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Selene watches as Endymion sleeps forever. 3006: Selene and Endymion. Engraving by Bernard Picart, 1673-1733.

Elis is a region in northwestern Peloponnesus where the inhabitants are called Eleans, and it is also the name of a city in the same region. To the south and east of Elis are Messenia and Arcadia respectively. In Elis flow the two rivers (Peneus and Alpheus) which Heracles 1 diverted when he cleansed the stables of King Augeas. The first to have come to Elis are the Thessalians Salmoneus and Aethlius, both sons of Aeolus 1.


Salmoneus founded a city and called it Salmonia, but he has been described as an arrogant man. He compared himself to Zeus, proclaiming that he thundered like the god when he dragged dried hides with bronze kettles at his chariot, and arguing that he lightened when he threw torches at the sky. Zeus punished this ridiculous behavior by striking him with a thunderbolt and wiping out the city of Salmonia together with all its inhabitants.


Aethlius, son of Zeus and Protogenia 1, the daughter of Deucalion 1, is regarded as the first ruler of Elis. By Calyce 1, daughter of Aeolus 1 and Enarete, Aethlius became father of Endymion.


Endymion, who sometimes is also called son of Zeus, founded the city of Elis after having led the Aeolians out of Thessaly. It is told that Selene fell in love with Endymion, and that they had fifty daughters. Some affirm that Endymion chose to sleep for ever, remaining deathless and ageless, but others say that he was for ever sleepless. It has also been said that Endymion had other women, and that he set his sons to run a race at Olympia for the throne, and that this race was won by Epeius 1. When Endymion, though being deathless, nevertheless died, he was transported by Zeus into heaven. But when he fell in love with Hera, Zeus fooled him by means of a cloud, and Endymion was cast into Hades (Ixion was fooled in a similar way).

Epeius 1

Epeius 1 won the kingdom through a race at Olympia against his brothers, and for the first time his subjects were called Epeans. During his reign, the city of Pisa and its bordering country Olympia was separated from the kingdom of the Epeans (Elis) when the Lydian Pelops 1 succeeded Oenomaus 1. Pelops 1 came to Pisa from Asia, killed King Oenomaus 1 through treachery, took his daughter and the kingdom, and paid with ingratitude the treason of Myrtilus against Oenomaus 1 by killing the man who had helped him to the throne (see also Pelopides).

Aetolus 2

Epeius 1 was succeeded by his brother Aetolus 2, but Aetolus 2 ran over an Arcadian with his chariot during the funeral games celebrated in honor of Azan (son of Arcas 1, son of Zeus and Callisto), and for that reason he was compelled to leave the Peloponnesus. Aetolus 2 migrated then to the region in mainland Greece north of the Gulf of Patrae, which he called Aetolia, and his sons Pleuron and Calydon founded the cities in Aetolia that are called after them.

Eleius 1

Eleius 1, son of Poseidon and Eurycyda, daughter of Endymion, became king of Elis after Aetolus 2, and the inhabitants were then called Eleans after him.


King Augeas, who is counted among the ARGONAUTS, came to the throne after his father Eleius 1. Some say that those who wanted to glorify Augeas gave a turn to the name "Eleius" making it "Helius." Augeas is sometimes called son of Poseidon, or else son of Phorbas 6. Augeas had many herds of cattle, and Heracles 1 came to him without revealing the command of Eurystheus (see LABOURS), saying that he would carry out the dung in one day, if Augeas would give him the tenth part of the cattle. Augeas who could not believe that was possible, agreed. Having taken Augeas' son Phyleus 1 to witness, Heracles 1 made a breach in the foundations of the cattle-yard, and by diverting the courses of two rivers, he turned them into the yard. When Augeas learned that this had been accomplished at the command of Eurystheus, he would not pay the reward, and when arbitrators were called, Phyleus 1 bore witness against his father. This is why Augeas ordered both Phyleus 1 and Heracles 1 to leave Elis.


Location of Elis

Later Heracles 1 collected an Arcadian army, and marched against Augeas, who hearing of the war that Heracles 1 was preparing, appointed the MOLIONIDES (sons of Molione) generals of the Eleans. The MOLIONIDES Cteatus and Eurytus 1 were twins with two bodies joined to one another, as they say. At this time, and perhaps because of this crisis, the government in Elis was shared by Augeas, Amarynceus 1, and Actor 4, father of the MOLIONIDES. At the beginning of the war, the MOLIONIDES defeated the army of Heracles 1 several times until a truce was proclaimed. But when the MOLIONIDES came as envoys to a meeting for negotiations, Heracles 1 set an ambush at Cleonae, and murdered them. Afterwards Heracles 1 took Elis with an army of Argives, Thebans and Arcadians, and having sacked it, he gave the kingdom to Phyleus 1, Augeas' son. According to some, Heracles 1 killed Augeas, but others affirm that Augeas died at an advanced age.

