Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 594 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PALAMEDES, in Greek legend, son of Nauplius king of Euboea, one of the heroes of the Trojan War, belonging to the post-Homeric cycle of legends. During the siege of Troy, Agamemnon, Diomedes and Odysseus (who had been detected by Palamedes in an attempt to escape going to Troy by shamming madness) caused a letter containing money and purporting to come from Priam to be concealed in his tent. They then accused Palamedes of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, and he was ordered to be stoned to death. His father exacted a fearful vengeance from the Greeks on their way home, by placing false lights on the promontory of Caphareus. The story of Palamedes was first handled in the Cypria of Stasinus, and formed the subject of lost plays by Aeschylus (Palamedes), Sophocles (Nauplius), Euripides (Palamedes), of which some fragments remain. Sophists and rhetoricians, such as Gorgias and Alcidamas, amused themselves by writing declamations in favour of or against him. Palamedes was regarded as the inventor of the alphabet, lighthouses, weights and measures, dice, backgammon and the discus. See Euripides, Orestes, 432 and schol.; Ovid, Metam. xiii. 56; Servius on Virgil, Aeneid, ii. 82, and Nettleship's note in Conington's edition; Philostratus, Heroica, 11; Euripides, Frag. 581; for different versions of his death see Dictys Cretensis 1i. 15; Pausanias ii. 20, 3; X. 31, 2; Dares Phrygius, 28; monograph by O. Jahn (Hamburg, 1836).
End of Article: PALAMEDES

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