Father Atreus

Agamemnon was the son of the Mycenaean king Atreus and the daughter of the Cretan king Katreus Aeropa. There was a long-standing feud between Agamemnon's father and uncle Thyestes, which affected his life. There are two different myths regarding how Atreus gained royal power.

According to one version, Eurystheus appointed him as manager during his absence. After the king died in Attica, the inhabitants of Mycenae chose the temporary governor of Atreus as their king.

According to another, more dramatic version, after the inhabitants of Mycenae were left without a king, the oracle ordered them to elect a new ruler from the descendants of Pelops. The townspeople invited his two sons, Atreus and Thyestes. In the course of forgeries, including the use of various tricks and meanness, such as Thyestes' seduction of his brother's wife, theft, the murder of Thyestes' children and the preparation of a dish from them, which was served to the unsuspecting father, as well as with the direct influence of the gods, Atreus took the throne.

Thyestes, wanting to take revenge on Atreus at all costs, turned to the Delphic oracle for a prophecy. Pythia replied that the wish would come true after his own daughter gave birth to a child from him. Thyestes, in fulfillment of the prophecy, dishonored his daughter Pelopia, hiding his face under a mask. The girl managed to steal the rapist's sword. Soon the widowed Atreus arrived in Sicyon, where Pelopia lived, and took her as his wife. The Mycenaean king began to raise the child Aegisthus who was born to her as his son.

Agamemnon, together with his brother Menelaus, accidentally met Thyestes near the Delphic oracle, tied him up and took him to his father in Mycenae. Atreus ordered seven-year-old Aegisthus to go and kill the imprisoned enemy. When the boy tried to kill Thyestes, he managed to dodge the blow and disarm the child. Thyestes recognized his sword and demanded that Aegisthus bring his mother. When Pelopia found out the truth, she grabbed the sword and committed suicide. Thyestes ordered his son and grandson Aegisthus to take the bloody sword to Atreus and say that the task was completed. After the Mycenaean king lost his vigilance, Aegisthus killed him. Thyestes reigned again in Mycenae.

After Thyestes came to power, Agamemnon and Menelaus were forced to flee their hometown. According to one version, described by Apollodorus, the brothers were carried out by their nurse, which does not agree with the version about the capture of Thyestes by the sons of Atreus. First they came to the court of King Polyphides of Sikyon. They were then given to the care of the Aetolian Oeneus. After several years of wandering, the king of Sparta Tyndareus, having defeated Thyestes in the war, returned his father's throne to Agamemnon and Menelaus.

Fiesta and Aegisthus were spared. The first fled to the island of Kythira, and the second took advantage of the hospitality of the prince of Argos Kilarab.

Having gained power in Mycenae, Agamemnon increased his possessions, becoming the most powerful ruler of Hellas. Sikyon, Corinth, Cleonae, Helica and other cities paid tribute to him. His power and influence is evidenced by the fact that when the Trojan War began, Agamemnon was not only able to assemble more ships than any other Greek ruler, but also, as the most powerful of them, became the supreme commander.

During one of his campaigns, Agamemnon captured the family of King Tantalus, including his wife Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndareus, and their child. Having killed Tantalus and his child, he married the widowed daughter of the Spartan king. The latter's brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, set out on a campaign to protect their sister. However, Agamemnon arrived on time at the court of his benefactor Tyndareus, received forgiveness and permission to keep Clytemnestra as his wife.

They had four children: a son, Orestes, and daughters, Iphigenia, Electra (Laodice) and Chrysothemis. According to one version, described by Pausanias, Iphigenia was Clytemnestra’s niece. When Helen, Clytemnestra's half-sister from Leda, was kidnapped by Theseus, the brothers Castor and Polydeuces set out on a campaign against Attica. At the time of her release, Elena was pregnant. On the way to Lacedaemon, she gave birth to a daughter, Iphigenia, in Argos, whom she gave to her sister Clytemnestra to raise, and she soon married Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus.

In addition to Clytemnestra, Tyndareus had an adopted daughter, Helen, who was famous for her beauty throughout Hellas. When the time came to marry her off, several dozen kings and famous warriors came to Sparta who wanted to marry Helen. Tyndareus, seeing this situation, faced a difficult choice. Having received one friend and son-in-law, he risked simultaneously making his enemies the rest of the applicants for the hand and heart of his beautiful daughter. On the advice of Odysseus, the Spartan king forced all the suitors to take an oath that they would recognize Helen’s future husband and, most importantly, undertake to come to his aid in case of danger and offense.

After the abduction of Helen by the Trojan prince Paris, Agamemnon led a campaign against Troy.

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