Idomeneus

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In Greek mythology, Idomeneus (pronounced /aɪˈdɒmɨniː.əs/;[1] Greek: Ἰδομενεύς, Idomeneus, "strength of Ida") was a Cretan warrior, father of Orsilochus and Chalkiope, son of Deucalion, grandson of Minos and king of Crete. He led the Cretan armies to the Trojan War and was also one of Helen's suitors. Meriones was his charioteer and brother-in-arms. In Homer's Iliad, he is found among the first rank of the Greek generals, leading his troops and engaging the enemy head-on, and escaping serious injury. Idomeneus was one of Agamemnon's trusted advisors. He was one of the primary defenders when most of the other Achaean heroes were injured, and even fought Hector briefly and repulsed his attack.[2] Like most of the other leaders of the Greeks, he is alive and well as the story comes to a close. He was one of the Achaeans to enter the Trojan Horse. Idomeneus killed thirteen men and at least one Amazon woman, Bremusa [3] at Troy.[4]

According to the fourth century Italian writer Maurus Servius Honoratus, and the French 17th century writer François de la Moth-Fénelon, the story continues as follows: after the war, Idomeneus's ship hit a terrible storm. He promised Poseidon that he would sacrifice the first living thing he saw when he returned home if Poseidon would save his ship and crew. The first living thing was his son, whom Idomeneus duly sacrificed. The gods were angry at his murder of his own son and they sent a plague to Crete. The Cretans sent him into exile in Calabria, Italy.[5]

According to the hypothetical reading of Achterberg et al. (2004), Idomeneus may be mentioned on the Phaistos Disk (spelled i-du-ma-na, word B.IX) as the governor of Mesara.

Idomeneo, a 1780 opera seria by Mozart, is based on the story of Idomeneus. In this version, Poseidon (Neptune in the opera) spares Idomeneo's son on condition that Idomeneo relinquish his throne to the new generation.

References

Sources

  • Achterberg, Winfried; Best, Jan; Enzler, Kees; Rietveld, Lia; Woudhuizen, Fred, The Phaistos Disc: A Luwian Letter to Nestor, Publications of the Henry Frankfort Foundation vol XIII , Dutch Archeological and Historical Society, Amsterdam 2004.

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