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In Greek mythology, Anchises (//; Ancient Greek: Ἀγχίσης, pronounced [aŋkʰi͜ísɛ͜ɛs]) was the son of Capys and Themiste (daughter of Ilus, who was son of Tros). He was the father of Aeneas and a prince from Dardania, a territory neighbouring Troy.
His major claim to fame in Greek mythology is that he was a mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite (and in Roman mythology, the lover of Venus). One version is that Aphrodite pretended to be a Phrygian princess and seduced him for nearly two weeks of lovemaking. Anchises learned that his lover was a goddess only nine months later, when she revealed herself and presented him with the infant Aeneas. Aphrodite had warned him that if he boasted of the affair, he would be blasted by the thunderbolt of Zeus. He did and was scorched and/or crippled. One version has this happening after he bred his mares with the divine stallions owned by King Laomedon. The principal early narrative of Aphrodite's seduction of Anchises and the birth of Aeneas is the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite. According to the Bibliotheca, Anchises and Aphrodite had another son, Lyrus, who died childless. He later had a mortal wife named Eriopis, according to the scholiasts, and he is credited with other children beside Aeneas and Lyrus. Homer, in the Iliad, mentions a daughter named Hippodameia, their eldest ("the darling of her father and mother"), who married her cousin Alcathous.
After the defeat of Troy in the Trojan War, the elderly Anchises was carried from the burning city by his son Aeneas, accompanied by Aeneas' wife Creusa, who died in the escape attempt, and small son Ascanius (the subject is depicted in several paintings, including a famous version by Federico Barocci in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The rescue is also mentioned in a speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar when Casius attempts to persuade Brutus to murder Caesar). Anchises himself died and was buried in Sicily many years later. Aeneas later visited Hades and saw his father again in the Elysian Fields.
Homer's Iliad mentions another Anchises, a wealthy native of Sicyon in Greece and father of Echepolus.
- Julius Caesar and other prominent Romans claimed to be descended from Venus (the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite) and Anchises.
- The Golden Bough (mythology)
- Mount Ida
References and sources
- Homeric Hymns. Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
- Homer. Iliad II, 819-21; V, 260-73; XX, 215-40.
- Virgil. Aeneid.
- Bibliotheca III, xii, 2, Epitome V, 21.
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- Ovid. Metamorphoses XIII, 623-42; XIV, 82-119.
- Rose, H.J. (1924). Anchises and Aphrodite. The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1. (Jan., 1924), pp. 11–16.