In Greek mythology, Philammon (Ancient Greek: Φιλάμμων) was an excellent musician, a talent he received from his father Apollo.
Generally Philammon is named a son of Apollo and Chione; Chione being a daughter of Daedalion. Occasionally, Philammon's mother is named as Leuconoe, daughter of the Morning Star, Heosphoros.
Where Chione is named though, Philammon is thus twin brother of Autolycus, although by different fathers, for it was said that Hermes and Apollo both slept with Chione on the same night.
Hyginus deviates from the common sources and suggests that Philammon was the son of Hephaestus; although, he does point out that Philammon might be the son of Apollo.
Philammon was unnaturally beautiful and thus, one of the nymphs (Argiope) seduced the youth and became pregnant. But Philammon refused to take her into his house as his wife and for being ashamed of the pregnancy, the girl left Peloponnese and came to the Akte (shore) where she gave birth to a boy, Thamyris.
Then again, other sources state that Philammon was actually married to a nymph of Mount Parnassus (Argiope), by whom he had two children, Eumolpus and Thamyis.
What is more, Philammon was said to have established the tradition of the hymns celebrating the births of Artemis and Apollo, written by himself, being performed by choruses of girls at Delphi.
He was the second winner of the most ancient singing contest at Delphi (aka, a musical contest at the Phythian Games), after Chrysothemis and before his son Thamyris. Some ascribe to him the foundation of the Lernaean mysteries.
In regards to the Lernaean Mysteries we know the following:
Lerna was one of the entrances to the Underworld, and the ancient Lernaean Mysteries, sacred to Demeter, were celebrated there. Pausanias (2.37.1) says that the mysteries were initiated by Philammon, the twin "other" of Autolycus. Heroes could gain entry to the netherworld via the Alcyonian Lake. Prosymnus aided Dionysus in his search for his mother Semele by guiding him to this entrance. For mortals the lake was perilous; Pausanias writes:
There is no limit to the depth of the Alcyonian Lake, and I know of nobody who by any contrivance has been able to reach the bottom of it since not even Nero, who had ropes made several stades long and fastened them together, tying lead to them, and omitting nothing that might help his experiment, was able to discover any limit to its depth. This, too, I heard. The water of the lake is, to all appearance, calm and quiet but, although it is such to look at, every swimmer who ventures to cross it is dragged down, sucked into the depths, and swept away.
And... the keeper of the gate to the Underworld that lay in the waters of Lerna was the Hydra.
Finally, Philammon was said to have some heroic attributes as well; and this resulted in him being named as one of the Argonauts, although not by any of the main sources. In these less common sources, Orpheus is normally replaced with Philammon.
These same heroic attributes are also to be seen when the death of Philammon is described, for the musician was said to have died in the defence of Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi was it was attacked and plundered by the Phlegyans
Ovid, Metamorphoses, XI, 317.
Hyginus, Fabulae, 200
Hyginus, Fabulae, 161
Bibliotheca 1. 3. 3.
Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4. 33. 3
Conon, Narrations 7
Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 4.33.3
Pseudo-Plutarch, De Musica, 3
Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10. 7. 2
Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2. 37. 2
Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 23
Corinthian Lerna was a summer resort near Corinth.
Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 3rd ed. 1922:334
Homer, Iliad [Iliad x.423] and [Iliad vi.171]
Homer, Odyssey [xii.261]
Strabo, Geography 8.6.8.
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