When Orestes fled his home due to his mother Clytemnestra's affair with Aegisthus, he found refuge at the court of Phocis, and met with Pylades. The two young men formed a strong friendship. While Orestes was in Phocis, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon; when he reached adulthood and supported by Pylades, he avenged his father's death by killing his mother and her lover, thus causing the wrath of the Erinyes who chased him. After the murder, Pylades returned to Phocis, but his father sent him to exile because he was an instigator.
Meanwhile, Orestes had been told by Apollo that in order to appease the Erinyes, he should go to the far land of Tauris and bring back an idol of the goddess Artemis. Pylades accompanied his friend, but the two men were caught and imprisoned by the cult of Artemis in Tauris. The high priestess learned that the prisoners were from Greece, and said she would free them if they would take a message to her brother. Neither of them knew that the high priestess was Iphigenia, sister of Orestes, who was considered to have been sacrificed years before. The identities of the three were soon revealed to each other and they managed to escape back to Greece.