Hecuba – Princess of Greek Mythology
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Hecuba was the daughter of King Dymas of Phrygia, or maybe it was King Cisseus of Thrace, depending on whether you read Homer or Virgil. Other scholars say she was the daughter of a river god. Whatever her lineage was, she was the wife of Priam, King of Troy, and mother of nineteen of his children, although two of her sons were reputed to have been born when the Sun God, Apollo, was her lover. Hecuba traveled in the highest of societies. Here is more about her:
During the Trojan War
Paris, Prince of Troy, son of Priam and Hecuba, was cast out of the city at his birth because of Hecuba’s dream in which she gave birth to a fiery torch that destroyed Troy. But as luck and legends would have it, the baby was raised by either a mother bear or a shepherd, again depending on which of the legends you read. Later he was accepted back into the family as the heir to Troy. Paris then proceeded to kidnap (or run away with) Helen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Menelaus, enraged, went to his brother, Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. They gathered their troops and marched on Troy.
The greatest heroes of the war were Hector, Hecuba’s son, for the Trojans and Achilles for the Greeks. Hector had just killed Patroclus, Achilles’ dearest friend. In his grief and rage, Achilles was singlehandedly wiping out the Trojan army. Hector was preparing to go out and meet him in single combat. Hecuba begged her son to give a libation to Zeus before he went out. Hector suggested a different appeal to the gods and refused the libation cup. Achilles killed him and mutilated his body.
Siege of Troy and Aftermath
The siege lasted ten years. Troy seemed to be doing well until the Greeks brought in the Trojan horse and overran the city. Hecuba lost most of her family, including her husband, Priam, as well as Paris, Hector, and another five of her sons, along with two of her daughters.
When Troy was taken, Hecuba became a prisoner of the Greeks and was given to Odysseus as a slave. Her youngest daughter, Polyxena, had been instrumental in causing Achilles’ death. The Greeks wanted to go home, but their ships had no wind. The spirit of Achilles appeared and instructed them to sacrifice Polyxena and they would get their wind. Hecuba begged for her child’s life to no avail.
Before the war, Hecuba had left her youngest son, Polydorus, with the king of Thrace for safekeeping. As the triumphant Greeks returned home, they stopped by Thrace. Hecuba found her son murdered by the king. She tore the murderer’s eyes out and killed his two sons.
When Odysseus tried to catch her, Apollo changed her into a dog. She escaped, throwing herself into the sea. Her grave is supposed to be on a promontory, a landmark for sailors. Hecuba’s story was told by Homer, Virgil, and Euripides, an eternal tale of sorrow.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by GreekBoston.com