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DrakōnDragon Myth and Serpent Cult in the Greek and Roman Worlds$
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Daniel Ogden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557325.001.0001

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Fights with Kētē, Sea-Serpents

Fights with Kētē, Sea-Serpents

(p.116) 3 Fights with Kētē, Sea-Serpents

Daniel Ogden

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 turns to the drakontes’ marine cousins, the kētē or ‘sea serpents.’ These present a methodological difficulty for us insofar as, despite their serpentine nature, the term drakōn is seldom applied to them. Nonetheless, they earn a place in this study by virtue of a series of specific points of correspondence with drakontes in their narrative roles. The key cases here are the highly similar ones of the Kētos of Troy, from which Heracles rescues Hesione, and the Kētos of Ethiopia, from which Perseus rescues Andromeda. These creatures are further bound in with the drakontes by virtue of two striking cross-over cases: that of the Scylla encountered by Odysseus. She seems to have morphed over the course of her tradition from a drakōn into a kētos; and that of the drakōn-pair sent against Laocoon, who contrive to combine, in their confused tradition, behaviours and narrative roles associated both with drakontes and with kētē.

Keywords:   Kētos, sea monster, Troy, Heracles, Hesione, Ethiopia, Perseus, Andromeda, Syclla, Odysseus, Laocoon

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