Son of Aeolus and a brother of Salmoneus and Sisyphus, he was unfortunately as thick as a brick. Zeus came knocking at his door one day looking for a sucker to marry Nephele, the cloned version of Hera. Athamas seemed the ideal choice — he was stupid and not too fussy.
Then Zeus discovered he was having an affair with Ino at the same time as he was doing the same thing with her sister Semele. Ever the opportunist, Zeus blackmailed Athamas into hiding the result of his affair, the baby Dionysus, from Hera.
What with his own children, legitimate and illegitimate, Athamas became confused, henpecked and cursed. Ino bribed the Delphic Oracle to tell him he must sacrifice his eldest son by Nephele, now a teenager called Phrixus, saying he had raped his auntie.
“Stop! This is the Child Welfare Thought Police sent by Zeus. Put that knife down and lie on the ground with your hands behind your head! Failure to comply will mean a pounding to pulp and after that you will be taken for charging.”
So Athamas went back to Nephele where all hell broke loose; Hera had found out about Dionysus and in her anger sent Ino stark raving mad. Whereupon Ino rushed off wailing and wandering into the wilderness. Which at least solved one problem.
Nephele was then snatched back to heaven in cloud formation by Hera, who declared Athamas was too stupid to have a wife. Being left with Ino’s two toddlers, he joined a lonely hearts club and met Themisto whom he married — and by whom he had two more children. Yes, he really was that stupid.
Themisto, seething with jealousy, did what seems to be standard behavior in these circumstances. She decided to kill Ino’s children. And as ever and ever and ever in these situations, she used a Cloak of Darkness to conceal herself, became utterly disorientated, made a very bad stab at things and — you guessed it — killed the wrong children. Which all goes to prove it is very wrong to kill any children at any time.
Now it was Athamas’s turn to go raving mad. He stupidly killed another son by mistake, and tried to make the last one immortal by boiling him. Ino was just in time to snatch the small fellow from the pot and run off. Unfortunately it was night time, they ran too far, and fell off the top of a cliff.
Athamas slowly regained his wits, and went back to the Delphic Oracle to ask if he would ever live anywhere in peace, away from any kind of interference by the Gods.
He is now back with Themisto and living in a secret location under the name Smith.
Athamas Facts and Figures
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Athamus
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present
In charge of: Unknown
Area of expertise: Unknown
Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 1789
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Article last revised on September 06, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.