Pandarus

Pandarus

In Homer's "Iliad", Pandarus or Pandaros is a famous archer and the son of Lycaon. Pandarus, who fights on the side of Troy in the Trojan War, first appears in Book Two of the Iliad. In Book Four, he shoots Menelaus and wounds him with an arrow, sabotaging a truce that could potentially have led to the peaceful return of Helen of Troy. He is goaded into breaking the truce by the gods, who wish for the destruction of Troy. He then wounds Diomedes with an arrow and acts as Aeneas' charioteer. He is later killed by Diomedes by having his spear strike him in the face, severing his tongue.

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem "Troilus and Criseyde" (1370), Pandarus is an active go-between between his niece Criseyde and the Trojan prince Troilus, the younger brother of Paris and Hector. Troilus pines for Criseyde from afar. This love story is not part of classical Greek mythology, but was created in the twelfth century. Both Pandarus and other characters in the medieval story who have names from the "Iliad" are quite different from Homer's characters of the same name.

William Shakespeare used the medieval story again in his play "Troilus and Cressida" (1609). Shakespeare's Pandarus is more of a bawd than Chaucer's, and he is a lecherous and degenerate individual.

The plot function of Pandarus in Chaucer's and especially Shakespeare's famous works has given rise to the English words "to pander", meaning to further other people's illicit amours, and "a pander" (in later usage "a panderer"), a person who does this. The strong pejorative connotations of "pander" apparently come less from Chaucer's well-meaning young Pandarus than from Shakespeare's cynical uncle figure who concludes the play's epilogue by wishing upon the audience all his many diseases. "A panderer" is, specifically, a bawd — a male who arranges access to female sexual favors, the manager of prostitutes. Thus, in law, the charge of "pandering" is an accusation that an individual has sold the sexual services of another.

Pandarus is also the name of a companion of Aeneas in Virgil's "Aeneid".

Pandarus is not to be confused with Pandareus.


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  • Pandărus — (P. Leach.), Untergattung der Fischlaus, s.d. f) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pandarus — [pan′də rəs] n. [L < Gr Pandaros] a leader of the Lycians in the Trojan War: in medieval romances and in Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, he acts as the go between for Troilus and Cressida …   English World dictionary

  • PANDARUS — I. PANDARUS Alcanoris Idaei fil. una cum fratre Bitia a Turno interfectus. Virg. Aen. l. 9. v. 735. Tum Pandarus ingens Emicat, et mortis fraternae fervidus irâ Effatur, etc. II. PANDARUS Lycaonis fil. Homer. Il. δ. iussu Minervae certamen… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Pandarus — /pan deuhr euhs/, n. Class. Myth. a Trojan who attempted to assassinate Menelaus, thereby violating a truce between the Greeks and the Trojans and prolonging the Trojan War: in Chaucerian and other medieval accounts, he is the procurer of… …   Universalium

  • pandarus — ˈpandərəs noun Usage: capitalized Etymology: New Latin, from Latin Pandarus, in Greek mythology leader of the Lycians in the Trojan war, from Greek Pandaros : a genus of fish lice attacking the skin of marine fishes …   Useful english dictionary

  • Pandarus — noun Etymology: Latin, from Greek Pandaros Date: 14th century a Lycian archer in the Trojan War who in medieval legend procures Cressida for Troilus …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Pandarus — noun An archer on the side of Troy in the Trojan War who precipitates the war by breaking a truce …   Wiktionary

  • pandarus — pan·da·rus …   English syllables

  • Pandarus — Pan•da•rus [[t]ˈpæn dər əs[/t]] n. myt lit. a Lycian ally of Priam in the Trojan War: in medieval legend, the procurer of Cressida for Troilus …   From formal English to slang

  • Pandarus — /ˈpændərəs/ (say panduhruhs) noun Classical Legend a leader of the Lycians and an ally of the Trojans in the siege of Troy. In Chaucer, other medieval accounts, and Shakespeare, he is represented as the procurer of Cressida for Troilus …   Australian-English dictionary

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