Adrastus ( ) or
Adrestus (Ionic ),
traditionally translated as "nonparticipant" or "uncooperative",
was a legendary king of Argos during the
war of the Seven Against
- This article is about Adrastus, son of Talaus, king of
Argos. For others with this name, see Adrastus .
He was a son of Talaus
calls his mother Lysianassa
, and Hyginus
calls her Eurynome
. He was one of the three kings at Argos, along with
Iphis and Amphiaraus, who was married to
Adrastus's sister Eriphyle.
married to either Amphithea
, daughter of
, or to Demonassa
. His daughters Argea
, respectively. His other children include
, and Cyanippus.
feud between the most powerful houses in Argos, Talaus was
slain by Amphiaraus, and Adrastus being
expelled from his dominions fled to Polybus, then king of Sicyon.
Polybus died without heirs, Adrastus succeeded him on the throne
of Sicyon, and during his reign he is said to have instituted the
According to "Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece" by Edward E.
Barthell, he states that Adrastus is the son of Talaus and
Lysimache (daughter of Abas). He married Amphitheia, daughter of
his brother Pronax, and became the father of a son, Aegialeus, and
four daughters: Aegialeia, who became the wife of Diomedes (son of
Tydeus); Argeia, who became the wife of Polyneices (son of
Oedipus); Deipyle, who became the wife of Tydeus (son of Oeneus);
and Eurydice, who became the wife of the Trojan king, Ilus (son of
Seven against Thebes
Afterwards, however, Adrastus became reconciled to Amphiaraus
, gave him his sister Eriphyle
in marriage, and returned to his kingdom
of Argos upon the swift immortal horse Arion
, a gift of Heracles
. During the time he reigned there it happened
that Tydeus of Calydon and Polynices of Thebes, both fugitives from their
native countries, met at Argos near the palace of Adrastus, and
came to words and from words to blows.
On hearing the noise,
Adrastus hastened to them and separated the combatants, in whom he
immediately recognised the two men that had been promised to him by
an oracle as the future husbands of two of his daughters; for one
bore on his shield the figure of a boar, and the other that of a
lion, and the oracle was that one of his daughters was to marry a
boar and the other a lion. Adrastus therefore gave his daughter
Deipyle to Tydeus, and Argeia to Polynices, and at the same time
promised to lead each of these princes back to his own country.
Adrastus now prepared for war against Thebes, although Amphiaraus
foretold that all who should engage in it should perish, with the
exception of Adrastus.
Thus arose the celebrated war of the Seven against Thebes
, in which Adrastus
was joined by six other heroes, Polynices
, and Parthenopaeus
. Instead of Tydeus and Polynices
other legends mention Eteoclos
. This war ended as unfortunately as
Amphiaraus had predicted, and Adrastus alone was saved by the
swiftness of his horse Arion.
After the battle, Creon
, king of Thebes,
ordered that none of the fallen enemies were to be given funeral
rites. Against his order, Antigone buried Polynices and was put to death, but
Adrastus escaped to Athens to petition
Theseus, the city's king, to attack Thebes
and force the return of the bodies of the remaining five.
Theseus initially refused but was convinced by his mother, Aethra
, who had been beseeched by the mothers of the
fallen, to put the matter to a vote of the citizens. The Athenians
marched on Thebes and conquered the city but inflicted no
additional damage, taking only what they came for, the five bodies.
They were laid upon a funeral pyre and Adrastus eulogized
Second war against Thebes
Ten years after this Adrastus persuaded the seven sons of the
heroes who had fallen in the war against Thebes to make a new
attack upon that city, and Amphiaraus
declared that the gods approved of the undertaking, and promised
success. This war is celebrated in ancient story as the War of the
. Thebes was taken and razed to the
ground, after the greater part of its inhabitants had left the city
on the advice of Tiresias
. The only Argive
hero that fell in this war was Aegialeus
the son of Adrastus. After having built a temple of Nemesis
in the neighborhood of Thebes,
he set out on his return home. But weighed down by old age and grief at the
death of his son he died at Megara and was
buried there. After his death he was worshipped in several
parts of Greece, as at Megara, at Sicyon where his memory was
celebrated in tragic choruses, and in Attica.
The legends about Adrastus and the two wars against Thebes have
furnished ample materials for the epic as well as tragic poets of
Greece, and some works of art relating to the stories about
Adrastus are mentioned in Pausanias.
From Adrastus the female patronymic "Adrastine" was formed.
i. 9. § 13
- Pausanias, ii. 6. § 3
- Hyginus, Fabulae 69
- Comp. Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 423
- Homer, Iliad ii. 572
- Pindar, Nemean
Odes ix. 30, &c.
- Herodotus, v.
- Barthell, Edward E. Gods and Goddesses of Ancient
Greece. University of Miami Press, 1971 (Original from the
University of Virginia), ISBN 0870241656, pp. 105-106.
iii. 6. § 1, &c.
- Hyginus, Fabulae 69, 70
- Homer, Iliad xxiii. 346, &c.
- Pausanias, viii. 25. § 5
iii. 7. § 1
- Pausanias, ix. 9. § 1
- Pausanias, ix. 9. § 2
iii. 7. § 2
iii. 7. § 2—4
- Herodotus, v.
- Strabo, vii. p.
- Pausanias, i. 43. § 1
- Pausanias, l.c.
- Pausanias, i. 30. § 4
- Pausanias, ix. 9. § 3
- Pausanias, iii. 18. § 7, x. 10. §
- Homer, Iliad v. 412