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date: 01 October 2023



  • Adam Rappold


Erechtheus was both one of the ten tribal (phyle) heroes of Athens and a mythical founding king of the city. Originally born from the very land of Attica (gēgenēs / γηγενής), his myths served as a symbol of the developing concepts of autochthony, with his birth demonstrating that the Athenians were the original inhabitants of Attica, and of nationalism, with the Athenians referring to themselves as the “sons of Erechtheus.” His most important myth, as exemplified in Euripides’ fragmentary Erechtheus, has him sacrificing one of his daughters to preserve Athens from the armies of Eumolpus. As a cult figure, in the classical era, he was associated with the Athenian worship of Athena and Poseidon, his name sometimes functioning as an epithet of Poseidon, and he had a major cult in the Erechtheum on the Acropolis. The scholarship on Erechtheus has primarily been concerned with whether or not he was originally combined with another earth-born Athenian king, Erichthonius, albeit with inconclusive results.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

Updated in this version

Text and bibliography expanded. Keywords and links to digital materials added.

Development and Myth

Of the many figures from whom the Athenians claimed descent, Erechtheus is among the oldest. Attested to in Homer, stories of him predate written accounts, but, because of Erechtheus’ antiquity, the accounts of his surviving myths are poorly defined and full of contradictions.1 By the time of Classical Athens he was nebulous, a figure for whom a name had survived “without deeds” (Pl. Critias 110a). Because of this, it would be inaccurate to seek a single, rationalised account of his life. Instead, it is more accurate to look at how the evolution of the myths of Erechtheus’ reflects the use of this figure, particularly as they regard the development of the concept of autochthony among the Athenians.2

Pre-5th Century bce

In the earliest sources, the king Erechtheus is said to be gēgenēs / γηγενής‎, born directly from the Earth, and ancestor of the Athenian people (Homer Il. 2.547–8, Od. 7.81, Herodotus 8.55). This type of birth, a precursor to the idea of autochthony (which, in ancient contexts, referred to the original inhabitants of a land regardless of origin), provided a direct link between the land of Attica and the Athenians who claimed dominance over it—or, at least those leading eupatrid families (see eupatridae) who claimed descent from Erechtheus.3 Using earth-born autochthons to stake ancestral territorial claims was a popular strategy, particularly among aristocratic families or tyrants, and parallels the mythical origins of other Greek ethnē (e.g., Lelex for Laconia, Paus. 3.1.1; Anax for Miletus, Paus 7.2.5; and Pelasgus for Arcadia, Paus 8.1.4).

In the Athenians' case, their claim could be backed up by evidence that is more clearly historical: Athens was the only major urban area in Greece to be continuously occupied from the Mycenaean era (see Mycenaean civilization). Stories about Erechtheus and his links to the age of Homeric heroes were often used as a powerful connection to that past, frequently put forward to explain the ruins of Mycenaean fortifications and houses on the Acropolis.

Apart from the specific genē who claimed exclusive descent from him, the name Erechtheus could also serve as shorthand for the Athenian people, who identified themselves as the Erechtheidai “descendents of Erechtheus” (Pindar Isth. 2.19, Pyth 7.10, Soph. Ai. 201–202, Eur. Med 824, Ion 24, 1056, 1060). The Atthidographer Philochorus also records that it was Erechtheus who first created the Athenian state, organizing it into 12 cities—an accomplishment that would later be credited to Theseus (FrGH 328 F4).

Although Erechtheus is among the earliest attested earth-born kings of the Athenians, he is certainly not the only one—Ogygus, Cecrops, Cecrops (2), Actaeus, Cranaus, and Erichthonius were also all said to have chthonic origins, and some of their names became synonymous with the Athenian citizen body (Hellanicus: FGrH 323a F 10, Philochorus: FGrH 328 F 92, Apollod. Bib. 3.14). In the 5th century bce, chthonic and supernatural origins came to be seen as monstrous and old-fashioned, and the Athenians would increasingly distance the hero Erechtheus from them, allowing intermediary figures to take his place (see section “Erechtheus-Erichthonius Controversy”).

In the time of Homer, Erechtheus has a close relationship with Athena, and his existence is virtually synonymous with her worship. In addition to being reared by her, Homer says that the two figures resided together in the palace of Erechtheus, which the Athenians associated with the earliest temple of Athena (Homer Il. 2.547-8, Od 7.81, see hero-cult). This living arrangement, with the god dwelling in the house of a ruler, is perhaps reflective of a historical development during the Greek Dark Age where the houses of rulers were connected to the development of later temples.4 More speculatively, rather than a king, Erechtheus himself may have been an early divinity, along the lines of Poseidon, or a male equivalent to Athena, who was transformed into a recipient of hero cult around the time of Homer.5 At least one early sacred law, imposed upon the Epidaurians, required yearly sacrifices to Erechtheus and Athena for the gift of Athenian olive trees. (Hdt. 5.82.3b).

Although further mythological details are scanty, poets of this period also knew of a daughter of Erechtheus, Creusa, who married Xuthus (Hes. fr. 10a. 20–24 MW), another daughter, Oreithyia, who was abducted by Boreas (Simonides fr. 534 PMG), and a son, Sicyon (Hes fr. 224 MW = Paus. 2.6.5).

Fifth–Fourth Century bce

In the 5th century, Erechtheus was divorced from his role as earth-born founder and was consistently depicted as a human king, albeit one who claimed earth-born ancestors (Eur. Ion 267). Instead, Erechtheus now served as a mortal culture-hero, bridging the mythological past and the present by creating institutions that were central to Athens during the classical period, particularly a set of important priesthoods. Some hint of Erechtheus’ earlier origin remains in the depiction of his death—concealed under the earth by the force of Poseidon's trident.

Erechtheus was also critical to a growing sense of Athenian democratic patriotism. Josine Blok has persuasively argued that, in the 5th century, Athenian identity became increasingly tied to the idea of lineal descent, particularly after the Periclean citizenship reform required a citizen to possess two Athenian parents rather than one.6 The genē, eupatrid religious clans, had always filled their ancestral priesthoods based on lineal descent from the clan founder and, as a result, they had already created elaborate mythological family trees—frequently traced to Erechtheus. This made the genos, and Erechtheus, the perfect model to adopt for the new form of citizen ancestry; in essence the demos co-opted the power that the genos had always held.

As such, Erechtheus became the center of the developing concept of autochthony, the claim that Athenian people had been the first human inhabitants in Attica and had never migrated.7 This nativism may explain Erechtheus' increased use as a patriotic exemplar: Erechtheus served a prominent role in the building program of Pericles—in addition to the massive reconstruction of the Erechtheum, the sacrifice of Erechtheus’ daughter may have appeared both on the frieze, although this assertion is debated, and on the west pediment of the Parthenon).8 Further, the myth of Erechtheus was extensively used as a patriotic model by the orators of the 4th century (Dem. 60.27, Lycurgus 100), and stories of the war between the Athenians and Thracians (see section “War between Erechtheus and Eumolpus”) had long been a mainstay of funeral orations.

This period also marked the development of a more elaborate mythology for Erechtheus, exemplified in the Ion and Erechtheus of Euripides, although some form of these stories had likely existed in earlier oral accounts. The narrative was also mocked in Anaxandrides' Erechtheus of 368 bce. It is during this period that Erechtheus begins to be depicted in sculpture and on Athenian pottery (e.g., Berlin: Ch F2537), although never with great regularity.9

War between Erechtheus and Eumolpus

The most enduring form of his myth, elaborated in the 5th century, is as follows (Lycurgus Against Leocrates 98–101, Plutarch Moralia 310d, Demaratus Stories from Tragedy FGrH F 4, Apollodorus 3.15.4–5, Hyginus 46, Euripides Erechtheus): Poseidon coaxes his son, the Thracian King Eumolpus, to declare war on King Erechtheus and Athens, angry that the city had chosen Athena as its chief god. With the war going poorly, Erechtheus is told by the Pythia that victory can only be achieved through the sacrifice of one (or more) of his daughters—in later myth called Protogenēia, Chthonia, and Pandora. Reluctantly, persuaded by his wife Praxithea, he obeys the oracle and sacrifices a daughter; the remaining daughters, bound by an oath, sacrifice themselves as well. Erechtheus then defeats Eumolpus' army and kills the king. In retribution, Poseidon buries Erechtheus under the ground and threatens Athens with a destructive earthquake. Athena intervenes, assuaging the anger of Poseidon and setting up a series of cults, bridging the realm of myth and contemporary Athens: honoring Erechtheus through the worship of Poseidon-Erechtheus, Eumolpus as the eventual founder of the Eleusinian Mysteries (through a descendant also named Eumolpus), Erechtheus’ daughters as the heroic Hyades and Hyacinthides, and Praxithea as the first priestess of Athena Polias. Erechtheus’ kingdom is left to an adopted son—unnamed in the fragments—but possibly Xuthus, Cecrops (2), Butes, Ion, or Pandion. According to Euripides’ Ion, a younger daughter, Creusa, also survives.

