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Palaimon ( Greek  Παλαίμων , Latinized Palaemon) was in Greek mythology Melikertes , the son of Ino , the nurse of Dionysus , who was transformed into a sea deity, who was widely worshiped as a protective harbor god in the Mediterranean region.

Ino and Melikertes were followed by their mad father. In desperation, Ino threw herself into the sea with her son. But they were saved and turned into sea gods. Ino became Leukothea and Melikertes became Palaimon.

According to Pausanias , the body of Melikertes was carried to the Isthmus of Corinth near Schoenus , where Sisyphus found it near a spruce , buried it and erected a heroon with an altar on which a spruce also stood. The Isthmian Games were then held in honor of the hero , at which a black bull sacrifice was brought and a spruce wreath was the prize.

Palaimon was depicted as a beautiful boy who is carried by a dolphin or in the arms of his mother Leukothea to the sea god Poseidon , whom he smiles sweetly at.

Among the Romans, the god of ports was called Portunus or Portumnus.

According to Lycophron , small children were sacrificed to the Palaimon in Tenedos , which is why he was called Brephoktonos ( βρεφοκτόνος “murdering children”). Weizsäcker associated this cult, which is strange for an inherently benevolent deity, with the Phoenician cult of Melkart . The Tyrian Melkart was identified by the Greeks with Heracles , but Palaimon was also an epithet of Heracles (see Heracles Palaimon ). Furthermore, Peukeus ( πεύκη = spruce) are also mentioned in the Lycophron site as the nickname Palaimons , so a connection is established between the child-eating Phoenician Moloch via Melkart to Herakles Melkart, and there from the wrestler Heracles to the wrestler Palaimon, who plays wrestling the most important competition was.


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Individual evidence

  1. Ovid Metamorphoses 4,542ff
  2. Nonnos of Panopolis Dionysiaka 10:67
  3. a b c Eduard Jacobi: Concise Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology, Volume 2. 1830, p. 689 (original digitized in Harvard University, May 22, 2008).
  4. Pausanias 1,44,11; 2.1.3
  5. Lykophron Alexandra 229, cf. the scholia of Johannes Tzetz
  6. Weizsäcker: Palemon In: Roscher 3,1, Sp. 1259f