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6619: Temple of Apollo and the Acrocorinth. Corinth, AD 2001.

Corinth is as city at the western end of the Isthmus, joining the Peloponnesus to Boeotia. The city was first named Ephyra or Ephyraea, because, as it is told, the Oceanid Ephyra 1 was the first to dwell in Corinth.

Corinth assigned to Helius

According to the Corinthians, the Hecatoncheire Briareus arbitrated between Helius and Poseidon, who had a dispute concerning the lands about Corinth. Briareus assigned to Poseidon the Isthmus of Corinth and the adjacent lands, and gave to Helius the height above the city (Acrocorinthus).

Harbors of Corinth

The Corinthian harbors of Lechaeum and Cenchrae are called after Leches and Cenchrias, sons of Poseidon and Pirene 2, daughter of the river god Achelous. Pirene 2, who others call daughter of Oebalus 1 and Batia 2, became a spring because of her many tears, shed in lamentation for her son Cenchrias, who was unintentionally killed by Artemis.

First kings of Corinth

Helius gave Asopia (Sicyon) to Aloeus 2 and Ephyraea (Corinth) to Aeetes. These two were sons of Helius and Perseis. But Aeetes left the city, and having settled far away in Colchis, became king there. On leaving, Aeetes entrusted the kingdom to Bunus, son of Hermes and Alcidamea. When Bunus died, Epopeus 1, who had come from Thessaly and taken the kingdom of Sicyon after the death of Corax, now annexed the kingdom of Corinth. Epopeus 1 died of a neglected wound inflicted in battle during his war against the Thebans (for more details about Epopeus 1 see also Oedipus, and Robe & Necklace of Harmonia 1).


When Epopeus 1 died, his son by Antiope 3, Marathon, who had escaped from his father's lawless violence, returned to the Peloponnesus, and divided his kingdom among his sons Corinthus and Sicyon. Having done this, Marathon went back to the sea coast in Attica where he had previously settled.

Location of Corinth (enlarge)

Bandits related to the king

In this way, Corinthus became king of the city that was named after him. Some say Corinthus was father of Sylea, who married the bandit Procrustes, also called Damastes and Polypemon. This Procrustes offered hospitality to the passers-by and laid the short men on a big bed and hammered them, to make them fit in the bed. And the tall men he laid on a little bed and sawed off the portions of their bodies that projected beyond it. Procrustes is one of the bandits killed by Theseus. Procrustes and Sylea had a child Sinis, who used to force the passers-by to keep bending pine-trees, but being too weak to do so were tossed up by the trees and perished. Theseus punished this bandit too, and having killed him, he found it most appropriate to ravish Sinis' daughter Perigune. She fled when her father was killed, but was easily overtaken by Theseus. Later, Perigune gave birth to Melanippus 7, the father of Ioxus, who led a colony into Caria (Asia Minor).

Queen Medea

But others say that King Corinthus died childless, and that upon his death the Corinthians sent for Medea, daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis. Medea had, after her trip with the ARGONAUTS, settled in Iolcus together with her husband Jason. So, according to this account, Jason and Medea became the rulers of Corinth. Medea concealed her children by Jason in the sanctuary of Hera, hoping that they would become immortal, but was detected by Jason, who refused to pardon her and sailed to Iolcus. Medea then left Corinth, and handed over the kingship to Sisyphus. However, others say that Medea was just a common citizen in Corinth, and that the king at that time was Creon 3, her conflict with Jason being of quite another nature.


Sisyphus, who sometimes is said to have been the founder of Corinth, is mostly remembered for having betrayed Zeus' secret concerning the abduction of Aegina. For when Zeus had secretly carried her off, Sisyphus told the secret to her father, the river god Asopus, who naturally was looking for her. For being such a gossipmonger, Sisyphus is still being punished in the Underworld, rolling a stone with his hands and head in an effort to heave it over the top of a hill; but no matter how much he pushes, the stone always rebounds backward again.

Succession from father to son

The throne went then from father to son: from Sisyphus to Ornytion, to Thoas 8, to Damophon, to Propodas, and finally to Doridas and Hyanthidas, who were kings at the time of the return of the HERACLIDES. It was Aletes 2 (son of Hippotes 2, son of Phylas 2, son of Antiochus 1, son of Heracles 1 and Meda 1, daughter of Phylas 1, who at some time was king of Ephyra), who led the HERACLIDES against Corinth, and took the throne from Doridas and Hyanthidas.

Other kings of Corinth

2335: Corinthian helmet from Tarento, 6C BC. Museum für vor und Frügeschichte, Berlin.

The uncertain Corinthian throne succession leaves room for other rulers. King Polybus 4 and Queen Periboea 4 are reported to be the rulers of Corinth when Oedipus was a child, since it is told that they adopted him (see Oedipus). Approaching historical times (ca. 600 BC, as reported), during the reign of King Periander (Pyranthus) of Corinth, son of Cypselus 2, son of Eetion 4, the great artist Arion 2 of Methymna in Lesbos landed on Taenarum in Laconia (southern Peloponnesus), borne by a dolphin. Periander was married to Melissa, daughter of the tyrant of Epidaurus Procles 3.