Erechtheus is also tied to two other myths. Oreithyia, one of Erechtheus’ daughters was abducted by the wind god Boreas while on her way to participate in a festival—no doubt attesting to links between the cults of Boreas and Erechtheus, both of which were used to express a growing nationalism (Pausanias 1.19.5, fr. 7 PEG, Akousilaos 2F30, Simonides 534 PMG).10 This story, possibly one of the earliest about Erechtheus and his family and certainly one of the most popular, is well attested on Attic vases (e.g., Berlin: Lost F2165, Beazley 5957, 5962, 206369, 217309). Aeschylus also wrote a satyr play called Oreithyia in which Erechtheus likely appeared. Problematically, Oreithyia is sometimes the grandmother of the Eumolpus who had threatened Athens (whom Erechtheus fights in Euripides’ version). Erechtheus is also made the father of Procris, who was accidentally killed by her husband Kephalos while hunting (FGrH 334 F14, Harpocration s.v. Ἐπενεγκεῖν δόρυ…‎). A final variant attests to a completely different Erechtheus, derived from North Africa, instead of Athens, where he is said to be the son of Nemesis of Rhamnus (Suda, s.v. Ῥαμνουσία Νέμεσις‎), likely reflecting Athenian influence in the area.

There are many variants to this basic story in circulation, which led Emily Kearns to suggest that we think of Erechtheus as an archetype of a “warrior-king,” available to be slotted into the appropriate narrative, rather than a historical individual.11 It is very difficult to tell how much of the typical description is new to the 5th century, or even an exclusively Euripidean invention.12

For instance, the Thracian army of Eumolpus in Euripides likely replaces an earlier tale of civil strife and Eleusinian synoecism with a much less controversial barbarian enemy (cf. Thucydides 2.15.2). In some versions, Erechtheus’ war is fought against different opponents: Immaradus, son of Eumolpus, or Phorbas, a separate son of Poseidon (Suda s.v. Φορβαντεῖον‎, FGrH 10 F.1, FGrH 4 F40). Even the sacrifice of Erechtheus’ daughters is an adaptation of a common mythic pattern, where an Athenian king sacrifices a child to save the city from an intractable problem, as is the case both in mythological examples—the daughters of Leos and the daughters of Hyacinthus—and in drama—the daughter of Heracles in Euripides’ Heracleidae. Sometimes too, vase paintings hint at radically different mythologies. One particularly problematic vase seems to place the adult Erechtheus, with his daughter Oreithyia, alongside Cecrops, and his daughter Aglauros, although they are conventionally from very different time periods (Munich 2345).

One common thread in the 5th century variations on the Erechtheus myth is that they are designed within the new framework of Athenian nationalism. In particular, myths where immigrants played an important role in Athenian succession are replaced by the indigenous, native Erechtheus. For instance, Maurizio Sonnino convincingly argues that the war between Erechtheus and the Thracian Eumolpus was originally a war of royal succession fought between Ion, grandson of Erechtheus, and Eumolpus, great-grandson of Erechtheus through Oreithyia.13 Neither the royalist overtones nor the idea that the line of kings included non-natives (Ion's father was an alien) appealed to the Athenians of the 5th century, and so they were removed. Similarly, the Hyacinthides, who sacrificed themselves to save Athens, were originally daughters of a Spartan immigrant (Photius and Suda s.v. leōkorion, Aelian, Various Histories 12. 28, Etymologicum Magnum 560.3, Scholia on Thucydides 1. 20, Scholia on Demosthenes 54. 7). Here too, this is paved over by equating the Hyacinthides with the native daughters of Erechtheus.

