Laomedon of Troy

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King of Troy
Member of the Trojan Royal Family
Heracles about to kill Laomedon, terra sigillata flask from Southern Gaul, late 1st century–early 2nd century AD
PredecessorIlus II
Personal information
ParentsIlus II and Eurydice or Leucippe or Batea
SiblingsThemiste (or Themis), Telecleia, Tithonus and Ganymede
Consort(1) Placia or Strymo (or Rhoeo) or Zeuxippe or Leucippe
(2) Calybe
Children(1) Tithonus, Priam, Lampus, Hicetaon, Clytius, Hesione, Cilla, Astyoche, Proclia, Aethilla, Medesicaste and Clytodora
(2) Bucolion

In Greek mythology, Laomedon (/lˈɒmɪdɒn/; Ancient Greek: Λαομέδων means "ruler of the people") was a Trojan king, son of Ilus and thus nephew of Ganymede and Assaracus.

Laomedon was variously identified with different parents and siblings, as well as numerous children, including Priam and Tithonus. His possible wives were Placia, Strymo, Zeuxippe, or Leucippe. Laomedon owned magical horses with divine parentage, a gift from Zeus to his grandfather Tros in compensation for kidnapping Tros's son Ganymede.

Zeus sent Poseidon and Apollo to serve Laomedon as punishment for a conspiracy against Zeus. The two gods built walls around Troy, but Laomedon refused to pay them, leading to a pestilence and a sea monster attacking the city. To end the calamities, Laomedon had to sacrifice his daughter Hesione to the sea monster. Heracles arrived and agreed to save Hesione in exchange for the magical horses, but Laomedon went back on his promise, causing Heracles to wage war on Troy.

Heracles eventually conquered the city, killing Laomedon and his sons, except for Podarces. Hesione was given to Telamon as a war prize, and she ransomed her brother Podarces, who then became known as Priam.


Laomedon's mother was variously identified as Eurydice,[1] Leucippe or Batia. Thus, his possible siblings are Themiste,[1] Telecleia[2] and sometimes, even Tithonus.

He was the father of Priam, Lampus, Hicetaon, Clytius, Hesione, Cilla, Astyoche,[3] Proclia,[4] Aethilla,[5] Medesicaste[6] and Clytodora.[7] Tithonus is also described by most sources as Laomedon's eldest legitimate son, and most sources omit Ganymede from the list of Laomedon's children, but indicate him as his uncle instead. Laomedon's possible wives are Placia, Strymo (or Rhoeo), Zeuxippe[8] or Leucippe;[9] by the former he begot Tithonus and by the latter King Priam (see John Tzetzes' Scholia in Lycophronem 18 «ὁ μὲν γὰρ Πρίαμος ἦν Λευκίππης, ὁ δὲ Τιθωνὸς Ῥοιοῦς ἢ Στρυμοῦς τῆς Σκαμάνδρου θυγατρὸς υἱός»: "Priamus was the son of Leucippe, whereas Tithonus was the son of Rhoeo or Strymo, the daughter of Scamander"). He also had a son named Bucolion by the nymph Calybe, as recounted by Homer in the Iliad.[10] Dictys Cretensis added Thymoetes to the list of Laomedon's children.[11]

Comparative table of Laomedon's family
Relation Names Sources
Alcman Homer Sch. on Hellanicus Sch. on Diodorus Dionysius Conon Apollodorus Sch. on Dictys Hyginus Tzeztes
Hom. Ili. Eur. Hec. Ap. Bib.
Parents Ilus
Ilus and Eurydice
Ilus and Leucippe
Ilus and Batia
Siblings Telecleia
Wife Zeuxippe
Children Tithonus
Priam or Podarces


Heracles about to kill Laomedon, detail of fresco from the triclinium of the House of Octavius Quartio at Pompeii

Magical horses[edit]

Laomedon owned several horses with divine parentage that Zeus had given Tros (Laomedon's grandfather) as compensation for the kidnapping of Tros's son Ganymede.[12] Anchises secretly bred his own mares from these horses.

According to one story, Ganymede was kidnapped by Zeus, who had seen the exceptional Virtue of the boy, as worthy only of Olympus, and ascended the young man into Heaven. Tros grieved for his son. Sympathetic, Zeus sent Hermes with two horses so swift they could run over water. Hermes also assured Tros that Ganymede was immortal and would be the cupbearer for the gods, a position of much distinction. Laomedon himself was the son of Ganymede's brother Ilus, the son of Tros.