Shared kingdom

After Phyleus 1, the government was again shared, this time between Amphimachus 1, Thalpius and Agasthenes. Agasthenes was son of Augeas, and Amphimachus 1 and Thalpius were sons of the MOLIONIDES, Amphimachus 1 being son of Cteatus and Theronice, and Thalpius of Eurytus 1 and Theraephone. These two girls were twins themselves, and daughters of King Dexamenus 1 of Olenus. At this time, the Trojan War broke out, and Elis sent four leaders: Amphimachus 1, Thalpius, Polyxenus 2, and Diores 1 (see ACHAEAN LEADERS). Amphimachus 1 was killed in the war, and so was Diores 1, son of Amarynceus 1. Polyxenus 2, son of Agasthenes and one of the SUITORS OF HELEN, reunified the kingdom when he returned from Troy.

Amphimachus 6

After Polyxenus 2, his son Amphimachus 6 became king of Elis. It is said that Polyxenus 2 gave him the name "Amphimachus" because of his friendship with Amphimachus 1, who died at Troy.

Eleius 2

Next came Eleius 2, son of Amphimachus 6. During his reign, the army of the HERACLIDES, under the sons of Aristomachus 2 assembled in order to return to the Peloponnesus.

Dius 2

During the reign of his successor Dius 2, Elis was conquered by the HERACLIDES commanded by Oxylus 2. Dius 2 resisted Oxylus 2, and proposed that the conflict be solved through the single combat of two champions, Degmenus and Pyraechmes 2. Pyraechmes 2, who was the champion of the HERACLIDES, defeated Degmenus in single combat, thus winning the kingdom for Oxylus 2.

Oxylus 2

Oxylus 2 had fled from Aetolia to Elis on account of the murder of Thermius, his own brother, or else of Alcidocus. He became guide of the HERACLIDES, and subsequently king of Elis. Oxylus 2 was, according to some, son of Haemon 2, son of Thoas 2. Thoas 2, king of Pleuron and Calydon, is one of the ACHAEAN LEADERS; he had been one of the SUITORS OF HELEN, and was among those who hid inside the WOODEN HORSE.


After Oxylus 2 the kingdom was inherited by Laias (son of Oxylus 2 and Pieria 2).

Throne Succession in Elis 


Endymion. (Oenomaus 1, king of Pisa)
Epeius 1. (Pelops 1 takes over Pisa)
Aetolus 2.
Eleius 1.

Shared kingdom of Elis

Amarynceus 1.
Actor 4.

Reunified kingdom

Phyleus 1.

Shared kingdom

Amphimachus 1.

Reunified kingdom

Polyxenus 2.
Amphimachus 6.
Eleius 2.
Dius 2.
Oxylus 2. (Return of the HERACLIDES)

Salmoneus. Son of Aeolus 1 and Enarete and king of Elis, where he founded a city Salmonia. Salmoneus married first Alcidice (daughter of Aleus, son of Aphidas 1, son of Arcas 1, son of Zeus and Callisto), and had by her a daughter Tyro (mother of Pelias 1 and Neleus). At Alcidice's death he married Sidero, whom the children of Tyro slew for being wicked against their mother. Salmoneus was an arrogant and impious man who compared himself to Zeus, taking away the sacrifices of the god and ordered them to be offered to himself. He also dragged dried hides with bronze kettles with his chariot, saying that he thundered, and then he flung lighted torches at the sky, saying that he lightened. So Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt, and destroyed the city he had founded with all its inhabitants (Apd.1.7.3, 1.9.7-8, 1.9.11; Dio.4.68.1-2; Hes.CWE.4.; Hyg.Fab.60, 61).

Aethlius was the first man that ruled Elis. He was the son either of Zeus & Protogenia 1, or of Aeolus 1, or of Zeus & Calyce 1. Protogenia 1 is the daughter of Deucalion 1, the man who survived the Flood, and of Pyrrha 1. Calyce 1 is daughter of Aeolus 1 and Enarete. She is also said to be the wife of Aethlius. Aethlius and Calyce 1 had a son Endymion who consorted with Selene (Moon). (Apd.1.7.2, 1.7.5; Hes.CWE.8; Hyg.Fab.155; Pau.5.1.3, 5.8.2).