There is also some variation in the terms of Erechtheus’ death, reflecting conflict between the cultic reality of his heroic/divine worship and his developing mythology: either Erechtheus is struck by lightning and ascends into heaven as appropriate for a founding king/divinity (Hyginus 46), or he is submerged into the ground and continues to exist as a chthonic/heroic spirit (Eur. Ion 281f, Apollodorus 3.15.4–5). Both ideas have some support in cult (see section “Cult”). A third, rationalised tradition also developed, stating that he simply died in the war (Pausanias 1.38.3).

Figure 1. Boreas Abducts Oreithyia. Bronze hydria, c. 375–350 bce. Rogers Fund, 1953.

Photo courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 53.11.3.

Third Century and Beyond

In the 3rd century bce, Atthidographers fully elaborated the lineage of Erechtheus. According to this tradition, Erechtheus was now the son of Pandion (1), and the grandson of Erichthonius (Marmor Parium A.15). In what is certainly a product of this rationalization, this also made him the brother of the tragic Procne and Philomela (Apollodorus 3.14.8).

The Atthidographers’ process—fixing Erectheus’ position within the contradictory mass of Athenian kings—is likely responsible for the generation of much of the later confusion between Erichthonius and Erechtheus. The fluid mix of oral tales and theatrical performances of earlier myths were blurred together and elaborated on to fit events into a coherent narrative, and figures lost the distinctiveness that they had in myth and cult. This process also frequently created chronological inconsistencies and required the invention of doublet characters, such as a second Cecrops and a second Pandion. This likely explains, for instance, why Apollodorus has both Erechtheus and Erichthonius married to a queen named Praxithea, or why the daughter of Cecrops and the daughter of Erechtheus are sometimes named Aglauros.

According to the Atthidographers, this Erechtheus is still heavily tied to Eleusinian aspects of Athenian history, although the war narrative is elided. Erechtheus reigned during the rape of Persephone, the birth of Triptolemus, and the invention of agriculture. (Marmor Parium A.1. 11–15). He is also still tied to a Eumolpus, albeit an earlier Eumolpus who founded the Mysteries. Erechtheus also had a brother named Butes, who married one of Erechtheus’ daughters, Chthonia—confusingly, sometimes said to have been sacrificed—and it is Butes who produced the line of Athenian kings and/or the Eumolpidae genos (Apollodorus Bib. 3.15.4–5).

Other sons introduced in later periods include Thespius (Pausanias 9.26.6) and Alcon (Apollonius Argonautica 1.97, Valerius Flaccus 1.399).

Erechtheus-Erichthonius Controversy

From an early date, Erechtheus has often been confused with another autochthonous figure, the similarly named Erichthonius. As early as the Hellenistic period, scholiasts asserted that they were the same figure (Σ‎A Il. 2.547), and later writers often used the two figures interchangeably (e.g., Plutarch Mor. 843e, Nonnus Dionysica 13.172–179, Aelius Herodianus, Περὶ παθῶν‎ 3.2.2, Strabo 13.1.48).

At the heart of the issue is the assertion of Homer and Herodotus that Erechtheus was “born from the earth” and “nursed by Athena” (Homer Il. 2.547–548, Herodotus 8.55). These details, never elaborated on in extant myths, fit very closely the somewhat scandalous tale of Erichthonius’ birth, when the sperm of Hephaestus contacted the earth after an attempted rape of Athena (see section “Erichthonius”). Given that these earth-born origins of Erechtheus largely disappear in the 5th century, around the time that Erichthonius becomes prominent, it seems possible then that Erichthonius has been split from the original Erechtheus into two functionally identical figures.14 In this view, Erichthonius retains the original, now scandalous, supernatural birth narrative of the composite figure, and Erechtheus retains the more traditional heroic mythology of adulthood and death.15 Supporting this, the two names, despite ancient etymologies to the contrary, do contain essentially the same linguistic components, meaning “very earthy one.” Even the 3rd century Marmor Parium, which had both Erichthonius and Erechtheus in its line of Athenian kings, contributes to this confusion—spelling Erechtheus’ name as the hybrid Erichtheus. Similarly, while Erechtheus is well represented in many aspects of Athenian life, Erichthonius is virtually unattested.

