Deiphontes | King of Argos

Deiphontes Greek Mythology

Deiphontes, in Greek mythology, was a Heraclid, who acted during the consolidation phase of the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnese.

Deiphontes was a great-great-grandson of Heracles; he was the son of Antimachus, son of Thrasynor, son of Ctesippus, son of Heracles. Temene, a great-great-grandson of Heracles, had received Argos, in the partition of the Peloponnesus between his brother and his nephews, and appointed Deiphontes as his general and advisor, to the detriment of his sons.

Deiphontes married Hyrnetho, Temene's favorite daughter, which led Temene's sons to suspect that Temene intended to make Deiphontes his successor. The sons rebelled, led by Ceisus, the eldest, who seized the kingdom.

However, the Argives, who had loved freedom and self-government since ancient times, limited the king's power as much as possible; Medon, son of Ceisus, and his descendants reigned only nominally, and Medon's tenth descendant, Meltas, son of Lacedas, was condemned by the people and deposed, and the monarchy was extinguished.

According to Pseudo-Apolodorus, Temene's sons were named Agelaeus, Euripilus, and Chalias, and they, upon learning that Temene would give preference to his daughter and son-in-law, assassinated the king, but the army decided that the kingdom would belong to Hyrnetho and Deiphontes.

After Temeno's death, several Argives, who respected Deiphontes and Hyrnetho more than Temeno's sons, seceded, and, together with Deiphontes, took possession of Epidaurus. The city, then ruled by Pityreus, an Ionian, was handed over to Deiphontes and the Argives without a fight.

Ceisus and the other sons of Temeno (minus Agraeus, the youngest) tried to take Hyrnetho from Deiphontes, and two of them, Cerynes and Phalces, came to Epidaurus, and sent a herald to Hyrnetho, saying they wanted to speak to her. 

When she arrived, they began to speak ill of Deiphontes, and promised that if she would go with them to Argos, she would receive another husband, better than Deiphontes and reigning over a prosperous country, but she refused, saying that Deiphontes was an excellent husband.

The brothers then took their sister in a chariot they had prepared, but an Epidaurian warned Deiphontes, who went out in pursuit; in the pursuit, Deiphontes killed Cerynes, but feared to attack Phalces, for he was holding Hyrnetho; as soon as Deiphontes came close, Phalces murdered Hyrnetho, who was pregnant. Phalces managed to escape, and Deifontes and his sons rescued Hyrnetho's body and made a shrine, called Hyrnethium.

Deiphontes and Hyrnetho had three sons and a daughter, Antimenes, Xantipo, Argeus, and Orsobia; Orsobia married Panophilus, son of Aegymius.