Αιγεστης

Aegestes, or Acestes, was the son of the Sicilian river-god Crimisus and a Trojan woman named Aegesta or Segesta, who received Aeneas and the Trojans hospitably when they reached Sicily. There are a number of different explanations of how this Trojan female deity first arrived in Sicily, so far from her native land. According to Servius, after Laomedon refused to pay the fee he owed to Apollo and Poseidon for building the wall around Troy to gods inflicted calamities on the country: Poseidon sent a sea-monster to lay waste to the land while Apollo caused an epidemic to break out, and, when questioned, made it clear that to banish the epidemic, the youngest generation of noble families must be given up to feed the monster. Many Trojans hastily sent their offspring abroad, and Hippotes, or Hippostratus, entrusted his daughter Aegesta to merchants who brought her to Sicily. There the river-god Crimisus coupled with her in the shape of a dog or a bear and she gave birth to Aegestes who founded the town of Aegestes or Segestes.

According to Lycophron, Aegesta was the daughter of Phoenodamas, a Trojan who advised his fellow-Trojans to give Hesione, the daughter of Laomedon, to the monster. In revenge Laomedon handed over Phoenodamas' three daughters to some sailors with instructions that they should be left out in the open in Sicily where the wild beasts could eat them. Thanks to Aphrodite's intervention the three girls escaped death. One of them, Aegesta, married the river-god Crimisus. In this version, her son, Segestes, founded the three towns of Segestes, Eryx, and Entella. According to one tradition Aegesta, the daughter of Hippotes, returned from Sicily to Troy where she married Capys and gave birth to a son, Anchises.

According to Dionysus of Halicarnassus, a grandfather of Aegesta who quarrelled with Laomedon and roused the Trojans against him was put to death by the king, together with all the male members of his family. Laomedon was reluctant to have the females of the family killed, and gave them to merchants. A young Trojan embarked with them and followed them to Sicily; there he married one of them and fathered Aegestes who was brought up in Sicily and adopted the customs and language of the country. After Troy was attacked, he returned to defend it with Priam's permission, but when the city was lost he went back to Sicily, taking with him Elymus, an illegitimate son of Anchises. Lastly, Strabo says that the companions of Philoctetes helped him to found Segestes.

Another Aegestes was a priest at Lanuvium. After the founding of the city of Alba the images of the Penates, taken to Alba from Lanuvium, kept miraculously returning to Lanuvium. Aegestes was sent from Alba to Lanuvium to practise the worship of the Penates at the place where the gods wished to remain.

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

Table of Sources:
- Virgil, Aen. 1, 195; 550ff.; 5, 36ff.; 711ff.
- Serv. on Virgil, Aen. 1, 550; 5, 30
- Lyc. Alex. 951ff. with Tzetzes on 953; 471
- Dion. Hal. 1, 47, 2; 1, 52, 1ff.; 1, 67
- Strabo 6, 1, 3, p. 254

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