In Greek mythology, Anchises (Ancient Greek: Ἀγχίσης) was the son of Capys and Themiste (daughter of Ilus, son of Tros) or Hieromneme, a naiad. His major claim to fame in Greek mythology is that he was a mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite (and in Roman mythology, the lover of Venus). One version is that Aphrodite pretended to be a Phrygian princess and seduced him for nearly two weeks of lovemaking. Anchises learned that his lover was a goddess only nine months later, when she revealed herself and presented him with the infant Aeneas. The principal early narrative of Aphrodite's seduction of Anchises and the birth of Aeneas is the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
Anchises was a prince from Dardania, a territory neighbouring Troy. He had a mortal wife named Eriopis, according to the scholiasts, and he is credited with other children beside Aeneas. Homer, in the Iliad, mentions a daughter named Hippodameia, their eldest ("the darling of her father and mother"), who married her cousin Alcathous.
Anchises bred his mares with the divine stallions owned by King Laomedon. However, he made the mistake of bragging about his liaison with Aphrodite, and as a result Zeus, the king of the gods, hit him with a thunderbolt which left him lame.
After the defeat of Troy in the Trojan War, the elderly Anchises was carried from the burning city by his son Aeneas, accompanied by Aeneas' wife Creusa, who died in the escape attempt, and small son Ascanius (the subject is depicted in several paintings, including a famous version by Federico Barocci in the Galleria Borghese in Rome). Anchises himself died and was buried in Sicily many years later. Aeneas later visited Hades and saw his father again in the Elysian Fields. Homer's Iliad mentions another Anchises, a wealthy native of Sicyon in Greece and father of Echepolus.
- Achish – a royal name or title in the Bible, perhaps a cognate of Anchises.
- Julius Caesar and other prominent Romans claimed to be descended from Venus (the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite) and Anchises.
- Homeric Hymns. Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
- Homer. Iliad II, 819-21; V, 260-73; XX, 215-40.
- Virgil. Aeneid.
- Apollodorus. Bibliotheke III, xii, 2.
- Apollodorus. Epitome V, 21.
- Ovid. Metamorphoses XIII, 623-42; XIV, 82-119.
- Rose, H.J. (1924). Anchises and Aphrodite. The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1. (Jan., 1924), pp. 11-16.
Full article ▸