Idmon and Mopsus guided by Apollo
Idmon and Mopsus guided by Apollo.
Credit: Various artists. 1664. The Met. Public domain.

Idmon and Mopsus

The seers

In the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, Idmon and Mopsus were both seers and could interpret omens and predict future events. Their presence bolstered the expedition’s ability to navigate safely and make informed decisions during their perilous journey for the Golden Fleece. However, they both suffered tragic deaths.

Idmon

Idmon was a seer and the son of Apollo, the god of prophecy and healing. Idmon foresaw his own death in the Argonaut expedition but joined anyway. During the outbound voyage of the Argo, a boar killed him while the crew was hunting for food and provisions.

Mopsus

Mopsus was able to understand the language of birds, having learned augury from Apollo.

Mopsus is particularly known for his encounter with another Argonaut, Amphiaraus, who was also a seer and a clairvoyant. The two seers engaged in a friendly competition to showcase their divinatory talents. Amphiaraus threw a spear into the ground and declared that whoever could make it stand upright with their own spear would be the greater seer. Mopsus achieved this feat, proving his exceptional abilities.

While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsus died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa’s blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.

Ovid places him also at the hunt of the Calydonian Boar, although the hunt occurred after the Argonauts’ return and Mopsus’ supposed death.

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