Artemis of Leucas

Fr. 31c

      τὼ]ς μὲν ἔφη· τὰς δ' εἶθαρ ἐμὸς πάλιν εἴρετο θυμός

Fr. 31c Harder (= 31b Pf., = 35 Mass.) P.Oxy. 2263, fr. 1
   col. II 9-10 [image], Trismegistos 59402

According to the diegesis, inhabitants of Epirus violated Artemis' sanctuary at Leucas, stole her crown, and replaced it with a mortar. The Leucadians subsequently replaced her crown but the goddess rejected it, preferring to keep the mortar, as a recollection of the event. Almost nothing is known about the incident, but a very similar event was related by the historian Herclides Lembus (2nd century BC), Excerpta Politiarum 45 Dilts, namely, that Molossians had plundered a sanctuary of Artemis in Cephallania and insulted the statue by removing its wreath and putting a mortar on its head. When the Cephallanians tried to replace the wreath it was found on the ground, rejected by the goddess.



Cappalletto, Pietro. 1995 “Le 'dee offese' nel primo libro degli Aitia di Callimaco,” Rendiconti 129:211-32.

Fr. 31c

εἶθαρ: at once, forthwith

ἔρομαι, Ion. and Ep. εἴρομαι, impf. (=aor.) εἰρόμην: to ask, inquire

Fr. 31g Harder (= 31b-e Diegesis, 2, 110 sq. Pf.)  P.Oxy. 2263 [image], Trismegistos 59402

    Τὼ]ς μὲν ἔφη• τὰς δ' εἶθαρ ἐμὸς πά-

       λιν εἴρετο θυμός        τῆς ἐν Λευ-

       καδίᾳ Ἀρτέμιδος τὸ ξόανον

       ]πὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς θυείαν ἔ-

5    χει δι' αἰτίαν ταύτην• Ἠπει-

       ρῶται τ[.]ν.[.].η.[.]. . .η[.]. . .

       κατατρέχοντες τὴν Λευκά-

       δα ἐσύλων. ἐλθόντες δὲ καὶ

       εἰς τὸ τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος ἱερὸν εὗ-

10   ρον τὴν θεὸν ἐστεμμένην

       χρυσῷ στεφάνῳ• τοῦτον ἐπι-

       χλευάσαντες ἀφεῖλον καὶ

       τὴν θυείαν, ἐν ᾗ σκόρδα τρί-

       ψαντες ἔφαγον, τῇ θεῷ ἐπέ-

15   θηκαν. ἐ̣πι.ν.[.]. . . δ' οἱ Λευ-

       κάδι[οι]. . θ' ἡμ[έ]ρα[ν ἕ]τερον

       κατεσκεύασαν στέφανον καὶ

       ἀντὶ τῆς θυεία[ς] ἔθηκαν, ἀπο-

       πεσόντα δ' αὐτὸν προσήλω-

20   σαν τῷ ξοάνῳ. πάλιν δὲ με-

       θ' ἡμέ[ρας] τρεῖς ἐπιτιθεμέ-

       νου κα[] . . με[ί]να[ν]το[ς.].ης


Thus she spoke and at once my heart

asked again       The statue of

Artemis in Leucas

has a mortar on its head

for the following reason. The5

Epirotes . . .

overran Leucas and

looted it. And coming

to the temple of Artemis,

they found that the goddess was crowned10

with a golden wreath. Jeering, they took this

away and placed on the goddess

the mortar, in which they had

crushed garlic before

eating. . .The Leucadians15

made another

wreath and put it

on instead of the mortar and

when it had fallen off they nailed it

onto the statue. When20

after three days it again

was put on and...


Fr. 31c

Thus she spoke and at once my heart asked again

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Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.