Famous spearman Idomeneus led the Cretans
from Cnossus, fortified Gortyn, Lyctus, Miletus,
chalky Lycastus, from Phaestus and Rhytium,
both populous towns, with other warriors
from Crete's hundred cities. Idomeneus,
famous for fighting with a spear, led these troops,
along with Meriones, as skilled at killing men
as Ares, god of war. They brought eighty black ships.

Homer, Iliad.

Meriones and Idomeneus , Tabula Iliaca

In Greek mythology, Meriones was the charioteer, the half-nephew, Molus (was his father) and brother-in-arms of Idomeneus during the Trojan War. Like Teucer, he was a famous archer.

Iliad Book 23, about Merione's "wonderful shot"

Powerful lord Teucer then got up, and Meriones,   
courageous attendant to lord Idomeneus.
They took lots and shook them in a helmet made of bronze.   

Teucer's lot gave him first attempt.  He fired an arrow,
a powerful shot, but he'd made no promise
to Apollo that he'd give a splendid offering
of new born lambs.  So he failed to hit the bird

Apollo wouldn't give him that.  But he hit the cord
tethering the bird near its foot and cut it.
The keen arrow sliced right through.  The dove escaped,
flying up into the sky, chord dangling down
towards the ground.  Achaeans then all cheered the shot.
But Meriones quickly snatched the bow from Teucer.  

He'd been holding an arrow ready for some time,
as Teucer aimed.  He offered up a rapid prayer
to Apollo, the far shooter, promising
he'd make a splendid sacrifice of new-born lambs.
He saw the trembling dove high up, under the clouds.
As she circled there, he shot her through the middle,
under the wing.  The arrow passed straight through, falling
back to earth again.  It struck by Meriones' foot.
The dove fluttered to the mast of the dark-prowed ship,
her head hung down, her wings drooped, as life    

fled quickly from her limbs.  She fell from the mast
a long way to the ground.  The crowd looked on amazed.
So Meriones carried off ten double axes, 
while Teucer took back to his hollow ships
the single-bladed ones.

Meriones' Wonderful Shot. Hubbell.

Menelaus and Meriones with Patroclus, MAN Firenze

Ovid XIII, 358.

Meriones is also the name of a genus of jirds, including the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus), which is the most frequent gerbil species in pet stores in the United States.

Mythology Images

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