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Ancient Versions of the Echo and Narcissus Myth

by Elizabeth E.

List of Variants of the Narcissus Myth:

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  2. Konon, Stories 24
  3. Parthenius, “Narcissus,” The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P.Oxy.LXIX 4711)
  4. Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece, 9.31.7
  5. Pausanias, Descriptions of Greece, 9.31.8

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Texts and Translations of the Variants of the Narcissus Myth

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  2. Konon (Late 1st c. BCE – early 1st c. CE),Stories 24

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 My translation, based on the Greek text in M. K. Brown, The Narratives of Konon (Munich 2002)

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6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Twenty-four: In Thespeia in Boiotia (the city is not far from Helikon) a boy grew up, Narcissos, very beautiful and disdainful of Eros and lovers. While the rest of his lovers gave up on loving him, Ameinias remained devoted, although unfulfilled. But when Narcissos did not receive him but even sent a sword to him, he took it in hand against himself before Narcissos’ doors – after very earnestly begging the god to be an avenger for him. And Narcissos, upon seeing his own face and form floating in the water of a spring, became the only and the first lover, out of place, of one’s own self. Finally, without a way and believing that he suffered a just exchange for his insolence toward Ameinias’ desires, he killed himself. From that time, the Thespeians knew to honor and to celebrate Eros more and to increase sacrifices to him both from public goods and private. The local folk believe that the narcissus flower first emerged from that piece of earth, the one onto which the blood of Narcissos flowed.

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  1. 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0
  2. Parthenius (d. 14 CE), “Narcissus,” The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P.Oxy.LXIX 4711)

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Translation from http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/POxy/papyri/4711.html 

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 (This website also has a link to images of the papyrus.)

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12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 … god-like …
… …
He had a cruel heart, and hated all of them,
Till he conceived a love for his own form:
He wailed, seeing his face, delightful as a dream,
Within a spring; he wept for his beauty.
Then the boy shed his blood and give it to the earth
… to bear

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  1. 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0
  2. Pausanias (d. 180 CE),Descriptions of Greece, 9.31.7

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Translation from Perseus Project Online

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17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 On the summit of Helicon is a small river called the Lamus. In the territory of the Thespians is a place called Donacon. Here is the spring of Narcissus. They say that Narcissus looked into this water, and not understanding that he saw his own reflection, unconsciously fell in love with himself, and died of love at the spring. But it is utter stupidity to imagine that a man old enough to fall in love was incapable of distinguishing a man from a man’s reflection.

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  1. 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0
  2. Pausanias,Descriptions of Greece, 9.31.8

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Translation from Perseus Project Online

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22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 There is another story about Narcissus, less popular indeed than the other, but not without some support. It is said that Narcissus had a twin sister; they were exactly alike in appearance, their hair was the same, they wore similar clothes, and went hunting together. The story goes on that Narcissus fell in love with his sister, and when the girl died, would go to the spring, knowing that it was his reflection that he saw, but in spite of this knowledge finding some relief for his love in imagining that he saw, not his own reflection, but the likeness of his sister.

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Bibliography

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25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Parthenius. “Narcissus.” The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Collection Volume LXIX 4711. POxy: Oxyrhynchus Online. http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/POxy/papyri/4711.html.

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27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Pausanias. Pausanias Descriptions of Greece. Translated by Jones, Litt, and H.A. Ormerod. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1918 (Perseus Project Online).

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Source: https://iris.haverford.edu/echo/ancient-versions-of-the-echo-and-narcissus-myth/