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Looking for Omphale

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Chapter Summary

Omphale is well attested as a play by Ion, and specifically identified as a satyr play in 23 Leurini = TrGF 19 F18 = Strabo 1.3.19: Strabo, in a passage on offshore islands, cites "Ion in the satyr play Omphale" for a reference to Euboea and the Euripus. In Diodorus and Apollodorus, Omphale is daughter of King Iardanus of Lydia; Diodorus makes her a virgin queen, but in Apollodorus she is the widow of king Tmolus. The story of her union with Heracles may reflect a conflict of genealogical claims: the 'normal' version of the history of the Lydian kings down to Candaules was that they descended from the offspring of Heracles and slave girl of Iardanus. The story that Omphale made Heracles exchange his lion skin and club for her garments was immensely popular in later times, but there is no compelling evidence for linking it with this play.

Keywords: Apollodorus; Diodorus; Euboea; Euripus; Heracles; Iardanus; Ion; Lydian kings; Omphale



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