Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Michael Simpson; Leonard Baskin et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
The Returns, Including Agamemnon's Death and the Return of Menelaus (Epitome 6)

EPIT. 6 After these things, Agamemnon and Menelaus quarrelled in the assembly, Menelaus maintaining that they should sail away while Agamemnon insisted that they remain and sacrifice to Athena. Diomedes, Nestor, and Menelaus all set sail at the same time. Diomedes and Nestor had a safe voyage, but Menelaus ran into a storm and lost all of his ships except five with which he arrived in Egypt.1

Amphilochus, Calchas, Leonteus, Podalirius, and Polypoetes left their ships in Ilium and traveled by land to Colophon. There they buried Calchas the seer. For it had been foretold that he would die if he met a seer wiser than himself. They were guests of Mopsus, son of Apollo and Manto, who engaged in a contest with Calchas in the art of divination. When Calchas asked him how many figs were growing on a wild fig tree nearby, Mopsus answered, "Ten thousand and a bushel and one fig over," and the answer turned out to be correct. Mopsus then asked Calchas how many pigs a pregnant sow was carrying in her womb and when was she due to give birth to them. When Calchas answered eight, Mopsus smiled and said, " Calchas, you fall short of true prophecy but I, who am the son of Apollo and Manto, have a wealth of keen vision. I say that there are not eight, as Calchas says, but nine in the womb, all males, and that they will be born tomorrow exactly at the sixth hour." When it turned out to be so, Calchas died of a broken heart and was buried at Notium.

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3

4

After making a sacrifice, Agamemnon sailed away and put in at Tenedos. Thetis came and persuaded Neoptolemus to wait for two days and to make a sacrifice. He obeyed her, but the others set sail. They ran into a storm at Tenos which Athena begged Zeus to send upon the Greeks, and many ships were lost. Athena also hurled a thunderbolt at Ajax's ship. As it broke into pieces he climbed on a rock and claimed that he had been saved despite Athena's intention. But Posei

5

6

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