or MELA'NTHIUS (Μέλανθος
), one of the Neleidae, and king of Messenia, whence he was driven out by the Heracleidae on their conquest of the Peloponnesus, and, following the instructions of the Delphic oracle, took refuge in Attica.
In a war between the Athenians and Boeotiaus, Xanthus, the Boeotian king, challenged Thymoetes, king of Athens and the last of the Theseidae, to single combat. Thymoetes declined the challenge on the ground of age and infirmity. So ran the story, which strove afterwards to disguise the violent change of dynasty; and Melanthus undertook it on condition of being rewarded with the throne in the event of success.
He slew Xanthus, and became king, to the exclusion of the line of Theseus.
According to Pausanias, the conqueror of Xanthus was Andropompus, the father of Melanthus; according to Aristotle, it was Codrus, his son. To the period of the reign of Melanthus Pausanias refers the expulsion of the Ionians from Aegialus by the Achaeans, and their settlement at Athens as a place of refuge. (Her. 1.147, 5.65; Paus. 2.18
; Strab. viii. p.359
, ix. p. 393, xiv. p. 633; Con. Narr.
39; Aristot. Pol. 5.10
, ed. Bekk.; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ach.
855; Suid. s. v. Ἀπατούρια
; Dict. of Ant. s. v. Ἀπατούρια