Palaemon (mythology)

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Palaemon (Παλαίμων), originally named Melicertes, was a minor, young sea god, son of Ino (Leucothea). He was deified by the gods when his mother threw herself from atop a cliff with Palaemon in her arms, arguably to escape insanity or to escape Athanas, King of Thebes at the time, and his father was driven to a murderous rage after Hera pushed him to it.

Early life[edit]

Being a minor god, not as much was written about Palaemon, but he was a child in need of help. After his father was turned into a murderer by Hera, whose wrath his parents had incurred by fostering Palaemon, Palaemon's mother took with her him and jumped off a cliff to escape away from all the madness on Earth. By doing this the duo became a sea god and goddess, receiving their new names of Palaemon and Leukothea; they help distressed sailors on voyages.

Depiction[edit]

In Greco-Roman views, Palaemon is viewed as a dolphin riding boy, or a child with a triton tail.

Mystery[edit]

Greeks are not sure where exactly Palaemon got his name from. Some believe his original name, Melikertes, was derived from the pre-existing god, Melkart (Melqart) from the Phoenician distortion. Then the Romans took the name Palaemon to mean "the honey eater", and then "god of the harbour". The name is also said to mean "the wrestler".

Mystery also surrounds Palaemon's death and deification. The Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 4 states, Ino with the younger [son of her and Athamas], Melicertes, cast herself into the sea and was made a goddess. The Pseudo-Hyginus Fabulae 239 states, Ino, daughter of Cadmus, killed her son Melicertes by Athamas, son of Aeolus, when she was fleeing from Athamas.