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In Greek mythology, Pleisthenes (Ancient Greek: Πλεισθένης) is the name of several different people descended from Tantalus.

Son of Pelops[edit]

Pleisthenes is the name of a son of Pelops (son of Tantalus), and of Hippodamia, rulers of Pisa.[1] Two of his brothers are Atreus, and Thyestes.

Son of Atreus[edit]

Pleisthenes is the name of a son of Atreus and Aerope. According to Hesiod, Pleisthenes married Cleolla, daughter of Dias, and is the father of Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Anaxibia.[2] Aeschylus also followed this tradition when he called the Atreidai "the race of Pleisthenes" (τὸ Πλεισθένους γένος).[3] According to Hyginus, Pleisthenes was raised by Atreus's brother Thyestes, accompanied Thyestes into exile, and was sent by Thyestes to kill Atreus. Not realizing that he, rather than Thyestes, was the young man's father, Atreus killed Pleisthenes.[4]

Agamemnon and Menelaus are commonly considered the sons of Atreus; hence they are often given the name Atreidai, or "the sons of Atreus". One explanation for this discrepancy is that, after the early death of Pleisthenes, Atreus raised his grandsons, the sons of Pleisthenes, as his own sons.[5]

John Tzetzes reports that in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women Pleisthenes was either a hermaphrodite or a transvestite.[6]

Son of Thyestes[edit]

Pleisthenes is the name of an illegitimate son of Thyestes and Aerope. He and his brother Tantalus were killed by Atreus (Aerope's husband) and fed to their father, Thyestes, in revenge for the death of Pleisthenes (son of Atreus).[7]

Son of Menelaus[edit]

Pleisthenes is the name of the youngest son of Menelaus and Helen.[8] Helen took young Pleisthenes with her when she went to Troy with Paris, and the boy is not mentioned in any stories after that.


  1. ^ Scholiast on Pindar Olympian 1.144.
  2. ^ Hesiod, Catalogue of Women fr. 69.
  3. ^ Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1602; see also Agamemnon 1569.
  4. ^ Hyginus, Fables 86.
  5. ^ Pierre Grimal, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1986), 377.
  6. ^ Tzetzes on Iliad 1.122 = Catalogue of Women fr. 194.
  7. ^ Hyginus, Fables 246.
  8. ^ Cypria fr. 9.