Phoenodamas has a name that literally means 'blood-red tamer' from phoinos (as for Phoenix) and damao, 'to tame'. This means he was a 'subduer of slaughter'. His story involves Hesione. Poseidon had sent a sea monster to punish Laomedon, Hesione's father, for failing to pay his fees when the walls of Troy were built and when Poseidon and Apollo tended his flocks.

To appease the two gods, and as advised by an oracle, Laomedon tied Hesione to a rock as a sacrifice. However, he did not do so readily, and at first tried to force Phoenodamas to sacrifice one οf his daughters, who had been kept safely at home. Phoenodamas made a careful speech saying that Laomedon was the one to blame.

To decide the matter, they cast lots - and Laomedon lost. (Hesione was tied to the rock but was rescued by Heracles.) Later, Laomedon killed Phoenodamas and sold his three daughters to Sicilian merchants. Aphrodite, however, rescued them from this fate.

The moral of this rather lengthy story about a minor character is that Phoenodamas chose to talk rather than to commit himself to a murderous act - in other words he was the 'dove' to Laomedon's 'hawk'. And although he lost his own life, neither Hesione nor his own daughters were sacrificed, as they might otherwise have been.