Telegonus

Telegonus

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Telegonus is the name of three different characters in Greek mythology.

Son of Odysseus


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...

, Telegonus (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;...

: Τηλέγονος, English translation
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: born afar) was the youngest son of Circe
Circe
In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic , described in Homer's Odyssey as "The loveliest of all immortals", living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus.By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid...

 and Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

.

When Telegonus grew up, Circe sent him to find Odysseus, who by this time had finally returned to Ithaca
Ithaca
Ithaca or Ithaka is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and...

 from 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...

. On his arrival Telegonus began plundering the island, thinking it was Corcyra. Odysseus and his oldest son, Telemachus
Telemachus
Telemachus is a figure in Greek mythology, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, and a central character in Homer's Odyssey. The first four books in particular focus on Telemachus' journeys in search of news about his father, who has been away at war...

, defended their city and Telegonus accidentally killed his father with the spine of a stingray. He brought the body back to Aeaea
Aeaea
Aeaea or Eëa was a mythological island said to be the home of the sorceress Circe. Odysseus tells Alcinous that he stayed here for a year on his way home to Ithaca....

 and took Penelope, Odysseus' widow, and Telemachus, Odysseus' son, with him. Circe made them immortal and married Telemachus, while Telegonus made Penelope his wife. With Penelope, he was the father of Italus
Italus
Italus or Italos was a legendary king of the Sicels or Oenotrians, who were among the earliest inhabitants of Italy...

.

This is the story told in the Telegony
Telegony
The Telegony is a lost ancient Greek epic poem about Telegonus, son of Odysseus by Circe. His name is indicative of his birth on Aeaea, far from Odysseus' home of Ithaca. It was part of the Epic Cycle of poems that recounted the myths not only of the Trojan War but also of the events that led up...

, an early Greek epic that does not survive except in a summary, but which was attributed to Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene and written as a sequel to the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

. Variants to the story are found in later poets: for example, in a tragedy by Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, Odysseus Acanthoplex (which also does not survive), Odysseus finds out from an oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 that he is doomed to be killed by his son. He assumes that this means Telemachus, whom he promptly banishes to a nearby island. When Telegonus arrives on Ithaca, he approaches Odysseus' house, but the guards do not admit him to see his father; a commotion arises, and Odysseus, thinking it is Telemachus, rushes out and attacks. In the fighting he is killed by Telegonus.

In Italian and Roman mythology
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

, Telegonus became known as the founder of Tusculum
Tusculum
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.-Location:Tusculum is one of the largest Roman cities in Alban Hills. The ruins of Tusculum are located on Tuscolo hill—more specifically on the northern edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano...

, a city just to the south-east of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, and sometimes also as the founder of Praeneste, a city in the same region (modern Palestrina
Palestrina
Palestrina is an ancient city and comune with a population of about 18,000, in Lazio, c. 35 km east of Rome...

). Ancient Roman poets regularly used phrases such as "walls of Telegonus" (e.g. Propertius 2.32) or "Circaean walls" to refer to Tusculum.

King of Egypt


Another Telegonus was a king of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 who was sometimes said to have married the nymph Io
Io (mythology)
Io was, in Greek mythology, a priestess of Hera in Argos, a nymph who was seduced by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection. His wife Hera set ever-watchful Argus Panoptes to guard her, but Hermes was sent to distract the guardian and slay him...

.

Son of Proteus


Another character of the same name was the son of the sea god Proteus
Proteus
In Greek mythology, Proteus is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea", whose name suggests the "first" , as protogonos is the "primordial" or the "firstborn". He became the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony In Greek mythology, Proteus (Πρωτεύς)...

 who wrestled with 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...

and lost his life in the battle. His brother Polygonus met the same fate.