Erechtheus


Erechtheus
Legendary god-king of Athens.

According to Homer's Iliad, he was born from the earth and raised by Athena, who established him in her temple at Athens. Later tradition associates him with a huge snake that was thought to live in the temple. In a lost play by Euripides, Erechtheus sacrificed his daughter Chthonia to ensure a victory in war, and as punishment was destroyed by either Poseidon or Zeus.

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      legendary king and probably also a divinity of Athens. According to the Iliad, he was born from the corn land and raised by the goddess Athena, who established him in her temple at Athens. In later times only a great snake was thought to share the temple with Athena, and there is evidence that Erechtheus was or became a snake; that is, an earth or ancestor spirit.

      The earliest Athenian kings tended to have similar names suggesting a connection with the earth (chthōn; e.g., Erichthonius, Erysichthon), to have been born of the earth, raised by Athena, and to have something serpentine about them. Snakes were often earth or ancestor spirits, so that Athena's sharing her temple with Erechtheus, whom she herself nurtured, may have been the mythical way of expressing her guardianship of the ancient royal house of Athens and of the land itself and its fertility, with which ancient kingship was intimately connected.

      In his lost play Erechtheus, Euripides gave that king three daughters, one of whom was appropriately named Chthonia. At war with neighbouring Eleusis and its ally King Eumolpus, Erechtheus learned from the god Apollo that Athens would win if he sacrificed his daughter. He sacrificed Chthonia, and her sisters insisted on sharing her fate. Erechtheus won the battle, but, in the moment of victory, he was destroyed by Poseidon or by a thunderbolt from Zeus. In early times, death by thunderbolt was believed to be a prelude to a privileged afterlife.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Erechtheus — (Ἐρεχθεύς) in Greek Mythology was the name of a king of Athens, and a secondary name for two other characters#In Homer s Iliad the name is applied to the earth born son of Hephaestus mostly called Erichthonius by later writers. Accordingly this… …   Wikipedia

  • Erechtheus — (auch Erechtheus II.; altgriech. Ερεχθεύς = Erderschütterer), der Sohn des Pandion und der Zeuxippe, wurde nach dem Tod seines Vaters König von Attika, während sein Zwillingsbruder Butes oberster Priester der Athene wurde. Seine Schwestern waren… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Erechtheus — {{Erechtheus}} König von Athen, Sohn des Pandion*, Enkel des Erichthonios*, Bruder des Butes* sowie der Prokne* und der Philomela*, Vater der Prokris*, der Oreithyia*, der Kreusa und der Chthonia, die er opferte, als ihm ein Orakel verkündete,… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • Erechtheus — legendary first king and founder of Athens, from L. Erechtheus, from Gk. Erekhtheos, lit. render, shaker (of the earth), from erekhthein to rend, break, shatter, shake. Hence, Erechtheum, the name of a temple on the Athenian acropolis …   Etymology dictionary

  • Erechtheus — Erechtheus, 1) E. I., Sohn des Hephästos u. der Erde od. Atthis, aus unvollkommener Zeugung entstanden, oben war er Mensch, unten Drache. Athene wollte ihn heimlich erziehen u. unsterblich machen; in eine Kiste gelegt, übergab sie ihn den… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Erechtheus — Erechtheus, mythischer König von Athen, ursprünglich identisch mit Erichthonios (s.d. 2), nach Homer ein Sohn der Erde und Pflegling der Athene, der er als Polias (Stadtgöttin) den nach ihm Erechtheion (s.d.) benannten Tempel auf der Akropolis… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Eréchtheus — (Erichthonĭos), sagenhafter König von Attika, der Pflegling der Athena und Begründer von Gottesdienst und Ackerbau …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Erechtheus — Erẹchtheus,   griechischer Erechtheus, griechischer Mythos: athenischer Heros und König mit einer Kultstätte im Erechtheion, wo ihm mit Poseidon geopfert wurde. Er galt als aus der Heimaterde geboren (autochthon). Nach dem Mythos siegte er im… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Erechtheus — Erẹ|ch|theus (griechische Sagengestalt) …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • Erechtheus (Mythologie) — Erechtheus (Mythologie), ein Sohn des atheniensischen Königs Pandion, oberhalb Mensch, unterhalb Schlange, Minervens Liebling, die ihn unsterblich machen und heimlich erziehen lassen wollte, weßhalb sie ihn der Pandrosos, Tochter des Königs… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon


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