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Althaemenes

by Micha F. Lindemans

The son of Catreus and brother to Apemosyne, Aeropa, and Clymene. An oracle had prophesied that Catreus would be killed by his son Althaemenes (or, according to other sources, by one of his children) and so Althaemenes and Apemosyne, together with other people, left Crete and sailed for Rhodes. There they founded the city of Critinea (New Crete).

The god Hermes developed a passion for Apemosyne but she was swifter of foot than he and always eluded him. He devised a plan to catch her by laying newly stripped hides on the road. The slippery hides caused her to fall and Hermes laid with her. When she told Althaemenes to have been impregnated by a god he did not believe her and kicked her to death.

Several years later Catreus went looking for his son and heir and came upon Rhodes. They arrived in the middle of the night, however, and were mistaken for pirates. Althaemenes and his men attacked the ship and he killed his father in the ensuing battle with a blow from his javelin, thus fulfilling the prophecy. When he discovered the truth he turned to the gods and asked them for the earth to open up and swallow him, a wish the gods granted.


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