A son of Ixion or Zeus by Dia, of Larissa in Thessaly.1 He was one of the Lapiths, and married to Hippodamia, by whom he became the father of Polypoetes.2 When Pirithous was celebrating his marriage with Hippodamia, the intoxicated centaur Eurytion or Eurytus carried her off, and this act occasioned the celebrated fight between the centaurs and Lapiths.3 He was also present at the Calydonian hunt.4

Pirithous later helped Theseus to carry off Helen. In turn, Theseus accompanied Pirithous into the underworld to abduct Persephone, who was beloved by Pirithous. Hades pretended to welcome then and offered them a feast, but as they set down they were bound fast. Theseus was later freed by Heracles, but when Heracles tried to free Pirithous the earth quaked and he let go.5

He was worshiped at Athens, along with Theseus, as a hero.6


Pirithous is depicted as a warrior on many vases, naked or with a billowing mantle, and participating in the battle against the centaurs. His adventures with Theseus (such as their descent into the underworld) are shown on various monuments.



  1. Homer. Iliad ii, 741, xiv, 17; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 8.2; Eustathius on Homer, p. 101.
  2. Homer. Iliad ii, 740 ff. xii, 129.
  3. Homer. Odyssey xi, 630; xxi, 296; Iliad i, 263 ff.; Ovid. Metamorphoses xii, 224.
  4. Ovid. Metamorphoses viii, 302.
  5. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 5.2.
  6. Pausanias. Description of Greece i, 30.4; comp. Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 8.2; Pausanias. Description of Greece x, 29.2; Ovid. Metamorphoses viii, 566; Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historia xxxvi, 4.


  • Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • 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.