Despite the attractiveness of this idea, it is far from conclusively settled. Assuming that Harpocration was not mistaken, the 6th century epic Danais mentioned Erichthonius being born of the earth, suggesting, at the very least, a pre-5th century bce, if not original, separation between the two figures (fr 2 PEG, Pindar fr. 253 SM). Ultimately, much of the confusion is the result of scholarship overvaluing the search for origins—the Athenians of the 5th century kept these figures separate without controversy, and conflicting claims of earth-born origins are far from uncommon among Athenian progenitors.


Erechtheus was thoroughly intertwined with the practice of Athenian cult. He possessed a temple and altar on the Acropolis, was honored in yearly sacrifices, and was a foundational figure for two Athenian phylai and one of the most important genē.

Altar and Temple

Just as Homer recorded, the Acropolis cult of Erechtheus was centered on a temple that was thought to be the remains of his palace, where the xoanon, the most ancient statue of Athena, was housed. It was adjacent to a deep cleft in the earth, which was thought to be Erechtheus’ resting place and, into which blood sacrifices were offered to the hero.16 Although this building was destroyed during the Persian sack of the city, it was rebuilt under Pericles into a massive complex called the Erechtheum—the rebuilding of which occasioned the writing of Euripides' Erechtheus.

Ancient descriptions relate that this new building still contained Erechtheus’ altar, dedicated to Erechtheus and Poseidon, and the ancient statue of Athena. In addition, there was an altar to Butes, the brother of Erechtheus, paintings dedicated to the Eteobutadai family, who provided the building’s priests (Paus. 1.26.5) and claimed kinship with Erechtheus. Assuming that the building on the Acropolis, conventionally called the Erechtheum, is synonymous with the ancient building of that name, there are also other curious elements that have been linked to tales of Erechtheus’ demise: a subterranean hollow where libations were offered to “Thyechoos,” the sacrifice-pourer, as appropriate for a chthonic hero, and an open skylight over exposed rock, honoring a lightning strike, as in Hyginus’ account of Erectheus’ death.17 Apollodorus also adds the detail of a saltwater spring, caused by a blow from the trident of Poseidon, with the name “Erechtheis / Ἐρεχθηίδα‎”—a clear link to Erechtheus (Apollodorus: 3.14.1).

As might be expected from his mythology, the worship of Erechtheus was closely connected to the worship of his killer Poseidon, who also received sacrifices on his altar. Some later sources think of Erechtheus as primarily an aspect of Poseidon (Athenagoras Legatio 1). One etymology for Erechtheus’ name—“smasher of earth” (“erichthō” = tear, smash, “chthonus” = earthy) —is very close to a traditional epithet of Poseidon as “earth-shaker.” This and the close connection of the figures in myth suggest that Erechtheus might have originally been a local Attic deity who was displaced because of his similarity to the Panhellenic Poseidon, who may have only received widespread Athenian worship in the 5th century.18 Certainly, regardless of origin, the two figures had blended together cultically by the 4th century.

According to Euripides, sacrifices at the Erechtheum were dedicated to a composite figure known as Poseidon-Erechtheus (Euripdes Erech. F. 370 ll. 59–66, 90–94 Kann.). Unfortunately, Poseidon-Erechtheus is likely a novel creation of the poet that became enshrined in actual ritual, as it is unattested prior to him, with the possible exception of a disputed single inscription dating from c. 460 bce (IG I2 580 = IG I3 872, cf. IG II2 1146).19 Although the issue is not settled, Poseidon-Erechtheus is then likely a late 5th century innovation, fusing previously independent (albeit related) cults.20

Sacrifices and Festivals

Reflecting his liminal status, Erechtheus was offered a variety of different sacrifices.21 He received typical thysia sacrifices: a ram in an inscription from the 5th century (IG II2 1357) and a bull in an inscription after 350 bce (IG II2 1146), both of which echo the Homeric account of a yearly sacrifice of these animals in his honor (Il. 2.550–551). Euripides suggests a darker alternative, saying that Erechtheus was owed a sacrifice of “slaughtered oxen” (phonai bouthytoi), intending either a massive hecatomb sacrifice of oxen (as at the Panathenaea) or a sacrifice that focused on a libation of sacrificial blood, followed by a somber feast (Euripides' Erech. fr. 65, lines 90–94). Blood sacrifices of this sort dedicated are relatively rare in the historic record and may indicate something of the war-like character of Erechtheus’ cult or, as Gunnel Ekroth suggests, may commemorate his status as an ancestral founder (cf. Thuc. 5.11 on sacrifices to Brasidas).

