Erichthonius II, or Erechtheus II, as he is called, is described as a grandson of the first Erichthonius, and as a son of Pandion by Zeuxippe, so that he was a brother of Butes, Procne, and Philomela.1

After his father's death, he succeeded him as king of Athens, and was regarded in later times as one of the Attic eponymi. He was married to Praxithea, by whom he became the father of Cecrops, Pandorus, Metion, Orneus, Procris, Creusa, Chthonia, and Orithyia.2 His four daughters, whose names and whose stories differ very much in the different traditions, agreed among themselves to die all together, if one of them was to die. When Eumolpus, the son of Poseidon, whose assistance the Eleusinians had called in against the Athenians, had been killed by the latter, Poseidon or an oracle demanded the sacrifice of one of the daughters of Erechtheus. When one was drawn by lot, the others voluntarily accompanied her in death, and Erechtheus himself was killed by Zeus with a flash of lightning at the request of Poseidon.3

In his war with the Eleusinians, he is also said to have killed Immaradus, the son of Eumolpus.4 According to Diodorus,5 Erechtheus was an Egyptian, who during a famine brought corn to Athens, instituted the worship of Demeter, and the Eleusinian mysteries.



  1. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 14.8; Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 5.3.
  2. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 15.1; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 25.5; Ovid. Metamorphoses vi, 676.
  3. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 15.4; Hyginus. Fabulae, 46, 238; Plutarch. Parallel Lives of the Noble Greek and Romans, 20.
  4. Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 5. 2.
  5. i, 29.


  • 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.