Descent of Perithous

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The Descent of Perithous (Ancient Greek: Πειρίθου κατάβασις, Peirithou katabasis) is a fragmentary epic poem that was ascribed to Hesiod by the 2nd-century CE geographer Pausanias.[1] The titular topic of the poem would have been the myth of Theseus and Perithous' trip to Hades seeking to win Persephone as bride for Perithous.[2] During the expedition, Hades trapped the heroes by seating them in the "chairs of forgetfullness", and only Heracles could save them.[2] One tentatively assigned papyrus fragment survives which includes a conversation between Meleager and Theseus.[3] It is also possible that this fragment belongs to the Minyas,[4] and the existence of an independent Hesiodic poem on the descent of Theseus and Perithous is complicated by the fact that elsewhere Pausanias attributes the myth to the Minyas.[5] The sheer number of Hesiodic papyri that have survived compared to those of other works of archaic epic, however, lends credence to the attribution to the Hesiodic corpus.[6]

Select editions and translations[edit]

Critical editions[edit]

  • Merkelbach, R.; West, M.L. (1967), Fragmenta Hesiodea, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-814171-8 .
  • Merkelbach, R.; West, M.L. (1990), "Fragmenta selecta", in F. Solmsen, Hesiodi Theogonia, Opera et Dies, Scutum (3rd rev. ed.), Oxford, ISBN 0-19-814071-1 .


  • Most, G.W. (2006), Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia, Loeb Classical Library, no. 57, Cambridge, MA, ISBN 978-0-674-99622-9 .
  • Most, G.W. (2007), Hesiod: The Shield, Catalogue, Other Fragments, Loeb Classical Library, no. 503, Cambridge, MA, ISBN 978-0-674-99623-6 .


  1. ^ Paus. 9.31.5. Descent of Perithous is the title used in the standard edition of the text (Merkelbach & West 1967), but no exact title is attested from antiquity. Pausanias instead describes the work's content in listing Hesiod's poems and their topics: "how Theseus together with Perithous descended to Hades" (ὡς Θησεὺς ἐς τὸν Ἅιδην ὁμοῦ Πειρίθῳ καταβαίη). Most (2006, p. lx) prefers Descent of Peirithous to Hades; Cingano (2009, p. 126) gives Katabasis of Theseus and Peithrous.
  2. ^ a b Cingano (2009, p. 126).
  3. ^ Most (2006, pp. lx–lxi).
  4. ^ West (2003, p. 271).
  5. ^ Paus. 10.28.2; Cingano (2009, p. 126).
  6. ^ Cingano (2009, pp. 128).


  • Cingano, E. (2009), "The Hesiodic Corpus", in Montanari, Rengakos & Tsagalis (2009), pp. 91–130  Missing or empty |title= (help).
  • Montanari, F.; Rengakos, A.; Tsagalis, C. (2009), Brill's Companion to Hesiod, Leiden, ISBN 978-9004-17840-3 .
  • Schwartz, J. (1960), Pseudo-Hesiodeia: recherches sur la composition, la diffusion et la disparition ancienne d'oeuvres attribuées à Hésiode, Leiden .
  • West, M.L. (2003), Greek Epic Fragments, Loeb Classical Library, no. 497, Cambridge, MA, ISBN 978-0-674-99605-2 .