Roulette Checkmate

Laodice, the most beautiful daughter of Priam

Homer mentions only one of 12 of Priam’s married daughters, Laodice who he states is also the daughter of Hecuba. The other daughter he mentions is Cassandra. Polyxena and Kreousa are mentioned elsewhere as the daughters of Hecuba. Laodice is described as the fairest of Priam’s daughters. Laodice refers to Helen as her junior even though Helen is probably 34 years old. Laodice seems to be older than Helen and yet she is more beautiful than Cassandra, who might be eighteen at the same time. When she is given to Agamemnon Cassandra is the most beautiful Trojan woman among the captives.

Before the Trojan war Acamas, son of Theseus, and Diomedes journed to Troy to try to recover Helen through diplomatic means. They also tried to recover Aethra, mother of Theseus, who was a slave of Helen. Laodice was not yet married and she fell in love with Acamas. She snuck into the bed of Acamas where he impregnated her. She became pregnant and the boy, Munitus was the result. Munitus was raised by his great grand-mother, Aethra who was with Helen in Troy.

The Iliad mentions Laodice as the wife of Helicaon. A black-figure hydra shows Helicaon as a victim of the war but in the “Little Iliad” he is rescued by Odysseus on the night of Troy’s fall. Antenor, the father of Helicaon, was known for his piety, and was sympathetic to the Greeks. One would have expected that Laodice would have escaped as well. Laodice feared she might become one of the captive women and she prayed to the gods. On the night of the fall of Troy she was swallowed up in a chasm that opened on the earth.
There is no information on which deity she prayed to but Persephone seemed to have provided the chasm. As interesting as it might seem, there is no information on what happened after she was swallowed. The assumption is that she was transported alive to Hades. But very few left Hades alive.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.26.6 states:

“Not only have I seen this armour depicted by Polygnotus, but in the temple of Ephesian Artemis Calliphon of Samos has painted women fitting on the gyala of the corselet of Patroclus.

Beyond the altar he has painted Laodice standing, whom I do not find among the Trojan captive women enumerated by any poet, so I think that the only probable conclusion is that she was set free by the Greeks. Homer in the Iliad speaks of the hospitality given to Menelaus and Odysseus by Antenor, and how Laodice was wife to Helicaon, Antenor’s son.