Admetus (untamed) In Greek mythology, an Argonaut, son of Pheres and Periclymene (or Clymene) and husband of Alcestis; father of Eumelus and Perimele. Admetus took part in the Calydonian boar hunt and the voyage of the Argo. Apollo served Admetus for a time as a shepherd, either from love as a reward for his piety or to expiate a capital crime. Admetus wooed Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, but her father would give her only to one who could yoke lions and boars to a chariot. Admetus accomplished the task with Apollo’s aid. Apollo then prevailed on the Moirai (Fates) to release Admetus from death, provided that someone would volunteer to die in his place. When Admetus was about to die after being seized by a sickness, his parents refused to die in his place. Finally, his wife, Alcestis, died for her husband. Alcestis was, however, sent back to the upper world by Persephone, goddess of death, or, according to a variant myth, was rescued out of Hades by Heracles. Euripides’ Alcestis deals with the tale. The time that Apollo spent with Admetus is the subject of George Meredith’s poem “Phoebus with Admetus.”


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

ADMETUS In Greek mythology, king of Phera in THESSALY; one of the ARGONAUTS. Admetus was a kind master to APOLLO, who had been his slave as a punishment for killing the CYCLOPES. When Apollo heard that Admetus was soon to die, Apollo went to the FATES and persuaded them to prolong Admetus’s life. They agreed, on condition that someone else should be sent in his stead. Not even the parents of Admetus would give up their lives. His faithful wife, ALCESTIS, agreed to do so. She took a drink of poison and went down to HADES, but PERSEPHONE refused to let her stay. She sent her back to her husband and children. Another version of the story says that HERACLES went to the UNDERWORLD and wrestled with Hades for the life of Alcestis. The story is the subject of a play, Alcestis, by EURIPIDES, and an opera, Alceste, by the German composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787).

Taken from : Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z, Revised Edition – Written by Kathleen N. Daly and Revised by Marian Rengel – Copyright © 2004, 1992 by Kathleen N. Daly