"This comes to inform you, that after my departure from your coasts in the vessel which you were so kind as to provide me with, I was shipwrecked, and saved with the greatest difficulty by Leucothea, who conveyed me to the country of the Phaeacians, and from thence I got home; where I found a number of suitors about my wife, revelling there at my expense. I destroyed every one of them, and was afterwards slain myself by Telegonus, a son whom I had by Circe. I still lament the pleasures which I left behind at Ogygia, and the immortality which you promised me; if I can ever find an opportunity, I will certainly make my escape from hence, and come to you.", Lucian of Samosata

In Greek mythology, Telegonus (gr. Τηλέγονος, "born afar") was the youngest son of Circe and Odysseus.

When Telegonus grew up, Circe sent him to find Odysseus, who by this time had finally returned to Ithaca from the Trojan War. On his arrival Telegonus began plundering the island, thinking it was Corcyra. Odysseus and his oldest son, Telemachus, defended their city and Telegonus accidentally killed his father with the spine of a stingray. He brought the body back to Aeaea and took Penelope, Odysseus' widow, and Telemachus, Odysseus' son, with him. Circe made them immortal and married Telemachus, while Telegonus made Penelope his wife. With Penelope, he was the father of Italus.

This is the story told in the Telegony, an early Greek epic which does not survive except in a summary, but which was attributed to Eugamon (or Eugammon) of Cyrene and written as a sequel to the Odyssey. Variants to the story are found in later poets: for example, in a tragedy by Sophocles, Odysseus Akanthoplex (which also does not survive), Odysseus finds out from an oracle that he is doomed to be killed by his son. He assumes that this means Telemachus, whom he promptly banishes to a nearby island. When Telegonus arrives on Ithaca, he approaches Odysseus' house, but the guards do not admit him to see his father; a commotion arises, and Odysseus, thinking it is Telemachus, rushes out and attacks. In the fighting he is killed by Telegonus.

In Italian and Roman mythology Telegonus became known as the founder of Tusculum, a city just to the south-east of Rome, and sometimes also as the founder of Praeneste, a city in the same region (modern Palestrina). Ancient Roman poets regularly used phrases such as "walls of Telegonus" or "Circaean walls" to refer to Tusculum.

See also The Odyssey.


Another Telegonus was a king of Egypt who married Io, after she had come to rest from her wandering and found her son Epaphus. (Apollod. ii. 1. § 3.) According to the Scholiast on Euripides (Or. 920) this Telegonus was a son of Epaphus and a brother of Libya.


Another Telegonus was a son of Proteus and Torone and brother of Polygonus, was killed, together with his brother, by Heracles, whom they had challenged to a contest in wrestling. (Apollod. ii. 5. 9)

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