A son of Hermes or Daedalion by Chione, Philonis, or Telauge.1 He was the husband of Neaera,2 or according to Homer,3 of Amphithea, by whom he became the father of Anticleia, the mother of Odysseus and Aesimus.
He had his residence on Mount Parnassus, and was renowned among men for his cunning and oaths.4 Once when he came to Ithaca as a guest, the nurse placed his newly-born grandson on his knees, and he gave the child the name Odysseus. Afterwards, when Odysseus was staying with him, he was wounded by a boar during the chase on Parnassus, and it was by the scar of this wound that Odysseus was subsequently recognized by his aged nurse, when he returned from Troy.5
Polymede, the mother of Jason, was, according to Apollodorus, a daughter of this Autolycus, and the same writer6 not only describes him as the teacher of Heracles in the art of wrestling, but mentions him among the Argonauts; the latter of which statements arose undoubtedly from a confusion of this Autolycus with the Thessalian of the same name (see Autolycus).
Autolycus is very famous in ancient story as a successful robber, who had even the power of metamorphosing both the stolen goods and himself.7
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 9.16; Hyginus. Fabulae, 201; Eustathius on Homer, p. 804.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece viii, 4.3.
- Odyssey xix, 394 ff.
- Comp. Hyginus, l.c.; Ovid. Metamorphoses xii, 311.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 8.4; Ovid. Metamorphoses xii, 295 ff.; Hyginus. Fabulae, 200.
- The Library ii, 4.9.
- Homer. Iliad x, 267; Hyginus. Fabulae, 201; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 6.2; Strabo. Geography ix, 439; Eustathius on Homer, p. 408; Servius on Virgil's Aeneid ii, 79.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.