Accrete (conjoint) twins and triplets


Cteatus - Eurytus and Geryon


By Dr Tsoukandas G. Athanassios


Extensive summary


Accrete twins and conjoint triplets are already known from ancient Greek scripts (Hesiod, Euripides, Aeschylus, Homer, Plato, Pindar, Ibykus, Pausanias, Lucian, Apollodοrus, confront also Frayser, 1921), as well as from many artistic representations. That is about 3000 years before the “Siamese” twins, born by Chinese parents, became widely known by the mid of the 18th century in California where they finally migrated. According to the ancient Greek writers and traditions, the first accrete twins were Cteatus and Eurytus (sons of Actor and Moliona, nephews of king Augeia), while the triplet one was Geryon (grand son of Ocean). The first two are also known as Actorides or Molionides (Actoridae or Molionidae).

The fact that Hercules extinguished all of the above accretes (Actoridae and Geryon) is an issue that must be further analysed and investigated. Probably it is related to that ancient Greeks considered them a bad omen from gods, and that only the hero of Virtue and Courage could affront the symphyts.

Contrarily to the Greeks, the ancient tradition of people from India considered accretes as a good sing from gods. To our opinion this is due to that the ancient Hindu point of view (ideology) was fatalistic.

Also, the fact that in ancient Greek world the accretes were kept alive, delighted even by special military training, although considered as a bad god’s omen, it is probably due to their kindly rich families.  

Besides the above, there is a written chronicle of separating accrete twins from Armenia during the 10th century at Constantinople. Byzantine doctors achieved separating them by surgery when one of them died and the other survived for another three more days (see for details Koukoules - 1955, Lascaratos - 1984 and Karaberopoulos - 2004). 

 Chaviara (2006), proposed to call the “Siamese” also as Moliona’s Children, since the latter are known before the twins from China. However, because the Molionides or Actorides are very little known, such a reference for the moment may be considered as unmanageable (being always the Homeric Molionides or Actorides more plausible). Thus, from a purely medical point of view it is proposed to use the term of symphyts (accrete) twins or triplets etc.   



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