Αεροπη

  1. One of the daughters of Catreus, son of Minos. She had two sisters, Clymene and Apemosyne, and one brother, Althaemenes. Catreus asked the oracle to tell him how he would die and the oracle had answered that he was destined to die at the hands of one of his children. Catreus tried to keep the oracle secret, but he could not prevent Althaemenes from knowing of it. Althaemenes promptly fled with one sister Apemosyne. Catreus gave Aerope and her other sister Clymene to Nauplius the traveller, with orders to sell them overseas. Nauplius took the two girls to Argos, where Aerope married Pleisthenes, the country's king. Their marraige resulted in the birth of Agamemnon and Menelaus (Table 2).

    According to another tradition Catreus handed over Aerope to Nauplius not from fear that she might kill him but because she had had an affair with a slave, and he told Nauplius to drown her. Moreover Aerope was said to have married not Pleisthenes but Atreus, making him the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. In an attempt to reconcile the two traditions it has been suggested that Atreus was either the son or the father of Pleisthenes and that Aerope married Pleisthenes first and after his death Atreus, and that the two children, whose father was Pleisthenes, were brought up by Atreus.

    While she was married to Atreus, Aerope allowed herself to be seduced by her brother-in-law Thyestes and secretly gave him the golden lamb which guaranteed Atreus his royal power. In spite of this Atreus managed to keep his throne with the help of Zeus, and to punish his wife he threw her into the sea.
     
  2. Pausanias knew of another Aerope, daughter of Cepheus, who was loved by Ares and died while giving birth to a son. But Area ensured that the child could continue to suck at his mother's breast.

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

Table of Sources:

  1. - Apollod. Bibl. 3, 2, 1
    - schol. on Hom. Il. 1, 7
    - Sophocles, Ajax 1297 with schol.
    - Apollod. Epit. 2, 7, 10
    - Euripides, Orestes 16f; Cretans (lost tragedy, Nauck TGF, edn 2, p. 501ff.)
    - Serv. on Virgil, Aen. 1, 458
    - Hyg. Fab. 86
    - Paus. 2, 18, 2
    - Ovid, Trist. 2, 391
     
  2. - Paus. 8, 44, 7

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