In Greek mythology, Actaeus (/ækˈtəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἀκταῖος Ἀktaῖos means "coast-man"[1]), also called Actaeon[2], was the first king of Attica, according to Pausanias.[3]

King of Attica
7726 - Piraeus Arch. Museum, Athens - Naiskos for Aktaios and his wife - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, No.jpg
Other namesActaeon
Personal information


Actaeus was the father of Aglaurus, and father-in-law to Cecrops, the first king of the city of Athens. In one account, in addition to Aglaurus, Actaeon fathered Erse, Pandrosus and Phoenike.[4]


Actaion named the Phoenician letters from her daughter Phoenice who died a maiden in her honour.[4]

Actaeus was said to have ruled over a city named Acte (Ἀκτή Akte) or Actica[2]. The location of this city is uncertain, but given that Acte means "coast" or "promontory", one can speculate that this is a culture reference to local or native population groups inhabiting some coastal areas of the Attic promontory, perhaps sharing language, or ethnic ties. This concords with evidence from the archaeological record which attest widespread coastal settlement in the Neolithic period (OED ad. loc. cit. Attica).

One tradition states that Actaeus gave Attica its name before it was changed to Cecropia by Cecrops, others claim that Atthis, a daughter of Cranaos, the second king of Athens, was Attica's namesake. Actaeus had a daughter – Agraulus, who was married to Cecrops, the first king of the city of Athens.[5] According to the Bibliotheca, on the other hand, Cecrops was the first king of Attica, and the three daughters were his own.[6]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
New creation
King of Athens Succeeded by


  1. ^ Hard, Robin (2004). The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group. p. 365. ISBN 0-203-44633-X.
  2. ^ a b The Parian Marble, Fragment 2 (March 7, 2001). "Interleaved Greek and English text (translation by Gillian Newing)". Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Pausanias, 1.2.5
  4. ^ a b Suda, s.v. Phoenician letters with the authority of Skamon in his second book on Discoveries
  5. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867), "Actaeus", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. 1, Boston, MA, p. 16, archived from the original on 2008-05-27, retrieved 2007-10-12
  6. ^ Apollodorus, 3.14.1


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Actaeus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.