An engraving of the Triton rising out of the sea and handing Euphemus a clod of earth on the Argo.
The Triton gives Euphemus a piece of earth as a sign that his successors will rule in Libya.
Credit: Joseph Anton Koch, engraver. Bibliothèque nationale de France. Public domain.

Euphemus

In the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, Euphemus was a member of the Argonauts, the group of heroic adventurers who set out on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. His role in the myth is not as prominent as some other members, but he had an interesting episode during the voyage.

According to the Argonautica, an ancient Greek epic poem by Apollonius of Rhodes, Euphemus was the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. This divine parentage endowed him with unique abilities related to water and the sea.

During the Argonauts’ journey, they reached the island of Lemnos. The Lemnian women inhabited this island, and they had recently killed all their male relatives due to an oracle’s prophecy. When the Argonauts arrived, they were welcomed by the Lemnian women, and Euphemus became involved in a romantic encounter.

However, the Lemnian women were barren, and Euphemus was informed by an oracle that he needed to throw a clod of earth into the sea to impregnate them. Following the oracle’s advice, he did as instructed, and the women conceived, giving rise to the new generation of Lemnian men.

Euphemus’ divine parentage and the act of making the Lemnian women fertile were notable events during the Argonauts’ voyage, but beyond this particular episode, he is not often mentioned in the later parts of the myth. The focus of the tale generally remains on Jason, Medea, and their quest for the Golden Fleece. Nevertheless, Euphemus’ brief involvement contributes to the richness and diversity of the characters in the overall narrative.

Footnotes

More about Ephumus on Wikipedia.

This character’s name shares the origin with the world “euphemism”.

Euphemism comes from the Greek word euphemia (εὐφημία) which refers to the use of ‘words of good omen’; it is a compound of  (εὖ), meaning ‘good, well’, and phḗmē (φήμη), meaning ‘prophetic speech; rumour, talk’.[3] Eupheme is a reference to the female Greek spirit of words of praise and positivity, etc. The term euphemism itself was used as an euphemism by the ancient Greeks; with the meaning “to keep a holy silence” (speaking well by not speaking at all). name with t

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