : HUS KALYDONIOS
  6. ^ Bibliotheca 3. 10. 5
  7. ^ Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis, 253ff.; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy, 8.111
  8. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5. 79 ff
  9. ^ Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, 30
  10. ^ Bibliotheca 1. 6. 2
  11. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 12. 220 & 235 ff
  12. ^ Virgil, Aeneid, 10. 499
  13. ^ Hogewind, BF; Coebergh, JA; Gritters-van den Oever, NC; de Wolf, MW; van der Wielen, GJ (April 2013). "The ocular disease of Aristodemus and Eurytus 480 BC: diagnostic considerations.". International ophthalmology 33 (2): 107–9. doi:10.1007/s10792-012-9638-x. PMID 23404726.