Pelias, The Power-loving King Of Iolcos

Pelias was an over-ambitious king of Iolcos and the uncle of Greek hero Jason

Pelias’ Family

Pelias was the son of the Greek god Poseidon, The Olympian God of The Sea and the mortal Tyro. Pelias had a twin brother Neleus and a half-brother called Aeson, who was the father of the Greek hero Jason, The Leader Of The Argonauts.

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The Early Years

In their infancy, Pelias and Neleus were abandoned by their mother on a mountain and were raised by a mare and a female dog, respectively (and later by a shepherd). One day the mare kicked Pelias in the face, leaving a large mark on his cheek. According to legend, Pelias got his name from this bruise because “Pelios” in Ancient Greek means black, bruised.

Pelias, Jason, And the Kingdom of Iolcos

Later in their lives, the two twins were accepted by their mother and began to fight over the kingdom of Iolcos. Pelias, eager to overthrow his brother Aeson, sought out an oracle to tell his fortune. 

The oracle advised him to beware of a man who came from the countryside wearing only a single sandal. So Pelias decided to kill all of Aeson’s descendants, except for the infant Jason, whom his mother passed off as stillborn.

Jason grew up in Mount Pelion, and his education was taken over by the wise centaur Chiron, The Wise Centaur. When Jason came of age, he returned to Iolkos to claim the throne of the city, wearing only a sandal. So Pelias sent him on a journey in search of the Golden Fleece to regain the throne.

Pelias’ Death

After many adventures, Jason returned to Iolkos only to learn that his parents had been killed in the meantime by Pelias. Thirsting for revenge, Jason asked his wife, the sorceress Medea, The Enchantress, for a ruse: she was to slaughter an old ram in front of Pelias’ daughters, chop it into pieces, and revive it with magical filters in the form of a small lamb.

Impressed by the magic, Pelias’ naive daughters tried to do the same to their aged father to rejuvenate him: They cut him into pieces – but this time without all the magical herbs – and accidentally murdered Pelias. In the end, Pelias died just like he lived – violently and in a power struggle, similar to the Corinth king Glaucos.

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Evangelia Hatzitsinidou is the creator and author of which has been merged with She has been writing about Greek Mythology for almost twenty years. A native to Greece, she teaches and lives just outside Athens.