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Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, by Kathleen Freeman, [1948], at


Acusilâus of Argos lived probably in the sixth century B.C.

He wrote a prose work on the origins of Gods and men, called Genealogies.

1. (Chaos was the first principle, and after it the pair, Erebus the male and Night the female; from their union sprang Nether, Eros and Mêtis; and the other gods are derived from these).

2. (Plato, Symposium 178B: Acusilaus agrees with Hesiod that Chaos came first, and after Chaos Earth and Eros).

3. (Eros the son of Night and Aether).

4. (Koios: among names of male and female Titans).

5. (Iris is the messenger of all the gods. The Harpies guard the apples of the Hesperides).

6. (Cerberus is the son of Echidnê and Typho; also other monsters, including the eagle that eats the liver of Prometheus).

7. (Typho attacked the kingdom of Zeus).

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8. (Phorcys was the son of Eidothea and father of the Graeae. Proteus and Tithonus, though old, were immortal. There are two generations of goddesses: the older married, and the younger unmarried, like Artemis and Athene, Peace and Justice).

9. (Asclepius was killed by Zeus).

9a. (Ouranos flung the Hundred-armed Giants into Tartarus, fearing that they would prevail, and knowing their sins).

9b. (Acusilaus like Homer briefly tells the story of the giants).

9c. (Heracles died in the fire).

10. (Apollo was about to be flung into Tartarus by Zeus, but on the supplication of Leto he was allowed to serve a man, Admetus, instead).

11. (Pelasgus, son of Niobe and Zeus, gave his name to the Pelasgians of the Peloponnese).

12. (Io the daughter of Peirên).

13. (Argus was earthborn).

14. (The daughters of Proetus were driven mad because they had disparaged the wooden statue of Hera).

15. (The Cretan bull, capture of which formed the seventh labour of Heracles, was the bull that ferried Europa across the sea).

16. (Actaeon, eaten on Cithaeron by his own dogs, was punished by madness for having wooed Semele).

17. (Menelaus had a son Megapenthês by Têrêis).

18. (The river Asôpus is the son of Pêrô and Poseidon).

19. (Zêtês and Calais were destroyed by Heracles near Tenos).

20. (Phorôneus was the first man. When he was king in Argos, the Great Flood occurred in Attica).

21. (Achelôos is the oldest of the rivers): Ocean marries Tethys his own sister; from them spring three thousand rivers, but Achelôos is the oldest and most honoured.

22. (The Homeridae are a clan in Chios).

23. (The men of old lived for a thousand years).

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24. (Mycênae was named after Mycêneus son of Spartôn, who was a son of Phorôneus).

25. (The sons of Phrixus had as their mother Iophôssê daughter of Aeêtês).

26. (Story of Endymion).

27. (Scylla daughter of Phorcys and Hecatê).

28. (The Phaeacians sprang from blood that dripped from Ouranos to earth on his castration).

29. (The Fleece was not golden, but dyed purple by the sea).

30. (There are three winds, Borras, Zephyr, Notos; the epithet 'bright' applies only to Zephyr).

31. (Version of the Trojan War: Aphrodite, hearing an oracle that the throne of Priam would fall and the descendants of Anchises would rule Troy, united with Anchises in his old age and bore Aeneas; wishing to bring about the downfall of the house of Priam she inspired Paris with a passion for Helen; and after the abduction she pretended to be fighting on the Trojan side, whereas she was glossing over their defeat, in order that they should not fall into despair and hand over Helen).

32. (Anchises son of Cleonymus, Echepôlus son of Anchises).

33. (The mother of Deucalion was Hêsionê daughter of Ocean, and his father was Prometheus).

34. (Eurypylus was the son of Astyochê and Têlephus. Priam bribed Astyochê with a golden vine to allow her son to go to the war).

35. (Ôreithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, was carried away by Boreas as she walked in the procession to Athene Polias. Boreas took her to Thrace, where she bore Zêtês and Calais, who sailed with the Argonauts).

36. (Ithaca and its mountain Nêriton were named after Ithacus and Nêritus, descendants of Zeus, who settled first in Cephallenia and then on Ithaca).

37. (All creatures that sting come from the blood of Typho).

38. (Deucalion and Pyrrha made men by throwing stones behind them).

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39. (Corônis preferred Ischys to Apollo, because she feared to be despised by a god and wished to marry a mortal).

40. (From Cabîrô and Hephaestus sprang Camillus, from him the three Cabîri, . . . three Nymphs, the Cabiridae).

40a. Poseidon united with Caenê daughter of Elatus. Afterwards, since she did not wish to have a child by him or anyone else, Poseidon turned her into a man (Caeneus) invulnerable, having strength greater than that of all the men of his day; and whenever anyone tried to wound him with iron or bronze, he was at once held fast. This Caeneus became king of the Lapithae and used to make war on the Centaurs. Later he set up a javelin in the market-place, and demanded to be accounted a god. This was displeasing to the gods, and Zeus seeing him doing this threatened him and sent the Centaurs against him, and they cut him down to the ground where he stood, and set a rock above as a grave-stone, and he died.


41. (Scholiast on Pindar, Olympian, VII. 42: Pindar appears to have used the ancient historiographer in his genealogy of Amyntor).

Next: 10. The Seven Sages