Did any Greek mythological hero father a son who surpassed him in fame?



I can't think of any case of a Greek mythological hero having a son who achieved more fame, glory and "heroic status" than him.

Looking the descendency of Perseus, Heracles, Theseus, Jason, Achilles, Odysseus, etc, they all had sons. Some of them were noble and quite heroic, but still they were way far from achieving the feats and fame of their fathers.

So, is there any case in Greek mythology of a son surpassing or even equaling the fame of his heroic father?


Posted 2017-03-09T15:14:31.540

Reputation: 1 292

1Do you mean fame in myth, or current understanding? For instance I would think Icarus is more famous than Daedalus, but don't know if in the mythology that's so. – BruceWayne – 2017-03-10T03:29:21.140

I also thought of Icarus as being more well-known than his father. – TripeHound – 2017-03-10T10:10:56.810

I knew someone would say "Icarus" :). Yes, he certainly surpassed his father in one thing: height reached during flight. But Daedalus is known for more things. For example, for killing his nephew Perdix, out of fear of being surpassed as an inventor. – Rodia – 2017-03-10T10:57:07.973

1@Rodia (I speak as someone who has only superficial knowledge of Greek myths; I apologise if I tread on any toes...) If Icarus "doesn't count" because his father "did more", perhaps you want something like "achievement" instead of "fame" in your title and question. While it may be true that Daedalus did more, or is known for more things (by people who know those sort of things), I'd still argue that Icarus is more famous (to a wider population) than his father. – TripeHound – 2017-03-10T14:55:29.877

@TripeHound What I meant is that Icarus didn't do much, he is only known for one thing. He did not kill any monster, nor constructed anything by himself. His history is nothing more than a cautionary tale, like that of Narcissus and many others. Tons of mythological heroes have a bad ending because their hubris, but in Icarus this bad ending is the whole thing. – Rodia – 2017-03-10T15:03:39.010

1It'd probably be easier to ask "Did any great heroes in Greek mythology have fathers who were also heroes?" If the son is one of the greats, they'll probably surpass their father in fame, and their family will probably have some background- the main problem is that many of their fathers would be gods. – Kevin Long – 2017-03-10T17:30:25.737

Pick any famous hero, and look at their father. (Filter out the cases where the father is either not a hero or is even more famous.) – ShreevatsaR – 2017-03-11T16:15:20.787



If you only look at the greatest Greek heroes, yes, of course their offspring don't surpass them. They are the greatest heroes, after all. I mean, Telemachus is no slouch, but you're comparing him to Odysseus.

The greatest heroes do have heroic fathers as well:

  • Peleus was king of the Myrmidons, a member of the Argonauts, and participant in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. He overcame the sea nymph Thetis with the help of a god, to gain her as his wife, and it was at his wedding feast that Eris would interrupt with her famed apple, starting a chain of events that would lead to the Trojan War. He was surpassed by his son, Achilles.
  • Aegeus was the conqueror and founder of Athens. He is the namesake of the Aegean Sea. He was surpassed by his son, Theseus.
  • Laërtes was king of the Cephallenians, a member of the Argonauts, and participant in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. He was surpassed by his son, Odysseus.


Posted 2017-03-09T15:14:31.540

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12In fact the reason Thetis was still free and single when Peleus came along, is that Zeus didn't want a god to marry her since it was prophesied that her son would exceed his father. – Steve Jessop – 2017-03-10T00:27:40.617

When I asked the question Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great crossed my mind. And Peleus being surpassed by his son adds another layer to the Alexander - Achilles comparison. Thanks for answer and extra examples. – Rodia – 2017-03-11T09:43:23.140


Achilles son of Peleus.

Peleus was a minor hero and companion of Hercules in various of his adventures, and was also with Jason as an Argonaut.

His son Achilles was more famous as the leading warrior of the Trojan War.


Posted 2017-03-09T15:14:31.540

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In fact, according to a myth, Prometheus gives a prophecy that Achilles will surpass his parents in fame. – b_jonas – 2017-03-21T11:47:10.300


If you consider the gods to be heroes too, then I'd say Zeus surpassed his father, Kronos.

Alexis Olson

Posted 2017-03-09T15:14:31.540

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4But god's are clearly not heroes. – bleh – 2017-03-10T00:04:05.207

2@bleh Why do you say that? – Alexis Olson – 2017-03-10T00:12:46.467

5@Alexis: just the usual terminology for classical mythology: "hero" refers to large and not precisely-defined group of characters, that includes many mortals and demigods, but doesn't include the Olympian gods. I can't promise it never includes any other kind of deity, titans or their offspring. It doesn't mean, "any character we admire" or "any powerful character" or "any character that's the subject of a story". – Steve Jessop – 2017-03-10T00:35:35.367

That and who considers Kronos a hero anyway? He ate his children! – CalculatorFeline – 2017-03-10T17:01:22.487

@CalculatorFeline And Zeus sentenced the titan (Prometheus) who helped him rise to power to be eaten alive every day by eagles because he helped mankind to not freeze to death. Let's not go there :P – nikaza – 2017-03-11T02:24:31.760


Depending on what you mean by 'surpassed', Kronos surpassed his father Uranus by castrating him with a sickle.

Lee Gildemeester

Posted 2017-03-09T15:14:31.540

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1Again, gods are not heroes. – bleh – 2017-03-10T22:37:08.317