Athamas

Greek - King of Boeotia. Son of Aeolus and Enarete. Brother of Salmoneus and Sisyphus. Husband of Nephele or Themisto and Ino. He married Nephele, the woman Zeus had created in the likeness of Hera from cloud material to deceive Ixion. They had three children, Helle, Leucon and Phrixus. He was also the father of Learchus and Melicertes by Ino, whom he seduced and then married. Others say that Ino was his first wife. In other accounts Themisto was his first wife and mother of Helle, Leucon and Phrixus. He was preparing to sacrifice his son Phrixus to lift the scourge of famine when Heracles (or Hermes) arrived on a flying ram and stayed his hand. Both Phrixus and Helle were carried off on the golden-fleeced ram Chrysomallon. He and Ino reared the infant Dionysus and when Hera discovered the child's whereabouts she drove Athamas mad so that he killed his son, Learchus, with an arrow, mistaking him for a stag. His wife, Ino, and his other son, Melicertes, escaped his sword only by jumping into the sea. He was banished from his kingdom. After much wandering, he founded a new city and started a new life with Themisto. In one version Ino was also driven mad by Hera and wandered the countryside, but returned after Athamas had married Themisto, who was then sent away. She plotted to kill Themisto's children but her own children were killed instead. It was the death of her sons that sent Athamas mad and caused him to kill Learchus. Also identified as Athamas.

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