Amphitryon





In Greek mythology, the hero Amphitryon was the son of King Alcaeus of Tiryns and the grandson of Perseus*. Alcaeus's brother Electryon, the king of Mycenae, asked Amphitryon to take over his kingdom when he went to battle the Taphians, who had killed his eight sons. Before leaving, Electryon promised his daughter Alcmene to Amphitryon as a bride.

When Electryon returned from war, Amphitryon accidentally killed him while throwing a club at some cattle. Forced to flee, the hero went with Alcmene to Thebes, where King Creon cleared him of guilt for the killing. However, Alcmene refused to become Amphitryon's wife until he avenged the death of her eight brothers. Creon agreed to help if Amphitryon would rid Thebes of the Teumessian fox, a beast sent by the gods.

immortal able to live forever

After overcoming the fox, Amphitryon set out with an army to battle the Taphians. The Taphian king had golden hair that made him immortal and his city unconquerable. But when his daughter, Comaetho, saw Amphitryon, she fell in love with him and cut her father's golden hair. The king immediately died. The city fell to Amphitryon, who then killed Comaetho for betraying her father and her city.

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

prophet one who claims to have received divine messages or insights

While Amphitryon was away, the god Zeus* disguised himself as the hero and visited Alcmene. Believing Zeus to be Amphitryon, Alcmene slept with him and became pregnant. Amphitryon returned home the next day and learned from the blind prophet Tiresias that Alcmene had slept with Zeus and would give birth to a great hero. That night Amphitryon slept with Alcmene, and she became pregnant by him as well. Alcmene later gave birth to twins. One twin—Iphicles, the son of Amphitryon—was a mortal. The other was Hercules*, the son of Zeus.

See also Greek Mythology ; Hercules ; Perseus ; Zeus .



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