GLAUCUS

ΓΛΑΥΚΟΣ

1. A grandson of Aeolus, son of Sisyphus and Merope, and father of Bellerophontes. (Hom. Il. vi. 154; Apollod. i. 9. § 3; Paus. ii. 4. § 2.) He lived at Potniae, despised the power of Aphrodite, and did not allow his mares to breed, that they might be the stronger for the horse race. According to others, he fed them with human flesh, for the purpose of making them spirited and warlike. This excited the anger of Aphrodite or the gods in general, who punished him in this way :-- when Acastus celebrated the funeral games of his father, Pelias, at Iolcus, Glaucus took part in them with a charict and four horses; but the animals were frightened and upset the chariot. (Paus. iii. 18. § 9, v. 17. § 4; Apollod. i. 9. § 28; Nonn. Dionys. xi. 143.) According to others, they tore Glaucus to pieces, having drunk from the water of a sacred well in Boeotia, in consequence of which they were seized with madness; others, again, describe this madness as the consequence of their having eaten a herb called hippomanes. (Hygin. Fab. 250, 273; School. ad Eurip. Or. 318, Phoen. 1159; Strab. p. 409; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 269; Etym. Magn. p. 685. 42; Paus. ix. 8. § 1; Aelian, H. A. xv. 25; Virg. Georg. iii. 267.) It was believed on the Corinthian isthmus that it was haunted by the shade of Glaucus, who frightened the horses during the race, and was therefore called taraxippos. (Paus. vi 20. § 9.) Glaucus of Potniae (Glaukos Potnieus) was the title of one of Aeschylus' lost tragedies. (Welcker, Die Aeschyl. Triloa. n 561 Nachtrag, p. 175, Die Griech. Tragoed. vol. i. pp. 30, 52.)

2. A son of Hippolochus, and grandson of Bellerophontes. He was a Lycian prince, and led his hosts from Xanthus to the assistance of Priam in the war with the Greeks. (Hom. Il.ii. 875, vi. 206; Herod. i. 147.) He was one of the most eminent heroes on the side of the Trojans, and connected with Diomedes by ties of hospitality, which shows a very early intercourse between the Greeks and Lycians. (Hom. Il. vii. 13, xii. 387, xiv. 426, xvi. 492, &c., xvii. 140, &c.) He was slain by Ajax, but his body was carried back to Lycia. (Quint. Smyrn. Paralip. iii. 236, iv. 1, &c.)

3. A son of Antenor, fought in the Trojan war, and was slain by the Telamonian Ajax. (Paus. x. 27; Dict. Cret. iv. 7.)

4. One of the numerous sons of Priam. (Apollod. iii. 12. § 13.)

5. A son of the Messenian king Aepytus, whom he succeeded on the throne. He distinguished himself by his piety towards the gods, and was the first who offered sacrifices to Machaon. (Paus. iv. 3. § 6.)

6. One of the sons of the Cretan king Minos by Pasiphaë or Crete. When yet a boy, while he was playing at ball (Hygin. Fab 136), or while pursuing a mouse (Apollod. iii. 3. § 1, &c.), he fell into a cask full of honey, and died in it. Minos for a long time searched after his son in vain, and was at length informed by Apollo or the Curetes that the person who should devise the most appropriate comparison between a cow, which could assume three different colours, and any other object, should find the boy and restore him to his father. Minos assembled his soothsayers, but as none of them was able to do what was required, a stranger, Polyidus of Argos, solved the problem by likening the cow to a mulberry, which is at first white, then red, and in the end black. Polyidus, who knew nothing of the oracle, was thus compelled by his own wisdom to restore Glaucus to his father. By his prophetic powers he discovered that Glaucus had not perished in the sea, and being guided by an owl (glaux) and bees, he found him in the cask of honey. (Aelian, H. A. v. 2.) Minos now further demanded the restoration of his son to life. As Polyidus could not accomplish this, Minos, who attributed his refusal to obstinacy, ordered him to be entombed alive with the body of Glaucus. When Polyidus was thus shut up in the vault, he saw a serpent approaching the dead body, and killed the animal. Presently another serpent came, carrying a herb, with which it covered the dead serpent. The dead serpent was thereby restored to life, and when Polyidus covered the body of Glaucus with the same herb, the boy at once rose into life again. Both shouted for assistance from without; and when Minos heard of it, he had the tomb opened. In his delight at having recovered his child, he munificently rewarded Polyidus, and sent him back to his country. (Comp. Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 811; Palaephat. 27; Apollod. iii. 10. § 3; Schol. ad Eurip. Alcest.; Hygin. P. A. ii. 14; Schol. ad Pind. Pyth. iii. 96.) The story of the Cretan Glaucus and Polyidus was a favourite subject with the ancient poets and artists; it was not only represented in mimic dances (Lucian, de Saltat. 49), but Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides made it the subject of separate dramatic compositions. (Welcker, Die Griech. Tragoed. vol. i. pp. 62, 416, vol. ii. p. 767, &c.)

7. Of Anthedon in Boeotia, a fisherman, who had the good luck to eat a part of the divine herb which Cronos had sown, and which made Glaucus immortal. (Athen. vii. c. 48; Claud. de Nupt. Mar. x. 158.) His parentage is different in the different traditions, which are enumerated by Athenaeus; some called his father Copeus, others Polybus, the husband of Euboea, and others again Anthedon or Poseidon. He was further said to have been a clever diver, to have built the ship Argo, and to have accompanied the Argonauts as their steersman. In the sea-fight of Jason against the Tyrrhenians, Glaucus alone remained unhurt; he sank to the bottom of the sea, where he was visible to none save to Jason. From this moment he became a marine deity, and was of service to the Argonauts. The story of his sinking or leaping into the sea was variously modified in the different traditions. (Bekker, Anecdot. p. 347; Schol. ad Plat. de Leg. x. p. 611.) There was a belief in Greece that once in every year Glaucus visited all the coasts and islands, accompanied by marine monsters, and gave his prophecies. (Paus. ix. 22. § 6.) Fishermen and sailors paid particular reverence to him, and watched his oracles, which were believed to be very trustworthy. The story of his various loves seems to have been a favourite subject with the ancient poets, and many of his love adventures are related by various writers. The place of his abode varies in the different traditions, but Aristotle stated that he dwelt in Delos, where, in conjunction with the nymphs, he gave oracles; for his prophetic power was said by some to be even greater than that of Apollo, who is called his disciple in it. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 1310; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 753; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 271; Ov. Met. xiii. 904, &c.; Serv. ad. Virg. Georg. i. 437, Aen. iii. 420, v. 832, vi. 36; Strab. p. 405.) A representation of Glaucus is described by Philostratus (Imag i. 15): he was seen as a man whose hair and beard were dripping with water, with bristly eye-brows, his breast covered with sea-weeds, and the lower part of the body ending in the tail of a fish. (For further descriptions of his appearance, see Nonn. Dionys. xiii. 73, xxxv. 73, xxxix. 99; Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 318, 364 ; Stat. Silv. iii. 2, 36, Theb. vii. 335, &c.; Vell. Pat. ii. 83.) This deified Glaucus was likewise chosen by the Greek poets as the subject of dramatic compositions, and we know from Velleius Paterculus that the mimus Plancus represented this marine daemon on the stage.

Glaucus and Circe, by Laurent de La Hyre (1606-1656), French Baroque painter

Glaucus and Circe, by Laurent de La Hyre (1606-1656)