This is most exemplified in versions of the story where Orestes and Pylades seek the statue of Artemis. His body was conveyed to Sparta for burial (where he was the object of a cult) or, according to a Roman legend, to Aricia, when it was removed to Rome (Servius on Aeneid, ii. 116). Several Greek writers presented their relationship as a romantic or even homoerotic one. Comments Off on Learn About Orestes of Greek Mythology. When his father returned from Troy he was murdered by Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus (Orestes' uncle). Orestes was pursued by the Furies for committing matricide. He was also the last member of his family to be affected by the curse placed upon his family. The priestess of Artemis, whose duty it was to perform the sacrifice, was Orestes' sister Iphigenia. Their pursuit drove him mad. He went to Tauris with Pylades, and the pair were at once imprisoned by the people, among whom the custom was to sacrifice all Greek strangers to Artemis. Orestes is absent from Mycenae when his father, Agamemnon, returns from the Trojan War with the Trojan princess Cassandra as his concubine, and thus not present for Agamemnon's murder by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife, Clytemnestra. In the final play of the trilogy, the Erinyes, goaded by Clytemnestra’s vehement ghost, rise up from the underworld and hunt Orestes down. Orestes was not present at the time of his father’s murder. The same myth is told differently by Sophocles and Euripides in their Electra plays.. A dialogue entitled Erotes ("Affairs of the Heart") and attributed to Lucian compares the merits and advantages of heterosexuality and homoeroticism, and Orestes and Pylades are presented as the principal representatives of homoerotic friendship: Taking the love god as the mediator of their emotions for each other, they sailed together as it were on the same vessel of life...nor did they restrict their affectionate friendship to the limits of Hellas....as soon as they set foot on the land of the Tauride, the Fury of matricides was there to welcome the strangers, and, when the natives stood around them, the one was struck to the ground by his usual madness and lay there, but Pylades "did wipe away the foam and tend his frame and shelter him with a fine well-woven robe," thus showing the feelings not merely of a lover, but also of a father. In the fifth century BC, Greece was a mix of the magical and the rational. Eventally, he was tried for matricide by the gods and acquitted by Athena and Apollo. He ruled his father’s kingdom until he ultimately was bitten by a snake and died from it. In Greek mythology, Orestes (/ɒˈrɛstiːz/; Greek: Ὀρέστης [oréstɛːs]) was the son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. According to the Homeric account, Agamemnon his return from Troy did not see his son, but was murdered by Aegisthus and Clytemnestra before he had an opportunity of seeing him. Homer told the story of Orestes, as did Pindar. She offered to release him if he would carry home a letter from her to Greece; he refused to go, but bids Pylades to take the letter while he stays to be slain. In one version of the story of Telephus, the infant Orestes was kidnapped by King Telephus, who used him as leverage in his demand that Achilles heal him. Both wished to sacrifice themselves for the other. Their son, Orestes, learns what his mother has done and murders her. In The History by Herodotus, the Oracle of Delphi foretold that the Spartans could not defeat the Tegeans until they moved the bones of Orestes to Sparta. Written by GreekBoston.com in Greek Mythology The poet Stesichorus contributed to the mythology surrounding Orestes as well. His sister Electra, married Pylades. Orestes was the son of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra. The Greek name Ὀρέστης, having become "Orestes" in Latin and its descendants, is derived from Greek ὄρος (óros, “mountain”) and ἵστημι (hístēmi, “to stand”), and so can be thought to have the meaning "stands on a mountain". The story of Orestes has also been adapted and retold many times over the years by more modern authors. These legends belong to an age when higher ideas of law and of social duty were being established; the implacable blood-feud of primitive society gives place to a fair trial, and in Athens, when the votes of the judges are evenly divided, mercy prevails. ( Public Domain ) The Curse of the House of Atreus Shows the Ancient Greek Mix of Mythical and Rational . Years later, Orestes would return to Mycenae with the help of his friend Pylades and murder his mother and Aegisthus in revenge. The Erinyes demand their victim; he pleads the orders of Apollo. Euripides wrote a number of works about Orestes, including the famous play that bears Orestes’ namesake. The relationship between Orestes and Pylades has been presented