The Ancient Library

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On this page: Erganae – Erginus – Erichthonius – Erigone – Erinna – Erinyes



distinguished from him, and was regarded as his grandson, and as son of Pandlon and Zeuxippe. His twin brother was Butes, his sisters Procne and Philomela. The priestly office fell to Butes, while Erech-theus assumed the functions of royalty. By Praxithea, the daughter of Cephissus, he was father of the second Cecrops (see pan-dion, 2), of Metton (see d^dalds) ; of Creusa (see ion), as well as of Protogeneia, Pandora, and ChthSnla. When Athens was pressed hard by the Elensinians under Etunolpus, the oracle promised him the victory if he would sacrifice one of his daughters. He chose the youngest, ChthSnia; but Protogeneia and Pandora, who had made a vow with their sister to die with her, voluntarily shared her fate. Erechtheus conquered his enemies and slew Eumolpus, but was afterwards destroyed by the trident of his enemy's father, Poseidon.

Ergane. Sec athene

Erglnus. King of the Mmyae of Orch5-menus, son of PSseidon (or ClymSnus, according to another account), and one of the Argonauts. At the games of Poseidon at Onchestos, Clymeuus was killed by a stone thrown by a noble Theban. Erginus in consequence compelled the Thebans to pay him an annual tribute of 100 oxen for twenty years. Heracles, on returning from his slaughter of the lions of Cithseron, came upon the heralds who were collecting the tribute. He cut off their noses and ears, tied their hands round their necks, and told them that this was the tribute they might take back to their master. War broke out. Heracles armed the Thebans with the arms banging in the temples, the Minyse having carried off all the others; slew Erginus, destroyed Orchomenus, and forced the Minyse to pay double the tribute to Thebes. The sons of Erginus were the mythical architects Agamedes and Trophonms.

Erichth6nlus. (1) Son of Dardanus (see dardantjs) and Bateia, father of Tros. (2) See erechtheus.

Erlgone. Daughter of Icartfls, who hanged herself for grief at the murder of her father, and was taken up to heaven as the constellation of the Virgin. (See icarius.)

Erinna. A famous Greek poetess, a native of the island of Telos. She was a friend and contemporary of Sappho, with whom she lived in Mitylene. She flourished about 600 B.C. and died at the age of nineteen. The poem by which she is best known is

the Spindle (Eldkdte) consisting of 300 hexameters. A few verses of this, and a few epigrams, are all of her writing which survives. A poem in five Sapphic strophes, addressed to Rome as the mistress of the world, is from the hand of a much later poetess, Melinno, who probably lived in Lower Italy at the time of the war with Pyrrhus, or the First Punic War.

Erinyes (Greek). The goddesses of venge­ance. Homer speaks sometimes of one, sometimes of several, but without any definite statement about either number name, or descent. Hesiod makes them the daughters of Gaia (Earth), sprung from the blood of the mutilated Urinus. According to others they were the daughters of Night



(Nyx) or of the Earth, and Darkness (SkOtds). Euripides is the earliest writer who fixes their number at three, and con­siderably later we find them with the names Allecto (" She who rests not"), TisiphCne (" Avenger of murder "), and Megsera (" The jealous one.") They are the avengers of every transgression of natural order, and especially of offences which touch the foundation of human society. They punish, without mercy, all violations of filial duty, or the claims of kinship, or the rites of hospitality ; murder, perjury, and like offences; in Homer even beggars have their Erinys. The punishment begins on earth and is continued after death. Thus they pursue Orestes and Alcmseon, who slew their mothers, and CEdlpus for

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