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In Greek mythology, Sarpedon (Greek: Σαρπηδὠν; gen.: Σαρπηδόνος) referred to at least three different people.


Son of Zeus and Europa

The first Sarpedon was a son of Zeus and Europa, and brother to Minos and Rhadamanthys. He was raised by King Asterion and then banished by Minos due to being his rival in love for the young Miletus, and sought refuge with his uncle, King Cilix[1]. Sarpedon conquered the Milyans, and ruled over them[2][3][4][5]; his kingdom was named Lycia, after his successor, Lycus, son of Pandion II[6]. Zeus granted him the privilege of living three generations.

Son of Zeus and Laodamia

The second Sarpedon was a descendant of the precedent, a son of Zeus and Laodamia, daughter of Bellerophon[7], and also a Lycian King. Sarpedon became king when his uncles withdrew their claim to Lycia[8]. He fought on the side of the Trojans, with his cousin Glaucus, during the Trojan War[9] becoming one of Troy's greatest allies and heroes.

He scolded Hector in the Iliad claiming that he left all the hard fighting to the allies of Troy and not to the Trojans themselves and made the point to say that the Lycians had no reason to fight the Greeks, or no real reason to hate them, but because he was a faithful ally to Troy he would do so and fight his best anyway[10]. When the Trojans attacked the newly built wall by the Greeks, Sarpedon led his division (which also included Glaucus and Asteropaios) to the forefront of the battle and caused Ajax and Teucer to shift their attention from Hector's attack to that of Sarpedon's forces. He personally held up the battlements and was the first to enter the Greek encampment. This attack allowed Hector to break through the Greek wall. It was during this action that Sarpedon delivered a noblesse oblige speech to Glaucus [11], stating that they had been the most honoured kings, therefore they must now fight the most to repay that honour and prove themselves and repay their loyal subjects. While he was preparing to plunge into battle, he told Glaucus that together they would go on to glory: if they were successful, the glory would be their own; if not, the glory of whoever stopped them would be the greater.

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