Argive Princess


Danae by Titian

Danae by Titian (ca. 1545–1546)

National Museum of Capodimonte, NaplesPublic Domain


Danae was a Greek princess, the daughter of the Argive king Acrisius. Fearing a prophecy that he would be killed by his own grandson, Acrisius imprisoned Danae to prevent her from conceiving. But Zeus seduced Danae as a shower of gold dust, and she became pregnant with Perseus.

When Acrisius learned about Perseus, he locked both his daughter and his grandson in a chest and cast it into the sea. The waves took Danae and Perseus to Seriphos, where they were taken in by the kind fisherman Dictys. Later, Danae was saved by her son Perseus when the island’s king, Polydectes, tried to marry her against her will.

Many episodes from the myth of Danae, including her seduction by a shower of golden dust and her imprisonment in the chest, were popular in ancient literature and art. The story has remained familiar in Western culture, appearing in everything from Renaissance paintings to the 1981 film The Clash of the Titans.[1]