In Greek mythology, Anchises (Ancient Greek: Ἀγχίσης) was
the son of Capys and Themiste (daughter of Ilus, son of
Tros) or Hieromneme, a naiad. His major claim to fame in
Greek mythology is that he was a mortal lover of the goddess
Aphrodite (and in Roman mythology, the lover of Venus). One
version is that Aphrodite pretended to be a Phrygian
princess and seduced him for nearly two weeks of lovemaking.
Anchises learned that his lover was a goddess only nine
months later, when she revealed herself and presented him
with the infant Aeneas. The principle early narrative of
Aphrodite's seduction of Anchises and the birth of Aeneas is
the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
Anchises was a prince from Dardania, a territory
neighbouring Troy. He had a mortal wife named Eriopis,
according to the scholiasts, and he is credited with other
children beside Aeneas. Homer, in the Iliad, mentions a
daughter named Hippodameia, their eldest ("the darling of
her father and mother"), who married her cousin Alcathous.
Anchises bred his mares with the divine stallions owned by
King Laomedon. However, he made the mistake of bragging
about his liaison with Aphrodite, and as a result Zeus, the
king of the gods, hit him with a thunderbolt which left him
After the defeat of Troy in the Trojan War, the elderly
Anchises was carried from the burning city by his son
Aeneas, accompanied by Aeneas' wife Creusa, who died in the
escape attempt, and small son Ascanius (the subject is
depicted in several paintings, including a famous version by
Federico Barocci in the Galleria Borghese in Rome). Anchises
himself died and was buried in Sicily many years later.
Aeneas later visited Hades and saw his father again in the
Elysian Fields. Homer's Iliad mentions another Anchises, a
wealthy native of Sicyon in Greece and father of Echepolus.
（Ἀγχίσης), a son of Capys and Themis, the daughter of Ilus.
His descent is traced by Aeneas, his son (Hom. Il.
20.208,&c.), from Zeus himself. (Comp. Apollod. 3.12.2 ;
Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 1232.) Hyginus (Hyg. Fab. 94) makes him a
son of Assaracus and grandson of Capys. Anchises was related
to the royal house of Troy and king of Dardanus on mount
Ida. In beauty he equalled the immortal gods, and was
beloved by Aphrodite, by whom he became the father of
Aeneas. (Hom. Il. 2.820; Hes. Th. 1008 ; Apollod. Hygin. ll.
cc.) According to the Homeric hymn on Aphrodite (45, &c.),
the goddess had visited him in the disguise of a daughter of
the Phrygian king Otreus. On parting from him, she made
herself known, and announced to him that he would be the
father of a son, Aeneas, but she commanded him to give out
that the child was a son of a nymph, and added the threat
that Zeus would destroy him with a flash of lightning if he
should ever betray the real mother. When, therefore, on one
occasion Anchises lost controul over his tongue and boasted
of his intercourse with the goddess, he was struck by a
flash of lightning, which according to some traditions
killed, but according to others only blinded or lamed him.
(Hygin. l.c. ; Serv. ad Aen. 2.648.) Virgil in his Aeneid
makes Anchises survive the capture of Troy, and Aeneas
carries his father oil his shoulders from the burning city,
that he might be assisted by his wise counsel during the
voyage, for Virgil, after the example of Ennius, attributes
prophetic powers to Anchises. (Aen. 2.687, with Serv. note.)
According to Virgil, Anchises died soon after the first
arrival of Aeneas in Sicily, and was buried on mount Eryx.
(Aen. 3.710, 5.759, &c.) This tradition seems to have been
firmly believed in Sicily, and not to have been merely an
invention of the poet, for Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1.53)
states, that Anchises had a sanctuary at Egesta, and the
funeral games celebrated in Sicily in honour of Anchises
seem to have continued down to a late period. (Ov. Fast.
3.543.) According to other traditions Anchises died and was
buried in Italy. (Dionys. A. R. 1.64 ; Strab. v. p.229;
Aurel. Vict. De Orig. Gent. Rom. 10, &c.) A tradition
preserved in Pausanias (8.12.5) states, that Anchises died
in Arcadia, and was buried there by his son at the foot of a
hill, which received from him the name of Anchisia. There
were, however, some other places besides which boasted of
possessing the tomb of Anchises; for some said, that he was
buried on mount Ida, in accordance with the tradition that
he was killed there by Zeus (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 894), and
others, that he was interred in a place on the gulf of
Thermus near the Hellespont. (Conon 46.) According to
Apollodorus (3.12.2), Anchises had by Aphrodite a second
son, Lyrus or Lyrnus, and Homer (Hom. Il. 13.429) calls
Hippodameia the eldest of the daughters of Anchises, but
does not mention her mother's name. An Anchises of Sicyon
occurs in Il. 23.296. - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.