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Πηλεύς). A king of Thessaly, son of Aeacus, monarch of Aegina, and the nymph Endeïs, the daughter of Chiron. Having been accessory, along with Telamon, to the death of their brother Phocus, he was banished from his native island, but found an asylum at the court of Eurytus, son of Actor, king of Phthia in Thessaly. He married Antigoné, the daughter of Eurytus, and received with her, as a marriage portion, the third part of the kingdom. Peleus was present with Eurytus at the chase of the Calydonian boar; but having unfortunately killed his father-in-law with the javelin which he had hurled against the animal, he was again doomed to be a wanderer. His second benefactor was Acastus, king of Iolcos; but here again he was involved in trouble through a false charge brought against him by Astydamia, or, as Horace calls her, Hippolyte, the queen of Acastus. (See Acastus.) To reward the virtue of Peleus, as fully shown by his resisting the blandishments of Astydamia, the gods resolved to give him a goddess in marriage. The spouse selected for him was the sea-nymph Thetis, who had been wooed by Zeus himself and his brother Poseidon; but Themis having declared that her child would be greater than his sire, the gods withdrew (Isth. viii. 58 foll.). Others say that she was courted by Zeus alone till he was informed by Prometheus that, if he had a son by her, that son would dethrone him. Others, again, maintain that Thetis, who was reared by Heré, would not assent to the wishes of Zeus, and that the god, in his anger, condemned her to espouse a mortal; or that Heré herself selected Peleus for her spouse ( Il. xxiv. 59). Chiron, being made aware of the will of the gods, advised Peleus to aspire to the favour of the nymph of the sea, and instructed him how to win her. He therefore lay in wait, and seized and held her fast, though she changed herself into every variety of form, becoming fire, water, a serpent, and a lioness. The wedding was solemnized on Mount Pelion; the gods all honoured it with their presence, and bestowed armour on the bridegroom. Chiron gave him the famous ashen spear afterwards wielded by his son; and Poseidon bestowed on him the immortal Harpyborn steeds Balius and Xanthus. The offspring of this union was the celebrated Achilles. According to one account, Peleus was deserted by his goddess-wife for not allowing her to cast the infant Achilles into a caldron of boiling water, to try if he were mortal. (See Achilles.) This, however, is a post-Homeric fiction, since Homer represents Peleus and Thetis as dwelling together all the lifetime of their son. Of Peleus it is farther related that he survived his son and even grandson ( Od. xi. 493), and died in misery in the island of Cos. It was at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis that the goddess of Discord threw the apple of gold into the middle of the assembled deities, with which was connected so much misfortune for both the Trojans and the Greeks. See Helené; Paris.

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