Argus (king of Argos)

In Greek mythology, Argus (/ˈɑːrɡəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος Argos) was the king and eponym of Argos.


He was a son of Zeus and Niobe, daughter of Phoroneus, and was possibly the brother of Pelasgus.[1][2] Argus married either Evadne, the daughter of Strymon and Neaera, or Peitho the Oceanid,[3] and had by her six sons: Criasus, Ecbasus,[4] Iasus, Peiranthus (or Peiras, Peirasus, Peiren), Epidaurus and Tiryns (said by Pausanias to be the namesake of the city Tiryns).[5] According to Pausanias, yet another son of Argus was the Argive Phorbas (elsewhere his grandson through Criasus).[6] Meanwhile, Cercops speaks of Argus Panoptes as the son of Argus and Ismene.

Comparative table of Argus' family
Relation Name Sources
Scholia on Homer Hesiod Cercops Scholia on Euripides Herodotus Apollodorus Hyginus Pausanias Stephanus
Parents Apis
Zeus and Niobe
Sibling Pelasgus
Wife Ismene
Children Epidaurus
Argus Panoptes


Argus succeeded to his maternal grandfather's power over Peloponnese, naming the kingdom after himself.[6] A scholiast on Homer calls Argus the son and successor of Apis.[7] Jerome and Eusebius, citing the now-lost history of Castor of Rhodes, also agree in making Argus the successor of Apis, and son of Zeus and Niobe, and give the length of his reign over "Argeia" (Argos) as 70 years.

The tomb of Argus in Argos was shown as late as the times of Pausanias,[8] who also made mention of a grove sacred to Argus in Lacedaemon where some from the Argive army took refuge after being defeated by Cleomenes I, and were subsequently burned to death therein.[9]

Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Argos Succeeded by
Kings of Argos Regnal Years Castor Regnal Years Syncellus Regnal Years Apollodorus Hyginus Tatian Pausanias
Precessor 1622 35 winters & summers Apis 1619.5 35 winters & summers Apis 1625 Apis -do- -do- -do-
Argus 1604.5 70 winters & summers Argus 1602 70 winters & summers Argus 1600 Argus -do- -do- -do-
Successor 1569.5 54 winters & summers Criasus 1567 54 winters & summers Criasus 1575 Criasos or Peiras Peranthus Criasus Peirasus or Phorbas


  1. ^ Apollodorus, 2.1.1. This apparently matches his biography in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women; cf. West (1985, p. 76).
  2. ^ Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions 10.21
  3. ^ Pherecydes, fr. 66 (Fowler 2013, p. 13); Scholia on Euripides, Phoenissae 1116
  4. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, s.v. Parrasia
  5. ^ Apollodorus, 2.1.2; Hyginus, Fabulae 145; Pausanias, 2.25.8 (for Tiryns); Scholia on Euripides, Phoenissae 1116, on Orestes 932
  6. ^ a b Pausanias, 2.16.1
  7. ^ Scholia on Homer, Iliad 1.115
  8. ^ Pausanias, 2.22.5
  9. ^ Pausanias, 3.4.1


  • Apollodorus, The Library with an English Translation by Sir James George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. ISBN 0-674-99135-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Greek text available from the same website.
  • Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae from The Myths of Hyginus translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. ISBN 0-674-99328-4. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library
  • Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio. 3 vols. Leipzig, Teubner. 1903. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions from Ante-Nicene Library Volume 8, translated by Smith, Rev. Thomas. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh. 1867. Online version at
  • Stephanus of Byzantium, Stephani Byzantii Ethnicorum quae supersunt, edited by August Meineike (1790-1870), published 1849. A few entries from this important ancient handbook of place names have been translated by Brady Kiesling. Online version at the Topos Text Project.
  • West, M.L. (1985), The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford, ISBN 0198140347.