Hypermnestra's father, Danaus was the twin brother of Aegyptus who demanded the marriage of the Danaids and his 50 sons. But her father Danaus who was unhappy with this kind of arrangement, decided they should flee to Argos where King Pelasgus (Gelanor) ruled. When Aegyptus and his sons arrived to take the Danaides, Danaus gave them to spare the Argives the pain of a battle. However, Danaus instructed Hypermnestra and the other Danaids to kill their husbands on their wedding night. Her forty-nine sisters followed through except her because her husband, Lynceus, honored her wish to remain a virgin. Danaus was angry with this disobedience and threw her to the Argive courts. Aphrodite intervened and saved Hypermnestra. Lynceus later killed Danaus as revenge for the death of his brothers. Together with her husband, Hypermnestra then began a dynasty of Argive kings (the Danaid Dynasty), beginning with Abas their son. In some versions of the legend, the Danaides were punished in the underworld by being forced to carry water through a jug with holes, or a sieve, so the water always leaked out. Hypermnestra, however, went straight to Elysium.
In literature and music
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- Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, 2.1.5
- William Smith, Mahmoud Saba (1857). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (volume II). Original from the University of Michigan: Walton and Maberly. p. 231.
- Ovid, Heroides 14
- A Curious Error?: Geoffrey Chaucer’s Legend of Hypermnestra, The Chaucer Review, Vol 36, Number 1, 2001, accessed 2 May 2013