AEGISTHUS In Greek mythology, son of Pelopia and THYESTES. Aegisthus became the lover of CLYTEMNESTRA, the wife of King AGAMEMNON, after the king had gone off to the TROJAN WAR. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon when he returned from the war, and were in turn murdered by ORESTES and ELECTRA, Agamemnon’s children. AEGISTHUS 3 Aegisthus was one of the descendants of PELOPS and a victim of the curse laid upon the family by the murdered charioteer, MYRTILUS (see Pelops and the Charioteer, under Pelops). When Pelopia realized that Aegisthus was the son not of her husband Atreus but of her own father, Thyestes, she placed the infant on a mountainside to die. But the baby survived, suckled by a goat, and grew up to play his part in the tragic story of the house of Pelops. (See ATREUS AND THYESTES.) Eventually Aegisthus killed his supposed father, Atreus, and acknowledged Thyestes as his real father. It was only at the death of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra that the FURIES were satisfied and put an end to the tragedies and atrocities that had stained the house of Atreus (the Atreids) and the descendants of Pelops with generations of bloodshed. There are several versions of the genealogy of this accursed family, involving further incest, murder, and intrigue.

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


Aegisthus (goat strength) In Greek mythology, lover of Clytemnestra and murderer of Agamemnon; the son of Thyestes by his daughter Pelopia. He was suckled by a goat (thus his name) and brought up by Atreus, who had married Pelopia. When Atreus’s son Agamemnon left for Troy, Aegisthus became the lover of Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon. The two later killed Agamemnon and in turn were killed by Orestes, Agamemnon’s son. Aegisthus is one the the main characters in Aeschylus’s Oresteia, three plays dealing with the myth. He also appears in Sophocles’ Electra and Seneca’s Agamemnon.



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

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