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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

son of Pelops, father of Agamemnon and Menelaeus.


In Greek mythology, Atreus (, ; ) was a king of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, 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 Pleisthenes, but in some lyric poets ( Ibycus, Bacchylides) Pleisthenides (son of Pleisthenes) is used as an alternative name for Atreus himself.

Usage examples of "atreus".

After Yago and Atreus squeezed past, Rishi turned to kick the wedge free.

The sniggering died away, then she spoke again to Atreus in modern Realmspeak.

They were advancing from both sides, eyeing Atreus warily and reaching for their swords.

Every time Atreus laid his shoulder to a loose rock, Seema would shout a warning.

To Atreus, it seemed the mere flash of an instant and the endless drag of forever.

An invisible force as soft and powerful as the wind struck Atreus in the chest, knocking him to his haunches and leaving him gasping for breath.

But they were not in Rivenshield, and Atreus was as lost with his emotions as she was with hers.

Able to stand the sight no longer, Atreus raised his knife and started forward.

Of all those that have survived to the present day the treasure-house at Atreus is the most venerable.

It was for his sake that I embarked on this expedition, not my own, to redeem the honour of the house of Atreus, to show the people of Troy and the whole world that when a blow is struck against us we will strike back with double force.

Atreus was the rightful king of Mycenae but Thyestes tried to get the throne from him, so they quarrelled, but then Atreus pretended that he wanted to make it up and he invited his brother to dinner.

Thyestes had finished, Atreus showed him the heads and hands of his children, you know, just to drive the point home.

Thyestes laid a curse on Atreus and his descendants then fled into exile, taking his remaining son Aegisthus with him.

There were voices that named Aegisthus himself as the killer of Atreus, but she said nothing of this.

Menelaus, eagle king of the House of Atreus, leader of the Spartan host, am required to pay for sex with a peasant girl?