Eurytus

Eurytus

Eurytus

Eurytus was the name given to various figures in Greek mythology. The most prominent of all was King Eurytus of the area of Oechalia, Thessaly. He was the son of Melaneus and Stratonice. His wife was Antiope, with whom he had a number of children, including Iphitus, Clytius, Toxeus, and Iole. He was a master archer and he was considered to be the teacher of Heracles in archery.

There are two accounts around the death of Eurytus. One of them has it that he was so arrogant about his archery skills that he challenged Apollo, the god of archery, who was also his grandfather. For his insolence, Apollo killed Eurytus and his bow was given a gift from Iphitus to his friend, Odysseus. With this bow, Odysseus killed the suitors of his wife Penelope when he returned to Ithaca.

The other account about Eurytus' death is more complicated. At one point, he said that whoever would defeat himself and his sons in a contest of archery, he would get his daughter's hand in marriage. Heracles won, but Eurytus, in fear that the hero might kill Iole and the children they might have in the future just like he had done with his previous wife in a fit of madness, declined. Heracles left in anger and shortly afterwards some of Eurytus' mares went missing. Iphitus, believing that Heracles was innocent, asked for his help; Heracles invited him as a guest in his house, but overtaken by anger, he threw his guest off the palace walls. For this crime, Heracles was sentenced to serve the queen of Lydia, Omphale, for one or three years. A few years later, Heracles attacked Oechalia with an army, sacked the city and killed Eurytus and his sons. He claimed Iole as his prize, but this only triggered his own demise; his wife, Deianira, afraid that she would be abandoned, gave him the Shirt of Nessus, which had been smeared in Nessus' blood. This caused insufferable pains to the hero and he threw himself in a funeral pyre to get rid of them.

See Also: Clytius, Iole, Heracles, Apollo, Odysseus

Eurytus Q&A

Who was Eurytus?

Eurytus was the name given to various figures in Greek mythology. The most prominent of all was King Eurytus of the area of Oechalia, Thessaly.

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