Endymion led the Aeolians from Thessaly and founded Elis, where he became king. He was loved by Selene and chose to sleep forever remaining deathless and ageless, or else he was for ever sleepless. Endymion was son of Calyce 1, daughter of Aeolus 1, either by Zeus or by Aethlius, in turn son either of Zeus and Calyce 1, or of Zeus and Protogenia 1 (daughter of Deucalion 1), or of Aeolus 1. Endymion had by Selene fifty daughters and a son Narcissus. By a Naiad or by Iphianassa 2 he might have fathered Aetolus 2; but then he is said to have consorted with Asterodia 2, Hyperippe 2 (daughter of Arcas 1, son of Zeus and Callisto), and Chromia (daughter of Itonus 1, son of Amphictyon, son of Deucalion 1); and by one of these three (or several among them) he became father of Paeon 2, Epeius 1, Eurycyda and the above mentioned Aetolus 2. Endymion, they say, was transported by Zeus into heaven, but having fallen in love with Hera, he was fooled by a cloud, and was cast down into Hades (see also Ixion for a similar case). (Apd.1.7.5-7; Hes.GE.11; Nonn.7.239, 48.581; Pau.5.1.4).

Epeius 1. King of Elis after his father Endymion. It is said that he won the kingdom through a race at Olympia against his brothers, and for the first time his subjects were called Epeans after him. His mother could have been either Asterodia 2, or Chromia, or Hyperippe 2. He married Anaxiroe, daughter of Coronus 4, and had by her a daughter Hyrmina, after whom a city in Elis was called (Pau.5.1.4-6).

Aetolus 2 is the eponym of Aetolia, the region in mainland Greece north of the Gulf of Patrae. Aetolus 2 was King of Elis after his brother Epeius 1 was made to flee. Aetolus 2, who is son of Endymion, either by a Naiad 1, or by Iphianassa 2, or by Asterodia 2, or by Chromia, or by Hyperippe 2, married Pronoe 2 and had two sons: Pleuron and Calydon, after whom the Aetolian cities were called (see also Calydon). (Apd.1.7.6-7; Pau.5.1.4, 5.1.9; Strab.10.3.2).

Eleius 1. King of Elis and eponym of the Eleans. He is the son of Poseidon and Eurycyda, daughter of Endymion, the man whom Selene loved. Eleius 1 is father of Augeas (Pau.5.1.8-9).

Augeas. This is the king of Elis who had many herds of cattle and whose stables Heracles 1 cleansed, thus accomplishing one of the Labours that were imposed on him by Eurystheus, who later did not admit this labour alleging that Heracles 1 had been hired by Augeas since the latter promised him one tenth of his cattle if he would carry out the dung in one day. However, when the task was accomplished and Augeas learned that it had been done at Eurystheus' command, he not only refused to pay but also denied that he had promised it. For this reason arbitrators were called; and during the trial Augeas' son Phyleus 1 witnessed against his father. So Augeas, without awaiting the verdict, expelled both his son and Heracles 1 from Elis. Later Heracles 1 collected an Arcadian army and marched against Augeas, who hearing of the war that Heracles 1 was levying, appointed the MOLIONIDES generals of the Eleans. Some say that Augeas was killed by Heracles 1, whereas others say that he died at an advanced age. Augeas was either the son of Helius and Nausidame, or of Poseidon, or of Phorbas 6, or of Eleius 1, son of Poseidon and Eurycyda, daughter of Endymion, whom Selene loved. His children are: Epicasta 2, Phyleus 1, Agamede, Agasthenes, and Eurytus 1 (see Heracles 1 and LABOURS). (Apd.2.5.5, 2.7.2, 2.7.7ff.; Dio.4.33.3; Hom.Il.11.740; Hyg. Fab.14; Pau.5.1.9, 5.3.3).

Amarynceus 1, son of Pyttius, was one of the kings of Elis at the time when the government was shared. His children were Hippostratus and Diores 1, one of the ACHAEAN LEADERS. Amarynceus 1 was buried in Buprasium, a coastal city in northwestern Elis (Apd.1.8.4; Hom.Il.23.630; Pau.5.1.10-11, 5.3.4).

Actor 4, king of the Eleans, founded in Elis the city of Hyrmina, which he called after his mother. His father was Phorbas 2, son of Triopas 2 or of Lapithus 1. Actor 4 married Molione and became by her father of the twins known as the MOLIONIDES, who are Cteatus and Eurytus 1. (Apd.2.7.2; Dio.4.69.3; Pau.5.1.11).

