In Greek mythology, Icarius (/ɪˈkɛəriəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἰκάριος Ikários) was a man from Athens who welcomed the god Dionysus.

Icarius transporting wine in a 3rd-century mosaic from Paphos

Mythology edit

Icarius was cordial towards Dionysus, who gave his shepherds wine. The shepherds became intoxicated and killed Icarius, thinking he had poisoned them. His daughter Erigone and her dog Maera found his body. Erigone hanged herself over her father's grave.[1] Dionysus was angry and punished Athens with a plague, inflicting insanity on all the unmarried women, who all hanged themselves as Erigone had. The plague did not cease until the Athenians introduced honorific rites for Icarius and Erigone. Icarius was placed in the stars as the constellation Boötes by Dionysus or Zeus who pitied their misfortune.[2] There is a mosaic in Paphos, Cyprus, from a Roman villa from the mid 2nd century A.D. which is called "Dionysus House". The mosaic First wine drinkers describes Dionysus giving the gift of vine and wine to Icarius as a reward for Icarius' generous hospitality.[3] It was probably this Icarius whom Clement of Alexandria[4] referred to as husband of Phanothea, a woman who was believed to have invented the hexameter.[5]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Apollodorus, 3.14.7; Nonnus, 47.34
  2. ^ Hyginus, De Astronomica 2.4.4; Fabulae 130
  3. ^ Kondoleon, C. Domestic and Divine: Roman Mosaics in the House of Dionysos. Cornell University Press, 1995, p. 177.
  4. ^ "Philip Schaff: ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire) - Christian Classics Ethereal Library". Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  5. ^ William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, v. 2, page 558

References edit