Aristomenes was the legendary hero of the Messenian wars who led resistence against Sparta and yet, despite a full account of his heroic deeds by Pausanias, is now almost forgotten. This detailed study, which is based on a close reading of Pausanias and other sources, seeks to reinstate Aristomenes to his rightful place in ancient legend as well as reaffirm the importance of his story for Messenian history. After a discussion of Pausanias' sources and his use of them, Daniel Ogden looks at what type of hero Aristomenes was, finding him to have had a comic and sometimes ludicrous side. Aristomenes' heroic regalia, such as his magical shield, his frequent visits to the underworld, and the relation of his story to others from Messenia are also discussed in detail in this study which demonstrates the ways in which history, myth and literature fuse. Extensive Greek extracts are presented in the notes while the main body of the text presents English translations.
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