Akragas

Apollodoros, Library Epitome 1.12-15
On being apprized of the flight of Theseus and his company, Minos shut up the guilty Daedalus in the labyrinth, along with his son Icarus, who had been borne to Daedalus by Naucrate, a female slave of Minos. But Daedalus constructed wings for himself and his son, and enjoined his son, when he took to flight, neither to fly high, lest the glue should melt in the sun and the wings should drop off, nor to fly near the sea, lest the pinions should be detached by the damp. But the infatuated Icarus, disregarding his father’s injunctions, soared ever higher, till, the glue melting, he fell into the sea called after him Icarian, and perished. But Daedalus made his way safely to Camicus in Sicily. And Minos pursued Daedalus, and in every country that he searched he carried a spiral shell and promised to give a great reward to him who should pass a thread through the shell, believing that by that means he should discover Daedalus. And having come to Camicus in Sicily, to the court of Cocalus, with whom Daedalus was concealed, he showed the spiral shell. Cocalus took it, and promised to thread it, and gave it to Daedalus; and Daedalus fastened a thread to an ant, and, having bored a hole in the spiral shell, allowed the ant to pass through it. But when Minos found the thread passed through the shell, he perceived that Daedalus was with Cocalus, and at once demanded his surrender. Cocalus promised to surrender him, and made an entertainment for Minos; but after his bath Minos was undone by the daughters of Cocalus; some say, however, that he died through being drenched with boiling water.

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 2.37

Timaeus of Tauromenium relates that there was a certain house at Akragas called the Trireme, on this account:— At a festival of Dionysos once a group of young men were drinking and became so wild when overheated by the liquor that they imagined they were sailing in a trireme, and that they were in a bad storm on the ocean. Finally they completely lost their senses, and tossed all the furniture and bedding out of the house as though upon the waters, convinced that the pilot directed them to lighten the ship because of the raging storm. Well, a great crowd gathered and began to carry off the jetsam, but even then the youngsters did not cease from their mad actions. The next day the military authorities appeared at the house and made a complaint against the young men when they were still half-seas over. To the questions of the magistrates they answered that they had been much put to it by a storm and had been compelled to throw into the sea the superfluous cargo. When the authorities expressed surprise at their insanity, one of the young men, though he appeared to be the eldest of the company, said to them: ‘Ye Tritons, I was so frightened that I threw myself into the lowest possible place in the hold and lay there.’ The magistrates, therefore, pardoned their delirium, but sentenced them never to drink too much and let them go.

Diodoros Sikeleiotes, Library of History 4.79.1-4
Minos, the king of the Cretans, who was at that time the master of the seas, when he learned that Daedalus had fled to Sicily, decided to make a campaign against that island. After preparing a notable naval force he sailed forth from Crete and landed at a place in the territory of Acragas which was called after him Minoa. Here he disembarked his troops and sending messengers to King Cocalus he demanded Daedalus of him for punishment. But Cocalus invited Minos to a conference, and after promising to meet all his demands he brought him to his home as a guest. And when Minos was bathing Cocalus kept him too long in the hot water and thus slew him; the body he gave back to the Cretans, explaining his death on the ground that he had slipped in the bath and by falling into the hot water had met his end. Thereupon the comrades of Minos buried the body of the king with magnificent ceremonies, and constructing a tomb of two storeys, in the part of it which was hidden underground they placed the bones, and in that which lay open to gaze they made a shrine of Aphrodite. Here Minos received honours over many generations, the inhabitants of the region offering sacrifices there in the belief that the shrine was Aphrodite’s; but in more recent times, after the city of the Acragantini had been founded and it became known that the bones had been placed there, it came to pass that the tomb was dismantled and the bones were given back to the Cretans, this being done when Theron was lord over the people of Acragas.

Diodoros Sikeleiotes, Library of History 4.79.6 – 4.80.1-4
And at a later time, after the capture of Troy, when Meriones the Cretan came to shore in Sicily, they welcomed, because of their kinship to them, the Cretans who landed with him and shared with them their citizenship; and using as their base a well-fortified city and having subdued certain of the neighbouring peoples, they secured for themselves a fairly large territory. And growing steadily stronger all the while they built a temple to the Mothers and accorded these goddesses unusual honours, adorning their temple with many votive offerings. The cult of these goddesses, so men say, they moved from their home in Crete, since the Cretans also hold these goddesses in special honour.

