Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 December 2022



  • Ken Dowden


Alcestis, in mythology, daughter of *Pelias, wife of Admetus king of *Pherae (Thessaly), who is prepared to die in his place.Pelias promised Alcestis to whoever could yoke a lion and boar to a chariot (Apollod. 1. 9. 15). Admetus was assisted in this feat by his lover (Soph. fr. 851 Radt) Apollo (cf. *Poseidon, *Pelops, and *Hippodamia), who had been punished by serfdom to Admetus for killing the *Cyclopes (Hes. Catalogus mulierum frs. 51–7 M–W) or the Pythian snake. But at his marriage Admetus forgets to sacrifice to *Artemis and finds the bridal chamber full of snakes. On *Apollo's advice he appeases Artemis and obtains from the Fates the concession that someone may die in his place. In the event, only Alcestis will, but Kore (*Persephone) sends her back from death or (in tragedy) *Heracles rescues her by wrestling with Death (*Thanatos).


  • Greek Literature
  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription