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A relief on the interior Telephus frieze of the Pergamon Altar depicting Ajax killing Actaeus and Heloros.

In Greek mythology, Actaeus (/ækˈtəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἀκταῖος Ἀktaῖos means "coast-man"[1]), also called Actaeon[2], was the first king of Attica, according to Pausanias.[3]


Actaeus was the father of Aglaurus, and father-in-law to Cecrops, the first king of the city of Athens.


Actaeus was said to have ruled over a city named Acte (Ἀκτή Akte) or Actica[2]. The location of this city is uncertain, but given that Acte means "coast" or "promontory", one can speculate that this is a culture reference to local or native population groups inhabiting some coastal areas of the Attic promontory, perhaps sharing language, or ethnic ties; this concords with evidence from the archaeological record which attest widespread coastal settlement in the Neolithic period (OED ad. loc. cit. Attica).

One tradition states that Actaeus gave Attica its name before it was changed to Cecropia by Cecrops, others claim that Atthis, a daughter of Cranaos, the second king of Athens, was Attica's namesake. Actaeus had a daughter – Agraulus, who was married to Cecrops, the first king of the city of Athens.[4] According to the Bibliotheca, on the other hand, Cecrops was the first king of Attica, and the three daughters were his own.[5]


  1. ^ Hard, Robin (2004). The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology. 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001: Taylor & Francis Group. p. 365. ISBN 0-203-44633-X.
  2. ^ a b The Parian Marble, Fragment 2 (March 7, 2001). "Interleaved Greek and English text (translation by Gillian Newing)". Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 1.2.5
  4. ^ Schmitz, Leonhard (1867), "Actaeus", in Smith, William (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1, Boston, MA, p. 16
  5. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, Book 3.14.1


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Actaeus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

Regnal titles
Preceded by
New creation
King of Athens Succeeded by
Cecrops I