display | more...


A son of Asclepius and a brother of Podalirius. Normally his mother was said to be Epione, the daughter of Merope, though various myths refer to her as Arsinoe, Xanthe, Lampetia, the daughter of Helios, or even Coronis. Machaon was one of Helen's suitors and in this role he took part in the Trojan War. With Podalirius his brother he ruled over three towns in Thessaly: Tricca, Ithome and Oechalia. He was in command of thirty ships. At Troy, with Podalirius, he dedicated himself to the practice of medicine, a skill which he inherited from his father. He was so useful to those fighting that he was soon relieved of all military duty. Among other cures, that of TELEPHUS' wound was attributed to him and also that of Menelaus, who was wounded by one of Pandarus' arrows. He himself was wounded by an arrow shot by Paris. He was taken to Nestor's tent and nursed by Hecamede, the captive taken earlier by Achilles at Tenedos, though subsequently allotted to Nestor. He is principally known for curing a wound inflicted on PHILOCTETES by Heracles.

Machaon's name appeared in the list of warriors who were in the wooden horse. He was killed either by the Amazon Penthesilea or by the hand of EURYPYLUS, the son of Telephus. Nestor brought his ashes back to Gerenia. He was buried with his brother Podalirius at Tricca, where there was a joint memorial. He married Anticleia, a daughter of Diocles. They had two sons, Nicomachus and Gorgasus. Other known sons of Machaon were Alexanor, Polemocrates, Sphyrus and Alcon. Traditionally, Machaon was essentially a sugeon while Podalirius was a physician. His name, connected perhaps with the Greek for 'knife' (μαχαιρα) explains this idea.


Table of Sources:
- Hom. Il. 2,279ff.; 4,193ff. with schol.; 11,506ff.; 14,2ff.;
- schol. on Pind. Pyth. 1,56(109); 3,7(14);
- Hyg. Fab. 81; 97; 108; 113;
- schol. on Aristophanes, Plut. 701;
- Diod. Sic. 4,71;
- Sophocles, Philoctets;
- Paus. 2,11,5; 2,23,4; 2,38,6; 3,26,9ff.; 4,30,4;
- Westermann, Mythogr. Gr. p. 128;
- Quint. Smyrn. Posthom. 6,406ff.;
- Dict. Cret. 2,6ff.;
- Serv. on Virgil, Aen. 2,263;
- Apollod. Bibl. 3,10,8; Epit. 5,1;
- Tzetzes on Lyc. Alex. 911;
- Posthom. 520ff.;
- Prop. 2,1,59.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.