Antenor was one of the wisest of the Trojan elders and counsellors. He was husband of Theano, daughter of Cisseus of Thrace, who bore him at least one daughter, Crino, and numerous sons, including Archelochus, Acamas, Glaucus, Helicaon, Laodocus, Coön, Polybus, Agenor, Iphidamas, Laodamas, Demoleon, Eurymachus, Hippolochus, Medon, Thersilochus, Antheus (most of whom perished during the Trojan War). He was also the father of a son Pedaeus, by an unknown woman.
As a counselor to Priam in the Trojan war, Antenor advised his fellow-townsmen to send Helen back to the Greeks. He proved to be friendly to the Greeks and an advocate of peace. In the later story (according to Dares and Dictys) he was said to have treacherously opened the gates of Troy to the enemy; in return for which, at the general sack of the city, his house, marked by a panther's skin at the door, was spared by the victors. Afterwards, according to various versions of the legend, he either rebuilt a city on the site of Troy, or settled at Cyrene, or became the founder of Patavium (currently Padua), or of Korčula.
Antenor appears briefly in Homer's Iliad. In Book 3, he is present when Helen identifies for Priam each of the Greek warriors from the wall of Troy; when she describes Odysseus, Antenor criticizes her, saying how he entertained Odysseus and Menelaus and got to know both. In Book 7, as mentioned above, he advises the Trojans to give back Helen, but Paris refuses to yield.
The circle Antenora is named after him in the poem Inferno from Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. It is located in Hell's Circle of Treachery which is reserved for traitors of cities, countries, and political parties.
Antenor was also the affectionate name given by the 17th century poet Katherine Phillips to her husband, the Parliamentarian James Phillips.
- Homer, Iliad III, 148, 203, 262; VII, 347.
- Horace, Epp. i. 2. 9.
- Livy, i. 1.
- Pindar, Pythia, v. 83.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press