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On this page: Perses – Perseus


sowing, and the other at the time of harvest, (Diod. v. 4; Athen. iv. p. 647.) The Eleusinian mysteries belonged toDemeter and Cora in common, and to her alone were dedicated the mysteries ce-lehrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. (Comp. Pans. i. 31. § 1, &c.) Temples of Per­sephone are mentioned at Corinth, Megara. Sparta, and at Locri in the south of Italy. (Pans. iii. 13. § 2 ; Liv. xxix. 8, 18 ; Appian, iii. 12.) In works of art Persephone is seen very frequently: she bears the grave and severe character of an infernal Juno, or she appears as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly repre­sented in the act of being carried off by Pluto. (Pans. viii. 37. § 2 ; comp. Hirt. Mijthol. BUderb. i. p. 72, &c.; Welcker, Zeitsclirift fur die alte Kunst, p. 20, &c.)

Another mythical personage of the name of Per­ sephone, is called a daughter of Minyas, and the mother of Chloris by Amphion. (Schol. ad Horn. Od. xi. 281.) [L.S.]

PERSES (Hepff-ns). 1. A son of the Titan Crius and Eurybia, and husband of Asteria, by whom he became the father of Hecate. (Hes. Theog. 377, 409, &c.; Apollod. i. 2. §§ 2, 4.)

2. A son of Perseus and Andromeda, is de­scribed as the founder of the Persian nation. (Herod, vii. 61 ; Apollod. ii. 4. § 5.)

3. A son of Helios and Perse, and brother of Aeetes and Circe. (Apollod. i. 9. § 28 ; Hygin. Fab. 244.) The Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius (iii. 200) calls him as well as Perses No. 1., Per­ seus, and king of Tauris. (Comp. Tzetz. ad Lye. 1175.) [L.S.]

PERSES (IIep<rrjs), an epigrammatic poet, who was included in the Garland of Meleager, but of whose time we have no further indication, is called a Theban in the title of one of his epi­grams, but a Macedonian in that of another. There are nine epigrams by him in the Greek Anthology. (Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. p. 4 ; Jacobs, Antli. Graec. vol. ii. p. 3, vol. xiii. p. 932.) [P. S ]

PERSEUS (Ilepo-eiJy). 1. The famous Argive hero, was a son of Zeus and Danae, and a grandson of Acrisius (Horn. II. xiv. 310 ; Hes. Scut. Here. 229). Acrisius, who had no male issue, consulted the Pythian oracle, and received the answer, that if Danae should give birth to a son, he would kill his father. Acrisius, accordingly, shut up his daughter in a subterraneous apartment, made of brass or stone (Soph. Ant. 947 ; Lycoph. 838 ; llorat. Carm. iii. 16). But Zeus having meta­morphosed himself into a shower of gold, came down upon her through the roof of the apartment, and became by her the father of Perseus. From this circumstance Perseus is sometimes called XPV~ ffoTrarpos or aurigena (Lycoph. 838 ; Ov. Met. v. 250). When Acrisius discovered that Danae had given birth to a son, he threw both mother and son into a chest, and put them out to sea ; but Zeus caused the chest to land in the island of Seriphos, one of the Cyclades, where Dictys, a fisherman, found them, and carried them to his brother, king Polydectes. According to a later or Italian tra­dition, the chest was carried to the coast of Itaty, where king Pilumnus married Danae, and founded Ardea (Virg. Aen. vii. 410 ; Serv. ad Aen. vii. 372) ; or Danae is said to have come to Italy with two sons, Argus and Argeus, whom she had by Phineus, and took up her abode on the spot where Rome was afterwards built (Serv. ad Aen. viii.



345). But, according to the common story, Poly­dectes, king of Seriphos. made Danae his slave, and courted her favour, but in vain ; and in order to obtain the undisturbed possession of her, he sent off Perseus, who had in the meantime grown up to manhood, to the Gorgons, to fetch the head of Medusa, which he said he would give to Hippo-dameia as a wedding present (Tzetz. ad Lye. 838). Another account again states that Polydectes mar­ried Danae, and caused Perseus to be brought up in the temple of Athena. When Acrisius learnt this, he went to Polydectes, who, however, inter­fered on behalf of the boy, and the latter promised not to kill his grandfather. Acrisius, however, was detained in Seriphos by storms, and during that time Polydectes died. During the funeral games the wind carried a disk thrown by Perseus against the head of Acrisius, and killed him, where­upon Perseus proceeded to Argos and took posses­sion of the kingdom of his grandfather (Hygin. Fab. 63). But to return to the common tradition. Athena, with whom Medusa had ventured to con­tend for the prize of beauty, first showed to Perseus the head of Gorgo in images, near the town of Diecterion in Samos, and advised him to be un­concerned about the two immortal Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale. Perseus then went first to the Graeae, the sisters of the Gorgons, took from them their one tooth and their one eye, and did not restore them to the Graeae until they showed him the way to the nymphs ; or he cast the tooth and the eye into lake Triton, so that the Graeae were no longer able to guard the Gorgons (Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 12). The nymphs provided Perseus with winged sandals, a bag, and the helmet of Hades, which ren­dered him invisible, Hermes with a sickle, and Athena with a mirror (Hes. Scut. Here. 220, 222 ; Eurip. Elect. 460 ; Anthol. Palat. ix. 557 ; comp. Hygin. Poet. Astr. ii. 12 ; Theon, ad Arat. p. 29). Being thus armed, he went to the Gorgons, who dwelt near Tartessus on the coast of the Ocean, whose heads were covered, like those of serpents, with scales, and who had large tusks like boars, brazen hands, and golden wings. He found them asleep, and cut off the head of Medusa, looking at her figure through the mirror, for a look at the monster herself would have changed him into stone. Perseus put her head into the bag which he carried on his back, and as he went away, he was pursued by the winged Gorgons (Hes. Scut. Here. 230 ; Paus. v. 18. § 1). On his return he visited Aethi-opia, where he saved and married Andromeda, by whom he became the father of Perses, whom he left with Cepheus. During this journey Perseus is also said to have come to the Hyperboreans, by whom he was hospitably received (Pind. Pyfh. x. 50), and to Atlas, whom, by the head of Gorgo, he changed into the mountain of the same name (Ov. Met. iv. 655 ; Serv. ad Aen. iv. 246). Phineus, the brother of Cepheus, was likewise changed into stone, and when Perseus returned to Seriphos he found his mother with Dictys in the temple, whither she had fled from the embraces of Polydectes. Perseus found the latter at a repast, and metamorphosed him and all his guests, and, some say, the whole island, into stone (Pind. Pyfh. xii. 21 ; Strab. x. p. 487), and presented the kingdom to Dictys. Perseus then gave the winged sandals and the helmet to Hermes, who restored them to the nymphs and to Hades, and Athena received the head of Gorero, which was put on the shield or breast-plate of the

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