Alcestis (Ἄλκηστις) is a princess in 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 Anaxibia or Phylomache.

In the story, many suitors appeared 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 Fates drunk, 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, Heracles rescued 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 Wilder wrote "A Life in The Sun" (1955) based on Euripides' play, later producing an operatic version called "The Alecstiad" (1962). The American choreographer Martha Graham created 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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  • Alcestis — con Heracles y Cerbero, pintura mural en las catacumbas cristianas de la Via Latina (siglo IV). En la mitología griega, Alcestis o Alceste (en griego antiguo Ἄλκηστις Álkêstis o Ἀλκέστη Álcestê) es una hija de Pelias, rey de Yolcos en Tesalia, y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alcestis — Alcestis, s. Alkestis …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Alcestis — ALCESTIS, ĭdos, Gr. Ἄλκηστις, ιδος, (⇒ Tab. XXV.) des Pelias und der Anaxibia Tochter, Apollod. lib. I. c. 9. §. 10. legete zwar nicht mit Hand an, Diod. Sic. lib. IV. c. 53. als sich ihre Schwestern von der Medea bereden ließen, ihren Vater… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Alcestis — wife of Admetus, she offered her life for her husband and was rescued from the Underworld by Herakles, from Gk. Alkestis, lit. valiant, courageous, from alke protection, help, strength, power …   Etymology dictionary

  • Alcestis — [al ses′tis] n. [L < Gr Alkēstis] Gr. Myth. the wife of Admetus, king of Thessaly: she offers her life to save that of her husband, but is rescued from Hades by Hercules …   English World dictionary

  • Alcestis — /al ses tis/, n. 1. Also, Alkestis. Class. Myth. the wife of Admetus who gave up her life in order that the Fates might save the life of Admetus and later was brought back from Hades by Hercules. 2. (italics) a tragedy (438 B.C.) by Euripides. *… …   Universalium

  • Alcestis (play) — Infobox Play | name= Alcestis caption = Alcestis and Admetus Ancient Roman fresco (45 79 CE) writer = Euripides chorus = Old men characters = Apollo Thanatos / Death Maidservant Alcestis Admetus Eumelus Heracles Pheres setting = Pherae in… …   Wikipedia

  • Alcestis (obra) — La muerte de Alcestis, de Angelica Kauffmann (1741 1807). Alcestis es una de las más tempranas obras supervivientes del dramaturgo griego Eurípides. La obra fue probablemente producida por primera vez en las Dionisias del año 438 a. C …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alcestis — noun Etymology: Latin, from Greek Alkēstis Date: 14th century the wife of Admetus who dies for her husband and is restored to him by Hercules …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Alcestis — Alcẹstis   [lateinisch], griechischer Mythos: Alkestis.   …   Universal-Lexikon

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