Amphictyon or Amphiktyon (/æmˈfɪkti.ɒn/; Ancient Greek: Ἀμφικτύων), in Greek mythology, was a king of Thermopylae and later Athens.


The name of Amphictyon has a back-formation from Amphictyons, plural, from Latin Amphictyones, from Greek Amphiktyones, Amphiktiones, literally, "neighbors" or "those dwelling around" from amphi- + -ktyones, -ktiones (from ktizein to found); akin to Sanskrit kṣeti he dwells, kṣiti abode, Avestan shitish dwelling, Armenian šen inhabited, cultivated.[1]


Amphictyon was the second son of Deucalion and Pyrrha,[2][3] although there was also a tradition that he was autochthonous (born from the earth);[4] he is also said to be a son of Hellen son of Deucalion and Pyrrha.[5] Amphictyon was king of Thermopylae and married a daughter of Cranaus of Athens.[6] According to some accounts this daughter was named Atthis[citation needed], although this conflicts with other accounts which relate that she died young as an unmarried virgin.[7] Amphictyon eventually deposed Cranaus, proclaiming himself king of Athens.[4][6]

Amphictyon had a son, Itonus, who in his turn became the father of Boeotus, Iodame and Chromia by Melanippe.[8][9][10] He also had a daughter, never mentioned by name, who became the mother of Cercyon by Poseidon, and of Triptolemus by Rarus.[11] Some add that Amphictyon had another son, Physcus, by Chthonopatra,[12] daughter of his brother Hellen.[13] others, however, state that Physcus was the grandson of Amphictyon through Aetolus.[14][15]


Amphictyon ruled Athens for ten, or in some accounts, twelve years and founded the Amphictyonic League, which traditionally met at Thermopylae in historical times.[16][17] During his reign, Dionysus was supposed to have visited Amphictyon in Athens and taught him how to mix water with wine in the proper proportions.[18] Amphictyon was deposed by Erichthonius, another autochthonous king of Athens.[4]

Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Athens
10 years
Succeeded by

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster sv. Amphictyon.
  2. ^ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1.7.2
  3. ^ Gantz, Timothy (1993). Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Ancient Sources. London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 167. ISBN 0-8018-4410-X.
  4. ^ a b c Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.14.6
  5. ^ Smith, citing Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquitates Romanae 4.25.3
  6. ^ a b Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.2.6
  7. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.14.5
  8. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 9.1.1. & 9.34.1
  9. ^ Tzetzes on Lycophron, Alexandra 1206
  10. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 5.1.4
  11. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 1.14.3
  12. ^ Eustathius on Homer, p. 277
  13. ^ Hellanicus in scholia on Plato, Symposium 208 p. 376
  14. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica s.v. Physkos
  15. ^ Pseudo-Scymnus, Circuit of the Earth 587 ff.
  16. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 10.8.1
  17. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquitates Romanae 4.25.3
  18. ^ Eustathius on Homer, p. 1815


Primary sourcesEdit

Secondary sourcesEdit