In Greek mythology, Phineus (/ /,; Ancient Greek: Φινεύς, Ancient Greek: [pʰiː.neǔs]) was a king of Salmydessus in Thrace and seer who appears in accounts of the Argonauts' voyage. Some accounts make him a king in Paphlagonia or in Arcadia.
Several different versions of Phineus's parentage were presented in ancient texts. According to Apollonius of Rhodes, he was a son of Agenor, but the Bibliotheca says that other authors named his father as Poseidon (who is the father of Agenor). The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, on the other hand, reported that Phineus was the son of Phoenix and Cassiopeia.
His first wife was Cleopatra, daughter of Boreas and Oreithyia, by whom he had a pair of sons, named either Plexippus and Pandion, or Gerymbas and Aspondus, or Polydector (Polydectus) and Polydorus, or Parthenius and Crambis, or Oryithus (Oarthus) and Crambis. His second wife, Idaea, daughter of the Scythian king Dardanus (less commonly Dia, Eidothea, sister of Cadmus, or Eurytia), deceived him into blinding these sons, a fate Phineus himself would suffer.
By his second wife, or by a Scythian concubine, Phineus had two more sons, Mariandynus and Thynus. According to some sources, he also had two daughters, Eraseia and Harpyreia while another daughter Olizone was called the wife of Dardanus, who was the son of Zeus and Electra, and became the mother of Erichthonius.
|Sch. Ody.||Ehoiai||Sch. Anti.||Argo.||Sch.||Sch. Ibis|
|Parentage||Phoenix and Cassiopeia||✓||✓|
|Wife||Cleopatra (1st wife)||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Phineus's own blinding was variously attributed to the outrage against his sons, his giving Phrixus directions on his journey, or because he preferred long life to sight, or, as reported in the Argonautica (thus the best-known version), for revealing the future to mankind. For this reason he was also tormented by the Harpies, who stole or defiled whatever food he had at hand or, according to the Catalogue of Women, drove Phineus himself to the corners of the world. According to scholia on the Odyssey, when asked by Zeus if he preferred to die or lose sight as punishment for having his sons killed by their stepmother, Phineus chose the latter saying he would rather never see the sun, and consequently it was the scorned Helios who sent the Harpies against him. However the Harpies plagued him, deliverance from this curse motivated Phineus's involvement in the voyage of the Argo. Those accounts in which Phineus is stated to have blinded his sons, add that they had their sight restored to them by the sons of Boreas, or by Asclepius.
When the ship landed by his Thracian home, Phineus described his torment to the crew and told them that his brothers-in-law, the wing-footed Boreads, both Argonauts, were fated to deliver him from the Harpies. Zetes demurred, fearing the wrath of the gods should they deliver Phineus from divine punishment, but the old seer assured him that he and his brother Calais would face no retribution. A trap was set: Phineus sat down to a meal with the Boreads standing guard, and as soon as he touched his food the Harpies swept down, devoured the food and flew off. The Boreads gave chase, pursuing the Harpies as far as the "Floating Islands" before Iris stopped them lest they kill the Harpies against the will of the gods. She swore an oath by the Styx that the Harpies would no longer harass Phineus, and the Boreads then turned back to return to the Argonauts. It is for this reason, according to Apollonius, that the "Floating Islands" are now called the Strophades, the "Turning Islands". Phineus then revealed to the Argonauts the path their journey would take and informed them how to pass the Symplegades safely, thus partially filling the same role for Jason that Circe did for Odysseus in the Odyssey.
- The name is occasionally rendered "Phineas" in popular culture, as in the film Jason and the Argonauts. "Phineus" may be associated with the ancient city of Phinea (or Phineopolis) on the Thracian Bosphorus.
- Scholia on Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.178, 237; Scholia ad eund 2.177
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.9.21
- Bremmer (1996), Dräger (2007).
