Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts: Peleus Edition

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Peleus was one of Aeacus‘ sons. His mother was a mountain nymph. When he and his brothers Telamon (another Argonaut) and Phocus were out hunting one day there was a hunting accident, or possibly an argument that led to an “accident” and Phocus was killed. He fled the country to Phthia and got married to a woman named Antigone (not that one).

Peleus and Eurytion (Antigone’s father and another Argonaut) were out hunting one day and Eurytion ended up getting killed. If both hunting accidents were in fact accidents, I would at this point pray Peleus took a hint and stopped hunting. Seriously. Anyway, Peleus fled, again, and ended up losing a wrestling match against Atalanta at a funeral game he was attending with Acastus (yet another Argonaut) in Iolcus. Acastus’ wife (who I’m not naming here because her name varies so much depending on the myth) thought that was hot, so she made a pass at Peleus.

Peleus was disgusted and turned her down. Enraged, she sent a note to Antigone telling her that Peleus was going to marry her daughter, and Antigone got depressed and hung herself. Then she told her husband that Peleus tried to rape her. Her husband decided it was time for him and Peleus to go hunting.

So off Acastus and Peleus go on a hunting trip. Acastus stole Peleus’ sword and abandoned him in the woods with a bunch of angry centaurs. One of the centaurs, Chiron, said, yeah…we’re not getting in the middle of this, and returned Peleus’ sword, and allowed him to escape.

Peleus returned to Iolcus, dismembered Acastus and his wife, and marched an army between their dismembered limbs.

Now Peleus needed a new wife. He decided he wanted to marry Thetis, a sea nymph who is sometimes a Nereids and sometimes elevated to a sea goddess, but the problem was she wasn’t often in humanoid form so he enlisted the help of the old man of the sea, Proteus. They had a wonderful wedding, Poseidon gave the couple two immortal horses and everyone was happy until Eris showed up. Apparently she hadn’t been invited, so brought a special gift. A golden apple. She offered the apple to the most beautiful goddess in attendance then watched Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena duke out who was the prettiest. This led to the judgement of Paris and the Trojan War. Fun times.

Sometime after the wedding, Peleus and Thetis gave birth to seven sons. One lived past infancy. Achilles. Thetis attempted to make her son impervious to harm by dipping him in the river styx, but she forgot a spot. The heel by which she held him. Or she pulled a Demeter and anointed him with Ambrosia then burned away the mortal parts of his body. We all know how that turned out.

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