digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















This article is about the mythological figure. For other uses, see Hecuba (disambiguation).

Hecuba (/ˈhɛkjʊbə/; also Hecabe, Hécube; Ancient Greek: Ἑκάβη Hekábē, pronounced [hekábɛ͜ɛ]) was a queen in Greek mythology, the wife of King Priam of Troy during the Trojan War,[1] with whom she had 19 children. These children included several major characters of Homer's Iliad such as the warriors Hector and Paris and the prophetess Cassandra.


Ancient sources vary as to the parentage of Hecuba.[2] According to Homer, Hecuba was the daughter of King Dymas of Phrygia,[3] but Euripides[4] and Virgil[5] write of her as the daughter of the Thracian king Cisseus. The mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus leave open the question which of the two was her father, with Pseudo-Apollodorus adding a third alternate option: Hecuba's parents could as well be the river god Sangarius and Metope.[6][7] Some versions from non-extant works are summarized by a scholiast on Euripides' Hecuba:[8] according to those, she was a daughter of Dymas or Sangarius by the Naiad Euagora, or by Glaucippe the daughter of Xanthus (Scamander?); the possibility of her being a daughter of Cisseus is also discussed. A scholiast on Homer relates that Hecuba's parents were either Dymas and the nymph Eunoe or Cisseus and Telecleia;[9] the latter option would make her a full sister of Theano, which is also noted by the scholiast on Euripides cited above.

According to Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars, the emperor Tiberius pestered scholars with obscure questions about ancient mythology, with one of his favorites being "Who was Hecuba's mother?"[10]

Hecuba in the Iliad[edit]

The death of Hector on a Roman sarcophagus, c. 200 AD

Hecuba appears six times in the Iliad. In Book 6.326–96, she meets Hector upon his return to the polis and offers him the libation cup, instructing him to offer it to Zeus and to drink of it himself. Taking Hector's advice, she chooses a gown taken from Alexander's treasure to give as an offering to the goddess and leads the Trojan women to the temple of Athena to pray for help. In Book 22, she pleads with Hector not to fight Achilles, for fear of "never get[ting] to mourn you laid out on a bier."[11] In Book 24.201–16, she is stricken with anxiety upon hearing of Priam's plan to retrieve Hector's body from Achilles' hut. Further along in the same episode, at 24.287–98, she offers Priam the libation cup and instructs him to pray to Zeus so that he may receive a favourable omen upon setting out towards the Achaean camp. Unlike in the first episode in which Hector refuses her offer of the cup, Priam accepts and is rewarded with the requested omen. Finally, she laments Hector's death in a well-known speech at 24.748–59.

Hecuba in other classical works[edit]

The Bibliotheca (Library) of Pseudo-Apollodorus states that Hecuba had a son named Troilus with the god Apollo. An oracle prophesied that Troy would not be defeated if Troilus reached the age of twenty alive, but he was killed by Achilles.

Hecuba is a main character in two plays by Euripides: The Trojan Women and Hecuba. The Trojan Women describes the aftermath of the fall of Troy, including Hecuba's enslavement by Odysseus. Hecuba also takes place just after the fall of Troy. Polydorus, the youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, is sent to King Polymestor for safekeeping, but when Troy falls, Polymestor murders Polydorus. Hecuba learns of this, and when Polymestor comes to the fallen city, Hecuba, by trickery, blinds him and kills his two sons.

A third story says that when she was given to Odysseus as a slave, she snarled and cursed at him, so the gods turned her into a dog, allowing her to escape.

In another tradition, Hecuba went mad upon seeing the corpses of her children Polydorus and Polyxena. Dante described this episode, which he derived from Italian sources:

Inferno XXX: 13–20

Hecuba's children with Priam[edit]

Hecuba in popular culture[edit]

Hecuba is frequently referenced in classical literature, and in many medieval, Renaissance, and modern works. Among the works which are about Hecuba are:

Hecuba is mentioned in:

The name Hecuba or Hecubah appears occasionally:


  1. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition: "Hecuba"
  2. ^ Frazer's note 21 on Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3. 12. 5. In: Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921.
  3. ^ Iliad, 16. 715
  4. ^ Euripides, Hecuba, 3
  5. ^ Virgil, Aeneid 7. 320; 10. 705,
  6. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 3. 12. 5
  7. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae, 91, 111, 249
  8. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Hecuba, 3
  9. ^ Scholia on Iliad, 16. 718, referring to Pherecydes and Athenion for the two versions respectively
  10. ^ Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Chapter 2 (Tiberius), paragraph 72
  11. ^ Homer, The Iliad. Book 22, line 86


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Tsotakou-Karveli. Lexicon of Greek Mythology. Athens: Sokoli, 1990.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hecuba — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
7165 videos foundNext > 

Trailer | Hecuba | Royal Shakespeare Company

RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman directs Marina Carr's reimagining of the legend of Hecuba in a visceral new play. A searing vision of war, ...


