Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Sons of Erginus of Orchomedus, legendary heroes of architecture. Many important buildings were attributed to them, among others the temple of Apollo at Delphi [Homeric Hymn to Apollo, 118; Strabo, p. 421; Pausanias x 5 § 13], that of Poseidon at Mantineia [Paus. viii 10 § 2], the thalamos of Alcmene in Thebes [ib. ix 11 § 1], the treasuries of Augeas in Elis [Scholia to Aristophanes, Nubes 508], and Hyrleus in Boeotian Hyria [Paus. ix 37 § 4]. In the last named they inserted one stone so cleverly that it could be easily removed from the outside and the treasure stolen by night. But on one occasion, when Agamedes was caught in the trap laid by Hyrieus to discover the thief, Trophonius, to save himself from being betrayed as his brother's accomplice, cut off the head of Agamedes. Being pursued however by the king, he was swallowed up in the earth at Lebadea, and by the command of Apollo a cult and an oracle were dedicated to him as Zeus Trophonius. The oracle was situated in subterranean chamber, into which, after various preparation tory rites, including the nocturnal sacriface of a ram and the invocation of Agamedes, the inquirers descended, to receive, under circumstance of a mysterious nature, a variety of revelations, which were afterwards taken down from their lips and duly interpreted. The descent into the cave, and the sights which there met the eye, were so awe-inspiring, that the popular belief was that no one who visited the cave ever smiled again [Athenaeus, 614A; cp. Aristophanes, Nubes 508]; and it was proverbially said of persons of grave and serious aspect, that they had been in the cave of Trophonius. According to another story, the brothers, after the completion of the Delphic temple, asked Apollo for a reward, and he promised they should have on the seventh day the best thing that could be given to man; and on that day they both died a peaceful death [Cicero, Tusc. Disp. i 114; Plutarch, Consolatio ad Apollonium 14].
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