Acrisius | King of Argos

Acrisius Greek Mythology

Acrisius (in classical Greek: Ακρίσιος), in Greek mythology, was a king of Argos, father of Dânae and son of Abante. He is hexanet of Uranus, pentanet of Chronos, and tetranet of Posidon.


Abante, son of Linceu (king of Argos) and Hypermnestra, married Aglaia, daughter of Mantineus, and had twin sons, Acrisius and Black. The two brothers, however, quarreled from the time they were in the womb and, after they were grown, waged war for the kingdom; in this war shields were invented.

Reign and war with his brother

Acrisius prevailed, and Black was exiled to the court of Iobates, king of Lycia, or, according to other versions, to Amphianax. There, Black marries the king's daughter, called by Homer Antia and by the tragic poets Estebeneia; Estebeneia may also be a daughter of Aphidas, son of Arcas.

With an army of Lycians, Black returns to Argolida and occupies Tiryns, which was fortified by the Cyclopes for him, and divides the country with Acrisius: Acrisius gets Argos, and Black gets Tiryns.

Birth of his grandson

He married Eurydice, daughter of Lacedemon, and had a daughter, Dânae. According to Hyginus, Acrisius was the father of Evarete; the latter was the wife of Enomau and the mother of Hippodamia, wife of Pelope. Disgusted at not having a male child, he consulted the oracle who told him that he would not have a son, but a grandson who would kill him.

To escape this fate, Acrisius had Dânae locked up in an underground bronze chamber and placed under guard, where she remained until she was visited by Zeus in the form of a golden rain, becoming pregnant with Perseus (according to some authors, she was seduced by Black, Acrisius' brother and rival). 

Lactantius, a Christian author who lived around the year 300, influenced by Evemerism, says that this "rain of gold" was actually a large sum of money that the mortal king Zeus poured over Dânae's lap to compensate for the dishonor he did in her, and that later poets adopted the rain of gold as a figure of speech, just as "rain of iron" refers to a large quantity of darts and arrows.

Acrisius, furious, had his daughter and grandson put into a large chest which was carried away by the sea. They ended up on one of the Cyclades islands, where a fisherman, Dictis, brother of the king of Seriphos, Polidectes, found them.


Years later Perseus killed Medusa, freed and married Andromeda, daughter of Cassiopeia, and returned with her and her mother to Argos. Upon hearing of his arrival, the old king Acrisius fled to Thessaly.

But during the funeral games of the king of Larissa, Perseus, who did not know his grandfather nor did his grandfather know him, threw a disc which deflected and struck Acrisius, who was among the spectators, killing him, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the oracle.