Athenian King

Cecrops I


Illustration of Cecrops (1885–90)

Meyers Konversationslexikon (4th ed.)Public Domain


Cecrops was an Athenian king and culture hero, typically imagined as half-human and half-snake. As an autochthonous being (that is, born from the earth), Cecrops had no parents. He served as the second king of Athens, succeeding Actaeus, whose daughter Aglaurus he married.

During his reign, Cecrops taught the Athenians numerous arts and institutions, including the alphabet, monogamy, funeral rites, and various religious cults. Athena and Poseidon’s contest for Attica also occurred during Cecrops’ reign.

Cecrops and his wife Aglaurus had a son, Erysichthon, who died young; their daughters Aglaurus, Herse, and Pandrosus also met with a tragic fate. Cecrops was ultimately succeeded by Cranaus, another autochthon. 

Cecrops was venerated as a hero in Attica and other parts of Greece, and was connected with the constellation Aquarius.[1]