Agamemnon

Agamemnon

Overview
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Agamemnon (Ancient Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: ; modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

: Αγαμέμνονας, "very steadfast") was the son of King Atreus
Atreus
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae....

 and Queen Aerope
Aerope
Aërope was a name attributed to two distinct figures in Greek mythology.-Wife of Atreus:Aërope was a daughter of Catreus, king of Crete, and granddaughter of Minos. Her father, who had received an oracle that he should lose his life by one of his children, gave her and her sister, Clymene, to...

 of Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, the brother of Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

, the husband of Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra , in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess...

, and the father of Electra
Electra
In Greek mythology, Electra was an Argive princess and daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father Agamemnon...

 and Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, thought to be different names for the same area. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was abducted by Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

.

Upon Agamemnon's return from Troy he was murdered (according to the fullest version of the oldest surviving account, Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 Book 11, l.409f.) by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife Clytemnestra.
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Encyclopedia
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Agamemnon (Ancient Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: ; modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

: Αγαμέμνονας, "very steadfast") was the son of King Atreus
Atreus
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae....

 and Queen Aerope
Aerope
Aërope was a name attributed to two distinct figures in Greek mythology.-Wife of Atreus:Aërope was a daughter of Catreus, king of Crete, and granddaughter of Minos. Her father, who had received an oracle that he should lose his life by one of his children, gave her and her sister, Clymene, to...

 of Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, the brother of Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

, the husband of Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra , in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess...

, and the father of Electra
Electra
In Greek mythology, Electra was an Argive princess and daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father Agamemnon...

 and Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, thought to be different names for the same area. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was abducted by Paris
Paris (mythology)
Paris , the son of Priam, king of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best-known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War...

 of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

.

Upon Agamemnon's return from Troy he was murdered (according to the fullest version of the oldest surviving account, Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 Book 11, l.409f.) by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife Clytemnestra. In old versions of the story: "The scene of the murder, when it is specified, is usually the house of Aegisthus, who has not taken up residence in Agamemnon's palace, and it involves an ambush and the deaths of Agamemnon's followers too". In some later versions Clytemnestra herself does the killing, or they do it together, in his own home.

Historical prototype


Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 sources mention , ruler of (land of Achaea
Achaea
Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

ns) in the 14th century BC. This is a possible prototype of the Agamemnon of mythology.

Early life


Atreus
Atreus
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae....

, Agamemnon's father, murdered the children of his twin brother Thyestes
Thyestes
In Greek mythology, Thyestes was the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, King of Olympia, and father of Pelopia and Aegisthus. Thyestes and his twin brother, Atreus, were exiled by their father for having murdered their half-brother, Chrysippus, in their desire for the throne of Olympia...

 and fed them to him after discovering Thyestes' adultery with his wife Aerope. Thyestes fathered Aegisthus
Aegisthus
In Greek mythology, Aegisthus was the son of Thyestes and of Thyestes' daughter, Pelopia....

 with his own daughter, and this son vowed gruesome revenge on Atreus' children. Aegisthus successfully murdered Atreus and restored his father to the throne. Aegisthus took possession of the throne of Mycenae and ruled jointly with Thyestes. During this period Agamemnon and his brother, Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

, took refuge with Tyndareus
Tyndareus
In Greek mythology, Tyndareus or Tyndareos was a Spartan king, son of Oebalus and Gorgophone , husband of Leda and father of Helen, Castor and Polydeuces, Clytemnestra, Timandra, Phoebe and Philonoe.Tyndareus had a brother named Hippocoon , who seized power and exiled Tyndareus...

, King of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

. There they respectively married Tyndareus' daughters Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra , in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess...

 and Helen. Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had four children: one son, Orestes
Orestes (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Orestes was the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. He is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays and of various myths connected with his madness and purification, which retain obscure threads of much older ones....

, and three daughters, Iphigenia, Electra
Electra
In Greek mythology, Electra was an Argive princess and daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father Agamemnon...

 and Chrysothemis
Chrysothemis
Chrysothemis or Khrysothemis , is a name ascribed to several characters in Greek mythology.Most prominently among these, Chrysothemis was a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra...

. Menelaus succeeded Tyndareus in Sparta, while Agamemnon, with his brother's assistance, drove out Aegisthus and Thyestes to recover his father's kingdom. He extended his dominion by conquest and became the most powerful prince in Greece.

Agamemnon's family history had been marred by rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

, murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

, incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

, and treachery, consequences of the heinous crime perpetrated by their ancestor, Tantalus
Tantalus
Tantalus was the ruler of an ancient western Anatolian city called either after his name, as "Tantalís", "the city of Tantalus", or as "Sipylus", in reference to Mount Sipylus, at the foot of which his city was located and whose ruins were reported to be still visible in the beginning of the...

, and then of a curse placed upon Pelops
Pelops
In Greek mythology, Pelops , was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. He was the founder of the House of Atreus through his son of that name....

