In Greek mythology, Tlepolemus (Ancient Greek: Τληπόλεμος) was the leader of the Rhodian forces in the Trojan War.

Tlepolemus was a son of Heracles and Astyoche, daughter of Phylas, king of Ephyra. Though some sources say that his mother was Astydameia, daughter of Amyntor or Ormenus.

Tlepolemus fled to Rhodes after slaying Licymnius, Heracles' aged maternal uncle. According to the Bibliotheca, this was an accident—Tlepolemus was beating a servant when Licymnius ran between the two, suffering a fatal blow—, but Pindar states that the death was intentional and motivated by anger.

Tlepolemus did not leave Argos alone though, for with him was his wife, Polyxo, a woman of Argos, and their unnamed son. Additionally, many Argives also left with Tlepolemus and a small armada would now sail through the Aegean Sea. Perhaps under the instruction of Apollo, Tlepolemus would lead his fleet to Rhodes, and was welcomed there by the local inhabitants.

Tlepolemus would be proclaimed King of Rhodes, and Tlepolemus would found three city states, Lindos, Ialysus and Cameirus. Rhodes, under the leadership of Tlepolemus would flourish, and it was said that the island and its inhabitants were blessed by Zeus because of Tlepolemus.

​Hyginus would name Tlepolemus as one of the Suitors of Helen, but Hyginus doesn’t tell us whether he was King of Rhodes by then or whether he was a potential suitor because he was a son of Heracles and a renowned wielder of the spear.

As a Suitor of Helen Tlepolemus was pitted against the finest heroes and kings of Ancient Greece, and to avoid bloodshed, each suitor would take the Oath of Tyndareus to protect the chosen husband of Helen.

Ultimately, Tlepolemus was not successful in winning the hand in marriage of Helen, for Menelaus was chosen. ​

​If it is given that Tlepolemus was a Suitor of Helen, then he would be bound by the Oath of Tyndareus to protect Menelaus; and so, when the call to arms arrived, Tlepolemus brought nine ships of Rhodians to Aulis. Homer names these Rhodians as having been assembled from Lindos, Ialysus and Cameirus.

Tlepolemus’ time at Troy was but brief, for although the Trojan War would last for ten years, it was said that Tlepolemus would die on the first day of fighting; although Protesilaus was famously the first Achaean to die.

Tlepolemus would encounter Sarpedon, the Trojan defender who was a son of Zeus, and believing himself superior to Sarpedon, Tlepolemus forced the fight between the two men. Calling Sarpedon a coward, Tlepolemus attack, but although he initially gained the upper hand, inflicting a wound upon Sarpedon, the Trojan fought back and thus Tlepolemus died by the weapon of Sarpedon.

​The death of Tlepolemus left the widow Polyxo as Queen of Rhodes, and many years after the death of her husband and the end of the Trojan War, Helen came to her kingdom. Helen had been driven out of Sparta by her husband Menelaus’ sons, and Helen believed that Rhodes would be a safe place to stay, for Helen believed Polyxo to be a friend.

The widow of Tlepolemus though blamed Helen for the death of her husband, and so Polyxo had her own servants kill Helen as she took a bath.

On the other hand, Polyaenus says that Menelaus had dressed up a servant in Helen's clothes and that the Rhodians killed her instead as Menelaus and Helen escaped.


Homer, Iliad 2.653–70.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2.7.6

Pindar, Olympia 7.20–30.

Hesiod, Catalogue of Women fr. 232 M–W = schol. Pind. Ol. 7.42b: "Homer says that she was Astyoche, not Astydameia ... Hesiod also says that she was Astydameia, Pherecydes says Astygeneia. She was a daughter of Phylas. ... Herein Pindar says that she was daughter of Amyntor, but Hesiod and Simonides say Ormenus." (Ὅμηρος ταύτην Ἀστυόχην φησὶν, οὐκ Ἀστυδάμειαν ... καὶ Ἡσίοδος δὲ Ἀστυδάμειαν αὐτήν φησι, Φερεκύδης δὲ Ἀστυγένειαν. ἦν δὲ Φύλαντος θυγάτηρ ... ἐνταῦθα δὲ Ἀμύντορος αὐτήν φησιν ὁ Πίνδαρος, Ἡσίοδος δὲ καὶ Σιμωνίδης Ὀρμένου.)

Bibliotheca 2.8.2.

Pausanias 3.19.10

Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 911 calls her "Philozoe" (Φιλοζώη)

Diodorus Siculus 4.58.8.

Iliad 2.655–6, where Tlepolemus leads "those who dwell Rhodes, ordered in three parts: Lindos, Ialysus and shining Cameirus" (οἳ Ῥόδον ἀμφενέμοντο διὰ τρίχα κοσμηθέντες | Λίνδον Ἰηλυσόν τε καὶ ἀργινόεντα Κάμειρον).

Hyginus, Fabulae 81.

Homer, Il. 5.633–46.

Iliad 5.657–9.

Polyaenus, Strategemata 1.13.

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