A Lacedaemonian, a son of Perieres and Gorgophone, a grandson of Aeolus or Cynortes, and a brother of Aphareus, Leucippus, and Tyndareus.1 Others called him a grandson of Perieres, and a son of Oebalus by Batea,2 or a son of Oebalus and Gorgophone, and a grandson of Cynortes.3

Hippocoon, a natural son of Oebalus, expelled his two brothers, Tyndareus and Icarius, from Lacedaemon: they fled to Thestius at Pleuron, and dwelt beyond the river Achelous. Subsequently, when Heracles had slain Hippocoon and his sons, Tyndareus returned to Sparta, while Icarius remained in Acarnania. According to Apollodorus,4 however, Icarius also returned. Another tradition relates that Icarius, who sided with Hippocoon, assisted him in expelling Tyndareus from Sparta.5

While in Acarnania, Icarius became the father of Penelope, Alyzeus, and Leucadius, by Polycaste, the daughter of Lygaeus: according to others he was married to Dorodoche, or Asterodea.6 Others again relate that by the naiad Periboea he became the father of Thoas, Damasippus, Imeusimus, Aletes (or Semus and Auletes), Perilaus, and Penelope.7 In the Odyssey8 Iphthime also is mentioned as one of his daughters.

When his daughter Penelope had grown up, he promised her hand to the victor in a foot-race, in which he desired the suitors to contend, and Odysseus won the prize;9 but according to others, Tyndareus sued for the hand of Penelope for Odysseus, from gratitude for a piece of advice which Odysseus had given him.10 When Penelope was betrothed to Odysseus, Icarius tried to persuade the latter to remain at Sparta, but Odysseus declined doing this, and departed with Penelope. Icarius followed his daughter, entreating her to remain; and as Odysseus demanded of her to give a decided answer as to what she meant to do, she was silent, but at length she modestly covered her face, and declared that she would follow her husband. Icarius then desisted from further entreaties, and erected a statue of Modesty on the spot.