display | more...

Σαρπηδών, a Lycian, a son and favorite of Zeus; a character in the Iliad, known for his nobility. He occurs in two notable episodes in that tale, and some lesser:

In the first, he upbraids Hector for keeping the Trojans themselves out of the battle and letting his allies, like Sarpedon's own men, fight, even though they have no stake in the battle. The justice of this rebuke stings Hector, who drives out himself at the van of his men, joining battle from then on. For Sarpedon himself, this battle ends with his killing Tlepolemos, a son of Hercules, and being himself grievously wounded in the leg, so that his men must carry him away from the fight.

The second episode is that critical passage in which Patroklos assumes the armor of Achilles to encourage the Myrmidons to combat; seeing the Lycians nearly put to the rout by the Myrmidons, Sarpedon engages Patroklos himself — the combat in which he, Sarpedon, is fated to die. Zeus nevertheless wants to save him, but Hera prevents it, saying that not even the favorite of Zeus must be proof against his destiny. This brief aside is interesting for two reasons: firstly because it is one of the places in the Iliad where fate is made out to be less implacable than is typical in Greek myth, and secondly for its implications on the whole of the war. It is the death of Sarpedon which enrages Hector enough to face and slay Patroklos; the death of Patroklos in turn rouses truculent Achilles from his long pout, precipitating the death of Hector and enabling the fall of Troy. We are left to wonder, suppose the father of the gods had saved his son?

290

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