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Amphitryon ( ancient Greek Ἀμφιτρύων "the double afflicted") is in Greek mythology the son of Alkaios and - depending on tradition - Astydameia, daughter of Pelops , or Laonome, daughter of Guneus, or Hipponome, daughter of Menoikeus . His sister is Perimede . He is the father of Iphicles and is considered the earthly father of Heracles . After the death of his father Alcaios, Amphitryon took over the rule of Tiryns from him .

Escape to Thebes

The Taphier (Teleboer) moved to Mycenae and robbed cattle. Electryon , the brother of Alcaios and ruler of Mycenae, sent his sons to bring back the cattle. A battle broke out in which all of Electryon's sons, with the exception of Likymnius , died; the Taphians escaped with the cattle. They gave these to Polyxenus , King of the Eleians . Amphitryon bought the cattle back and gave them to Elektryon. This gave him the prospect of marrying his daughter Alkmene and gave him control of Mycenae. In the meantime, Elektryon planned to take to the field against the Taphier to avenge the death of his sons. Amphitryon was not supposed to marry Alkmene until he returned.

One of the cattle tried to flee, and Amphitryon threw his club at him, which ricocheted off the horns and hit Elektryon so unhappily that he died. Sthenelos , another brother of Alcaios, then drove Amphitryon out of the country and took over the rule. Amphitryon, Alkmene and Likymnios fled to Thebes to King Creon , where Likymnios of Amphitryon married sister Perimede.

Campaign against Taphier

Before Amphitryon could marry Alkmene, he had to avenge the sons of Elektryon. Therefore he asked Creon for help in the fight against the Taphians. Creon promised to help if Amphitryon would free the Thebans from the Teumessian fox . However, this was impossible as it was impossible to catch and therefore could not be caught. So Amphitryon turned to Cephalus . He was supposed to set the dog Lailaps , from whom nothing can escape, on the fox. This led to a never-ending hunt and escape, which Zeus finally put an end to by turning both of them to stone.

Amphitryon, Cephalus, Panopeus , Heleios and Creon went to war against King Pterelaus and the Taphians. They devastated their islands, but could not conquer the capital while Pterelaus was still alive. Komaitho , the daughter of Pterelaus, fell in love with Amphitryon. She cut her father's hair, which gave him strength, and he died. After conquering the city, Amphitryon killed Komaitho. He handed control of the islands to Cephalus and Heleios and returned to Thebes. After his return he donated a tripod to the sanctuary of Apollon Ismenios as thanks for the victory he had won .

Conception and birth of Heracles

While Amphitryon led the campaign against the Taphians, Alkmene was seduced by Zeus , the father of the gods , who had assumed the form of her husband. From this meeting emerged the hero Heracles. At the same time, Iphicles was born as the twin brother of Heracles, but as the son of Amphitryon. When Heracles was eight months old, Hera put two large snakes in his cradle. It is also said that it was Amphitryon himself who did this to find out which was his son and which was the son of Zeus. While Iphicles fled, Heracles grabbed the snakes and choked them to death. Amphitryon raised both children as his sons.

General of Thebes

Amphitryon and Alkmene now settled in Thebes. A house was built for them by the famous builders Agamedes and Trophonios at the Elektra Gate . Amphitryon then led the Theban army to war. On this occasion he donated a marble statue for the temple of Athene Zostria ( the belted one ). Then he fought against the Euboeans , defeated them and killed their leader Chalcodon.

Because of the killing of Clymenus , Thebes had to pay tribute to the Minyans . In order to be able to stop the payments, Amphitryon and Heracles went to war against them. Here Amphitryon died at the hand of the Minyan king Erginos . He was buried in Thebes.

In the literature

The oldest tradition of the Amphitryon myth can be found in Hesiod . However, the material has been dramatized many times, among other things

The material was also taken up in other literary genres, including by Vital de Blois in the form of a Middle Latin poem, by Perez de Oliva in the form of an essay, by Michel-Jean Sedaine in the form of an opera libretto and in the novel Amphitryon by the Mexican writer Ignacio Padilla . The 1935 film Amphitryon - Happiness Comes Out of the Clouds, directed by Reinhold Schünzel , even had a rhymed script ( Poor Alkmene, | she has migraine. ).



predecessor Office successor
Alcaios King of Tiryns
13th century BC BC
(mythical chronology)
Electryon King of Mycenae
13th century BC BC
(mythical chronology)