Laertes was a mythical figure in Greek mythology, son of Arcesius and Chalcomedusa. He was married to Anticlea, daughter of the thief Autolycus; they had two children, Ctimene and the famous hero Odysseus. Laertes participated in the Argonautic Expedition, helping Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece from the far-away land of Colchis, and he also helped in the hunt of the Calydonian Boar. He was the king of the Cephallenians, and his rule extended over the island of Ithaca and its surrounding ones.
While Odysseus was away participating in the Trojan War, Laertes never visited Odysseus' home; his wife died of grief for the absence of her son, and Laertes was in a miserable state. When Odysseus returned home, he first killed the suitors that surrounded his loyal wife Penelope, and then went to see his father. He found Laertes old and tired, and initially he kept his true identity from him. Laertes asked the man if he had any news of his son, and was extremely disappointed when the stranger said no. At that point, Odysseus revealed who he truly was by recounting all the trees he had been given by Laertes when he was young. After the reunion, father and son went back to Odysseus' home to repel the families of the dead suitors. The goddess Athena instilled vigour into Laertes, so he could help Odysseus; he then killed Eupeithes, the father of Antinous.
See Also: Autolycus, Odysseus, Argonauts, Jason, Golden Fleece, Calydonian Boar, Trojan War, Penelope
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