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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.

Parents[edit]

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:

Notes[edit]

  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

References[edit]

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.
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1102 news items

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Sat, 23 May 2015 06:30:00 -0700

The British actress previously portrayed Jacqueline Kennedy in Onassis on the West End and also appeared in The Royal National Theatre's Time and the Conways and the Royal Shakespeare Company's Hecuba. Her screen credits include The Fifth Estate ...

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
Fri, 22 May 2015 16:58:12 -0700

Instead of being mourned, she will be the mourner — on a scale that puts her in some unenviable company (think Oedipus, Hecuba and Lear). Not even her beloved house will be spared, as the storm that has been causing water damage through her home ...

Time Out London

Time Out London
Tue, 19 May 2015 06:19:51 -0700

The More London Free Festival returns to outdoor amphitheatre The Scoop – nestled under Tower Bridge – for its usual, reliable season and a three-week run (August 5-30) for two short plays – tragedy 'Hecuba The Trojan Women' on from 8pm and family ...
 
The Sunday Times Sri Lanka
Sat, 23 May 2015 13:02:44 -0700

Now on the threshold of turning her part-time performing arts academy into a professional body that would teach diploma level acting classes, Anoja is rehearsing for another sterling performance in her role as Hecuba, the old queen of Troy, in Trojan ...

Impact Magazine

Impact Magazine
Fri, 08 May 2015 05:00:00 -0700

Genevieve Rose Cunnell plays Hecuba, the lead and queen; she laments the death of her husband, King Priam of Troy and comes to terms with the hopeless destiny of her daughters. Jessica Lundholm plays Adromache, also widowed by the war and facing ...

Broadway World

Broadway World
Sun, 10 May 2015 09:01:42 -0700

Lydia Leonard (Anne Boleyn): West End: Onassis, Let There Be Love, Time and the Conways (National Theatre), Frost/Nixon, Hecuba (and at BAM). TV: "River," "Life in Squares" (Virginia Woolf), "Lucan," "Ambassadors," "Da Vinci's Demons," "Whitechapel," ...

First Things (blog)

First Things (blog)
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:41:15 -0700

We may say of Chapman, as he (gratuitously) makes Hecuba say of Hector, 'policy was his undoing. . . . His Jove hardly ever addresses Juno without some comment by Chapman on the proper treatment of shrewish wives. When Agamemnon sacrifices . . . we ...

South China Morning Post (subscription)

South China Morning Post (subscription)
Sat, 09 May 2015 07:37:58 -0700

Leonard's career began in drama school, and she has often starred in period pieces in England, largely on the stage (for example, a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hecuba), although she did have a small role in the Bill Condon-directed ...
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