Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a
princessin Greek mythology, known for her love of her husband. Her story was popularised in Euripides's tragedy "Alcestis". She was the daughter of Pelias, king of Iolcus, and either Anaxibiaor Phylomache.
In the story, many
suitorsappeared before King Pelias, her father, when she became of age to marry. It was declared she would marry the first man to yoke a lion and a boar (or a bear in some cases) to a chariot. The man who would do this, King Admetus, was helped by Apollo, who had been banished from Olympus for 9 years to serve as a shepherd to Admetus. With Apollo's help, Admetus completed the king's task, and was allowed to marry Alcestis. After the wedding, Admetus forgot to make the required sacrifice to Artemis, and found his bed full of snakes. Apollo again helped the newly wed king, this time by making the Fatesdrunk, extracting from them a promise that if anyone would want to die instead of Admetus, they would allow it. Since no one volunteered, not even his elderly parents, Alcestis stepped forth. Shortly after, Heraclesrescued Alcestis from Hades, as a token of appreciation for the hospitality of Admetus. Admetus and Alcestis had a son, Eumelus, a participant in the siege of Troy, and a daughter, Perimele. Thornton Wilderwrote "A Life in The Sun" (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called "The Alecstiad" (1962). The American choreographer Martha Grahamcreated a ballet entitled "Alcestis" in 1960.
*Cotterell, Arthur, and Rachel Storm. "The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology". Hermes House. ISBN 9-780681-032187
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