A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Κέρκωπες), droll and thievish gnomes who play a part in the story of Heracles. Their number is commonly stated to have been two, but their names are not the same in all accounts,--either Olus and Eurybatus, Sillus and Triballus, Passalus and Aclemon, Andulus and Atlantus, or Candulus and Atlas. (Suidas, s. vv.; Schol. ad Lucian. Alex. 4; Tzetz. Chil. 5.75.) Diodorus (4.31), however, speaks of a greater number of Cercopes. They are called sons of Theia, the daughter of Oceanus; they annoyed and robbed Heracles in his sleep, but they were taken prisoners by him, and either given to Omphale, or killed, or set free again. (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 91.) The place in which they seem to have made their first appearance, was Thermopylae (Hdt. 7.216), but the comic poem Κέρκωπες, which bore the name of Homer, probably placed them at Oechalia in Euboea, whereas others transferred them to Lydia (Suid. s. v. Εὐρύβατος), or the islands called Pithecusae, which derived their name from the Cercopes who were changed into monkeys by Zeus for having cunningly deceived him. (Ov. Met. 14.90, &c.; Pomp. Mela, 2.7; compare Müller, Dor. 2.12.10; Hüllmann, De Cyclop. et Cercop. 1824; Rigler, De Hercule et Cercop., Cologne, 1825, &100.4to.)