Erichthonius (much earth) In Greek mythology, culture hero, fourth king of Athens, who had serpent’s tails for legs. Erichthonius was the son of Hephaestus, the lame god, whose sperm fell on the ground when he attempted to rape Athena. Athena placed Erichthonius in a basket with a serpent, and she then gave the basket to the Cecrops daughters, telling them not to look inside. Aglauros, one of the sisters, opened the basket and was punished by Athena, who made her insane or killed her. Erichthonius reigned for 50 years and invented chariots. Athena gave Erichthonius two drops of blood from the Gorgon. One was poisoned, but the other healed. Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 2) and Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca (Library) tell his story.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante