In the sixth book of the Iliad, Homer recounts the story of Bellerophon, a handsome young man of noble blood who visits King Proteus in Argos. The king’s wife Anteia falls in love with their guest and tries to seduce him, but when Bellerophon refuses to play along, she quickly turns the tables on him. Anteia announces to her husband that the young man has assaulted her, and the king is forced to take action. Unwilling to pollute his own hands with the murder of a guest, Proteus sends Bellerophon away with a sealed message in his hands to deliver to Anteia’s father, the king of Lycia (Il. 6. 167-70):

He rejected the idea of killing him, since he had an honorable heart;

instead he sent him to Lycia and gave him a grim message to take along,

writing down many things in the folded tablets, things that would destroy a man’s soul;

he commanded Bellerophon to show them to Anteia’s father, plotting to have him killed.