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Ακαστος

The son of Pelias, king of Iolcos, and Anaxibia (Table 21). Acastus took part in the voyage of the Argonauts against his father's wishes, Pelias having conceived the expedition simply as a means of getting rid of Jason whom he regarded as a threat to his throne. Acastus also took part in the hunt for the wild boar of Calydon. After the murder of his father by Medea Acastus reigned in Iolcos.

Acastus played an indirect part in the legend of Peleus, father of Achilles. During the hunt of the Calydonian boar Peleus accidentally killed Eurytion, one of the hunters, and to purify himself after the killing he went to the court of Iolcos. While he was there Astydamia, the wife of Acastus, fell in love with him. When Peleus rejected her advances she sent a message to his wife saying that her husband was about to leave her in order to marry Sterope, the daughter of Acastus. Peleus' wife hanged herself in despair. Astydamia did not think that she had yet exacted suffiecient revenge, and in the presence of Acastus accused Peleus of trying to seduce her. Acastus beleived the story and, not daring to kill his guest whom he had only just purified after a murder, lured Peleus to the hunt on Pelion where he left him asleep, hiding his sword in cow's dung to make sure that he would not be able to protect himself from the wild beasts or other evil creatures on the mountain. The unarmed Peleus was almost put to death by the Centaurs who lived on the mountain but one of them, the wise Chiron, woke him in time and gave him back his sword.

When Peleus returned to his kingdom he thought about means of revenge. In some accounts he renewed the attack against Iolcos, either alone or with the help of Jason, Castor and Pollux, capturing the town, killing Astydamia, and scattering her limbs all around the town so that his army could march between the various limbs of the dismembered body. He also killed Acastus.

Other writers claim that Peleus, left defenceless during the Trojan war as his son Achilles was in Asia, was attacked by Acastus and forced to flee. There is also a tradition that besides Astydamia, Acastus had another wife, Hippolyta Cretheis, the daughter of Cretheus.

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

Table of Sources:
- Apollod. Bibl. 1, 9, 10; 1, 9, 16; 1, 9, 27; 3, 13, 3; 3, 13, 7f
- Apoll. Rhod. Arg. 1, 224 with schol.; 1, 326
- Val. Flacc. Arg. 1, 164ff.; 1, 484ff.
- Hyg. Fab. 14; 24; 103; 273
- Ovid. Met. 7, 306
- Paus. 1, 18, 1; 3, 18, 16; 5, 17, 9
- Pind. Nem. 3, 34 (59) with schol. on 59; 4, 54ff. (88ff.); 5, 25ff. (46ff.) with schol. on 50
- schol. on Aristophanes Clouds 1063
- Euripides Alc. 732; Tro. 1127ff.
- Hom. Il. 24, 488 with schol.
- Tzetzes on Lyc. 175
- Diod. Sic. 4, 53ff.
- See Frazer's (Loeb) footnote on Apollod. Bibl. 3, 13, 7.

From Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (London, 1880)

ACASTUS ('Akastos), a son of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and of Anaxibia, or as others call her, Philomache. He was one of the Argonauts (Apollod. i. 9. § 10; Apollon. Rhod. i. 224, &c.), and also took part in the Calydonian hunt. (Ov. Met. viii. 305, &c.) After the return of the Argonauts his sisters were seduced by Medeia to cut their father in pieces and boil them; and Acastus, when he heard this, buried his father, drove Iason and Medeia, and according to Pausanias (vii. 11) his sisters also, from lolcus, and instituted funeral games in honour of his father. (Hygin. Fab. 24 and 273; Apollod. i. 9. § 27, &c.; Paus. iii. 18. § 9, vi. 20. § 9, v. 17. § 4; Ov. Met. xi. 409, amp;c.) During these games it happened that Astydamia, the wife of Acastus, who is also called Hippolyte, fell in love with Peleus, whom Acastus had purified from the murder of Eurytion. When Peleus refused to listen to her addresses, she accused him to her husband of having attempted to dishonour her. (Apollod. iii. 13. § 2, &c. ; Pind. Nem. iv. 90, &c.) Acastus, however, did not take immediate revenge for the alleged crime, but after he and Peleus had been abasing on mount Pelion, and the latter had fallen asleep, Acastus took his sword from him, and left him alone and exposed, so that Peleus was nearly destroyed by the Centaurs. But he was saved by Cheiron or Hermes, returned to Acastus, and killed him together with his wife. (Apollod. l. c.; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 224.) The death of Acastus is not mentioned by Apollodorus, but according to him Peleus in conjunction with Iason and the Dioscuri merely conquer and destroy Iolcus. (Apollod. iii. 13. 7.)

L. S.

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