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Document number: 5918
Date: Nov 1839
Dating: date added by WHFT
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: THIRLWALL Newell Connop
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 4th May 2013

Novr 1839

My dear Sir

In justice to Schneidewin <1> I must observe that he gives the reference to Cramer’s Anecdota <2> which I did not think worth mentioning. I cannot assist you as to the history of Candaules. <3> I looked into a few books for the story of his strangulation until I remembered that if it had been in any of them you would have had no need to ask me the question But in the course of my search I lighted on a story which stands in a very odd kind of relation to it. You will find it in the analysis of Hephææstion in Photius <4> (I am writing without books). He assigns as the reason why Herodotus <5> omits the name of the consort of Candaules – which according to this version was Nysia – that a young friend of Herodotus had hung himself for love of a woman named Nysia– <6> By the way, what do you make of that Lydian king Camblitas, <7> whose history is related by Nicolaus Damascenus, <8> who eat [sic] his wife, and then – troubled it seems with indigestion – killed himself. What god can Camblitas have been or from what sacred legend can this incident have been derived? The greediness of this Blue-beard might remind one still of Hercules only I do not remember that the appetite of Hercules is anywhere said to have hurried him to such excess.<9> Saturn too only devoured his children; he is never I think said to have swallowed Ops. <10>

I see no difficulty whatever in the legendary features mixt up with the real history of the Lydian Kings, when we consider that Hercules was the reputed founder of the earlier dynasty: nor do I see any need of your conjecture about the deity of Crœsus,except for the explanation of the Etruscan Vase. <11> But I must own that I think it doubtful whether the artist can have been better acquainted with the name, as that of the god – if there was such a one – than with that of the king. And since at all events the King must have been known by that name, its appearance would have been still an exception to the rule which you mention, as to which I am not sufficiently informed to offer any opinion. But I could not admit that connexion which you suppose between Κροισος & Χρυσος unless I were better satisfied as to the aspirate. Your instances of Κορδαξ– Χορδη & Κρονος – Χρονος seem to me at least as disputable as those in question. I see no reason to suppose that Κορδαξ was derived from Χορδη. The verb Ελκειν may I should think have been used to describe that kind of motion which I have seen in many comic dances, in which the feet are as it were pulled up. As little can I perceive any necessity for connecting κρονος etymologically with χρονος.

I do not know whether you are acquainted with Welcker’s <12> ingenious essay on Arion in the Rhenish Museum <13> where he conjectures that the story took its rise from a passage in one of Arion’s Odes. <14>

I am My dear Sir Yours very truly
C Thirlwall


1. Friedrich Wilhelm Schneidewin (1810–1856), classical scholar.

2. [See Doc. No: 05904].

3. The Greek name for the Lydian king Sadyattes. [See Doc. No: 05904].

4. Hephaistion (356–324 BC.), friend of Alexander the Great; and Photius ( ca.810–893), Byzantine scholar. The famed Library of Photius comprises extracts and abridgements of classical authors, made by Photius. He covered the writing of Ptolemy Hephaestion in Codex 190.

5. Herodotus ( ca.484–425 BC), Greek historian.

6. Nysia was the wife of the Lydian king Candaules (see note 3). the friend of Herodotus was Plesirrhous who loved a woman called Nysia from a family of Halicarnassus; Plesirrhous hanged himself when thwarted in love.

7. Camblitas was a legendary king of Lydia.

8. Damascenus (1st century BC), ‘One of the inquirers into early society’.

9. La Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard) is the subject of a folk tale by Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Bluebeard kills successive wives until his last wife uncovers the secret and he is slain. Hercules was generally not known for greed, except in the matter of the 50 daughters of Thespius , whom he 'enjoyed' while a guest of Thespius. The association between Camblitas, Bluebeard and Hercules is that Camblitas killed and ate his wife, unlike Hercules known for his appetite not for killing wives and unlike Bluebeard known for killing wives not for eating them.

10. Roman goddess of fertility; wife of Saturn.

11. Crœsus, last king of Lydia (reigned ca.560–546 BC), renowned for his great wealth. Etruscan vase. There is in the Louvre an Etruscan vase from Italy, but of Greek manufacture, showing King Croesus on his funeral pyre (see note to Doc. No: 05904). WHFT has probably referred to an Etruscan vase of this type in support of his argument.

12. Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker (1784–1868), pioneer archaeologist, who insisted that study of Greek religion and art should be coordinated with that of philology.

13. The Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, founded in 1827 and the oldest scientific journal for classical studies.

14. Semi–legendary Greek poet and musician ( fl. ca.625 BC). [See Doc. No: 05899].

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