In Greek mythology, Electryon (Ancient Greek: Ἠλεκτρύων) was a king of Tiryns and Mycenae or Medea in Argolis.
Electryon was the son of Perseus and Andromeda and thus brother of Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, Cynurus, Gorgophone and Autochthe.
He married either Anaxo, daughter of his brother Alcaeus and sister of Amphitryon, or Eurydice daughter of Pelops.
His wife bore him a daughter Alcmena and many sons: Stratobates, Gorgophonus, Phylonomus, Celaeneus, Amphimachus, Lysinomus, Chirimachus, Anactor, and Archelaus. Electryon had an illegitimate son Licymnius by Midea, a Phrygian woman.
Having returned from his quest, Perseus had nominally become King of Argos, after the death of Acrisius, but rather than take up the throne of a man whom he had killed, Perseus decided to swap kingdoms with Megapenthes, and so Perseus had become king of Tiryns. Perseus had then established a second city, Mycenae, which neighboured Tiryns.
In time, Perseus died, and the kingdoms of Tiryns and Mycenae, passed to his son, Electryon.
Electryon’s rule was a relatively long and prosperous one, but in the end trouble came to his kingdom. This trouble took the form of the sons of Pterelaus; Pterelaus being king of Taphos.
The sons of Pterelaus claimed that a portion of the kingdom of Electryon was rightfully theirs, for they were descendants of Electryon’s brother, Mestor.
Electryon refused to recognise the claim of the sons of Pterelaus, and so they decided to instead take compensation, rustling Electryon’s cattle. The sons of Electryon then set out to prevent the pillaging of their father’s kingdom.
The two sets of son eventually met, and a battle ensued between the two forces, and in a bloody battle, all the sons of Electryon, bar Licymnius, and all the sons of Pterelaus, bar Everes, were killed.
In the aftermath of the battle, Amphitryon, a nephew of Electryon, via Alcaeus, retrieved the stolen cattle from King Polyxenus, to whom they had been entrusted. Amphitryon was seeking to marry Alcmene, the daughter of Electryon, and so the retrieval of the cattle was a good first step.
Indeed, Electryon was glad to receive the cattle, but the return came in period of great grief, for all the legitimate sons of the king were now dead.
Nevertheless, Electryon agreed to the marriage of Amphitryon and Alcmene, but the marriage would only go ahead, after Electryon returned to his kingdom; for the king had decided to wage war against Taphos because of the death of his sons.
Electryon was thus prepared to go to war, but in the end he never left his kingdom, for he was accidentally killed before he could depart.
Electryon and Amphitryon were looking over the retrieved cattle, when one of the animals started to break out from its compound. Amphitryon threw his club, to dissuade the animal, but the club rebounded off of the horns of the cow, striking Electryon upon the head, killing the king of Mycenae and Tiryns.
As the husband of Electryon’s only legitimate child, Amphitryon was perhaps in line to succeed Electryon to the kingdom, but Electryon’s own brother, Sthenelus, had decided to make them his own.
Sthenelus seized the throne, and sent Amphitryon and Alcmene into exile, charging the pair for the murder of Electryon, despite the death of Electryon being an accident.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.25.9
Apollodorus, Library 2.4.5
Sir William Smith (1876). «Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology». Boston, C.C. Little and J. Brown; [etc., etc.] page, 8.
"Greek Legends and Myths"
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