Lichas

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In Greek mythology, Lichas (pronounced /ˈlaɪkəs/) can refer to two men.

One was Hercules' servant, who brought the poisoned shirt from Deianira to Hercules because of her jealousy of Iole, killing him. See Sophocles’ Women of Trachis and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 211.

Ovid Metamorphoses IX 211

So, in his frenzy, as he wandered there,
he chanced upon the trembling Lichas, crouched
in the close covert of a hollow rock.
Then in a savage fury he cried out,
“Was it you, Lichas, brought this fatal gift?
Shall you be called the author of my death?”
Lichas, in terror, groveled at his feet,
and begged for mercy--“Only let me live!”
But seizing on him, the crazed Hero whirled
him thrice and once again about his head,
and hurled him, shot as by a catapult,
into the waves of the Euboic Sea.


While he was hanging in the air, his form
was hardened; as, we know, rain drops may first
be frozen by the cold air, and then change
to snow, and as it falls through whirling winds
may press, so twisted, into round hailstones:
even so has ancient lore declared that when
strong arms hurled Lichas through the mountain air
through fear, his blood was curdled in his veins.
No moisture left in him, he was transformed
into a flint-rock. Even to this day,
a low crag rising from the waves is seen
out of the deep Euboean Sea, and holds
the certain outline of a human form,
so surely traced, the wary sailors fear
to tread upon it, thinking it has life,
and they have called it Lichas ever since.


Lichas is also a Spartan who discovered the bones of Orestes. The remains of Orestes were required, occording to a Delphic Oracle, in order for Sparta to defeat Tegea. Herodotus The History 1.68.

During the Pentacontaetia, Cimon was becoming more and more powerful among the Athenians as he began to spend money to feed the poor, regularly inviting them into his home, and spending more on honoring gods such as Hermes. Seeing the popularity he was gaining in this manner, Lichas of Sparta began to finance and organize festivals in order to entertain boys involved in gymnastics. In this way he gained popularity in Sparta.

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