Sarpedon (/sɑːrˈpiːdən, -ˈpiːdɒn/; Ancient Greek:
Σαρπηδών, Sarpēdṓn) was a common name in ancient Greece and
in the Roman Empire.
1 Mythical Sarpedons
1.1 Son of
Zeus and Europa
1.1.1 Argive Genealogy
1.2 Son of
Zeus and Laodamia
1.3 Son of Poseidon
2 Other Sarpedons
4 Further reading
5 External links
In Greek mythology, the name
Sarpedon referred to at least three
Zeus and Europa
Sarpedon was a son of
Zeus and Europa, and brother to Minos
and Rhadamanthys. He was raised by the king
Asterion and then,
banished by Minos, his rival in love for the young Miletus or
Atymnius, he sought refuge with his uncle, Cilix. Sarpedon
conquered the Milyans, and ruled over them; his kingdom was named
Lycia, after his successor, Lycus, son of Pandion II.
him the privilege of living three generations.
Argive genealogy in Greek mythology
Zeus and Laodamia
The death of Sarpedon, depicted in Lycian attire, at the hands of
Patroclus. Red-figure hydria from Heraclea, c.400 BCE.
The second Sarpedon, king of Lycia, a descendant of the preceding, was
a son of
Zeus and Laodamia, daughter of Bellerophon. Sarpedon
became king when his uncles withdrew their claim to Lycia. He
fought on the side of the Trojans, with his cousin Glaucus, during the
Trojan War, becoming one of Troy's greatest allies and heroes.
Hector in the
Iliad (Book 5, lines 471–492) claiming that
he left all the hard fighting to the allies of
Troy and not to the
Trojans themselves, and made a point of saying 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. When the Trojans attacked the wall newly built by the
Sarpedon led his men (who 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, 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.
The death of Sarpedon, depicted on the obverse of Euphronios krater,
Patroclus entered the battle in the armour of Achilles, Sarpedon
met him in combat.
Zeus debated with himself whether to spare his
son's life even though he was fated to die by the hand of Patroclus.
He would have done so had
Hera not reminded him that other gods' sons
were fighting and dying and other gods' sons were fated to die as
Zeus should spare his son from his fate, another god might do
the same; therefore
Sarpedon die while fighting Patroclus,
but not before killing the only mortal horse of Achilles. During their
Zeus sent a shower of bloody raindrops over the Trojans' heads
expressing the grief for the impending death of his son.
Sarpedon carried away by Sleep and Death, by Henry Fuseli, 1803.
Sarpedon fell, mortally wounded, he called on Glaucus to rescue
his body and arms.
Patroclus withdrew the spear he had embedded in
Sarpedon, and as it left Sarpedon's body his spirit went with it.
A violent struggle ensued over the body of the fallen king. The Greeks
succeeded in gaining his armour (which was later given as a prize in
the funeral games for Patroclus), but
Zeus had Phoebus Apollo rescue
the corpse. Apollo took the corpse and cleaned it, then delivered it
to Sleep (Hypnos) and Death (Thanatos), who took it back to
One account holds that the first and second
Sarpedon are both the
same man, and that
Sarpedon an extraordinarily long life
that had to end at the Trojan War. However, the favoured account is
that Sarpedon, brother of Minos, and Sarpedon, who fought at Troy,
were different men who lived generations apart. A genealogical link is
provided between the two Sarpedons, through Laodamia.
Deidamia in that particular account) is said to have married Evander,
son of the first Sarpedon, and to have presented Evander with a son
Sarpedon (in reality her son by Zeus).
Iliad books: II, IV, XII, XVI.
An asteroid is named after the Trojan hero, 2223 Sarpedon.
Son of Poseidon
Sarpedon was a Thracian son of Poseidon, eponym of Cape
Sarpedon near the outlet of the River Hebrus, and brother to Poltys,
King of Aenus. Unlike the other two Sarpedons, this Thracian
Sarpedon was not a hero, but an insolent individual who was shot to
Heracles as the latter was sailing away from Aenus.
Sarpedon was also the name of Cato the Younger's childhood teacher.
Sarpedon—"a well-bred man, more ready to instruct, than to beat his
scholars"—was implicitly credited with overcoming Cato's obstinate
disposition and slowness of apprehension.
^ Bernard Sergent
^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 1. 1 – 2
^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7. 3. 7; Strabo, Geography,
12.8.5; Herodotus, Histories,jihkjgiy6t90 î â 1. 173; Diodorus
Siculus, Library of History, 5. 79. 3
^ Herodotus, Histories, 7. 92
^ Homer, Iliad, 6. 199
^ Eustathius on Homer, 894
^ Homer, Iliad, 2. 876
^ 5. 479-492
^ 16. 419-461
^ 16. 477-505
^ 16. 667-684; see also Virgil, Aeneid, 1. 100
^ Rhesus, 29, see also Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3. 1. 1
^ Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 5. 79. 3
Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 216
^ Bibliotheca 2. 5. 9
^ Plutarch, Lives, Cato the Younger.
Marie Delcourt, "The legend of
Sarpedon and the Saga of the Archer".
History of Religion. 2 (1962:33-51)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sarpedon.
Myth Index - Sarpedon
"Sarpedōn". Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). 1911.
Characters in the Iliad
Ajax the Greater
Ajax the Lesser
Balius and Xanthus
Mygdon of Phrygia
Rhesus of Thrace