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Talthybius (Ancient Greek: Ταλθύβιος) was herald and friend to Menelaus in the theTrojan War.

Greek Mythology

Agamemnon, Talthybius and Epeius, Relief from Samothrace

Talthybius was the one who took Briseis from the tent of Achilles. Preceding the duel of Menelaus and Paris, Agamemnon charges him to fetch a sheep for sacrifice. He died at Aegium in Achaia.

Talthybius appears in Euripides’ Hecuba and The Trojan Women. In addition, he has a small role in The Iliad. In Book IV, Agamemnon ordered Talthybius to fetch the medic Machaon after Menelaus was wounded with an arrow shot by Pandarus.[1] In Hecuba and The Trojan Women, Talthybius seems to always be the bearer of bad news. In The Trojan Women, he tells Hecuba that all of the women are being divided up and given to different Greek Heroes as slaves. He says that Cassandra will be given to Agamemnon and that Hecuba herself will be given to Odysseus. Furthermore, Talthybius is the one who tells Andromache of the Greeks’ plan to kill Astyanax, her son by Hector. The plan is to throw Astyanax (who is only a small child) from the towers of Troy because it would not be wise to let the son of a Trojan hero reach adulthood.[2] In Hecuba, Talthybius brings an order from Agamemnon to Hecuba, telling her to bury her daughter, Polyxena, who was sacrificed to Achilles.[3]

He exercises significant independence in the way he carries out his orders given to him from the commanders. He was worshipped as a hero at Sparta where sacrifices took place and were offered to him. He served in the Trojan War alongside his followers and others who supported him. Talthybius was committed to the interests of the Greek commanders and takes care to avoid their disapproval. In his dealings with the captive women he is felt in the main to be a sympathetic figure.

Greek Mythology

Eurybates and Talthybius lead Briseis to Agamemnon

Iliad Book 1:

The men thus occupied, Agamemnon did not forget
the challenge he'd made earlier to Achilles.
He called his heralds, Talthybius and Eurybates:

"Go to Achilles' tent, Peleus's son,                                      
take fair-complexioned Briseis by the hand.                     
Bring her to me.  If he won't surrender her,
I'll come myself in force and take her.   
For him that will be a worse disaster."         

Herodotus Book 7

On the Lacedaemonians, however, the wrath of Talthybius, Agamemnon’s herald, fell with violence. Talthybius has a temple at Sparta; and his descendants, who are called Talthybiadae, still live there, and have the privilege of being the only persons who discharge the office of herald.,

See also

Eurybates

Greek Mythology

Talthybius, Louvre G146 480 /70 BC, attributed to Makron Vase Painter

References

  • Georg Autenrieth, A Homeric Dictionary [1]

Greek Mythology

See also : Greek Mythology. Paintings, Drawings

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