Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ The individual heroes: Erechtheus.
Amy C. Smith, edition of January 18 2003
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Homer (Hom. Il.).
Sophocles (Soph. Aj.).
Euripides (Eur. Erech.).
Euripides (Eur. Ion).
Hyginus (Hyg. Fab.).
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Mythology: Erechtheus, who is often confused (in ancient as in modern discussions) with Erichthonios, was born from the Earth (Hom. Il. 2.546-51; Hdt. 8.55; Soph. Aj. 202 [Erichthonios]). His mother is sometimes reported to have been Nemesis at Rhamnous, where he was king, and where he founded her temple (Suda s.v. “Ramnousia Nemesis” (rho,33)). The Parian Marble (Marm. Par. 28 ff.) records that he was the son of Pandion and Zeuxippe, and twin brother of Boutes, who became priest when Erechtheus became King of Athens (Apollod. 3.14.8). His marriage to Praxithea is recorded in Eur. Erech. His sons Kekrops II, Pandoros, and Metion, are mentioned by Apollod. 3.15.1, and he had many daughters—Kreousa, Prokris (by whom he fathered Aglauros, according to Hyg. Fab. 253), Chthonia, Oreithyia, and Hyakinthides. When he fought against Eleusis (Eur. Erech.; Thuc. 2.15.1) he gained victory by voluntarily sacrificing his daughters. His killing of Eumolpos (Apollod. 3.15.4) was avenged by Poseidon’s trident (Eur. Erech. fr. 65.90, 92?; Eur. Ion 281-82) or by Zeus’ thunderbolt, at the request of Poseidon (Hyg. Fab. 46; see G.W. Elderkin, Hesperia 10  113).
Worship: Erechtheus was worshipped at the Erechtheion, which is thought to have been part of the Temple of Athena Polias (Paus. 1.26.5) or perhaps within the building known now as the Erechtheion (see K. Jeppesen, The Theory of the Alternative Erechtheion [Aarhus 1987]). Many sources confirm that he was worshipped on the Acropolis (Hdt. 8.55; Eur. Erech. fr. 65.90-4 Austin; IG I2, 580) and Hom. Il. 2.546-51 attests that he was worshipped in the chief temple of Athena. (Hdt. 5.82 mentions also that he was worshipped in close connection with Athena Polias, perhaps at the Panathenaia).
Erechtheus may have shared worship with Poseidon (according to Paus. 1.26.5 the two shared an altar as dictated by an oracle); he is referred to as Poseidon Erechtheus in Eur. Erech. fr. 65.93-94, and IG I2, 580 (see C. Austin, Recherches de Papyrologie 4  59-60), although IG II2, 1146 indicates that their cults were separate). For Erechtheus’ connection with the Eteoboutadai (family of priests) see Plut. Mor. 841B, 843A-C; Harpoc. s.v. “Eteoboutadai”.
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