Based on Homer's descriptions, there was a yearly festival dedicated to Erechtheus complete with sacrifices and competitions, but the exact identity of this festival is unclear—the Skira and the Panathenaea are both probable candidates, although the Genesia has also been suggested.22 The links to the Panathenaea require associating Erechtheus with Erichthonius, who was said to have founded the festival, although the hecatomb sacrifice mentioned in Erechtheus fits this closely. The links to the Skira are similarly compelling: the festival recreates the narrative of Erechtheus’ war against Eumolpus—involving a procession of the priestess of Athena Polias (Praxithea) and Poseidon-Erechtheus (Erechtheus) to a place called Skiron (halfway to Eleusis), as if marching to war. Similarly connected, a few days later, at the Dipoleia when Eleusinian priests visit the city, events may represent the death of the Erechtheus or Eumolpus: the normally taboo sacrifice of a useful work ox, along with a strange trial wherein each of the sacrificial officiants passes off the guilt until the sacrificial instrument itself is ultimately charged with the murder of the ox.

Phylai and Genos

Erechtheus was also crucial in his role as ancestor of several genē, priestly families. The genos Eteobutadai partially derived their authority through Erechtheus, specifically by descent through Erechtheus’ brother Butes (Harpocration, s.v. Βούτης‎).23 Among other duties, this genos produced the very influential priestess of Athena Polias and the priest of Poseidon-Erechtheus (Aeschines, On the False Embassy, 147, Pseudo-Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus 843e-f). Their claim was likely an old one.

It is also certain that Erechtheus would also have received cult and worship as one of the eponymoi of both Erechtheis and, likely, Butadai. The conflict between the later Butadai phyle and the early Eteobutadai genos over claims to Butes and the Erechtheus lineage presumably caused the Eteobutadai, originally known as the Boutadai, to attach “eteo” (authentic) to their name (Harpocration s.v. Βούτης‎). Although in some cases traditional genos priests administered tribal cults, this is unlikely here. The tribes Erechtheis and Boutadai seemed to have been created specifically to fracture the dominance of the Eteobutadai over Athenian autochthony by diffusing their unique connection to Erechtheus to a wider group.

Links to Digital Materials


  • Blok, Josine. “Gentrifying geneology: On the genesis of the Athenian Autochthony Myth.” In Antike Mythen: Medien, Transformation, und Konstruktionen. Edited by Ueli Dill and Christine Walde, 251–275. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2009.
  • Burkert, Walter. Homo Necans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
  • Calame, Claude. “Myth and Performance on the Athenian Stage: Praxithea, Erechtheus, Their Daughters, and the Etiology of Autochthony.” Classical Philology 106, no. 1 (January 2011): 1–19.
  • Collard, Christopher and Martin Cropp (eds.). Euripides. Fragments: Aegeus-Meleager, Loeb Classical Library, Euripides VII. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • Connelly, Joan B. The Parthenon Enigma. New York: Knopf, 2014.
  • Darthou, Sonia. “Retour à la terre: la fin de la geste d’Érecthée.” Kernos 18 (2005): 69–83.
  • Dinsmoor, William. The Architecture of Ancient Greece: An Account of Its Historic Development. London: Batsford, 1975.
  • Ekroth, Gunnel. The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-Cults in the Archaic to the Early Hellenistic Periods. Kernos. Vol. 12. Liège, France: Centre international d'étude de la religion grecque antique. 2002.
  • Finkelberg, Margalit. “Boreas and Oreithyia: A Case-Study in Multichannel Transmission of Myth.” In Between Orality and Literacy: Communication and Adaptation in Antiquity. Edited by Ruth Scodel, 87–100. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014.
  • Forsdyke, Sara. “Born from the Earth”: The Political Uses of an Athenian Myth.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, 12, no. 1 (2012): 119–141.
  • Gantz, Timothy. Early Greek Myth. Vol. 1. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press. 1993.
  • Hurwit, Jeffrey M. The Athenian Acropolis: History, Mythology, and Archaeology from the Neolithic Era to the Present. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1999.
  • Jacoby, Felix. Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (FrGH). Vol. 3. Geschichte von Staedten un Voelkern. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1954.
  • Kannicht, Richard. Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta. Vol. 5, Euripides. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004.
  • Kearns, Emily. “The Heroes of Attica.” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplement 57, 59–63, 202. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1989).
  • Kron, Uda. Die zehn attischen Phylenheroen: MDAI(A) Suppl. 5, 32–83, 249–259. Berlin: Mann, 1976.
  • Kron, Uda. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. Vol. 4, 923–951. Zürich: Artemis, 1988.
  • Lacore, Michelle. “Euripide et le culte de Poséidon-Érechthée.” Revue des Études Anciennes 85 (1983): 215–234.
  • Luce, Jean-Marie. “Érechthée, Thésée, les tyrannoctones et les espaces publics athéniens.” In Teseo e Romolo: Le origini di Atene e Roma a confront. Edited by E. Greco, 143–164. Athens: Scuola archeologica italiana di Atene, 2005.
  • Loraux, Nicole. The Children of Athena. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. Originally published in 1981.
  • Papachatzis, Nicolaos. “The Cult of Erechtheus and Athena on the Acropolis of Athens.” Kernos 2 (1989): 175–185.
  • Parker, Robert. Polytheism and Society in Athens. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Robertson, Noel. “Athena's Shrines and Festivals.” In Worshiping Athena. Edited by Jenifer Niels, 27–77. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press (1996).
  • Rosivach, Vincent J. “Autochthony and the Athenians.” Classical Quarterly 37 (1987): 234–305.
  • Sonnino, Maurizio. Euripidis Erechthei Quae Exstant. Florence: F. Le Monnie, 2010.
  • Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane. Athenian Myths and Festivals: Aglauros, Erechtheus, Plynteria, Panathenaia, Dionysia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.