The account which the myths preserve of the Mothers runs like this: They nurtured Zeus of old without the knowledge of his father Cronus, in return for which Zeus translated them into the heavens and designated them as a constellation which he named the Bears. And Aratus agrees with this account when he states in his poem on the stars:

Turned backwards then upon their shoulders are
The Bears; if true it be that they from Crete
Into the heavens mounted by the will
Of mighty Zeus, for that when he was babe
In fragrant Dicton near th’ Idaean mount
They set him in a cave and nurtured him
A year, the while Curetes Dictaean
Practised deceit on Cronus.

There is no reason why we should omit to mention the sanctity of these goddesses and the renown which they enjoy among mankind. They are honoured, indeed, not only by the inhabitants of this city, but certain of the neighbouring peoples also glorify these goddesses with magnificent sacrifices and every other kind of honour. Some cities were indeed commanded by oracles from the Pythian god to honour the goddesses, being assured that in this way the lives of their private citizens would be blessed with good fortune and their cities would flourish.

Diogenes Laertios, selections from book seven of the Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
59. Satyros quotes this same Gorgias as saying that he himself was present when Empedokles performed magical feats. Nay more: he contends that Empedokles in his poems lays claim to this power and to much besides when he says:

And thou shalt learn all the drugs that are a defence to ward off ills and old age, since for thee alone shall I accomplish all this. Thou shalt arrest the violence of the unwearied winds that arise and sweep the earth, laying waste the cornfields with their blasts; and again, if thou so will, thou shalt call back winds in requital. Thou shalt make after the dark rain a seasonable drought for men, and again after the summer drought thou shalt cause tree-nourishing streams to pour from the sky. Thou shalt bring back from Hades a dead man’s strength.

60. Timaios also in the eighteenth book of his Histories remarks that Empedokles has been admired on many grounds. For instance, when the etesian winds once began to blow violently and to damage the crops, he ordered asses to be flayed and bags to be made of their skin. These he stretched out here and there on the hills and headlands to catch the wind and, because this checked the wind, he was called the “wind-stayer.” Heraklides in his book On Diseases says that he furnished Pausanias with the facts about the woman in a trance. This Pausanias, according to Aristippos and Satyros, was his bosom-friend, to whom he dedicated his poem On Nature thus:

Give ear, Pausanias, thou son of Anchitos the wise!

61. Moreover he wrote an epigram upon him:

The physician Pausanias, rightly so named, son of Anchitos, descendant of Asklepios, was born and bred at Gela. Many a wight pining in fell torments did he bring back from Persephone’s inmost shrine.

At all events Heraklides testifies that the case of the woman in a trance was such that for thirty days he kept her body without pulsation though she never breathed; and for that reason Heraklides called him not merely a physician but a diviner as well, deriving the titles from the following lines also:

My friends, who dwell in the great city sloping down to yellow Akragas, hard by the citadel, busied with goodly works, all hail! I go about among you an immortal god, no more a mortal, so honoured of all, as is meet, crowned with fillets and flowery garlands. Straightway as soon as I enter with these, men and women, into flourishing towns, I am reverenced and tens of thousands follow, to learn where is the path which leads to welfare, some desirous of oracles, others suffering from all kinds of diseases, desiring to hear a message of healing.

73. Moreover, from his abundant means he bestowed dowries upon many of the maidens of the city who had no dowry. No doubt it was the same means that enabled him to don a purple robe and over it a golden girdle, as Favorinus relates in his Memorabilia, and again slippers of bronze and a Delphic laurel-wreath. He had thick hair, and a train of boy attendants. He himself was always grave, and kept this gravity of demeanour unshaken. In such sort would he appear in public; when the citizens met him, they recognized in this demeanour the stamp, as it were, of royalty.

Empedokles, Katharmoi fragment
And thou shalt learn all the drugs that are a defense against ills and old age; since for thee alone will I accomplish all this. Thou shalt arrest the violence of the weariless winds that arise to sweep the earth and waste the fields; and again, when thou so desirest, thou shalt bring back their blasts in return. Thou shalt cause for men a seasonable drought after the dark rains, and again thou shalt change the summer drought for streams that feed the trees as they pour down from the sky. Thou shalt bring back from Hades the life of a dead man … Friends, that inhabit the great town looking down on the yellow rock of Akragas, up by the citadel, busy in goodly works, harbors of honor for the stranger, men unskilled in meanness, all hail. I go about among you divine and no longer mortal, honored among all as is meet, crowned with fillets and flowery garlands. Straightway, whenever I enter with these in my train, both men and women, into the flourishing towns, is reverence done me they go after me in countless throngs, asking of me what is the way to gain; some desiring oracles, while some, who for many a weary day have been pierced by the grievous pangs of all manner of sickness, beg to hear from me the word of healing.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s