Polycaon, son of Lelex, king of Laconia, by the Naiad nymph, Cleochareia.

Lelex, was the first of the famous line of the legendary kings of Sparta.

This made Polycaon brother to Myles, amongst other siblings, who became the next of the legendary kings of Sparta.

In other words, Polycaon’s brother Myles would succeed their father, Lelex, as king of Laconia. Polycaon though had married Messene, the daughter of King Triopas of Argos, and Polycaon wanted greatness for her, and her husband.

Messene wanted Polycaon to be king, but rather than foolishly try and usurp Myles, Messene instead organised for a military force of Laconians and Argives to be at their disposal. This military force was then used to conquer the lands west of Laconia, beyond Mount Taygetus. This conquered land, now bordered by Elis and Arcadia to the north, and Laconia to the east, would be named Messenia, after Polycaon’s wife.

Polycaon would thus become the first king of Messenia, and Polycaon built a new city to be his place of power, the city of Andania. It was said to have been during the rule of Polycaon that Caucon brought to Messenia the religious rites associated with the Great goddesses from Eleusis. ​

It was said that Polycaon and Messene have children, and it was also said that Messenia was ruled for a further four generations by the descendants of Polycaon, but no details of the children, or other descendants of Polycaon, exist today.

Polycaon, son of Butes

Polycaon, son of Butes. He married Evaechme, daughter of Hyllus and Iole (thus a granddaughter of Heracles).


Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3. 1. 1. & 4. 1. 1 - 4. 2. 2

Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4. 2. 1

Our Mobile Application

Check out Our Mobile Application "Ancient Greece Reloaded"