, son of Tantalus, by Myrtilus, whom he had murdered. Thus misfortune hounded successive generations of the House of Atreus, until atoned by Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

 in a court of justice held jointly by humans and gods.

Trojan War



Agamemnon gathered the reluctant Greek forces to sail for Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

. Preparing to depart from Aulis
Aulis
Aulis may refer to:* Aulis, , an ancient Greek town in Boeotia, and traditionally the port from which the Greek army set sail for the Trojan War.* Aulis, a daughter of King Ogyges and Thebe*Aulis, a genus of ladybird beetle...

, which was a port in Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, Agamemnon's army incurred the wrath of the goddess Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

. There are several reasons throughout myth for such wrath: in Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

' play Agamemnon, Artemis is angry for the young men who will die at Troy, whereas in Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

' Electra
Electra (Sophocles)
Electra or Elektra is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes and the Oedipus at Colonus lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career.Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan...

, Agamemnon has slain an animal sacred to Artemis, and subsequently boasted that he was Artemis' equal in hunting. Misfortunes, including a plague and a lack of wind, prevented the army from sailing. Finally, the prophet Calchas
Calchas
In Greek mythology, Calchas , son of Thestor, was an Argive seer, with a gift for interpreting the flight of birds that he received of Apollo: "as an augur, Calchas had no rival in the camp"...

 announced that the wrath of the goddess could only be propitiated by the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. Classical dramatisations differ on how willing either father or daughter were to this fate, some include such trickery as claiming she was to be married to Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, but Agamemnon did eventually sacrifice Iphigenia. Her death appeased Artemis, and the Greek army set out for Troy. Several alternatives to the human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 have been presented in Greek mythology. Other sources, such as Iphigenia at Aulis, claim that Agamemnon was prepared to kill his daughter, but that Artemis accepted a deer in her place, and whisked her away to Taurus in Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

 said she became the goddess Hecate
Hecate
Hecate or Hekate is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod's Theogony...

.

Agamemnon was the commander-in-chief of the Greeks during the Trojan War. During the fighting, Agamemnon killed Antiphus
Antiphus
In Greek mythology, Antiphus or Ántiphos is a name attributed to multiple individuals:*Antiphus, one of the 50 sons of Priam, and son of Hecuba. During the Trojan War, he was killed by Agamemnon....

 and 15 other Trojan soldiers. Agamemnon's teamster
Teamster
A teamster, in modern American English, is a truck driver. The trade union named after them is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters , one of the largest unions in the United States....

, Halaesus
Halaesus
In Greek mythology, the name Halaesus or Halesus may refer to:*A companion of Agamemnon during the Trojan War; some state that he was an illegitimate son of Agamemnon...

, later fought with Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

tells the story of the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the final year of the war. Agamemnon took an attractive slave, Briseis
Briseis
Brisēís was a mythical queen in Asia Minor at the time of the Trojan War. Her character lies at the center of a dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon that drives the plot of Homer's Iliad.-Story:...

, one of the spoils of war, from Achilles. Achilles, the greatest warrior of the age, withdrew from battle in revenge and nearly cost the Greek armies the war.

Although not the equal of Achilles in bravery, Agamemnon was a representative of kingly authority. As commander-in-chief, he summoned the princes to the council and led the army in battle. He took the field himself, and performed many heroic deeds until he was wounded and forced to withdraw to his tent. His chief fault was his overwhelming haughtiness; an over-exalted opinion of his position that led him to insult Chryses
Chryses
In Greek mythology, Chryses was a priest of Apollo at Chryse, near the city of Troy.According to a tradition mentioned by Eustathius of Thessalonica, Chryses and Briseus were brothers, sons of a man named Ardys .During the Trojan War ,...

 and Achilles, thereby bringing great disaster upon the Greeks.

After the capture of Troy, Cassandra
Cassandra
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy...

, doomed prophetess and daughter of Priam
Priam
Priam was the king of Troy during the Trojan War and youngest son of Laomedon. Modern scholars derive his name from the Luwian compound Priimuua, which means "exceptionally courageous".- Marriage and issue :...

, fell to Agamemnon's lot in the distribution of the prizes of war.

Return to Greece


After a stormy voyage, Agamemnon and Cassandra either landed in Argolis
Argolis
Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

, or were blown off course and landed in Aegisthus' country. Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra , in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess...

, Agamemnon's wife, had taken Aegisthus
Aegisthus
In Greek mythology, Aegisthus was the son of Thyestes and of Thyestes' daughter, Pelopia....

, son of Thyestes
Thyestes
In Greek mythology, Thyestes was the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, King of Olympia, and father of Pelopia and Aegisthus. Thyestes and his twin brother, Atreus, were exiled by their father for having murdered their half-brother, Chrysippus, in their desire for the throne of Olympia...

