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The Libyan Stories

  • Jeffrey S. Rusten
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Part of the Papyrologica Coloniensia book series (ARAW, volume 10)

Abstract

We have seen that the accounts of the Libyan Amazons, the Atlantioi and Dionysus, which Diodorus gives in three separate installments, were probably combined by Scytobrachion in a single work. Since the real title of this work is unknown, it is here called the Libyan Stories. 1 Like Dionysius’; Argonauts, these stories offer a radical re-interpretation of traditional myths, this time in conformity with Euhemerism—indeed, the method of the Libyan Stories is so similar to that of Euhemerus’; Sacred History that the latter work can be assumed to have influenced the former directly.2 Yet “Euhemerism” (except in a special sense, as we will see below) is older than Euhemerus himself, and in order to estimate properly the Libyan Stories we must sketch briefly this tradition as well, as far as it can still be recovered.3

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Reference

  1. 1.
    See pp. 11-12 and 78-80 above.Google Scholar
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    Euhemerus’ date is roughly fixed by his claim (Diod. 6.1 ap. Euseb. P.E. 2.2.59 = FGrHist 63 T I) to have been a plloç of Cassander, who died in 298/7; he is also called a yiewv in a fragment of Callimachus’ Iambi (fr. 191.9-11 Pf.) which cannot however be dated precisely. On the Sacred History in general see Jacoby RE VI.952972, Fraser (above n. 8) I 289-295, II 447-457. I cite the fragments after FGrHist 63, but they have also been collected by G. Vallauri (Turin 1956 ).Google Scholar
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  33. 33.
    Diod. 3.54.1-6. At what point in their history (as described later) the „Atlantioi“ were thus conquered is not said, but it was certainly before the career of Dionysus (Diod. 3.71.3, on which see p. 119 below).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Myrina herself is derived from the woman named at Il. 2.814 and assumed to have been an Amazon (schol. ad loc., Strabo 12.8.6 [p. 573]) and to have founded cities (FGrHist 1 [Hecataeus of Miletus] F 138c, Dionysius of Chalcis fr. 2 [FHG IV p. 393]).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
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  36. 36.
    Diod. 3.55.8-9 = F 4 = N. Lewis, Samothrace I (New York 1958) text no. 31; cf. p. 95-96 above on the role of Samothrace in the Argonauts.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Diod. 3.55.10-11 = F 4. The final defeat and extinction of the Libyan Amazons was accomplished later by Heracles (Diod. 3.55.3 = F 5).Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Diod. 3.56ff = F 6. For the uncertainties regarding Diodorus’ arrangement see p. 78-79 above. The Atlantioi are presumably derived partly from the inhabitants of Plato’s Atlantis, but partly also from the ArAavreç (or ’Ard avreç), a less remarkable people who are said to have lived in the same area (Herodotus 4.184, Rhianus of Bene fr. 12 Powell, FGrHist 90 [Nicolaus of Damascus] F 103u with Jacoby’s Commentary).Google Scholar
  39. 39.
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  40. 40.
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  41. 41.
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  42. 42.
    See above pp. 89-90.Google Scholar
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    Diod. 3.57.2-8 = F 6. In this novel account of the Great Mother Dionysius was perhaps influenced by other combinations of Demeter’s search for Persephone with Kybele’s worship (Eur. Helen 1301ff, F. Graf, Eleusis and die orphische Dichtung Athens in vorhellenistischer Zeit [RGVV 33, Berlin 1974] 155 n. 24, 157 n. 30).Google Scholar
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    See above pp. 89-90. We need not of course expect all the details of Scytobrachion’s story to correspond precisely with the life of Philadelphus and Arsinoe, any more than that his account of Dionysus and Ammon should resemble precisely Alexander; nor does it cause any difficulty that the story does not especially flatter Philadelphus. The evidence which places Scytobrachion in Egypt is very uncertain (see p. 90 above; Nock, Essays I, 143 n. 43 misrepresents Suet. De Gram. 7) and to assume that he was a "court-writer" is unjustified.Google Scholar
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    See D. B. Thompson, Ptolemaic Oinochoai and Portraits in Faience (Oxford 1973 ) 65.Google Scholar
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    Other accounts of Dionysus (whose sources are all uncertain) are offered by Diod.Google Scholar
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    15.6ff, 2.38.3-39.1, 3.62-66.3, 3.74.1-3, 4.1.6-5, 5.75.4-5.Google Scholar
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    See A. D. Nock, JHS 48 (1928) 21-30 = Essays I 134-144, Seibert, Alexander (above n. 14 ) 204.Google Scholar
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    Ammon was evidently included in Euhemerus’ Sacred History as well (Diod. 5.44.6 = FGrHist 63 F 3).Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Scytobrachion’s rhetorical description of Nysa (3.68.4-69 = F 8) is preserved by Diodorus at even greater length than his accounts of Hespera (3.53.4-5 = F 2) and Mene (3.53.6 = F 3, cf. Euhemerus’ descriptions in Diod. 5.41.5 ff, 42.7ff = FGrHist 63 F 3), and must have been a major feature of the original. An unnoticed reference to Scytobrachion’s Nysa by Apollodorus of Athens is discussed pp. 113ff below.Google Scholar
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    For Aristaeus as guardian of Dionysus cf. Oppian Cyneg. 4.273. Athena’s epithet Tritogeneia was commonly explained as „born at Lake Tritonis“ (see Henrichs, Cr. Erc. 5 [1975] 24ff). Diod. 3.70.2 = F 9 calls her Tritonis. On Athena’s killing of the Aegis according to Scytobrachion (Diod. 3.70.3-5 = F 9), see Henrichs 32-33, Vian loc. cit. (above n. 51).Google Scholar
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    Diod. 3.61.1-2 = F 11 states that Uranus had a brother named Zeus, distinct from the later, more famous Zeus. Zeus I ruled Crete, named it Idaea after his wife, and fathered the Curetes. Jacoby (Commentary to FGrHist 32 F 7, p. 513.23ff) argued that this passage was an insertion by Diodorus, but in the present case (Diod. 3.71.2 = F 10) Ammon flees to the same island, marries Creta, the daughter of one of the Curetes, and takes over the throne, naming the island (formerly called Idaea) after his wife. This corresponds perfectly with 3.61.1-2, since Zeus I would by then have died. There is therefore no reason to deny the earlier section to Scytobrachion. The career of this first Zeus is very similar to that of Euhemerus’ ZeusGoogle Scholar
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    Diod. 3.71.3 = F 10, on which see p. 119 below.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Diod. 3.72.3 = F 10. The Kampe has been borrowed from Zeus’ labors in the Titanomachy (see Jacoby’s Commentary on FGrHist 32 F 8, p. 514.30ff).Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    See Nock (above n. 53) 142 (to which add Hyg. Fab. 133) and p. 89 above.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    On the visit of Alexander to the oracle of Ammon and its treatment by contemporaryhistorians see J. R. Hamilton, Plutarch’s Alexander: A Commentary (Oxford 1969) pp. 68ff.Google Scholar

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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1982

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  • Jeffrey S. Rusten

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