Hecuba "Suffering" [Official Video] HD

Hecuba - http:/hecuba.us itunes - http://tinyurl.com/hecuba-itunes Featuring: Devendra Banhart, Rainbow Arabia, Pit Er Pat and We Are The World Hecuba ...

[Legendary Greek Tale of Revenge] Hecuba, Audiobook by Euripides

The author, Euripides (Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (c. 480 – 406 BC) was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and ...

Hecuba "The Magic" [Official Video] HD

Hecuba: http://myspace.com/hecubahecuba itunes: http://tinyurl.com/itunes-hecuba Hecuba "The Magic" from the album Paradise on Manimal Vinyl 2009.


The UCL Classical Drama Society and the Department of Greek & Latin in association with the Bloomsbury Theatre present Euripides' Trojan Women, 5th-7th ...

Hecuba "Tom and Jerry" live on Estonian National TV

Hecuba "Tom and Jerry" live on Estonian National TV.

Hecuba by Euripides

Edited by Randy Kelley The John McLinn Ross Players perform the Greek Tragedy Hecuba by Euripides. Directed by Cheryl Collins Camera Operators Randy ...

Hecuba - Dancing

'Modern' is Hecuba's second full-length album. It was recorded over several months in a studio they set up outside Los Angeles. Hecuba entered the studio ...

Troides Priamus Hecuba - Message de paix

Directed by: Michael bernadat Produced by: One O One www.oneoone.fr myspace.com/oneooneproduction.

7165 videos foundNext > 

1720 news items

Stratford upon Avon Herald

Stratford upon Avon Herald
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0700

The play opens in the grisly aftermath: Hecuba (a brilliantly commanding performance from Derbhle Crotty), queen of Troy, is sat on her husband's throne, the slain King Priam; blood pools around her feet and she is surrounded by the dismembered limbs, ...


Fri, 25 Sep 2015 04:08:03 -0700

And bad things are going to happen. Her daughter Polyxena is sacrificed. Hecuba takes her revenge on King Polymester of Thrace (who was supposed to protect Polydorus) by killing his sons. The conclusion points towards the return of the Greek commander ...

Financial Times

The Independent
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 05:22:30 -0700

“What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba/That he should weep for her?”: Hamlet marvels frustratedly that the empathy of performance can elicit real tears from the First Player at Hecuba's fate. The Irish dramatist Marina Carr contends though that, in ...

Gloucestershire Echo

Gloucestershire Echo
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 02:00:00 -0700

The war is over. Troy is defeated, about to be burnt, obliterated, and queen Hecuba sits among the dismembered, disunited limbs of her many sons. Except the stage is empty. There are no bodies, no blood, not even a streak of red reflected from the ...

The Independent

The Independent
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:07:30 -0700

So it's no surprise that the Royal Shakespeare Company is throwing its hat into the amphitheatre with a new version of Hecuba, freely adapted from Euripides by Irish playwright Marina Carr. It's directed by RSC deputy artistic director Erica Whyman ...

London Theatre 1

London Theatre 1
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:22:30 -0700

This new version of Hecuba is written by Irish writer Marina Carr. There have been many new versions of Greek plays produced recently; Medea at the National and the Almeida's recent season of Greeks. This new version is very different. The majority of ...

Stratford upon Avon Herald

Stratford upon Avon Herald
Wed, 07 Oct 2015 08:22:30 -0700

Be warned, watching the new production of Hecuba at the RSC is largely a harrowing business (see review,goo.gl/mxpUhN ). But there is one beguiling component that brings a strange kind of solace to this Ancient Greek story of infanticide and the ...

Stratford upon Avon Herald

Stratford upon Avon Herald
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:56:15 -0700

The role of Polydorous, Hecuba's youngest son, will be shared by three 12-year-olds — Marcus Acquari and Nilay Sah, from Warwick, and Luca Saraceni, from Stratford. The non-speaking roles of Polymestor's sons are shared by Sebastian Dibb, 11, from ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight