Agamemnon (ăˌgəmĕmˈnŏn) [key], in Greek mythology, leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan War; king of Mycenae (or Argos). He and Menelaus were sons of Atreus and suffered the curse laid upon Pelops. Agamemnon married Clytemnestra, and their children were Iphigenia, Electra, and Orestes. To win favorable winds for the ships sailing against Troy, he sacrificed Iphigenia to Artemis and thus incurred the hatred of Clytemnestra. After arriving at Troy, he quarreled bitterly with Achilles over possession of the captive princess Briseis. Agamemnon was forced to yield the girl to Achilles after the latter withdrew, with his troops, from the war. On his return home, Agamemnon was treacherously murdered by Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. To avenge his death, Orestes and Electra killed their mother.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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