Thoas (king of the Taurians)

In Greek mythology, Thoas (Ancient Greek: Θόας, "fleet, swift")[1] was a king of the Taurians, a barbaric tribe in the Crimea.[2] He was king when Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia was taken to the land of the Taurians, and became a priestess of Artemis there. He was a character in Euripides' play Iphigenia among the Taurians. He is sometimes identified with the Thoas who was the king of Lemnos and the son of Dionysus and Ariadne, and the father of Hypsipyle.[3]

According to the Greek grammarian Antoninus Liberalis, the 2nd-century BC poet Nicander said that Thoas was the son of Borysthenes,[4] god of a major river to the far north of Greece (now the Dnieper).

Iphigenia among the TauriansEdit

In Euripides' play, Iphigenia among the Taurians, Iphigenia, after being rescued from her intended sacrifice at Aulis by Artemis, has been brought to the Taurians and their king Thoas, where she is forced to sacrifice any trespassing Greeks to Artemis.

As the play begins, Iphigenia's brother Orestes arrives, but he is captured and brought before Iphigenia to be sacrificed. But when the siblings discover each other's identity, they discuss ways to escape. Orestes wants to kill Thoas, but Iphigenia suggests that they trick him. Iphigenia meets with Thoas and claims that because of Orestes' sin of matricide he is polluted and needs to be purified by being washed in the sea. Thoas believes her and allows her to take Orestes to the sea, where they make their escape. A messenger relays this to Thoas and he immediately sends his men to pursue them. Athena intervenes and convinces him to let them go.[5]

HyginusEdit

Hyginus tells much the same story as Euripides, but he identifies the Taurian king Thoas with the Lemnian Thoas who was the father of Hypsipyle. Hyginus provides an ending to Thoas' story, saying that the king pursued Orestes and Iphigenia, to the island home of Chryses, the son of Agamemnon and his Trojan war-prize Chryseis. After Chryses discovered that he was the half brother of Orestes and Iphigenia, he killed Thoas.[6]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ LSJ, s.v. Θόας.
  2. ^ Gantz, pp. 686-687; Grimal s.v. Thoas 3; Tripp, s.v. Thoas 1.
  3. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 120 considers them to be the same; cf. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 300–303. Parada, s.v. Thoas 3 treats them as the same, however Grimal (s.vv. Thoas 1, Thoas 3); Tripp (s.vv. Thoas 1, Thoas 2); and Smith (s.vv. Thoas 2, Thoas 4) all treat them separately, with Tripp s.v. Thoas 2 saying that "Hyginus confuses this Thoas [the king of Lemnos] with Thoas the king of the Taurians.
  4. ^ Parada, s.v. Thoas 3; Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 27.
  5. ^ Gantz, pp. 686–687; Hard, pp. 512–513; Euripides, Iphigenia among the Taurians. Compare with Pausanias, 3.16.7.
  6. ^ Gantz, p. 687; Hyginus, Fabulae 120, 121.

ReferencesEdit

  • Apollodorus, Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Celoria, Francis, The Metamorphoses of Antoninus Liberalis: A Translation with a Commentary, Routledge 1992. ISBN 978-0-415-06896-3.
  • Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by Robert Potter in The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. Volume 2. New York. Random House. 1938. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3 (Vol. 2).
  • Grimal, Pierre, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Wiley-Blackwell, 1996. ISBN 978-0-631-20102-1.
  • Hard, Robin, The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology: Based on H.J. Rose's "Handbook of Greek Mythology", Psychology Press, 2004, ISBN 9780415186360. Google Books.
  • Hyginus, Gaius Julius, Fabulae in Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabuae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology, Translated, with Introductions by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma, Hackett Publishing Company, 2007. ISBN 978-0-87220-821-6.* Parada, Carlos, Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, Jonsered, Paul Åströms Förlag, 1993. ISBN 978-91-7081-062-6.
  • Liddell, Henry George, Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library* Parada, Carlos, Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, Jonsered, Paul Åströms Förlag, 1993. ISBN 978-91-7081-062-6.
  • Pausanias, Pausanias Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, London (1873). Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
  • Tripp, Edward, Crowell's Handbook of Classical Mythology, Thomas Y. Crowell Co; First edition (June 1970). ISBN 069022608X.
  • Valerius Flaccus, Gaius, Argonautica, translated by J. H. Mozley, Loeb Classical Library No. 286. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1928. Online version at Harvard University Press.