Chrysippus of Elis

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Illustration of Zeuxo pouring wine for Chrysippus, depicted on a Greek vase
Personal information
ParentsPelops and Axioche
SiblingsAtreus, Thyestes, Pittheus and many more

In Greek mythology, Chrysippus (/krˈsɪpəs, krɪ-/; Greek: Χρύσιππος, romanizedKhrýsippos, lit.'golden horse') was a divine hero of Elis in the Peloponnesus (Greece), sometimes referred to as Chrysippus of Pisa.[1]


Chrysippus was the bastard son of Pelops, king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus, and the nymph Axioche[2][3] or Danais.[4] According to Pseudo-Plutarch, of all his children Pelops loved Chrysippus best.


Chrysippus was kidnapped by the Theban prince Laius, his tutor, who was escorting him to the Nemean Games, where the boy planned to compete. Instead, Laius carried him off to Thebes and raped him, a crime for which he, his city, and his family were later punished by the gods.[5][6] Others named as Chrysippus' kidnappers Zeus[7] and even Theseus.[8] In one version Chrysippus' father Pelops, following his son's abduction, curses Laius to be killed by one of his own children.[9]

Chrysippus's death was related in various ways. One author who cites Peisandros as his source claims that he killed himself with his sword out of shame.[10][11] Hellanicus of Lesbos and Thucydides writes that he was killed out of jealousy by Atreus and Thyestes, his half-brothers, who cast him into a well. This is usually on their mother Hippodamia's suggestion; after Pelops blamed her for Chrysippus' demise, she killed herself[12] or withdrew to Midea in the Argolid.[13]

The death of Chrysippus is sometimes seen as springing from the curse that Myrtilus placed on Pelops for his betrayal, as Pelops threw him from a cliff after he helped Pelops win a race.[14][15]

Euripides wrote a play called Chrysippus, whose plot covered Chrysippus' death. The play is now lost. The play was given in the same trilogy that included The Phoenician Women.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Fry in Mythos (2019) ISBN 978-1452178912
  2. ^ Scholia on Euripides, Orestes 5
  3. ^ Scholia on Pindar, Olympian Odes 1.144
  4. ^ Pseudo-Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories 33
  5. ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.5.5
  6. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 85
  7. ^ Athenaeus, Scholars at Dinner 13.79
  8. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 271
  9. ^ Scholia on Euripides' The Phoenician Women 1605
  10. ^ Scholia on Euripides' The Phoenician Women 1748
  11. ^ Gantz, p. 489.
  12. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 243
  13. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.20.7
  14. ^ Sophocles, Electra 504-515
  15. ^ Apollodorus, Epitome 2.8


Ancient sources[edit]

Modern sources[edit]

  • Gantz, Timothy (1993). Early Greek Myth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Kerenyi, Karl (1959). The Heroes of the Greeks. New York/London: Thames and Hudson.

External links[edit]