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June 18    Scripture



Mythology & Beliefs: Neoptolemus
In Greek and Roman Mythology, Neoptolemus was the son of Achilles; slew Priam; also known as Pyrrhus.

Neoptolemus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (*Neopto/lemos), i. e. a young warrior, a son of Achilles and Deidameia, the daughter of Lycomedes, was also called Pyrrhus (Apollod. 3.13.8; Hom. Od. 11.491, &c.). According to some, however, he was a son of Achilles and Iphigeneia (Tzetz. ad Lyc. 133; Eustath. ad Hoom. p. 1187), and after the sacrifice of his mother he was carried by his father to the island of Scyros. The name of Pyrrhus is said to have been given to him by Lycomedes, because he had fair (πυρρός) hair, or because Achilles, while disguised as a girl, had borne the name of Pyrrha (Paus. 10.26.1; Hyg. Fab. 97; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1187; Serv. ad Aen. 2.469). He was called Neoptolemus because either Achilles or Pyrrhus himself had fought in early youth (Eustath. l.c.). From his father he is sometimes called Achillides (Ov. Ep. 8.3), and from his grandfather or great-grandfather, Pelides and Aeacides (Verg. A. 2.263,3.296). Neoptolemus was brought up in Scyros in the house of Lycomedes (Hom. Il. 19.326; Soph. Philoct. 239, &c.), whence he was fetched by Odysseus to join the Greeks in the war against Troy (Hom Od. 11.508), because it had been prophesied by Helenus that Neoptolemus and Philoctetes, with the arrows of Heracles, were necessary for the taking of Troy (Soph. Phil. 115). In order to obtain those arrows Neoptolemus and Odysseus were sent from Troy to the island of Lemnos, where Philoctetes was living, who was prevailed upon to join the Greeks (Soph. Phil. 1433). At Troy Neoptolemus showed himself in every respect worthy of his great father, and at last was one of the heroes that were concealed in the wooden horse (Hom. Od. 11.508, &100.521). At the taking of the city he killed Priam at the sacred hearth of Zeus Herceius (Paus. 4.17.3, 10.27; Verg. A. 2.547, &c.), and sacrificed Polyxena to the spirit of his father (Eurip. Hecub. 523). When the Trojan captives were distributed, Andromache, the widow of Hector, was given to Neoptolemus, and by her he became the father of Molossus, Pielus, Pergamus (Paus. 1.11.1), and Amphialus (Hyg. Fab. 123; comp. ANDROMACHE). Respecting his return from Troy and the subsequent events of his life the traditions differ. According to Homer (Hom. Od. 3.188, 4.5, &c.) he lived in Phthia, the kingdom of his father, whither Menelaus sent to him Hermione from Sparta, because he had promised her to him at Troy. According to others Neoptolemus himself went to Sparta to receive Hermione, because he had heard a report that she was betrothed to Orestes (Hyg. Fab. 123; Paus. 3.25.1, 26.5). Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 2.166, 3.321, &c.) relates that on the advice of Helenus, to whom be subsequently gave Andromache and a district in Epeirus, Neoptolemus returned home by land, because he had been forewarned of the which the Greeks would have to encounter at sea. Some again state that from Troy he first went to Molossia, and thence to Phthia, where he recovered the throne which had in the mean time been taken from Peleus by Acastus (Dict. Cret. 6.7, &c.; Eur. Tro. 1125; comp. Hom. Od. 4.9). Others, that on his return to Scyros, he was cast by storm on the coast of Ephyra in Epeirus, where Andromache gave birth to Molossus, to whom the Molossian kings traced their descent (Pind. N. 4.82, 7.54, &c.). Others lastly say that he went to Epeirus of his own accord, because he would or could not return to Phthia in Thessaly (Paus. 1.11.1; Verg. A. 3.333; Just. 17.3). In Epeirus he is also said to have carried off Lanassa, a granddaughter of Heracles, from the temple of the Dodonean Zeus, and to have become by her the father of eight children (Justin. l.c.). Shortly after his marriage with Hermione, Neoptolemus went to Delphi, some say to plunder the temple of Apollo, who had been the cause of the death of Achilles, or to take the god to account for his father; and according to others to take offerings of the Trojan booty to the god, or to consult him about the means of obtaining children by Hermione (Schol. ad Pind. Nem. 7.54, 58, ad Eurip. Or. 1649, Androm. 51). It is owing to this uncertainty that some ancient writers distinguish between two differentjourneysto Delphi, where he was slain, either by the command of the Pythia (Paus. 1.13.7), or at the instigation of Orestes, who was angry at being deprived of Hermione (Eur. Andr. 891, &100.1085, &c.; Verg. A. 3.330) ; and according to others again, by the priest of the temple, or by Machaereus, the son of Daetas (Schol. ad Pind. Nem. 7.62; Paus. 10.24.4 ; Strab. p. 421). His body was buried at Delphi, under the threshold of the temple, and remained there until Menelaus caused it to be taken up and buried within the precincts of the temple (Pind. N. 7.62; Paus. 10.24.5). He was worshipped at Delphi as a hero, as presiding over sacrificial repasts and public games. At the time when the Gauls attacked Delphi he is said to have come forward to protect the city, and from that time to have been honoured with heroic worship. (Paus. 1.4.4, 10.23.3.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

Neoptolemus in Wikipedia Neoptolemus (also Neoptˇlemos or Pyrrhus; Greek Νεοπτόλημος, "New War") was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology. Achilles' mother foretold many years before Achilles birth that there would be a great war. She saw that her only son was to die if he fought in the war. She sought a place for him to avoid fighting in the Trojan War, due to a prophecy of his death in the conflict. She disguised him as a woman in the court of Lycomedes, the King of Scyros. During that time, he had an affair with the princess, Deidamea, who then gave birth to Neoptolemus. Neoptolemus was originally called Pyrrhus, because the female version of that name, Pyrrha, had been taken by his father while disguised as a woman...

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