Aerope was the daughter of Catreus in Greek mythology, who ruled over Crete, and granddaughter of Minos. She had three siblings; Clymene, Apemosyne, and Althaemenes. Catreus found his daughter having sex with a slave, and commanded that she be drowned. However, Nauplius, who was given the task of killing her, spared her life; she fled and went to Mycenae, where she married Atreus. Aerope and Atreus were the parents of Agamemnon and Menelaus, the famous protagonists of the Trojan War. Other accounts have it that she married Pleisthenes, and that he was the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. It was suggested that Aerope initially married Pleisthenes, and that later, she married Atreus, who adopted the children of her first marriage.
Aerope secretly had an affair with Thyestes, brother of Atreus. The two brothers vied for the throne of their father, Pelops, so they initially killed their half-brother Chrysippus. Their rivalry continued, and Aerope tried to help her lover, by stealing a golden lamb from Atreus and giving it to him. In this way, Thyestes became the ruler of Mycenae. Aerope and Thyestes had two sons, Tantalus and Pleisthenes, who were later killed by Atreus and fed to Thyestes.