Erichthonius | King of Athens

Erichthonius Greek Mythology

European Erictonius or Brazilian Erictonius (Greek: Ἐριχθόνιος), in Greek mythology, was the son of Athena and Hephaestus, was (according to some versions) the first mythical king of Athens; according to other versions, Erictonius was the successor of Amphictyon.

He reigned from 1 487 BCE to 1 437 BCE, and his successor was Pandion I.

Isaac Newton identifies Erictonius to Erectheus, one of the shepherds of Egypt (the Hyksos) who reigned in Attica around 1 035 BCE.


Herse, Pandroso, and Aglauros, the three daughters of the king of Attica Cicrope I, were given a locked box by Athena, forbidding them to look at what was inside. Pandroso obeyed, but the other two did not, and they went mad when they saw Erictonius, throwing himself off the steepest part of the acropolis. Erictonius was the son of Athena and Hephaestus.

According to Jerome of Stridus, Erictonius was the son of Vulcan and Minerva, and reigned from 1 437 BCE to 1 487 BCE, being preceded by Amphictyon and succeeded by Pandion I.

Pseudo-Apolodorus, after presenting Erictonius as the son of Hephaestus and Attis, daughter of Cranau, explains the alternative version of how he could be the son of Athena, Athena being a virgin: Athena had approached Hephaestus, desirous of the weapons he made, when, rejected by Aphrodite, Hephaestus falls in love with Athena.

He pursues her, but she runs away, and when he manages to grab her, she does not allow the sexual act, and Hephaestus ejaculates on Athena's thigh. Disgusted, she cleans herself, and makes the semen fall to the ground, and from there Erictonium is born.

After Erictonius was born, Athena raised him, hidden from the other gods, and placed him in a chest, giving him to Pandrous, daughter of Cicrope I, and forbidding her to open the chest.

But her curious sisters opened it, and saw a serpent coiled around the baby. According to some authors, they were killed by the serpent, according to others, they were driven mad by Athena's wrath and threw themselves off the acropolis.


Cicrope I, whose male son died before him, was succeeded by Cranau, a powerful man of the Athenians, and the latter was deposed by Amphictyon, his son-in-law.

After being raised by Athena, Erictonius led a rebellion, drove Amphictyon out of Athens, became king, established the cult of Athena, and married the naiad Praxiteia, with whom he had son Pandion.

He was succeeded by Pandion I.