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Eurytus

In Greek mythology, Eurytus is the name of numerous characters.

The king

King Eurytus, Erytus, or Eurýtos of Oechalia (Oikhalia), Thessaly, was the son of Melaneus and either Stratonice or Oechalia.

He married Antiope, daughter of Pylo and had these children: Iphitus, Clytius, Toxeus, Deioneus, Molion, Didaeon, and a very beautiful daughter, Iole. A late legend also attributes Eurytus as the father of Dryope, by his first wife.

Eurytus' grandfather was Apollo, the archer-god, and was also a famed archer. Eurytus has been noted by some as the one who taught Heracles the art of archery.

According to Homer, Eurytus became so proud of his archery skills that he challenged Apollo. The god killed Eurytus for his presumption, and Eurytus' bow was passed to Iphitus, who later gave the bow to his friend Odysseus. It was this bow that Odysseus used to killed the Suitors who had wanted to take his wife, Penelope.

A more familiar version Eurytus' death involves a feud with Heracles. Eurytus promised the hand of his daughter Iole to whoever who could defeat him and his sons in an archery contest. Heracles won the archery contest, but Eurytus reneged on his promise, fearing that Heracles would go mad and kill any children he had with Iole, just as he has slew the children he had with Megara.

Heracles left in anger, and soon after twelve of Eurytus' mares were stolen. Some have written that Heracles stole the mares himself, while others have said Autolycus stole the mares and sold them to Heracles.

In the search for the mares, Iphitus, who was convinced of Heracles' innocence, invited Heracles to help and stayed as Heracles' guest at Tiryns. Heracles invited Iphitus to the top of the palace walls and, in a fit of anger, threw Iphitus to his death. For this crime, Heracles was forced to serve the Lydian queen Omphale as a slave for either one or three years.

After Heracles had married Deianeira, he returned to Oechalia with an army. Revenge-driven, Heracles sacked the city and killed Eurytus and his sons, then took Iole as his concubine. The act eventually led to Heracles' own death, as Deianeira, fearing that Heracles loved Iole more, gave Heracles a robe smeared with the blood of the Centaur Nessus, believing it was a love-charm. The blood was actually a poison and the robe ate into Heracles' flesh.

The son of Poseidon

Eurytus was one of the twin sons of Molio, by either Poseidon or Actor. His brother was Cteatus. They were called the Molionides.

The son of Hermes

Eurytus was the son of Hermes and Antianira. He was one of the Argonauts, and also hunted the Calydonian Boar. Also known as Erytus.

The father of Hippasus

Eurytus was the father of Hippasus, one of the men who hunted the Calydonian Boar. He was also one of Pythagoras' followers.

The son of Hippocoon

Eurytus, son of Hippocoon was killed, along with his brothers, by Heracles.

Eurytus from Elis

Eurytus was the Greek leader of the Edeans and Taphians during the Trojan War. He was killed by Eurypylus.

Eurytus the Ethiopian

Eurytus was a chieftain at the court of king Cepheus, and was killed during the battle between Perseus and Phineus. He was killed by Perseus.

Eurytus the Carian King

Eurytus was the king of Caria and the father of Eidothea.

Eurytus, the Giant

Eurytus was one of the giant sons of Gaea. He was killed, by Dionysos, during the battle of the giants versus the gods.

Eurytus, the Centaur

Eurytus was a Centaur present at the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia. The most violent of the centaurs involved in the battle with the Lapiths, he was killed by Theseus.

Eurytus, Father of Clonus

Eurytus was the father of Clonus.

Eurytus, the Spartan Warrior

Eurytus or Eurýtos was the name of a Spartan warrior, one of the Three Hundred sent to face the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Eurytus and a companion, Aristodemus were stricken with eye infections and ordered to return home. Eurytus turned back and ordered his helot attendant to lead him back to the battle. He entered the battle blind and was slain. Aristodemus returned to Sparta disgraced, but redeemed himself at the battle of Plataea the following year, by fighting to his death.

References

  • March, J., Cassell's Dictionary Of Classical Mythology, London, 1999. ISBN 0-304-35161-X

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