Peleus

Peleus was a hero, king of Phthia and the father of Achilles.

Parents: Aeacus and Endeis
Siblings: Telamon
Consort: Thetis
Children: Achilles

Peleus consigns Achilles to Chiron’s care, white-ground lekythos, c. 500 BC, National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Heroics

Peleus and his brother Telamon were friends of Heracles, and served in Heracles‘ expedition against the Amazons, his war against King Laomedon, and his quest for the Golden Fleece alongside Jason and the Argonauts.

Peleus and his brother Telamon also killed their half-brother Phocus and fled Aegina to escape punishment. In Phthia, Peleus was purified by the city’s ruler, Eurytion, and then married his daughter, Antigone, by whom he had a daughter, Polydora. Eurytion joined Peleus and Telamon on the quest for the Golden Fleece. Unfortunately, Peleus accidentally killed Eurytion during the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.

Marriage to Thetis

After Antigone’s death, Peleus married the Nereid Thetis. He was able to win her with the aid of Proteus, who told Peleus how to overcome Thetis’ ability to change her form. Their wedding feast was attended by many of the Olympian gods. As a wedding present, Poseidon gave Peleus two immortal horses: Balius and Xanthus. During the feast, Eris, in revenge for not being invited, produced the Apple of Discord, which started the quarrel that led to the Judgement of Paris and eventually the Trojan War. The marriage of Peleus and Thetis produced seven sons, six of whom died in infancy. The only surviving son was Achilles.

Peleus makes off with his prize bride Thetis, who has vainly assumed animal forms to escape him. Boeotian black-figure dish, c. 500–475 BC.