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Telegony

Epic Cycle (᾽Επικὸς κύκλος): set of twelve archaic epic poems, known to every educated Greek. The best-known were Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, which are also the only epics that have survived.

Summary

Homer. Glyptothek, München (Germany)
Homer. Glyptothek, München (Germany)
The Telegony is the last epic of the Epic Cycle; it is attributed to Eugammon of Cyrene and tells what happened after the homecoming of Odysseus.

Proclus' excerpt

After the Returns comes the Odyssey of Homer, and then the Telegony in two books by Eugammon of Cyrene, which contain the following matters. The suitors of Penelope are buried by their kinsmen, and Odysseus, after sacrificing to the Nymphs, sails to Elis to inspect his herds. He is entertained there by Polyxenus and receives a mixing bowl as a gift; the story of Trophonius and Agamedes and Augeas then follows.

He next sails back to Ithaca and performs the sacrifices ordered by Teiresias, and then goes to Thesprotis where he marries Callidice, queen of the Thesprotians. A war then breaks out between the Thesprotians, led by Odysseus, and the Brygi. Ares routs the army of Odysseus and Athena engages with Ares, until Apollo separates them. After the death of Callidice Polypoetes, the son of Odysseus, succeeds to the kingdom, while Odysseus himself returns to Ithaca.

In the meantime Telegonus, while traveling in search of his father, lands on Ithaca and ravages the island: Odysseus comes out to defend his country, but is killed by his son unwittingly. Telegonus, on learning his mistake, transports his father's body with Penelope and Telemachus to his mother's island, where Circe makes them immortal, and Telegonus marries Penelope, and Telemachus Circe.

Fragments

2. Eustathius, 1796.35:
The author of the Telegony, a Cyrenaean, relates that Odysseus had by Calypso a son Telegonus or Teledamus, and by Penelope Telemachus and Acusilaus.

3. Eustathius, 1796.45:
The Colophonian author of the Returns says that Telemachus afterwards married Circe, while Telegonus the son of Circe correspondingly married Penelope.

Note

The translation of the excerpt in Proclus' Chrestomathy (transmitted to us by Photius) and the fragment was made by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, and was copied from LacusCurtius.

This page was created in 2009; last modified on 23 January 2014.