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IN the Hesiodic theogony, as well as in the “Works and Days”, the legend of Prometheus and Epimetheus presents an import religious, ethical, and social, and in this sense it is carried forward by Aeschylus; but to neither of the characters is any genealogical function assigned. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women brought both of them into the stream of Grecian legendary lineage, representing Deucalion as the son of Prometheus and Pandora, and seemingly his wife Pyrrha as daughter of Epimetheus.

Deucalion is important in Grecian mythical narrative under two points of view. First, he is the person specially saved at the time of the general deluge: next, he is the father of Hellen, the great eponym of the Hellenic race: at least this was the more current story, though there were other statements which made Hellen the son of Zeus.

The name of Deucalion is originally connected with the Lokrian towns of Kynos and Opus, and with the race of the Leleges, but he appears finally as settled in Thessaly, and ruling in the portion of that country called Phthiotis. According to what seems to have been the old legendary account, it is the deluge which transferred him from the one to the other; but according to another statement, framed in more historicizing times, he conducted a body of Kuretes and Leleges into Thessaly, and expelled the prior Pelasgian occupants.

The enormous iniquity with which earth was contaminated—as Apollodorus says, by the then existing brazen race, or as others say, by the fifty monstrous sons of Lykaon—provoked Zeus to send a general deluge? An unremitting and terrible rain laid the whole of Greece under water, except the highest mountain tops, whereon a few stragglers found refuge. Deukalion was saved in a chest or ark, which he had been forewarned by his father Prometheus to construct. After floating for nine days on the water, he at length landed on the summit of Mount Parnassus. Zeus having sent Hermes to him, promising to grant whatever he asked, he prayed that men and companions might be sent to him in his solitude: accordingly Zeus directed both him and Pyrrha to cast stones over their heads: those cast by Pyrrha became women, those by Deucalion men. And thus the “stony race of men” (if we may be allowed to translate an etymology which the Greek language presents exactly, and which has not been disdained by Hesiod, by Pindar, by Epicharmus, and by Virgil) came to tenant the soil of Greece. Deucalion on landing from the ark sacrificed a grateful offering to Zeus Phyxios, or the god of escape; he also erected altars in Thessaly to the twelve great gods of Olympus.

The reality of this deluge was firmly believed throughout the historical ages of Greece; the chronologers, reckoning up by genealogies, assigned the exact date of it, and placed it at the same time as the conflagration of the world by the rashness of Phaethon, during the reign of Krotopos, king of Argos, the seventh from Inachus. The meteorological work of Aristotle admits and reasons upon this deluge as an unquestionable fact, though he alters the locality by placing it west of Mount Pindus, near Dodona and the river Achelous. He at the same time treats it as a physical phenomenon, the result of periodical cycles in the atmosphere—thus departing from the religious character of the old legend, which described it as a judgment inflicted by Zeus upon a wicked race. Statements founded upon this event were in circulation throughout Greece even to a very late date. The Megarians affirmed that Megaros, their hero, son of Zeus by a local nymph, had found safety from the waters on the lofty summit of their mountain Geraneia, which had not been completely submerged. And in the magnificent temple of the Olympian Zeus at Athens a cavity in the earth was shown, through which it was affirmed that the waters of the deluge had retired. Even in the time of Pausanias, the priest poured into this cavity holy offerings of meal and honey. In this, as in other parts of Greece, the idea of the Deukalionian deluge was blended with the religious impressions of the people, and commemorated by their sacred ceremonies.

Hellen and Amphiktion

The offspring of Deucalion and Pyrrha were two sons, Hellen and Amphiktyon, and a daughter, Protogeneia, whose son by Zeus was Aethlius: it was however maintained by many that Helen was the son of Zeus and not of Deucalion. Hellen had by a nymph three sons, Dorus, Xuthus, and Eolus. He gave to those who had been before called Greeks the name of Hellenes, and partitioned his territory among his three children. Eolus reigned in Thessaly; Xuthus received Peloponnesus, and had by Kreusa as his sons Achaeus and Ion; while Dorus occupied the country lying opposite to the Peloponnesus, on the northern side of the Corinthian Gulf. These three gave to the inhabitants of their respective countries the names of Aeolians, Achaeans and Ionians, and Dorians.

