Messenian Hero


The Judgment of Jupiter by Samuel Finley Breese Morse

The Judgment of Jupiter by Samuel Finley Breese Morse (between 1814 and 1815)

Yale University Art GalleryPublic Domain


Idas was a Greek hero from Messenia, the son of the Messenian king Aphareus (or of Poseidon) and the twin brother of Lynceus. The two brothers were sometimes known as the “Apharetidae,” after their father.

Idas and Lynceus were best known for their mythological role as rivals of the Dioscuri—Spartan heroic twins who were also their cousins. Like the Dioscuri, Idas and Lynceus participated in the great heroic exploits of their generation, including the voyage of the Argonauts and the Calydonian boar hunt.

Idas and Lynceus were both killed in a battle against the Dioscuri; Idas was struck down by a thunderbolt from Zeus, the father of one (or both) of the Dioscuri.

Idas was represented as extraordinarily strong but also quarrelsome and disagreeable, even threatening the god Apollo in one myth. But his most distinguishing characteristic was his prodigious appetite.[1]