Theiodamas, king of the Dryopes, father of Hylas by the nymph Menodice (daughter of Orion). The Dryopians at the time residing in the land of Dryopis between Mount Parnassus and the Sperchius River, a land that would at a later time be known as Doris.

The Bibliotheca and Apollonius Rhodius relate of him that one day when he was working the land with a plough pulled by two bulls, he encountered Heracles.

Some tell of Theiodamas being the owner of two prized bulls that he would use to plough his land. A hungry Heracles would enter the land of Dryopis and to sate his hunger, Heracles would kill one of the bulls and eat it. When an angry Theiodamas confronted Heracles, the Greek hero struck down the king, killing him.

A very similar story is told of Heracles killing a farmer at Lindus on the island of Rhodes as he ploughed his field, and this farmer is also occasionally named Theiodamas.

Having killed Theiodamas Heracles was said to have taken Hylas, and made the youth his arms bearer, before going to visit his friend Ceyx. Subsequently, Heracles and Ceyx would return to Dryopis at the head of an army, and the Dryopians were subsequently driven out of their lands to spread into other areas of ancient Greece.

Later tales offer up justification for the actions of Heracles in murdering Theiodamas. One story tells of Theiodamas and Heracles being at loggerheads not because of the killing of a bull, but because Heracles had slept with Theiodamas’ wife, Menodice, and perhaps fathered Hylas by her.

A more common version of the Theiodamas story tells of how it was not a hungry Heracles in need of food but his young son Hyllus, for Heracles, Deianira and Hyllus, along with a small band of followers had arrived in Dryopis.

Heracles would ask Theiodamas for food for his son, but Theiodamas was said to have refused, and raised his army to force Heracles and his followers from Theiodamas’ kingdom. Greatly outnumbered, Heracles and his followers took up their arms, and even Deianira put on armour, and whilst leading his army, Theiodamas was slain by Heracles.

To give further explanation for the lack of hospitality of Theiodamas, it was then said that the Dryopians were a warlike and wicked race, who even had the impiety to attack the temples of the Delphic Oracle. Thus Heracles was charged by Apollo to rid the land of the Dryopians, hence why Heracles and Ceyx brought an army to Dryopis to drive out the inhabitants.

The Other "Theiodamas"

Theiodamas of Lydia, father of Dresaeus by the nymph Neaera. His son was a defender of Troy in the Trojan War and was killed by Polypoetes, son of Pirithous.

Theiodamas, a seer, son of Melampus. He followed Adrastus in the campaign of the Seven Against Thebes and was chosen to replace Amphiaraus, who had been swallowed up by the earth, and the leader of a night attack, proposed by him himself on divine inspiration, on sleeping Thebans surrounding the Argive camp after the latter's death.


Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 1213 with scholia on 1. 1207

Hyginus, Fabulae, 14

Propertius, Elegies, 1. 20. 6

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 1213 - 1219

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 7. 7

Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy, 1. 291 ff

Statius, Thebaid, 8,271-341; 8,365 ff; 10,160-346

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