A son of Abas, king of Argos and of Ocalea. He was a grandson of Lynceus and great-grandson of Danaus. His twin-brother was Proetus, with whom he is said to have quarreled even in the womb of his mother.

When Abas died and Acrisius had grown up, he expelled Proetus from his inheritance; but, supported by his father-in-law Iobates, the Lycian, Proetus returned, and Acrisius was compelled to share his kingdom with his brother by giving up to him Tiryns, while he retained Argos for himself. An oracle had declared that Danaë, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son, who would kill his grandfather. For this reason he kept Danaë shut up in a subterraneous apartment, or in a brazen tower. But here she became mother of Perseus, notwithstanding the precautions of her father, according to some accounts by her uncle Proetus, and according to others by Zeus, who visited her in the form of a shower of gold.

Acrisins ordered mother and child to be exposed on the wide sea in a chest; but the chest floated towards the island of Seriphus, where both were rescued by Dictys, the brother of king Polydectes.1 As to the manner in which the oracle was subsequently fulfilled in the case of Acrisius, see Perseus.

According to the Scholiast on Euripides,2 Acrisius was the founder of the Delphic ἀμφικτυονία (amphiktyonia). Strabo3 believes that this amphictyony existed before the time of Acrisius, and that he was only the first who regulated the affairs of the amphictyons, fixed the towns which were to take part in the council, gave to each its vote, and settled the jurisdiction of the amphictyons.4



  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 2.1, 4.1; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 16.2, 25.6; iii, 13.6; Hyginus. Fabulae, 63.
  2. Euripides. Orestes, 1087.
  3. ix, 420.
  4. Comp. Libanius. Oratations. Vol. 3, 472, ed. Reiske.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.