PAUSANIAS, on Sparta

Periegesis Hellados III

I. (1)...According to the tradition of the Lacedaemonians themselves, Lelex, an aboriginal, was the first king in this land, after whom his subjects were named Leleges. Lelex had a son Myles, and a younger one, Polycaon.... On the death of Myles, his son Eurotas succeeded to the throne... Having no male issue he left the kingdom to Lacedaemon, whose mother was Taygete, after whom the mountain was named, while according to report his father was none other than Zeus. Lacedaemon was wedded to Sparta, a daughter of Eurotas. When he came to the throne, he first changed the names of the land and its inhabitants, calling them after himself, and next he founded and named after his wife a city, which even down to our own day has been called Sparta. Amyclas, too, son of Lacedaemon, wished to leave some memorial behind him, and built a town in Laconia. Hyacinthus , the youngest and most beautiful of his sons, died before his father, and his tomb is in Amyclae below the image of Apollo....

(5)...On the return of the Heracleidai in the reign of Tisamenus, son of Orestes, both districts, Messene and Argos, had kings put over them; Argos had Temenos and Messene had Cresphontes. In Lacedaemon, as the sons of Aristodemus were twins, there arose two royal houses; for they say that the Pythian Priestess approved. Tradition has it that Aristodemus himself died at Delphi before the Dorians returned to the Peloponnesus, but those who glorify his fate assert that he was shot by Apollo for not going to the oracle, having learned from Heracles, who met him before he arrived there, that the Dorians would make this return to the Peloponnesus. But the more correct account is that Aristodemus was murdered by the sons of Pylades and Electra, who were cousins of Tisamenus, son of Orestes. (7) The names given to the sons of Aristodemus were Procles and Eurysthenes, and although they were twins they were bitter enemies.

From: Pausanias, Loeb Classical Library, Vol. II (tr. W.H.S. Jones & H.A. Ormerod )(1926)


January 26, 2010 8:42 AM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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