In Greek mythology, Pentheus was a king of Thebes, son of the strongest of the Spartes, Echion, and of Agave, daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, and the goddess Harmonia.

Much of what is known about the character comes from Euripides' tragedy play, "The Bacchae".

Fictional Biography

King of Thebes Cadmus abdicated in favour of his grandson Pentheus due to his old age. Pentheus soon banned the worship of the god Dionysus, who was the son of his aunt Semele, and didn't allow the women of Cadmeia to join in his rites.

Dionysus, angered, caused Pentheus' mother and his aunts, Ino and Agave, along with all the other women of Thebes, to rush to Mount Cithaeron in a bacchic frenzy. Because of this, Pentheus imprisoned Dionysus, but his chains fell off and the jail doors opened for him.

Dionysus then lured Pentheus out to spy on the bacchic rites. The daughters of Cadmus saw him in a tree and thought him to be a wild animal. Pentheus was pulled down and torn limb from limb by them (sparagmos), causing them to be exiled from Thebes.

The name 'Pentheus', as Dionysus and Teiresias both point out, means "'Man of Sorrows" and derives from πένθος, "pénthos", sorrow or grief, especially the grief caused by the death of a loved one; even his name destines him for tragedy. Pentheus was succeeded by his uncle Polydorus.


cite book
last = Euripides
title = The Bacchae
url =

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  • Pentheus — wird von Ino und Agaue zerrissen, Deckel einer Lekane, ca. etwa 450 v. Chr., Louvre Pentheus (gr.: Πενθεύς) war in der griechischen Mythologie der Sohn von Echion und Agaue, der Tochter des Kadmos. Noch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pentheus — {{Pentheus}} Sohn des Echion* und der Agaue*, Nachfolger des Kadmos* als König von Theben. Pentheus bekämpfte trotz der Warnungen des Kadmos und des alten Sehers Teiresias* den Kult des Dionysos*, der, verkleidet als sein eigener Abgesandter, vor …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • Pentheus — Pentheus, Sohn des Echion u. der Agaue, folgte seinem mütterlichen Großvater Kadmos in der Herrschaft über Theben, wurde aber, da er den Frauen des Landes die Verehrung des Bakchos wehren wollte, von seiner Mutter, welche ihn in ihrer… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pentheus — Pentheus, im griech. Mythus Sohn des Echion und der Agaue, der Tochter des Kadmos, dem er in der Herrschaft von Theben folgte. Als Dionysos nach Theben kam und die Weiber ihm auf dem Kithäron Feste feierten, wollte P. es hindern, ward aber von… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pentheus — Pentheus, myth. König von Theben, Gegner des Bachusdienstes, von seiner Mutter Agave und andern Bachantinen auf dem Cithäron zerrissen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • PENTHEUS — fil. Echionis ex Agave coniuge, filiâ Cami, qui cum Liberi patris sacra aspernaretur, irâ numinis, a matre et sorore in furorem versis, laceratus est. Α᾿πὸ τοῦ πένθεος, i.e. a luctu arcessit nomen. Unde Theocritus in Lenis, ubi historiam hanc… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Pentheus — Pẹntheus,   griechischer Mythos: König von Theben, Enkel des Kadmos; er wurde von den Mänaden unter Anführung seiner Mutter Agaue zerrissen, weil er sich der Einführung des Dionysoskults widersetzte …   Universal-Lexikon

  • PENTHEUS —    a king of Thebes, opposed to the introduction of the Bacchus worship into his kingdom, was driven mad by the god, and torn in pieces by his mother and sisters, who, under the Bacchic frenzy, mistook him for a wild beast …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Pentheus — /ˈpɛnθiəs/ (say pentheeuhs) noun Greek Legend the grandson of Cadmus whom he succeeded as king of Thebes …   Australian English dictionary

  • USS Pentheus (ARL-20) — The USS Pentheus (ARL 20) was one of 39 Achelous class landing craft repair ships built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named for Pentheus (a king of Thebes, according to Greek legend), she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear… …   Wikipedia

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