Atreus

Greek - King of Mycenae. Son of Pelops and Hippodamia. Brother of Thyestes. Husband of Aerope, Cleolla and Pelopia. Father of Agamemnon, Menelaus and Pleisthenes. In some accounts his first wife was Cleolla by whom he was the father of Pleisthenes. In that version Aerope was first married to Pleisthenes and later married Atreus. Others say that Cleolla was the wife of Pleisthenes. Atreus was involved in a dispute with Thyestes over the throne of Mycenae. He had stuffed the fleece of a golden-horned lamb made by Goat- Pan or Hermes, which became acknowledged as a symbol of the right to the throne. He was tricked by Thyestes into killing his own son, Pleisthenes. His second wife Aerope was infatuated with Thyestes and gave him the lamb. He assumed the throne but soon abdicated when Zeus reversed the motions of the sun as a warning. Atreus took over again as King and banished Thyestes. When he discovered his wife's treachery he invited his brother back to Mycenae and killed and boiled the pieces of Thyestes' sons, Aglaus, Callileon and Orchomenus (and, in some stories, the twins Pleisthenes and Tantalus), serving them to his brother as a meal. After executing Aerope he married Pelopia, not realising that she was a daughter of Thyestes who had raped her and left her with child. The infant, Aegisthus, was abandoned but rescued by shepherds, suckled by a goat then recovered by Atreus who thought he was his own son. When Aegisthus was seven years old Atreus ordered him to kill Thyestes, whom he had imprisoned, but Thyestes disarmed the boy and, recognising the sword he held, knew that the boy was his own son. Thyestes then reversed the order and this time there was no mistake; the boy killed Atreus and Thyestes was left in control of Mycenae. Also called Atreus.

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