This daimon lives in the forests of Mt. Oeta and Othrys in
Malis. Usually he is described as the son of Oreios (the Mountain) and married
to Hamadryas. His daughters are the famed Hamadryads. He is mentioned by
Athenaeus in the Deipnosophistae in passing, and credits the lore to
Pherenikos. Each of his daughters was associated with a different tree: Carya
(walnut), Balanus (oak), Craneia (cornel), Morea (mulberry), Aegeirus (poplar),
Ptelea (elm), Ampelus (vine), and Syke (fig).
Ephorus tells us that Oxylus travelled from Aetolia to Elis,
and founded the city of Elis. This Oxylus is a heroic figure, whose statue stood in
the agora, and there was an old tomb there that was said to belong to him.
Another Oxylus was from Aetolia, descended from Endymion and
Aetolus. He had lost an eye to an arrow, and he met the Heraclidae. The
Heraclidae had been to Delphi where the Oracle had given them a cryptic
message, and Oxylus seemed to fulfill it. They declared him their leader. The
new chief told them that they should be successful in battle if they became a
naval force. So it was that the Heraclidae built their fleet at Naupactus.
Strabo tells us that Oxylus and the Heraclidae established the original
Olympian Games. Oxylus was credited with killing either Thermius (his brother)
or Alcidocus with a discus on accident. When the Heraclidae had found him, he
was in exile for the murder.
His son Aetolus (whom Oxylus had with Pieria) died at a young age, and an
oracle warned them to bury him neither in nor outside of Elis. Thus it was that
they buried him under the gate that lead toward Olympia. Pausanias mentions
that there were sacrifices offered to the boy annually. Dryope, a beautiful
princess who caught Apollo’s eye, was the daughter-in-law of Oxylus, being married
to his son Andraemon.
As a hero, Oxylus seems to have something of the wiley Odysseus.
As a daimon, we know very little of the being, it seems.
There are no mountains here where I live, though the forest is broad and healthy. Who knows? Maybe I can find a little bit of Oxylus’ spirit when I walk amidst the trees nonetheless.
Athanaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophists,
Loeb Classical Series, trans. Charles Burton Gulick, Harvard, 1927.
Niebuhr, Barthold Georg The Greek Heroes,
Cassell & Co. 1910.
Page, D.L. Further Greek Epigrams,
Scanton, Thomas F. Eros and Greek
Athletics, Oxford, 2002.
Schmidt, Joel. Larousse Greek and Roman
Mythology, McGraw-Hill, 1980.
Smith, William. A Dictionary of Greek and
Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. 1, Murray, 1880.
Wordsworth, Christopher. “The Pagasean Gulf and Mount
Othrys,” Greece Pictorial, Descriptive
and Historical, and a History of the Characteristics of Greek Art, John
Murray, 1882. Via wikicommons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Pagasean_Gulf_and_Mount_Othrys_-_Wordsworth_Christopher_-_1882.jpg