Saturday, December 17, 2022

M/M: Standing Up For Love In the Face of Violence: Eurybatos & Alcyoneus, Antoninus Liberalis Metamorphoses 8

Lamia, sive Sybaris:

In imo Parnassi versus meridiem mons est (ut quarto Alteratorum libro Nicander narrat) Cirphis, pone Crissam, inque eo etiamnum antrum praegrande, in quo fera degebat olim ingens et monstrosae magnitudinis adeo, quam alii Lamiam, alii Sybarin nominabant. Ea fera singulis diebus in agros grassabatur, pecus hominesque rapiens. Iamque Delphi de mutandis sedibus cogitabant, et oraculum consulebant de loco in quem migrarent. Tum Deus, malo eos isto liberatum iri pronunciavit, si manentes vellent ad antrum expondere puerum unum de civium filiis. ipsi mandata peragebant. Sorte ad hoc ductus est Alcyoneus, Diomi et Meganirae filius quem unum pater genuerat, et vultu et indole praeditus eleganti. eum coronis redimitum, sacerdotes ad Sybaridis speluncam abduxerunt. At vero genii cuiusdam impulsu Eurybatus Euphemi filius ab Axio fluvio genus trahens, generoso animo iuvenis, a Curetide proficiscens, in Alcyonem, cum is ad antrum duceretur, incidit: et amore eius correptus, scitatus causam viae, indignum facinus se facturum putavit, si puerum ita misere interfici sineret, neque ei pro viribus suis opitularetur. Itaque Alcyoneo detractas coronas, suo imposuit capiti, seque eius loco duci iussit. adductusque ad antrum a sacerdotibus, irrupit, Sybarinque e lecto vi abreptam in lucem protulit, ac de saxis praecipitem egit. ea capite ad imos Crissae processus alliso, eo e vulnere decessit. Caeterum isto e saxo fons erupit: qui abincolis Sybaris dicitur. Inde etiam Locri urbem Sybarim condiderunt in Italia.

--Antoninus Liberalis 8, translated into Latin by Xylander 1832


In the mountain ranges of Parnassus, (according to book four of Nicander’s work) there is a mountain called Cirphis, near Crissa. Inside of this mountain is a very large cave where a huge monster lived. Some people called this monster the Lamia; others called it Sybaris.  This monster was attacking the countryside daily, eating up flocks and people alike. The inhabitants of Delphi were contemplating migrating away from the dangerous area, so they consulted the oracle to learn where it would be safe for them to move. Then Apollo prophesied that they would be free of the beast if they sacrificed one of their citizens’ children to it. So the citizens complied with this oracle.

The person chosen by lot to be sacrificed was Alcyoneus, the son of Diomus and Meganira. He was Diomus’ only son, and he was both incredibly talented and incredibly handsome. The citizens put a sacrificial crown upon his head, and the priests led him to the monster’s cave to be sacrificed.

However, at the same time this was happening, fate had it that Eurybatus, the son of Euphemus and grandson of the Axius river, a kind-hearted young man, was setting out from Curetis, and bumped into Alcyoneus while he was being led to the cave. Eurybatus fell in love with Alcyoneus, and asking about the youth’s circumstances, thought it would be simply awful if he just stood there and did nothing to stop Alcyoneus from being sacrificed. So here is what he did: he pulled off Alcyoneus’ sacrificial crown; he put it on his own head and ordered the priests to sacrifice him instead. Once he got to the cave, he attacked the monster; he pulled Sybaris from its lair and, dragging it into the daylight, threw it off the mountainside. Sybaris struck its head when it hit the ground and died. The impact caused a spring of water to well up; it is named Sybaris after the monster. Later the Locrians founded a city in Italy named Sybaris.



Name: Antoninus Liberalis  

Date:  2nd – 3rd c. CE

Works:  Metamorphoses*





 Little is known about the life of the Greek author Antoninus Liberalis. His work, Metamorphoses, is similar to the works of Hyginus in that they provide brief summaries of Greek and Roman myths.





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