Menestheus

Summary

In Greek mythology, Menestheus (/mɪˈnɛsθəs/; Ancient Greek: Μενεσθεύς) was a legendary king of Athens during the Trojan War. He was set up as king by the twins Castor and Polydeuces when Theseus travelled to the Underworld after abducting their sister, Helen, and exiled Theseus from the city after his return.[1]

Family

Menestheus was the son of Peteus,[2] son of Orneus,[3] son of Erechtheus, one of the early kings of Athens. His mother was called Polyxene or Mnesimache.[4]

Mythology

Menestheus was one of the suitors of Helen of Troy,[5] and when the Trojan War started he brought "fifty black ships" to Troy.[6] In the Iliad it is noted that no one could arrange chariots and shield-bearing warriors in battle orders better than Menestheus, and that only Nestor could vie with him in that respect.[7] In Herodotus, he is referred to as 'the best man to go to Troy and to draw up and marshal the troops'[8] by the Athenian sent to request aid from Gelon, the dictator of Syracuse.

Yet, further he is characterised as not valiant. When Agamemnon was reviewing his troops he found Menestheus in the back rows seemingly avoiding action.[9] Later when Sarpedon attacked the portion of the Greek wall that he was in charge of, Menestheus shivered and had to call on Telamonian Ajax and Teucer for aid.[10] Menestheus was one of the warriors in the Trojan Horse.[11] After Troy was sacked, he sailed to Mimas, then to Melos where he became king.[12]

When Menestheus died, Athens passed back to the family of Theseus, with Theseus' youngest son Demophon ascending to the throne.[13]

Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Athens Succeeded by

Eponym

Notes

  1. ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 1.23; Plutarch, Theseus 32.1 ff.; Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.17.5
  2. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 2.25.6; Plutarch, Theseus 32.1
  3. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica s.v. Orneiai
  4. ^ Tzetzes, John (2015). Allegories of the Iliad. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. pp. 43, Prologue 554-555. ISBN 978-0-674-96785-4.
  5. ^ Apollodorus, 3.10.8
  6. ^ Homer, Iliad 2.557; Hyginus, Fabulae 97
  7. ^ Homer, Iliad 2.552
  8. ^ Herodotus, Histories 7.161.3
  9. ^ Homer, Iliad 4.327
  10. ^ Homer, Iliad 12.331 ff.
  11. ^ Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica 12.314; Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.23.8
  12. ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 6.15b = Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 911
  13. ^ Plutarch, Theseus 35.5

References

  • Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Herodotus, The Histories with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920. ISBN 0-674-99133-8. Online version at the Topos Text Project. Greek text available at Perseus Digital Library.
  • Homer, The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. ISBN 978-0674995796. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Homer, Homeri Opera in five volumes. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 1920. ISBN 978-0198145318. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, Lives with an English Translation by Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. 1. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. ISBN 0-674-99328-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
  • Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio. 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy translated by Way. A. S. Loeb Classical Library Volume 19. London: William Heinemann, 1913. Online version at theio.com
  • Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy. Arthur S. Way. London: William Heinemann; New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1913. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Tzetzes, John, Allegories of the Iliad translated by Goldwyn, Adam J. and Kokkini, Dimitra. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, Harvard University Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0-674-96785-4



This article includes a list of Greek mythological figures with the same or similar names. If an internal link for a specific Greek mythology article referred you to this page, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended Greek mythology article, if one exists.