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PELEUS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 66 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PELEUS, in Greek legend, king of the Myrmidones of Phthia in Thessaly, son of Aeacus, king of Aegina, and brother (or II intimate friend) of Telamon. The two brothers, jealous of the athletic prowess of their step-brother Phocus, slew him; but the crime was discovered, and Peleus and Telamon were banished. Peleus took refuge in Phthia with his uncle Eurytion, who purified him from the guilt of murder, and gave him his daughter Antigone to wife, and a third of the kingdom as her dowry. Having accidentally killed his father-in-law at the Calydonian boar-hunt, Peleus was again obliged to flee, this time to Iolcus, where he was purified by Acastus. The most famous event in the life of Peleus was his marriage with the sea-goddess Thetis, by whom he became the father of Achilles. The story ran that both Zeus and Poseidon had sought her hand, but, Themis (or Prometheus or Proteus) having warned the former that a son of Thetis by Zeus would prove mightier than his father, the gods decided to marry her to Peleus. Thetis, to escape a distasteful union, changed herself into various forms, but at last Peleus, by the instructions of Chiron, seized and held her fast till she resumed her original shape, and was unable to offer further resistance. The wedding (described in the fine Epithalamium of Catullus) took place in Chiron's cave on Mt Pelion. Peleus survived both his son Achilles and his grandson Neoptolemus, and was carried away by Thetis to dwell for ever among the Nereids. See Apollodorus Hi. 12, 13; Ovid, Metam. xi ; Pindar, 'Isthmia, viii. 7o, Nemea, iv. lot ; Catullus, lxiv. ; schol. Apoll. Rhod. iv. 816 ; Euripides, Andromache, 1242-1260.
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