- Eustathius ad Homer, Iliad 2.851, ad Dionysius Periegetes, 787
- Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica s.v. Constantine Porphyrogennetos, De thematibus 1.7
- William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, sv Paphlagonia
- Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 3.209
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.236–7
- Hesiod, Ehoiai fr. 138 (Merkelbach & West 1967)
- Scholia on Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.178
- Phineus was the grandson of Agenor as the son of Phoenix according to Pherecydes and Antimachus as cited in George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica vs Phineus
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.15.3
- Scholia on Sophocles, Antigone 977 ed. Brunck
- Scholia on Ovid, Ibis 273
- Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2.140
- Dräger (2007)
- Tripp, s.v. Dardanus (2) p. 190
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.43.3–4
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.15.3
- Scholia on Sophocles, Antigone 989
- Scholia on Homer, Odyssey 12.69
- Sophocles, Antigone 966–76
- Idaea and the Scythian concubine might be the same.
- Tzetzes, Chiliades 1.220
- Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 166
- Dictys Cretensis, Trojan War Chronicle 3.5 & 4.22
- Sophocles fr. 704 Radt
- Megalai Ehoiai fr. 254 (Merkelbach & West 1967).
- Hesiod, Ehoiai fr. 157 (Merkelbach & West 1967)
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.178–86
- Phineus' food: Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.187–201; his wandering torment: Hesiod, Ehoiai fr. 157 (Merkelbach & West 1967)
- Dräger (2007).
- Orphic Argonautica, 674
- Scholia ad Pindar, Pythian Odes 13.96
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.234–9
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.244–61
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.263–72
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.282–7
- Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 2.288–97
- Thomson, G. (1973). Aeschylus and Athens (4 ed.). Lawrence & Wishart. p. 279.
- Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica translated by Robert Cooper Seaton (1853–1915), R. C. Loeb Classical Library Volume 001. London, William Heinemann Ltd, 1912. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica. George W. Mooney. London. Longmans, Green. 1912. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Bremmer, J.N. (1996), "Phineus", in S. Hornblower; A. Spawforth (eds.), Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd rev. ed.), Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-866172-6.
- Hesiod, Catalogue of Women from Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica translated by Evelyn-White, H G. Loeb Classical Library Volume 57. London: William Heinemann, 1914. Online version at theio.com
- Dictys Cretensis, from The Trojan War. The Chronicles of Dictys of Crete and Dares the Phrygian translated by Richard McIlwaine Frazer, Jr. (1931–). Indiana University Press. 1966. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History translated by Charles Henry Oldfather. Twelve volumes. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1989. Vol. 3. Books 4.59–8. Online version at Bill Thayer's Web Site
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica. Vol 1–2. Immanel Bekker. Ludwig Dindorf. Friedrich Vogel. in aedibus B. G. Teubneri. Leipzig. 1888–1890. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Dräger, P. (2007), "Phineus", in H. Cancik; H. Schneider (eds.), Brill's New Pauly: Antiquity, 11 (Phi–Prok), ISBN 978-90-04-14216-9.
- Maurus Servius Honoratus, In Vergilii carmina comentarii. Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii; recensuerunt Georgius Thilo et Hermannus Hagen. Georgius Thilo. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1881. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Merkelbach, R.; West, M.L. (1967), Fragmenta Hesiodea, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-814171-8.
- Sophocles, The Antigone of Sophocles edited with introduction and notes by Sir Richard Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1893. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Sophocles, Sophocles. Vol 1: Oedipus the king. Oedipus at Colonus. Antigone. With an English translation by F. Storr. The Loeb classical library, 20. Francis Storr. London; New York. William Heinemann Ltd.; The Macmillan Company. 1912. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
- Tripp, Edward, Crowell's Handbook of Classical Mythology, Thomas Y. Crowell Co; First edition (June 1970). ISBN 069022608X.
- The Orphic Argonautica, translated by Jason Colavito. © Copyright 2011. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
- Media related to Phineus at Wikimedia Commons