Saturday, September 5, 2015

TFBT; Iphidamas and Protesilaus

Over at a great MOOC called The Ancient Greek Hero in 24hours we discussed Iphidamas a young Trojan who returned to Troy to attain glory. The conversation reminded me a lot of Protesilaus a young Greek man who did the same. Did we ever talk about the comparison between the two?
Iliad 11.218 “Tell me now you Muses dwelling on Olympus, who was the firstto come up and face Agamemnon, either among the Trojans or among their famous allies? It was Iphidamas son of Antenor, a man both good and great, who was raised in fertile Thrace the mother of sheep. Kissēs in his own house raised him when he was little. Kissēs was his mother’s father, father to Theano, the one with the fair cheeks. When Iphidamas reached the stage of adolescence, which brings luminous glory, Kissēs wanted to keep him at home and to give him his own daughter in marriage, but as soon as Iphidamas had married, he left the bride chamber and went off seeking the kleos of the Achaeans”
Iliad 2. 695 “And then there were those that held Phylake and Pyrasos, with its flowery meadows, precinct of Demeter; and Iton, the mother of sheep; Antron upon the sea, and Pteleon that lies upon the grass lands. Of these men the Arēs-like Protesilaos had been leader while he was still alive, but now he was held down by the black earth that covered him. He had left a wife behind him in Phylake to tear both her cheeks in sorrow, and his house was only half completed. He was killed by a Dardanian warrior while he was leaping out from his ship [on Trojan soil], and he was the very first of the Achaeans to make the leap.
Presumably both are young men, recently married and set out to war to win glory. Both were “first” in someway and quick to die. The only other thing of note I see in their stories is some coincidence of names. We are comparing Kisses’ grandson Iphi-damas to Protesilaus son of Iphi-cles and husband of Lao-damas Coincidence?


  1. Hi Bill, that is interesting.
    There is another coincidence in your quotes "The mother of sheep"
    Iliad 11.218 Thrace the mother of sheep
    Iliad 2. 695 Iton, the mother of sheep

  2. Monica,

    Thank you for pointing that out. Mother of Sheep is an odd phrase. I will have to look into that.


  3. It seems strange to me that Homer does not identify the killer of Protesilaus by name.

  4. Maya,

    Another odd little detail to add to the mystery. Thanks