Such is the genealogy as we find it in Apollodorus. In so far as the names and filiation are concerned, many points in it are given differently, or implicitly contradicted by Euripides and other writers. Though as literal and personal history it deserves no notice, its import is both intelligible and comprehensive. It expounds and symbolizes the first fraternal aggregation of Hellenic men, together with their territorial distribution and the institutions which they collectively venerated.

There were two great holding-points in common for every section of Greeks. One was the Amphiktyonic assembly, which met half-yearly, alternately at Delphi and at Thermopylae; originally and chiefly for common religious purposes, but indirectly and occasionally embracing political and social objects along with them. The other was the public festivals or games, of which the Olympic came first in importance; next the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian—institutions which combined religions solemnities with recreative effusion and hearty sympathies, in a manner so imposing and so unparalleled. Amphiktyon represents the first of these institutions, and Aethlius the second. As the Amphiktyonic assembly was always especially connected with Thermopylae and Thessaly, Amphiktyon is made the son of the Thessalian Deucalion; but as the Olympic festival was nowise locally connected with Deucalion, Aethlius is represented as having Zeus for his father, and as touching Deucalion only through the maternal line. It will be seen presently that the only matter predicated respecting Aethlius is, that he settled in the territory of Elis, and begat Endymion: this brings him into local contact with the Olympic games, and his function is then ended.

Division of Hellas: Eolians, Dorians, Ionians

Having thus got Hellas as an aggregate with its main cementing forces, we march on to its subdivision into parts, through Eolus, Dorus, and Xuthus, the three sons of Hellen, a distribution which is far from being exhaustive: nevertheless, the genealogists whom Apollodorus follows recognize no more than three sons.

The genealogy is essentially post-Homeric; for Homer knows Hellas and the Hellenes only in connection with a portion of Achaia Phthiotis. But as it is recognized in the Hesiodic Catalogue—composed probably within the first century after the commencement of recorded Olympiads, or before 676 BC—the peculiarities of it elating from so early a period, deserve much attention. We may remark, first, that it seems to exhibit to us Dorus and Eolus as the only pure and genuine offspring of Hellen. For their brother Xuthus is not enrolled as an eponymous; he neither founds nor names any people; it is only his sons Achaeus and Ion, after his blood has been mingled with that of the Erechtheid Kreusa, who become eponyms and founders, each of his own separate people. Next, as to the territorial distribution, Xuthus receives Peloponnesus from his father, and unites himself with Attica (which the author of this genealogy seems to have conceived as originally unconnected with Hellen) by his marriage with the daughter of the indigenous hero Erechtheus. The issue of this marriage, Achaeus and Ion, present to us the population of Peloponnesus and Attica conjointly as related among themselves by the tie of brotherhood, but as one degree more distant both from Dorians and Eolians. Eolus reigns over the regions about Thessaly, and calls the people in those parts Aeolians; while Dorus occupies “the country over against Peloponnesus on the opposite side of the Corinthian Gulf”, and calls the inhabitants after himself Dorians. It is at once evident that this designation is in no way applicable to the confined district between Parnassus and Eta, which alone is known by the name of Doris, and its inhabitants by that of Dorians, in the historical ages. In the view of the author of this genealogy, the Dorians are the original occupants of the large range of territory north of the Corinthian Gulf, comprising Phocis, and the territory of the Ozolian Lokrians. And this farther harmonizes with the other legend noticed by Apollodorus, when he states that Etolus, son of Endymion, having been forced to expatriate from Peloponnesus, crossed into the Kuretid territory, and was there hospitably received by Dorus, Laodokus, and Polypcetes, sons of Apollo and Phthia. He slew his hosts, acquired the territory, and gave to it the name of Etolia; his son Pleuron married Xanthippe, daughter of Dorus; while his other son, Kalydon, marries Eolia, daughter of Amythaon. Here again we have the name of Dorus, or the Dorians, connected with the tract subsequently termed Etolia. That Dorus should in one place be called the son of Apollo and Phthia, and in another place the son of Hellen by a nymph, will surprise no one accustomed to the fluctuating personal nomenclature of these old legends: moreover the name of Phthia is easy to reconcile with that of Hellen, as both are identified with the same portion of Thessaly, even from the days of the Iliad.

