← Back

Epic Cycle fragments

FRAGMENTS OF THE EPIC CYCLE
(War of the Titans to the Epigoni)

THE WAR OF THE TITANS (fragments)

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.

ENDNOTES:

(1)  See the cylix reproduced by Gerhard, Abhandlungen, taf. 5,4.

     Cp. Stesichorus, Frag. 3 (Smyth).

THE STORY OF OEDIPUS (fragments)

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.

ENDNOTES:

(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.

ENDNOTES:

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