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Telephus

A Greek mythological figure, Telephus referred to two different people.

  1. One was the father of Cyparissus.
  2. The other was much more famous. He was the husband of Astyoche and father of Eurypylus.

Telephus (#2) was featured in works by Euripides and Ennius among others.

He was one of the Heraclidae, a son of Heracles and Princess Auge of Tegea[?]. Her father was told by an oracle that he would be overthrown by his grandson. So he:

  1. Forced Auge to become a priestess of Athena and leave the child, Telephus, on Mt. Parthenion[?]. He was suckled by a deer.
  2. Auge and Telephus were put in a crate and set adrift on the sea. They washed up in Asia Minor.
  3. Abandoned Telephus and sold Auge into slavery. She ended up marrying King Teuthras[?].

Telephus later became King of the Mysians. When the Greeks left for the Trojan War, they accidentally stopped in Mysia. In the battle, Achilles wounded Telephus, who killed Thersander. The would not heal and Telephus asked an oracle which claimed "he that wounded shall heal".

According to others' reports about Euripides' lost play about Telephus, he went to Aulis, pretending to be a beggar and asked Achilles to help heal his wound. Acchilles refused, claiming to have no medical knowledge. Alternatively, Telephus held Orestes for ransom, the ransom being Achilles' aid in healing the wound. Odysseus reasoned that the spear had inflicted the wound and the spear must be able to heal it. Pieces of the spear were scraped off onto the wound, and Telephus healed. This is an example of sympathetic magic.



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