This story, that the Dorians were at one time the occupants, or the chief occupants, of the range of territory between the river Achelous and the northern shore of the Corinthian gulf, is at least more suitable to the facts attested by historical evidence than the legends given in Herodotus, who represents the Dorians as originally in the Phthiotid; then as passing under Dorus, the son of Hellen, into the Histiotid, under the mountains of Ossa and Olympus; next, as driven by the Kadmeians into the regions of Pindus; from thence passing into the Dryopid territory, on Mount Eta; lastly, from thence into Peloponnesus. The received story was, that the great Dorian establishments in Peloponnesus were formed by invasion from the north, and that the invaders crossed the gulf from Naupaktus,—a statement which, however disputable with respect to Argos, seems highly probable in regard both to Sparta and Messenia. That the name of Dorians comprehended far more than the inhabitants of the insignificant tetrapolis of Doris Proper must be assumed, if we believe that they conquered Sparta and Messenia: both the magnitude of the conquest itself and the passage of a large portion of them from Naupaktus, harmonize with the legend as given by Apollodorus, in which the Dorians are represented as the principal inhabitants of the northern shore of the gulf.

The statements which we find in Herodotus, respecting the early migrations of the Dorians, have been considered as possessing greater historical value than those of the fabulist Apollodorus. But both are equally matter of legend, while the brief indications of the latter seem to be most in harmony with the facts which we afterwards find attested by history.

It has already been mentioned that the genealogy which makes Eolus, Xuthus, and Dorus sons of Hellen, is as old as the Hesiodic Catalogue; probably also that which makes Hellen son of Deucalion. Aethlius also is an Hesiodic personage; whether Amphiktion be so or not, we have no proof. They could not have been introduced into the legendary genealogy until after the Olympic games and the Amphiktyonic council had acquired an established and extensive reverence throughout Greece.

Respecting Dorus the son of Hellen, we find neither legends nor legendary genealogy; respecting Xuthus, very little beyond the tale of Kreusa and Ion, which has its place more naturally among the Attic fables. Achaeus, however, who is here represented as the son of Xuthus, appears in other stories with very different parentage and accompaniments. According to the statement which we find in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Achaeis, Phthius, and Pelasgus are sons of Poseidon and Larissa. They migrate from Peloponnesus into Thessaly, and distribute the Thessalian territory between them, giving their names to its principal divisions: their descendants in the sixth generation were driven out of that country by the invasion of Deucalion at the head of the Kuretes and the Leleges. This was the story of those who wanted to provide an eponymus for the Achaeans in the southern districts of Thessaly: Pausanias accomplishes the same object by different means, representing Achaeus the son of Xuthus as having gone back to Thessaly and occupied the portion of it to which his father was entitled. Then, by way of explaining how it was that there were Achaeans at Sparta and at Argos, he tells us that Archander and Architeles the sons of Achaeus, came back from Thessaly to Peloponnesus, and married two daughters of Danaus: they acquired great influence at Argos and Sparta, and gave to the people the name of Achaeans after their father Achaeus.

Euripides also deviates very materially from the Hesiodic genealogy in respect to the eponymous persons. In the drama called Ion, he describes Ion as son of Kreusa by Apollo, but adopted by Xuthus: according to him, the real sons of Xuthus and Kreusa are Dorus and Achaeus,—eponyms of the Dorians and Achaeans in the interior of Peloponnesus. And it is a still more capital point of difference that he omits Hellen altogether—making Xuthus an Achaean by race, the son of Eolus, who is the son of Zeus. This is the more remarkable, as in the fragments of two other dramas of Euripides, the Melanippe and the Eolus, we find Hellen mentioned both as father of Eolus and son of Zeus. To the general public even of the most instructed city of Greece, fluctuations and discrepancies in these mythical genealogies seem to have been neither surprising nor offensive.