, as a lover. When Agamemnon came home he was slain by either Aegisthus (in the oldest versions of the story) or Clytemnestra. According to the accounts given by Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

 and the tragedians, Agamemnon was slain in a bath by his wife alone, a blanket of cloth or a net having first been thrown over him to prevent resistance. Clytemnestra also killed Cassandra. Her jealousy of Cassandra, and her wrath at the sacrifice of Iphigenia and at Agamemnon's having gone to war over Helen of Troy, are said to have been the motives for her crime. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra then ruled Agamemnon's kingdom for a time, Aegisthus claiming his right of revenge for Agamemnon's father Atreus having fed Thyestes his own children (Thyestes then crying out "So perish all the race of Pleisthenes!", thus explaining Aegisthus' action as justified by his father's curse). Agamemnon's son Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

 later avenged his father's murder, with the help or encouragement of his sister Electra
Electra
In Greek mythology, Electra was an Argive princess and daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father Agamemnon...

, by murdering Aegisthus and Clytemnestra (his own mother), thereby inciting the wrath of the Erinyes
Erinyes
In Greek mythology the Erinyes from Greek ἐρίνειν " pursue, persecute"--sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses" -- were female chthonic deities of vengeance. A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath"...

 (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: the Furies), winged goddesses who tracked down egregiously impious wrongdoers with their hounds' noses and drove them to insanity.

Other stories


Athenaeus
Athenaeus
Athenaeus , of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD...

 tells a story of how Agamemnon mourned the loss of his friend Argynnus, when he drowned in the Cephisus
Cephissus (Boeotia)
The northern Cephissus river or Cephisus rises at Lilaea in Phocis and flows by Delphi through Boeotia and eventually issues into Lake Copais which is therefore also called the Cephisian Lake...

 river. He buried him, honored with a tomb and a shrine to Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 Argynnis. This episode is also found in Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

, in Stephen of Byzantium (Kopai and Argunnos), and in Propertius, III with minor variations.

The fortunes of Agamemnon have formed the subject of numerous tragedies
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, ancient and modern, the most famous being the Oresteia of Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

. In the legends of the Peloponnesus, Agamemnon was regarded as the highest type of a powerful monarch, and in Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 he was worshipped under the title of Zeus Agamemnon
Agamemnon (Zeus)
Agamemnon or Zeus Agamemnon was a cultic epithet of the Greek god Zeus, under which he was worshiped at Sparta. Some writers, such as Eustathius, thought that the god derived this name from the resemblance between him and the Greek hero Agamemnon; others that Zeus Agamemnon was merely a...

. His tomb was pointed out among the ruins of Mycenae and at Amyclae.

Another account makes him the son of Pleisthenes
Pleisthenes
In Greek mythology, Pleisthenes is the name of several different people:- Son of Pelops :Pleisthenes is the name of a son of Pelops, son of Tantalus, and of Hippodamia, rulers of Pisa. Two of his brothers are Atreus, founder of House Atreides, and Thyestes....

 (the son or father of Atreus
Atreus
In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae....

), who is said to have been Aerope's first husband.

In works of art there is considerable resemblance between the representations of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, king of the gods, and Agamemnon, king of men. He is generally depicted with a sceptre
Sceptre
A sceptre is a symbolic ornamental rod or wand borne in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia.-Antiquity:...

 and diadem
Diadem
Diadem may refer to:*Diadem, a type of crown-Military:*HMS Diadem was a 64-gun third rate ship of the line in the Royal Navy launched in 1782 at Chatham and participated in the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1787...

, conventional attributes of kings.

Agamemnon's mare was named Aetha. She was also one of two horses driven by Menelaus
Menelaus
Menelaus may refer to;*Menelaus, one of the two most known Atrides, a king of Sparta and son of Atreus and Aerope*Menelaus on the Moon, named after Menelaus of Alexandria.*Menelaus , brother of Ptolemy I Soter...

 at the funeral games of Patroclus
Patroclus
In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos , was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and was Achilles' beloved comrade and brother-in-arms....

.

Primary sources

  • Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

    , Iliad
    Iliad
    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

    ;
  • Euripides
    Euripides
    Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

    , Electra
    Electra (Euripides)
    Euripides' Electra was a play probably written in the mid 410s BC, likely after 413 BC. It is unclear whether it was first produced before or after Sophocles' version of the Electra story.-Background:...

    ;
  • Sophocles
    Sophocles
    Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

    , Electra
    Electra (Sophocles)
    Electra or Elektra is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes and the Oedipus at Colonus lead scholars to suppose that it was written towards the end of Sophocles' career.Set in the city of Argos a few years after the Trojan...

    ;
  • Seneca
    Seneca the Younger
    Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

    , Agamemnon
  • Aeschylus
    Aeschylus
    Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

    , The Libation Bearers;
  • Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

    , Odyssey
    Odyssey
    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

    I, 28-31; XI, 385-464;
  • Aeschylus
    Aeschylus
    Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

    , Agamemnon
  • Apollodorus
    Apollodorus
    Apollodorus of Athens son of Asclepiades, was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon, Panaetius the Stoic, and the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace...

    , Epitome
    Epitome
    An epitome is a summary or miniature form; an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment....

    , II, 15-III, 22; VI, 23.