A son of Theseus and Phaedra, and brother of Acamas.1 According to Pindar,2 he was the son of Theseus by Antiope. He accompanied the Greeks against Troy (Homer, however, does not mention him), and there effected the liberation of his grandmother Aethra, who was with Helen as a slave.3
According to Plutarch he was beloved by Laodice, who became by him the mother of Munychus or Munitus whom Aethra brought up in secret at Ilium. On Demophon's return from Troy, Phyllis, the daughter of the Thracian king Sithon, fell in love with him, and he consented to marry her. But, before the nuptials were celebrated, he went to Attica to settle his affairs at home, and as he tarried longer than Phyllis had expected, she began to think that she was forgotten, and put an end to her life. She was, however, metamorphosed into a tree, and Demophon, when he at last returned and saw what had happened, embraced the tree and pressed it to his bosom, whereupon buds and leaves immediately came forth.4
Afterwards, when Diomedes on his return from Troy was thrown on the coast of Attica, and without knowing the country began to ravage it, Demophon marched out against the invaders: he took the Palladium from them, but had the misfortune to kill an Athenian in the struggle. For this murder he was summoned by the people of Athens before the court ἐπὶ Παλλαδίῳ (epi Palladiō) — the first time that a man was tried by that court.5
According to Antoninus Liberalis5 Demophon assisted the Heraclidae against Eurystheus, who fell in battle, and the Heraclidae received from Demophon settlements in Attica, which were called the tetrapolis. Orestes too came to Athens to seek the protection of Demophon. He arrived during the celebration of the Anthesteria, and was kindly received; but the precautions which were taken that he might not pollute the sacred rights, gave rise to the second day of the festival, which was called χόες (choes).6
Demophon was painted in the Lesche at Delphi together with Helen and Aethra, meditating how he might liberate Aethra.7
- Diodorus Siculus, iv, 62; Hyginus. Fabulae, 48.
- ap. Plutarch. Theseus, 28.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 25.2.
- Ovid. Ars Amatoria iii, 38, Heroides, 2; Servius on Virgil's Eclogues v, 10; comp. Hyginus. Fabulae, 59.
- Athenaeus, x, p. 437; Plutarch. Symposiacs ii.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 28.9.
- 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.