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An Athenian hero connected with the Acropolis and its cults. He may originally have been identical with Erechtheus, the older attested name. He is distinguished from his near homonym by the emphasis placed on his birth and infancy. Hephaestus tried to rape Athena, but succeeded only in spilling his semen on her thigh; she wiped it off with a piece of wool, and dropped it on the ground, whereupon Earth conceived Erichthonius. After his birth she handed him over to Athena—an episode popular with red‐figure vase‐painters. Athena shut the child in a chest or basket and in turn entrusted him to the daughters of Cecrops, two of whom with disastrous results disobeyed her order not to look inside.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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