Sarpedon

Sarpedon

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In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Sarpedon (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Σαρπηδὠν; gen.: Σαρπηδόνος) referred to at least three different people.

Son of Zeus and Europa


The first Sarpedon was a son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Europa
Europa (mythology)
In Greek mythology Europa was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has ultimately been taken. The name Europa occurs in Hesiod's long list of daughters of primordial Oceanus and Tethys...

, and brother to Minos
Minos
In Greek mythology, Minos was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every year he made King Aegeus pick seven men and seven women to go to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by The Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization of Crete...

 and Rhadamanthys. He was raised by the king Asterion
Asterion
In Greek mythology, Asterion denotes two sacred kings of Crete. The first Asterion or Asterius , the son of Tectamus or son of Neleus and Chloris by the Greeks called "king" of Crete, was the consort of Europa and stepfather of her sons by Zeus, who had to assume the form of the Cretan bull of...

 and then, banished by Minos
Minos
In Greek mythology, Minos was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every year he made King Aegeus pick seven men and seven women to go to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by The Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization of Crete...

, his rival in love for the young Miletus
Miletus (mythology)
Miletus was a character from Greek mythology.Miletus was son of Apollo and Areia, daughter of Cleochus, of Crete. When Areia gave birth to her son she hid him at a place where the plant milax was growing; Cleochus found the child there and named him Miletus after the plant...

, he sought refuge with his uncle, Cilix
Cilix
In Greek mythology, Cilix was a son of Agenor and Telephassa or Argiope and brother of Cadmus, Phoenix and Europa.When Europa was carried off by Zeus, Agenor sent his three sons out to find her, telling them not to return until they find her. The search was unsuccessful. Cilix eventually settled...

. Sarpedon conquered the Milyans, and ruled over them; his kingdom was named Lycia
Lycia
Lycia Lycian: Trm̃mis; ) was a region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey. It was a federation of ancient cities in the region and later a province of the Roman Empire...

, after his successor, Lycus
Lycus
Lycus or Lykos , a common name for Greek rivers, seems to have originated in the impression made upon the mind of the beholder by a torrent rushing down the side of a hill, which suggested the idea of a wolf rushing at its prey.Lycus or Lykos may refer to:* Lycus , several people in Greek...

, son of Pandion II
Pandion II
In Greek mythology, Pandion II was son and heir of Cecrops II, King of Athens. and his wife Metiadusa. He was exiled from Athens by the sons of his uncle Metion who sought to put Metion on the throne. Pandion fled to Megara where he married Pylia, daughter of King Pylas. Later, Pylas went into...

. Zeus granted him the privilege of living three generations.

Son of Zeus and Laodamia



The second Sarpedon, king of Lycia
Lycia
Lycia Lycian: Trm̃mis; ) was a region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey. It was a federation of ancient cities in the region and later a province of the Roman Empire...

, a descendant of the preceding, was a son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Laodamia
Laodamia
In Greek mythology, the name Laodamia referred to:* Laodamia or Deidamia, daughter of Bellerophon and Philonoe, sister of Hippolochus and Isander and the mother of Sarpedon by Zeus. She was shot by Artemis one day when she was weaving...

, daughter of Bellerophon
Bellerophon
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside of Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles", and his greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a...

. Sarpedon became king when his uncles withdrew their claim to Lycia. He fought on the side of the Trojans, with his cousin Glaucus
Glaucus (soldier)
Glaucus was a son of Hippolochus and a grandson of Bellerophon. He was a captain in the Lycian army under the command of his close friend and cousin Sarpedon. The Lycians in the Trojan War were allies of Troy...

, during the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

 becoming one of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

's greatest allies and heroes.

He scolded Hector
Hector
In Greek mythology, Hectōr , or Hektōr, is a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, a descendant of Dardanus, who lived under Mount Ida, and of Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the...

 in the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

(Book 5, lines 471-492) claiming that he left all the hard fighting to the allies of Troy and not to the Trojans themselves, and made a point of saying that the Lycians had no reason to fight the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, or no real reason to hate them, but because he was a faithful ally to Troy he would do so and fight his best anyway. When the Trojans attacked the wall newly built by the Greeks, Sarpedon led his men (who also included Glaucus and Asteropaios
Asteropaios
In the Iliad, Asteropaios was a leader of the Trojan-allied Paeonians along with fellow warrior Pyraechmes. Asteropaios was the son of Pelagon, who was the son of the river god Axios and the mortal woman Periboia, daughter of Akessamenos...

