A king of Iolcus in Thessaly.  His father was Poseidon and his mother Tyro, the wife of Cretheus, a son of Aeolus.  He was succeeded by his son Acastus.

After Tyro gave birth to him and his brother Neleus, she exposed them to hide their presence from.Cretheus.  A group of horse-herders wandered by, and Pelias was struck in the face by a horses hoof, leaving a scar.  It was for this mark (πελιος) that he received his name.  The twins were then discovered and raised by the herdsman.

When they were older, Pelias and Neleus discovered the identity of their mother, Tyro.  They found her, and Tyro told them how her step-mother, Sidero, was abusing her.  The twins hunted down Sidero, and she fled to a temple of Hera for sanctuary.  Nevertheless, Pelias went inside and killed her.  From that point on, Pelias never sacrificed to Hera again.

Pelias and Neleus were adopted by Cretheus, the king of Iolcus.  When Cretheus died, Pelias forcibly claimed the throne, which should have been assumed by Aeson.  Later, he killed Aeson and drove away all of his brothers, including Neleus.

Pelias had removed all potential enemies in Iolcus.  Yet Hera was still enraged by his earlier actions.  She aided the son of Aeson, Jason, in his quest to claim the throne.  Pelias, warned by the Oracle at Delphi to beware a descendant of Aeolus wearing only one sandal.  When Jason appeared in Iolcus wearing only one sandal, Pelias agreed to turn over the throne but first sent him on a quest for the Golden Fleece, from which he surely would not return.

Yet, with the help of the gods and other heroes, Jason succeeded and returned to Iolcus.  Jason was accompanied by Medea, a powerful sorceress.  Using her magic, she convinced Pelias' own daughters to tear him to pieces.  After Pelias' death, his son Acastus took over the throne.


  1. ApollodorusBibliotece.

  2. Apollonius RhodiusArgonautica.