The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Pelias – Pelopia – Pelops – Peltastae – Penates



tion, For the Fairest, thus giving the first cause for the Trojan War (q.v.). In this war the only offspring of this marriage, the hero Achilles, is said to have found an untimely end during his father's lifetime. According to a later tradition, unknown to Homer, Thetis forsook her husband, because his presence hindered her from making her son immortal.

Pelias. Son of Pfceidon and of Tyro, who was afterwards the wife of Cretheus. He was the brother of Neleus, half-brother of jEson, Pheres, and Amythaon, father of Acastus and Alcestis. He deprived jEson of the dominion of lolcus, and sent ^soil's son Jason to Colchis to fetch the golden fleece. He did so because the youth, now fully grown, was claiming his father's throne. In Jason's absence Pelias killed jEson, and drove his wife to suicide. In revenge, when Jason returned, his wife Medea persuaded the daughters of Pelias to cut him to pieces and seethe him in a caldron, under the pretext of restoring him to youth. His son Acastus instituted in his honour funeral games which were greatly celebrated by poets and artists.

PS15pla. Daughter of Thyestes, mother of jEgisthua by her own father. (See vEoiSTHUS and atkeds.)

Pelops. Son of the Lydian or Phrygian king Tantalus and DIone, daughter of Atlas. When he was a child, his father slew him, cut him to pieces and seethed him, and set him as food before the gods. The gods did not touch the horrible meal; only Demeter, absorbed in grief for her stolen daughter, ate one shoulder. By the com­mand of Zeus, Hermes replaced the pieces in the caldron, and Clotho drew the boy from it in renewed beauty, while Deme­ter replaced the missing shoulder by one made of ivory. Hence it was that his descendants, the Pelfipidfe, bore on one shoulder a mark of dazzling whiteness. Pelops, when grown to manhood, went to Pisa in Elis as a wooer of HippSdamia, (laughter of king (EnSmaus. He won the victory, the bride, and the kingdom, by the help of the winged steeds given him by Poseidon, and by the treachery of Myrtilus, the chariot driver of (Enomaus. When Myrtilus (or Myrsilus), a son of Hermes, claimed the promised reward, half the kingdom, Pelops hurled him from his chariot into the sea. Through his curse and the anger of Hermes, the baneful spell was once more cast upon the house of Pelops. He returned to Pisa, and, after he

had made himself master of Olympia, he is said to have restored the games with great splendour, a service for which his memory was afterwards honoured above that of all other heroes. By another act of violence he obtained possession of Arcadia, and extended his power so widely over the peninsula that it was called after his name the Plluponnesus, or " island of Pelops." By Hippodamia he had six sons (cp. alcathous, atreus, pittheus, thyestes), and two daughters ; and by the Nymph Axioche, a son Chrysippus. The latter, his father's favourite, was killed by Atreus and Thyestes, at the instigation of Hippodamia, and his dead body was cast into a well. Peleus discovered the crime, and banished the murderers from the country. Hippodamia thereupon took refuge with her sons at Jlidea in Argolis. On her death, Peleus buried her bones in the soil of Olympia.

Peltastffi. The Greek light-armed foot-soldiers, forming an arm intermediate be­tween the heavily equipped hoplites (q.v.) and the sharpshooters, gymnetce (q.v.). The name is taken from the pelts, a light shield of Thracian origin (see shield). For attack they had a javelin, or dcontwn, and a long


From a vase-painting. (Stackelberg, Graber Aer Hellene*, Taf. xxxviii.)

sword. These troops originated in Thrace and North Greece, and the peltastce serving in the Peloponnesian War and in the armies of the younger Cyrus and Agesllaus belonged to those countries. Iphlerates equipped his mercenaries with this kind of arma­ment, introducing at the same time linen doublets and, instead of greaves, what were called after him Iphlcratidls, something between boots and leggings [Diodorus xv 44]. In the Macedonian army their place was taken by the hypaspistce.

Penates, with Vesta and Lar, the house­hold gods of the Romans; strictly the guardians of the storeroom (plnus), which in old Roman houses stood next the atrium ; in later times, near the back of the building (pSnCtralia). They were two in number, and presided over the well-being of the house,

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.