In Greek mythology, Chryses (Ancient Greek: Χρύσης, meaning "golden") was a Trojan priest of Apollo at Chryse, near the city of Troy.
According to later traditions, Chryses was a son of Ardys, and named by some as a brother of Briseus, the father of Briseis.
Chryses comes to prominence when he is named as a priest of Apollo from the city of Thebe, a city east of Mount Ida. This city was ruled by King Eetion, who was an ally of King Priam. Late in the Trojan War this city was taken by the Achaean forces, and was plundered by the Greeks.
During the ransacking of Thebe, many women were taken as prizes, and one such woman was Chryseis, the beautiful daughter of Chryses.
Chryses would travel to the Achaean camp and ask that he be allowed to ransom his daughter, an act that was prevalent during the conflict, and a ransom was normally agreed upon.
The beautiful Chryseis though had caught the eye of Agamemnon, who desired to make her his concubine, and so despite the eloquent words of Chryses, and the promise of much treasure, Agamemnon refused to release Chryses' daughter.
In fact despite the pleadings of Chryses, Agamemnon verbally abused the priest of Apollo and Agamemnon eventually threw Chryses out of the Achaean camp.
When alone, Chryses would pray to his patron, the Olympian god Apollo; Apollo was already opposed to the Achaean forces, but the prayers of Chryses provoked him into direct action, and when night was at its darkest point, Apollo entered the Achaean camp. There, Apollo unleashed his arrows, but rather than penetrating the armour of the Achaeans, the arrows spread a plague throughout the camp, and as a result the Achaean army was decimated.
Calchas would eventually advise Agamemnon of the only way in which the plague could be swept from the camp, was to return Chryseis to her father. A reluctant Agamemnon agreed, although he would take Briseis from Achilles as compensation, leading to further issues for the Achaeans.
Chryses though would be reunited with his daughter, and this is the last mention of Chryses during the Trojan War, although the priest of Apollo would appear afterwards, during the adventures of Orestes.
It would appear that Chryseis had been pregnant with Agamemnon's son when she was reunited with her father, for a son called Chryses (after his grandfather) was born. This younger Chryses would believe that he was a son of Apollo, but the truth was revealed years later.
At the time when Orestes and Iphigenia were leaving Tauris, their ship landed upon the island of Zminthe, where they were captured by the younger Chryses, but the elder Chryses, then revealed that Orestes, was the half-brother of the younger Chryses. Thereafter, Chryses joined with Orestes, and both would later return to Mycenae.
Cryses in Greek Mythology
Chryses was the name that may refer to one of the following figures in Greek mythology:
Chryses or Chrysen, son of Zeus and Isonoe, one of the Danaides.
Chryses, succeeded Phlegyas as king of the Phlegyans. He was the son of Poseidon and Chrysogeneia, daughter of Almus, and the possible father of Minyas.
Chryses, one of the four sons of Minos and Pareia. He lived in the island of Paros together with his three brothers: Eurymedon, Nephalion and Philolaus. When Heracles arrives at the port of the island during the execution of his ninth work, two of his men go ashore. The four brothers killed these two men without any reason. The hero, furious about this pointless act immediately landed and in turn slayed the sons of Minos.
Chryses, Trojan priest and father of Chryseis
Chryses, grandson of the precedent through Chryseis and Agamemnon. After his mother was released shortly as a prisoner and allowed to return to her hometown, she gave birth to Chryses in the city of Thebes in Asia Minor. Many years later, Orestes arrived with Iphigenia and Pylades to Zminthe and were seized by Chryses, who decided to return them to King Thoas and the Taurians. But through his grandfather Chryses, he learned that they were also children of Agamemnon. So Chryses, joining his forces to those of his half-brother Orestes, attacked the Taurians and killed their king Thoas. After this, Chryses goes with Orestes and Iphigenia to Mycenae to visit the grave of their father Agamemnon. Yet some say that the father of Chryses was Apollo.
Stewart, Michael. "People, Places & Things: Chryses", Greek Mythology: From the Iliad to the Fall of the Last Tyrant.
Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions 10.21
Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 9.36.4
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2.5.9 & 3.1.2
Homer, Iliad 1.10 ff.
Hyginus, Fabulae 120-121
Our Mobile Application
Check out Our Mobile Application "Ancient Greece Reloaded"