) to the forefront of the battle and caused Ajax and Teucer
Teucer
In Greek mythology Teucer, also Teucrus or Teucris , was the son of King Telamon of Salamis Island and his second wife Hesione, daughter of King Laomedon of Troy. He fought alongside his half-brother, Ajax, in the Trojan War and is the legendary founder of the city Salamis on Cyprus...

 to shift their attention from Hector's attack to that of Sarpedon's forces. He personally held up the battlements and was the first to enter the Greek encampment. This attack allowed Hector to break through the Greek wall. It was during this action that Sarpedon delivered a noblesse oblige
Noblesse oblige
Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges".The Dictionnaire de l’Académie française defines it thus:# Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly....

 speech to Glaucus, stating that they had been the most honoured kings, therefore they must now fight the most to repay that honour and prove themselves and repay their loyal subjects. While he was preparing to plunge into battle, he told Glaucus that together they would go on to glory: if they were successful, the glory would be their own; if not, the glory of whoever stopped them would be the greater.
When Patroclus
Patroclus
In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos , was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and was Achilles' beloved comrade and brother-in-arms....

 entered the battle in the armour of Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, Sarpedon met him in combat. Zeus debated with himself whether to spare his son's life even though he was fated to die by the hand of Patroclus. He would have done so had Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 not reminded him that other gods' sons were fighting and dying and other gods' sons were fated to die as well. If Zeus should spare his son from his fate, another god might do the same; therefore Zeus let Sarpedon die while fighting Patroclus, but not before killing the only mortal horse of Achilles. During their fight, Zeus sent a shower of bloody raindrops over the Trojans' heads expressing the grief for the impending death of his son.

When Sarpedon fell, mortally wounded, he called on Glaucus to rescue his body and arms. Patroclus withdrew the spear he had embedded in Sarpedon, and as it left Sarpedon's body his spirit went with it. A violent struggle ensued over the body of the fallen king. The Greeks succeeded in gaining his armour (which was later given as a prize in the funeral games for Patroclus), but Zeus had Apollo rescue the corpse. Apollo took the corpse and cleaned it, then delivered it to Sleep (Hypnos) and Death (Thanatos), who took it back to Lycia for funeral honours.

One account holds that the first and second Sarpedon are both the same man, and that Zeus granted Sarpedon an extraordinarily long life that had to end at the Trojan War. However, the favoured account is that Sarpedon, brother of Minos, and Sarpedon, who fought at Troy, were different men who lived generations apart. A genealogical link is provided between the two Sarpedons, through Laodamia. Laodamia (called Deidamia in that particular account) is said to have married Evander, son of the first Sarpedon, and to have presented Evander with a son named Sarpedon (in reality her son by Zeus).

See: Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

books: II, IV, XII, XVI.

An asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 is named after the Trojan hero, 2223 Sarpedon
2223 Sarpedon
2223 Sarpedon is a Jupiter Trojan discovered on October 4, 1977 at Purple Mountain Observatory and named after the Lycian hero Sarpedon from the Iliad.- References :*...

.

Son of Poseidon


A third Sarpedon was a Thracia
Thracia
Thracia is a Web-Based computer game created and developed by an exclusively Romanian team, part of Infotrend Consulting, and launched in 2009. At the time, it was the first endeavor of its kind. All browser games were text based, made up mostly of static content...

n son of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

, and brother to Poltys
Poltys
Poltys is a mythical king and eponym of the Thracian city of Poltyobria , featured in Apollodorus's account of the story of the hero Heracles . Poltys and his brother Sarpedon are given as sons of the sea-god Poseidon...

, King of Aenus
Aenus (Thrace)
Aenus , modern Enez in Turkey, was an ancient Greek city on the southeastern coast of Thrace. Formerly called Poltyobria , it was located near the mouth of the Hebrus River, not far from the Melas Gulf , which is formed by the Thracian Chersonesus to the east...

. Unlike the other two Sarpedons, this Thracian Sarpedon was not a hero, but an insolent individual who was killed by Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

.

External links

  • Myth Index - Sarpedon
  • Marie Delcourt, "The legend of Sarpedon and the Saga of the Archer", History οf Religion, 2 (1962:33-51).