by some authors of the Roman era (not by classic Greek tragedians) as romantic or homoerotic. As the only male descendant of Agamemnon, Aegisthus planned to kill him, however, Orestes' sister Electra, smuggled him out of Mycenae to the court of king Strophius, their father's brother-in-law. He was said to have died of a snakebite in Arcadia. The Erinyes were appeased by being offered a new ritual. Clytemnestra was then killed by Although not the most known character of Greek mythology, the role he played in some of the stories is a vital one. Orestes is a figure from Greek mythology and is the subject of several myths, plays, and other writings. Before the Trojan War, Orestes was to marry his cousin Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen. He doesn’t necessarily play a big role in the stories, but his role in these tales are all important. He seized Argos and Arcadia after their thrones had become vacant, becoming ruler of all the Peloponnesus. Thus Orestes would have been a Giant. In his twentieth year, he was urged by Electra to return home and avenge his father's death. The best known tale in Greek mythology about the Erinyes, is the tale of Orestes encounter with the goddesses of Retribution, a tale told in detail in the Oresteia by Aeschylus. Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, accepted his request and held a trial before twelve judges, which included herself. He returned home along with his friend Pylades, Strophius's son. The Erinyes are propitiated by a new ritual, in which they are worshipped as "Semnai Theai", "Venerable Goddesses", and Orestes dedicates an altar to Athena Areia. According to Pindar, the young Orestes was saved by his nurse Arsinoe (Laodamia) or his sister Electra, who conveyed him out of the country when Clytemnestra wished to kill him. This includes the famous opera Oreste by George Frideric Handel, the French tragedy Andromaque by Jean Racine and numerous other popular culture appearances. Sophocles also wrote about the character in Electra and Aeschylus in the Oresteia. He is the subject of several Ancient Greek plays and of various myths connected with his madness and purification, which retain obscure threads of much older ones.. The Ghost of Clytemnestra Awakening the Furies by John Downman (1750-1824). Orestes was killed when he was bit by a snake. Orestes’ story was considered a favorite among ancient artists and writers. Orestes was pursued by the Furies for committing matricide. He is primarily known for murdering his mother and her lover in revenge for his father’s death. ( Wikipedia) The Erinyes resemble Gorgons with their snaky hair. 1. There is extant a Latin epic poem, consisting of about 1000 hexameters, called Orestes Tragoedia, which has been ascribed to Dracontius of Carthage. Pylades was Orestes’ cousin and close friend, appearing in most of the stories about him and playing a pivotal role. Orestes, in Greek mythology, the only son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon and brother of Electra and Iphigenia. For modern treatments see the Oresteia in the arts and popular culture. After a conflict of mutual affection, Pylades at last yielded, but the letter brought about the recognition of brother and sister, and all three escaped together, carrying with them the image of Artemis. With the instruction of Apollo and Athena, he kills his mother and her lover and is subsequently plagued by the Erinyes/Furies. The story of Orestes was the subject of the Oresteia of Aeschylus (Agamemnon, Choephori, Eumenides), of the Electra of Sophocles, and of the Electra, Iphigeneia in Tauris, Iphigenia at Aulis and Orestes, all of Euripides. He was the grandson of (paternally) Atreus and Aerope and (maternally) Tyndareus and Leda. Orestes is said to have died at age 70 in Arcadia by a snake bite. He is primarily known for murdering his mother and her lover in revenge for his father’s death. In most versions Apollo is the god guiding Orestes. Orestes eventually returned to Mycenae and married the daughter of Menelaus and Helen, Hermione. In the familiar theme of the hero's early eclipse and exile, he escaped to Phanote on Mount Parnassus, where King Strophius took charge of him. After his return to Greece, Orestes took possession of his father's kingdom of Mycenae (killing Aegisthus' son, Alete) to which were added Argos and Laconia. His son by Hermione, Tisamenus, became ruler after him but was eventually killed by the Heracleidae. In his gratitude, Orestes dedicated an alter to Athena. According to Euripides' play Andromache, Orestes slew Neoptolemus just outside a temple and took off with Hermione. When even being at the temple of Apollo was not enough to shield him from their torment, he pleaded for a formal trial. He doesn’t necessarily play a big role in the stories, but his role in these tales are all important.