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Laomedon

by Ron Leadbetter
Laomedon was the son of Ilus and a king of Troy, two of his sons were Tithonus and Podarces (Priam) who was later to be king. Laomedon was also very well known for his blatant treachery.

It was Laomedon who gave Troy (Ilion) its city walls, to build them, he persuaded Poseidon and Apollo, (who at that time had been banished from Mount Olympus for a year by Zeus, for not obeying his wishes), telling them he would reward them well. After many months of hard work the walls were finished, the finest ever seen, but when Apollo and Poseidon asked for their reward, Laomedon refused to give them their payment and drove them away, hurling threats and insults towards the immortals.

Poseidon and Apollo returned to Mount Olympus, as their year of banishment was complete, but the two gods were extremely angry at Laomedon's actions. To gain vengeance over Laomedon, Apollo sent a plague over the land, and Poseidon a sea-monster. Laomedon asked the advice of an oracle to rid his land of these hardships, the oracles reply was, Laomedon had to sacrifice his own daughter (Hesione) to the sea-monster. Laomedon without hesitation had Hesione chained to a rock, she lay trembling with fear, awaiting her grizzly end, to be devoured as sacrifice to this monster of the sea.

As if by a miracle Heracles was in the vicinity, and pledged to save Hesione after Laomedon had promised him a team of matchless horses, which had been given by Zeus to his grandfather Tros. The fearless Heracles fought and killed the sea-monster, releasing Hesione, but once again Laomedon broke his promise and refused Heracles the horses as reward.

Heracles, angered by this, killed Laomedon and his sons, but spared the youngest Podarces (swift-foot) in exchange for a beautiful veil which Hesione herself had embroidered with gold. Heracles then gave Hesione to his companion in arms Telamon who carried her away to Salamis in Greece. From that day on, Podarces became known as 'Priam' (which means "bought or "ransomed") and he became the most famous king of Troy. In Homer's Iliad, Priam is portrayed as an old man, grieving the misfortunes of the Trojans, and the death of many of his sons.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    lay-ahm'-ih-dahn

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