Apis (Greek mythology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Apis (/ˈpɨs/; Ancient Greek: Ἄπις) is the name of a figure, or several figures, appearing in the earliest antiquity according to Greek mythology and historiography. It is uncertain exactly how many figures of the name Apis are to be distinguished, particularly due to variation of their genealogies. A common element is that an Apis was an early king in the Peloponnesus and had a territory named after himself, and Apis was often, but not always, ascribed an Egyptian origin. For the sake of convenience, the variant myths are presented here as if they dealt with separate characters.

King of Argos[edit]

Apis was a king of Argos. He was a son of Phoroneus by the nymph Teledice, and brother of Niobe. During his reign he established a tyrannical government and called the Peloponnesus after his own name Apia, but was eventually killed in a conspiracy headed by Thelxion, king of Sparta, and Telchis.[1] Argus Panoptes, a descendant of his sister Niobe, avenged his murder by putting Thelxion and Telchis to death.[2] In another tradition, Apis is said to have given up his kingdom to his brother Argus and to have gone to Egypt where he reigned for a number of years.[3][4] This statement shows that Egyptian myths were mixed up with the story of Apis, see Apis (Egyptian mythology).

King of Sicyon[edit]

This Apis appears in a Sicyonian genealogical myth. Briefly, he belonged to a legacy of primeval kings of Sicyon which is as follows: Aegialeus - Europs - Telchis - Apis - Thelxion - Agyreus - Thurimachus - Leucippus. Like the Argive Apis, he too was said to have had Peloponnesus named Apia after him.[5]

Apis the Healer[edit]

Aeschylus[6] mentions yet another Apis, a healer and a son of Apollo. In The Suppliants, the Argive king Pelasgus, son of Palaechthon, relates that Apis once came from Naupactus and freed Argos from throngs of snakes, which "Earth, defiled by the pollution of bloody deeds of old, had caused to spring up" and plague the country. Apis "worked the cure by sorcery and spells to the content of the Argive land". To commemorate his deed, the relieved territory was thenceforth referred to as "the Apian land" (Apia khōra) after his name. Note that "the Apian land" appears to comprise not just Argos: Pelasgus describes his kingdom as stretching so far as the northernmost boundaries of Greece, and comprising the territories of Paeonia and Dodona.

Apis, son of Jason[edit]

This Apis was a native of Pallantium, Arcadia. He participated in the funeral games of Azan and was accidentally killed by Aetolus, who ran him over with the chariot. For the murder, Aetolus was sent into exile by the children of Apis.[7] Apollodorus relates the same of Apis, son of Phoroneus, apparently confounding the two mythological namesakes.[8]


  1. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 1. 1
  2. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 1. 2
  3. ^ Eusebius, Chronicle, n. 271
  4. ^ Augustine, De Civitate Dei, 18. 5
  5. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2. 5. 6 - 7
  6. ^ Aeschylus, The Suppliants, 249-70
  7. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5. 1. 8
  8. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 7. 6

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Argos Succeeded by