A daughter of Eetion, king of the Cilician Thebae, and one of the noblest and most amiable female characters in the Iliad. Her father and her seven brothers were slain by Achilles at the taking of Thebae, and her mother, who had purchased her freedom by a large ransom, was killed by Artemis. She was married to Hector, by whom she had a son, Scamandrius (Astyanax), and for whom she entertained the most tender love.1 See the beautiful passage in Homer,2 where she takes leave of Hector when he is going to battle, and her lamentations about his fall.3
On the taking of Troy her son was hurled from the wall of the city, and she herself fell to the share of Neoptolemus (Pyrrhus), the son of Achilles, who took her to Epeirus, and to whom she bore three sons: Molossus, Pielus, and Pergamus. Here she was found by Aeneas on his landing in Epeirus, at the moment she was offering up a sacrifice at the tomb of her beloved Hector.4
After the death of Neoptolemus, or according to others, after his marriage with Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen, Andromache became the wife of Helenus, a brother of her first husband, Hector, who is described as a king of Chaonia, a part of Epeirus, and by whom she became the mother of Cestrinus.5 After the death of Helenus, who left his kingdom to Molossus, Andromache followed her son Pergamus to Asia. She was supposed to have died at Pergamus, where in after times a heroum was erected to her memory.6
The description of the parting between Andromache and Hector and her subsequent lamentations over his death are among the most famous paragraphs of the Iliad. Euripides chose Andromache as the subject of one of his tragedies and she is also the subject of a poem by Fr. von Schiller.
Andromache is frequently depicted on Greek vases. The scene in which she and Hector bid each other farewell is found on a Chalcidian amphora (ca. 530 BCE; Würzberg). She wears a long robe and her head is covered. She and her son Scamandrius were painted in the Lesche at Delphi by Polygnotus.7
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 11.6.
- Iliad vi, 390-502.
- ibid. xxii, 460 ff.; xxiv, 725 ff.
- Virgil. Aeneid iii, 295 ff.; comp. Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 11.1; Pindar. Nemean Odes iv, 82; vii, 50.
- Virgil, l.c.; Pausanias, l.c.; ii, 23.6.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 11.2; comp. Dictys Cretensis, vi, 7 ff.; Euripides. Andromache.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 25, in fin.
- 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.