We often contrast Odysseus and Achilles, I got to thinking that maybe a similar contrast existed between their fathers.
Using the short biographies at www.mythindex.com I started making a list. I ended up finding more similarities than I expected. Both were alive during and after the Trojan wars, had their kingdom overrun, saved by their grandsons, maybe married a pregnant bride, fathered a son and a daughter, hunted the Calydonian Boar, sailed aboard the Argo and were made young again by some goddess at the end of their lives.
These surprising similarities got me thinking about the rest of the characters in the Iliad. Menelaus and Agamemnon’s father was not alive, nor Diomedes’. Nestor and Priam’s fathers were not alive. I haven’t started looking, but I am pretty sure Neleus, Atreus and the fathers of the Epigoni were too busy battling one another to sail on the Argo. I wonder, if with a broad-brush, the events (Theban Wars, Boar Hunt, Argo) of the father’s lives affect the son’s.
The lists of The Crew of the Argo (Wikipedia), the Epigoni (Wikipedia), the Seven Against Thebes (Wikipedia), the List of the Calydonian Hunters (Wikipeida) and list of the Leaders of the Achaeans (Maicar) is a lot of data to sort through. But here goes. Rather than trying to set up a massive database and then trying to sort the data, I picked individual hypotheses to test.
Hypothetis One; If your father died at the first Theban War; you had an extraordinary chance of surviving the Second Theban War, surviving the bulk of the Trojan War and being part of the ambush in the Trojan Horse. Research; Six out of Seven Against Thebes died, but only one out of their seven sons (the Epigoni) died in the Second Theban War. Of the six remaining Epigoni, the Bibliotheca list four them in the Trojan Horse; Diomedes, Euryalus, Sthenelus and Thersander
Hypothetis Two; If you were an Achaean hero at Troy your father (grandfather or you) fought the Calydonian Boar and/or boarded the Argo. Research Wrong! Only half the Achaean leaders had fathers fighting the boar or boarding the Argo, including Agamemnon, Menelaus and Diomedes.
Hypothetis Three; Why aren’t their father’s listed among the boar hunters? Why did they miss the boat? It is a geographic or racial thing?
Hypothetis Four; Apparently Menelaus and Diomedes' fathers were busy with cannibalistic dinners rather than boating or boar hunting. The other thing that M & D have in common is they were both beloved of the gods. Menelaus was promised the Isle of the Blest by Proteus and Athena gave Diomedes the cup of immortality intended for his father. I dont know yet if the link between your father's involvement in canniballism and your blessedness applies to the heroes in item three. (I doubt it). But elsewhere we fan note the Tantalus served up human flesh and his son Pelops was loved by the gods. (Well loved by Poseidon at least!). If we believe the stag Odysseus killed and ate on Circe''s island was a transforned man it follows that she sould make Odysseus' son Telemachus immortal.