His story is, that when the Danaides, by the desire of their father, killed their husbands in one night, Hypermnestra alone spared the life of her husband Lynceus. Danaus thereupon kept his disobedient daughter in strict confinement, but was afterwards prevailed upon to give her to Lynceus, who succeeded him on the throne of Argos.2
The cause of Hypermnestra sparing Lynceus is not the same in all accounts.3 It is also said that she assisted her husband in his escape from the vengeance of Danaus, that he fled to Lyrceia (Lynceia), and from thence gave a sign with a torch that he had safely arrived there; Hypermnestra returned the sign from the citadel of Argos, and in commemoration of this event the Argives celebrated every year a festival with torches.4 When Lynceus received the news of the death of Danaus from his son Abas, Lynceus gave to Abas the shield of Danaus, which had been dedicated in the temple of Hera, and instituted games in honor of Hera, in which the victor received a shield as his prize.5 According to some, Lynceus slew Danaus and all the sisters of Hypermnestra, in revenge for his brothers.6
Lynceus and his wife were revered at Argos as heroes, and had a common sanctuary, and their tomb was shown there not far from the altar of Zeus Phyxius.7 Their statues stood in the temple at Delphi, as a present from the Argives.8
- Apollonius Rhodius. Argonautica i, 125.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 1.5, 2.1; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 16.1; Ovid. Heroides, 14.
- Scholiast on Pindar's Nemean Odes x, 10; on Euripides' Hecuba, 869; on Pindar's Pythian Odes ix, 200.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 25.4; comp. ii, 19.6, 21.1, 20.5.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 273.
- Scholiast on Euripides' Hecuba, 869; Servius on Virgil's Aeneid x, 497.
- Hyginus. Fabulae, 168; Pausanias. Description of Greece ii, 21.2.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 10.2.
- 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.