1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Calchas

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CALCHAS, of Mycenae or Megara, son of Thestor, the most famous soothsayer among the Greeks at the time of the Trojan war. He foretold the duration of the siege of Troy, and, when the fleet was detained by adverse winds at Aulis, he explained the cause and demanded the sacrifice of Iphigeneia. When the Greeks were visited with pestilence on account of Chryseis, he disclosed the reasons of Apollo's anger. It was he who suggested that Neoptolemus and Philoctetes should be fetched from Scyros and Lemnos to Troy, and he was one of those who advised the construction of the wooden horse. When the Greeks, on their journey home after the fall of Troy, were overtaken by a storm, Calchas is said to have been thrown ashore at Colophon. According to another story, he foresaw the storm and did not attempt to return by sea. It had been predicted that he should die when he met his superior in divination; and the prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Mopsus, whom Calchas met in the grove of the Clarian Apollo near Colophon. Having been beaten in a trial of soothsaying, Calchas died of chagrin or committed suicide. He had a temple and oracle in Apulia.

  • Ovid, Metam. xii. 18 ff.
  • Homer, Iliad i. 68, ii. 322.
  • Strabo vi. p. 284, xiv. p. 642.