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In Greek mythology, Iphimedeia (/ˌɪfɪmɪˈdə/; Ancient Greek: Ἰφιμέδεια) was the daughter of Triopas of Thessaly (a son of Poseidon and Canace). Her brothers were Erysichthon and Phorbas. She was the wife of Aloeus, who was also her uncle. She is attested in Homer's Odyssey in the catalogue of women as being a mortal.


Iphimedeia also fell in love with Poseidon and would often come to the sea shore and pour the sea water in her lap, until the god came and answered her feelings (cf. the story of Tyro).[1] With Poseidon she was the mother of Otus and Ephialtes (who were called the Aloadae after their stepfather),[2][3][4] as well as Cercyon and the bandit Sciron. One account calls Aloeus natural father of the Aloadae.[5]

With Aloeus, Iphimedeia had a daughter Pancratis (or Pancrato), renowned for her beauty. When she and her daughter were participating in the celebration of the orgies of Dionysus, they were carried off by the companions of the Thracian Butes and brought to the island of Strongyle (later Naxos), where Pancratis was given in marriage to the new king Agassamenus and Iphimedia to a friend and lieutenant of his. Two other leaders, Sicelus and Hecetorus, had fought over Pancratis and killed each other (or else they were Scellis and Agassamenus himself). Soon after, Otus and Ephialtes, sent by Aloeus, defeated the Thracians and rescued their mother and sister; but Pancratis died not much later.[6][7]

Connection with Hekate[edit]

According to Pietro Scarpi, Iphimedeia should be placed in the chthonic realm as a double of Hekate.[8]

Iphimedeia was one of the heroines whose spirits Odysseus encountered at the entrance of the Underworld.[2]

Ancient cults[edit]

Her name seems to be attested in Mycenaean Greek in the Linear B syllabic script at Pylos in the form 𐀂𐀟𐀕𐀆𐀊, i-pe-me-de-ja.[9][10]

Pausanias mentions a painting of Iphimedeia by Polygnotus, and remarks that she was honored by the Carians in Mylasa.[11]

The tomb of Iphimedeia and her sons was shown at Anthedon in Boetia.[12]


  1. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.7.4
  2. ^ a b Homer, Odyssey 11.305
  3. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 28
  4. ^ Pindar, Pythian Ode 4.89
  5. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9. 22. 6
  6. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 5.50.6–51.2
  7. ^ Parthenius, Erotica Pathemata 19
  8. ^ Pietro Scarpi, "Un teonimo miceneo e le sue implicazioni per la mitologia greca," Bolletino dell'Istituto di Filologia greca dell'Università di Padova 2 (1975) 230-51
  9. ^ Pylos Tn 316 inscription
  10. ^ "The Linear B word i-pe-me-de-ja". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of Ancient languages. Raymoure, K.A. "Pylos PY Tn Linear B Series". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean. "PY 316 Tn (44)". DĀMOS Database of Mycenaean at Oslo. University of Oslo.
  11. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 10.28.8
  12. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 9.22.6