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A mythical king of Athens. Athenians regarded him as their archetypal ancestral figure. No parents are recorded for him, and probably he was thought of as autochthonous (see autochthons). He was described as ‘double‐natured’, with reference to his form as half‐man, half‐snake—the normal style of his depiction on red‐figure vases, where he is a popular figure in many Athenian scenes. Cecrops was the father of Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, and of one son who died young. His deeds mark him out as a civilizing figure, the one who established monogamous marriage, writing, funeral rites, and other customs perceived as important to contemporary, ‘normal’, society. The foundation of many religious cults was also ascribed to him.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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