Alcestis in Wikipedia

Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a princess in Greek mythology, known for her love of her husband. Her story was popularised in Euripides's tragedy Alcestis. She was the daughter of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and either Anaxibia or Phylomache. In the story, many suitors appeared before King Pelias, her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a chariot. The man who would do this, King Admetus, was helped by Apollo, who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to Artemis, and found his bed full of snakes. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the Fates drunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, Heracles rescued Alcestis from Hades, as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son, Eumelus, a participant in the siege of Troy, and a daughter, Perimele. Milton's famous sonnet, "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint," alludes to the myth, with the speaker of the poem dreaming of his dead wife being brought to him "like Alcestis". The Viennese composer Gluck wrote an opera based on the story of Alceste. Thornton Wilder wrote A Life in The Sun (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called The Alcestiad (1962). The American choreographer Martha Graham created a ballet entitled Alcestis in 1960. In the animated Disney film Hercules the background story of the Megara character also alludes to Alcestis. As Hades tells it, Megara dies for her lover, who does not honor the sacrifice and very soon gives his heart to some other girl. - Wikipedia

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Alcestis in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

or ALCESTE (Ἄλκηστις or Ἀλκέστη), a daughter of Pelias and Anaxibia, and mother of Eumelus and Admetus. (Apollod. 1.9.10, 15.) Homer (Hom. Il. 2.715) calls her the fairest among the daughters of Pelias. When Admetus, king of Pherae, sued for her hand, Pelias, in order to get rid of the numerous suitors, declared that he would give his daughter to him only who should come to his court in a chariot drawn by lions and boars. This was accomplished by Admetus, with the aid of Apollo. For the farther story, see ADMETUS. The sacrifice of herself for Admetus was highly celebrated in antiquity. (Aelian, Ael. VH 14.45, Animal. 1.15; Philostr. Her. 2.4; Ov. Ars Am. 3.19; Eurip. Alcestis.) Towards her father, too, she shewed her filial affection, for, at least, according to Diodorus (4.52 ; comp. however, Palaeph. De incredib. 41), she did not share in the crime of her sisters, who murdered their father. Ancient as well as modern critics have attempted to explain the return of Alcestis to life in a rationalistic manner, by supposiung that during a severe illness she was restored to life in a physician of the name of Heracles. (Palaeph. l.c. ; Plut. Amator. p. 761.) Alcestis was represented on the chest of Cypselus, in a group shewing the funeral solemnities of Pelias. (Paus. 5.17.4.) In the museum of Florence there is an alto relieve, the work of Cleomenes, which is believed to represent Alcestis devoting herself to death. (Meyer, Gesch. der bildend. Künste, i. p. 162, 2.159.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

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