In Greek mythology, Hippolytus (Greek Ἱππόλυτος meaning
"looser of horses") was a son of Theseus and either Antiope
or Hippolyte. He was identified with the Roman forest god
The most common legend regarding Hippolytus states that he was
killed after rejecting the advances of Phaedra, the second
wife of Theseus and Hippolytus's stepmother. Spurned, Phaedra
convinced Theseus that Hippolytus had raped her. Infuriated,
Theseus believed her and, using one of the three wishes he had
received from Poseidon, cursed Hippolytus. Hippolytus' horses
were frightened by a sea monster and dragged their rider to
his death. Alternatively, Dionysus sent a wild bull that
terrified Hippolytus' horses, causing them to drag Hippolytus
to his death...
1. One of the giants who was killed by Hermes. (Apollod.
1.6.2.) 2. A son of Theseus by Hippolyte or Antiope. (Schol.
ad Aristoph. Ran. 873; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 449, 1329, 1332;
Eurip. Hippol.) After the death of the Amazon, Theseus
married Phaedra, who fell desperately in love with
Hippolytus; but as the passion was not responded to by the
stepson, she brought accusations against him before Theseus,
as if he had made improper proposals to her. Theseus
thereupon cursed his son, and requested his father (Aegeus
or Poseidon) to destroy him. (Cic. de Nat. Deor. 3.31, de
Off. 1.10 ; Serv. ad Aen. 6.445, 7.761.) Once therefore,
when Hippolytus was riding in his chariot along the sea-
coast, Poseidon sent a bull forth from the water. The horses
were frightened, upset the chariot, and dragged Hippolytus
till he was dead. Theseus afterwards learned the innocence
of his son, and Phaedra, in despair, made away with herself.
Asclepius restored Hippolytus to life again, and, according
to Italian traditions, Artemis placed him, under the name of
Virbius, under the protection of the nymph Egeria, in the
grove of Aricia, in Latium, where he was honoured with
divine worship. (Hyg. Fab. 47, 49; Apollod. 3.10.3; Ov. Met.
15.490, &c., Fast. 3.265, 6.737 ; Hor. Carm. 4.7.25; comp.
VIRBIUS.) There was a monument of his at Athens, in front of
the temple of Themis. (Paus. 1.22.1.) At Troezene, where a
tomb of Hippolytus was shown, there was a different
tradition about him. (Paus. 1.22.2; comp. Eurip.
There are two other mythical personages of this name.
(Apollod. 2.1.5; Diod. 4.31.) - A Dictionary of Greek and
Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.