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THE WEDDING SONG OF ACHILLES AND DEIDAMIA

Like the sixth and eleventh idylls of Theocritus, to which it alludes (lines 2‒3), this fragment combines a tale from mythology with a pastoral setting. Lycidas sings how the Greek army mustered for Troy while Achilles, disguised as a girl, courted and attempted to seduce Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, king of Scyros. (Thetis, mother of Achilles, had placed him there knowing that he would be killed if he fought at Troy.) The “wedding song” of the title (cf. Theoc. Id. 18) was presumably reported as part of the marriage celebrations.

The story was treated in the Scyrians of Euripides, now lost (Frr. 680‒84 Collard and Cropp). It is twice referred to by Ovid (Ars Am. 1.681‒704, Met. 13.162‒70). The fullest extant account is in Statius’ Achilleid. The hero’s singing and wool working are traditional features of the story.

Criticism
  • Fantuzzi, M. “Achilles at Scyros, and One of His Fans: The Epithalamium of Achilles and Deidamia.” In Baumbach‒Bär, Companion, 283‒305.
  • Gutzwiller, Hellenistic Epyllion, 73‒76.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.bion-wedding_song.2015