Mythology & Beliefs: Phineus In Greek and Roman Mythology, Phineus was the betrothed of Andromeda; tried to slay Perseus but turned
to stone by Medusa's head.
Phineus in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
1. A son of Belis and Anchinoe, and brother of Aegyptus,
Danaus, and Cepheus. (Apollod. 2.1.4; conip. PERSEUS.） 2.
One of the sons of Lycaon. (Apollod. 3.8.1.)3. A son of
Agenor, and king of Salmydessus in Thrace (Apollon. 2.178,
237; Schol. ad eund. 2.177). Some traditions called himl a
son of Phoenix and Cassiepeia, and a grandson of Agenor
(Schol. ad Alpollon. Rhod. 2.178), while others again call
him a son of Poseidon (Apollod. 1.9.21). Some accounts,
moreover, make him a king in Paphlagonia or in Arcadia.
(Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. l.c.; Serv. ad Aen. 3.209.) He was
first married to Cleopatra, the daughter of Boreas and
Oreithyia, by whom he had two children, Oryithus (Oarthus)
and Crambis (some call them Parthenius and Crambis, Schol.
ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.140; Plexippus and Pandion, Apollod.
3.15.3; Gerymbas and Aspondus, Schol. ad Soph. Antiq. 977;
or Polydectus and Polydorus, Ov. Ib. 273). Afterwards he was
married to Idaea (some call her Dia, Eurytia, or Eidothea,
Schol, ad Apollon. Rhod. l.c.; Schol. al Hoia. Od. 12.70;
Schol. ad Soph. Antig. 980), by whom he again had two sons,
Thynus and Mariandynns. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.140,
178; Apollod. 3.15.3.)
Phineus was a blind soothsayer, who had received his
prophetic powers from Apollo (Apollon. 2.180). The cause of
his blindness is not the same in all accounts; according to
some he was blinded by the gods for having imprudently
communicated to mortals the divine counsels of Zeus about
the future (Apollod. 1.9.21); according to others Aeetes, on
hearing that the sons of Phrixus had been saved by Phineus,
cursed him, and Helios hearing the curse, carried it into
effect by blinding him (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.207,
comp. 181); others again relate, that Boreas or the
Argonauts blinded him for his conduct towards his sons
(Serv. ad Aen. 3.209). He is most celebrated in ancient
story on account of his being exposed to the annoyances of
the Harpycs, who were sent to him by the gods for his
cruelty towards his sons by the first marriage. His second
wife charged them with having behaved improperly to her, and
Phincus punished them by putting their eyes out (Soph.
Antig. 973), or, according to others, by exposing them to be
devoured by wild beasts (Orph. Ar.qon. 671), or by ordering
them to be half buried in the earth, and then to be scourged
(Diod. 4.44; Schol. ad Apollon. hod. 2.207). Whenever
Phineus wanted to take a meal the Harpyes came, took away a
portion of his food, and soiled the rest, so as to render it
unfit to be eaten. In this condition the unfortunate man was
found by the Argonauts, whom he promised to instruct
respecting their voyage, if they would deliver him from the
monsters. A table accordingly was laid out with food, and
when the Harpyes appeared they were forthwith attacked by
Zetes and Calais, the brothers of Cleopatrai, who were
provided with wings. There was a prophecy that the Harpyes
should perish by the hands of the sons of Boreas, but that
the latter themselves must die if they should be unable to
overtake the Harpyes. In their flight one of the monsters
fell into the river Tigris, which was henceforth called
Harpys; the other reached the Echinadian islands, which,
from her returning from that spot, wore called Stroplhades.
But the Harpye, as well as her pursuer, was worn out with
fatigue, and fell down. Both Harpyes were allowed to live on
condition that they would no longer molest Phineus (comp.
Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.286, 297; Tzetz. Chi. 1.217).
Phineus now explained to the Argolnauts the further course
they had to take, and especially cautioned them against the
Symplegades (Apollod. 1.3.21, &c.). According to another
story the Argonauts, on their arrival at the place of
Phineus, found the sons of Phineus half buried, and demanded
their liberation, which Phineus refilsed. The Argonauts used
force, and a battle ensued, in which Phineus was slain by
Heracles. The latter also delivered Cleopatra from her
confinement, and restored the kingdom to the sons of
Phineus, and on their advice he also sent the second wife of
Phineus back to her father, who ordered her to be put to
death (Diod. 4.43; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. 2.207; Apollod.
3.15.3). Some traditions, lastly, state that Phineus was
killed by Boreas, or that he was carried off by the Harpyes
into the country of the Bistones or Milchessians. (Orph.
Argon. 675, &c.; Strab. vii. p.302.) Those accounts in which
Phineus is stated to have blinded his sons, add that they
had their sight restored to them by the sons of Boreas, or
by Asclepius. (Orph. Argon. 674; Schol. ad Pind. Piyth.
13.96.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and
mythology, William Smith, Ed.