Storie di Linceo

Un eroe oxyderkes tra mito e modelli culturali

Damiano Fermi    Independent Scholar    



The article reviews the testimonies on Lynceus, son of Aphareus, a ‘minor’ Greek hero, renowned in Antiquity for his extraordinarily penetrating gaze. I focus on the characteristics attributed to this superpower (vision from afar and through solid surfaces) and the areas in which it operates (heroic combat, navigation, art of discovering veins of ore). Through the analysis of the texts, I try to bring out some important cultural models, connected in the mythical narrative with the ὀξυδερκία: since this topic is widespread in the international oral tradition, I found it useful to compare literary data with folklore parallels. In order to grasp further facets of this phenomenon, the case of Lynceus is considered against the background of other characters with extraordinarily sharp eyesight (be it gods, heroes or animals), to finally trace in the Grimm’s fairy tale nr. 71 a significant moment of the motif’s fortune outside classical Greece.

June 30, 2020
April 9, 2020
Nov. 18, 2019

Keywords: ArgonautsSupernatural powerApharetidaiInvisibilitySharp sightPrecious metalsGreek mythGreek heroCypriaLynceusFolk-taleLynx-eyed

Copyright: © 2020 Damiano Fermi. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.