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Cercopes

by Micha F. Lindemans

The twin monkey-like sons of Oceanus and Theia, the daughter of Memnon, who were full of tricks. They once stole Heracles' weapons but he caught them and tied them to a pole, face down. However, they so amused him with their antics that he set them free. When they tried to deceive Zeus, the god was not so forgiving and turned them into real monkeys (or, according to some sources, into stone) for their crimes. The Greeks believed they lived near the Thermopylae or on Euboea.

Iconography: One of the metopes of Temple C on Selinus (ca. 550 BCE) shows Heracles carrying them on a pole. Several archaic amphorae display the same scene.


Article details:

  • Etymology:
    Monkey-men

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