Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hippolytus the name

Hippolytus was not a popular name in Athens, for obvious reasons: the Athenians generally avoided the names of mythological characters who came to a sticky end, or who were particularly unpleasant (homicidal, adulterous, etc). But in Lycia (at Kadyanda) we do find a man called Hippolytus. Is this because a) the Lycians were so barbarous that they took mythological names without knowing what they implied? -- or b) because Hippolytus had a curiously similar experience to the Lycian hero Bellerophon with an amorous and (when rejected) vengeful step-mother. A curious coincidence.  (Stephen Colvin)

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