Arion 2 and the dolphin

Arion 2 was a lyre-player and the first to compose and name the dithyramb (originally a choral song to Dionysus 2) which he afterwards taught at Corinth. Arion 2 spent most of his time with King Periander, but once he wished to sail to Italy and Sicily in order to make money, and thereafter come back to Corinth. Having done so, and now being in Italy, he hired a Corinthian vessel to carry him back from Tarentum. But when they were out at sea, the crew plotted to take Arion 2's money, and cast him overboard. In face of this distressing situation, Arion 2 asked for his life and offered them his money, but the crew would not listen to him, and told him either to kill himself and so receive burial on land, or else to jump into the sea at once. So he asked to sing a song on the deck, which the crew allowed, pleased at the thought of hearing the best singer in the world. But when the sound of the lyre and his voice were heard, dolphins came about the ship, and at the sight of them, Arion 2 threw himself into the sea. And while the crew sailed back to Corinth, a dolphin took Arion 2 on his back and bore him to Taenarum. Thence he returned to Corinth, but the king, being skeptical, kept Arion 2 in confinement, while he waited for the sailors. When they arrived, they were asked about Arion 2, and they replied that he was safe, and had left him very prosperous at Tarentum. Then Arion 2 appeared before them, and the treacherous sailors could no longer deny what was proved against them.

Throne Succession Corinth 

= Other Families

= Descendants of Deucalion 1

= Descendants of Atlas

= Descendants of Io

Epopeus 1
Thoas 8
Doridas & Hyanthidas
Aletes 2

Aeetes is the King of Colchis, the land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, who received from Phrixus 1, son of Athamas 1, the Golden Fleece. Later, when the ARGONAUTS came to Colchis, he was betrayed by his own daughter Medea, and lost both fleece and kingdom. Aeetes is son of Helius & Perseis (Apd.1.9.1, 1.9.23, 1.9.28; AO.55, 794; Arg.2.1260ff., 3.240; Dio.4.45.1ff.; Hes.The.956; Hyg.Fab.3, 12, 14, 22, 23, 25, 27, 244; Val.5.289).

Bunus is the man to whom Aeetes entrusted the kingdom of Corinth when he departed to Colchis. He was son of Hermes and Alcidamea. When Bunus died Epopeus 1 extended his own kingdom to include Corinth (Pau.2.3.10).

Epopeus 1 (Epaphus 2) came from Thessaly and took the kingdom of Sicyon after the death of Corax. Epopeus 1 was son either of Poseidon and Canace, daughter of Aeolus 1, or of Aloeus 2, son of Helius. By Antiope 3 he had children: Oenope and Marathon, but his marriage with that woman caused war with Thebes; Epopeus 1 was killed in battle by Lycus 5 or else he died of a neglected wound that he received when his army defeated Nycteus 2 (see Amphion 1 and Robe & Necklace of Harmonia 1) (Apd.1.7.4, 3.5.5; Hyg.Fab.157; Pau.2.1.1, 2.6.1-2).

Marathon. King of Corinth. Marathon is said to have escaped from the lawless violence of his father Epopeus 1, migrating to the sea coast of Attica. On his father's death he came to Peloponnesus, divided his kingdom among his sons Corinthus and Sicyon and returned to Attica. Marathon's mother was Antiope 3 (see also Sicyon) (Apd.3.5.5; Pau.2.1.1, 2.3.10, 2.6.5).

Corinthus. King of Corinth after whom the Corinthian land is named. Corinthus is said to be son either of Zeus or of Marathon, son of Epopeus 1 (see also Sicyon). Corinthus died childless, or else he had a daughter Sylea. It was upon his death that the Corinthians, some say, sent for Medea to be their queen (Apd.3.16.2; Pau.2.1.1, 2.3.10).

Medea, the curse of Pelias 1, is the princess, priestess, and witch, whom Jason brought to Hellas on his return from Colchis. Medea was daughter of Aeetes (AO.989; Apd.1.9.23-28; Apd.Ep.1.4, 5.5; Arg.3.248; Cic.ND.3.48; Dio.4.45.3, 4.53.2, 4.55.7; Eur.Med.6, 394 and passim; Hes.The.961; Hyg.Fab.25; Pau.2.3.8-9; Pin.Pyth.4.9; Prop.2.25.45; Val.5.330, 5.393).

Sisyphus is the man who, being punished in Hades, rolls a stone for ever. He was son of Aeolus 1 & Enarete (Apd.1.7.3, 1.9.3, 3.12.6; Hes.CWE.4; Hom.Il.6.154; Hom.Od.11.593ff.; Hyg.Ast.2.21; Hyg.Fab.60, 201; Pau.2.3.11, 2.4.3, 9.34.7-10).

Ornytion succeeded his father Sisyphus as king of Corinth. His mother was Merope 1 and he had two sons Phocus 4 and Thoas 8 (Hyg.Ast.2.21; Pau.2.4.3).

Thoas 8. King of Corinth after his father Ornytion. He was succeeded by his son Damophon (Pau.2.4.3).

Damophon. King of Corinth after his father Thoas 8, son of Ornytion, son of Sisyphus. Damophon was father of Propodas (Pau.2.4.3).

Propodas. King of Corinth after his father Damophon. He was succeeded on the throne by his sons Doridas and Hyanthidas (Pau.2.4.3).

Doridas & Hyanthidas ruled in Corinth until they  were forced to surrender the kingdom to Aletes 2, one of the HERACLIDES. They were sons of Propodas, son of Damophon, son of Thoas 8, son of Ornytion, son of Sisyphus (Pau.2.4.3).

Aletes 2. Son of Hippotes 2. He led the HERACLIDES against Corinth and took the throne from Doridas and Hyanthidas (Pau.2.4.3).

Related sections  

Apd.1.9.3, 1.9.28, 3.5.7, 3.7.7, 3.12.6, Apd.Ep.1.2, Hom.Il.2.570, 13.664, Ov.Met.5.407, 6.416, Nonn.23.312, 37.152, 41.97, 41.329, 43.184, Hyg.Fab.24, 25, 26, 67, 194.