ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Andromache in Greek Mythology

Updated on May 30, 2015
Colin Quartermain profile image

Having travelled through Italy, Greece and the Aegean in his youth, Colin quickly became interested in the ancient mythology of the region.

The surviving stories from Greek mythology are male dominated, with the male gods more powerful than the goddesses, and the male mortals more famous than most females.

The emergence of the Hellenes people had resulted in the emergence of the mythology of the Olympian gods, with these gods usurping previous gods, and confining them to minimal roles. This was especially evident with goddesses such as Gaia and Phoebe.

That being said, there were of course still prominent female figures in later mythology, and important goddesses included the likes of Hera, Aphrodite and Athena, and famous mortals included Helen, Cassandra and Andromache.

The Start of Andromache's Story

Many writers in antiquity would write of Andromache, with the likes of Homer, Euripides, Seneca, Virgil and Ovid, all calling her by her name, or referring to her as the wife of Hector; and of course Andromache is in the Iliad.

Andromache would become famous for her part in the Trojan War, but also because of her life after the fall of Troy.

In Greek mythology, Andromache was the daughter of King Eetion of Thebae in Cilicia. King Eetion and Andromache’s seven brothers were killed when Thebae was sacked by Achilles; Andromache’s mother would eventually end up in Troy after the sacking, when she paid a large ransom for her life.

Luckily for Andromache, by the time Achilles attacked Thebae, she was herself in Troy, for she had been wed to King Priam’s son Hector.

Hector, Andromache and Astyanax

Carl Friedrich Deckler (1838–1918) PD-art-100
Carl Friedrich Deckler (1838–1918) PD-art-100 | Source

Hector and Andromache

In the ancient sources, Andromache is normally described as being beautiful, although not as beautiful as the Spartan queen Helen. Andromache though, had the advantage over Helen in other ways, for Hector’s wife was said to be the perfect wife; loving, dutiful and loyal.

Andromache could be considered to be the female equivalent of Hector, for like her husband, she is mindful of her duties as wife to Hector, mother to Astyanax, and future queen of Troy.

Andromache could also be outspoken, and she was not above offering her husband military advice, as well as reminding him of his duties to her and their son. In many ancient sources, Andromache is also noted for placing the blame for the Trojan War upon the shoulders of Helen, in much the same way that Hector would blame Paris.

Despite Andromache’s pleadings, Hector would take to the battlefield once too often, and the Trojan prince would be killed by Achilles; and so Andromache was transformed from the dutiful wife, to the dutiful widow.

Andromache and the Fall of Troy

The sorrow of Andromache would be added to though, as Troy would fall shortly after the death of her husband, and so the wife and son of Hector, found themselves prisoners of the Achaeans. The Achaeans were fearful that the son of Hector would one day seek revenge on those who had captured Troy, and so the young Astyanax was thrown from the city’s walls. This act of infanticide was sometimes attributed to Talthybius, the Greek herald, Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, or to Odysseus.

As with the other women of Troy, Andromache became a prize of war, and for his role in the taking of the city, Neoptolemus took the widow of Hector as his concubine. The ties between Andromache and Troy were being cut, and the only remaining thread was the companionship of Helenus, Andromache’s brother-in-law, who Neoptolemus also took as a prize.

The Captive Andromache

Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) PD-art-100
Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) PD-art-100 | Source

Andromache After Troy

The story of Andromache after Troy is one which is the basis for Euripides’ play Andromache.

Neoptolemus, along with his growing household, would settle in Epirus, and establish the ruling line their. The son of Achilles would then be married to the daughter of Menelaus and Helen, Hermione, although the marriage was not a happy one.

Hermione would take a dislike to Andromache, and the wife of Neoptolemus would become jealous of the concubine, when Andromache bore Neoptolemus three sons, Molossus, Pielus and Pergamus, whilst Hermione could not get pregnant.

When Neoptolemus was absent at Delphi, Hermione plotted to do away with her rival, and gained an ally in the form of Menelaus. Andromache sensed the danger, and prayed to Thetis, the mother of Achilles for help. Menelaus though threatened the concubine, stating that it was either her life or the life of Molossus that would be lost that day. Help for Andromache came not from the mother of Achilles but from the father of Achilles, for Peleus, a hero of some repute, acted as her protector.

Neoptolemus himself would never return from Delphi, as he was killed by Orestes, as Hermione had been promised to the son of Agamemnon previously; after the death of her husband, Hermione would become the wife of Orestes.

Andromache and Neoptolemus

Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1774–1833) PD-art-100
Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1774–1833) PD-art-100 | Source

Andromache's Lot Improves

The kingdom of Neoptolemus was now kingless, and the throne of Epirus was given to Helenus, the slave and friend of the former king. Helenus would then make Andromache his new queen; and Andromache would provide her new husband with a new son, Cestrinus.

For the first time since her marriage to Hector, Andromache was happy, and for many years Helenus and Andromache contentedly ruled Epirus. Eventually, Helenus would die and the crown would be passed to Molossus, Andromache’s son.

Andromache would not remain in Epirus, and instead, in the company of Pergamus, would travel to Asia Minor. Eventually, the pair would arrive in Teuthrania, and their Pergamus would kill King Areius, the king of Teuthrania, and take the throne for himself. Pergamus would then name the new kingdom after himself. It was said that Andromache would die in Pergamus’ kingdom of all age.

The life of Andromache was one of many ups and downs, or happiness and despair. Once happily married to Hector, Andromache would then lose her husband, her son and her home, but eventually, she would be blessed with four further sons.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)