Wrath of gods[edit]

When Poseidon and Apollo entered a conspiracy to put Zeus in bonds, the supreme god being offended, sent them to serve with King Laomedon as punishment for their nefarious design.[13][14] In other sources, the two gods simply tested the wantonness of the Laomedon.[15] As ordered by Laomedon who promised wages, the two deities assuming the likeness of men undertook to build huge walls around the city. But when they had finished, the king refused to fulfill their agreement of reward. In vengeance, before the Trojan War, Apollo sent a pestilence to Troy while Poseidon released a sea monster which, carried up by a flood, snatched away the people of the plain.

The oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster. The king then exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea. But by chance, after fighting the Amazons, Heracles, who had landed at Troy, saw the girl to be sacrificed. The hero promised to save the princess on condition of receiving from Laomedon the mares which Zeus had given in compensation for the ascendance of Ganymede into Olympus to serve the Deities. When Laomedon agreed, Heracles (along with Oicles and Telamon) killed the monster and rescued Hesione at the last minute. But when Laomedon would not give up his magical horses for their deeds, the hero put to sea after threatening to make war on Troy.

The marriage of Telamon and Hesione or Hesione's farewell to her brother Priam under the attention of Heracles and Telamon on the right, detail of fresco from the triclinium of the House of Octavius Quartio at Pompeii

Siege of Heracles[edit]

After his servitude, Heracles mustered an army of noble volunteers and sailed for Ilium with eighteen ships of fifty oars each. Having come to port at Ilium, he left the guard of the ships to Oicles and he, with the rest of the champions, set out to attack the city. Meanwhile, Laomedon marched against the ships with a multitude and slew Oicles in battle. But being repulsed by the troops of Heracles, Laomedon was besieged. The siege once laid, Telamon was the first to breach the wall and enter the city, and after him Heracles. When the son of Zeus had taken the city he shot down Laomedon and his sons, except Podarces. Heracles assigned Hesione as a war prize to Telamon (by whom Telamon had a son called Teucer[16]) and allowed her to take with her whomsoever of the captives she would. When Hesione chose Podarces, Heracles said that her brother must first be a slave and then be ransomed by her. So, when the prince was being sold, Hesione took the golden veil from her head and gave it as a ransom; hence Podarces was thereafter called Priam (from priamai 'to buy').

Genealogical tree[edit]


  1. ^ a b Apollodorus, 3.12.2
  2. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Hecuba 3
  3. ^ Apollodorus, 3.12.3
  4. ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 3.23 & 24
  5. ^ Conon, Narrations 13
  6. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, 921
  7. ^ Apollodorus and Hyginus p. 63; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquitates Romanae 1.62.2
  8. ^ Scholiast on Homer, Iliad 3.250 as cited in Alcman, fr. 105: "[Son of Laomedon] : Priam’s mother as we are told by Porphyrius in his book On the Names omitted by Homer, was according to the lyric poet Alcman Zeuxippè, but according to Hellanicus Strymo."
  9. ^ Apollodorus and Hyginus p. 63
  10. ^ Homer, Iliad 6.22
  11. ^ Dictys Cretensis, 4.22
  12. ^ Apollodorus and Hyginus p. 34
  13. ^ Scholiast on Homer, Iliad 21.444 and Tzetzes on Lycophron, 34 (as noted in Apollodorus, 2.5.9. f.n. 2)
  14. ^ The conspirator-gods: Poseidon, Hera, and Athena but Apollo was not mentioned in Homer's Iliad 1.399 ff.
  15. ^ Apollodorus, 2.5.9
  16. ^ Apollodorus and Hyginus pp. 38–39


  • Apollodorus and Hyginus (2007) Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology. Trans. R. Scott Smith and Stephen Trzaskoma. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. ISBN 1603843272.
  • Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Conon, Fifty Narrations, surviving as one-paragraph summaries in the Bibliotheca (Library) of Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople translated from the Greek by Brady Kiesling. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • Dictys Cretensis, from The Trojan War. The Chronicles of Dictys of Crete and Dares the Phrygian translated by Richard McIlwaine Frazer, Jr. (1931-). Indiana University Press. 1966. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • Dionysus of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities. English translation by Earnest Cary in the Loeb Classical Library, 7 volumes. Harvard University Press, 1937–1950. Online version at Bill Thayer's Web Site
  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquitatum Romanarum quae supersunt, Vol I-IV. . Karl Jacoby. In Aedibus B.G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1885. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Homer, The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. ISBN 978-0674995796. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Homer, Homeri Opera in five volumes. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 1920. ISBN 978-0198145318. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
Legendary titles
Preceded by King of Troy Succeeded by