Busiris and Bremusa

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Busiris, also called Bousiris, is an Egyptian king who features in several Greek myths and legends. He took his name from a city called ḏdw in its native language (pronounced Djedu), a major necropolis and center of Osiris worship. The name thus derives from Osiris, whose etymology is unknown. The original Egyptian form of the name is Asar.

Busiris was one of Aegyptus’s 50 sons, all but one of whom were killed on their wedding night by the Danaides. The myth about the Danaides, the 50 daughters of King Danaus (Aegyptus’s brother), is pretty refreshing! Too many myths feature only huge amounts of sons, as though it’s impossible for anyone to ever have a girl, or like it’s realistic for everyone to only have boy after boy after boy.

Busiris was described by Isocrates as a villainous king and the founder of Ancient Egyptian civilisation. He was the son of Poseidon and Anippe, and maternal grandson of river god Nilus. He had a model constitution which Isocrates used as a parodied contrast to Plato’s Republic. He sacrificed all his visitors, until Hercules showed up during his Eleventh Labor, the quest for golden apples. Hercules escaped his shackles at the last minute and killed Busiris.

Busiris is also claimed as the founder of the line of kings of Thebes (i.e., the Eleventh Dynasty). He also appears as the leader of a revolt in Roman satirist Lucian’s True History, parodies of travel stories.

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5

Bremusa was born in 1204 BCE in Themiskyra, and was one of the twelve Amazonian warriors who fought with Queen Penthesilea during the Trojan War. The Amazons were on the Trojans’ side, and came to rescue them from the Greeks. Before reaching Troy itself, however, Queen Penthesilea needed to purify herself for the accidental killing of her sister Hippolyta.

Troy was in mourning for Hector, who’d been slain by Achilles. Thus, the sight of the Amazons came as a most welcome relief, particularly to King Priam, who promised to reward Queen Penthesilea richly. King Priam put the Amazons up in his palace for the night.

Next morning, the Amazons went into battle and fought as well as any male army, but all but one of them perished. Queen Penthesilea herself was beaten to death by Achilles, and Bremusa was killed by Cretan commander Idomeneus. She uttered a last gasp of life as the spear entered her right breast.

Epic poet Kointos Smyrnaios (Quintus Smyrnaeus) compared Bremusa’s perishing to an ash tree felled by a woodcutter’s axe, with a dry roar.

The name Bremusa means “raging female.”

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6 comments on “Busiris and Bremusa

  1. Busiris got around didn’t he! Sacrificing one’s visitors is not very hospitable.
    I get the feeling there are a lot of raging female’s around at the moment given some people’s ideas of a woman’s place. Maybe the name Bremusa should make a comeback. 🙂
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves

  2. Nick Wilford says:

    Sounds like they both had eventful lives! I think both could do with a comeback.

  3. clicksclan says:

    Bremusa sounds like a name I should adopt soon. I’m getting ready for a frozen embryo transfer and the meds I’ll be on turn me into a ‘raging female’, hehe.

    Cait @ Click’s Clan

  4. Eva says:

    New names for me! I agree about the 50 daughters, refreshing!

    —–
    EvaMail Adventures
    B is for: Bank. Have you ever received a postcard featuring… a branch of a bank?

  5. jazzfeathers says:

    Both myth are familiar to me. I particularly like the one about the Amazons. I’m not normally a fan of the trope of the Amazon, but these ancient incarnations have a particular charme.
    Well, maybe it’s just me 😉

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

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