Phyleus 1 parted from his father Augeas in anger and migrated to Dulichium, one of the Echinadian Islands at the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth, but afterwards Heracles 1 bestowed on him the kingdom of Elis. Phyleus 1 married first Eustyoche and begot Meges 1, one of the ACHAEAN LEADERS against Troy. Later he married Timandra 1, daughter of Tyndareus and Leda (Apd.2.5.5, 2.7.2; Dio.4.33.4; Hes.CWE.67; Hom.Il.2.637; Hyg.Fab.97; Ov.Met.8.299ff.; Pau.5.3.1).

Amphimachus 1. Leader from Elis, killed by Hector 1. Amphimachus 1, who is also counted among the SUITORS OF HELEN, was son Cteatus and Theronice, daughter of Dexamenus 1, son of Oeceus. Cteatus was one of the MOLIONIDES (Apd.3.10.8; Apd.Ep.3.12; Hom.Il.2.536ff., 2.620, 13.185; Pau.5.3.3-4).

Thalpius is yet another leader from Elis against Troy, who joined the warriors who hid inside the WOODEN HORSE. He is son of Eurytus 1, an Elean general, son of Actor 4 and Molione, or of Poseidon and Molione, or of Augeas (Apd.3.10.8; Hom.Il.2.536ff., 2.620; Pau.5.3.4; QS.12.314ff.).

Agasthenes was King of Elis after his father's death. He was son of Augeas and, after marrying Peloris, he had a child Polyxenus 2, who became king after him (Hyg.Fab.97; Pau.5.3.3-4).

Polyxenus 2 led against Troy the people of Aetolia, the region in mainland Greece north of the Gulf of Patrae. Polyxenus 2 survived the war and entertained Odysseus when he came to Elis to inspect his herds after the killing of the SUITORS OF PENELOPE. Polyxenus 2 is son of Agasthenes, son of Augeas, the man whose stables Heracles 1 had to clean. Polyxenus 2 had a son Amphimachus 6, whom he named after his friend Amphimachus 1 who died at Troy (Apd.3.10.8; Hom.Il.2.624; Hyg.Fab.97; Pau.5.3.4; Tel.1).

Amphimachus 6. King of Elis. His father Polyxenus 2 gave him this name because of his friendship with Amphimachus 1 who died at Troy. Amphimachus 6 had a son Eleius 2, who succeeded him in the throne (Pau.5.3.4-5).

Eleius 2. King of Elis. During his reign the Dorian army (or HERACLIDES), under the sons of Aristomachus 2, assembled in order to return to the Peloponnesus. Eleius 2 was son of Amphimachus 6, son of Polyxenus 2, son of Agasthenes, son of Augeas, son of Eleius 1 (Pau.5.3.5).

Dius 2. King of Elis who initially resisted Oxylus 2, guide of the HERACLIDES, proposing that the conflict would be solved through the single combat of two champions: Degmenus and Pyraechmes 2 (Pau.5.4.1).

Oxylus 2 fled from Aetolia to Elis on account of the murder of Thermius or Alcidocus, where he became the guide of the HERACLIDES, and subsequently king of Elis. It is said that as he was throwing the quoit he missed the mark and committed unintentional homicide. The man killed by the quoit, according to one account, was Thermius, the brother of Oxylus 2; according to another it was Alcidocus. Oxylus 2 was son either of Andraemon 2 or of Haemon 2 (son of Thoas 2, one of the ACHAEAN LEADERS and son of Andraemon 1). By Pieria 2, he had a son Andraemon 4 (see HERACLIDES). (Apd.2.8.3; Lib.Met.32; Pau.5.3.6-7, 5.4.2-4; Strab.10.3.2).

Laias inherited the kingdom of Elis from his father Oxylus 2 (see HERACLIDES). His mother was Pieria 2 (Pau.5.4.4).

Related sections Map of Greece, Endymion  

Apd.1.9.7, 2.4.6, 2.5.1, 2.5.5, 2.7.3, 2.8.3; Apd.Ep.2.9, 3.12; Arg.1.173; Hom.Il.2.615, 2.626, 11.671, 11.673, 11.686, 11.698, 13.275; Hom.Od.15.298, 21.347, 24.431; Hyg.Fab.14, 274; Nonn.19.152; Ov.Met.2.679, 5.487, 5.494, 5.608, 8.308, 9.187, 12.550, 14.325.