Atreus

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In Greek mythology, Atreus (Ἀτρεύς) was a king of Mycenae, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae.

Atreus and his twin brother Thyestes were exiled by their father for murdering their half-brother Chrysippus in their desire for the throne of Olympia. They took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended to the throne in the absence of King Eurystheus, who was fighting the Heracleidae. Eurystheus had meant for their stewardship to be temporary, but it became permanent after his death in battle.

According to most ancient sources, Atreus was the father of Plisthenes, but in some lyric poets (Ibycus, Bacchylides) Plisthenides (son of Plisthenes) is used as an alternative name for Atreus himself.

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Hittite sources

There is a possible reference to Atreus in a Hittite text known as the 'Indictment of Madduwatta'. The indictment describes several army clashes between the Greeks and the Hittites which took place around the late 15th or early 14th centuries BCE. The Greek leader was a man called Attarsiya, and some scholars have speculated that Attarsiya (or Attarissiya) was the Hittite way of writing the Greek name Atreus.[1] Other scholars argue that even though the name is probably Greek (since the man is described as an Ahhiyawa) and related to Atreus, the person carrying the name is not necessarily identical to the famous Atreus.[2]

Atreides

The word Atreides refers to one of the sons of Atreus—Agamemnon and Menelaus. The plural form Atreidae or Atreidai refers to both sons collectively; in English, the form Atreides (the same form as the singular) is often used. This term is sometimes used for more distant descendants of Atreus.

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