  • 1. For a general look at the sources for Erechtheus, see Gantz, Early Greek Myth, 233–244.

  • 2. For this practical version of myth, see Calame (2011), 3, for a similar approach see Finkelberg, “Boreas and Oreithyia.”

  • 3. Rosivach, “Autochthony and the Athenians.”

  • 4. Dinsmoor, Architecture of Ancient Greece, 8; and Hurwit, Athenian Acropolis, 74.

  • 5. Papachatzis, “Cult of Erechtheus and Athena.”

  • 6. This argument is heavily indebted to Blok, Gentrifying Geneology” and Forsdyke, “Born from the Earth.”

  • 7. On the differences between autochthony and “earth-born,” see Rosivach, “Autochthony and the Athenians.”

  • 8. Connelly, The Parthenon Enigma, claims that the Parthenon frieze depicts the sacrifice of Erechtheus’ youngest daughter.

  • 9. For the full list of artistic sources see Kron, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, 923–951.

  • 10. For a look at the complicated history of this myth, see Finkelberg, “Boreas and Oreithyia.”

  • 11. Kearns, “The Heroes of Attica,” 113–115.

  • 12. For an overview of this discussion see Sonnino (2010).

  • 13. Sonnino, Euripidis Erechthei Quae Exstant.

  • 14. Burkert, Homo Necans, 149; cf. Sourvinou-Inwood, Athenian Myths and Festivals, 88; and Kearns, “The Heroes of Attica,” 110–115.

  • 15. Loraux, “Euripide et le culte de Poséidon-Érechthée,” 46.

  • 16. For discussion see Ekroth, Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-Cults, 159.

  • 17. Hurwitt, The Athenian Acropolis, 203–204.

  • 18. For a complication of this view see Darthou “Retour à la terre.” On the introduction of Poseidon see Sarah Morris, Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 324; and cf. J. Binder “The West Pediment of the Parthenon: Poseidon” in Studies Presented to Sterling Dow (Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 1984), 15–22; and L. H. Jeffery “Poseidon on the Acropolis” in Papers of the Twelfth International Congress of Classical Archaeology1983 (Athens, 1988), 124–126.

  • 19. On this controversy, see Lacore, “Euripide et le culte de Poséidon-Érechthée,” 218.

  • 20. Contra Darthou, “Retour à la terre.”

  • 21. For this information, I am indebted to Ekroth, Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-Cults.

  • 22. Parker, Polytheism and Society in Athens, 28.

  • 23. Parker, Polytheism and Society in Athens, 290–293.