IT is said that Calchis the seer returned from Troy with Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus and came on foot to this place.1 But happening to find near Clarus a seer greater than himself, Mopsus, the son of Manto, Teiresias daughter, he died of vexation. Hesiod, indeed, works up the story in some form as this: Calchas set Mopsus the following problem:
But now he is speaking of Teiresias, since it is said that he lived seven generationsthough others say nine. He lived from the times of Cadmus down to those of Eteocles and Polyneices, as the author of Melampodia also says: for he introduces Teiresias speaking thus:
Father Zeus, would that you had given me a shorter span of life to be mine and wisdom of heart like that of mortal men! But now you have honoured me not even a little, though you ordained me to have a long span of life, and to live through seven generations of mortal kind.
They say that Teiresias saw two snakes mating on Cithaeron and that, when he killed the female, he was changed into a woman, and again, when he killed the male, took again his own nature. This same Teiresias was chosen by Zeus and Hera to decide the question whether the male or the female has most pleasure in intercourse. And he said:
For pleasant it is at a feast and rich banquet to tell delightful tales, when men have had enough of feasting; and pleasant also it is to know a clear token of ill or good amid all the signs that the deathless ones have given to mortal men.
And then Mantes took in his hands the oxs halter and Iphiclus lashed him upon the back. And behind him, with a cup in one hand and a raised sceptre in the other, walked Phylacus and spake amongst the bondmen.
Note 1. sc. Colophon. Proclus in his abstract of the Returns (sc. of the heroes from Troy) says Calchas and his party were present at the death of Teiresias at Colophon, perhaps indicating another version of this story. [back]
Note 2. ll. 12 are quoted by Athenaeus, ii. p. 40; ll. 34 by Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis vi. 2. 26. Buttmann saw that the two fragments should be joined. [back]