Agamemnon

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As seen in Rage! (Iliad I)

Overlord of Hellas

  Agamemnon is the King of Mycenae who invoked the The Oath of Tyndareus and gathered a Hellenic army to seize his brother's wife, Helen, back from Troy.  
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Family

  Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus, as a pair, are called the Atreids, the sons of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae. The brothers married a pair of twin sisters. Menelaus's wife, Helen, was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world, while Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra, was considered to be a distant runner-up. Agamemnon then became king of Mycenae in his own right, while Menelaus took the throne of his wife's home kingdom of Sparta.   By Clytemnestra, Agamemnon was the father of Iphigenia, Electra (also called Laodice), Orestes, and Chrysothemis.  

Personality

  Agamemnon's outward displays of confidence, and the swagger that so inspires the loyalty of his allies, masks a deep sense of insecurity. He is quick to take offense to any perceived threat or challenge to his authority, and misses no chance to puff himself up in the eyes of his supporters.  

Fighting Style

  Although Agamemnon prefers to lead from behind the safety of his bulwarks, he proves to be a capable warrior and skilled at hand-to-hand combat when pressed.  

Military Role

  Leader of all factions of Achaeans at Troy. Although he relies heavily on Odysseus for strategy, on Calchas for mystical intelligence, on Menelaus for whipping up morale, and on Achilles for the bulk of the fighting, Agamemnon demands the lion's share of credit for all gains or victories while delegating blame for losses and setbacks elsewhere.  
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In the Cypria

  Agamemnon rallies the Hellenic forces to the cause of rescuing Helen and assembles a fleet of over a thousand ships. And in order to secure an auspicious wind, Agamemnon sacrifices one of his own daughters to appease the goddess Artemis.  
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In the Iliad

 

Book 1

  Agamemnon refuses to accept a ransom from Chyises for the return of his daughter, who has been claimed by Agamemnon as a war prize after the sack of Cilician Thebe. This act angers Apollo, leading to many Achaean deaths by plague until Agamemnon relents. Agamemnon then claims Achilles's war bride to replace his own, causing Achilles to quit the war at a vital junction.  
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In the Posthomerica

 

Amazons!

  With the Achaean forces pressed back by the Trojans and Amazons, Agamemnon calls a war council. There are no good options unless Achilles and Ajax return from mourning the death of Patroclus.  
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In the Nostos

  Agamemnon returns safely home to Mycenae to find his wife waiting for him, ready with a hot bath and promises of a big surprise...  
As an act of revenge for Agamemnon's sacrifice of Iphigenia at the start of the war, Clytemnestra wraps Agamemnon in a net while he bathes, so he can be more easily stabbed to death by Clytemnestra's lover, Aegisthus, who then puts a claim on the throne. This betrayal and murder are avenged in turn by Agamemnon's son and daughter, Orestes and Electra.
 

Trivia

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Rage! (Iliad I)

Mythology of Origin
Greek/Roman
Home Realm
Mycenae, Hellas
Greek Name
Ἀγαμέμνων (steadfast)
Parents


Cover image: "Jupiter Pluvius" (1819) by Joseph Gandy (1771-1843)

Comments

Author's Notes

Sage gfishbone

Greg R. Fishbone
       
Greg R. Fishbone, Author in Residence at Mythoversal.

 
  Have you ever had a boss who makes one bad decision after another but refuses to ever accept any blame or responsibility for the resulting fallout? That's Agamemnon in Homer's Iliad.   Does Agamemnon deserve his fate? Let me know in the comments!


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