Calchas Greek Mythology
Calchas was the son the Thestor of Megara and the grandson of Idmor. He was the prophet in the Ilias (War of Troy) written by Homeros. He was consulted by the Greeks when they felt helpless and needed advice. He was described by Homeros as the wisest one regarding the reading of bird movements in order to visualize the past, present and future.
Calchas predicted that the war would last for nine years and would end in the tenth year. He predicted this before the Greeks left for Troy. He deduced this from the fact that a couple of Greek soldiers saw a snake eating a bird and it’s young.
In Aulis, he also predicted that Iphigenia (the daughter of Agamemnon) had to be sacrificed to the goddess Artemis. This had to be done in order for the Greeks to get an advantageous direction of the wind that would enable them to sail to Troy.
During the tenth year of the war, Calchas predicted that the fury of Apollo could only be diminished if Agamemnon gave his priestess Chryseis back to her father.
Calchas was asked for an advice every time by the Greek army at base near Troy, if there were important decisions that had to be made. Because of this, his influence became so great that even the vicious Odysseus was not able to compare himself against him.
After the Troy was conquered, he moved with Amphilochos (Son of Amphiaraos) away to Colophon. A contest in predictions was held in Colophon.
There, a prediction was made that said he would die if a prophet who is able to best him by his wisdom is found. They did a test to compare their powers and wisdom. Both predictors had to say the total number of figs hanging on a tree. Calchas estimated that a total of 10 thousand figs are on the tree.
Mopsos (the grandson of Tiresias) was claiming that there was one more fig on the tree. When the counting was done, Mopsos was the one who got it right. It’s said that Calchas killed himself as he died because of sorrow.
Another version of the story says that the item of the contest was a pregnant
swine. Calchas was not able to guess how many piglet the swine would give birth to and what color these would be. But Mopsos was able to guess it.
A third version of the story says that Mopson made a prediction to Calchas while he was planting grapevines. He told him that he would never be able to taste the wine. Later, Calchas invited Mopsos to drink the first wine together. At that moment Mopsus repeated his prediction.
Calchas kept laughing and laughing. His laughter lasted for ever and as a result he was never able to taste his wine. After his death, Calchas was buried in Italy where he had an oracle.
Anybody who wanted to consult it had to sacrifice a black goat to him and had to sleep on its skin in the temple of Calchas. Then he was able to see what he wanted to know. It was told to him via the dream.