Thessalian King


Admetus Mourning Alcestis by Johann Heinrich Tischbein

Admetus Mourning Alcestis by Johann Heinrich Tischbein (ca. 1780)

Wikimedia CommonsPublic Domain


Admetus was the son of Pheres and the king of the Thessalian city of Pherae. A just and honorable man, he treated Apollo well when the god was forced to serve him as a slave for one year. Apollo rewarded Admetus’ good treatment many times over, helping Admetus prosper and win the hand of the beautiful Alcestis.

When the time came for Admetus to die, Apollo found a way for his friend to escape death: he persuaded the relentless Moirae (the “Fates”) to let Admetus go on living if someone else volunteered to die in his place. Admetus’ wife, the noble Alcestis, immediately agreed to die for her husband, though in the end she was saved by Heracles, another one of Admetus’ powerful friends.

In some traditions, Admetus took part in several heroic exploits, including the voyage of the Argonauts and the Calydonian boar hunt. He and Alcestis had several children, including a son named Eumelus who fought in the Trojan War.[1]