The Story of Acrisius from Greek Mythology

(or Akrisios), a son of Abas, king of Argos and of Ocaleia. He was grandson of Lynceus and great-grandson of Danaus. His twin-brother was Proetus, with whom he is said to have quarrelled even in the womb of his mother.

When Abas died and Acrisius had grown up, he expelled Proetus from his inheritance; but, supported by his father-in-law Iobates, the Lycian, Proetus returned, and Acrisius was compelled to share his kingdom with his brother by giving up to him Tiryns, while he retained Argos for himself.

An oracle had declared that Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son, who would kill his grandfather. For this reason he kept Danae shut up in a subterraneous apartment, or in a brazen tower. But here she became mother of Perseus, notwithstanding the precautions of her father, according to some accounts by her uncle Proetus, and according to others by Zeus, who visited her in the form of a shower of gold. Acrisius ordered mother and child to be released on the wide sea in a chest; but the chest floated towards the island of Seriphus, where both were rescued by Dictys, the brother of king Polydectes. (Apollod. 2.2.1, 4.1; Paus. 2.16.2, 25.6, 3.13.6; Hyg. Fab. 63.) 

How the prophecy of Perseus killing his grandfather Acrisius comes true

According to a later or Italian tradition, the chest was carried to the coast of Italy, where king Pilumnus married Danae, and founded Ardea (Virg. den. vii. 410 ; Serv. Gel den. vii. 372) ; or Danae; is said to have come to Italy with two sons, Argus and Argeus, whom she had by Phineus, and took up her abode on the spot where Rome was afterwards built (Serv. ad Aen. viii. 3.1h).

However, in the most frequently cited story, Polydectes, king of Seriphos, made Danae his slave, and courted her favour, but in vain ; and in order to obtain the undisturbed possession of her, he sent off Perseus, who had in the meantime grown up to manhood, to the Gorgons, to fetch the head of Medusa, which he said he would give to Hippodameia as a wedding present (Tzetz. ad Lye. 838). Another account again states that Polydectes married Danae, and caused Perseus to be brought up in the temple of Athena.

When Acrisius learnt of Perseus and Danae whereabouts, he went to Polydectes, who, however, interfered on behalf of the boy, and the latter promised not to kill his grandfather. Acrisius, however, was detained in Seriphos by storms, and during that time Polydectes died.

During the funeral games the wind carried a disk thrown by Perseus against the head of his grandfather Acrisius and killed him, after which Perseus proceeded to Argos and took possession of the kingdom of his grandfather (Hygin. Fab. 63).

In the most frequent version however, Perseus went to Argos, accompanied by Cyclopes, skilled in building (Schol. ad Eurip. Or. 953), by Danae, and Andromeda. Acrisius, remembering the oracle, escaped to Larissa, in the country of the Pelasgians ; but Perseus followed him, in order to persuade him to return (Pans. ii. 16. ยง 6).

Some writers state that Perseus, on his return to Argos, found Proetus, who had expelled his brother Acrisius, in possession of the kingdom (Ov. Met. v. 236, art) ; Perseus slew Proetus, and was afterwards killed by Megapenthes, the son of Proetus, who avenged the death of his father. (Hygin. Fab. 244.)
Some again relate that Proetus was expelled, and went to Thebes. (Scher. ad Eurip. Ilaen. 1109.

But the common tradition goes on thus : when Teutamidas king of Larissa, celebrated games in honour of his guest Acrisius, Perseus, who took part in them, accidentally hit the foot of Acrisius, and thus killed him. Acrisius was buried outside the city of Larissa, and Perseus, leaving the kingdom of Argos to Megapenthes, the son of Proetus, received from him in exchange the government of Tiryns.

Atlas Mythica
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