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Homerica: Fragments of the Epic Cycle

translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White


War of the Titans to the Epigoni

Fragment #1 -- Photius, Epitome of the Chrestomathy of Proclus: The Epic Cycle begins with the fabled union of Heaven and Earth, by which they make three hundred-handed sons and three Cyclopes to be born to him.

Fragment #2 -- Anecdota Oxon. (Cramer) i. 75: According to the writer of the "War of the Titans" Heaven was the son of Aether.

Fragment #3 -- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 1165: Eumelus says that Aegaeon was the son of Earth and Sea and, having his dwelling in the sea, was an ally of the Titans.

Fragment #4 -- Athenaeus, vii. 277 D: The poet of the "War of the Titans", whether Eumelus of Corinth or Arctinus, writes thus in his second book: `Upon the shield were dumb fish afloat, with golden faces, swimming and sporting through the heavenly water.'

Fragment #5 -- Athenaeus, i. 22 C: Eumelus somewhere introduces Zeus dancing: he says -- `In the midst of them danced the Father of men and gods.'

Fragment #6 -- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 554: The author of the "War of the Giants" says that Cronos took the shape of a horse and lay with Philyra, the daughter of Ocean. Through this cause Cheiron was born a centaur: his wife was Chariclo.

Fragment #7 -- Athenaeus, xi. 470 B: Theolytus says that he (Heracles) sailed across the sea in a cauldron (1); but the first to give this story is the author of the "War of the Titans".

Fragment #8 -- Philodemus, On Piety: The author of the "War of the Titans" says that the apples (of the Hesperides) were guarded.


(1) See the cylix reproduced by Gerhard, Abhandlungen, taf. 5,4. Cp. Stesichorus, Frag. 3 (Smyth).


Fragment #1 -- C.I.G. Ital. et Sic. 1292. ii. 11: ....the "Story of Oedipus" by Cinaethon in six thousand six hundred verses.

Fragment #2 -- Pausanias, ix. 5.10: Judging by Homer I do not believe that Oedipus had children by Iocasta: his sons were born of Euryganeia as the writer of the Epic called the "Story of Oedipus" clearly shows.

Fragment #3 -- Scholiast on Euripides Phoen., 1750: The authors of the "Story of Oedipus" (say) of the Sphinx: `But furthermore (she killed) noble Haemon, the dear son of blameless Creon, the comeliest and loveliest of boys.'

THE THEBAID (fragments)

Fragment #1 -- Contest of Homer and Hesiod: Homer travelled about reciting his epics, first the "Thebaid", in seven thousand verses, which begins: `Sing, goddess, of parched Argos, whence lords...'

Fragment #2 -- Athenaeus, xi. 465 E: `Then the heaven-born hero, golden-haired Polyneices, first set beside Oedipus a rich table of silver which once belonged to Cadmus the divinely wise: next he filled a fine golden cup with sweet wine. But when Oedipus perceived these treasures of his father, great misery fell on his heart, and he straight-way called down bitter curses there in the presence of both his sons.

And the avenging Fury of the gods failed not to hear him as he prayed that they might never divide their father's goods in loving brotherhood, but that war and fighting might be ever the portion of them both.'

Fragment #3 -- Laurentian Scholiast on Sophocles, O.C. 1375: `And when Oedipus noticed the haunch (1) he threw it on the ground and said: "Oh! Oh! my sons have sent this mocking me..."

So he prayed to Zeus the king and the other deathless gods that each might fall by his brother's hand and go down into the house of Hades.'

Fragment #4 -- Pausanias, viii. 25.8: Adrastus fled from Thebes `wearing miserable garments, and took black-maned Areion (2) with him.'

Fragment #5 -- Pindar, Ol. vi. 15: (3) `But when the seven dead had received their last rites in Thebes, the Son of Talaus lamented and spoke thus among them: "Woe is me, for I miss the bright eye of my host, a good seer and a stout spearman alike."'

Fragment #6 -- Apollodorus, i. 74: Oeneus married Periboea the daughter of Hipponous. The author of the "Thebais" says that when Olenus had been stormed, Oeneus received her as a prize.

Fragment #7 -- Pausanias, ix. 18.6: Near the spring is the tomb of Asphodicus. This Asphodicus killed Parthenopaeus the son of Talaus in the battle against the Argives, as the Thebans say; though that part of the "Thebais" which tells of the death of Parthenopaeus says that it was Periclymenus who killed him.


(1) The haunch was regarded as a dishonourable portion.
(2) The horse of Adrastus, offspring of Poseidon and Demeter, who had charged herself into a mare to escape Poseidon.
(3) Restored from Pindar Ol. vi. 15 who, according to Asclepiades, derives the passage from the "Thebais".

THE EPIGONI (fragments)

Fragment #1 -- Contest of Homer and Hesiod: Next (Homer composed) the "Epigoni" in seven thousand verses, beginning, `And now, Muses, let us begin to sing of younger men.'

Fragment #2 -- Photius, Lexicon: Teumesia. Those who have written on Theban affairs have given a full account of the Teumesian fox. (1) They relate that the creature was sent by the gods to punish the descendants of Cadmus, and that the Thebans therefore excluded those of the house of Cadmus from kingship. But (they say) a certain Cephalus, the son of Deion, an Athenian, who owned a hound which no beast ever escaped, had accidentally killed his wife Procris, and being purified of the homicide by the Cadmeans, hunted the fox with his hound, and when they had overtaken it both hound and fox were turned into stones near Teumessus. These writers have taken the story from the Epic Cycle.

Fragment #3 -- Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. i. 308: The authors of the "Thebais" say that Manto the daughter of Teiresias was sent to Delphi by the Epigoni as a first fruit of their spoil, and that in accordance with an oracle of Apollo she went out and met Rhacius, the son of Lebes, a Mycenaean by race. This man she married -- for the oracle also contained the command that she should marry whomsoever she might meet -- and coming to Colophon, was there much cast down and wept over the destruction of her country.


(1) So called from Teumessus, a hill in Boeotia. For the derivation of Teumessus cp. Antimachus "Thebais" fr. 3 (Kinkel).