List of kings of Athens

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Before the Athenian democracy, the tyrants, and the Archons, the city-state of Athens was ruled by kings. Most of these are probably mythical or only semi-historical.

Earliest kings

These three kings were supposed to have ruled before the flood of the Deucalion.

King Comments
Periphas Turned into an eagle by Zeus
Ogyges12 King of the Ectenes3 who were the earliest inhabitants of Boeotia
Actaeus Father of Agraulus, and father-in-law to Cecrops

Erechtheid dynasty

The early Athenian tradition, followed by the 3rd century BC Parian Chronicle, made Cecrops, a mythical half-man half-serpent, the first king of Athens.4 The dates for the following kings were conjectured centuries later, by historians of the Hellenistic era who tried to backdate events by cross-referencing earlier sources such as the Parian Chronicle. Tradition says that King Menestheus took part in the Trojan War.

The following list follows that of 1st Century BC Castor of Rhodes (FGrHist 250), with Castor's dates given in modern terms.5

Reign King Comments
1556–1506 BC Cecrops I
1506–1497 BC Cranaus
1497–1487 BC Amphictyon
1487–1437 BC Erichthonius
1437–1397 BC Pandion I
1397–1347 BC Erechtheus
1347–1307 BC Cecrops II Omitted in Heraclides' epitome of Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians6
1307–1282 BC Pandion II
1282–1234 BC Aegeus Construction of Trojan Walls by Poseidon, Apollo and Aeacus (ca. 1282 BC)
1234–1205 BC Theseus
1205–1183 BC Menestheus Trojan War and the Sack of Troy7 (ca. 1183 BC)8
1183–1150 BC Demophon
1150–1136 BC Oxyntes
1136–1135 BC Apheidas
1135–1127 BC Thymoetes


Melanthid dynasty

Melanthus having been driven from his kingdom in Pylos came to Athens where Thymoestes resigned the crown to him. Codrus, the last king, repelled the Dorian Invasion of Attica.

Reign King Comments
1126–1089 BC Melanthus
1089–1068 BC Codrus

After Codrus's death, his sons Medon and Acastus either reigned as kings, or became hereditary archons.910 In 753 BC the hereditary archonship was replaced by a non-hereditary system (see Archons of Athens).

Notes

  1. ^ King of Agea, not Athens; The name of Ogyges is also connected with Attic story, for in Attica too an Ogygian flood is mentioned, and he is described as the father of the Attic hero Eleusis, and as the father of Daeira (Oceanid), the daughter of Oceanas. (Pans, i. 38. § 7.)
  2. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: Oarses-Zygia. Edited by William Smith. Pg 20
  3. ^ or Hectenes
  4. ^ Harding, pp. 20–22; Gantz, p. 234.
  5. ^ Harding, p. 14.
  6. ^ Gantz, p. 235.
  7. ^ See also Iliupersis
  8. ^ Troy VIIa destruction layer at ca. 1190 BC
  9. ^ Pausanias's Description of Greece – Volume 3 – Page 64. (cf. The successors of Codrus were Medon (son of Codrus), Acastus (son of Medon) [...])
  10. ^ Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians §3.

References

  • Gantz, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, Two volumes: ISBN 978-0801853609 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0801853623 (Vol. 2).
  • Harding, Phillip, The Story of Athens: The Fragments of the Local Chronicles of Attika, Routledge, 2007. ISBN 9781134304479.
  • Jacoby, Felix, Die Attische Königsliste, Klio 3 (1902), 406–439.