Archive for March, 2011

For The Curious

March 3, 2011

I thought I would give a quick run-down on what happened to some of the characters in my novel after Polyxena’s death as mentioned in the Trojan myths. None of this is in my story (which ends abruptly at her death), but might be of interest to anyone who’s into Greek mythology.  I am speaking of the captive Trojan women.

Andromache, Hector’s wife and Polyxena’s friend, was claimed by Neoptolemus (in my novel as compensation for the loss of Polyxena) and appears to have been treated well by him.  They went to Epeirus after Troy and she bore him three sons, but was ultimately abandoned by him when he married Hermione, Helen’s daughter.  He turned her over to Helenus, Priam’s only surviving son, who became a strong ally.  Helenus took on the role as guardian of Andromache’s children and she bore him a son, Cestrinus.  Later (I assume after Helenus’s death) she went to Mysia with her son Pergamus (by Neoptolemus), who conquered the city of Teuthrania and renamed it Pergamon.  Andromache’s descendants ruled in Epeirus for many generations and she had a shrine at Pergamon.  

Cassandra, Polyxena’s clairvoyant sister, as has been mentioned in a previous blog, was claimed as a concubine by Agamemnon.  There is an interesting aspect to this story, in that she is said to have borne him two sons, Teledamos and Pelops, and yet, on arriving at Mycenae, she and her sons were murdered, along with Agamemnon, by the king’s wife, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus.  This suggests that, like Odysseus, Agamemnon had a rather long voyage back to Mycenae from Troy.  By some accounts he was slain by his jealous wife because of his love for Cassandra; she saw her as threat to the throne.   Cassandra was buried near Amyclae, where she had a shrine under the name Alexandra.

Hecuba, Polyxena’s mother, does not fare well in the myths.  Given to Odysseus after the fall of Troy, she learned that her son, Polydorus (this contradicts the story that Polydorus was slain by Achilles -the version accepted in my novel), had been murdered for his gold by Polymestor, King of Thrace, a former Trojan ally, who had been entrusted to care for the boy.  Odysseus stops there on his way home and Hecuba plans her revenge, luring Polymestor into her tent and then blinding him, after killing his infant son.  The Greeks, as punishment, decided to stone her to death, but instead of a corpse, they find a fiery-eyed dog.  A variation to this story has Hecuba turning into the dog while being pursued by Polymestor’s bodyguards bent on avenging their king.  Still another account has her transformed aboard ship and that she then jumped into the sea.  Her turning into a dog is said by some scholars to represent the identification of Hecuba with Hecate (Goddess of the Underworld) who is attended by dogs with flaming eyes.  In any case, it’s not an admirable ending for her. 

Thalia, Polyxena’s handmaiden, is purely fictitious.  She takes her name from one of the nine muses (the muse of light verse and comedy).

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