Thespius (Θέσπιος) was a legendary king of Thespiae, Boeotia. His life account is considered part of Greek mythology.

Life account

He was reportedly son of Erechtheus, King of Athens and Praxithea. His maternal grandparents were Phrasimus and Diogenia. Diogenia was daughter of the river god Cephissus. He married Megamede, daughter of Arneus. They reportedly had fifty daughters together. Though Thespius may have fathered some of the daughters from unnamed mistresses with Megamede being their stepmother. All his daughters came of marrying age but Thespius seems to have sought no husband for them. He instead desired grandchildren from the hero Heracles. When Heracles was assigned to kill a lion (not to be confused with the Nemean Lion), Thespius offered his fifty daughters as a prize. The hunt for the lion lasted fifty days, and during each night of the hunt Heracles slept with each of the fifty daughters, who in turn each gave birth to one son. Alternate sources claim that Heracles slept with the daughters in a single night. In this version, only forty-nine slept with the hero, with the fiftieth being destined to serve as a virgin priestess in a temple to Herakles. In this version there were fifty-one grandsons of Thespius, of which forty colonized the island of Sardinia. The daughters are often referred to as the Thespiades. The daughters of Thespius were the subject of a 1853 painting by Gustave Moreau.

Daughters and grandchildren

The Bibliotheca of Pseudo-Apollodorus lists the following daughters and grandchildren. The grandchildren were all Heracleidae in the wider sense of the term.

  • Aeschreis. Mother of Leucones.
  • Aglaia. Mother of Antiades.
  • Anthea. Unknown child.
  • Anthippe. Mother of Hippodromus.
  • Antiope. Mother of Alopius.
  • Argele. Mother of Cleolaus.
  • Asopis. Mother of Mentor.
  • Calametis. Mother of Astybies.
  • Certhe. Mother of Iobes.
  • Chryseis. Mother of Onesippus.
  • Clytippe. Mother of Eurycapys.
  • Elachia. Mother of Buleus.
  • Eone. Mother of Amestrius.
  • Epilais. Mother of Astyanax.
  • Erato. Mother of Dynastes.
  • Euboea. Mother of Olympus and grandmother of Marsyas.
  • Eubote. Mother of Eurypylus.
  • Eurybia. Mother of Polylaus.
  • Eurypyle. Mother of Archedicus.
  • Eurytele. Mother of Leucippus.
  • Exole. Mother of Erythras.
  • Heliconis. Mother of Phalias.
  • Hesychia. Mother of Oestrobles.
  • Hippo. Mother of Capylus.
  • Hippocrate. Mother of Hippozygus.
  • Iphis. Mother of Celeustanor.
  • Laothoe. Mother of Antiphus.
  • Lyse. Mother of Eumedes.
  • Lysidice. Mother of Teles.
  • Lysippe. Mother of Erasippus.
  • Marse. Mother of Bucolus.
  • Meline. Mother of Laomedon.
  • Menippis. Mother of Entelides.
  • Nice. Mother of Nicodromus.
  • Nicippe. Mother of Antimachus.
  • Olympusa. Mother of Halocrates.
  • Oria. Mother of Laomenes.
  • Panope. Mother of Threpsippas.
  • Patro. Mother of Archemachus.
  • Phyleis. Mother of Tigasis.
  • Praxithea. Mother of Nephus.
  • Procris. Mother of Antileon and Hippeus.
  • Pyrippe. Mother of Patroclus.
  • Stratonice. Mother of Atromus.
  • Terpsicrate. Mother of Euryopes.
  • Tiphyse. Mother of Lyncaeus.
  • Toxicrate. Mother of Lycurgus.
  • Xanthis. Mother of Homolippus.
  • An unnamed daughter. Mother of Creon and Teleutagoras.

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