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date: 05 February 2023



  • Alan H. Griffiths


Aeacus (Αἰακός), ancestral hero of *Aegina, whose eponymous nymph bore him to *Zeus; to give him company, Zeus turned the island's ant population into humans, transforming murmēkes into ‘Myrmidons’ (Hes. fr. 205 M–W; cf. Ov. Met. 7. 517–660). As a primeval figure, he was naturally close to the gods, and unlike e.g. *Tantalus or *Ixion he retained their favour; according to Pindar (a sedulous propagator of Aeginetan legends) he helped *Apollo and *Poseidon build the walls of *Laomedon's Troy (Ol. 8) and even settled disputes between the gods themselves (Isocrates 8. 24). Famous for his justice and piety in life, he became a judge in the Underworld (Pl. Ap. 41a, Grg. 524a; Isoc. 9. 14 f.; cf. Ar. Ran. 464 ff.). He was the founder of the warrior clan of the Aeacidae: his sons *Peleus and *Telamon (1), exiled for the murder of their brother *Phocus, fathered *Achilles and Ajax (see aias (1)) respectively.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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