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?

  • 1
    Do 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
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 3:29
  • I also thought of Icarus as being more well-known than his father.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 10:10
  • 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
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 10:57
  • 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
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    It'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
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:30

3 Answers 3


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.
  • 15
    In 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. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 0:27
  • 1
    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
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 9:43

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.

  • In fact, according to a myth, Prometheus gives a prophecy that Achilles will surpass his parents in fame.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:47

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

  • 4
    But god's are clearly not heroes.
    – bleh
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 0:04
  • 2
    @bleh Why do you say that? Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 0:12
  • 6
    @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". Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 0:35
  • That and who considers Kronos a hero anyway? He ate his children! Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:01
  • @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 Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 2:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.