THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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CASSANDRA, in Greek legend, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. She was beloved of Apollo, who promised to bestow on her the spirit of prophecy if she would comply with his desires. Cassandra accepted the proposal; but no sooner had she obtained the gift than she laughed at the tempter, and refused to her promise. Apollo revenged himself by ordaining that her predictions should be discredited (Apollodorus iii. 12. 5); and hence it was in vain that on the arrival of Helen she prophesied the ruin of Troy. On the capture of that city she was ravished by Ajax, the son of Oïleus, in the temple of Minerva (Strabo vi. p. 264). In the distribution of the booty, Cassandra fell to the lot of Agamemnon; but again her foresight was useless, for he would not believe her prediction that he should perish in his own country. The prophecy was fulfilled, for both were slain through the intrigues of Clytaemnestra (Odyssey, xi. 421 ff.). It is to be noticed that there is no mention in Homer of her prophetic gifts. Together with Apollo, she was worshipped under the name of Alexandra.

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Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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