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Location of Sicyon (enlarge)

Sicyon is a city on the Peloponnesian coast of the Gulf of Corinth.

Long history

The genealogical lines related to Sicyon or the territory of Sicyonia are the most ancient recorded in Hellas. For those who lived and ruled Sicyon are descended from Aegialeus 2, who is said to be the first inhabitant of Sicyon. And if one were to count generations, the line of Aegialeus 2, would be the one reaching farthest into the past, indicating that Aegialeus 2 lived about 670 years before the Trojan War.

Aegialeus 2

Aegialeus 2 is said to be the son of the river god Inachus and the oceanid Melia. Some have said that he was childless, but others say that he was the father of Europs 1, father of Telchis and Hermion, the founder of the city of Hermione, near Troezen. Telchis begot Thelxion, and Thelxion begot Apis 2, whom Telchis and Thelxion killed; for, as they say, Apis 2 converted his power into a tyranny, and as it happens to stern tyrants, he was conspired against.

Death of Apis 2

During the reign of Apis 2, the territory that later was called Peloponnesus was named Apia after its ruler. However, it has also been said that Apis 2 was son of Phoroneus, who is called the first man, or that he was the son of Apollo, or even of Telchis. And it has also been said that he was not killed by Telchis and Thelxion, but instead by Aetolus 2, the son of Endymion. But then again others have said that Thelxion was later killed by Argus 1, on account of the murder of Apis 2.


Thelxion, they say, had a son Aegyrus, who begot Thurimachus, father of Leucippus 5, who had a daughter Calchinia, who consorting with Poseidon, gave birth to Peratus, who in turn became king of Sicyon, succeeding his grandfather on the throne.

Descendants of Peratus

Peratus had a son Plemnaeus, whose children died the very first time they wailed. But Demeter, taking pity on him, came to Aegialia (which was the name of Sicyon at that time) in the guise of a strange woman, and reared for Plemnaeus his son Orthopolis, who in time fathered Chrysorthe. This girl was loved by Apollo, giving birth to a son Coronus 2, who became the father of Corax and Lamedon.

Corax and Lamedon

Corax, who was the elder of the two brothers, died childless; but Lamedon married Pheno, a woman from Athens, and had by her a daughter Zeuxippe 3. Lamedon, they say, became king after Epopeus 1, a Thessalian who had taken the kingdom of Sicyon after the death of Corax. However, some assert that Epopeus 1 was son of Aloeus 2, to whom his father Helius gave Asopia, a district in Sicyonia. Otherwise, Epopeus 1 is said to be the son of Poseidon and Canace, daughter of Aeolus 1.

Thessalian Epopeus 1 rules Sicyon

Epopeus 1, who reigned in Sicyon at the time when Nycteus 2 was regent in Thebes, thought fit, for some reason, to abduct the Theban regent's daughter Antiope 3, making her his wife. This woman, who some considered daughter, not of Nycteus 2 but of the river god Asopus, had a name in all Hellas for her beauty. For this reason the Theban army invaded Sicyon, which up to then had enjoyed unbroken peace. In the battle that ensued, which meant defeat for the Thebans, both Nycteus 2 and Epopeus 1 were wounded. Nycteus 2 returned to Thebes as a dying man, and Epopeus 1 died shortly after, having neglected his wound.

Sicyon calls the land after himself

Lamedon then succeeded Epopeus 1; and it is under his rule that war broke up with the Achaeans Archander and Architeles 1, sons of Achaeus 1, son of Xuthus 1, son of Hellen 1, son of Deucalion 1, the man who survived the Flood. Lamedon brought from Attica an ally Sicyon to help him wage was against his enemies. This Sicyon he married to his daughter Zeuxippe 3, and that is why Sicyon became king after Lamedon, calling the land after himself. Some say that Sicyon was son of Metion 1, son of Erechtheus, or of Eupalamus; others say he was son of Erechtheus; still others say that Sicyon was son of Pelops 1, and yet others say that his father was Marathon, son of Epopeus 1.

