Neleidae

Neleidae

Nêleidês ( Nêleiadês, Nêleiusor Nêleidai) enter Greek mythology through the great Greek Homeric epics, transmitted 850-700 BC through the oikos of Neleus, son of the Greek god Poseidon, from the coastal Ionian colonies of Miletos (Paus.7.2.4), Ephesos (Strabo 14.1.3, and Kolophon (Mimnermos fr.9) directly populated from Nêleiad Pylos, or from Athens, through the Kodrid Kaukônes (Hdt.1.147), immigrants from Nêleid Triphylia (Hdt.4.148) who led the colonies east. Nêleus was a son of the seagod Poesidon Melanthos by Tyro (Hom. Od.11.235-6), daughter of Thessalian Salmôneus, possibly accretions of the Eukrainian Tyras river (Hdt.4.27) serving the port of Olbios (modern Odessa), and the great daimôn of the Massagetai, Zalmoxis (Hdt.4.94-6). Reaching the Minyan seaport of Iolkos where Nêleus began his career, he and a Pelasgian band of cattle raiders reached Triphylian Arênê in the north at Homeric Pylos (Hom. Il.11.685-705), where he and his distinguished son Nestôr, built their great trading port and kingdom. At Myceneaen Pylos in the south, ca.1200BC destroyed at Koryphasion by the Herakleidai (Hom. Il.5.395-7), Linear B tablets (Ma90) refer to Pylos as pu-ro, and to Nêleus as ne-e-re. Nêleus brought his nobility to a higher level by marrying Theban Khlôris, daughter of Amphion, whose Demeter name Khlôê, who by inference suggests she brought fruitful grain crops and cereal wealth to pastoral Peloponessos and so earned the title Pylos Basilê, Queen. Waxing rich in herds of horses, cattle and sheep, in wheat and barley, and international trade, Nestôr heir to the kingdom enjoyed three generations of life, commanded a fleet of ninety ships to the Trojan War (Hom. Il.2.591-604) and served as a Chief of Staff, leaving to posterity a son Peisistratos whose family with other Nêleidai (Pausanias 2.18.7-8) lead migrations to Athens and Ionia (Hdt.4.148, 1.147 Kaukônes above). Peisistratos II (669/8BC) served as an Athenian arkhon (Paus.2.24.7), and his grandson Peisistratos III (605-528BC) became, with his sons Hippias and Hipparkhos (both Poeison epithets), a dynasty of innovative Nêleiad tyrants (Hdt.5.65) that began Homeric poetic recitations at the great Panathenaic festival after 546BC, educated and inspired rural pastorals to read moralizing verse carved on square marble busts of Hermes (Plato Hipparkhos 228D), and reopened Black Sea trade through Sigeion (Hdt. 5.64).

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