Web Theoi
KHRYSIPPOS
 
Greek Name Transliteration Latin Spelling Translation
Χρυσιππος Khrysippos Chrysippus Golden Horse
(khrysos, hippos)

KHRYSIPPOS (or Chrysippus) was a handsome, young bastard son of Pelops, the king of Eleian Pisa. During the Games, prince Laios (Laeus) of Thebes conceived a passion for the boy and abducted him, resulting in a war between the two cities. Pelops' wife Hippodameia later conspired against the boy, either murdering him herself, or inciting her sons Atreus and Thyestes against him.

PARENTS

[1.1] PELOPS (Apollodorus 3.5.5, Aelian Miscellany 13.5, Hyginus Fabulae 85)
[1.2] PELOPS & DANAIS (Plutarch Parallel Stories 33)

ENCYCLOPEDIA

CHRYSIPPUS (Khrusippos), a son of Pelops by the nymph Axioche or by Danais (Plut. Parall. Hist. Gr. et Rom. 33), and accordingly a stepbrother of Alcathous, Atreus, and Thyestes. While still a boy, he was carried off by king Laius of Thebes, who instructed him in driving a chariot (Apollod. iii. 5. § 5.); but Pelops recovered him by force of arms. His step-mother Hippodameia hated him, and induced her sons Atreus and Thyestes to kill him; whereas, according to another tradition, Chrysippus was killed by his father Pelops himself. (Paus. vi. 20. § 4; Hygin. Fab. 85; Schol. ad Thuc. i. 9.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Euripides, Chrysippus (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
Euripides' dramatized the story of Khrysippos in a play which bore his name. Cf. Aelian below.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 5. 5 (trans. Frazer) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Having succeeded to the sovereignty [of Thebes] they [Amphion and Zethos] . . . expelled Laios (Laius). He resided in Peloponnesos, being hospitably received by Pelops; and while he taught Khrysippos (Chrysippus), the son of Pelops, to drive a chariot, he conceived a passion for the lad and carried him off."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6. 20. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"The story is that Hippodameia [wife of Pelops] withdrew to Midea in Argolis, because Pelops was very angry with her over the death of Khrysippos (Chrysippus)."

Pseudo-Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories 33 (trans. Babbitt) (Greek historian C2nd A.D.) :
"Pelops, the son of Tantalos and Euryanassa, married Hippodameia and begat Atreus and Thyestes; but by the nymphe Danaïs he had Khrysippos (Chrysippus), whom he loved more than his legitimate sons. But Laïos (Laius) the Theban conceived a desire for him and carried him off; and, although he was arrested by Thyestes and Atreus, he obtained mercy from Pelops because of his love. But Hippodameia tried to persuade Atreus and Thyestes to do away with Khrysippos, since she knew that he would be a contestant for the kingship; but when they refused, she stained her hands with the pollution. For at dead of night, when Laïos was asleep, she drew his sword, wounded Khrysippos, and fixed the sword in his body. Laïos was suspected because of the sword, but was saved by Khrysippos, who, though half-dead, acknowledged the truth. Pelops buried Khrysippos and banished Hippodameia. So Dositheüs in his Descendants of Pelops."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 13. 5 (trans. Wilson) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"They say Laios (Laius) was the first lover of a noble boy; he made off with Khrysippos (Chrysippus), son of Pelops. As a result the Thebans thought it a good thing to love the handsome."

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 2. 21 :
"They say that the poet Euripides was also in love with this same Agathon [the poet]. He is said to have composed the play Khrysippos in his honour. I am not able to state this as a fact, but I can say that it is very frequently asserted."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 85 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Laius, son of Labdacus, carried of Chrysippus, illegitimate son of Pelops, at the Nemean Games because of his exceeding beauty. Pelops made war and recovered him. At the instigation of their mother Hippodamia, Atreus and Thyestes killed him. When Pelops blamed Hippodamia, she killed herself."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 243 :
"Women who committed suicide. Hippodamia, daughter of Oenomaus and wife of Pelops, killed herself because by her urging, Chrysippus was killed."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 271 :
"Those who were most handsome . . . Chrysippus, son of Pelops, whom Theseus [an error, the abductor was Laios] stole from the Games."


Sources:

  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
  • Aelian, Historical Miscellany - Greek Rhetoric C2nd-3rd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.