Polybus 9

Sicyon had a daughter Chthonophyle, who consorted with Hermes and had by him a son Polybus 9, who inherited the throne after Sicyon. Chthonophyle was also loved by Phlias, after whom Phliasia near Sicyonia was called, and had by him a son Androdamas. Phlias is also known for being one of the ARGONAUTS.

Adrastus 1

As Polybus 9 died without a son, the kingdom reverted to Adrastus 1, who some say was son of Polybus 9's daughter Lysianassa 3 by Talaus, king of Argos. Adrastus 1, who is also called king of Argos, was the leader of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES.

Sicyon subject to Agamemnon

After Adrastus 1, the kingdom of Argos follows its own line, and so does Sicyon which came to be ruled by Ianiscus, a descendant of Clytius 9, father of Pheno, the Athenian woman who married Lamedon (see above). When Ianiscus died, Heracles 1's son Phaestus 2 became king of Sicyon for some time, before emigrating to Crete in obedience to an oracle. Phaestus 2 had a son Rhopalus, but nevertheless, on leaving for Crete he was succeeded, as king of Sicyon, by Zeuxippus, son of Apollo and the nymph Syllis. After him, Hippolytus 5, son of Rhopalus, became king. During Hippolytus 5's reign, Sicyon was attacked by Mycenae, and the king agreed to become subject to Agamemnon.

The Return of the HERACLIDES

Under these conditions, Lacestades, son of Hippolytus 5, became king. During his reign the HERACLIDES returned to the Peloponnesus, and surprising Sicyon by night, made themselves masters of the city. Their commander was Phalces 2, son of Temenus 2, son of Aristomachus 2, son of Cleodaeus 2, son of Hyllus 1, son of Heracles 1. However, Phalces 2 discovered that King Lacestades was also a descendant of Heracles 1, and on this account Phalces 2 made him partner in the kingdom. And his reasons were well grounded; for Lacestades was son of Hippolytus 5, son of Rhopalus, son of Phaestus 2, son of Heracles 1. From this time, they say, the Sicyonians became Dorians (for that is what they call the HERACLIDES), and their land a part of the Argive territory, as it once had been during the rule of Adrastus 1.

Avoiding war

But before this, at the time of the Trojan War, the Sicyonians were subject to Agamemnon; and some of them, not being particularly warlike, preferred to stay at home. That is the case of Echepolus 2, the rich man who presented his lord Agamemnon with a mare on condition that he need not go to Troy. Otherwise, Leonteus 1, who joined the coalition against Troy, is said sometimes to have come from Sicyon, contributing nineteen ships to the allied fleet. But others affirm that Leonteus 1 led the Gyrtonians, who lived in Thessaly.

Some known Sicyonians

Other known Sicyonians are: Alcon 7, who joined the army of the SEVEN AGAINST THEBES; and Alexanor, who built a sanctuary of Asclepius, his grandfather. Polyphides 1 has also been called king of Sicyon, and he is considered to be the man who received the exiled Atrides Agamemnon and Menelaus, who were brought by their nurse. It is said that it was in Sicyon that Tyestes 1 ravished his own daughter Pelopia 4 (see also Pelopides).

The flute of Marsyas, they say, was dedicated in a temple in Sicyon. For when the musician died, the river Marsyas carried the flute to the river Meander, and after reappearing in the Asopus in Boeotia it was cast ashore in the country around Sicyon where a shepherd found it, and gave it to Apollo.

Related sections  

Aes.Supp.262; Apd.1.7.6, 2.1.1; Apd.Ep.2.15; Hdt.5.67; Hes.CWE.72; Hom.Il.23.296; Hyg.Fab.145; Pau.2.5.6-8, 2.6.3, 2.6.5, 2.11.5, 2.13.1, 2.28.3, 2.34.4; Stat.Theb.6.556, 9.121.