by Dr. Alena Trckova-Flamee, Ph.D.

Electryon was one of the sons of the hero Perseus and his wife Andromeda, and the brother of Sthenelus and Alcaeus. He belonged to the older generation of mythical Mycenaean kings in the region of Argolis in the Peloponnese. Electryon married Anaxo, the daughter of his brother Alceus, or Eurydice the daughter of Pelops. She bore him eight sons and a daughter, Alcmene. Another son of Electryon was Licymnius, born from the Phrygian woman Midea.

According to one myth, the Taphians and the Teleboans, led by Pterelaus, attacked the Acropolis of Mycenae. Their leader wanted to acquire parts of Argolis and Mycenae. During this conflict all eight sons of Electryon were killed and Electryon's cattle were stolen by the invaders.

Electryon decided to take revenge and he left Mycenae. During his absence, his nephew Amphitryon, the son of his brother Alcaeus and the king of Troezen, governed his land. Electryon promised him his daughter Alcmene as his future wife in return for his help.

During the time that Amphitryon governed Mycenae, he heard that the stolen cattle of Electryon were in the property of the Elisian king Polyxenus. The king agreed to give the cattle back but only in exchange for a high ransom. Amphitryon paid him what was asked, and called Electryon back home to inspect his cattle. Electryon was not at all pleased; on the contrary he became very angry with the king of Elis, who had sold stolen property, but also with Amphitryon, who wanted back from Electryon everything he paid for the cattle. When Amphitryon saw Electryon's irritation he flung a club which bounced off the horns of one of the cows and which killed Electryon. A variation of the story is that one of the animals went wild and Amphitryon attempted to strike it on the head with his club but accidentally hit Electryon and killed him.

After Electryon's death, Amphitryon and Alcmene were expelled by Sthenelus and went to Thebes, where he was later purified by king Creon. Amphitryon went to war against the Taphians and the Teleboans (whom he blamed for his unfortunate situation), and defeated them and annexed their islands. Later on Amphitryon became the king of Tiryns.

The story belongs to one of the myths related to the older generation of Mycenaean kings who assumed power over Argolis and the Peloponnese. The king who was killed by his nephew (who was also his son-in-law) by accident was a common mythical motif for the transfer of a hero from one place to another.



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