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The daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos, by Eurydicé, daughter of Lacedaemon. Acrisius inquired of the oracle about a son; and the god replied that he would himself have no male issue, but that his daughter would bear a son, whose hand would deprive him of life. Fearing the accomplishment of this prediction, he framed a brazen subterranean chamber, in which he shut up his daughter and her nurse, in order that she might never become a mother. (The Latin poets call the place of confinement a brazen tower.) But Zeus had seen and loved the maiden; and, under the form of a golden shower, he poured through the roof into her bosom. Danaë became, in consequence, the mother of a son, whom she and her nurse reared in secrecy until he had attained his fourth year. Acrisius then chanced to hear the voice of the child at play. He brought out his daughter and her nurse, and, putting the latter instantly to death, drew Danaë privately, with her child, to the altar of Hercean Zeus, where he made her answer on oath whose was her son. She replied that he was the offspring of Zeus. Her father gave no credit to her protestations. Enclosing her and the boy in a coffer, he cast them into the sea, at the mercy of the winds and waves, a circumstance which has afforded a subject for a beautiful lyric by the poet Simonides. The coffer was carried to the little island of Seriphus, where a person named Dictys drew it out in his nets (δίκτυα); and, freeing Danaë and Perseus from their confinement, treated them with the greatest kindness. Polydectes, the brother of Dictys, reigned over the island. He fell in love with Danaë; but her son Perseus, who was now grown up, was an invincible obstacle in his way. He had, therefore, recourse to artifice to deliver himself of his presence; and, feigning that he was about to become a suitor to Hippodamia, the daughter of Oenomaüs, he managed to send Perseus, who had bound himself by a rash promise, in quest of the head of the Medusa, which he pretended that he wished for a bridal gift. When Perseus had succeeded, by the aid of Hermes, in slaying the Gorgon , he proceeded to Seriphus, where he found that his mother and Dictys had been obliged to fly to the protection of the altar from the violence of Polydectes. He immediately went to the royal residence; and when, at his desire, Polydectes had summoned thither all the people to see the head of the Gorgon , it was displayed, and each became a stone of the form and position which he exhibited at the moment of the transformation. Having established Dictys as king of Seriphus, Perseus returned with his mother to Argos; and, not finding Acrisius there, proceeded to Larissa in Thessaly, whither the latter had retired through fear of the fulfilment of the oracle. Here he inadvertently killed Acrisius. See Acrisius; Perseus.

There was a legend in Italy that Ardea, the capital of the Rutulians, had been founded by Danaë (Verg. Aen. vii. 372Verg. Aen., 410). It was probably caused by the similarity of sound in Danaë and Daunia. Daunus is the father of Turnus.

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