Acestes or Egestes (Greek Ἄκέστης) was, in Roman mythology, the son of the Sicilian river-god Crinisus by a Dardanian or Trojan woman named Egesta or Segesta.
According to Servius, this woman Egesta or Segesta was sent by her father, Hippotes or Ipsostratus, to Sicily, that she might not be devoured by the monsters, which infested the territory of Troy, and which had been sent into the land, because the Trojans had refused to reward Poseidon and Apollo for having built the walls of their city. When Egesta arrived in Sicily, the river-god Crinisus in the form of a bear or a dog sired with her a son named Acestes, who was afterwards regarded as the hero who had founded the town of Segesta.
A slight variation on the tradition has it that Acestes welcomed Aeneas when he arrived in Sicily. The funeral games of Aeneas' father Anchises were held there. Those of Aeneas' folk who wished to voyage no further were allowed to remain behind with Acestes and together with Acestes' people they founded the city of Acesta, that is Segesta.
Mythological tradition of Dionysius
The tradition of Acestes in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who calls him Aegestus (Αίγεστος), is different, for according to him, the grandfather of Aegestus quarreled with Laomedon, who slew him and gave his daughters to some merchants to convey them to a distant land. A noble Trojan however embarked with them, and married one of them in Sicily, where she subsequently gave birth to a son, Aegestus. During the war against Troy Aegestus obtained permission from Priam to return and take part in the contest, and afterwards returned to Sicily, where Aeneas on his arrival was hospitably received by him and Elymus, and built for them the towns of Aegesta and Elyme. The account of Dionysius seems to be nothing but a rationalistic interpretation of the genuine legend.
Arrow of Acestes
In the Aeneid, Acestes participates in a trial of skill in which he shoots his arrow which then bursts into flame as a sign from Jupiter of Acestes' deserved honor.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology by William Smith (1870).
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