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Famous archer, Founder of Oechalia and King of the Dryopes
Personal information
Consort Stratonice or Oechalia[disambiguation needed]
Children Eurytus and Ambracia
Parents Apollo

In Greek mythology, Melaneus /ˈmɛlənˌjs/ was a son of Apollo. He was the founder of Oechalia (Oikhalia), variously located in Thessaly, Messenia or Euboea and also king of the Dryopes.[1]

Melaneus inherited Apollo's archery skills and was a noted archer, and married Stratonice. (Stratonice was carried away from her father's home by Apollo, so that she can marry Melaneus). He was the father of Eurytus, the famous archer whose reputation overshadowed his father, and of Ambracia, eponym of Ambracia in Epirus.[1]. Alternatively, Melaneus was the husband of Oechalia (merely the eponym of the kingdom he was assigned to by Perieres).[2]


Antoninus' Account[edit]

In Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, Book 4 recounts the dispute between Apollo, Artemis and Heracles about the patronage of the city of Ambracia. Here Apollo raise his claim by stating that his descendants established the city of Ambracia:

"This Cragaleus was at this time already an old man and was considered by his countrymen to be just and wise. While he was pasturing his cattle, Apollo, Artemis and Heracles introduced themselves to him since they wanted a decision about Ambracia in Epirus. Apollo said that the city belonged to him because Melaneus — his son — had become king of the Dryopes having taken in war the whole of Epirus. Melaneus had as sons Eurytus and Ambracias, after whom the city of Ambracia is named. Apollo himself had shown great favour to this city.''

Pausanias' Account[edit]

In Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book 4. 2. 2, also told a story about Melaneus and his arrival to Messenia:

"Some time later, as no descendant of Polycaon survived (in my opinion his house lasted for five generations, but no more), they summoned Perieres, the son of Aeolus, as king. To him, the Messenians say, came Melaneus, a good archer and considered for this reason to be a son of Apollo; Perieres assigned to him as a dwelling a part of the country now called the Carnasium, but which then received the name Oechalia, derived, as they say, from the wife of Melaneus."


  • Amphimedon, a suitor in Homer's Odyssey is mentioned as being the son of Melaneus, although it may or may not be the same Melaneus mentioned here.[3]
  • In Antoninus Liberalis' Metamorphoses,[4] Autonous is also called son of Melaneus.
  • A centaur named Melaneus is mentioned by Ovid among many others who fought in the battle between the Lapiths and the centaurs.[5]


  1. ^ a b Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, 4
  2. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4. 2. 2
  3. ^ Homer. The Odyssey, 24. 103 in The Iliad & The Odyssey. Trans. Samuel Butler. pp. 720-1. ISBN 978-1-4351-1043-4
  4. ^ Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses, 7
  5. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, 12. 306


  • March, J., Cassell's Dictionary Of Classical Mythology, London, 1999. ISBN 0-304-35161-X

External links[edit]