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7730: Antonio Lombardo 1458-1516?: Philoctetes on the island of Lemnos. Marble. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Lemnos is an island in the northern Aegean Sea. The people of Lemnos are called Lemnians, but the island's first inhabitants were the Thracian Sinties or Sintians, who some say were the same as the Saii who lived in Samos in earlier times and also held the adjacent mainland.

Location of Lemnos (enlarge)

Sacred to Hephaestus

Lemnos is sacred to Hephaestus; for when Zeus cast him out of heaven, the god of the smiths fell on this island, and having broken his legs, was taken care by the Sintians. Also his sons and daughters by Cabiro (a Thracian woman daughter of Proteus 2)—the so called CABIROI and the NYMPHS CABIROIDES—were honoured in Lemnos, and sacred rites were instituted for them (see also CORYBANTES and NYMPHS).

Visit of the ARGONAUTS

When the ARGONAUTS, in their way to Colchis, came to Lemnos, they found out that all males had been murdered. For the Lemnian women, having learned that their husbands had taken Thracian wives, resolved to kill all men in Lemnos. King Thoas 3 was then deposed, and he should have died along with the other men, but his daughter Hypsipyle, who became queen after him, secretly spared her father. When the ARGONAUTS arrived to the island, Hypsipyle fell in love with their captain Jason, and had children by him. But later, when the other women learned that Hypsipyle had spared his father, they sold her as a slave and killed Thoas 3. Hypsipyle reappeared years later when the SEVEN, while marching against Thebes, learned from her the way to a spring in Nemea, where she served as nurse of the king's son. The ARGONAUTS consorted with the Lemnian women, and their descendants were called Minyans, since some among them had previously emigrated from Minyan Orchomenus to Iolcus. Later, these Minyans were driven out from the island, and came to Lacedaemon.


Lemnos is also remembered for being the island where the Achaean army abandoned Philoctetes, who had a wound that would not heal. During the Trojan War, Lemnos sent ships with cargoes of wine for the Achaeans, being at that time ruled by Jason's son Euneus 1.

Related sections Map of Greece 

Some mentions of Lemnos: Apd.1.9.17, 3.6.4; Apd.Ep.1.9, 3.27, 5.8; Arg.1.602, 1.608, 1.653, 1.868, 1.873, 2.32, 2.764, 3.1206, 4.1759, 4.1760; Hom.Il.1.593, 2.722, 7.467, 8.230, 14.230, 14.281, 21.40,, 21.79, 24.753; Hom.Od.8.283, 8.294, 8.301; Hyg.Fab.15, 102, 255; Nonn.2.224, 2.593, 3.133, 14.17, 25.337, 27.121, 27.330, 28.6, 29.194, 29.341, 30.96, 30.202, 30.205, 31.113, 33.175, 37.126, 43.403, 48.201, 48.542; Ov.Met.13.46, 13.313.