Sarpedon – PRINCE OF LYCIA – the mightiest warrior among the Trojan allies

Sarpedon, a  hero of the Trojan War, a son of Zeus and Laodamia, who, with his cousin – Glaucus, commanded the Lycian contingent on the side of the Trojans.

At Lydae, up the hill from Ay Liman (port of the moon), there is the broken remains of a white marble tomb of exquisite design, probably Roman, with the name SARPEDON on the side (not his but a family tomb of someone who adopted his name as the name Arthur has survived with us down the centuries.)  This is near the Gulf of Fethiye, previously known as the Gulf of Glaucus.  We visit this site frequently with our luxury gulet MS Odysseus, which is available for private charter.

Sarpedon was the mightiest warrior among the Trojan allies and took an important part in the fighting, particularly the daring assault on the fortifications around the Greek ships.  He succeeded in making the first breach in the wall.

Finally Sarpedon was struck in the heart and killed by Patroclus (beloved comrade of Achilles), his finest achievement before his own death at the hand of Hector, Prince of Troy.

‘…now before Patroclus the Lord of the Lycian warriors died raging….roaring and clutching at the bloody dust…’

At last Zeus intervenes and gives instructions to Apollo (Homer, Iliad 16.667-75)

‘Go now, beloved Phoebus, and lift Sarpedon out of the range of the missiles, and cleanse him of the dark blood, then carry him away, far away and wash him in a running river and anoint him with ambrosia, and fold him in godlike clothing. Then give him to be carried by swift messengers Sleep and his twin brother Death, who soon will lay him down in the rich broad earth of Lycia where brothers and kinsmen will give him burial with grave and stone, the final honour to the dead.’

This scene (of Hermes directing Sleep and Death – see the wings – to lift the beautifully drawn body of Sarpedon) is pictured on the highly prized Euphronius Krater (circa 515BC) which has recently been returned from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (who had paid a million US Dollars for it) to Italy from whence it was stolen from a large Etruscan tomb at Cerveteri, 30 miles north of Rome.

It is said to be the only complete example of 27 surviving vases, painted by the renowned Greek artist Euphronius, of which it was stated by the Director of the Met. to be amongst the 10 greatest works created in the Western world.

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