Αδμητος

King of Pheres in Thessaly, the son of the Pheres after whom the country was named and Periclymene. In his youth he took part in the hunt for the wild boar of Calydon and in the expedition of the Argonauts. On his father's death he became king, and fell in love with Alcestis, daughter of Pelias, the king of Iolcos, who had determined to give his daughter only to a man whose chariot should be drawn by a lion and a wild boar yoked together. Apollo, who was at that time Admetus' drover, provided his master with the necessary pair of animals, perhaps in gratitude for the good treatment he had received during his period of servitude, or perhaps because he was himself enamoured of Admetus.

Having won the hand of Alcestis in this way thanks to the god's help Admetus omitted to offer a sacrifice to Artemis during the marriage celebrations and in her anger she filled the bridal chamber with snakes. Apollo promised Admetus that he would appease his sister and at the same time he asked the Fates on Admetus' behalf that he should not die on the day fixed by Destiny, if he found someone who would agree to die in his stead. To win this favor Apollo resorted to a subterfuge and made the Fates drunk, but when the day came on which Admetus was due to die, no one was willing to give their life for his except his wife. But Heracles, Admetus' former comrade on the expedition of the Argonauts, happened to be passing through Pheres at the very moment of Alcestis' death. Seeing no one save mourners in the palace and hearing cries of grief on all sides, he asked the cause of it and on hearing that the queen was dead went down to the Underworld and brought back Alcestis, younger and lovelier than ever. This was the tradition followed by Euripides in his Alcestis. According to another version Heracles played no part in rescuing her but Persephone in admiration for her self-sacrifice returned her spontaneously to the light of day. Admetus had three children, Eumelus, Perimele and Hippasus (Table 21).

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

Table of Sources:
- Apollod. Bibl. 1, 8, 2; 1, 9, 16
- Tibullus 2, 3, 11ff.
- Ovid, Her. 5, 151
- Plutarch, Numa 4
- Aeschylus, Eum. 723ff.
- Euripides Alcestis, passim

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