Periclymenus


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Periclymenus

had the power to assume any form. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 199]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In one instance a considerable and characteristic section can be traced from extant fragments and notices: Salmoneus, son of Aeolus, had a daughter Tyro who bore to Poseidon two sons, Pelias and Neleus; the latter of these, king of Pylos, refused Heracles purification for the murder of Iphitus, whereupon Heracles attacked and sacked Pylos, killing amongst the other sons of Neleus Periclymenus, who had the power of changing himself into all manner of shapes.
She bore Nestor, Chromius, and Periclymenus, and she also bore that marvellously lovely woman Pero, who was wooed by all the country round; but Neleus would only give her to him who should raid the cattle of Iphicles from the grazing grounds of Phylace, and this was a hard task.
To such examples of retro-metamorphosis we might also add the related act of rejuvenation that Medea performs in Metamorphoses 7 when she uses witchcraft to restore her father-in-law Aeson to his youthful form of forty years earlier.13 Furthermore, amongst the classical poem's modest cast of shape-shifters (Proteus, Vertumnus, Thetis, Achelous, Periclymenus, and Mestra), who are capable of serially self-metamorphosing into a variety of forms, only one--the 'exceptional' Mestra--begins, as Andrew Feldherr notes, as a fully mortal or 'human figure'.