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Headword: Οὐδὲν Ἡρακλῆς πρὸς δύο
Adler number: omicron,794
Translated headword: not even Herakles (can fight) against two
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
They say that Herakles, after founding the Olympic games and having relied on his strength, in the first Olympiad and boxed against two men, Kteatos and Eurytos, the sons of Poseidon and Molione, and slew them.[1] But on the second Olympiad, he again in the same way boxed against two and was defeated.
Greek Original:
Οὐδὲν Ἡρακλῆς πρὸς δύο: φασὶν Ἡρακλέα θέντα τὸν Ὀλυμπιακὸν ἀγῶνα πιστεύσαντά τε τῇ ἑαυτοῦ δυνάμει τῇ προτεραίᾳ πενταετηρίδι πυκτεῦσαι πρὸς δύο, Κτέατον καὶ Εὔρυτον, τοὺς Ποσειδῶνος καὶ Μολιόνης παῖδας, καὶ ἀνελεῖν αὐτούς: τῇ δευτέρᾳ δὲ πάλιν ὁμοίως πρός τινας δύο πυκτεύσαντα ἡττηθῆναι.
Notes:
See already omicron 780 (and again pi 2622). The proverb expresses as a truism that one man cannot successfully compete against two. Plato illustrates its use when Socrates, pointing out that Herakles was not a match for the Hydra and the Crab, admits a fortiori that he is no match for the brothers Dionysodoros and Euthydemos (Plato, Euthydemos 297B-C, at web address 1; cf Phaedo 89C, at web address 2). For the proverb see Zenobius 5.49 in Leutsch & Schneidewin 1.140-141 and the scholiast on Plato, Phaedo 89C (Greene).
[1] For the Molionidai, sons of their mother Molione, also known as Aktoriones, sons of their reputed father Aktor, whom, according to the usual story, Herakles slays by ambush on the road to the Isthmian Games, see Robert 2.538-543; Frazer, 2.248-249; Gantz 424-426.
References:
James George Frazer. Apollodorus: The Library. 2 vols. London and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967. Reprint: 1921
Timothy Gantz. Early Greek Myth. 2 vols. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993
William Chase Greene. Scholia Platonica. Philological Monographs 8. Haverford, PA: Haverford College, 1938. Reprint, American Philological Association, 1981
E.L. von Leutsch and F.G. Schneidewin. Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum. Vol. 1. Hildescheim: Georg Olms, 1958
Carl Robert. Die griechische Heldensage. Vol. 2: Die Nationalheroen. Dublin and Zurich: Weidmann, 1967
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: athletics; chronology; daily life; mythology; philosophy; proverbs
Translated by: Wm. Blake Tyrrell on 19 September 2005@21:05:22.
Vetted by:
Elizabeth Vandiver (Modified headword; added italics; added link; set status) on 21 September 2005@18:19:06.
David Whitehead (tweaked headword; augmented notes; modified keywords) on 25 September 2005@05:39:44.
Tony Natoli (Augmented notes, added web address) on 2 September 2007@23:38:40.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 15 August 2012@08:31:03.
David Whitehead on 31 July 2013@04:52:50.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 1 August 2013@12:55:59.

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