Kekrops Looking on as Gaia Gives Erechtheus to Athena

Illustration

Nathalie Choubineh
by Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher
published on 20 August 2021
Send to Google Classroom:

Gaia offers Erichthonios to Athena, with Kekrops watching. Clay relief from Melos, c. 460 BCE. Illustration from Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie by Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, 1890.

Kekrops, the mythical king of Athens is credited with teaching the Athenians literacy and religious rites. He was born from the earth in the form of a half-man-half-snake. The legend of his birth resembles that of another primordial king of Athens, Erechtheus, who was conceived by Gaia, the Mother Earth, when Athena wiped off the semen of Hephaestus from her thigh with a piece of wool and dropped the cloth to the ground. When Erechtheus was born, Gaia returned him to Athena, who trusted the baby to Kekrops’ daughters in a chest without telling them what was in there for them to protect. Overcome by their curiosity, the Kekropidai opened the chest and, terrified by the revelation of the serpents guarding the baby, rushed away in madness, and jumped from the Acropolis to their deaths.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Cite This Work

APA Style

Roscher, W. H. (2021, August 20). Kekrops Looking on as Gaia Gives Erechtheus to Athena. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/14442/kekrops-looking-on-as-gaia-gives-erechtheus-to-ath/

Chicago Style

Roscher, Wilhelm Heinrich. "Kekrops Looking on as Gaia Gives Erechtheus to Athena." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 20, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/14442/kekrops-looking-on-as-gaia-gives-erechtheus-to-ath/.

MLA Style

Roscher, Wilhelm Heinrich. "Kekrops Looking on as Gaia Gives Erechtheus to Athena." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 20 Aug 2021. Web. 28 Sep 2021.