display | more...

Ακρισιος

Abas, king of Argos, the son of Lynceus and Hypermestra, was the father of twin sons, Proetus and Acrisius (Table 31). The two children, who were a reincarnation of the hatred between their ancestors Aegyptus and Danaus, fought each other while they were still in their mother's womb, and when they grew up their antagonism was as strong as ever. They openly declared war on each other to find out which of them should succeed to the throne of Argos, which their father had left them at his death. The story goes that it was during this war that round shields, which were destined to be so widely used in warfare in antiquity, were first invented. Eventually, after a long struggle, victory went to Acrisius, who expelled his brother; the latter went to Lycia where he married Anteia, who was known to the tragic poets as Stheneboea. Her father King Iobates, at the head of a Lycian army, restored Proetus to the Argolid and set him up at Tiryns, which the Cyclops had fortified for him with huge stones. At this point the brothers decided to come to an agreement whereby Acrisius reigned at Argos and Proetus at Tiryns, thus dividing the kingdom of the Argolid into two equal parts.

Acrisius had a daughter, Danae, by his wife Eurydice, the daughter of Lacedaemon. He wanted to have a son and consulted the oracle, who told him that his daughter would bear a son, but that the latter would kill him. In order to thwart the oracle's prediction, Acrisius had an underground room built of bronze, where he kept Danae under strict guard, but it was ineffective in preventing Danae from being seduced. Some say that her uncle Proetus was the culprit, but the majority attribute the deed to Zeus who seduced her in the form of a shower of gold which fell through a crack in the roof and thereby into her womb. When Acrisius heard of Danae's seduction he refused to believe in its divine origin and put her and her baby into a chest which he left to its fate on the sea. The child was the hero PERSEUS. Dictys rescued him from the beach at Seriphos, where the flood tide had cast him up. Later Perseus wanted to see his grandfather again and in order to do so he returned to Argos with his mother and Andromeda, his wife. When Acrisius learned that Perseus was preparing to come and see him he was afraid that the oracle's prediction would be fulfilled and left for Larissa in Thessaly, in the land of the Pelasgians, at the further point of Greece, equally far from Seriphos and Argos and well away from the road between them. When he arrived at Larissa he found that King Teutamides was holding games in honour of his father, and that Perseus had come there to compete. At the very moment of Perseus throwing the discus a violent wind sprang up, the discus was unfortunately diverted and struck Acrisius a fatal blow on the head. Perseus, realizing that the prediction had in spite of everything come true, buried Acrisius outside the city and returned to Argos.

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

Table of Sources:
- Apollod. Bibl. 2, 2, 1ff.; 2, 4, 4
- schol. on Euripides Orestes 965
- schol. on Apoll. Rhod. Arg. 4, 1091; 1, 40
- Paus. 2, 16; 1-3; 2, 23, 7; 2, 25, 7
- Hyg. Fab. 63

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.